When cruiselines first instituted auto-tipping years ago, I said that service would suffer because many know they are getting their tips anyway. Now, many of the crew that we deal directly with like the cabin steward and our diningroom staff very much deserve the gratuity but the amount should be left for ME to decide! Also, it was more personal back in the day of on the last night, presenting your special crew member with an envelope. On my cruise that I plan and research for, I don't want a crew member to jump through fiery hoops for me but I also don't want a crew member to shake their head and walk away (that has happened to us when requesting an ashtray). I do realize these crew work long hours and contracts with little time off which is why I appreciate those with positive attitudes more (how do they do it?). In my eyes, auto-tipping is an excuse for cruise lines to not have to raise their wages for the crew because the auto-tipping offsets that!!
Review by fishsticks2
In response to review, CrusinTim says ...
Thank you for posting your review. To the point of Auto-tipping, we agree it is a convenience for the cruise lines not to raise wages. Though we have never removed auto-tips, we are moving in that exact direction with experiences of laissez-faire service.
I believe it was NCL that just made it harder to remove auto-gratuities. You have to address the issue post-cruise instead of going to the guest relations desk on the ship. Erecting more obstacles for customers is not the way to go here... providing better customer service training for crew would circumvent the need to remove auto-tips in the first place.
At other times and on some other sites, the bloggers have indicated that the auto-tipping portion of the billing goes into the general revenues of the cruise line itself and does not get broken down to the staff that the system was designed for. I know that the wage is relatively low for many of the staff and that extra tips go a long way. I question the auto-tipping at times, but failing a full disclosure from all the lines and all concerned it's what it is. I just include it the cost of the cruise and leave it at that. I will continue to tip extra when deserved.
They more we cruise the more cruises become typical. Yes service and perks have declined in the last 20 years but prices have not gone up with inflation of everything else.
Auto tipping is a hot button on most cruise web sites. I would rather they just charge up front $ 12.00 per person per day and advertise as "Tipping is included". This way we would not be upset to see it on our tab each day, the lines would get the $$ to pay the staff, it could not be removed and I think then most people would give a little extra to the crew they felt deserve it.
The thing that ticked me off a bit on our last cruise this year with Princess was that I pre-paid my gratuities but instead of it just being paid, they put the pre-payment as an OBC on our account where they subtracted $11.50 pp per day ($23) from our account. This kinda threw my budget off a bit after I noticed it 3 days into the cruise. Kinda seemed like a backwards way to do things!!