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We have an upcoming cruise on the Harmony in star class - our first non DCL Cruise - and have lots of obc.  Can obc be used for tips for Our genie, servers in specialty restaurants, and/or the casino?

Also as specialty dining and coastal kitchen is included should we budget tips for servers there and if so, how much do people normally leave at specialty restaurants or at CK?  

Thanks for any advice!

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1 minute ago, Ne47 said:

We have an upcoming cruise on the Harmony in star class - our first non DCL Cruise - and have lots of obc.  Can obc be used for tips for Our genie, servers in specialty restaurants, and/or the casino?

OBC can be used as tips in the specialty restaurants.  It can also be used in the casino but will incur a 5% charge.  You can not use the OBC for the Genie or room steward tips, so bring cash to cover that.

Specialty dining will give you a receipt when you dine with a space to write in a tip to charge to your onboard account.  CK does not do this, so tips for CK will need to be cash.

I have never been the responsible party for squaring up the bill, so I can't attest to a tip budget.

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Just to be clear, you cannot use OBC for a specific purchase. It's essentially a credit against your onboard account.

So if you want to use OBC towards gratuity, your automatic gratuity will be charged each day of your cruise. That total, minus OBC is what you owe. Keep in mind that if you buy a shirt, that goes against same account.

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37 minutes ago, Matt said:

So if you want to use OBC towards gratuity, your automatic gratuity will be charged each day of your cruise. 

OP is Star Class, so no automatic gratuities here.  

They will use the non-refundable OBC first, so if you know how much you have you can figure out what you need to spend onboard not to leave any money on the table before getting off the ship.

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Thanks for these replies - incredibly helpful!  One more...

When tipping in specialty restaurants on RCCL does one base the gratuity on the cover charge (I know this will be waived for star class but we can use $45/pp) or an estimate of what the cost would have been had it been a la Carte?

If it’s helpful we typically tip 20-25 percent in restaurants at home.

thanks!

 

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I have no idea what kind of OBC you have, but if it is refundable OBC you can withdraw whatever you don’t use from Guest Services and so you would have cash to give the Genie.  I would simply ask the Genie to confirm what type of OBC you have and ask for his/her help in getting it refunded in cash. They can pretty much do anything for you.

As for tipping in the Specialty restaurants, we always (whether in Star Class or not) tip as follows:  $5 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner no matter where we eat, even if it is in the Windjammer or Coastal Kitchen. We tip in cash but you can certainly charge it to you Sea Pass account, which will essentially consume your OBC. 

Star Class do not pay a daily gratuity (well...of course, you are paying it but it isn’t charged separately).

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29 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I have no idea what kind of OBC you have, but if it is refundable OBC you can withdraw whatever you don’t use from Guest Services and so you would have cash to give the Genie.  I would simply ask the Genie to confirm what type of OBC you have and ask for his/her help in getting it refunded in cash. They can pretty much do anything for you.

As for tipping in the Specialty restaurants, we always (whether in Star Class or not) tip as follows:  $5 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner no matter where we eat, even if it is in the Windjammer or Coastal Kitchen. We tip in cash but you can certainly charge it to you Sea Pass account, which will essentially consume your OBC. 

Star Class do not pay a daily gratuity (well...of course, you are paying it but it isn’t charged separately).

Thanks enormously for sharing what you do for gratuities for meals - this is incredibly helpful! We want to be generous but not stupidly so and this helps a lot!

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  • 1 year later...

I just ran across this post and had another question about tipping.  First, however, an observation.  All of the tipping rules for Royal are simply confusing and, I believe, intentionally vague in an effort to increase tips to the staff which, I imagine, has the unintended consequence of shorting tips to staff a lot of the time.  A better system would be to simply charge each person $XX per week based upon the average purchases at dinner, the bar, etc and just allocate it towards the service employees with a rule that there is no other tipping.  That would seem to me to be fair across the board.

In any case, here is my question.  Star Class passengers have already paid for their gratuities in their room.  There is not a specific line item on the bill but it is included in the dear cost of the room.  Here are a couple examples which illustrate my conundrum.  

I order a $10.00 drink from a waiter at the bar or from a pool attendant etc.  The 18% tip on that drink would be $1.80.  Now I generally consider 18% for a bartender that opens a bottle of beer or fills a cup from the frozen cocktail machine to be a pretty good tip.  Let's assume he did a really good job was chatty and maybe complimented me on my Hawaiian shirt do I boost his tip to 20% and really write $.20 on the extra tip line or do I go all out and give him an extra $1.00 and not he is getting a 28% tip.  I personally feel like a schmuck if I give either nothing or the $.20 tip and I feel like I have been had if I end up tipping everyone at 28%.  

