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Old October 13th, 2013, 09:21 PM
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Default Tipping...the way it was....

Do you miss tipping as we used to back in the olden days? Handing the tip envelope to the crew member and actually seeing his face,and his thank you?

Or do you prefer the ease of pre paying tips,and don't want to look back?
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Old October 13th, 2013, 09:42 PM
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I'm fine the way it is today.

Most of the time I give out extra to the cabin attendant and the waiter/assistant waiter. So I still hand out something in person if they do a good job.

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Old October 14th, 2013, 06:52 AM
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I think the current method reduces some of the class difference between cruiser and crew.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 08:19 AM
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I really don't mind the pre-paid or auto tipping of today. Although I miss more of the traditional dining we used have. We have so many more options when it comes to food while cruising, the pre-paid tips truly make it more efficient for the staff and making sure the right people get the proper tips.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 05:39 PM
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I prefer the auto tip method & open dining

I still give extra to some the crew that make my cruise more special

I disliked the last day of the cruise when you would see crew you have not seen during the cruise now pandering for tips
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Old October 14th, 2013, 05:50 PM
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I too remember a day or so before we would give the tip envelopes, we suddenly heard alot of converstatons about family back home.The crew certauinly deserves every penny of that tip money,and in some cases more, but you could certainly count on these conversations.
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Old October 15th, 2013, 11:55 AM
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Some still use the "family back home" OR "we don't get paid anything" stories on newbie cruisers.

New system is better.
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Old October 15th, 2013, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
Do you miss tipping as we used to back in the olden days? Handing the tip envelope to the crew member and actually seeing his face,and his thank you?
Quick answer: No.

I really got tired of the last night envelope stuffing and counting out the money on the bed. I prefer the automatic gratuities and giving extra to those who deserve it.

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Old October 21st, 2013, 03:04 PM
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I'm not sure much has changed. Last night on Oasis, there were many empty tables around us. Maybe they were dining at alternative venues that night. Or maybe they were to ashamed to face the server they were stiffing.

who knows.

I felt bad for our wait team. Service was excellent, and we tipped both of them extra.

The pandering for tips has gone down - never saw the head waiter or the maître d all week. We did get the usual, "please give us excellent, because that is the only rating that matters".

I have a hard time with that last one. what is the point of a satisfaction survey if you feel coerced into giving excellent ratings?
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Old October 27th, 2013, 02:44 AM
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The biggest change for the service staff is the amount of money they receive - or don't receive.
Ten years ago, with traditional tipping, an average 30% of passengers on mass market ships tipped nothing at the end of the cruise.
For many tipped employees, that number reduced their overall earnings by as much as 50%.
Many of our best staff resigned and found jobs on land that paid them more. They never returned.

The auto tipping has shamed many of the more frugal cruisers into leaving the auto tip in place. Today, the average cruise has about 5% who leave no tip. General earnings for tipped employees are still much lower now than they were 10 or 20 years ago, and the quality of service staff we attract is much lower than we had before, but it is at least affordable to work on a cruise ship again.
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Old November 6th, 2013, 02:25 PM
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I have mixed feelings about the automatic tipping. It is convenient and assures the staff gets something. I wonder if cruise staff gets more tip money today or less. Knowing an automatic tip is being paid probably stops many passengers from tipping anything additional. The automatic tip becomes an expected cost of the ticket and an expected part of the paycheck.

Tips are for service beyond what you earn for doing the minimal tasks of your job. The automatic tips do not bother me, but we always make sure to tip people that provide excellent service extra. That is whom we want to reward.

I suggest setting aside another $10 per day as your "bonus tip" money. Reward the people that provide special service to you and you get even better service. It is just like in a good local restaurant. Service is always superior for people a waitress, or waiter, knows tips well.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasOrtiz View Post
I have mixed feelings about the automatic tipping. It is convenient and assures the staff gets something. I wonder if cruise staff gets more tip money today or less. Knowing an automatic tip is being paid probably stops many passengers from tipping anything additional. The automatic tip becomes an expected cost of the ticket and an expected part of the paycheck.

Tips are for service beyond what you earn for doing the minimal tasks of your job. The automatic tips do not bother me, but we always make sure to tip people that provide excellent service extra. That is whom we want to reward.

