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Still Confused About Tipping


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Hi,

 

I'm a total cruising newbie and have booked Allure for Aug 6 departure.  I have time to learn and have watched about everything I can find on YouTube.  I've read a bunch and think I'm learning, but am still totally confused about tipping.   Please let me know if I understand the policy.

 

1) I can choose to prepay or pay 18% on board for tips

2) Many people tip above and beyond for good service. even if they prepaid the tips.

 

This makes no sense to me because I am always a good tipper, but usually tip at 20-25%.  If I pre-pay the tips, then I would hypothetically only tip a small amount on board for extra good service.  In some cases, I would imagine this would be just a couple of dollars.  That would make me look cheap.    OR do I just pre-pay and not tip?  18% isn't terrible and if other people aren't tipping extra, would this be the normal thing to do?  All the answers I've seen about this aren't very specific and just say something to the effect of "do what you're comfortable with."    Well, I'm only comfortable tipping how everyone else is doing it.   TBH I think that having to tip on top of a prepay tip seems like a hassle, but I would like to know honestly what to expect.

 

Thanks for your help and for patience with my newbie post.

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There is no unwritten rule for tipping. Remember a lot of passengers come from countries where tipping just isn't a thing. So don't think you'll be looked upon as cheap if you don't tip anyone beyond the daily/food service gratuities.

If someone makes some aspect of your cruise better than you expected, then throw something their way. If not, no big deal.

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Clearing up some confusion...

18% tip is applied towards certain purchases. Mainly beverage, specialty dining, and spa services.

When purchasing a beverage or specialty dining package this 18% is included when purchasing. It might be a separate entry or included in a bundled price. You can also tip additional if you desire.

 

Pre-paid tips are the either $14.50 or $17.50 per person per day that goes towards housekeeping and dining services. This is added to your invoice for the cruise. If you don't pre-pay they'll be charged onboard. This is separate from the 18%.

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I will typically prepay my gratuities because I like to not have a bill upon return home.  But we also will bring cash with us to tip the porters and shore excursion folks a few dollars.  We also give extra to anyone who goes above and beyond for us.  On Anthem we had an amazing waiter who actually came and found us in the hallway with some cookies that just came out of the oven. He was over the top all week. We felt he absolutely deserved an extra tip!

 

Enjoy your sailing and welcome to the boards.

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1 hour ago, burbuja0512 said:

Thanks for your help and for patience with my newbie post.

No need to thank us, that's what this board is all about, helping out new cruisers and don't feel like you're trying our patience, we were all new cruisers at one time. So, feel free to ask away with any questions you may have. Here's a recommendation no one mentioned. Take a picture of the names of your waitstaff, cabin attendant, favorite bar tender, anyone on board who does a really outstanding job for you. At the end of the cruise, you will get a survey from Royal to fill out. There will be a spot in the survey where you can point out the individuals who did a really great job or poor job for you. You can leave positive or negative comments and mention them by name (you will have their photos to help you remember). These comments are read and shared by higher staff and can lead to pay raises, promotion or termination. 

The Allure is a great cruise ship, we have been on her four times! Here's a fun tip when she is leaving port. Go to deck 14, port side and go all the way to the front (bow) of the hallway. Go through the sliding glass door and you will be standing on top of the navigation deck (thirteen). There are "wings on both the port and starboard) that you can also stand on. Go for photo ops leaving and coming into port. Just beware, it is VERY windy. Hang onto your and or toupee! 

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 The set gratuities of $14.50 or $17.50 (depending on your cabin category) can be prepaid with your cruise fare or added daily to your on board account.  These go to housekeeping and dining staff.  You do not have to tip over and above that BUT many do for exceptional service.  If you prepurchase items through your cruise planner, 18% is typically added to the purchase at check out.  If you buy drinks of any kind individually, 18% will be added to your bill.  
There is no “what everybody else does”.  Tipping is discretionary and up to you.

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Don't let tipping anxiety get in the way of having fun.  If you've prepaid the gratuities or choose have them charged daily while you're on board you're good to go.  You can keep some cash handy to reward any individual crew member that you feel went above and beyond for you.  It is not expected but will be appreciated.  

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3 hours ago, burbuja0512 said:

Hi,

 

I'm a total cruising newbie and have booked Allure for Aug 6 departure.  I have time to learn and have watched about everything I can find on YouTube.  I've read a bunch and think I'm learning, but am still totally confused about tipping.   Please let me know if I understand the policy.

 

1) I can choose to prepay or pay 18% on board for tips

2) Many people tip above and beyond for good service. even if they prepaid the tips.

 

This makes no sense to me because I am always a good tipper, but usually tip at 20-25%.  If I pre-pay the tips, then I would hypothetically only tip a small amount on board for extra good service.  In some cases, I would imagine this would be just a couple of dollars.  That would make me look cheap.    OR do I just pre-pay and not tip?  18% isn't terrible and if other people aren't tipping extra, would this be the normal thing to do?  All the answers I've seen about this aren't very specific and just say something to the effect of "do what you're comfortable with."    Well, I'm only comfortable tipping how everyone else is doing it.   TBH I think that having to tip on top of a prepay tip seems like a hassle, but I would like to know honestly what to expect.

