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Gratuities for Children

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It's our 1st cruise coming up.  Are we really going to be charged $12.95 per day gratuity for our 10 year old and our 3 year old?  I have read where you can opt out of gratuities if you want.  Is it bad cruise ship etiquette to opt out of paying $26.00 per day gratuities for 2 young children?   

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It is expected that all passengers, regardless of age, pay the standard gratuity.  Some lines do not charge for infants, but it is typical across the industry to pay the same amount for those $3 and above.  Keep in mind that your children will receive the same caliber of service as the adults.  And at times, they receive more service in the restaurants and by the cabin attendant.

 

My son is 8, almost 9, and started cruising just before the age of 3.  We have always paid the gratuity charged by thde ship for him.

 

I do believe you can go to guest services to adjust the autogratuity if that is something you wish to do.

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I don't have kids, but I am on the fence on this one. On one hand, I get that the room attendant may need to make the extra bed up.....but other than that I am not sure what else would justify almost $200 in tips on a week cruise for kids.

 

Maybe the do pay extra attention to your kids during mealtimes...but if that's why they do it, then your tipping is really for the wrong reason.

 

I would rather they just include it in the fare if they expect it and want it from us. Only industry that I know that does this( I know some restaurants do as well but)

 

They are already charging your children the same as adults I think for the cruise, yet they eat and drink less during the week so they are already making more profit off them then adults.

 

 

But this a discussion that goes on and on.

 

If it was me, I would probably pay it for the first cruise and then decide if you personally think its justified for future cruises.

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As people in the service industry (especially at Disney), my wife and I can both say, unreservedly, that children are nearly always more time- and energy-consuming than adults. You may not think your children are, but trust me, they are. That's not to say anything bad about your children. They're children. That's the nature of a child, and, as a parent, you know how children can be. I have never met a truly bad child (only bad parents), but even an angel can be unruly or messy or whatever. Unless you, as the parent, are going to make sure there is no additional work caused by your children. If that's the case, then forego the gratuity. That's highly unlikely though.

The service fee (which is what it should be called, because it should not be optional) will be well-earned!

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They are already charging your children the same as adults I think for the cruise, yet they eat and drink less during the week so they are already making more profit off them then adults.

 

I don't think this is the case; my kids don't run up the bar bill, nor do they spend any time in the casino.  They do go to Adventure Ocean, which requires additional staff and is included in the cruise fare.

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I disagree.....

 

I was only referring to the cost of the cruise and the grats as that  is what the OP was asking about...the child's fare is the same as an adult..and they eat and drink less....that's a fact.

 

Its not extra staff for Adventure Ocean really...as your children don't need staff in the bar or casino for them....just like you don't need the staff from Adventure Ocean for yourself, they are there whether they are used or not. Just like the casino has the same amount of staff for each cruise, although on some cruises maybe more people use the casino than other cruises...so that balances out  if anything.

 

So on the base cost of the cruise they are making more profit off them.... I am not talking about the potential extra's you may or may not spend on board.

 

4 adults in a cabin would eat a lot more and drink a lot more(non-alcoholic I am talking about) then a cabin with 2 adults and 2 kids...and there is no guarantee that if instead of these 2 kids it was 2 extra adults they would drink or gamble which is where the cruise would make more money  I realize.

 

The auto grats are only based on the base cruise fare....

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Third and fourth passenger are usually less.  For our Baltics cruise in July, my son's fare (3rd berth) is only one-third of that of the first and second passenger.  However, I think this fare is specific to it being a third person, not that he's a child.  I haven't seen any "kid pricing" on Royal which is why we were sailing with NCL and Holland America initially as he was usually free or $99 and he was cheaper on Disney than Royal when he was really young.

 

bcarney raises a good point regarding onboard spending.  Revenue from children onboard is likely much less and onboard spending is one of the ways cruise lines supplement the costs of a cruise.  Also, keep in mind that whether the third or fourth berth is a child or an adult, the cruise line still needs to staff the ship the same and ultimately it is the service personnel who suffer if the gratuity is reduced or removed; it's not the cruise line.

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I was only referring to the cost of the cruise and the grats as that  is what the OP was asking about...the child's fare is the same as an adult..and they eat and drink less....that's a fact.

 

Its not extra staff for Adventure Ocean really...as your children don't need staff in the bar or casino for them....just like you don't need the staff from Adventure Ocean for yourself, they are there whether they are used or not. Just like the casino has the same amount of staff for each cruise, although on some cruises maybe more people use the casino than other cruises...so that balances out  if anything.

 

 

 

I do see your point.  Although, staffing a bar is a money maker for the cruise line; the only revenue opportunity in the Adventure Ocean is if you pay for after hours activities.  Thus, I'd say there's an additional cost to the cruise line as it is not being offset by revenue from the venue.

