Tipping Points: Will I Get Bad Service if I Opt Out of Auto-Gratuities?

July 26, 2011 | By | 114 Comments

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Is there spit in my soup?
When cruise lines introduced “auto-tipping,” I was thrilled. The ye-olde tradition in which passengers expressed gratitude by handing out fistfuls of cash at the end of a cruise seemed crass. I get it, though: It doesn’t bother everyone and in fact some people prefer it that way. That’s why most cruise lines have a system in place for those passengers who want to tip the old-fashioned way. You have to make an effort, though: In most cases the “recommended gratuity” (ranging from $10 to $15 per day) is automatically applied to your onboard account, and you must queue up at the purser’s desk and request the charge be removed.
But beware. You could be branded a skinflint.

Dawn Klieforth Hoff tells us on Facebook that, “on our last cruise, we had the automatic tip taken off so we could disperse it the way we wanted to. The next morning at breakfast, our regular waitress from the whole cruise shunned us. She ignored me when I said good morning, and just stood there to take our order (instead of asking). The thing is, she was awesome (until then) and we had a nice tip for her. I was so put off by her obvious reaction to what she assumed was no tip, I only gave her $10.”
My first reaction to Hoff’s story was that she could have communicated with the waitress from the get-go — letting her know that she was a cash tipper and even handing over half of the gratuity on the first or second day as both an incentive and a gesture of goodwill.
But wait a minute. Why did the waitress assume she was going to get stiffed in the first place? Did the cruise line rat out the Hoffs?
Some cruise lines play a nasty little game called “humiliate the cheapskates.” Check this out: A couple of years ago, several Cruise Critic members were on a galley tour of Carnival Splendor when they spotted a series of e-mails identifying passengers who’d requested that their auto-tips be removed (kudos to eagle-eyed Wennfred for snapping the photo below).
Wennfred’s photo caused such a stir after it was posted in a forum that Carnival quickly responded with a statement that read: “It is not standard protocol for information regarding which guests have removed the pre-paid gratuities from their shipboard accounts to be provided to crew members during the course of a voyage. Crew members do not receive this information until after the voyage is completed and guests have disembarked.”
Tell that to member stthomaslover, who shared this tidbit on the same forum: “On my last cruise in January, I was being nosy and searching the room stewards cart for some soap. There was a list of all his cabins, room number and a column for tips and I think it said yes and removed … maybe that’s why some people get not so good service while most others have great service.”
I don’t believe for a minute that cruise lines deliberately set out to sabotage service to these passengers. But perhaps they could be more proactive in letting their staffs know that no auto-tipping doesn’t necessarily mean “no tipping.”
Has opting out of auto-tipping impacted your cruises? Share your stories below.
And oh, by the way: Those of you who opt out of tipping because you don’t want to shell out the dough, shame on you.
You have questions, we have answers: Here are more Tipping Points. and we’ll be adding to them all week.
Read other Sea-Mail columns on kids running wild, saving tables at the buffet, the death of cruise traditions and bad balcony behavior.
Know before you go: Check out our feature on cruise line tipping policies.
Here’s a tip: Get your own Lido Deck subscription.

    Comments

    114 Responses to “Tipping Points: Will I Get Bad Service if I Opt Out of Auto-Gratuities?”

    1. robert sharkey
      July 26th, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

      As an avid seasoned cruiser of some 40 cruises, I thank you for this on tipping.
      As a Maitre di Hotel from New York I know a little on service/gratuity’s etc. First a guest that goes mainly to a buffet should not be charged a gratuity the same way a Dining room guest should be! With that being said I always have preferred to do my own math. I do agree and have done so in the past, on my first visit in the dining room i introduce myself, family and or guests to the Maitre Di, then do the same to my head waiter and asst. waiter, and the busboy as well. I leave a gratuity that first night to kind of forge a contract, Good Service Good Tip, Great service Great Tip and so on. This will relieve you of having any mixed feelings on asking the pursor the very same day to remove auto matic gratuity on statemet. The same implys with the Hotel staff/Cabin stewarts, bartenders, and pool side service as well. Lets assume we embark at 5.oo p.m. on a 10 day cruise. the first night i would begin the above with all previously mentioned. then mid cruise, they would get an assurance gratuity on the service so far, and then again oon the night prior to embarkation. Yous et the standard, your own mandate and policy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with follwing the pre mentioned guidelines.

    2. Ann Mack
      July 26th, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

      Well, we did NOT opt out of auto-tipping in May 2011 on the Caribbean Princess and our steward still sucked. He said hello on our first day and that was it. Everyone was telling me how much fun the steward was going to be with their quirky little towel animals and how they will check in all the time to make sure you have everything you need. Reynaldo was a ghost steward. Even if we spotted him in the hallway, he would wave and duck into a room or behind his cart. In order to communicate with him, we had to write on paper and leave it on the bed. Had I thought about it, I would have gone to the purser and cut his tip in half. Yes, it’s petty but I was that annoyed. Reynaldo, if you’re reading this…get with the program or change professions.

    3. HANNAH HARRIS
      July 26th, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

      i opted out on my last cruise on Princess and did not see any change in the great service i rec’d from the cabin steward or dining room wait sstaff. i do not think they know that this has been done.

    4. Katybugg
      July 26th, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

      I think auto tipping is great. It is one less thing I have to think about at the end of my cruise. That being said, I think it is an outrage that the staff is given a heads up on who has the tips removed. Where has the days gone where good service was rewarded, not demanded. What a non professional mind set that if you dont tip me, I will not do my job I am being paid to do. I believe in paying for the service I receive, so I will give extra if I feel it is warranted. But if I received poor service from a steward or waitress, I would just assume thats the service I would have gotten anyway. Some people are not cheapskates when they take auto tips off, some are genuinely old school and they pay according to the service they receive. What good can come from the staff being informed the tips have been removed….none. But then if they are removed and they give bad service, they deserve what they get……Nothing. Just my 21/2 cents worth.

    5. Eileene
      July 26th, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

      All companies have their bad apples, like the one who wrote the offending memo (above). I don’t believe the cruise lines intentionally point out pax who opt out of automatic tipping.

      We did that when we had a very poor maitre’d, who refused to do anything for us, and didn’t appear at all during meals (we take most in the MDR). No change of service from the servers or cabin stewards – we have always gotten EXCELLENT, above-and-beyond service from ours.

      Basic tipping ($10/day) is for basic service; additional should be determined by the pax according to the level of service received.

      We tip our cabin steward upon arrival, asking him/her to keep our thermal mugs full of ice and to empty our fridge. We tip again halfway through the week if we require additional services, and then an extra $10 at the end of the cruise. The two servers get an extra $10 each at the end of the cruise, too. We rarely get service as good on land, so of course they deserve extra appreciation!

    6. Stephanie Mason
      July 26th, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

      I think that opting out of auto tipping is a good thing to do. 2 reasons: 1) You have the option to leave more if you want (even though you can do this with auto tipping) 2) It keeps the cruise lines from “accidently” running the card for more.

      This happened to us last year. We elected auto tipping and our credit card was charged double. It took 10 days for them to put it back on but in the mean time we still had to wait for it to go back on the card. I didn’t mind this as much but I won’t be doing auto bill again in the future so as to protect my CC…

    7. Dawg
      July 26th, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

      We recieved the same service as poster Ann Mack on our March 2011 Celebrity Eclipse cruise from our room steward. He left the cabin looking good but he never talked to us at all & was never around. Notes were the only way to communicate with him. We never got towel animals either! Kind of petty but we didn’t like him.

      On our 2012 RCL Allure cruise we have prepaid tips from our TA & a sales promotion. will be interesting to see how that affects our service, if at all

    8. Kelly
      July 26th, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

      I love the automatic tipping. I think that is a minimum level and then you can decide which workers give above-and-beyond service and give them extra cash tips.

    9. Debra Mc
      July 26th, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

      We (almost) always have the tips removed & tip in person. We set up a personal relationship with waiters & stewards & receive good personable service, it only seems right to acknowledge that in person. Our service has never suffered from this. The only time we left it on the bill was when we recieved outstanding service at the buffet as well & the pre-paid tips were really the only way to show all of those folks our appreciation. We still gave extra to our own wait staff. We go to the formal dining room specifically for that kind of service & show our appreciation accordingly. The only time we did not tip wait staff was on NCL where almost everyone (except one bartender) was downright surly. That was our first experience with auto-tips & any-time dining & I can only assume that the staff thought that they had their tips, so why go out of their way for anyone.

    10. Barbi
      July 26th, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

      I prefer to tip as I see fit, the “old school” way I guess. I do wait until the last night to have the auto gratuity taken off my bill. I always wondered if it made a difference in service and it sounds like it does. I always tip my steward well if he deserves it, but I have had some of the “stealth” stewards, no towel animals and that just takes some of the fun out of cruising and coming to your cabin to see what is the new pet of the day.

      I don’t feel that I should have to subsidize wages for the cruise lines. Good service is to be expected, great service should be rewarded well. I am booked for cruise #12 and love cruising, but service can be hit and miss at times. I refuse to reward mediocre service. Call me cheap or whatever, but I work hard for my money and time off.

    11. Monica
      July 26th, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

      If you can’t get what you need from your room steward a trip to the purser’s desk is in order, tipping should be on service irregardles where the service comes from.. on our last cruise we kept the auto tipping on but for sure some were not providing the service they were being tipped for and you don’t control that, but if you remove the auto tipping, I did wonder if the pursers desk provided that info to the staff..and if service would be the same.. There was a time the tipping was included in an all inclusive cruise not an extra.. I’m of the mind the staff look for further tipping on top of the auto tipping..just saying

    12. HANNAH HARRIS
      July 26th, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

      I DID NOT SPECIFY IN MY COMMENTS THAT I TIP THE CABIN STEWARD AND WAIT STAFF IN THE DINING ROOM ON THE LAST DAY OF THE CRUISE AS I OPT OUT OF THE AUTO TIPPING.

