I've got a European cruise booked for May 2005 on Sea Princess. I've noticed in the gumph they sent me that they automatically deduct $10 per day per person for tips. That's on top of the 15% tip for every drink I buy. Am I right in thinking this is a bit steep. I would normally tip for good service but this seems a bit presuptious.
One of the ways to help put this in perspective is to compare the $10 per day to the amount you would spend on tips if you were on a land trip for just one day. First, $3-$3.50 goes to the cabin steward. It is customary to leave a similar amount for the maid who cleans your hotel room and she doesn't bring you fresh towels or ice in the morning and evening. In addition the cabin steward(ess) provides a turn-down service and handles your laundry and dry-cleaning needs.
Now, that leaves $6.50-$7.00 for the rest of the wait staff. Calculate the cost of dining at fine restaurants for 3 meals and it could easily run between $50 and $100 a day. Figure leaving tips between 15-20% and that averages to between $7.50 and $20.00. Looks to me like gratuities onboard a ship are a bargain.
I have been on 2 Princess cruises and will be going on a Royal Caribbean one in April. We loved the idea of automatically deducting the tips for us, so we didn't have to have singles on the last night to divy out.
I was just on the Royal Caribbean website today and in their FAQs, they listed numbers that added up to about $10 per person per day ($3.50 for cabin steward, $3.50 for dining room waiter, $2.00 for assistant waiter and $0.75 for head waiter).
We even tipped our waiters extra on the last night, because they were so amazing and the other couple with us tipped their room steward extra.
Star Princess - December 2006
Adventure of the Seas - April 2005
Caribbean Princess - July 2004
Golden Princess - March 2003
Disney Magic - October 1998
If (as you fear) the service is poor, you can always adjust the amount at the Pursers Desk: we have done this twice on Golden Princess due to poor service from dining room staff; on the second cruise the Purser referred us to a Head Waiter who made sure we were treated like royalty for the rest of the cruise! (I prefer my iced water in a glass not poured onto my lap, and very much prefer to get the meal I ordered instead of a random selection:something that our idiot first waiter could never manage)
More likely, you will find that the serice is just amazing, and end up wanting to tip more than the regular $10 a day!
Have a good first cruise: but be warned, you can get addicted!!!!!
This is about standard. I noticed that service overall on the Princess ships I've been on declined sharply after automatic gratuities went in, so that's kind of sad. But, that might have been Carnival's influence too as it was about the time they merged. I know the dining room staff is more sparse, and that has no reflection on how hard those folks are working.
You can adjust the amount (up or down) at the pursor's office, but I just consider it as part of the price of the cruise, since the staff really depends on the money. But if you get really good service from someone in particular, an extra donation in cash is always appreciated.
This is very comparable to the other lines that automatically add tips to your bill. On Princess you are not forced to leave it there however. You can simply go to the information desk and ask to have it removed from you bill and tip on your own in cash at the end of the cruise. Just remember that these people are relying on tips to live and support their families back home. They do work hard and long hours.
I have also read that you will be charged $10 per day PER PERSON in tips...I read it to mean that I would be charged $10 for every person that I would normally tip every day of my vacation. So, did I read this wrong???