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Old 01-31-2009, 10:12 AM
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So, we booked our cruise through Marlin Travel here in Canada, and our travel agent said that the tips are automatic, and it's $10/day per person. There will be a $70 charge applied at the end of the cruise.
My question is: do we tip when we order a drink(non-alcoholic), room service, any other service? Is it ok to not tip AT ALL if you've done the auto tip option?
Also, does anyone know if we can remove that option, and just tip at our discretion?
Thanks!
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:37 AM
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Royal Caribbean doesn't have an automatic tip option unless you prepaid it with your booking. You may want to verify that this is the case. In any event, envelopes will arrive in your cabin on the last day of the cruise and if you have paid for tips the envelopes will be accompanied by vouchers for the recommended tip amounts for your cabin attendant, waiter, assistant waiter, and head waiter. These are the only people covered by tips you might have prepaid or charged to your shipboard account. When there are no vouchers then cash is placed in the envelopes. Guidelines are provided as to the amount, which equals a total of $9.75 per person/per day (not $10). If you are in a suite the price goes up to $12. You then hand out the envelopes with either the cash or the vouchers inside. I usually have the tips added to my shipboard account and use the vouchers plus a bit more in cash since I am usually impressed with the service.

However, to answer your questions: all bar purchases have 15% added to them for tips, and this includes soft drinks or other non-alcohol drinks too. Thus, no you don't need to tip any more for drinks. So if a soda is listed in a bar menu as $2.00 your receipt will show $2.30. This is done for all bar orders, whether at a bar, in the dining room, or from room service. It is even added to any soda or bottled water you decide to use from the supply in your cabin.

Room service from 5am to midnight is complimentary but the expectation is to tip the server when the order arrives. $2 to $5 depending on the order size, with $2 or $3 being typical. From midnight to 5am, RCI has instituted a service charge of $3.95 per order which includes tips so no further money is expected.

My understanding is that once you have prepaid tips with your booking they cannot be removed, which is why I say you need to verify exactly what is going on with your agent. It could be a different rule for Canadian bookings too.

Sometimes group bookings have the gratuities included.

You can see the current Royal Caribbean tip policy here .
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:43 AM
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Thanks Dave, I will look into it.
When you say tip the room service person and others, do you mean in cash? Or just added to your bill that you pay with your sea pass card?
Someone told me there is NO cash tipping anywhere on the ship, is that true?
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Old 01-31-2009, 11:42 AM
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You tip room service with cash. The room service food, coffee, and tea, are included in your cruise fare and have no extra charge. Hence you are tipping for the delivery. The exception is for midnight to 5am where they will have the $3.95 late night service charge. Since that includes the tip, all you need to do is sign it. Feel free to throw in a buck or two if you wish. It won't hurt their feelings.

Whoever told you there is no cash tipping is not really correct. You can't use cash to buy things other than in the casino, but it is the common form of tipping on Royal Caribbean - mostly on the last night of the cruise. I usually drop some cash at a couple of favorite bars on the first day too, since it helps me get remembered for the rest of the cruise.

Bar receipts also have a blank for an added tip, so you can add some there which will be charged to your account. I prefer to just hand a couple favorite bar tenders or servers some real money.

Generally speaking, for a typical passenger you would only "need to" tip in cash for the above room service scenario. This assumes you just stick with the 15% add-on for bar sales (which goes on your card), and you prepay or have the main tips added to your account once aboard the ship, since both of these result in the vouchers being delivered. The crew then redeem the vouchers for their money. However most of us put cash in people's hands during our cruises. Not every day, and not each time we get waited on, but at least a few times.

It might help to know how these things work: As I said earlier, the "main" tips are given to your cabin steward and your dining room staff. These are what typically add up to around $70 per person for a 7 night cruise. The 15% for all bar orders is pooled and shared by all the bar personnel. Most do this with the cash tips people lay on them too. Similarly, the room service people pool all tips and share them.

Tips are the primary source of income for these people. Cruise lines pay little or no salary to service staff employees since they provide room and board for them.
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Old 01-31-2009, 12:18 PM
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I am hijacking this thread to ask about the per person tip computation. Would you say this applies to children in your party too? I don't want to shortchange anyone in any way but we are traveling with three children and that can really add up if we figure tipping per person. I understand cabin stewards are cleaning up for 5 rather than 2 and the dining staff is serving the five of us. I want to be fair in every way but just wondered what others' opinions were?
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:12 PM
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Tipping for children should be the same as adults. The services provided are no different than for adults, and often - particularly in the dining room - the staff goes above and beyond the call of duty for children.
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:19 AM
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I would have to agree that you should definitely tip for your children. I worked in the service industry for 6 years and found that children are as much if not more work than adults. You shouldn't tip less just because they're smaller.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:34 PM
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I just returned from the Grandeur. At the pier check-in we were given a form to fill out authorizing the ship to put our gratuities on our on board account. Vouchers for the tips and envelopes were delivered to our room early enough on the last full cruise day, so we could hand them out at dinner.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:47 AM
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NCL has raised all of their recommended tips to $12 a day....There use to be a separate rate for children, but somewhere, and it could have been on this site, that some of the cruiselines are charging the same rate for EACH child as they do for adults....Makes sense....oh, and extra tips in CASH is well received....$2 bills works wonders....

Bob E
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
At the pier check-in we were given a form to fill out authorizing the ship to put our gratuities on our on board account.
I hope they are doing it that way across the fleet. It is a bit of a hassle to have to go to the guest relations desk, get the form, fill it out, and turn it in. I'd much prefer to do it at check-in and get it out of the way.
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