    13. Kathy
      July 26th, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

      We cruise often and we usually give our room stewart half of his/her tip at beginning of cruise and the other 1/2 at end. This goes for our dining room waiters as well and we have had excellent AAA service on all our Royal Caribbean Cruises. Tipping is a must for all the special things that our room stewart did for us on each cruise, I feel so pampered.!

    14. Howard
      July 26th, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

      We always auto tip but also tip at the beginning as well. This past cruise we had such incredible service from everyone that our servers and steward each received an additional mid cruise tip that was hand delivered in person by my 6 y/o with a Thank You card. Our son then hugged each person as well. Our servers were in tears. On the final night we presented each of our servers framed 5×7 pictures of the two of them together in the MDR. We had the vacation of a lifetime and we wanted to greatly reward the people who made our cruise so special. This was on the Carnival Spirit. From the Captain on down, they took great pride in their work and every passenger we encountered continually sang the praises of a great crew.

    15. Len
      July 27th, 2011 @ 3:40 am

      Tipping is a disease! Unfortunately it started in America and then spread to many parts of the world. In the US everyone seems to have their hand out, often not just expecting but practically demanding a gratuity for the smallest service.
      It is demeaning. People should not have to rely on tips but should be paid properly in the first place and then expected to do their job properly.
      Just look at lines like Seabourn that have a no tipping policy and fantastic staff.
      I would like to see tipping abolished, period

    16. R.O.Hahn
      July 27th, 2011 @ 7:04 am

      I agree with Len BUT unfortunately the system is there and in place. To me, the answer to all this tipping is extremely simple.
      Tip those who give good service at a good rate; tip those who don’t offer good service as a lesser rate and have the GUTS to tell anyone who asks why with specific examples of bad service.
      I belong to a private club and also eat at some very good restaurants in my home town. If I get good service, I tip accordingly. The same philosophy has served me well on cruises but if something is BAD, I make sure I present the specifics to the appropriate manager.

    17. Fred Cherney
      July 27th, 2011 @ 9:26 am

      Holland America’s bad apple is the CEO! He has decreed that all passengers who reduce or remove the automatic gratuities should be added to a list sent to all staff. If any staff receive gratuities directly, they have to hand the money in! The only way to tip your stewards directly (and have them keep the money) is to leave the automatic gratuity in place.
      Sailing in Oosterdam, I inquired who received the automatic gratuities. Of the $10, $4 went to front office staff, laundry personnel and the little gent with the chimes. This left $6 ($3 each) for the dining stewards and cabin stewards who obviously had to share with their assistants. A decrease in earnings to go along with an increase in cabins. The cabin stewards often have to service cabins on 2-3 decks so they can’t watch when passengers leave. Since HAL refuses to use “Make Up My Cabin” signs, service is often at inconvenient times.
      Fred

    18. Melinda Hughey
      July 27th, 2011 @ 9:44 am

      I book and escort groups on cruises – have for years. As a rule, we build in shipboard gratuities (those automatically added to the passengers’ onboard statements) to the price they pay, then prepay those to the cruise line prior to departure. This has worked well, with group members encouraged to offer extra to any staff member who has provided extraordinary service.
      The ONLY time this has been an issue was a sailing on NCL’s Pride Of America, positively the WORST cruise experience in my nearly 30 years of tour management. “Service” on this ship was non-existent from stateroom stewards to dining room waiters to the front desk. Awful, awful, AWFUL!!! When I accompanied a group of my ladies to the front desk to request that their auto-gratuities be removed, the argument that ensued with the person there was nothing short of unbelievable. She finally blurted, “we expect you, (the passengers), to pay our crew members.” It took our digging in our heels and insisting – for a half-hour at least – before she would comply with our request.
      Princess, Holland America, Celebrity – all are wonderful. NCL?? NEVER AGAIN!

    19. Jack Morris
      July 27th, 2011 @ 9:50 am

      The decision to tip or not to tip is a burden at the end of a vacation like finding a flat tire on the family car two hours from home at the end of a 2-week vacation in the Sierras.

      I like the Regent Line approach where you pay for the gratuities when you purchase your ticket – on day 1 – not at the end when you’re getting packed and must grapple with all the uncertainties of disembarkation.

      By tipping before you leave home you have freed yourself of one of the nasty issues that is bothersome for rich and poor voyagers alike. “How much and for whom?” need not be part of one’s vacation.

      The primary issue for me on tipping the advance credit card way is I have absolutely no way to know if my particular steward got a fair share. I am left to ponder how much of my tip went to such unseen workers as the folks in the laundry, engine room, and to the paint chippers. I suppose it doesn’t really matter as long as I had a memorable vacation and returned home safely. – Jack Morris

    20. Erica
      July 27th, 2011 @ 10:17 am

      I’m horrified to read that some lines may notify crew as to who removes the auto-tip. I always suspected that this could happen so I’m not really shocked to read that someone actually found proof. Wow! What an eagle-eye that person has! LOL

      Anyway, I’ve always wondered too – hmmmm….I wonder if the line tells the crew how much someone paid for their cruise. Do you ever think about that? Maybe I’m the only one. I don’t really care if they do it or not, but it just makes me wonder what they share and what they do not.

      I used to work for a cruise line (in the office – land based). When I would sail on my employee discount and take my family, it seemed like EVERY crew member knew an employee was onboard.

      I was treated differently (more informal) and crew actually would come up and talk to me about working on land. I never had to tell anyone I was an employee – they just ALL knew.

      So I think that the lines really do share quite a bit of personal, booking information with crew.

    21. peter
      July 27th, 2011 @ 10:43 am

      Unfortunately not all company’s have the prepaid system!though if they do we always opt to pay our tips that way, but as usual we always end up tipping on top as well, don’t ask me why , but i always feel mean not giving a little something at the end, so in other words we tip twice, silly me oh and still we get bad service sometimes Peter

    22. Jacqueline
      July 27th, 2011 @ 11:21 am

      I prefer rewarding good service now on my own. Pre-paid gives no incentive for good service when staff know,regardless of how they perform, they will recieve their gratuities. On our last Princess cruise, our dining room service was by far the worse we have ever experienced. Our assistant waitress would simply vanish. Our table in the dining room was always served last the slowest. Our waiter did not remember little things like our beverage preferences. We will always leave gratuities but will reward on our own those who not only meet but exceed our expectations. I don’t think that is much differnet than going to a land restaurant and tipping based upon service experience.

    23. Dockter
      July 27th, 2011 @ 11:37 am

      We just took our 8th cruise. We like NCL because of the relaxed dress code. We hve always left the auto tip on and notice if you don’t tip extra to your room staff you get minimal service. We had our son-in-law and daughter join us on a cruise and he is a huge tipper on top of his auto tip. Everytime we went somewhere we were swormed by staff giving extra attention, obviously if they aren’t told they pass it around amongst them as to who is tipping extra.

    24. Nancy Tugayli
      July 27th, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

      Have cruised 12 plus times and always opt out of the pre-paid grats….I usually cruise alone and most always dine at the buffet for lunch and dinner….Have never had bad service from my Steward. I prefer to tip on my terms..maybe comes from 20+ years in the Hospitality Industry.

    25. Lyn
      July 27th, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

      If you can afford to cruise, you can afford to do the autogratuity/service charge or whatever you want to call it. I have taken many, many cruises and board the ship with the assumption that my service team will earn at least what the service charge is for that particular cruise line.
      At the end of the cruise, if we have had exceptional service, then we hand out additional cash in the envelopes.
      So at a minimum my service team will get the recommended gratuities. I usually pre-pay my gratuities when permitted by the cruise line so they are done and over with and I just get the coupons. With the pre-paid gratuities it is just part of the price of cruising.

    26. Brad
      July 27th, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

      ” Be your on Boss! ” do what you think is right.

      Happy Sailing to All…

    27. Long Ago
      July 27th, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

      Leave the decision to leave the auto tip or cancel and go direct tipping until the last day of the cruise if you are concerned about employees being advised etc.
      Auto tip may be important if you now go on Open Seating for Dining and do not have regular waiters etc.
      I have found if you early tip then you can get great service, but also can be bothered and smothered by staff.
      Many people cancel auto at the start of end with explanation to the Pursers Desk that you prefer direct tipping BUT NEVER tip. A way to save money.
      No tipping lines build it into their pricing as with those who provide free liquor etc. And believe me they do hit you in the base price they charge. If you are not a drinker or very moderate you are supporting those who do drink a lot in your fare price. I can see soft drinks, non alcoholic beverages, being no charge, but all should pay for their wine, beer and liquor consumed. This applies also to All Inclusive Resorts.
      I think that they should have a minimal auto for non contact support staff who are critical for a pleasant trip but also who are normally better base paid. Maybe $2 or $3 per day and the direct service staff be tipped direct during or at the end of the cruise. Unfortunately there will continue to be cheap travelers who will forgo tipping direct service staff.
      Here is the best tip. Put yourself in the service persons shoes and decide if a tip is appropriate. You may not be able to afford much, but you can afford something if you got good service. One less alcoholic drink a day will cover it.

    28. James
      July 27th, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

      I hate auto-tipping, in fact I hate the whole idea of implied mandatory tipping. Auto-tipping is just a another fee and amounts to an increase in the “real cost” of the cruise. I would much prefer that the cruise lines increase fares and pay their staff a decent wage leaving it open to the passengers to tip for service received as it is in all other walks of life.

    29. Jen
      July 27th, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

      Deciding who is “owed” what tip is very subjective. I have cruised three times with immediate family members. The last cruise we had three cabins all in a row. We had the same cabin steward. All of us did the auto tip. There were two people in each room. No differences other the people in each room. No one pre-tipped on the first day. My husband and I thought we had exceptional service. Our ice bucket was always full. Our room was straightened up. He removed the beverages from the refrigerator so we could use it for other things. We had a birthday celebration one evening, and our dining server put the cake on a plate that was a little too large to put in the refrigerator. Our cabin steward found some smaller plates, got us a knife and found some plastic wrap so the cake didn’t sit out and get dried out. We were able to fit it all in the refrigerator. He was very kind. We didn’t ask him to do this. He just recognized a need and found a solution.
      My parents had a room next to ours. They said their service was “average.” My siblings had room on the other side and they said their service was horrible. They said the room was never straightened up, that the towels were never hung up, that they didn’t get things they requested.
      In the dining room, everyone else but my husband and I found our waiter to be average. We thought he was very attentive. The sommelier was really good, and my parents and siblings loved him. My husband and I are not big drinkers, but he suggested just the right wine pairings for everything.
      I think it’s all based on a cruiser’s expectations. If you are high maintenance, it may take a lot to get you to ante up. If you are just happy to be on the ship and away from the daily grind, you may be happy with much less.
      Yes, there is horrible service and lack of service should be brought to the attention of the proper person.
      I guess my point is, I have never experienced my service lacking because people thought “I have my money. Why should I care.”

