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

I can only speak for the which I worked for but, the "Hotel Service Charge" as it was referred to was distributed among the crew that did not have "Officer" status. That meant bar staff, wait staff, stewards, guest relations and deck staff. The latter are vital to the operation of the ship and its exterior cleanliness. They are typically unnoticed and are NEVER handed envelopes despite their hard work. While the division of this money pool is not necessarily even, it is still a vital part of these hard working individuals earnings. Please keep in mind ALL of the hard working individuals who make your cruise special and try not to penalize the entire staff due to an individual's performance. In our case, the full amount collected on each cruise was divided and paid to our ship's crew. And rightfully so. To divide this across the entire line would fail to take into account one teams exemplary work and reward a staff which is not living up to expectations. If you have a staff member that has exceeded expectations please hand them an envelope to encourage this performance. But don't forget the crew members that you may never see but may have also gone above and beyond.

Graham, an interesting report from an "insider"

I am old school , I still use Envelopes

I believe that the cruise lines are able to keep a lower ticket price by requiring that the passenger "directly pay" the crew by way of the automatic "gratuity".

Unless I am truly on a cruise from hell, there is no way I would ever penalize all the workers in that tip pool.

For those crewmembers that serve me directly (MDR waiters, cabin stewards, bartenders, etc) I will leave a cash tip.

For those with a valid reason for not tipping (personal belief, local customs) I harbor no ill will -- everyone is different.

We are on the same page as you BDRebel.

I bring thank you note cards on cruises for this reason. We prefer to hand a card to someone who has made our vacation memorable. We also think it is important to let people know why what they did was special to us. Not everyone may find the same "specialness" in what crew does, but if it helps someone's future performance to know what specifically affected us, then it is important to that crew member.

Okay. Here is my hardened New Yorker opinion. I think the reason the lines instituted auto gratuities is, and if you're offended by this I don't care, with the costs of cruises becoming less expensive, they became more affordable to people who felt, hey, why am I giving all this extra money to people who are never going to see me again ? They still earn more than if they were in their home country, f***em !!!!! I'm not filling those envelopes !!! That's right, I'll say it. Cruises are attracting a classless people. Admit it. You have all stated as much throughout these forums. Look at everything that has gone away.....look at some of the menus. Look at the complaints on other forums. There is little elegance on a cruise ship these days. They are cities with amusement parks. Rude, ill mannered people who don't give a damn about others because it's their vacation, they paid their money, and they have the right to reserve a lounge chair ( or 6 ) at 7:00 in the morning !!!!!!!!

There. I said it.

You said it.... leave it to a New York person to say what others think. LOL But I also think that the cruise lines use the auto tipping to fill the "minimum guarantee wages and tips"

I assure you, no guarantees are made to employees with regards to tips or wages.

BAK1061 - I just read this to my hardened NY-er husband who responded, "that's right!". I cannot say that I disagree with anything you've written... and that is rather sad.

From what I read in comments and reviews, expectation outruns reality in the hundred-mile dash every time. Far too many people are naive and often seem completely uninformed about what to expect of their cruise vacation. They believe the marketing hype and do not bother to do their own homework. They don't understand the pricing structure and the charges above and beyond the cruise fare. They are under the mistaken belief that a cruise is an all-inclusive vacation - WHICH IT IS NOT in most cases. There are higher end lines that are more inclusive but the popular mainstream lines are not.... period.

As for tips, there is a cultural divide to acknowledge. Some cultures do not tip the same way that Americans are accustomed to. That aside the cruise industry has clearly targeted the American market. Just look at the number of voyages out of U.S. ports.

I believe that the people who don't tip on ships are the same people who are crappy tippers on land. Some may tip, but they do not tip to 15% let alone the 18% that is the standard auto-gratuity on many ships.

The cruise lines are the MOST to blame for this issue. They are not clearly stating that cruise vacations are not all-inclusive. They sucker new customers into cruising with pretty pictures of a wonderful time... which it is and has been for us for many years. The cruise companies will not raise baseline prices in order to remain competitive. The tipping policy is (as perceived by some) a sneaky way of raising crew compensation that does not carry an impact to the baseline cruise price.

So should the baseline cruise price increase to the amount of crew compensation that is made up by tips and then discretionary tips really are for individual recognition of service excellence?


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