 

You are correct that most kids eat less.  Fortunately, my child eats off the adult menu as he has an adventurous pallet, so we get our money's worth.

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Royal's revenue, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with the income that the individual crew member is, or is not, receiving via gratuities. The question was about gratuities, no? And yes, you should still pay for service! Just remember, one of the ways in which companies, like Disney and Royal, keep the sticker price so low is by making everything a la carte, including service. They underpay their people (to the legal minimum - which I'm not sure even applies in Royal's case) with the understanding that the consumer will make up the difference. I have no problem with this system, by the way. I just have a problem with people stealing service (ie. being served and not paying for it). Never stiff a server, bartender, bellman, car attendant, baggage handler, etc. You're taking something for nothing.

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Wow! Gratuites are always such a hot button issue! (And, obviously, I'm biased as hell!)

Yes, gratuities and dress codes are probably the two biggest hot button issues.

 

I'll admit that I've become more generous and understanding as I've added more cruises to my repertoire.  For example, I never understood the automatic gratuity when I dined exclusively in the Windjammer on short cruises for dinner and didn't ever make it to the MDR.  While I did tip in the Windjammer at night, I later realized how the servers rotate through the Windjammer and that by leaving the auto gratuity in place I was making sure that everyone who provided service was receiving compensation and I wasn't penalizing the poor bloke in the MDR for choosing not to dine there.

 

You're also correct that the vast majority of the crew's salary comes from the gratuities/service fees.  The compensation received from any of the cruise lines is minimal.  This is also why I tend to tip additional even when on one of the drink packages.

 

P.S.  I love that you own up to your bias.  Looking forward to meeting you in March when I stroll by your bar. :)

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I'm the trouble maker that started this mess.  :-)  I want to thank everyone for their posts.  You have all given me allot to think about.  Heading into this cruise I had no idea all of the hundreds of dollars I was going to end up paying beyond the initial cost.  My only remotely similar vacation was to Riviera Maya to an all inclusive resort.  I have always comments on how I could have gotten there, stayed buzzed and eaten myself into oblivion without paying a singe cent extra.

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You better make sure you tip ;)

He doesn't have to, but his tip, or lack thereof, will be reflected in the amount of booze, of lack thereof, in his drinks! ;) :P Long live the free pour! (Royal uses jiggering, so there's no way they can short you. On second thought, I have seen a lighter jigger pour and an "oopsy!" jigger pour, as in "oops! I may have put too much booze in this guy's drink - the guy who tips me well.")

 

Yes, gratuities and dress codes are probably the two biggest hot button issues.

 

I'll admit that I've become more generous and understanding as I've added more cruises to my repertoire.  For example, I never understood the automatic gratuity when I dined exclusively in the Windjammer on short cruises for dinner and didn't ever make it to the MDR.  While I did tip in the Windjammer at night, I later realized how the servers rotate through the Windjammer and that by leaving the auto gratuity in place I was making sure that everyone who provided service was receiving compensation and I wasn't penalizing the poor bloke in the MDR for choosing not to dine there.

 

You're also correct that the vast majority of the crew's salary comes from the gratuities/service fees.  The compensation received from any of the cruise lines is minimal.  This is also why I tend to tip additional even when on one of the drink packages.

 

P.S.  I love that you own up to your bias.  Looking forward to meeting you in March when I stroll by your bar. :)

Of course I admit my bias. We all have biases based on our life experiences, but that does not mean we cannot strive to find the objective reality nevertheless.

 

And you're dead on about the Windjammer crew. The Queen was just reading an article about them today in fact. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes tip sharing going on that most folks have no idea about.

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The 2 adults purchased a drink package.  Are you guys telling me that in addition to the $12.95 each per day for the 4 of us that I should be tipping the bar tender just so I can get a decent drink?

(Here comes my "form letter" once again. "Insiders" will understand what I mean.)

 

;)

 

This is from a different post on these boards (http://www.royalcari...n-july/?p=11005), but instead of making you search, here are my thoughts....

 

B) 

 

First, my disclaimer: I am a bartender at Dockside Margaritas in Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I live on tips. So, admittedly, I am biased. That said, I can still present an objective argument as to why tips really are not included when you purchase the drink package. Yes, technically, they are. But, it is a set dollar amount regardless of how much you drink or do not drink.

