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Gratuity and room questions!!

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Will be traveling for the first time in a few weeks on HArmony of the Sea 

I’m confused on the tipping. Do people recommend paying it all upfront before cruising or do you wait to see how the service is and top based off their performance? I keep getting a lot of back and forth from people so I don’t know what’s best.

i already purchased unlimited drink packages (alcohol for adults and non alcoholic for kids). I know gratuity was already included with that. 

 

Also, has anyone been on this ship. I’ll be on the 9th floor:

What are the chances of being sea sick on this ridiculously large ship

Any comments on room size for interior grand central view (window only)

 

thanks!! 

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If you haven't prepaid gratuity, it will be charged to your onboard account at $14.50 a day per person.  Personally, I would rather not have such a large bill at the end of the cruise, so we prepay the gratuity.  We tip in addition to the daily gratuity.  It isn't necessary or mandatory but if we like our stateroom attendant and how he/she deals with my slobs (aka kids) then we tip an extra $20.  Same with the wait staff.  Giving $1 for a drink will make sure you keep getting good service throughout the pool/bar and they will remember you the next day.  Once again, nothing mandatory but a nice gesture.

The chances of getting sea sick depend on the individual.  The ship is relatively stable but if mother nature creates big waves there is only so much that a ship can do.  My family is prone to motion sickness (cars, planes, ships) so I always have medicine packed.   Our cruise on Harmony saw some large swells which was tough for my 7 yo.  Most of the time we don't need it but I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

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Was on Allure for Hurricane Sandy.  Deck 7 at the forward stair well.  Last night was rough with ocean spray up to my balcony.  I did not get seasick, but the captain kept the ship into the wind and waves so there was no rolling of the ship only heaving bow to stern.  Felt like riding a roller coaster.

Mariner on two days of stormy seas on deck 10 amidship with a good bit of roll forced me to get some sea sick pills.  I am prone to sea sickness, but not other forms of motion sickness. 

Should be fine as most of my cruises have been.  Only twice did I have to see the purser for sea sick pills. 

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First, it is called a cabin and a deck. Now you can sound like an experienced cruiser. 🙂 We always pay additional gratuities (you prepaid the gratuities, right?) toward the end. Tipping up front, is like tipping your waitress at your restaurant at home, is soon as you sit down. Makes no sense to me. Some people like to do it that way, any that is fine. We have not seen any lack of service with our cabin steward by tipping at the end. Unfortunately, we have not been able to tip any of the MDR staff extra. We usually find bar staff that deserve extra, though.

Enjoy your cruise!

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We actually pay additional too.  However, for our cabin attendant we split into 2 tips.  1st day as soon as we meet them we give 50%, and the remainder on the last evening.  We have found this works the best.   We do tip the MDR staff, but it depends on how many nights we eat in the MDR, it usually is at least the 2 formal nights.   IE last cruise we traveled in a group and they only wanted to do the MDR, on this upcoming cruise we will be in the MDR only 3 out of 8 nights, thus the tip to the MDR will be smaller.  

 

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I know some people don't like to pre pay tips ahead as they fear poor service if people are pre-tipped. But with everything and the number of people involved with three meals a day, bartenders, cabin stewards, etc. How far does $14.50 pp a day really go? We always pre pay and then tip also as we go as we feel necessary. You'd be surprised how a couple of extra bucks here and there gets you service beyond the normal great service on RCCL. Just our experience.

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11 minutes ago, FManke said:

if people are pre-tipped. But with everything and the number of people involved with three meals a day, bartenders, cabin stewards, etc. How far does $14.50 pp a day really go

I totally agree, except I want to place some clarification out there.

Bartenders get the 18% grat that is added automatically, so to the best of my knowledge they are not part of that 14.50.  I do not typically give any extra tip to the bartender since we are not people that go to just one bar.    I have worked in the bar business 18% is a good tip.    

I actually wonder if those that work in the specialty would rather work in the MDR from a tip aspect.  For example many people may purchase The Key (Chops lunch) or Chops +1 or a 3 night as their splurge, but the bulk of their dinners will be in the MDR with the same wait staff night after night, thus they feel a connection with the MDR wait staff and give them an additional tip.  Whereas, they see Chops as a night dinner outing and they have already paid their 14.50, so no additional tip.

