as it is not possible to remove the service charge, it appears that "Norwegian Dawn" still features the "US$ 10 automatic tipping" instead of the service charge. I guess that's why you have been able to remove it.
There has been quite a lot of confusion recently in regards to this. Your experience backs NCL's original announcement that the non-removable service charge will only be implemented in May ("Pride of Aloha" as an NCL America ship is an exception).
I am not too sure what all the fuss is about?
We have most recently been on qm2 and paid $11 per day with NO reduction for our son, totalling $154 each for our 2 week cruise.
I do not object to paying this automatically by account, indeed, the 'old' system was left open to interpritation, there were no clear guidelines about how much, people felt awkward when their friends tipped more or less, and in some cases very little, or no, tip was left at all.
My experience is that staff if they have happy in their work do not need this old fashioned incentive to work for us, it is what they are employed for! you can give extra cash if you feel appropriate, and NCLs amount is lower than other lines at 10$ per adult 5$ for children.
I do not mind paying at all as it forms part of the staffs salary, they all work hard, who are we to complain?
In my opinion if you object to this, do you usually leave a tip at all?
I must agree with rosey3... if you are objecting to the automatic tip of $70 for a 7 day cruise then you probably are the one that doesnt tip at restaurants. $70 is nothing , considering this pay for someone to make your bed, clean your toilet and shower, wash your towels, make funny towel animals, serve you beverages, clean up after our supersized buffet loving american cruise clientel, serve you food....3 times a day. You have issues if this ammount is too much. I dont care how bad the service is...it cant be worth less than $10 a day for all the above.
the point isn't the charge itself but the fact that obviously lots of poeple do know nothing about this charge until they find it on their bills.
Of course one could now say "they should have read the fine print in the brochure" or "their TA should have told them" - but it would have been much better to include the charge in the cruise price, in my opinion.
And - again - I strongly oppose the cruise lines' system that I as a passenger should pay a major part of the crew's wages through so-called tips. Of course passengers must pay for this, but they should do so as part of the cruise fare. A tip or gratuity is something totally different - a reward for particularly good service.
I am sorry for the misunderstanding. I am speaking of the current $10 automatic gratuity (the one you can currently adjust), not the one they are beginning this spring.
I do see your point on the issue which you just described. I would like to point out that it is all about the marketing. NCL (whether we agree with the ethics of it or not) has made one of the largest and most profittable marketing efforts in the cruise industry with the freestyle concept. So as a business owner I must appauled them in there effort considering some of there vessels dont hold a torch to the likes of RCL.
Let me pose this question. When you fly on low fare air carriers such as american based SpiritAir or AirTran, they advertise there fares as $69 or $99 each way. So for a roundtrip ticket you expect to pay $138 to $198 to get you there and back. Not so true, you have booking fees, security fees, FAA taxes, local taxes, and 9/11 fees. These total around $28-30each way, so now your prices has grown to $198- $258. How does this compare. USAIRWAYS may have the same flight advertised at a price that has all of these fees and taxes added in, therefore not misleading you. You as a consumer are automatically going to be drawn to the low fare carrier for the lower advertised prices. You can not fault NCL for there marketing, consumers should read all the fine print as you have made a contractual agreement with the cruiseline when you pay the fare.
Regarding how NCL is going about charging this fee. As a consumer, of course i would like the service fee to be part of the voyage fare because that is how we think about the cost of cruising.... "how much is it going to cost me to get on the ship before i purchase drinks or play the casino?" I am not disagreeing with your view at all. I actually agree with it. Just thought i would explain the marketing and NCL rationale.
For the cruise i have booked on NCL the 10$ per day is ALL i have to pay in grats, whatever you want to call it is is only charged once...if you want to give an individual crew member something in addition to this, you can, but it is neither required nor expected.
Going back to what Stephen said he is right, they do a lot of work to earn this.
If you leave this amount adjustable, then again it is open to interpretation and of course people will give less, that doesnt provide a level playing field and is not fair.
I always pay the full amount of grats as per the guidelines, or on the bill if its done that way and i dont mind doing this. What narks me is the people that complain because they dont want to pay anything!
Forgot to mention..
with regards to adding it to the fare,it would be a good idea, and indeed a selling point, however, the downfall would be that they would be unable to compete competitively on price with other cruise lines. I am a TA in the UK and although as ive said this would be a selling point, consumers unfortunately are often price driven and a more attractive price is a bigger seller than whats included. This would also limit the margin you would have to give special offers or late offers on one of their cruises. Unless you travel with a premium brand, paying grats separately is part and parcel of a cruise and NCL wont change unless the others do the same.
Has anyone been with Holland America? their selling point was to include grats (certainly on UK sales) this was removed about 2 years ago as it proved uncompetitive.
I fully agree with you. You might be interested in what I wrote in this posting and the whole thread in which that posting is included. You will see that I mentioned most if not all the aspects mentioned by you, there.
We recently returned on the Dawn on a Southern Caribbean cruise on Dec 30th. We found the gratuity policy can be adjusted if you ask for it to be done so at reception. Being from the UK we only tip for good service, I can't understand why i have to pay the barperson and extra 10 or 15% to reach down to a fridge, pick out a beer and take the top off it! We paid the cabin stewards ourselves(more than $10 a day) and also a few waitresses who made us feel very welcome gave us excellent service. Tipping, by the definition of the word is and extra payment for extra ordinary service and should not be compulsery