Let’s Talk About Gratuities

Recently on #CruiseChat the topic of discussion was gratuities. I think this will always be a sensitive subject when it comes to cruising but it was a great opportunity to see other people’s points of view. Those who took part either work within cruise travel or they simply enjoy cruising as a form of holiday. You really did get a nice broad perspective.

I always leave a tip; however, I do now remove the automatic gratuities from my onboard account. There were a large percentage of people during #CruiseChat that mentioned they prefer the automatic gratuities system but at the same time there also seemed to be a high volume of those who preferred the cash route.

Personally I don’t like the automatic system; I want to tip in cash. You create such a bond with the likes of your cabin steward whilst you cruise and its nice come the end of your holiday to say I appreciate all your hard work, thank you very much indeed, and hand them what they have certainly worked hard for. The automatic system removes this, you lose that connection and I really don’t want my tips to be decided for me. I want to make my own decision based on the service I received. I may not want to leave the “suggested” amount; I might decide to leave more or less.

One cruise a few years ago we actually left double the suggested amount for our restaurant waiters and restaurant manager. I am still yet to come across a nicer bunch of waiters onboard. The entire cruise of an evening was simply perfect and often hilarious. When we handed them the envelopes on the second last night you could see the appreciation, they genuinely were thankful for your kind gesture.

I don’t want to have a tip suggested, then automatically taken for me to then have to mess around either adding more via reception or start working out how I tip the extra in cash to the relevant people……..this to me is just headache! Therefore I stick to what works on a personal level.

I know some people will disagree and say they prefer the suggested amount and they prefer it to just be automatically added, which is fine. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to tipping it is simply down to your own personal preference. I think that’s why this will forever remain a “touchy” subject.

One thing during the #CruiseChat we did all seem to agree on was that either way you should tip. Finally!!! Everyone was in agreement! Well, to a certain extent 😉

Gratuities and cruising are like two peas in a pod, unless you are sailing around the world in 6 star luxury you will have to address the issue that is tipping. My suggestion would be do what works for you. I always tip, but I do it the way I want too because that works for me.

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Author: Danielle

Trying to explore each and every inch of this wonderful planet via cruise ship.

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Posted in Cruising & Tipping
9 comments on “Let’s Talk About Gratuities
  1. Chris says:

    Do you have a choice? I thought I had to leave a certain amount or wouldn’t be able to leave the ship, not having closed my tab. I don’t like it, but would be scared if they added it, cause then they would still be looking for tips. If it has to be, then add it in. Kind of like all-inclusive.

  2. Paul says:

    No-one tips me .no matter how well I perform . That said I see nothing wrong in tipping personnel service , such as the cabin person or perhaps a waiter or barman who maskes your stay special. I do not agree in the fixed rate gratuity that needs to be cancelled . This is simply a way to charge the passengers more money for the cruise . I would prefer the cruise companies pay the staff proper rates and charge more up front (if they can) . The system as it stands is just a vehicle to promote slave labour.

  3. Larry Clark says:

    I usually go with the prepaid gratuities when booking but then I will add more to those who gave outstanding service which is usually everyone. Usually $50.00 to $75.00 to the cabin crew and the same for our waiter and his assistant. My wife is diabetic and requires some extra accommodations both in the room and at meals and when the staff go out of their way to remember her needs it is important to me that they be rewarded.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree that tips are a personal matter between the passenger and the staff concerned. Who would want to tip someone for bad or non existant service. When tips are added to you bill you have no control over who gets what.

  5. CruiseLegend says:

    A gratuity is a reward given without claim or obligation. The decision and amount given is completely voluntary. However, it is perceived as normal to tip good to outstanding service just as it is justified to not tip poor service. Without a single doubt I believe in tipping and rewarding every effort made to enhance my cruise experience. It is frequently the individual efforts that makes my cruise even more special. Personal attention. Someone that puts effort to make my cruise even better deserves the same in return and to do so I strongly prefer to hand over that envelope and say “Thank you”.

    I do want to leave the readers with a few questions:
    1. Can a system of automatic gratuities co-exist with that of personal tipping?
    2. Will the level of service decrease due to the automated system because extra effort is not acknowledged as it was in the past? Everyone will receive their proportional amount anyway.
    3. If you cancel your automated gratuity, will cause an average decline in all gratuities or will this directly affect your waiters and cabin steward.
    4. If you tip by envelope, is the receiver obliged to handover the envelope to superiors to be redivided through the automated system? In other words, is a tip a salary on top of normal tipping salary and thereby creating an unfair situation towards colleagues whom also do an outstanding job.

    Bottom line, reward good service and tip in a way that you are comfortable with (just like Danielle said)

    • Paul says:

      we had acruise on a Princess ship a few years ago and there was such a huge proportion of cancelled gratuties that the staff were visibly distraught . We had already cancelled and the service we recieved dropped dramatically even though we had tipped our cabin person at the cruise start with a promise for more at the end . We now cruise with HAL .

  6. Mary Corry says:

    I also cancel the automatic gratuity from my onboard account. I much prefer to give it personally to those who deserve it. Usually this means I pay well over the amount that would have been deducted but that’s MY choice. As CruiseMiss says it’s a personal thank you.

  7. Eva Deegan says:

    Recently booked a cruise on NCL, Gratuities are no longer Gratuities, but Service Charges, according to their website ! Of cause you are still ‘encouraged’ to Tip. By changing the terminology, I now feel ‘ obligated’ to pay , it is no longer ‘voluntary’.
    Of cause it is no surprise, NCL was one of the very first cruise lines to start automatic daily chargers to your Sea Board account. We have always paid our Gratuities automatically, plus cash tips to our Dining room waiters and our cabin stewards. Do realize quite a few passengers do not pay a all, so perhaps it is time to do away with it, just make it part of the cruise price, so all pay their fair share.

  8. Paul.hayward says:

    Tips should be for good service,to the person who s given it.

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