Cheers Crystal, glad someone agrees with was beginning to think i was the only one who thought that.
Ridgid you have missed my point completely. Why when i am sitting at a bar should i go back to my cabin, phone room service so that i can get my 10-15% worth. Sounds a bit stupid eh? I just done think given the not so cheapness of the cost of the drinks why should i pay a barman to reach down and pick me out a beer and take the top off what is already an overpriced drink.
We do not mind tipping and have no problem doing so as long as we get get good service. Let me ask you if you get poor service do you tip? the problem now is that because of this service charge no one knows where the money goes.
I also don't mind tipping. But I want to do it at my discretion. I will tip and make it relative to the service I have recieved.I don't like being told how much or when. Tipping started for service that was excellent or above and beyond. It has now gotten out of hand and a way for cheap employers to supplement the employees wages.I even see containers at convienece stores and subways stores saying tips.This whole thing has gotten out of control.It started with Carnival in the cruise industry and as they buy more lines it follows.I try to avoid any of thier lines and thus the auto matic salary to thier employee's. Again I don't mind tipping,but for good service and usually I give more than the recommended amount as these people work very hard and long hours.
All of our four cruises have been with NCL, and we certainly enjoy FreeStyle, and have no problem with their service fee and gratuity policy. What I do not enjoy is posts where people do not understand NCL's policy.
Though I just came across this board today, and not familiar with posting links, here's the address:
Please note carefully the description under the service charge which mentions their incentive and reward process. This is where the service fee, previously earmarked as a gratuity, is distributed back to the most deserving staff. The key to this policy is the comment cards you fill out at the end of the cruise. If you are concerned about the policy, you should especially take the time to fill it out and mention the staff you feel most deserving.
I've spoken to senior staff as well as stewards and waitstaff about the policy, and they have confirmed it does work. Of course they are not going to say much differently, but they did seem sincere, and one of them went into much depth. They emphasized how important the comments are. They are relied upon each and every cruise, and not only are individuals rewarded, but work teams as well.
Of course we also leave cash gratuities where deserving, always with our stewards, and frequently with waitstaff, especially in the specialty restaurants where it seems the best of the best are assigned. Room service and concierge staff are not included in the gratuity pool.
One more thing; along the way I have exchange occasional emails with a former hotel director at NCL, and he once addressed tipping. He seemed to draw a surprisingly high threashhold for determining where, when and how much you should tip. Basically, if they provide you above and beyond service, you should show them your appreciation via the cash tip. If they simply do what they are being paid to do, then you can feel free to tip extra, but it is not expected or encouraged.
In reading posts on other boards, it seems many folks just don't like being told what to tip. The same peopld do not like seeing 18% gratutities on their group meals at restaurants. But guess what, many of them are the ones who skip out on appropriate tipping, and the ones you have to cover for when you dine with them. They are also the types that have caused the gratuity to be changed to a service charge. Nothing seems to have changed, it's just a new name at least for those ships not US flagged.
I hope this helps, and I hope you continue to continue to enjoy cruising with NCL, so they continue to build these big, beautiful ships. We are currently booked for our 5th cruise next month, and planning our 6th, possibly in Dec./2005.
Tipping is expected by every employee who provides a service. Tipping at a 15% rate is customary for average service. If you receive less than average service, you tip at a smaller rate. If you receive extremely poor service, you tip zero. If you receive better than average service, you should tip at a higher than 15% rate.
On a $2,000 cruise, a week's vacation for two, on average, a 15% tip would be $300. As it is, a $140 service charge is really very cheap.
I am getting ready to sail on the Norwegian Star to Alaska on 9/18. I have read NCL's service charge and tipping policy and am OK with it.
To tell the truth, I am glad there is that $10/day service charge automatically added, because I am taking my noriously cheap parents who say they don't believe in tipping. (Side note: this has often been a point of contention between us when we eat out together. I always tip 15-20% in restaurants; Dad leaves about $2-3 on a $50 tab. I often sneak back in like I need to use the restroom and lay a few more bucks on the table. Hopefully the automatic service charge will remove that headache from our time together on the ship.)
But here's my question: If I eat in a specialty restaurant (and I intend to often after the food reviews I've read, but that's another story), and I choose to tip the waitstaff, is it appropriate to leave less than 15% considering part of the service charge goes toward what would normally be their gratuity compensation?
Now that I think about it, what would I base 15% on anyway? The $15 charge to eat at the restaurant? I guess so. So if I left $3.00 (20% of the charge to eat at that specialty restaurant) would that be enough? Or cheap and tacky?
I was told when I was travelling in Europe (where tipping isn't standard) that leaving small amounts of money is actually an insult.
Booked an Alaskan cruise on ncl-dream 9/1 for
12dys. w/ in-laws. Somewhere in the fine prints
indeed says $10pdpp service charge and tipping
is not necessary but not forbidden.
For those of you who feel sorry for the low paying crew from the third countries like philippines. They get paid a minimum of about
$500pm, board and lodging inlcluded, round trip air every 10mos. and two months paid vacation every year. Compare that to manila minimum wage
of P150pd($3.00us$) w/ none of the above benefits.
These poor hard working crew are indeed hardworker;but poor? Well, with that peon wages
you guys are referring they can afford to have
live-in maids, laundress, driver, and gardener.
Can you say the same to the rich cruisers? I guess this tipping system in america is overblown. It is not To Insure Prompt Service(tips)any more; it's expected. You see tipping jars everywhere nowadays including self-service counters.
And I always throw money in the jars- even in the lobby of my building where I am buying a can of Diet Sprite and nothing else. I think I spent too long in the service industry to ignore them. Plus, what goes around, comes around, and never more so than in the service industry.
I hear what you are saying about the Philipines. My mother is from Cuba and she still pays someone to do her ironing after 45 years in the US. She is a twin and they had a nanny for each twin, and she could not understand that I didn't have even a housecleaner while I was raising five kids. She goes back to Cuba periodically now, and you can imagine what someone will do for $3.00 (US).
The point is that instead of comparing what 3 bucks means in another market, we should consider what it means to us, and then throw it in the jar or the envelope.
I think tipping is a way to equalize things, even just a tiny bit, and not pure extortion on behalf of the waitress or newspaper seller or cabin steward. I will say that if I get bad service I will tip only 15% in situations where tipping is de rigeur, and nothing if it is a jar-type situation. I am not going to reward mediocrity or outright rudeness. That would be insane.
I am about to leave on a 7 day cruise and my mandatory gratuity is 350.00 for me and four children. Hefty amount but I was given fair warning and that is just another budgeted amount. Alternatives: have less children or stay home.