My husband and I have done every type.  MDR only with a group of 10 traditional seating, same waitstaff.  Gave a tip, everyone in our group did too.  MTD dinner in MDR only  just my husband and I, but different times, so different wait staff.  We gave a small tip every night if the service was good.   MDR and a couple of specialty with a group of 5.  My  husband always tipped a small amount quietly as we left the table at the the specialty.  Nobody else in our group did this and actually thought we were crazy because that was part of the 14.50 grat.    

Just wondering if anyone else also thought that maybe this is true for specialty waitstaff compared to MDR?   

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1 hour ago, Pima1988 said:

We gave a small tip every night

This is how we operate too.  I have gotten flamed on the “other” site for saying this but I do not believe for one minute that the servers and attendants get all of the gratuities money.  They may get a portion but I just don’t trust that Royal is really giving it out the way they lead us to believe they do.  The only way I can figure out to make sure that the people who make MY cruise so wonderful get their true tip is to give it directly to them at the time they provide the service to me.  I guess the notable exceptions to this are the room attendants and the Genie, who get their tips at the end of the cruise.  We tip at very meal, regardless of where we eat (including Sorrentos or WJ) and with every drink.  I consider the daily gratuity to be a fee (to Royal) and treat it as such. If it were truly a gratuity they would make it optional. 

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@WAAAYTOOO  As I have stated I don't tip at the bar unless we are there quite frequently~~~ We love trivia and we are there everyday at Schooners, so they get a tip, but otherwise the pool bar or the Solarium bar, or the pub bar, I may see the see the same bartender 1x, hence, NOPE no tip, they get the 18% which is not part of the 14.50

I just think that the 14.50 is so cheap as a tip.  My 8 night cruise superior outside balcony cost me 2400 for 2 people for 8 nights.  In essence it would be @260 total for grats, or @10% of my bill.   29 per day or 261 total for 8 nights divided by  the cost of 2400 for the cruise.  They now have to share that with multiple people...cabin attendant, waiter and assistant, room service, etc.

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9 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I do not believe for one minute that the servers and attendants get all of the gratuities money.  They may get a portion but I just don’t trust that Royal is really giving it out the way they lead us to believe they do

I'm with you @WAAAYTOOO, I also want to make sure the people who most responsible for making my cruise so enjoyable get their tips.  So I agree with you, I hand to them in person.   I often wondered if they have to put these tips into the pool defeating my intentions.

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12 hours ago, SolariumSnoozer said:

I'm with you @WAAAYTOOO, I also want to make sure the people who most responsible for making my cruise so enjoyable get their tips.  So I agree with you, I hand to them in person.   I often wondered if they have to put these tips into the pool defeating my intentions.

I still don’t know for sure that my personal tips aren’t going into a tip pool but it’s the best I can do.  I think, though, based on the reactions that we get, that the direct tips are kept by those who receive them

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13 hours ago, SolariumSnoozer said:

I'm with you @WAAAYTOOO, I also want to make sure the people who most responsible for making my cruise so enjoyable get their tips.  So I agree with you, I hand to them in person.   I often wondered if they have to put these tips into the pool defeating my intentions.

 

32 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I still don’t know for sure that my personal tips aren’t going into a tip pool but it’s the best I can do.  I think, though, based on the reactions that we get, that the direct tips are kept by those who receive them

I have tried hard to find this out.  The general insider consensus is that bar staff pools their tips.  Stateroom attendants and others keep their own if you hand it to them.

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38 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

 

I have tried hard to find this out.  The general insider consensus is that bar staff pools their tips.  Stateroom attendants and others keep their own if you hand it to them.

Out of curiosity....do you mean the bar staff as a whole pools their tips? Or more like all the Solarium bartenders share and all the pool bartenders share and all the boleros bartenders share, etc? And are the roaming drink people included in that pool? 

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9 minutes ago, spiralqueen said:

Out of curiosity....do you mean the bar staff as a whole pools their tips? Or more like all the Solarium bartenders share and all the pool bartenders share and all the boleros bartenders share, etc? And are the roaming drink people included in that pool? 