    30. Elizabeth
      July 27th, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

      We’ve just accepted the auto-gratuity as part of cruising. We do add an extra tip in an envelope to some staff as warrented. This activity has raised a question in my mind as to who is actually getting that cash tip. We mostly cruise on Princess and the service, with only one exception, has always been very good. On a couple of cruises the waiter or cabin steward told me that unless we paid the auto-gratuity, they had to add our cash offering into the general tip fund. One person put the cabin number on the envelop to check and make sure we’d paid the suggested amount so they could keep the tip. Here’s the deal, I wonder that unless you pay the amount suggested, your tip may be spread around at some level and the person you wanted to reward will not get the reward. I don’t have hard evidence that this is true, but I see no reason why these staff would tell me such a story unless it was true.

      For those who whine about tipping, travel on one of the luxery cruise lines and see how much your fare will cost you. That’s what it takes to pay the staff a decent wage. It’s positively fuedal to expect to be treated like a king and expect cruise line staff to live on a wage that barely supports them.

    31. smeyer418
      July 27th, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

      I hate tipping threads mostly because there is so much misinformation(in some cases deliberately so by people who have an ax to grind or a particular view of the world). A large percentage of people who say they remove the auto tip leave less than the suggested amount or nothing at all, for reasons having nothing to do with the service they provided.
      The examples are rife above. One day and all the tips even with a good employee are removed.

      The service people on most of the tipping cruise lines are paid a base salary of something around $100 per MONTH plus on board room and board and some on board medical care) here is a thread from someone who works/ed in the dining room that talks about this.

      http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1107696

      They do take home more because they get a draw against the tips and the tips themselves.

      This method of paying the traditional tipped crew goes back to at least the early 1900′s and was continue by Samuel Cunard who was born in Canada and immigrated to England. Its not primarily an American tradition.

      In fact in the 1910-30 there was a movement in the US to do away with tipping-which obviously failed.

      Because of the fare structure now the remuneration for the traditionally tipped crew is NOT included in the fare. Generally those cruise lines that do include it charge more than the difference between the cost of tipping non tipping(Azamara announced a 25% increase and included the “basic” tipping and some other items-none of which when added together could justify a 25% increase-but I don’t know if the full increase has held this is an example I realize that most of the mass market cruise lines are not Azamara or Seaborn or other of the luxury lines where in general you pay a premium to get the base tip included-do you really think that people no longer tip on these lines).

      Whether its in the fare or the expected tip, its you are paying it anyway. I really don’t see why you may want to pay more to have it included in the fare.

      On most cruise lines when you remove the auto -tip all or most of the cash tip is put back into the pool anyway so in fact you make it more difficult for those who you want to reward. The best way to reward these people is to either write a note to their supervisors explaining how they went over and above or giving them a little extra(at your discretion of course).
      The auto tip takes care of what the employees were required to do anyway(called tipping out). The rooms stewards traditionally tipped out the laundry room supply room staff and asst head housekeeper(the name for this varies among cruise lines); and the waiters tipped out the bus boys, dishwashers, line cooks and asst head waiter/maitre d(also varies by cruise line).
      Do the employees just pocket the cash? mostly no. If the auto-tip is removed and they don’t turn it in(BTW I have been told by some staff they sometimes convert extra tips left by some which they don’t have to turn in at all to pay for the cheapos/stiffers because they ARE marked down when people keep taking the auto-tip off and leave nothing or less than the suggested amount-rightfully or wrongfully its held against them). The employees live in close quarters 3-4 in a room and they don’t want large amounts of cash lying around either. The employees know pretty quickly who are the slackers and pocketers and since the supervisor is one of the people being stiffed by the employees they get a. fired b. non renewed or c the worst assignments….and also have been known to be visited by their own countries of origin mafia on board.
      Ships are clearly a different culture with somewhat different rules. The tipping culture is a tradition on board. I know some people dis like being told when in Rome….but you aren’t in Kansas either.
      If you don’t like the auto-tip you are of course free to chose another cruise line that includes it.

      There is also not one iota of evidence that the entire auto tip doesn’t make it to the traditionally tipped and tipped out crew. The cruise lines even absorb the credit card charge. Cruise employees sue cruise lines all the time and there is NOT one report of any crew member that the entire amount doesn’t eventually get to them and not one reported lawsuit…yet(I monitor a number of cruise lawyers reports who would report any such lawsuit)

      Now them is the facts. If you would like to discuss the facts please do but just like you may complain when someone on formal night wears shorts, traditions should be obeyed.

    32. Pete
      July 27th, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

      26. Brad
      July 27th, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

      ” Be your on Boss! ” do what you think is right.

      Happy Sailing to All…

      Spot on Brad……genuine people do not need others telling them what is ‘the right thing to do’.

    33. DLJ
      July 27th, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

      The only time we have opted is out is cruising with NCL. The service in the dining rooms was AWFUL so after 2 days we went to the purser’s desk to have the auto-tips taken off our account. We spent over 30 minutes with the desk staff and supervisor who tried to make us feel like cheap-skates. When we did get adequate service we tipped in cash. The cabin Stewart was also tipped in cash.

      With Princess we have always had terrific service and in addition to the auto-tip we leave cash at the end of the trip for our wait staff and the cabin stewart.

    34. Mary
      July 28th, 2011 @ 12:48 am

      I am astonished at people’s reaction to the auto-tipping system! Work out the total of suggested tipping times passengers, and naturally the cruise lines regard it as a good system; saves them having to pay a proper wage. I come from a country where tipping is not encouraged, and do not propose to start it, but having said that, I will give something personally to anyone who has been particularly helpful. How is it possible that people from America and a lot of Europe actually worry as to what is the right thing to do? Also, the ship I am joining at Christmas charges 15% on all drinks and doesn’t allow you to bring your own on board, therefore this should be sufficient to bolster their tipping fund!
      I shall be one of the \remove auto-tipping\ passengers when I get on board. Incidentally I have done this on all previous cruise-ships and have never had any adverse reaction.

    35. Karen
      July 28th, 2011 @ 3:01 am

      We’re from Australia where it’s not a common expectation that you leave a tip. We opted out on our one and only cruise with princess, and whoever said above if you can afford to cruise, you can afford to tip, pfft!! We saved a long long time for this cruise and paid a hefty amount, and don’t feel it’s our fault certain countries pay crap wages. We did pay our cabin steward quite well then we had to move cabins, and did so again, both lovely people.
      We noticed after so many days in the di i g and pool bar areas that service was not as great as in the beginning but still good, we didn’t opt out till two days before the end, so no one knew. We also paid one of the lovely bar staff on pool deck as she was the only one that stayed constant in attending us, sorry but not a great believer in tipping, credit where credit due

    36. Angel Garcia
      July 28th, 2011 @ 6:31 am

      If you are so cheap that you don’t tip these people who make so little money after working HARD for months on end without a full day off, then you deserve to eat a little spit soup.

    37. iluvit!
      July 28th, 2011 @ 9:17 am

      Should you tip according to how much work you require from the server or room attendant? i have noticed that the attendant will spend about 10 minutes in our cabin and 30 minutes in the couple next door. i pick up our room daily, leaving all surfaces clear so that they can clean. also, in the bathroom we put our grooming items in a case in a draw, leaving a clear path for cleaning. people who leave their stuff all over the place make it harder for the cleaners. in the dining room we are very easy to please-on our last cruise the waiter explained that he was new and that any complaints could cause him to lose his job, so we just ate whatever he put in front of us (he got it wrong quite often). should not the messy (such as rooms with children and other slobs) and high-maintainance tip ore?

    38. Jennifer
      July 28th, 2011 @ 9:40 am

      I think autotipping has its good sides and bad sides. It is convenient, and if your service merits the tips, then leave them on. You can tip more in cash if you get great services.

      But, tipping should NEVER be mandatory, no matter what the occupation. A tip is ‘To Ensure Promptness’. I was a waitress for years, and I knew going in that $2.13 was my pay, unless I EARNED my tip. I would never EXPECT people to tip if I didn’t take care of the well. If I am not treated well, I don’t tip well or at all. If I don’t tip, I make it a point to explain to management. If I tip low, I let the person know it was on purpose. I even have had business cards made that say “The tip would be bigger if the service were better” (yes, I received one once and it changed the way I worked for the better)

      I have never had less than excellent service on a cruise, but I will not feel that I HAVE to tip.

    39. Jeff
      July 28th, 2011 @ 9:46 am

      It’s kind of ironic that the folks who think they will get bad service if they allow auto tipping because there is \no incentive\ essentially not trusting the implied agreement between them and their server think the servers should just trust that everyone that has auto tips removed will have an envelope full of cash to reward their hard work when the server has been stiffed many times before. That being said we always leave the auto tips on and then tip extra to the wait staff and stewards based on how well they do. We look at it this way you auto tip approximately $10.00 a day. Your waiter for example gets $3.50 of the $10.00 a DAY. That’s right a DAY. This $3.50 covers three meals so the waiter is making a little less then $1.20 in tips per meal. That’s what I would tip someone at home if they gave me awful service so I would never even consider removing the auto tips even if I did get poor service. I just don’t give more if the service was bad.

    40. Teresa
      July 29th, 2011 @ 7:16 am

      I was a purser for Carnival and to my knowledge staff were never notified if tips were removed. My husband and I always ask to ahve all tips removed except the lido staff portion. Our service is always awesome from everyone else… I know they track past guests and maybe thats why, they know we tip in cash for good service.
      For the most part tips play a huge deal to staff on cruise lines as the pay is minimal.