Similar situation for dinner.  Let's assume the cost for the dinner I order is $100 for two people.  Assume we follow @WAAAYTOOO guidelines and tip $20 for dinner.  According to the published info, Star passengers have already paid the 18% gratuity towards the dinner, and now another 20% tip at the time of service.  Again, I would say that the service better be pretty spectacular for a 38% tip.

I, for one, find the tipping stuff more than a bit confusing.  I really wish that Royal would simply charge us for gratuities and announce a "no tipping" policy.  Just my humble opinion.

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2 hours ago, Chuck586 said:

I just ran across this post and had another question about tipping.  First, however, an observation.  All of the tipping rules for Royal are simply confusing and, I believe, intentionally vague in an effort to increase tips to the staff which, I imagine, has the unintended consequence of shorting tips to staff a lot of the time.  A better system would be to simply charge each person $XX per week based upon the average purchases at dinner, the bar, etc and just allocate it towards the service employees with a rule that there is no other tipping.  That would seem to me to be fair across the board.

In any case, here is my question.  Star Class passengers have already paid for their gratuities in their room.  There is not a specific line item on the bill but it is included in the dear cost of the room.  Here are a couple examples which illustrate my conundrum.  

I order a $10.00 drink from a waiter at the bar or from a pool attendant etc.  The 18% tip on that drink would be $1.80.  Now I generally consider 18% for a bartender that opens a bottle of beer or fills a cup from the frozen cocktail machine to be a pretty good tip.  Let's assume he did a really good job was chatty and maybe complimented me on my Hawaiian shirt do I boost his tip to 20% and really write $.20 on the extra tip line or do I go all out and give him an extra $1.00 and not he is getting a 28% tip.  I personally feel like a schmuck if I give either nothing or the $.20 tip and I feel like I have been had if I end up tipping everyone at 28%.  

Similar situation for dinner.  Let's assume the cost for the dinner I order is $100 for two people.  Assume we follow @WAAAYTOOO guidelines and tip $20 for dinner.  According to the published info, Star passengers have already paid the 18% gratuity towards the dinner, and now another 20% tip at the time of service.  Again, I would say that the service better be pretty spectacular for a 38% tip.

I, for one, find the tipping stuff more than a bit confusing.  I really wish that Royal would simply charge us for gratuities and announce a "no tipping" policy.  Just my humble opinion.

You're correct. Whether Star class or not, you paid gratuity already, you're under no obligation to tip above that. If you order a drink (with or without a drink package) the gratuity is automatically added, you're under no obligation to tip above that. If you eat at Chops (whether paid or as a Star class perk) the gratuity is taken care of there too.

The reason people tip more is the understanding that tips are pooled among crew & the tips are insultingly low (see below). Personally, I tip extra when specialty dining (I usually paid months ago anyway so why not leave an extra $20 (or more for large party)), and I tip extra when I have a beverage package. I also leave extra for the stateroom attendant and whomever else went above and beyond. I'm not as generous as @WAAAYTOOO, wish I could be but I'm 14 promotions away from that level of cash LOL but, I do what I can when I feel it's warranted. 

Does Royal intentionally keep the daily gratuity low? Good question. The problem with charging each person a set higher amount, I'd imagine is "sticker shock" and allocating it to the right people. Figure, $5 for stateroom, $5 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, $20 for dinner (I am stealing @WAAAYTOOO's numbers which I've tipped more for dinner & lunch on land, but it's a good base) that's $40 per day * 7 that's $280 extra and that's just dining & room steward tips so daily/week gratuity would be even higher. I think the better solution is to pay a little more to crew, remove the daily gratuity and people can tip as they see fit, just like on land. (Oh, but leave the 18% added to drinks & food and that can go to the actual person & maybe give people a way to tip when dining in a complementary restaurant ... it would be a good reminder that tips aren't included.)
 

Quote

The automatic service gratuity is $14.50 USD per person, per day for guests in Junior Suites and below, or $17.50 USD per person, per day for guests in Grand Suites and above, applied to each guest’s SeaPass account on a daily basis. The gratuity applies to individual guests of all ages and stateroom categories. As a way to reward our crew members for their outstanding service, gratuities are shared among dining, bar & culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes to enhance the cruise experience.

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/onboard-service-gratuity-expense

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I agree with @sk8erguy1978.  It's all about personal choice.  Whether you choose to tip anyone is completely arbitrary.  It's a matter of debate as to whether the Genie's tip is included in the cruise fare for Star Class.  Most people say that it is not. ....but you're not going to get a bill at the end of the cruise if you choose not to tip the Genie...or anyone else.

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I agree with @sk8erguy1978.  It's all about personal choice.  Whether you choose to tip anyone is completely arbitrary.  It's a matter of debate as to whether the Genie's tip is included in the cruise fare for Star Class.  Most people say that it is not. ....but you're not going to get a bill at the end of the cruise if you choose not to tip the Genie...or anyone else.

