Oh man! I can't imagine. It is amazing how many people have been affected by these hurricanes. I am glad it wasn't worse for you.
I agree with your position regarding tipping. Having just sailed on the Norwegian Star, I didn't see a deterioration in the level of service from my last cruise on her (about two years ago) but it is difficult not to expect it since I felt that I lost all control over influencing the level of service that I might receive.
Of note, is the fact that all charge forms for drinks, cover charges and the like include a separate line for "additional gratuities" I guess if I want to pay the standard 15% and then tip more, I could have an impact, but it just doesn't ring true to me. It is my understanding that if someone did tip more, that the server wouldn't benefit from it, but it would be distributed to the general pool.
Your understaning is correct as far as HAL is concerned. They tell you right up front that anything that you give to your service people has to be turned in by them to the pool, to be split evenly.That takes away the incentive to do an above average job in my opinion. I just talked to a friend that had just returned from a cruise on the Zuiderdam, I asked him how his cruise was and he said so, so. I said this is the 3rd. time you have been on that ship ,and its only so, so.And he said I know but it's the first since they changed the tipping policy and it will probably be my last.He said the service had deffinately suffered.Do you think that at least some of the cruise lines will keep the traditional way of tipping or will they all take this route?I was on the Century a couple months ago and it is still tip as deserved and the service was more than excellent.I also think that as there becomes less competion between cruise lines this will also have an effect on the quality of service.We have seen a lot of smaller lines go out here in Florida over the last 5-6 years.
I would hope that cruise lines keep the traditional tipping policies. I just got off the Infinity in Alaska (traditional tipping) and the service was wonderful, with only a couple of exceptions.
Since the service level of a particular ship is one of the majoyr ways they can diferentiate themselves fromt the competition, I think the only rational solution is to raise the tarif price to include gratuities (if the market will bear it) and then leave individual incentives (tips) to the individuals who deserve them.
I fail to the the logic behind charging mandatory tips and then including a place for "additional" gratuities on the sales slip. It makes no sense to me.
I agree with you 100%. I sure hope that at least some of the cruise lines maintain the traditional way of tipping. That will certainly influence who we book with, in the future. Thank's for your input.It makes sense to me maybe it will to the cruise lines as well, i'm sure they check this and some of the other forum's as well.
On the Norwegian Sky last Febuary the 15% charge for drinks was added every time without anyone being asked. Also with freestyle dining if you wanted to tip waiters and busboys individually you would have to do it at each meal as you don't get the same ones each time.
As for NCL imposing the non refundable non changeable service fee (TIP)I'm surprised that it has taken this long. Personally I don't like it but I can see why they would have to. The main reason is...alot of passengers just don't tip. Its not really far to the crew to get stiffed when they busted their you know what to make everyone happy. But then again there are crew that don't do diddly and don't warrant a tip. As an agent I have had a lot clients who wish that the tips were included along with drinks and other items which they nickled and dimed to death. This year alone I sold many resort packages to Sandals and Superclubs because they do include everything and basically the client does not need to worry or be hasseled for tips. Ya got to admit that is a great idea. Don't get me wrong I love to cruise but the tipping policies need to be consistant thourghout the industry. Cruises are really NOT all inclusive as they advertise. I think if the drinks, sodas, and the specialty restaurants and tips were included as well I don't think there would be such a hoopla about it. If I'm not thinking correctly please let me know.
I very much agree with you as far as cruises not being all-inclusive is concerned. And including tips in the cruise fare would have been the best thing NCL could have done (please see my statement on page 1 of this thread). It's too bad none of the mass-market lines has the courage to try this, because it would have to compete against other lines with - at first glance - lower fares.