 

For example, let's say that the total gratuity amount is $50 (it's not, but it's close to that - round numbers are just easier, obviously). Then let's say you get 10 drinks over the course of your cruise. Each bartender would get $5 per drink. But, you never would get just 10 drinks, because to break even on the drink package, you would need to drink 5-8 drinks per day (easy for this guy to do! not so easy for others). So now let's say now that you get 50 drinks. Each bartender would get $1 per drink. You see how their tip just dropped a lot? But still, you probably wouldn't get just 50 drinks, because then why buy the package? You didn't come out ahead and you should have just bought the drinks individually. BUT!!! It gets worse. They tip share! Not only do they tip share with the people at their specific bar - let's say R Bar - but they also split with other people at other bars - let's say the On Air Bar. The bars are grouped, so stronger bars will help support the staff at weaker ones. So when you give the bartender $1, you're really giving that bartender $1 divided by the amount of people sharing that $1. In the case of the R Bar and On Air folks, that's split at least 6 ways. So instead of the traditional 15-20% tip a tipped crew member should receive, they're receiving something like 2-3%. I don't know about you, but I think the service I receive from the Royal Caribbean crew is worth far more than 2-3%.

 

So what we do is leave a buck per drink on top of the "included gratuity" - in some cases two bucks for more difficult to make drinks, like mojitos,etc. At the R Bar, the bar we spent the most amount of time at, we ended up giving them a lot more than that. But, we weren't just paying for someone to put liquid in a cup. They provided such a unique experience that we felt the need to say thank you in a big way. Remember, if you do not do the drink package, you still have an included gratuity. We always round that up as well, again because they earn more than they're being given.

 

One contrary point. If the bartender isn't happy to see you, seems to begrudgingly pour the liquid in the cup, and doesn't seem to care if you are there or not, feel free to stiff the guy! Well, okay, maybe not stiff. He still lives on tips. So maybe just a bad tip. ;) Just because I'm in the industry, doesn't mean I don't recognize that there are horrible servers and bartenders out there.

 

Speaking of servers, you should also give them something more. Calculate the amount of money you would have to spend for any meal based on the prices you'd pay on land, and then consider how much of a tip you'd give your land-based server - 15-20%. Then consider how much you're giving your sea-based server. Then, don't be a curmudgeon! If you can afford to spend thousands on a cruise, find a few bucks for the service you're receiving. If you can't afford it, maybe you can't afford the cruise in the first place.

 

Finally, don't forget to tip something anytime someone goes above and beyond for you. If you're stateroom attendant does his job and nothing more, then he is already being tipped. But, if the deck patrol guy does something WOWing for you, give him a few. He probably doesn't get that often - you'll make his day! If he WOWed you, WOW him!!! Instant Karma!!!

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I'm the trouble maker that started this mess.  :-)  I want to thank everyone for their posts.  You have all given me allot to think about.  Heading into this cruise I had no idea all of the hundreds of dollars I was going to end up paying beyond the initial cost.  My only remotely similar vacation was to Riviera Maya to an all inclusive resort.  I have always comments on how I could have gotten there, stayed buzzed and eaten myself into oblivion without paying a singe cent extra.

I think this is one of the things that often catches new cruisers by surprise as it isn't often well explained by the cruise lines and travel agents don't always make it clear to their clients.  I choose to add it to the reservation simply so that I don't have to deal with it later.  Note, though, that outside of the gratuities, there is no requirement or expectation that you spend more on anything else.  You can do everything on your own in port, dine in the included restaurants, drink from the included beverages, etc.

 

Ultimately, tipping is a personal decision and only you can decide what to do.

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The 2 adults purchased a drink package.  Are you guys telling me that in addition to the $12.95 each per day for the 4 of us that I should be tipping the bar tender just so I can get a decent drink?

An automatic gratuity of 18% is added to all drink purchases onboard.  If you purchase any of the beverage packages, then the gratuity is included in the cost of the package.  No additional gratuity is required, although I have tipped additional for exceptional service (e.g., the server at the coffee bar starting my drink as he sees me approaching from across the centrum).  To me, any service above and beyond deserves recognition.  I don't tip additional every time, just here and there.

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Forgot about smoking, WaayTooo.  Given that most ships have greatly curtailed where smokers can smoke, I've kind of forgotten about the issue.  Fortunately, I only had one bad experience related to smoking in 23 cruises.

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Ultimately, tipping is a personal decision and only you can decide what to do.

Definitely disagree. Your CPA gets paid for preparing your taxes. Your MD gets paid for your examination. Your gardener gets paid for lawn care. These are all services and services have fees, just like products have fees. This isn't personal - this is business (say that in your mnd like a mob boss). You want a service, you pay for it. It's the graying out of this clear concept that's creating so much confusion. And, with America becoming more and more of a service-driven economy, we better figure out how this works quickly.

 

By the way, I knew and agreed with my current stance long before I worked in the industry. It came from my family, my friends, and my neighborhood. People just understood that someone was doing the serving and that someone ought to be compensated fairly.

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