A very good cruise, our first on Holland America. Excellent service, food and entertainment. Some destinations were a waste of time, particularly the Panama San Blas Islands, and the so called Bahamas which was an islet owned by H & A. The dinner wine was vastly overpricedby observation one couple in 10 bought wine at the table. They let you bring your own wine on board for consumption in the cabin. Open dining facility was excellent and easy. A disgraceful appeal by the entertainments MC on the eve of disembarking in support of the $11 per person per day gratuity which was said to be a vital part of the salary structure of the crew. PAY THEM A PROPER WAGE. We did not pay the $11 but as usual paid cash to our cabin stewards (2). The Office Staff did not like being asked to cancel the $11 gratuity. It would have been $500 ! Are they joking? Don't be afraid to insist! We would certainly travel with H&A again.
What about the waiters? They are always so awesome and do everything they can to please you. I think I feel their pain and would never leave them or any one else out....
If it was $500 at $22 a day you must have been on at least a 22 day cruise, darn that's a lot of waiting on you...
50% of my review was omitted due to formatting problems so it came across incorrectly regarding the wine consumption. We did not sit at a table for ten. We sat at a different table every night with many different people (open dining)(22 x average of 6 per table = a lot of people) Of that large number of people we shared with about 1 in 10 bought wine, hence my point. Open dining was excellent and easy provided you don't insist on a table for 2. Clearly there is a difference in opinion transatlantic on tipping. The cabin pair received a substantial tip each for their daily attention. I repeat, pay the crew a proper wage. Cunard and P&O front offices provide envelopes for those who prefer to tip individually and not a blanket $xx per day per person. Only H&A make it difficult to do this. The pain, Janfred, is caused by their employers creaming large profits from the lucrative cruise trade and paying mostly Indian and Asian hard working crew a very low wage. That is the problem.
Originally posted by rooney:
Cunard and P&O front offices provide envelopes for those who prefer to tip individually and not a blanket $xx per day per person. Only H&A make it difficult to do this.
It's not only HAL, but many lines that serve a largely American base, no matter where they are sailing. Tipping is also a cultural issue -- it's expected in the US, but not so in many European countries. For what it's worth, many lines started the so-called automatic tipping as a significant number of passengers were not using the tipping envelopes at all. Yet, if you prefer using envelopes, many lines will oblige.
Yes, I appreciate that a failure of passengers to pay voluntarily might have caused the flat rate system to be introduced. But in a civilised society the salary I pay my employees should be enough for my employees to live a decent standard of life. Any tips are, or should be, a bonus. HAL condemn themselves in their unambiguous statement that the $11 per passenger per day is a critical element in the pay structure of their staff. In other words they would be poorly paid if the $11 were not forthcoming. Yes, I am sure it is cultural. In this respect only (i.e. tipping), I know which culture I prefer.
I have a small staff in my business also....pay them well for thier expertise..however, I always show my appreciation for great service by ALSO tipping. I do not believe salary or what any cruise line pays should come into play...it is a decent thing, out of respect for someone who does their best for you, to give a bonus or in this case a tip to show them your appreciation. I have been on 15 cruises, watch these people go out of their way for me and others....and salary or not the kind thing to do is show appreciation! $11 a day broken down between the persons involved is NOTHING.
Kmathi, I am glad to hear that you pay your staff well for their expertise. Good on you. HAL spoil things by openly stating that their staff depend on the $11 per day as it is a vital part of their salary structure. In other words they unambiguously underpay their staff in the greedy and unscrupulous belief/hope that passengers will make good the underpayment. The feeling persists that you are compensating for HAL's callous attitude to the welfare of their staff. Your use of 'ALSO' clearly does not apply to HAL.