I absolutely agree with both that there is no "requirement" to tip but I just hate the way it feels to ignore the bar or restaurant line that asks for an additional tip. 

We have a wonderful resort hotel here in Michigan called the Grand Hotel.  It has always been a "no tipping" resort.  The expectations are clearly spelled out for the guests and the staff alike and it just makes everything clear for everyone.  The resort fee at the Grand is $140.00 per night which would cause some to fall over but if that's the cost of doing business so be it.

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My family had a summer house in Petosky, Michigan when I was a teen, Uncle owned the Borden Dairy, I got to deliver milk to the Grand Hotel and the island residents. Horse drawn milk wagon, no cars, just bicycles. My sister still has a place up there, beauti

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On 10/21/2020 at 2:23 PM, ehw51 said:

My family had a summer house in Petosky, Michigan when I was a teen, Uncle owned the Borden Dairy, I got to deliver milk to the Grand Hotel and the island residents. Horse drawn milk wagon, no cars, just bicycles. My sister still has a place up there, beauti

It is still a spectacular place.  Some would call it ..... PureMichigan.

 

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3 hours ago, crisgold52 said:

Most people in our circles couldn't afford star class much less go on about how they are on star class which is a privilege not something for regular down to earth cruisers. Most tend to be satisfied with balcony and below unless they win the lottery. It's the reality and limited to this section of cruise fans. If we take things back down to earth for most common folks embarking on a cruise the reality is most will go in the main 3 categories without genies or concierge. Just like how most fly coach and not business. It's fun to hear about individuals star class statuses and such but I doubt it really matters in this pandemic. I know most average people not on this forum feel a cabin is a cabin. 

There is nothing wrong with cruising only in balcony cabins if that's all you can afford.  Some people can only afford interior cabins.  The ship visits the same ports regardless of the cabin you can afford. 

Enjoy your cruise.  

     

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3 hours ago, crisgold52 said:

Most people in our circles couldn't afford star class much less go on about how they are on star class which is a privilege not something for regular down to earth cruisers. Most tend to be satisfied with balcony and below unless they win the lottery. It's the reality and limited to this section of cruise fans. If we take things back down to earth for most common folks embarking on a cruise the reality is most will go in the main 3 categories without genies or concierge. Just like how most fly coach and not business. It's fun to hear about individuals star class statuses and such but I doubt it really matters in this pandemic. I know most average people not on this forum feel a cabin is a cabin. 

Not sure about others who sail star class, but I will be the first to admit that I am an unashamed suite snob. I have sailed star and will continue to do so if I can afford it. I have also sailed everything from an inside to star. 
 

Of all the star class people that I have met, they are all down to earth, myself included. I do not think it is fair to pass judgment on someone just because they like to cruise a certain way. Once again, you do you, and what applies to you, does in no way, apply to everyone else. 

Now, where were we before this thread got hijacked? Oh that’s right, tipping when sailing star class. 

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On 10/21/2020 at 6:59 AM, Chuck586 said:

I, for one, find the tipping stuff more than a bit confusing.  I really wish that Royal would simply charge us for gratuities and announce a "no tipping" policy. 

I recall several rookie mistakes on our first star class cruise (which also happened to be our first RCI cruise) when it came to tipping.  LOL  Thankfully it all worked out with the help of members of this community.  💕

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On 7/3/2019 at 4:56 PM, WAAAYTOOO said:

As for tipping in the Specialty restaurants, we always (whether in Star Class or not) tip as follows:  $5 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner no matter where we eat, even if it is in the Windjammer or Coastal Kitchen. We tip in cash but you can certainly charge it to you Sea Pass account, which will essentially consume your OBC.

We used these exact numbers last year and it worked great.  Brought some cash just for tipping and used the rest for our room attendant when we checked out.  We also tip a little extra at the bar even having the drink package.  

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My kids make a real mess of the cabin (seriously embarrassing) so I feel obligated to excessively tip the attendant. I don’t do drink packages or dining packages but always tip $1 extra per drink and $20-$50 after speciality dining. My family does not do the main dining room either because of the 2 1/2 dinners and less then great food. These folks work really hard & I personally don’t mind tipping them for good service. No matter how you slice it, the speciality dining even with an excessive tip is much cheaper then a comparable land based option. 

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On 10/23/2020 at 2:56 PM, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Not sure about others who sail star class, but I will be the first to admit that I am an unashamed suite snob. I have sailed star and will continue to do so if I can afford it. I have also sailed everything from an inside to star. 
 

Of all the star class people that I have met, they are all down to earth, myself included. I do not think it is fair to pass judgment on someone just because they like to cruise a certain way. Once again, you do you, and what applies to you, does in no way, apply to everyone else. 

Now, where were we before this thread got hijacked? Oh that’s right, tipping when sailing star class. 

I will take it a step further & say we won’t even get on a cruise ship if it’s not on deck 17! 

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