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Nevin6

Tipping for Large families

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Hello everyone.  I'm looking for advice on automatic gratuities for larger families.  I understand that there is an automatic charge, on a per person basis for each state room, and that those tips are shared amongst the staff.  Some say that they remove the auto-gratuities from younger children, and use some or all of those withheld tips to tip those who demonstrate great service.

Thoughts?

Context: we have 4 kids, aged 14, 11, 9, and 2.5

Thank you.

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I have 4 kids and fully pay the auto gratuities for everyone.  In fact, we leave our room steward an extra tip after dealing with my slobs (aka kids) room for a week.

Your kids will eat 3 meals a day, sleep in a bed and make as much of a mess as any adult if not more.  My .02 is to leave the auto gratuities as they are and if someone demonstrates great service then you can leave an extra tip.   

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IMO, Let the auto gratuities stand, if you think it is obsessive, go to Guest Services and have removed and then tip accordingly at the end.

The staff works hard, especially the room steward and the wait staff in the dinning rooms. If you have been on a cruise before, think about all of the people that make dinning an enjoyable experience, that is who gets the gratuities.

I usually prepay gratuities (If you have not made your final payment yet, you can do this also and pay ahead of time and not wait for it to be charged to your account on the ship) and then the people that I feel have gone above and beyond get a little extra.

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As a staunch conservative, I despise mandatory tips.  When a tip is not optional, it is no longer a tip; it is a fee.  HOWEVER, I do believe strongly is paying for the service I receive; consequently, I am a VERY good tipper.  Unfortunately, many people do not feel the need to tip, so there is now a mandatory tip/fee which is regrettable.

I never, ever remove or reduce our “gratuities” but I still wish the tip would be a true tip and be optional. 

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Sadly I know someone going on her first cruise and has already received advice from someone on how to remove the tips and she will. The person who told her has claimed to be on 20+ cruises and never tips. They just give a few people a couple of bucks at the end. 

I have a larger family also and all the tips sting but if I cannot afford them, I can't afford the cruise. 

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Why remove a few dollars from someone who has access to your room and all your stuff?  Do you want your tooth brush messed with while you are out of your cabin?  Do you really want to mess with the person bringing your food each meal?  

The people handling my food and personal belongings are the exact people I want to have a good relationship with and if that means a few extra bucks, it is worth my peace of mind.  It is an especially nice way to “thank” a person who has taken a job, months away from their family at a time to make more money than they probably could at home.  (Which is still less than most people taking a cruise are making.)

Edited to add -  besides, many time my experience is the kids get more attention than the adults, especially from the wait staff.

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29 minutes ago, ScooterScott22 said:

Why remove a few dollars from someone who has access to your room and all your stuff?  Do you want your tooth brush messed with while you are out of your cabin?  Do you really want to mess with the person bringing your food each meal?

So now its becomes a protection fees and not tips ? 😨🙂  .

I always pay the automatic "tips" one of the reasons is because its very hard to tip everyone (beside the waiters and you cabin attended you have many other that served you : the WJ team that brought you coffee/ water and clean the table after you  , the one who cleaned the corridor carpets , the one who helped you with the internet and many more)  

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23 hours ago, Nevin6 said:

 Some say that they remove the auto-gratuities from younger children, and use some or all of those withheld tips to tip those who demonstrate great service.

Those "some" are plain wrong. Like it or not, gratuities are part of the cost of the cruise.  You can argue the merits of this system, but until it changes you are obliged to pay gratuity for every guest, including kids. Period.

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

You can argue the merits of this system, but until it changes you are obliged to pay gratuity for every guest, including kids. Period.

Anyone who's cleaned up after my kids after lunch in the Windjammer deserves every penny of that tip, and then some (it takes quite a while to get into those hazmat suits).

Kids make a much bigger mess than adults do; frankly, the mandatory gratuity for them should be more than those for adults.

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1 hour ago, bcarney said:

Anyone who's cleaned up after my kids after lunch in the Windjammer deserves every penny of that tip, and then some (it takes quite a while to get into those hazmat suits).

Kids make a much bigger mess than adults do; frankly, the mandatory gratuity for them should be more than those for adults.

I've peeked into some rooms where I felt so bad for the room attendant.  It was like a bomb went off inside.

As Matt said, you can argue the merits of the system but you have to realize that the gratuities are basically their income.  The cruise lines pay a minimal monthly salary and the vast majority of their earnings come from these gratuities. Whether one feels this is right or wrong doesn't change the fact that this is how the system works.

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22 hours ago, Traveler said:

So now its becomes a protection fees and not tips ? 😨🙂  .

I always pay the automatic "tips" one of the reasons is because its very hard to tip everyone (beside the waiters and you cabin attended you have many other that served you : the WJ team that brought you coffee/ water and clean the table after you  , the one who cleaned the corridor carpets , the one who helped you with the internet and many more)  

You missed the point, it is about creating a relationship with the person and part of that is the tip.  It is easy to engage with them in some chit chat and get to know them a little.  I love to hear about their backgrounds and families.  Some of the things that can share are very interesting and can range from helpful tips about cruising or personal stories.  We have been lucky enough to have seen prior servers and stateroom host on subsequent cruises.  It is always nice to have someone remember you from years ago and they are doing so because you are nice and not because you are an A**.

Watch how Chris Pine’s character in the movie Horrible Bosses 2 treats his cleaning lady and you can see it is more than just the money.  

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1 hour ago, ScooterScott22 said:

You missed the point, it is about creating a relationship with the person and part of that is the tip.  It is easy to engage with them in some chit chat and get to know them a little.  I love to hear about their backgrounds and families.  Some of the things that can share are very interesting and can range from helpful tips about cruising or personal stories.  We have been lucky enough to have seen prior servers and stateroom host on subsequent cruises.  It is always nice to have someone remember you from years ago and they are doing so because you are nice and not because you are an A**.

Watch how Chris Pine’s character in the movie Horrible Bosses 2 treats his cleaning lady and you can see it is more than just the money.  

I agree with you , we are doing the "Chit Chat" and enjoying it,  we also usually give tip  to the cabin attendant at the end of the cruise  (unless he did very bad job, which, until now did not happen), always adding tip to the "free" drinks in the casino bar and other places. I just look that as thank you for a good job.

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Here in New Zealand and Australia the gratuity is included as part of the cruise fare so there is no option to add or remove it (This applies to any cruise regardless of country). For our convenience an 18% gratuity is also automatically added to any drinks purchased. Gratuities are not included for spa services and needs to be paid separately.

Even though some gratuities are included in the base cruise fare we will normally still tip extra for our room steward and the waiters in the suite/diamond lounges for good service. (Not as much as somebody in the US though, usually between $20-40 USD for a 7-14 night cruise).

A lot would also depend on where we are cruising. E.g. We would not normally tip the concierge sailing out of NZ or Australia as it is not expected, but we probably would sailing out of the US.

We have not had a genie yet so I am not sure what we would tip them. As genies are promoted as part of purchasing a Star Class cabin I would feel like we have already paid for their services so would not tip excessively. As most Australians and NZ'ers generally do not tip I am sure it would be factored into the cabin cost just like stateroom and dining room attendants.

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