well, after reading and using the forum's help we made a reservation for Glory, oct 08.
we read all about pre paid tipping. For a big family like ours (4 kids) it is a lot of money- more than 400$.
Ofcourse we do want to tip, and we understand it is their salary, but our salary is also not thet high. we have saved a long time to give the kids this present trip.
is it possible not to prepay but to tip those who you really want to tip?
I assume that some of the answers will be angry ones, but not all passanger on board are rich...
Yes, tipping is a touchy subject. While I don't advocate NOT tipping (unless there is a reason) I certainly can understand the finance pressure behind your concerns. I'll try to be non-judgmental in my reply.
To answer your question- No, you do NOT have to prepay the tips (at time of booking). They WILL however charge your sign and sail account the first day with the "recommended" amount (The $400). You have the option of going to the purser's desk (or guest relations desk as it is sometimes called) at any time during your cruise and adjusting these amounts. You could have them all pulled off and then add back in the ones you want. Or adjust the amounts up and down but keep the total the same. You will have a hard time getting the 15% tips removed for the bar and spa receipts, so you can decide if that is worth the hassle. But be prepared for a hassle. Sometimes they will adjust tips without a big deal and sometimes you are treated like you are stealing money from the cruise line. Tips are tips. If the service doesn't warrant a tip, then you shouldn't have to give one. But, the crew's income does come mainly from tips. Realize that with 6 of you, the staff is going to be working harder to keep your cabin neat than a 2 person cabin. You should not completely stiff the staff that is serving you... everyone should get something, but I'll leave what that is up to you.
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An important thing to remember is that the list of those who rely on tips for the income is not that long. Excluding the bar and spa staffs, for years the primary tip list was the cabin attendant, the waiter, and busboy. That was it. Within the past decade most cruise lines added the head waiter (or maitre'd) to the list, and some added the chief housekeeper. Many cruisers will not tip those latter additions unless they do something special for you, and I don't include shaking your hand as something special.
I would be hard pressed to decide "who I really wanted to tip" because they all work for it and work very hard. Who gets less than the suggested amount, which is really considered the minimum? And looking at the big picture, you have 6 guests being waited on for a week. That is a lot of service.
Jamjam, I certainly am not rich and certainly do have to watch my every cent, but I would never NOT tip. If you've ever cruised, you know how hard the crew work. If this is your first cruise, you will understand your first day on board. With 6 people to wait on, that's a lot of work. Let your conscience be your guide. As Jim said, you can remove the tips, if that is what you choose to do. I think once you see how hard everyone works, you'll find another way to save a few extra dollars.
I am going to jump in here on the tipping issue. As a lump sum it might seem high, but on a daily basis it not. These people work very very hard to make your stay a wonderful experience. We have never ever requested something from our room steward that we didnt have within minutes. We have never asked for seconds or an extra meal at the dining room that it was not brought to us with a smile. We are not drinkers so we never had to worry about the 15% added to a bar tab.
one thing that we dont do is tip the matre de. some people do, we just dont.
I have a comment to make. Maybe not such a grand idea but a suggestion. If you feel the $400 is more than you can afford, maybe you could 'clean up' after yourselves in your room and not leave a big mess for the steward to clean up. I've done that when my kids travelled with us.
I know they still have to make up all those beds, but if they aren't spending so much time 'picking up the cabin' then they wouldn't mind if you removed one or two of the tips for the kids.
I wouldn't remove all of them, just maybe save yourself a few dollars and adjust your expenses elsewhere. Carnival's staff really does work very hard and usually with a very pleasant attitude,so you may feel that you WANT to tip the recommended amount.
OK I'll add my 2 cents. I ALWAYS immediately go to the purser's desk and have the tips removed from my Sign & Sail account. I do them personally...I think they appreciate it more; I can adjust them for good or bad service; and I can tip who I WANT to, instead of who I'm SUPPOSED to.
I usually give $15/day to waiter (figuring it would be a $100 meal...15%) and about $2 per person per day for bus person...again providing they went out of their way to help us, which they usually do. I adjust most on cabin person...depending on what they did for me...and if I ever even SAW them! I have areal problem tipping the Maitre D if I never even saw him. I've only ever done it once...with George the Greek who alot of people know. He was the best and DESERVED it!
Please provide at least the minimum recommended gratuities. I'm still a believer that removing the tips for any reason other than poor service is not the best way to handle the tips. Even if you intend to provide them in some other way. Having them removed at the front end is a red flag to the Purser and since they are part of the crew and they do share information with the staff, it may not have the intended result you're hoping to achieve. Not ever seeing a Maitr'd, I'm speculating here, may be a direct result of removing the tips at the outset of a trip. They have policies in place that work for the cruiseline and the guests. Anytime you go around any policy/procedure set up, be prepared for there to be a potential downside. The gratuities are fair to everyone involved. Going over and above is great if you have the means and believe someone earned add'l tips for stellar service or going above and beyond in some other way. With that said, any change to the structure of the tipping policy will affect someone onboard who works hard for a living just as the people you come in contact with daily and see doing the work.
If the tips push a cruise out of the budget for your vacation, you've chosen the wrong cruise. There are daily expenses like excursions or other activities at the ports. Shopping for souveniers for friends and family back home. Drinks or drink cards are add'l expense. If you can't afford to pay these type of expenses along with the gratuities, a better cruise would have been a 3 day Bahamma cruise where you can afford the tips and to enjoy the things offered at the ports.