That I do not know....

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On 5/19/2019 at 10:16 AM, Pima1988 said:

My  husband always tipped a small amount quietly as we left the table at the the specialty.  Nobody else in our group did this and actually thought we were crazy because that was part of the 14.50 grat.    

This has been discussed on here before, but the gratuity for the Specialty restaurants is included in the fee you pay, unlike the drink package where it is added on at the end.

I'm like you husband though, I still leave a little extra at the end.

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2 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

Out of curiosity....do you mean the bar staff as a whole pools their tips? Or more like all the Solarium bartenders share and all the pool bartenders share and all the boleros bartenders share, etc? And are the roaming drink people included in that pool? 

I think it is pooled.  I remember on the Anthem one morning we were in the enclosed pool area (not the Solarium, but the 1 between the Solarium and outdoor pool) it was probably @ 11.  The roaming waitstaff took our drink order.  4 hrs later we went to the outside pool and that same waitstaff was now behind the bar.  

I would say when we went to Schooners everyday for trivia the bartender was always the same person.  This was true for all of our RCL cruises.

Personally I think they do have an area that they are assigned to, but since all drinks are charged to a sea pass card, even those that are buying without a DBP, the Beverage mgr knows exactly how much money is in tips, and than divides it among the staff.  Now, maybe like the restaurant business, % change.  Bartender gets X % of the 18% and bar backs (people that refill the ice, restock the bottles, change over the soda taps when empty, etc) get a different %.   HENCE, this is why some desire to give an additional tip to a specific bartender personally.  I have to say I don't recall ever seeing a tip jar.  That bartender just places it in their pocket and moves on, thus, they do not share it at the end of the night.

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2 hours ago, tiny260 said:

This has been discussed on here before, but the gratuity for the Specialty restaurants is included in the fee you pay, unlike the drink package where it is added on at the end.

I did not know that, but than again I have never read the very fine print when we purchase the specialty.

Thanks for that information, because I have questioned if in the end of the day for the waitstaff would it be better to work in the MDR since many passengers do tip privately at the end of the cruise.  

The only specialty where we tip a little bit more than Chops, Izumi, Wonderland, Hooked, etc is Chef's table.  Than again, I find that if I could only afford the Chef's table or a 3 night specialty, I would do the Chef's without a 2nd thought.  Than again, my husband and I love doing things like the Chef's table.  We are not foodies, but enjoy the wine pairings and the attention to detail that you won't find in any of the specialty restaurants.  

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15 minutes ago, Pima1988 said:

I did not know that, but than again I have never read the very fine print when we purchase the specialty

It was one of those discussions on here because the "Rumer" was that they were going to start adding the 18% on top of the dinning package just like the drink package, but so far (knock on wood) they have not added it.

 

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On 5/19/2019 at 11:36 AM, WAAAYTOOO said:

This is how we operate too.  I have gotten flamed on the “other” site for saying this but I do not believe for one minute that the servers and attendants get all of the gratuities money.  They may get a portion but I just don’t trust that Royal is really giving it out the way they lead us to believe they do.  The only way I can figure out to make sure that the people who make MY cruise so wonderful get their true tip is to give it directly to them at the time they provide the service to me.  I guess the notable exceptions to this are the room attendants and the Genie, who get their tips at the end of the cruise.  We tip at very meal, regardless of where we eat (including Sorrentos or WJ) and with every drink.  I consider the daily gratuity to be a fee (to Royal) and treat it as such. If it were truly a gratuity they would make it optional. 

I like this idea.  Since you aren’t paying for dinner like a typical restaurant, how do you determine how much to give Them?

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3 hours ago, Weezie57 said:

I like this idea.  Since you aren’t paying for dinner like a typical restaurant, how do you determine how much to give Them?

I don’t try and figure it out.  We always tip the same (unless the service is bad....which is very, very rare).

We leave $5 for breakfast, even in the MDR or WJ, $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner.  Always the same. 

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1 minute ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I don’t try and figure it out.  We always tip the same (unless the service is bad....which is very, very rare).

We leave $5 for breakfast, even in the MDR or WJ, $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner.  Always the same. 

Same dollar figures for us also.

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