I read that there is an automatic gratuity charged for every person per day (I beleive it was $10 p/p p/day)
Can I opt out of this when I check-in or is this a mandatory fee, aside from room service tips?
(I'm cruising on the Caribbean Princess in May)
You may opt out if you choose. Go to the pursers desk and have them remove it. Do it early or you will be charged for the days you let it remain on your account. You can then use the envelopes to tip as you feel is appropriate.
It's a lot easier to just pay the tips all at once on your bill....but, I do give extra tips to my room steward (a $20 bill on the first day) and waitperson...and I carry $2 bills to give to crew members that do something extra for me....Just don't stiff any of the staff EVER..they work very hard and deserve the tips..Happy Cruising...
Yes, you can remove the automatic gratuities. We do like Berick1234, we leave the auto tips on the bill and then tip extra according to service. We pick up the envelopes at the Purser's desk the last day of the cruise. We tip the bar waiters/tenders when they serve our drinks. If we have a special bartender during the cruise, we'll leave he/she extra on the last night. We always tip for room service as well. I tip the casino staff as I would in a regular casino. Best wishes.
As I understand it, if you remove the auto tip, all cash tips you give the stewards, wait staff, etc., are required to go into the shared pool. If the steward, for example, doesn't share all cash tips received (due to the removal of autotipping) they will be fired. If you leave on the autotip, the staff can keep the cash tips received.
There are a lot of rumors and stories out there about the gratuities. Some say the cruise line skims money from the "auto" tips. Others say everything is pooled. Pick a possibility and someone will say that is what happens.
I don't think it is wise for passengers to get overly involved in this and start trying to micromanage it based on what they heard. The simple fact that cruise lines seem to have no problem staffing the ships shows that, whatever is being done with the tips, is at least acceptable to the crew.
So, I choose to go along with the policy of the cruise line. If the default is to charge a set "auto" amount to my account, I leave it alone and simply give more in cash to those I think deserve it. I just don't see the need to analyze it to death like a sea-bound bean counter or social worker looking out for the crew. They are adults (the crew) and should be given some credit for handling their own finances.
The auto tipping is convenient and ensures that everyone gets a share. With anytime dining, you don't get the same waiters every time but they still get their evening's tip from your daily payment. And you can leave extra for your room steward or favourite waiter if you choose.
I was another person who didn't like the auto tip idea but when you think about it since the inception of the open seating dining rooms there's no other fair way of tipping. We don't utilize the specialty dining on the ships but isn't the tip in those dr's extra and added automatically to you tab?
The tips in specialty dining rooms is not added to your tab if you don't dine there. Its included in the cost of your dining experience when you pay extra to eat at one. There is no down side to registerring a CC and allowing the gratuities to be applied. You can and should provide a little extra for anyone who goes out of their way to make your experience really special and for baggage handlers at the pier and room service. Otherwise the tips take care of themselves with the auto system.