I suggest setting aside another $10 per day as your "bonus tip" money. Reward the people that provide special service to you and you get even better service. It is just like in a good local restaurant. Service is always superior for people a waitress, or waiter, knows tips well.
If you read my post directly before yours, you will no longer have to wonder if the staff makes more or less with auto-tipping.
Although it would seem logical that knowing an auto tip has already been paid might prevent passengers from tipping anything additional, the reality is quite the opposite. The cruising public has an extremely short memory. That auto tip is very quickly forgotten, and many satisfied cruisers are happy to tip additional to their favourite service staff.
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Old November 30th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Bruce,
I am curious about the state that general earnings are still down. Is the because the 70% who did tip paid on average more than the current auto tip amount! or because base wages remain mired in the past similar to minimum wage in the US? I know nothing is exactly simple, but am curious.
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Old December 1st, 2013, 10:52 PM
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I prefer the current way of tipping. However with the way it was, the service was much better then today. That does not mean it is not good, it is still very good, but not exceptional.

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Old December 8th, 2013, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by green_rd View Post
Bruce,
I am curious about the state that general earnings are still down. Is the because the 70% who did tip paid on average more than the current auto tip amount! or because base wages remain mired in the past similar to minimum wage in the US? I know nothing is exactly simple, but am curious.
Actually both are correct.
The last time I was a tipped cruise ship employee was in the mid-1970s. In those days, almost everyone tipped - and the average guest tipped over $25 per day.
My actual salary in those days was the same salary we pay today - about $1 per day.
The $1 didn't matter then, and doesn't really matter today.

But as for the tips we received in the 1970s, $25 per day was quite a bit of money. Good service staff worked very long and hard - as they do today - but they were also well paid for their efforts.

Then in the 1990s the cruise lines started marketing to the masses. Many of our new passengers could barely afford to sail with us. When they found out that they were expected to tip at the end of the cruise, they simply could not afford it. These were the pax who mysteriously skipped the last evening's dinner, in order to stiff the wait staff without being embarrassed in public. By the turn of the century, we had lost most of our best service staff. They simply could not afford to work for us anymore. We still expected the staff to work as long and hard as before, but also needed them to serve people who had never eaten in a proper restaurant in their lives. To reward them for their efforts, their earnings were cut in half. They quickly realized that they could make more money at home, living with their families, with days off, and avoiding the abuse they had taken from North Americans for so many years.

That is the primary reason the cruise lines introduced "auto-tipping". We needed to shame passengers into tipping in order to stop the exodus of good staff; on one side we made it optional, but on the other side, we made it embarrassing and difficult to take the tips away.

So now with auto-tipping we are back up to 95% or so of passengers tipping again. But these passengers are mostly from the middle and lower classes. They cannot afford to tip $25 per day. So the cruise lines bumped the tips down to the $10-12 range, once again effectively reducing earnings by 50%.
But it goes farther than that.
A $25 tip in 1970 was quite a bit of money.
A $10-12 tip in 2013 is not so much.
Inflation has taken quite a toll.

Despite all our efforts, today's cruise ship waiter earns about 25% (in real money) of what I earned as a cruise ship waiter in the 1970s.
That kind of money is not going to buy us the best service people - and it doesn't.
Next time you wonder why your dining room waiter doesn't seem quite as sharp as the waiters on the RMS Titanic, it's all about the money.
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Old December 8th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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Thanks Bruce for the informative post

Some people just think the waiters get all this money ... they start calculating
$10 pp pd with 3000 pax ..wow the waiter is getting rich
They do not realize that the $10 is split by several people

I wonder how many cruisers would work for those wages & the abuse they have to take from "special" passengers

We usually give more than the recommended amount to our room steward & waiters that go above & beyond for us
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Old December 9th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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Bruce, as you probably know I worked for Royal Viking in 1983 (a lux cruise line) but I had no idea that people tipped more in those days. I was not a tipped employee.

I really think Royal Caribbean needs to make auto-tipping the standard (maybe they have, but the last time I cruised with them you still had to request that tips get put onto your acct, and you had to do by the middle of the cruise or it was too late).

I can't state how much I do NOT enjoy having to find cash on the last day of the cruise (where do you go, the ATM, the casino, the front desk)- stuff it into envelopes and then hand that to my servers. To me it felt demeaning for the staff, but more important it was just a plain hassle.

I will gladly put my tips on my acct. Put them on the credit card, I get the free miles....

But having to pay $4 service fee to get cash from the ATM just to give the cash out in tips - no thanks.

I will sometimes give a special server a private tip in cash if they do an excellent job for me.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 04:46 PM
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If you should choose the anytime dining, you have to pre-pay your tips when you make final payment, so no hassles with getting together cash to tip your service people...I would think you could do that even with traditional dining...
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Old December 10th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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Bruce,
Thanks for your feedback. I have only been cruising since 2004 but I can recognize that fares have been relatively stagnant over that period. This is a boon to consumers but it seems it is the staff that gets squeezed.
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