Opinion - does the increase in dining options decrease opportunity to reward assigned MDR wait staff?

With the broad increase in dining options, both inclusive and specialty, on most cruise lines, do you feel the assigned wait staff gets short changed with recognition (to include tips)?    On our Symphony cruise, we only used the MDR once and felt bad when our MDR waiters told us they felt responsible for making sure we enjoy all our culinary experiences.   Not that we don't enjoy the MDR, but we had options to use the Coastal Kitchen as well as a couple of specialty venues.   When we receive superb service, we tip extra at the end of the cruise, but when you move around, you don't get to know the assigned crew.

15 Answers

There might be some merit to that but they are supposed to benefit from the auto gratuities which is possibly one reason for having them. Having had all of my cruises on NCL I have not experienced having an assigned table or wait person in an MDR. NCL has 2 or 3 MDR on each ship and passengers choose which one they want and at what time. That affects the table and the server that you get for that particular meal.

Additionally, the wait staff is switched around too...the waiter you had in the MDR could turn up at Cagneys for example.

As a result of another thread, I decided to do some research on what happens to those auto gratuities and the $$ cruisers leave as a reward for service. All I did was google tipping on cruises and how cruise staff are paid, and some variations of that. The results are appalling. The mathematics are a nightmare for some folks who work these ships, and it starts with "the deal" to entice them to sign on. Mebbe later i'll try to describe it. But, to the point of this thread...you have absolutely NO guarantee that the $$ you give to your cabin steward or waiter actually stays with them.

So giving them the envelope at the end of the cruise is the best way to take care of the crew.

Thanks to this group and discussing that issue, and doing some checking courtesy the internet, I have no idea anymore..Up till now, I hadn't thought much about it... All the peeps who don't get those envelopes know some do. Seems to me they live a different life below decks. Who knows what arrangements they have...What rules different lines enforce, or look the other way? I discovered, among other things, that these folks not only sign on for a specific length of time, but for a specific amount, a number so low it embarrasses me to type it...and they rely on tips to make up the difference between that and what the cruise line claims they can make. . How does any of us know what happens when the tip pool (your auto-deductions) EXCEED that amount...or, worse, when a ship sails 1/2 empty, and the tip pool isn't quite big enough...

I guess I'll continue to do what I do, and I suspect what most cruisers do..pay that gratuity by whatever means is most convenient...add a few bux here n there for extra nice service....and hope for the best.


Interesting thread

Anyone who has cruised, even a few times, and has the wherewithal to research the salary packages of cruise employees, know the reality of the situation. The places where they are hired from, again, with some exceptions, are very poor countries. The logic of the corporations is simple, keep wages low and profits high. Even at resorts and other service venues, I will tip according to the level of service I received. Don't ever kid yourselves, All cruise lines are doing quite well, thank you, as the bonuses to the powers that be will attest.

So if you want to help a server in the MDR, tip him in cash, the company cannot claim some of that .

That was my realization after I did exactly that...I "thought" I understood how the system works...NOT....these folks are almost like indentured servants...and theres a waiting list a mile long to take their place if they screw up or receive complaints. I had to read several different sources to make sure I understood it. I certainly hope the company cannot claim what you put in someones hands...but Im not willing to bet on it....nor am I willing to bet they don't have to share....

They do have to share. On Carnival the room steward has 2 assistants. So we make sure to give him or her 3 envelopes marked with their names. Same with the 3 waiters in the dining room. They share if they only get one envelope.

I am aware of the sharing, and I know that the stewards do give some to the team. I will, in the future, plan to do exactly that. Thanks for the idea.


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