    41. bilibala
      July 29th, 2011 @ 7:35 am

      i know some staff working in cruiseline, they told me that when a cruiser cancel tip, they have to surrender the cash tip given by the cruisers and put it back to the pool of tips and share it with others. so in hoff’s case, no matter how much cash she give to the waitress, the waitress is not getting any of it, instead she has to surrender the sum. (since have have to declare the amount of cash tips got from each passengers every night).

    42. linda
      July 29th, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

      A few yrs ago when auto tipping first came to be I asked my morning waitress ( in Polish) if her paycheck will be more because of the full ship. Her answer was that the paychecks stay the same no matter how full the ship. After that I repeated the same question on different lines and received the same answers. As a result we opt out on the first day..NCL has you do it on the last sea day. I give everybody who regularly waits on us something in the beginning of the cruise and at the end. Depending on the lenght of the cruise I’ll ask when they are going to shore next and make sure they have some cash to spend. We take 3-5 cruises a year. We have never received poor service, not even from the desk people who obviously know we opted out. As a result we have enjoyed “our dolling out of the bucks” to people who do their job well. This can be from the person taking down our cabin # for dinner to the bus boy upstairs. Our cruises usually last 2-6 weeks and we travel with more than one cruiseline. Don’t be afraid to stand up to corporate !

    43. geduffer
      July 29th, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

      I have always preferred to hand out envelopes on the last night and I have always tipped above the cruise lines recommendation. These people work their butts off for us and for miserable hours and I have nothing but contempt for someone who would stiff a waiter or cabin steward. My first time on Celebrity Summit, I opted out and took envelopes and went even higher because of a big win in the casino, but we had asked our waiter and he confirmed that Celebrity pays over every cent of what’s coming to them from the people assigned to them. This last time, I left the auto posting on and took envelopes and gave out extra to express our thanks for the great job they did.

    44. greg
      July 30th, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

      On our first night (Royal Car.) we were not happy with being seated near the entrance and no attempt was made to move us or improve our seating arrangements in the main dining room. We had always pre-paid up till that cruise. We ate the remainder of our dinners at the buffet and were treated remarkably by the staff there. We asked to give our prepaid to the buffet staff and were told that was impossible. After some very lengthy discussion we were given the credit on the account, and gave cash to all our servers there. From then on we reserve the right to pay when we are satisfied and not before, and to who derserves it. Just a note, we have never stiffed anyone, but have given above the suggested amount for exceptional service.

    45. Candice Fillingim
      August 2nd, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

      Kids and I took a Carnival cruise a few months ago, and for the first time, I did not auto tip. I had been tipping as I went along, and decided to go ahead and pass out money on the last night. I had your time dining, and never ate in the same spot, so I thought this was a better way to show my appreciation to the people who actually served me. Just as I would off ship. Mind you, by this point I had almost reached my “auto tip” level with each department anyway, so what I was going to give out was above the minimum. On the second-to-last night I removed our auto-tip and saw a stark change in my steward. I said hello to him the next morning, and he literally snarled, and that evening…no towel animal for the first time all cruise! I still left him an extra $20, because he was OK up until that point, but it left a bad taste in my mouth!

    46. Andy
      August 5th, 2011 @ 11:07 am

      If you travel with a family of you, you have to tip your steward $14 a day per room. I believe, it’s a little bit too much. $5-10 is more than enough with towel animals or without. BTW, your steward can check your bill inside your room on TV snd see if you removed the tips or not.

    47. Jerry
      August 11th, 2011 @ 12:33 am

      The last night of our cruise on Royal Caribbean, I informed our dining steward that I HAD just stopped by the service desk & had all tips placed on my credit card.. Immediately he replied, ” I know, we r furnished with a LIST of all passengers & know about the tips !!’ I asked,” how could u know, this was only 15 minutes ago? ” He just smiled!!

    48. Jeanne
      August 11th, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

      The last cruise was the first one we have taken with the automatic tipping. The service was not nearly as good as it was when they received them at the end of the trip. It seemed as though they figured they knew their tip was secure and didn’t have to bother to remember your name at dinner or do little things for you.

    49. Carol
      August 16th, 2011 @ 11:14 am

      Do you know what the base salary is for the staff ? If you did you would not remove your tips. They pay for their own tickets home, their laundry service and are paid a base salary of $50 to $100 a month. Shame on all of you cheap people. I have received awesome and awful service and have never removed my tips. If they go above and beyond, they will certainly get more at the end of the cruise. Always remember that everyday is Monday for them and they get little or no time off on each cruise.

    50. Renada
      August 16th, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

      I learned on my first cruise on Carnival in 1983 that after they got their tip, forget the nice treatmant. They got tipped the night before we docked. The next day they didn’t even look at you and could’ve cared less about the breakfast. I know they get paid paltry amounts, but at the same time, they should be nice to you knowing you did tip them.

    51. iluvit!
      August 18th, 2011 @ 11:59 am

      I prefer to tip the room steward on a daily basis to ensure that they get to our room quickly. Also, I suspect that the higher up the deck, the better service. Our last cruise we didn’t get an upgrade and received the worst service EVER. Our steward’s attitude can only be described as haughty. I noticed many shortcuts in the service, such as just shutting the lid of the toilet rather than cleaning it. What really shocked me was after we removed that bedspread and asked that it not be used (they don’t launder them between guests) and put a cover sheet over the blanket, he did so but when he changed the sheets he reused the soiled bottom sheet as the cover sheet. Not changing all the sheets is grounds for immediate termination in hotel housekeeping. Also the furniture was never wiped off. Then he banged on the door several times the last morning to hurry us out of the room and get his tip, after the service was atrocious.

    52. mary
      August 20th, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

      I myself do not agree with the auto tipping policy. Again with the same drum, pay better wages, good vs bad service. etc etc etc. Everyone has different levels of expectations and needs, us for example, need little or no room service and eat sporatically at the buffet, or deck venues. We have never been on a first name basis with any member of the service staff or officers, If one feels the need to bond with every member of staff and feels that they need the service above and beyone then let them tip accordingly, good for them. I agree with the room stewards giving miminal service, how many times we saw him/her more than three times on a ten day cruise, why should I give them an excessive tip. Matre’ds on every ship I have every been on have never acknowledged me or shown me above and beyone–why should I tip them? I will tip who and when I please and NO one will dictate to me otherwise.

    53. » Tipping on board: Are Brits mean, or are we just different? Cruise Critic UK
      September 12th, 2011 @ 8:53 am

      [...] guide to cruise tipping here What happens when you opt out of paying auto-gratuities? Find out here [...]

    54. Jim Coats
      September 14th, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

      In Australia people are all paid a decent wage and tipping is not necessary. Tipping is a way for Americans to appease their conscience and justify what amounts to “slave labour” pay rates. It is about time that America developed a social conscience and paid their staff appropriately. I refuse to tip as I do not want to encourage an ethos of maintaining a lower class of workers. It is nothing to do with being a tightwad!

    55. ssw4894
      September 18th, 2011 @ 1:58 am

      54 Jim–
      Very few of these cruise lines are US lines and the “slave labor” you refer to is perpetrated by a number of nationalities. They are Dutch, British, French, Italian, Greek, Japanese, although, obviously, not Australian. So why do you assume that the US rules all of them? Surely you don’t want to come across as ignorant, so it would be a good idea to get your facts right? The US has minimum wage laws that US employers must pay–currently about $8 US/hour for a 40 hour week.

    56. Jim
      September 18th, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

      ssw4894

      You appear to have missed my point. I was not stating that America rules these companies. What I am saying is that the concept of tipping (which is, in fact, most prevalent in the US) is a way of compensating for poor wages. If the American minimum wage is US$8 per hour (about AU$7.70), and this is deemed sufficient, why is tipping still so prevalent? In Australia, where the minimum wage is AU$15.15 per hour, tipping is not necessary nor expected. If the general populace feel it is necessary to tip, then surely that is an indication that they sill think that the minimum pay rate is insufficient. Therefore, if everyone refused to tip that would put additional pressure on companies, and the government, to raise those minimum pay rates.

    57. Fred Cherney
      September 21st, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

      Holland America publishes the list of those who opt out of (or reduce) the automatic gratuities. Any steward receiving gratuities from people on the list must turn them in to be pooled. Also, only $6 of the $10 go to stewards. The rest goes to laundry, front desk staff and the boy with the chimes. This is what was revealed by the desk in Oosterdam. If you want to tip directly, you have to leave the automatic tipping in place or your steward loses it!

    58. Mary
      October 4th, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

      On the last night of my last (TA on Crown Princess in September), many of the waiters called in \sick\ because of the policy where employees have to turn in any tips given to them if the people reduced or eliminated their auto-tips. This resulted in a half empty dining room with a 2 hour wait line outside of it. I don’t blame them as I think that people who go above and beyond should be able to keep those tips.

    59. Dawn Klieforth Hoff
      October 6th, 2011 @ 11:05 am

      After reading these comments, I think we will tip at each good point-of-service. I really dont know why we werent before. It shouldnt be any different from any other dining experience, right? I feel like thats a good middle ground. I never thought of that before.

      I actually have a problem subsidizing the cruise staff’s paycheck. For several reasons-
      I dont care how much they make. Or how much it costs for them to “get home.”. Or how much they are away from their family. It’s a job, take it or leave it. If I were to count my “tips” as a part of my base salary and only take a job based on that, I would not be smart. Some people just dont leave a tip, plain and simple. Also, I dont get tips! I do a great job! Lots of people travel to work, leave their families, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, whatever. Its a choice we all make. I worked hard all year, sometimes more or less, to afford this cruise. And yes, I expect awesome service! Its part of what attracts me to cruises. Im not going to willy nilly give the money I worked so hard for, away from my family, paid gas to get to, childcare to be at, and more… to some one who doesnt work for it. Or who treats me like less of a guest because I removed their tip/dont wear lots of jewelry/dont have expensive clothes, and so on…

      That being said, 6 cruises deep, We may have not tipped 1 person. The maitre d. Honestly, we talked to him, he wad nice. He had a house in Florida, and Peru. That was our convo. His homeS. Couldnt do it. Everyone else gets something. More or less, depending on their service. I dont care if they put it in the pot. I hand it to them, they KNOW how much it is, they will work harder or feel good about the job they did to get that or more for the next people.

