DH & I are newbies...taking our FIRST CRUISE in October on Carnival Freedom. Because we are new to cruising, I'm attempting to gather as much info as I can about doing things properly. We are well-traveled "land" travelers, so we are accustomed to tipping and familar with various tipping customs.
We're not the types who buck proper etiquette; however, DH wants absolutely nothing to do with pre-paid tipping! It just doesn't seem to make sense to him...I'm having a hard time understanding the concept, too
How do you rationalize "pre-paying" gratuities, which are customarily given voluntarily as a token of appreciation for services delivered, if you don't know how (or if) your services will be delivered?
Then, the concept of "tipping on top of pre-paid tips" seems like overkill to both of us.
My husband and I are generous tippers & kind people. If a restaurant server even bothers to smile or chat a bit, I will tip 35%-50%. If I go to a local diner or restaurant where I know that the servers receive very little in wages and tips, I'll easily leave $10 on the table for a $25 or $30 bill. On a pricey meal or service, we always leave at least a 20% gratuity.
I like the personal aspect of tipping. I can't imagine facing a cabin steward or waiter on a 12-day cruise, even mediocre ones, and never leaving a kind note with a cash tip BECAUSE we pre-paid. How does the steward or waiter KNOW that we pre-paid gratuities?
If "pre-paid gratuities" is another word for "service charges," that's different.
The cruise line (Carnival and others ) will add $10 per person per day as a tip to your cabin account. This money is divided among the cabin steward, waiters, and Lido food service workers by a set formula. Basically if you pre pay you just give them this money at the time you pay for your cruise instead of when you settle your cabin account. Everyone pays the same unless you go to the Pursers Desk and make an adjustment because of poor service. The method used to pay this tip money is likely transparant to the staff. These added or pre-paid tips are the minimum recommended amount. If you think someone has provided exceptional service then you are free to give them a cash gratuity that will be in addition to the money that is pre-paid or applied to your cabin bill. The exception is the Maitre'd. If you choose to tip him/her there is an envelope provided to give a gratuity on the last night of the cruise.
This board is great. I'm actually over at another Cruisemates post about tipping, etc. People raise some very good points...liken the "pre-paid tips" to a "mandatory service charge," which I can understand. PLUS, you can "tip." Makes more sense to me that way.
I pre-paid gratuity because I was making payments on my cruise. You either pay it before or at the end of your cruise, so I just wanted to get it out of the way. I give them what is required and then at the end of our cruise if I received great service I give more. I always tip the server on the pool deck WAY MORE because that's were I want to be taken care of while I am enjoying the sun!! 8)
9-11-2008 Bahamas, Carnival Sensation
1-18-2010 Bahamas, RCI Monarch of the Seas
1-23-2011 Bahamas, Carnival Sensation
I think that the reason the cruise lines went to the auto-tipping was because people thought that if they ate at the Lido buffet, why should they tip the dining room folks. They didn't know or chose not to know that it is the same folks doing both, just in different shifts. Plus, it used to be customary to tip the last night of the cruise and there were often some passengers rather conspicuously missing that last dinner. Pathetic attitude, in my book.
In any case, we now leave the auto-tip alone unless there is a strong reson to change it. But, if you order room service, even though it is free, it is nice to tip the person who delivers it. Anywhere from a buck for a pot of coffee to several dollars for a meal.....or big "snack". Beyond that, it all depends on the service provided. On one HAL cruise of 16 days, I would go to this one bar before dinner for a smoke. (Yes, I'm one of those.) I never ordered a drink. Asked for ice water the first time and from then on, the bar staff would see me walk in and just bring me water. One waiter in particular treated me like royalty. Called me by name, which I never figured out since I never had reason to give him my sail and sign card. But, I went back the last night and gave one tip for them all to share and another slipped discreetly just to the one guy. They gave me an origami bird which they had all signed. I still have it, because their friendly attitude made the entire trip more pleasant.
Kudos to you, Colorcrazie. I really like the autopay and the pre-pay on "freestyle" and "personal choice" cruises. Then I know for sure that no one is left out. On one cruise though, I seemed to have my own personal barmaid. After the first night, she knew what I wanted at dinner. She was also charming and gave us all the details of her plans since it was the last week on her contract and she was so excited to go home. Hubby made sure that she had a bit of extra cash to go home with.
Tipping is very much still at the customer's discretion. A reward for good service. So, nobody else gets tipped unless they are doing something special to deserve it, like manual labor or an extra errand, or giving me some sort of special treatment. That's why it's annoying how this culture is held hostage by guilt when it comes to tipping. The pay should be worked out with their employers or the state not the patrons.
Last edited by Mike M; July 6th, 2013 at 10:55 AM.
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