I'm more than irked that the cruise line can't pay thier people a good enough wage so they don't have to rely on extra tips from us after we pay them a large amount, sometimes months in advance, to book a supposedly mostly inclusive cruise.
Wake up to the facts. If the cruise lines paid salaries that made up for the lack of tips, guess who is still footing the bill? And so that $499 per person 7 day cruise fare now becomes $999 per person.
You want an all-inclusive cruise where tipping isn't a part of it and the drinks are included? You can get one - but with a starting price 5 or more times higher than the fares offered by RCI and the other mainstream lines.
I know crystal cruises are all inclusive and like you said 5 time price.
Does anyone know about cunnard's policies?
I really like the straight-foward all inclusive approach where you tip if you want and everything but excursions are included.
I would pay to buy a bottle to take to the room and do it myself if that was an option.
I won't get into a cruise vs AI resort comparison, but for simplicity of figuring out how much a drink is its no contest.
I actually think that including the tips in the price of the cruise is a good idea. Afterall, the passenger pays the money one way or the other.
Either it is paid in fares and the mandatory tips. (On my last cruise on Princess our account was automatically charged $10/day/person for tips for the room steward, waiters, etc.) - or it is be paid in fares that include the tips...the amount should be about the same either way.
Even if the passenger's account is not automatically charged, the tips are pretty much mandatory.
The difference is that the first time cruiser may not know about the tipping policy and has not included it in his/her budget. I know this was the case for my first cruise - many years ago. A two week cruise at $10 per day per person is nearly $300 - a not insignificant budget amount if the passenger first learns about it after boarding the ship.
By including all gratuities in the fare (and paying the crew correspondingly)travelers are able to accurately compare prices (and budget)on varying cruises.
This change might have some additional incremental costs that would have to be passed on the the traveler. While not a tax expert,I think the cruise line saves a bundle on payroll taxes (about 8% on social security for US residents, but could differ for other crew members depending on the country that has their taxing authority)because the cruise line only pays a relatively low salary that is subject to payroll taxes and shifts the burden to the employees who must report their total income (salary and tips) and pay taxes accordingly. If the cruise line was to increase wages then they would also experience an increase in payroll taxes. The upside would be that the employee would also have (again, in the case of a US resident) an additional 8% deposited into their SS acount - that the cruise lines are able to avoid by having the passengers pay the bulk of their wage.
This and other items may have to be included in fares, but,again, all the cruise lines would be quoting fares on a level playing field.
The same could hold for drinks aboard ship. Include the 15% in the price of the drink so the passenger knows exactly what they are paying and make sure the receipt clearly states that gratuities are included in the price. Of course it may be easier to sell a drink with a list price of $5.00 instead of $5.75.
In any event,the passenger is always free to tip more if they feel so inclined.
This change should have only a minimal upward impact on how much a passenger pays for a cruise, but would be much more user friendly.
But there is also the issue of perception. It is much easier to attract cutomers when the advertised price is $499 rather than $599 (the price of the cruise and the required tips).
Didn't mean to write a tome, but while this is only tangently related to my original post, the whole idea of mandatory/expected tipping on cruise lines is interesting.
Originally posted by wise2u:
while some resturaunts have a mandatory 15% or more tip added to large parties, I have never been to a bar where that is a policy (until RCCL).
On every Carnival, RCI, Celebrity, Princess, and NCL cruise I have ever taken, they have always automatically added 15% to every drink order. This is not something unique to RCI. Years ago Holland America didn't charge it, but now that has changed too. I am quite sure the bar menus clearly state that 15% is added to each order.
However, I do agree that it might be a better idea to simply post all drink prices with the 15% included in the price.
I don't think the original writer meant that the only one who charges the 15% is RCI, the statement was RCI seems to be the only one who appears to make it a policy and not a choice. And yes, the 15% gratuity is on the bar menus, but in very small print. We actually laughed at that on Elation. My very first cruise I actually tipped 15% on top of the 15% I was automatically charged for every drink I bought. Lucky for me my budget was low for that cruise. (I wanted to see if I would like cruising haha!!) The good thing is there's a place like this where new cruisers can learn a lot from those who have been there
Sovereign of the Seas, Royal Caribbean 11-17-03
Fascination, CCL 2-14-05
Fantasy, CCL 2-05-06
Elation, CCL 9-24-06
Carnival Victory, CCL 1-28-07
Sovereign of the Seas, Royal Caribbean, 9-24-07
I think Rescue911chick is right - the 15% tip is pretty much standard on all cruise lines. The only cruise that I have taken recently that did not automatically charge the 15% (or automatically charge any type of tip) was a one week cruise up the Nile River in Egypt.
By the way, if you are looking for a really unique cruise away from the Carribean tourist towns - try a Nile cruise. All land tours are free and it is a facinating trip.
For what it's worth...I just came back from a cruise on "Holiday Dream" by Pullmantur, a Spanish line, and it was trully all-inclusive, including booze.
The drawback is, 95% of the passengers are Spanish speaking as are all the shows. If you can get beyond that, it is a great cruise!
...and we paid $1359 CDN, airfare included, tax included. VERY affordable considering how much we drank!
Also, they automatically charge 65 euros per person to your bill for tips (Cabin Steward, Dining staff, etc). The bartenders receive no part of that so we tipped 5 or 10 bucks to our favourites.