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Prepaid Gratuities


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8 hours ago, BeGoneSee said:

Who gets these?

Waiter, head waiter, assistant waiter and your stateroom attendant.

8 hours ago, BeGoneSee said:

If purchasing the Deluxe Drink Package and paying for the gratuities there, can I assume the bar staff will get part of that 18%?

Yes, when you buy a drink package, you pay a "service fee" that covers gratuities.

Every order they take, they get a bigger piece of the pie of gratuities for that day

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5 minutes ago, Matt said:

Every order they take, they get a bigger piece of the pie of gratuities for that day

I had always wondered how that worked when we buy a package.  Now that I know this, I will make a better effort to visit my favorite bartenders more frequently.  It's mostly café promenade for my coffees, but with the new drink menus with more "mocktails" I've been in more of the bars, than usual.

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Is the service fee pool capped though?

 

Say the cruise has $1000 in service fee money for the beverage packages. But those who have the DBP wrack up what would have been $1500 in gratuities if billed per drink. Does that mean they only still pull from that $1000? or do they get actuals because the odds say enough people won't max out their package and RC will make money anyway?

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3 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

@Matt  Do you know how/if bartenders get gratuities from the free Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnancle drinks?

 

I'm not familiar with how that works. But I generally tip them with cash when I order one and/or catch them at the end of the cruise to give them one lump tip

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17 hours ago, BeGoneSee said:

Who gets these?

I was also curious about this and found details on Royal's website:

"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

It's good to know that more than just the waiters, bartenders, and stateroom attendants get a piece of that pie.  When I was working as a line cook, the tips were always appreciated.

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3 hours ago, Matt said:

I'm not familiar with how that works. But I generally tip them with cash when I order one and/or catch them at the end of the cruise to give them one lump tip

Yes, I've been doing that, and the tip goes higher if the brand of alcohol is better!
Does Diamond dinks mean lesser quality alcohol or are the high end included?

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The prepaid things has always seemed kinda dumb in my opinion. I have no problem with the cost and tipping but if it’s required and isn’t dependent on what you do for the day why isn’t it just rolled into your cost? Or at the very least why not just have it be one price instead of charging it daily. Always seemed like a trick almost 

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1 hour ago, Newtocruises said:

The prepaid things has always seemed kinda dumb in my opinion. I have no problem with the cost and tipping but if it’s required and isn’t dependent on what you do for the day why isn’t it just rolled into your cost? Or at the very least why not just have it be one price instead of charging it daily. Always seemed like a trick almost 

By prepaid do you mean the gratuities?

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7 hours ago, Newtocruises said:

why isn’t it just rolled into your cost?

So that cruise lines can market cruises with lower numbers.  

Ultimately it is about marketing and the competition.

If Royal bundles it in but Carnival does not then on the surface Carnival can advertise a cruise at what appears to be a lower cost.  

"Cruise from $149*"  versus "Cruise from $199*".

Which ones looks cheaper?  The first one.  But if the first one doesn't include service charges while the second one does, the second could actually be cheaper.

Until the government requires all cruise lines to include it it will always be about comparing prices between cruise lines.  One will always try to look the lowest by excluding the daily service fees and then the other's have to follow or else they'll appear to have a higher price.  Many people will fall for the lower apparent price, particularly new to cruise who don't understand how it works.

"Resort fees" when booking hotels are similar.  Often the $20 to $55 daily "resort fee" can only be found once your are far into the booking process.  It's all about making one resort look cheaper than the competition.

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9 hours ago, Newtocruises said:

... if it’s required and isn’t dependent on what you do for the day why isn’t it just rolled into your cost? 

It is not required.  The prepaid option is added for the guest's convenience.  You can always go to Guest Services and have the prepaid gratuities or the daily gratuities taken off your account.  Then you can give gratuities to whomever you want.  You may even choose not to tip at all.  The reason why it is not rolled into your cost is to give you the freedom to choose the way you handle gratuities.  At the end of the day, it is dependent on what you choose to do. 

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Article about pre-paying gratuities: Should you prepay gratuities for a Royal Caribbean cruise?

For me, I pre-pay to help avoid a giant bill at the end of the cruise. Plus, pre-paying locks in gratuities at the current rate. If you wait to pay gratuities onboard and Royal raises the gratuity rate, you would pay higher rate. Granted, that hasn't happened in a while.

Ultimately, I like to prepay for budget reasons.

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3 hours ago, PG Cruiser said:

You can always go to Guest Services and have the prepaid gratuities or the daily gratuities taken off your account.  Then you can give gratuities to whomever you want.

Technically, you're not supposed to modify this gratuity amount unless you're unsatisfied with the services onboard.

"In the unlikely event that a guest onboard being charged the daily automatic gratuity does not receive satisfactory service, the guest may request to modify the daily amount at their discretion by visiting Guest Services onboard and will be able to do so until the morning of their departure."