      As for our $10 waitress, I knew it! I knew she had to know! That picture is awful! How could the cruise line do that? That inevitably will lead to a change in service level, as I’ve seen.

    60. KenSanDiego
      November 5th, 2011 @ 6:42 am

      First let’s get one thing straight. It is NOT a tip or gratuity if it is automatically charged to your bill. It is a SERVICE CHARGE (see Websters Dictionary for the truth of this statement). It makes absolutely no difference that you are allowed the privilege of jumping through hoops to eventually get it removed.

      The opportunity to receive a gratuity is one thing that will motivate a service provider to give great service. It is also a mitigating factor in deciding to take a job that pays low wages. They know that if they do a great job, over and above the minimum expected, they can earn more money with this generous custom.

      However, a guarantee that they will receive a gratuity regardless of the service they provide, is an incentive itself to provide only the minimum service required to maintain the status quo. Automatically adding a tip to every charge, denies the person paying the money the decision to tip based on the service received at the moment, thereby redefining the added charge as a service charge. It is no longer ‘something given voluntarily or beyond obligation’ when it is neatly prefilled on your cash register receipt.

      The proven fact, by way of anecdotal and physical evidence that employees are made aware of who is not participating in the guaranteed tip scheme, is not only insulting, and an invasion of privacy, it is an act of bad faith. The practice therefore lends itself to conspiracy and fraud.

      If photographic evidence of interoffice emails listing the names of non-tippers isn’t enough to prove that employees are being made aware of a guests’ tipping status, just look at the receipt the next time you order a drink. The tip amount is already neatly filled in for you, unless of course you are a non participant. Everyone involved in the transaction, and anyone close enough to see the receipt knows who you are and what your status is.

      This is a fraudulent practice that needs to be stopped globally, or at least in countries with any kind of consumer protection laws. It is just another ‘policy’ that takes the choices away from consumers and puts them into the hands of corporations.

    61. Pedroinspain
      November 11th, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

      From Carol Do you know what the base salary is for the staff ? If you did you would not remove your tips. They pay for their own tickets home, their laundry service and are paid a base salary of $50 to $100 a month. Shame on all of you cheap people.\n
      Sorry Carol, wrong logic. You should place the blame on the cruise companies for paying their staff such pitiful wages. I find that utterly obvious. Don’t blame the guests. They should be allowed to tip for service above the norm, not to subsidise the operating costs of the cruise company. VERY BAD PRACTICE!!

    62. AhoySailor
      November 23rd, 2011 @ 9:16 am

      @KenSanDiego.. you have expressed my sentiments completely. Mandatory Charges, by definition, are not gratuities or tips. They are a service charge and a mechanism to boost cruise line profits.

      Nearly all cruise lines follow the guidelines established by international organizations regarding base pay for staff. The rumor promulgated by the cruise lines (and the staff) that they are very poorly paid is not accurate. Those guidelines suggest pay for a waiter or cabin attendant be about $400-$500 per week, plus room and board. I would venture a guess that there are passengers cruising who don’t make out that well. Add to that the fact that many of the staff are from Third World countries whose average pay doesn’t come close to that…. and you see that they are pretty fortunate. We cannot judge these jobs by American standards as they do not live in America nor are they American.

      I may be old school, but I also believe as many other posters that a TIP is “to insure promptness” and is appropriate only when good service is given. I reward good service. I don’t reward bad service.

      Royal Caribbean recently posted pre-paid gratuities to my shipboard account. I spent several hours in line over several days at Guest Services to have them removed to no avail. They refused to do it even though I told them that one person in our party NEVER ate in the dining room and we preferred to tip in cash using the traditional envelopes. Had they accommodated my request, I would have tipped the waiter and cabin attendant on the first or second day… a partial amount to let them know a good tip was coming if good service was provided.

      With this new scheme, there is NO incentive for good service because the tips are the same regardless. Isn’t that the whole purpose of a tip; to be an incentive?

      The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. The service on this recent cruise on RCCL’s Allure of the Seas ranged from mediocre to downright poor. Staff just doesn’t care because it makes no difference in their pay check.

    63. kaliterri
      November 23rd, 2011 @ 11:16 am

      We’ve been on dozens of cruises and have met wonderful (and a few not-so-wonderful) staff and service people. From all of the stories we’ve exchanged, we clearly understand that this is their livelihood and how they support families back home. As a result, we tip BOTH — we do the standard auto-tips to support all of the staff, and then tip generously to those who provide that special personal service directly to us. Just imagine if the roles were reversed — I can’t imagine doing anything other than this.

    64. AhoySailor
      November 23rd, 2011 @ 11:40 am

      @kaliterri: You are indeed a cruise line’s dream: people with more money than they need who apparently don’t mind throwing it around. On the other hand, and in the global scheme of things, over-tipping Americans are seen as flaunting their wealth and making it difficult for average folks. Over-tipping after the service is delivered to people you will never see again is a dubious effectiveness. And, as we hear on this blog, it all goes into a central pool and doesn’t benefit the recipient anyway (except indirectly). That is just one cruisers opinion, of course.

    65. G. Cline
      November 23rd, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

      We Opt out of the auto tipping on every crise….58 so far. Maybe old school, maybe not, but I feel that tips are for above and beyond service and we’re not there to pay their wages! I have a quick conversation with our steward/waiter the first day and give them a “starter” tip…explaining how we tip and what we like extra. Ive always thought how silly to tip at the end of the cruise…such a waste of the leverage for good service when they don’t know until the end whither they will be rewarded. Best to tip in stages.

      On one NCL cruise, which we now avoid do to poor or surly services, it was like trying to get a refund from IRS when you opted out of the auto tip….They made it as diffcicult as possible and you had to visit 2-3 different “officials” to reverse the charges.

    66. Txcruiser9999
      November 23rd, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

      I have a question… How do you tip, and by how much, for FREE drinks served to Diamond+ (RCL) or Elite (Celebrity) frequent cruisers?
      My practice has been to try and find the same waiter at our free “happy-hour” daily…then at the end of the cruise I give them about $5 per day for all of those free drinks.
      Any advise?

    67. Cyndee
      November 24th, 2011 @ 12:29 am

      When we were on Norwegian Cruise Line, we did not opt out of auto tipping but we still got lousy service with our main dining server, ship servers, busboys and management anyway. I wish we could have opted out but Ncl did not give us the option otherwise I would have handed the tips at the end of the trip with zero going to our main dining room waitress. TIPs means to Insure Proper Service. It is not supposed to be automatic. I was not expecting to be treated like a queen by any means but basic service from her would have been ok. Unfortunately, the waitress was so rude and ignorant when it came to be being a conscientious and courteous server.

      My cabin stewards were excellent and they definitely deserved their auto tip and more. At the end of the trip, my cabin stewards not only got the auto tip but I handed both gentlemen an additional large tip for their great service and thanked them personally for doing a great job!

      Unfortunately their perfect service did not change my mind about NCL as a whole.

    68. Sandi
      November 25th, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

      Sailed twice with RCI and five times with Princess and will be leaving soon on another Princess. I agree that auto tipping seems more like a service charge, but I have to admit that it is nice to not have to worry about having the proper bills at the end of the cruise. Having said this, I have noticed that since auto tipping began, service has declined, especially in the dining room on Princess. (Perhaps it is just the anytime dining that is not up to usual standards.) If the staff is aware of passengers who opted out of auto tipping, one would think they would try harder in order to earn a tip???

    69. John
      December 7th, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

      It seems to me if some particular cruise lines have made a practice of sending a list of Pax’s names to crew that chose to remove the auto-tip, then you can bet they are storing this information in their computer files for the next time you decide to book. Also, I’m kinda curious to know if cruise lines share this information with each other.

    70. Amanda
      January 27th, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

      When I went on my cruise on Royal Caribbean me and my husband had only ate at the buffet because we did not like what was being served in the MDR. so we felt that we did not need to tip those staff members. but we did pay the people in the buffet! and we also tiped our room attendent. but with that being said, i dont think that its right that the crew knows who opt out of auto tipping! i love how Royal Caribbean leave the tipping up to us!

    71. Greg
      January 29th, 2012 @ 12:07 am

      I’ve cruised Celebrity and Holland America. On both, service was excellent and on 5 cruises, I’ve never even felt the need to cancel auto-tipping. Its a great system because it ensures that everyone who played a role in serving you gets what is coming to them. There is no fumbling with envelopes and cash when you have more important things to do like relax! Those of you who opt-out and think you can target where your tips end up are only fooling yourselves. There are many behind the scenes employees who receive a cut and if you opt-out and pay a cash tip to someone personally, they do not get to keep it and are required to put it in a pool. This ensures that those who don’t receive anything via autotip will at least get something. Your MDR waiter, assistant and the Maitre D’ will get a cut of your cash prizes whether you like it or not. You don’t have as much control on most cruise lines as you think. It is what it is.

    72. Robert
      January 29th, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

      i personally do not mind either method. on my last two cruises that were charters, everyone was mandated to pay, so the crew was very happy all along the way.

      mind you we still tipped additionally on the room steward/roomservice, and someone who went out of their way.

      bad service is bad service, but i really don’t care about details. as long as service is prompt and delivered professionally, they don’t even have to smile for all i care.

      i do find a strange fetishizing that staff must someone be friends and jovial by people. Don’t penalize someone for not being a disney character. okay a miserable attitude maybe, but if they do a good job, and are prompt….I really don’t care who what they are.

    73. Corntea
      January 29th, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

      We opted out of auto tipping on our last Carnival Cruise. We recieved impecable service from everyone we encountered from our room steward to our two waiters, even our busboy had a giant smile and very broken English “Hello and good evening to you Mrs. ______”! We had so much fun handing out the envelopes with personaized notes of appreciation and well deserved generous tips. The only person who we did not tip double what the auto tipping would have been was the Maitre D’ who never spoke to us until the last night when he came over and told us why tips were so important to him! We found that rude and inapropiate. We did tip him, but as regularly high tippers, we did not go above and beyond for him.

