This is my first time on Celebrity. I like giving the waiter, busperson, and chambermaid their tips personally as opposed to just leaving it on my account. I know that Carnival will let you go to the purser's desk and remove them from your account. Norweigian will NOT allow that. Will Celebrity let you take em off so you can do it personally?
On our last cruise with Princess we received the most amazing service. I was so impressed. Then last week, several months after the cruise, I discovered why. Although I had arranged for automatic tipping to be added to our bill my husband tipped everyone at the start of the cruise with the promise of more at the end. On the final night he lived up to his promise. Ultimately, the staff ended up with approximately 4 times the normal tip!!!!!!
The envelopes and the gratuity paid slips that are to go into them along with anything over and above should be delivered to your cabin with the final statement on the last day of your cruise. You do have to go to the Pursers desk at some point during your cruise to advise them how you intend to handle it. There will be several announcements and it will be clearly spelled out in your daily itinerary on all RCCL or Celeb sailings. Some people prefer to pay them in cash, some on the auto charge system (the best way in my opinion). Then if there is someone or everyone you want to provide a little extra to, you just put it in the envelope with their title on it. Bring the ones for the waitstaff with you if you're dining in the dining room and hand deliver them. The rest, if left on your bed or desk in your cabin, will be collected by your cabin steward and distributed inside their marked envelopes.
Would LOVE to hear your views on this Neil..and penny and Lisa and Dave and everyone. The reason I tip personally is that I feel as though the waiter does more for us PERSONALLY than anyone else on the ship, so he deserves more. The chambermaid does a good job, but unless I needed something special, he or she was just doing their job! And I see NO reason to tip the Matre'D unless he actually did something for me. Most of the time....with the exception of GEORGE THE GREEK...you never even see 'em! And thats why I tip personally.
Steve, I appreciate your thoughts on this as well. You're absolutely right about the Maitr'd not providing much one on one service for the diner. The waiter and asst. waiter are the ones you'll have the most direct contact with. The guy in the red jacket is their boss and coordinates his crew in the dining room and behind the scenes to make sure your personal staff is performing their duties to your expectations and in a timely manner. Just like any other team effort, if you have a good dining experience he participated in the outcome, good or bad in most cases. The coach of a sports team never throws a pass, makes a hoop or strikes anyone out. The success of the team rests as much or more on his shoulders as it does the guys on the field. Same thing applies to your Maitr'D. If you look at how little they actually recieve from the tips it's a much smaller portion of what the individual is paying, under $1. per day with most lines. I assure you they earn their pay which is highly dependent on these tips. Until you walk in his shoes don't begrudge him/her the earnings he/she works hard for to provide for his/her family. That's my take on it anyway.
This is just my thoughts, and only my thoughts. I have talked to many crew members and know what deplorable conditions they endure. They don't get to eat good food, their cabins are ridiculously small and they have to share them, their hours are horrendous, but I'd jump at the chance to work on a cruise ship. I love cruising that much. That being said, I've waited tables in an up-scale restaurant and tended bar and the service bar. I know what does go on behind the scenes. I leave the minimum tips and tip extra, not for any other reason than I feel they deserve it. I have, only a couple of times, not tipped the maitre d'. The minimum I expect from a maitre d' is to be greeted when I walk into the dining room, if that is done, he receives $1/pp per day from me. If he goes above and beyond that, the tip will go up accordingly. My cabin steward will always get more, how much more will depend on how they do their job. If they just clean, turn down the beds, and refresh the ice once a day, I'll give them an extra $40-$50 depending on the length of the cruise. If they go beyond that, the extra will go up accordingly. I tip the bar staff $1/round in addition to the 15% added on to my bill. If there is a really good bar tender or wait person, they'll get an additional $20-$40 depending on the length of the cruise. I wish I could give them more because I know how hard all of their jobs are. Only the upper level of staff receive decent benefits. The best thing, I feel, is that everyone truly has a chance to improve their position on board. I have had a cabin steward that I remember from 20 years ago that made his way up to hotel manager. It was hard work, but he was rewarded. As Neil said, it's a team effort, not just those that you see on the front line. That's just me, though.
Steve, one thing I like about Celebrity (and I guess other lines are doing it, too) is that if you choose to have the tips charged to your account, they give you a card to slip into an envelope to deliver to the waiter, etc. So, actually, it's not really an auto-tip (as I might have implied above), but you have the option to tip in cash or from your onboard account, or a combination of both.
We've been quite fortunate with the maitre d's we've had on Celebrity. Maybe it's because we have a teen and he wants to make sure he's happy. On our last couple of Celebrity cruises, they've stopped by our table every evening.