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

Well said BAK,

There is nothing in what you said that I can disagree with. I am also an avid golfer and on course there is a certain etiquette that is followed when playing, as on cruises, sometimes the kindness and politeness from people is missing. It is a sad state of affairs when that happens.


Although I agree with most of what you wrote, I will have to disagree with this point. I do not believe it is the cruise line's fault for not stating that they are not all inclusive (unless, of course, they specifically advertise that they are), but rather the passenger who fails to do the required research. How many airline passengers get upset when they find that they do not receive free food, free booze, ample legroom, free baggage, etc? How many airlines put it on the front page of their advertising that these things are not included? Airline passengers know what to expect because they have found out on their own -- not because the airline told them. Why should sea lines have any extra requirements?

I believe that the growing dissatisfaction is not so much that the passenger thought that the cruise was all-inclusive, but rather that the passenger believes that he/she deserves to have everything given to them (The so-called MEllenial generation).

I disagree with you on the cruise lines not letting customers know that cruises aren't all inclusive. Just about everything I have ever read on cruises let you know that you are responsible for the cost of your excursions, your alcohol/soda purchases and anything else(specialty dining, etc.) that doesn't pertain to your included meals and the cost of the cruise itself. I most definitely knew when I took my first paid myself cruise(1st cruise was in high school) that it wasn't the same as an all inclusive resort where you do not have to pay for your alcoholic drinks, do not necessarily have to tip, and have basic water sports included.

I always prepaid my gratuities and think if your room steward or wait staff do a great job of taking care of you, that you should set aside extra monies to give to them at the end of your cruise.

Cruise lines may not state they are not all inclusive, but they always say what IS included. So, by omission, any reasonably intelligent adult should be able to deduce what is NOT included. And if they aren't sure, should be able to find out. There are plenty of forums and books that detail a cruise vacation. This would be another example of someone who doesn't want to take responsibility for not doing THEIR DUE DILIGENCE. Sorry to inform, the coddling is over.

This defeat the purpose of tipping which is to acknowledge excellent personal service. In this day and age of computers it cannot be difficult to create a program to award crew by ship and cruise. On the other hand, how many people pay more than the amount charged to their account, which is a fleet wide price.

I have no idea what you just said ADRUNIS. I get suspicious when someone dredges up a 3 year old thread and says...whatever. the good part is that for one of only a handful of times, it dredged up a subject worth rereading about, and so I did. While the cruise lines may employ battalions of bean counters to wring every penny of profit from the cruising public, and lawyers to protect them from same, the tipping process requires nothing so complicated. There are all kinds of newer references to how different levels of crew are paid. Here, we are specifically referring to "contract employees", whether in your view and direct service, or below decks that you may be only vaguely aware of. The cruise line, fleetwide, agrees to pay them x amount per contract.. If cruises don't sell out, or there is continuing bad weather...or dare I say it, bad press, then the line is obligated to make up the difference. That 18% goes toward the cruise lines having to shell out less to make up that difference. Unlike casino toke rates, which are calculated joint by joint, by a toke committee comprised of employees, and 100% of it is paid out to employees...your 18% goes to the cruise line. I suspect some folks understand this a "delete" their tips. Either that of they're just cheap. You want to pay the handful of employees you DO meet something extra, put it in their hand...and quite frankly, thats no real guarantee they as individuals get to keep it. if there are any insiders out there who know the mechanics of it all, I'd certainly be interested...and I bet a lot of other folks too.

It's easier to spread it across the fleet

I think if you read my last, you can see there really isnt any other way to do it. There's no "paymaster" on any of these ships that I know of. It kind of begs the question of what happens when a ship is cruising in places where "tipping" isnt the norm. the cruiseline has to pay almost all of it out of the 18% from those folks who DO pay it, and then make up the difference...a lot of it!

Seems like working on those ships wouldn't be the most popular places to work eh? The whole system is slanted for the benefit of the cruiseline. Sort of "de-incentivizes" anyone from doing anything extra, hoping for a few bucks from passengers "direct" from time to time. (assuming THAT isn't "pooled" somehow)

Frankly, until I started looking this process up a few years ago, I was in blissful ignorance of how it works. I could've stayed that way.


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