    74. Cavaradossi
      February 22nd, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

      If one goes back to the original meaning of tip and gratuity one learns that tip is something that the customer lets fall down and that gratuity comes from the latin word gratis meaning free, i.e. something that the customer freely gives.
      You see that in both cases the subject of the action is the customer that, in his own free mood, deliberately decides to give or give not a present in the form of money to someone to award him/her for an outstanding service.
      Additionally, this tip, or gratuity takes the form of a possible additional form of compensation, i.e. additional to the regular compensation, or salary, pai to the employer to the employee.
      All above demonstrates that tips and gratuities cannot be decided by other than the customer him/herself and cannot be compulsory: the employee already earns a salary to perform a satisfactory service to the customer and should not subdue his/her superior service to a tip taken for granted becouse the only judge for it should be the customer in person; on the other hand the employer should not bind the customer to pay a tip to the employee to compensate a part of the salary that the employer doesn’t pays to his/her employee.
      Finally, that practice of the compulsory tip is something tipically American. In Europe employers pay an higher salary to their employees: the overall salary therefore already embodies the fixed and variable compensation for the work of the employee. The customer doesn’t feel obliged to pay any gratuities if he/her doesn’t feel so, and if he does, in that case, only in that very case it means that he/her is really awarding a service that he/her is taking for very superior.

    75. Ricardo
      March 7th, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

      I think it is clear by what I have read here, it depends on where you have lived as to what your tipping practices might be, North America tipping is a responsibility and elsewhere tipping is an optional reward for exceptional service! Fundamentally, I agree with those stating that tipping should be at the discretion of the passenger, and the responsibility for paying decent wages lies with the cruise line. I enjoy leaving a tip for great service and equally enjoy slipping in one dollar in the envelope for those who haven’t.

    76. Debi
      May 11th, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

      We’ve cruised twice on princess now. First time on Crown, second on Grand. Both times were auto tipping but the steward on the Grand was terrible. It seems it doesn’t matter auto tip/tip, some people just don’t know how to their job properly.

    77. Della
      May 11th, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

      I always remove the Auto tip simple because i want to reward the staff myself and i don’t want it on my CC. I do believe Carnival tells their staff because the last night of the cruise the head waiter all but begged me for his tip (which i already had in an envalope)..he even went as far as telling me it’s what keeps his family fed. Nothing like trying to make someone feel guilty. I know there are some skinflints out there but this was a little extreme!

    78. betsy
      May 13th, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

      Lists are given to staff so they know who has removed tips. Reason: If they receive a cash tip, they must turn it in and split with others.

      If auto tips are left in place, any cash tips can be retained by the person tipped. Pretty simple and straightforward, actually.

      Those who think they are doing the staff a big favor by removing tips and awarding cash later are sorely mistaken!

      P. S. Those who are offended that they did not get their towel animals from Celebrity room stewards………that is not part of the \tradition\ on Celebrity ships. Thank goodness!

    79. Dorothy
      May 27th, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

      We just got back from a celebrity repositioning cruise, Century,from San Diego to Vancouver. We purposly took our tip deduction off our bill. we got such excellent service from our room stewarts and dinning room we wished to give them cash. More than recommended!
      The day before our disembarcation we got envelopes on our desk saying how much per day we should tip them. Envelopes for the waiters and maiter D. and room supwervisor. I found this shocking. I read on cruise critic that the front office doesnt share this information with service personel. We left money for room staff, gave waiters their cash. We thought we were doing a good thing. Going to the trouble to go to the bank before our last stop.
      This was so dissappointing. We know now that the front office lets the staff know, and they treat you differently.

    80. Stuart
      June 30th, 2012 @ 10:19 am

      Off on Celebrity for cruise no. 4, will be removing auto gratuities from my seaboard account on embarkation. Having read all above posters comments, I still believe (old school) that tipping is a personal matter and should not be EXPECTED by any staff to supplement their salaries. If I get good service, gratuities may be given, if not WATCH OUT!

    81. Betty
      August 15th, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

      We like the automatic tipping and we usually leave more at the end of the cruise to the cabin staff. The one and only time we opted out of the automatic tipping was on the MSC Posia…the worst cruise we have ever taken. Went to the dining room only twice because the food and service was soo bad. The server kept saying he was sorry, etc. We actually stood in line with I do not know how many people who were also opting out. They asked why and we told them. Not only the dining room but I asked for change a the pursers desk and was told I would have to go to accounting, went there and was told they could not change a small bill ($20), rude..NEVER again and try to tell anyone about MSC.

    82. iluvit!
      September 13th, 2012 @ 11:14 am

      Just got off the Carnival Triumph on my 1st cruise since auto-tipping began.Worst service on any cruise. Cabin steward left sticky red drink puddles, mirror and window handprints, papers, trash under the bed and in the bath cabinet, used amenities all from the previous guest. Linens were stained and frayed, mold in the shower, balcony never cleaned or ashtray emptied, ice only 2 times. In retrospect i should have notified the supervisor but at first i thought maybe the attendants just ran out of time on embarkation day and were going to come back and catch up on their clean-
      ing. Food service was careless and very rushed, they would try to grab your plate if you even paused eating for a second, did not offer to get you something else if you didn’t care for a course–it seemed to make them happy that they could take away your plate and rush on to the next course. I can’t help but think that the tip pool is largely responsible for crew not doing a good job. Nobody seemed happy or friendly, or even cared enough to pretend to be. Service standards have definitely fallen.

    83. Mick
      October 2nd, 2012 @ 9:08 am

      First I should point out that when I go on cruises I tip and I tip well but I think the whole tipping thing is mad.

      Can we just be clear, giving a tip is recognition of excellent service and should not be given until you’ve been served. It is not for you to subsidise poor wages. You have paid for your holiday and that includes all running costs including salaries. You don’t give a waiter in a restaurant a tip as you walk in.

      I have just been on a Celebrity cruise (which was excellent) and was told I had to pay the gratuities up front because I took the select dining option and wouldn’t have the same table staff each day. I realised after that this was a stupid argument because I could have still paid a single gratuity at the end of the cruise.

      The other thing I found annoying was on the drink tabs where there was a 15% charge and a line saying something like “if you’ve received excellent service….” trust me, if I’m paying gratuities up front and being stiffed for another 15%, the service better be excellent anyway.

      Gratuities and tipping are a con unless you make the choice to recognise excellent service.

    84. Steve Andersson
      October 6th, 2012 @ 10:55 am

      I pay tips (sometimes very large tips) to service providers for unusually good service. I do not pay tips for bad or mediocre service, and I certainly do not pay salaries or part of salaries in the form of compulsory tips to service providers, and I will not be shamed into doing so! I strongly recommend that others do the same. If the service staff are underpaid compulsory tipping is NOT the way to rectify that!

    85. Happy customer
      October 10th, 2012 @ 1:37 am

      It is so sad seeing guests declining automatic gratuities. First of all you should know that crew know you’re declining on the very next day you have done it. That is not the reason to provide you any poorer service. They are not as evil as you might think. They are still hoping the guests would give them something although I have found out that most of those guests don’t give more than the basic rate or don’t give anything at all. Those guests should no that crew knows that. Just remember next time you look in their eyes. I always pay my tips upfront because they deserve it.

    86. Happy customer
      October 10th, 2012 @ 1:41 am

      Another thing that everybody gets confused about is 15% gratuity for bar or spa services. That has nothing to do with the gratuities we’re talking about here. I think most of the customers should try to get more information before complaining.

    87. mj8506
      October 26th, 2012 @ 10:32 am

      I have been cruising since I was 3 months old…Almost 30 now, and my wife of 3 years has surpassed her 10th cruise. I cannot remember a cruise with her and prior to our relationship that I or my family did not remove the “auto-gratuity”. I personally was a bit annoyed when this started near 7 or 8 years ago? I am a firm believer in tipping based upon service received. I’m in sales, and you don’t get incentivised if you don’t do what you were hired to do…why should this subject be any different, right? But here’s my story: My wife and I were on the Norwegian Pearl and we, on the 2nd night, went to the pursers desk to have the auto-gratuity taken off of our on board accounts. I kid you not, I spent 25 minutes at the desk going back and forth with the MANAGER when I asked them to remove the gratuity. I explained that I tipped in cash to the nice lady at the desk, then she disappeared into the back (after trying to convince me to keep the gratuity on my account) and out came the Manager. I felt like I was at a Timeshare presentation. I couldn’t believe I had to explain it twice, and then defend my request until finally the Manager removed it. He was huffing and puffing the entire time with a sour look on his face. He kept saying (while removing the gratuity) “what about the people in the kitchen and behind the scenes…if everybody did what you’re doing they wouldn’t be able to feed their families”. After that comment, I told him “remove the tips now please…my wife and I are about to walk away”. Needless to say we have NOT been back on Norwegian…and whenever my TA mentions a Norwegian cruise, we laugh and politely say, “No thank you”. I’m off my soap box…

    88. Jeff
      October 27th, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

      I am about to take my first cruise in April and find some of the things that you have to learn to be an effective cruiser overwhelming, especially tipping. All I have to compare it to is how I vacation on land. I will more than likely opt out of auto tipping this time around. On land, I prefer to do things for myself. At hotels and resorts, I don’t even want people in my room when I am not there.I can make my own bed, been doing it for years.I am a member of an outlaw motorcycle club and believe me, I am not used to being pampered, nor do I expect it.I am thrifty, but not cheap. I always tip for service above and beyond. I also, don’t like the notion of forced tipping. If I eat at the buffet or in my room, why should I tip the waiter in the regular dining room ? At least 3 days, I will be off the ship tipping those on land. Why should the staff get a full ration of tips when you are not even on the ship for those days.I will tip the room steward if he does his job and they others I come into contact with that render a service to me. A friend of mine said on their last cruise, they never even met the head waiter, so they saw no need to tip him. Just sounds logical to me.If I go into an Applebees for example, and sit at the bar, why should I tip the waitress that I never saw. I save money from my paycheck each month to vacation the way I do and don’t have tons of cash to throw around to make myself look like a big shot. If the cruise lines or the staff don’t like my style or ideals on tipping, I am comfortable enough in my own skin to do for myself. If the steward doesn’t leave me a cold drink in the ice box, I will go get it myself instead of using energy to complain about bad service. Again, I fix my own drinks at home alone everyday, and it hasn’t killed me yet. KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid. Live by that, and you will never need a psychiatrist.