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

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The longer this is discussed, the further I'm confused.  I'd rather go back to the old days when cash tips were given for every service received. 

I do the pre-paid gratuities thing.  In addition, I still tip in cash, over and above this, as I do not know who receives  a portion of the pre-paid gratuities, or how much they receive.  I tip very well my food servers, my drink servers, my cabin attendant, and anybody that provides a service.

 

Then, over and above all this, just yesterday I was charged another pre-paid tip package for beverages. 

 

Everybody I've talked to about this, has their own idea of how the tip packages work, but seldom do any two people understand it the same, including employees on a ship.  The only folks that know for sure if they're being tipped, are the folks that receive cash in their hand.

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21 minutes ago, WAYNO said:

I do the pre-paid gratuities thing.  In addition, I still tip in cash, over and above this, as I do not know who receives  a portion of the pre-paid gratuities, or how much they receive.  I tip very well my food servers, my drink servers, my cabin attendant, and anybody that provides a service.

Look, I work in the service industry part-time, so I know how it is, and I am a firm believer in tipping.  But have you totaled up the prepaid gratuities for all the add-ons? OMG!  This next cruise alone we are at over $500 in gratuities before stepping on board.  Now, if someone goes above and beyond I always throw a little something extra, but that money starts to add up quick.

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24 minutes ago, FF86 said:

This next cruise alone we are at over $500 in gratuities before stepping on board.

If you're talking about the gratuities on the drink package, you will pay 18% gratuity added onto each drink when you don't have a package so for some people it's a cost savings in gratuities alone depending on the value of the drinks they are consuming with the package.

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On 1/21/2022 at 1:02 PM, AshleyDillo said:

If you're talking about the gratuities on the drink package, you will pay 18% gratuity added onto each drink when you don't have a package so for some people it's a cost savings in gratuities alone depending on the value of the drinks they are consuming with the package.

I've read so many conflicting answers as to whether gratuity is included with your drink package,  or if it's still charged per drink...

It's our first cruise,  and my husband booked everything on his own,  as a surprise for me; so, I wasn't able to see all of the fine print.

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28 minutes ago, DesertGal702 said:

I've read so many conflicting answers as to whether gratuity is included with your drink package,  or if it's still charged per drink...

It's our first cruise,  and my husband booked everything on his own,  as a surprise for me; so, I wasn't able to see all of the fine print.

Gratuities are included with the drink package. Your husband paid 18% on the cost of the package which covers the gratuities. Anything you want to give above and beyond that is welcome and will always be accepted but it is not required. The only time you will be charged anything when using the package is if you are getting a drink that has a menu price more than the package limit ($13 on most ships, but the older ships the limit is $12).

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We always pre-pay the gratuities - I like having it already paid for ahead of time.  My question:  I do not use the MDR.  Is a portion of my gratuities still going to them?  Or do they divide it amongst the people who actually 'serve' me?  

I tip everyone in cash along the way, baristas, bartenders, etc. so I never have really thought about where those daily grats really go.

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Just a few thoughts on the tipping issue:

1. Pre-paid gratuities means just that.  You have done your part as a consumer.  No doubt that the cruise employees are grateful.

2. Lots of people say that they understand the service industry...Assuming many of those people are from the USA, do they understand that cruise lines are not generally bound to US Federal Minimum Wage laws?  These are international waters' ship and crews.  So, many employees may be paid much more than they would in their own countries, but some, like US employees are getting paid less than the US minimum wage.  From checking with friends and family members who are cruise ship employees, they earn around $1,250 every 2 weeks (that is USD).  This amounts to about $30,000 a year.  Tips help make up for the low salary.

3. Cruise employees typically work 14 hour days and consecutive work days before getting a day off.  

4. Cruise employees also wear many hats.  A waiter from breakfast may be a bartender at lunch and something else at night.  It seems like difficult manual labor.

5. Cruise employees are NOT like a regular waiter or barista.  Most service industry employees see a customer anywhere from 30 seconds to an hour.  Cruise employees are serving us cruisers all day and night.  I hope that most of us are kind and generous people, but some are NOT.  For those few bad apple cruisers, cruise employees have to serve them throughout the trips.  That is hard work.

6. Choosing to tip extra is great.  Choosing not to is acceptable.  It depends on you.  Our first cruise was the cheapest 3 night cruise that we could afford when my wife and I were still in grad school.  Extra tipping was not really an option.  Now, it is an option and we take at least $200 to $300 in small bills and tip often. 

7. My understanding is that the pre-paid gratuities are global tips and shared equally amongst the employees.  As it should be (read number 4).  So even if you do not dine in MDR, those same employees are likely serving you elsewhere in some other capacity.

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