Tipping - Is the tip pool spread across crew by ship or by fleet?

Auto-tipping is usually a topic of great interest. Some believe in it, some do not. As we prepare for our upcoming cruises, we were going over excursions and other reservations. I came across some language that I'd not noticed previously...

"During your cruise, regardless of which Princess ship you chose, you will meet staff who provide you with excellent service. To simplify the tipping process for our guests, a discretionary gratuity is applied automatically to your shipboard account on a daily basis. This gratuity will be shared amongst those staff who help provide and support your cruise experience, including all waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, and housekeeping staff across the fleet."

Is anyone surprised by this "fleet wide" distribution?

27 Answers

The distribution came as a surprise to us because we believed that tipping was spread across our ship's crew... not the entire fleet. Not sure how I feel about that.

PS - This is Princess Cruises.

I think it's easier to spread it across the fleet. Daily gratuities are almost always placed on credit cards, and are funneled into a separate account. If Princess owns 10 ships ( just a number ), all monies end up in the same place. From an accounting point of view, the ships are just departments, and all the employees are on one payroll. Now, cash tips at the bars, for example, can either go to the individual, or be pooled for that week. I'm guessing it depends on the amount of the cash tip, and the moral compass of the bartender.

This is an issue that has been raised before, not only in this forum but in others. One aspect with auto-tipping is that all monies go into general revenue for the cruise line. This is then supposedly spread among the staff. I would be interested to know how this is done , from the viewpoint of the staff. Do they get their fair share? How is this paid out?, Monthly? weekly?. I have read that within the cruise industry the payouts are not always even. When I tip at the end of the cruise, I give cash directly to those who deserve it and leave the auto-tipping on my bill for the others.

The intricacies of service charges and tipping are probably only known to the cruise lines themselves as regards who receives what. Providing everybody actually paid the service charges and not make silly excuses for not paying, then there would be no real need to know how the money is distributed between the crew.

Interesting perspective...

Is there a dire need-to-know", probably not. Is it curious that the tips go to a fleet wide fund? To me, yes. I had not considered that to be the case and simply wondered if it had occurred to anyone else. Because this is a discussion group, I posted the topic to spur on a discussion.... what a novel concept!

That is what we figured, BAK1061. It's an accounting issue.

I was under the impression that cruise voyages were settled up on a cruise-by-cruise basis. I guess it really doesn't matter if the percentage going to each crew member is the same across the fleet, but it doesn't spur on much in the way of ships to compete in providing better service level.

In thinking this over, it is a somewhat dis-incentivizing practice.

This is 3 years ago ! My understanding regarding the envelopes is that loads of passengers never went to the dining room on the last night, just to get away from paying any tips in the envelopes. Paying Discretionary service charges at least ensures that the majority of passengers will now pay some money over. If they are not happy with the service there is of course an option to adjust the charge

Thanks JusMe. I had not seen this before. I like the envelopes as well. The fleet-wide concept doesn't sit well for reasons noted previously.

The article states that if a crew member gets a review and falls below a 92% rating they get no tips.......so if YOU feel your cabin steward deserves the auto tip but the supervisor does not, then no tip to your cabin steward. This puts the discretion to the supervisors not you. I tip who I want and what I want. I don't care if John had a argument with his supervisor, or lost his temper with a bunch of nasty kids and got reports and got a 80% review. If I felt he gave good service to me then I want him paid. This is why I tip cash to the people deserving it. Auto tipping is also double tipping if you eat at any of the Specialty dining options that put on a 15 to 18 % tip, you already were charged for MDR tip that night when you did not use the MDR.

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