This last January we sailed out of Tampa Bay on the Miracle. When when arrived at the port to check-in, these guys came out and grabbed our bags out of our cab. I guess my questions are these... Are these guys employed by the cruise line, or by the port itself?
Do you tip them?
and if so, whats the average tip?
They are actually employed by the port authority and I would recommend that you tip them just to make sure that your bags get to your cabin. Actually, the chaos upon arrival is how many bags are lost. Make sure they are tagged with your correct cabin number and that your name tags are still on the bags, as well before they take them.
I always tip about $2 per bag and then watch to make sure that they get inside the terminal before I leave the baggage area. It seems logical that if someone were there to steal bags, it would be an easy thing to do once the owners departed the area if they were still outside.
I've seen them make a beeline for the car's trunk as soon as we pull in. It's best for them to get bags quickly so they can move on to the next party. So -- I'm always sure that any carryons containing medication, passports, documents, and other valuables are with me the whole time and not put in the trunk.
Thanks to all for the info. When they headed for me I was thinking to myself... "Who ARE these guys?"
So, me being cautious and a little frugal... (okay cheap) I decided to take my bags up to the check-in myself.
It varies from port to port on how agressive they are in getting to you, but like has been pointed out, they are "normally" already unloading your bags before you are able to get out of the cab. So, make sure you get any bag you carry on before they load it up. I normally have one or two carry-ons that have my immediate needs (medications, bathroom items, etc) my documents, cameras, bathing suit in case you want to hit the pool and a change of clothes so you can change for dinner if your bags are late in getting to your cabin.
Tom is correct in keeping an eye on them until they at least get into the "pile of bags" going into the terminal. In the chaos, it seems it would be easy for someone to walk off with your bags (or re-tag them.. there's a scary thought)