    89. Jeff
      October 27th, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

      After reading some more of the comments, I felt compelled to make another statement. Some people state that people who willingly take under-paying jobs expect that they may or may notmake enough to support their families when working for tips. Let’s take this to a real world reality. Just to show you how most people don’t realize who you are or what you stand for by looking at you or talking on a blog like this. As stated, I am in an outlaw motorcycle club. What do I do for a living ? I am a medic on an ambulance and have been for 15 years. I make terrible wages for what is expected of me, but, We don’t do it for the money. What if I gave poor service or didn’t try as hard , if I knew you didn’t have money or insurance. There would be some pretty mad family members out there when their Dad or Mom didn’t make through that heart attack or stroke or car wreck because I knew they couldn’t pay. Those people accept the terms of their employment when they take on a job on the ship. They are compensated by meals, living arrangements, cruising all over the world. All of which have a dollar value that can’t be sent home to feed the kids. If you choose to be away from your’ family and try to support them in this manner, you better give good service and earn those tips, or be prepared to go home and work in retail.

    90. sailor jerry
      December 26th, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

      I object to the idea that I must bribe crew members on my first day for them to do their jobs. I’m pretty sure the press-gang days are over and I hear contracts on ships are in demand. Nobody is forcing anyone to take that job. I do not feel bad for crew any more than I would anyone else who chooses to take a job overseas that would net them more than they’d get at home at the cost of proximity to family. We all make our choices. I work long days for low pay. I do it because I love my work. Sometimes I get extra $$, sometimes I don’t. I am expected to perform at a certain level regardless of compensation amount and I expect the same from the crew when I cruise. We’ve gone from a system of merit to a system of entitlement and I’ve seen quality of service decline because of it.

    91. Highseas Bob
      December 30th, 2012 @ 9:43 am

      What is tipping really? Its a form of BRIBERY, thats all it is, nothing more and nothing less. So if im honest and tell everyone who serves me on a cruise ship “I dont tip” does that mean they will ignore me and give me lousy service???? What does tipping mean from the cruise lines view? We can advertise lower prices which “looks good” to the passenger because if we the cruise line added up all tips and included them onto the price of the ticket it would “look like a more expensive cruise”, and we dont want that!! Tipping is simply a way for the cruise line to RELEASE themselves from their FINANCAL RESPONSIBILITY, towards all the good hard working people who work on these cruise ships, thats all it is.

    92. Jersey Girl
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

      I am a frequent cruiser on Princess. We always take advantage of the auto tip system, but also tip extra to our cabin steward and other deserving staff members. This helps when you happen to get the same cabin steward — lots of extra champagne for us! Hooray for our cabin stewards that do an awesome job!

    93. Cristina
      January 21st, 2013 @ 10:53 pm

      Surely it should be the responsibility of the cruise line to pay decent wages? with the prices they charge they can afford to…mandatory gratuities are a rip off!

    94. Mike
      January 25th, 2013 @ 7:17 am

      I had no idea I was going to be charged $490 for tips on a 7day cruise with my wife, 2,8 and 9 year old. We are not rich and saved for our trip for a long time. An expense this big should be included in price of cruise. I will be cutting these tips in half. Some might think I am cheap but unless the service is outstanding to a very high degree I can’t justify paying a tip this big.

    95. Nat
      June 12th, 2013 @ 5:55 am

      In the UK, we pay staff, in any employment, a minimum wage. This should surely be a requirement in developed, ‘civilised’ countries?! You tip in restaurants etc when you receive excellent service. But, tips are not given in any other customer services role, in a shop or even a call centre for example, despite the fact that you work hard and often go out of your way to make a customer happy. It’s your *job*; that’s what you’re paid to do! I think automatic tipping is basically supplementing the cruise line (which is just wrong) – it should be included in the price of the cruise, i.e. the companies should pay their staff fairly in the first place, and then they can be motivated to provide excellent service by the prospect of receiving *individual* tips from passengers.

    96. Jonathan
      August 14th, 2013 @ 11:47 am

      I often travel alone, and already pay double. Even (or maybe especially) on ships that still are 30-40% empty on departure.
      100% (one hundred!) more for the fact that I chose to travel alone.
      Not just for the cabin I pay extra, but also for meals I do not eat. Do I pay my tps upfront? NO!
      I give tips if and when I am pleased with above-normal service. Usually when I have checked-in, half-way and the remainder at the end.
      I do not feel that I am personally responsible for greedy ship-owners.

    97. susan
      August 24th, 2013 @ 7:37 am

      Well now i know. we stopped the tipping on our our last cruise midway so we could give the waiter and the cabin steward a big tip at the end.we were on a 27 day cruise with princess cruises.it explains the tabasco sauce in my food on the last night before we had a chance to give him his tip and the cabin steward was lazy but we still tipped him $50 the night before just in case we didnt see him in the morning.the shower was turned up to the hottest ever lucky i saw it before i hopped in. also room we ordered room service and there was something rather nasty in our tea. that is why i dont think i would ever cruise with them again. and

    98. Jean Phillips
      September 3rd, 2013 @ 9:34 am

      I never opt out of the auto tipping. In fact, I prepay my tips with my cruise purchase and simply consider the tips to be part of the price of the cruise. I don’t claim to know a thing about what cruise staff is paid or how tough the job actually is, but it seems like it would not be ideal circumstances. Under contract, not able to enjoy the facilities, having to watch everyone enjoy themselves while they work, and goodness knows that people on vacation can be quite a pain in the neck. And the staff really can’t make a whole lot of money. I had one cruise with terrible service from much of the staff, and the Maitre Dee (whom I hate tipping since they do not personally do a thing for me) never even spoke to me other that to say “Can you move? I am trying to get over there.” but I still did not opt out of the auto-tips. Having waitressed a time or two in my lifetime, I understand and appreciate a good tip. Like it or not, money is a great motivator. Additionally, I tip $1.00 to every bartender that serves me a coke. When they see you coming with the cup that you got when you bought the soft drink package, they are reluctant to serve you since the tip was paid when you bought the package, and they really won’t get anything. They see that I tip every time and are less reluctant to pass by me. I tip $3-$5 for room service. Again, reward=better service. I have always had an excellent cabin steward and wait staff, and have had several go out of their way for me. I have tipped accordingly for those times. I have also always given each one of them at elast an extra $20 at the end of the cruise. Let me just say, I am not by any means a wealthy person, and I have to save lunch money for some time to go on a cruise, but just as I appreciate good service, they appreciate a good tip and have earned every penny of it!

    99. bob ferguson
      September 24th, 2013 @ 5:42 am

      Personally i find the idea of being not only told how much to tip but to have it added for my convenience utter BS
      Some here accuse others of being skinflints, did it occur to you people that many families actually have to save for there holidays & that auto tip can add hundreds to there holiday cost that many can’t afford, don’t go then you say,get a dose of reality & engage your grey matter for a change.
      It is not the passengers duty to pay the crews wages or to even supplement them,we are there for a holiday & its not our fault the owners screw there staff.
      If i get get extraordinary service i will tip otherwise you get nothing for just doing your job.
      End of the day i work damn hard for my money & will not be told or compelled to tip by anyone.

    100. AA
      October 14th, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

      We just returned from a 3 night Disney cruise. Tipping guidelines were about $12 per person per day. Doesn’t seem like much it adds up to about %7.5.

      However, we shouldn’t be tipping on the whole amount of the cruse. If you break it down, they suggest $24 per person for dinner or $8 a night. For a family of 4 with 2 young kids, that’s $32 an night. If we go to a nice restaurant here at home that allows kids, we would spend no more 75-80. I would generally tip 15-16 for good service. Why is the rate so much higher at sea for essentially the same job? Is it because there are 3 servers? We don’t need 3 waiters. We need one. Some would argue that the food is better on a ship. I would argue the opposite, especially on disney, when the kids menu choices consist mainly of chicken fingers, pasta and burgers. Is it because they are underpaid by the cruise line? I would argue that first, that is between the cruise ship and the employee. Secondly, on what basis. $400 a month does not go far in the US but is a ton of money in India. For that kind of work, you wouldn’t get half that.

      Similarly with the room steward – why should they be given a $16 a day tip to clean a (tiny) room? Look around at various travel sites – tripadvisor, for example, states that for a luxury hotel $5 a day tip would be appropriate. Is it 3x more difficult on a ship?

      The “recommended” gratuity by the cruise line is arbitrary. They are incentivized to jack these rates up because they get to pay their employees less and perhaps make them a more competitive employer, by offering this as a perk.

      I think it is highway robbery. If they need to pay people more, just roll it into the cost. That way we all know exactly what we are paying. Doing it this is not much different than a bait and switch.

    101. Plantcrone
      October 18th, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

      I’m leaving on my first cruise in December and have been very interested about the comments here-some say one thing, some another. It could be confusing.
      As a North American who has traveled in places where tipping isn’t the norm, (ie rural Costa Rica and South America)-where the waiters make minimal wages and are often the cook and busboy too I’ve almost always gotten excellent service. If I left a tip they’d frequently give it back to me.
      And as a former waitress who made 90 cents an hour (this was in 1958) I’d depend on tips for gas money to get back and forth to work..So I had incentive to give excellent service and hope for a good tip. Like most I was raised with a good work ethic and later in my work life & for 35 years, I was a customer service installer for the phone company-I still gave great service and yet go no too as tipping isn’t part of that kind of service industry.
      I think that we North Americans have a more difficult time with a tipping surcharge .because we see tipping as an option for the individual to decide-not for Holland American Lines to decide.
      I don’t expect to use the laundry service-I read they wash your clothes in very hot water and I don’t-I’d rather take my laundry home to do it-I’m used to doing that in any case so I wonder why should I tip the laundry? I’m sharing a room with my 8 year old grand daughter and she won’t be using the laundry either.and know I’ll be the one who does the daily picking jp after her just to keep my sanity-yet we will be charged $24 a day for the two of us in tips.

      For the person with the haughty attitude who wrote that if we can afford to cruise, we should be able to afford the mandatory tip charge-well dandy for you lady. We aren’t all in the ‘same boat’ so to speak.

      My cruise is a gift from my daughters family, who are going also, and I live on Social Security now. Working for 50 years and being a single parent to 4 children, raising them myself does not leave one a great deal of extra money at the end of the work week-my vacations have always been camping trips or family visits-not resorts. When I travel I stay at hostels and inexpensive casitas – this is most likely going to be one of the most luxurious vacations I’ve ever taken!

      I’d much rather develop a relationship with the cabin steward and a bartender and server and pay them directly and nightly, just as I’d do when going out. I may change my mind if I have great service from all but I at least what the right to make a decision about it.

      The cruise line workers obviously need to unionize in order to get a living wage-it’s obvious that the companies have no incentive to pay them one so long as they can charge their customers hidden charges such as this tipping surcharge.

    102. YoItsMe
      November 3rd, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

      Tipping is a great way for someone to make money. It’s like being self employed. The harder you work the more you get paid. Without tipping you get people who work and are good but you also get people who just do the bare minimum. So all of this “Carnival should just pay more crap” would mean that the hardest/nicest worker would get the same amount as the laziest worker who just does enough to get by. We leave on auto tips if service is decent and tip more if it’s great. Haven’t had poor service yet so we’ll see what happens if that happens.

    103. Makembill
      December 1st, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

      I have read the comments with interest. I particularly liked Plantcrone (wish I knew your real name as that sounds almost derogatory) who put the rather haughty scribe in her place. I am with you all the way. I have worked damned hard to be able to afford a cruise to celebrate our Silver Wedding. We are off on Princess in January and we can only afford it because we have worked overtime and made sacrifices and flying in from across the pond makes it a far more expensive venture than those who live more locally; like on the same continent. We are holidaying with a modest kitty and $320 dollars, plus the other tips you will wish to give to those so obviously deserving, may seem a drop in the ocean to many but that’s a lot of money to some, including us. We may elect to pay the tips for one person in our cabin and enjoy tipping those who deserve it as we go. Of course there will be those who think if you’re poorer maybe a cheap package holiday would be more appropriate, but hey we all love the idea of trying to do the nicest things at least once. As someone who has served within the service industry and also received a variety of levels of service from within the service industry I recognise, like I’m sure you all do too, that good service is given by people who have the right values and wish to please. If they’re there just to gather tips then they’re in the wrong business. I do believe in tipping but on my terms. As the good lady Plantcrone pointed out, why pay for services you don’t use and for people who don’t serve you attentively. My room steward/ess and my waiter/ess will be rewarded well if they treat us well. And I appreciate the work done in the kitchen too so would be happy to tip there if the food is as I hope it will be. Just because the North American’s tip because they feel obliged to it doesn’t mean we all share that same philosophy. If you’re worthy of reward the reward will be worthy. And Plantcrone, I sincerely hope that you and your grand daughter have a truly fabulous cruising experience.

    104. Drewski
      December 5th, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

      You know…I get paid hourly, work hard for a living, give people great customer service and NEVER get tipped. I will probably do the auto tip thing, but it still sucks…Pay your people a good wage for service performed and don’t make your end customer feel like they are being nickeled and dimed. Promise that if I get poor service that I will go and remove all tips on last day.

    105. John Anderson
      December 11th, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

      The whole tipping thing is a joke…total BS…BECAUSE of the “opt-out” option. In my opinion, it ought to be one of two ways- Either EVERYONE pays the same specified auto-tip (NO exceptions) or NOBODY pays the auto-tip (NO exceptions). That way, the fare is the fare and is known UP FRONT. Then- in either case -if YOU want to tip a person, YOU just do it. With the “opt-out” option, you KNOW that there are skin-flints who pay NOTHING while most all other chumps pay. For instance, I felt like a cheapskate when, at the end of our cruise, another couple at our shared table magnaminously handed the head waiter an envelope …and I did not. BUT heck- my bill already had $355 PAID in auto-tip…and my co-diner had “opted out”! And you KNOW that those little envelopes don’t total up to what that person SHOULD have paid had they NOT had the option to “opt-out”!!!!
      Or no little envelopes at all!!! Total BS.

    106. bob ferguson
      December 29th, 2013 @ 3:26 am

      We have just returned from a 13 day cruise on Diamond Princess, the automatic gratuities are nothing more than a hidden charge by the cruiseline, the crew do not get anywhere near 100% of the tips & in fact we where told they were lucky to get 10% of the large take, think i’m wrong ?
      Go ask the purser to put it in writing that the crew get the gratuities (he/she won’t do it)
      13 days on board average $11.50 each for 2800 passengers almost 1/2 a mill, let alone bar/spa etc gratuities, good money for the line but alas not for the hard working crew & yes we did seek info from a few of them before approaching the purser who was only interested in who told us, not that i might have been miss informed & no, we refused to name anyone.
      Auto gratuities are cruiseline BS plain & simple.
      We met ashore those we wished to look after , nothing to do with the cruisline what we choose to do off the ship

    107. Frances
      January 14th, 2014 @ 3:20 am

      It has been said many, many times before, but I will say it again. If you can afford to cruise (regardless of whether you have to save up or not), you can afford to auto-tip the people who serve you. Those who wish to tip the people who have served them in person are leaving out the people who work hard for them but are never seen. How can you leave them out??? Yes, these employees know that they are accepting a low paying job and may or may not get tips at the end of a cruise … but count your blessings that you don’t have to take a job like that to feed your family — long periods of time away from your family, long long hours of dealing with ALL kinds of people and hard, hard work.

    108. Peter
      January 26th, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

      The crew members who do work hard deserve every penny/dollar they make. I’ve done 18 cruises in 5 years and know they work as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen. I’ve always done auto tipping through Royal Caribbean’s My Time Dining and have been happy, whether I’ve used the dining room or not. My last cruise this month that wasn’t the case. Not only was my party treated rudely, we were given a 3 hour wait for a table, which in turn sent us to the buffet. My future cruises I’ll prepaid the tips, but will go on the next to last day and have them removed. I will always pay my cabin steward generously, but the wait staff will only be paid if I use the dinning room, and will probably skip the head waiter/maître d, since his one time obligatory table visit is shameful. And after hearing all the stories of how the cruise lines are withholding the tips, I can assure they are actually being paid. FYI: I’ve heard numerous stories about passengers that tipped using the envelopes not showing up on the last night of dinner so they wouldn’t have to tip, they should have to poop in red bags and eat onion sandwiches.

    109. Robert
      February 2nd, 2014 @ 10:27 pm

      We’ve been on 23 cruises and think tipping is the best thing since sugar, but I refuse to have tips taken automatically. I have occasionally put tips on my card if I was low on cash, but I prefer tipping with cash according to service. When we travel without friends, we don’t use the dining room and therefore, don’t tip the dining room waiters, and tip the Lido or WJ waiters that serve us well. If someone doesn’t tip, that’s their business, but I don’t know how anyone could receive good service and not be stimulated to reward good behavior:(

    110. anna
      February 10th, 2014 @ 9:02 pm

      I ve heard that some cruise lines pay small salaries and that tipping is expected to make up the salary. If this is so, no wonder staff can get disappointed. Has anyone thought that some people beleive the tour operators sales pitch that all gratuities and tipping are in the price paid up front (especially so when they are specifically charged for “gratuities”).When many people are budgeting big time because of the recession in Europe, are the staff aware that some of us have difficulty in shelling out extra cash? and many have saved up avidly for a whole year and just manage the basics? but do genuinely need a holiday.

    111. Former Cruise Worker
      February 25th, 2014 @ 2:51 am

      I have worked on carnival in the past (spent two summers) and I can tell you AUTO TIPPING IS A JOKE!. The staff is never paid correctly, you have to wait forever sometimes two months for your money while they sort it out and its always less then they told you. Then they tax you at ungodly rates. Similar to a corporate gift.

      Dont let them feed you the BS or let some well to do-er tell you that Auto Tipping is the only way just because they do it.

      If you want to give a TIP then do it in person, 1. its not taxed (like restaurant workers in many cases) 2. They get it right away and no waiting

      Everyone on the staff MUCH appreciates being tipped in person over an auto tipper. I never saw a list of people that removed auto tip either and in fact I would prefer they did.

      Carnival is pulling the wool over your eyes dont give them more cash on the guise that your server is getting it.

      P.S. We did NOT get minimum wage and the kitchen staff was paid accordingly as they would in any restaurant.

    112. Marcus
      May 14th, 2014 @ 5:25 pm

      Auto-tipping being removed is a great pleasure. To have it means that the employees are guaranteed a set amount. This is a horrible idea. If I heard that some guy can be lazy and slow and cut corners and make as much as I do busting my butt, I’d be furious.

      But also keep in mind, their waitstaff including room service, make $50 (USD) a month. They rely on tips to make any money.

    113. Dana
      June 4th, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

      I always have my auto tips removed!! I am a firm believer in earning your tips the way I had to when I was a waitress making $2.20 an hour!! I always cruise in a inside cabin by myself and I keep my cabin pretty much clean. On my last cruise; all my steward had to do was put clean sheets on my bed and clean towels in my bathroom!! That’s all!! She was absoultley horrible!!! I only saw her one time; she only gave me one towel animal!! So I went to the purser’s desk and had all of my tips taken off!! The was the worse service I have ever recieved!!

    114. Klaus
      August 2nd, 2014 @ 2:28 am

      In Australia we don’t have automatic tipping. Have sailed with R.C. in Japan and had tips removed. Service was great. Tipped at the end to those who deserved it. Carnival in Australia has no automatic tipping or gratuities, still great service. Like to tip those who gave good service. Do I need to tip the engineer who keeps the ship running? Really.k

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