 

Thanks for your help and for patience with my newbie post.

There is more to the story. The pre-pay prior to voyage goes to the room steward, dining room exc and is pooled as a collective tip. I believe there is an option to either pre-pay this or pay daily onboard off room account. Then you have the 18% that’s added to every single purchase onboard (bar drinks, speciality dining exc). If you tip more then the 18% (which many people including myself do) it’s easy to just add in what you wish on the signed sales receipt. When I buy a bar drink I normally add another $1.00 per beer in addition to the 18% gratuity. The bar tenders do not look at this as “cheap” at all. For speciality dining (family of 4) I will add $50.00 on top of the 18%. In the casino after 10+ beers the tips get better and better! Hope this helps. 

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I will just add that, if you have the money to spare, extra tips for room steward and dining staff are greatly appreciated, though not expected. We always “pretip” our cabin steward $10- $20 as a nice to meet you/thanks for prepping our room. The service we get in return tells me it is received well.  We also tip and express appreciation on the last night  

There are envelopes available the last night to give tips to those who have helped you through the cruise. Again, it’s not a problem if you stick with  just your prepaid gratuity. But if you are comfortable giving extra, they will be grateful. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, fa-li said:

I will just add that, if you have the money to spare, extra tips for room steward and dining staff are greatly appreciated, though not expected. We always “pretip” our cabin steward $10- $20 as a nice to meet you/thanks for prepping our room. The service we get in return tells me it is received well.  We also tip and express appreciation on the last night  

There are envelopes available the last night to give tips to those who have helped you through the cruise. Again, it’s not a problem if you stick with  just your prepaid gratuity. But if you are comfortable giving extra, they will be grateful. 
 

 

Is it ok to just hand them the money, or should you always just leave it in an envelope? 

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8 hours ago, Wanderlust876 said:

Is it ok to just hand them the money, or should you always just leave it in an envelope? 

They are happy for you to just hand it to them. I was more trying to show that there is a culture of extra tips handed out at the end. 
 

I like the envelopes for the last night so I can be sure I haven’t missed anyone and I’m not digging for cash or counting it in front of people. One on one through the week, I just hand them cash. 

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We use the provided envelopes at the end of our cruise if we tip our cabin steward and Main Dining Room waiters.
 

If we tip “on the spot” such as at a bar, for room service, or the baggage porters, we use cash. 
 

We are not “wealthy”, but we are well-off enough to be able to take a cruise.  Because of this, when budgeting for a cruise, we include money for extra tips.  Sometimes we’ve given all of it out, other times we being home a little leftover cash.  
 

We have no concrete method of tipping, however, I have worked retail for over 35 years, so our default is generous.   If I’m asking someone to bring me coffee to my room in the morning because I’m too lazy to walk a minute or two to get it, I’m going to tip them. 

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The prepaid gratuities is not mandatory at all but I would never do that or suggest that. Below is from Royal’s website, paragraph 2 explains it.

 

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.

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. Guests who have pre-paid their gratuity will not see a daily charge during their cruise.

The automatic daily gratuity is based on customary industry standards. Applying this charge automatically helps streamline the recognition process for the crew members that work to enhance your cruise. We hope you find the gratuity to be an accurate reflection of your satisfaction and thank you for your generous recognition of our staff.

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1 hour ago, bluer101 said:

The prepaid gratuities is not mandatory at all but I would never do that or suggest that. Below is from Royal’s website, paragraph 2 explains it.

 

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.

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. Guests who have pre-paid their gratuity will not see a daily charge during their cruise.

The automatic daily gratuity is based on customary industry standards. Applying this charge automatically helps streamline the recognition process for the crew members that work to enhance your cruise. We hope you find the gratuity to be an accurate reflection of your satisfaction and thank you for your generous recognition of our staff.

I wonder if the crew are able to see at a quick glance whether a guest they are serving removed their automatic gratuities. 🤔  This could affect the level of service that they provide to their guests, even if that guest had full intent on tipping cash as they go.

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We prepay the standard gratuities, I'm pretty low maintenance and don't ask the room steward for anything but will usually leave something extra for him as well as the waiter and assistant waiter at the end of the cruise.  I tip the bartenders and extra buck a drink and once I had two exceptional bartenders who went above and beyond in service and friendliness so I also sought them out on the last night to thank them and give them a little extra.  On excursions you'll want to give the tour operator and driver a little something.  I will bring a bunch of ones, fives and tens to use for tipping.

However much you give they are very appreciative of it, also write down the names and positions of those who go that extra mile and mention them in your post cruise survey.

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4 hours ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

I wonder if the crew are able to see at a quick glance whether a guest they are serving removed their automatic gratuities. 🤔  This could affect the level of service that they provide to their guests, even if that guest had full intent on tipping cash as they go.

Isn’t it easier to just keep the auto gratuity and add cash as desired? My thought is this money is pooled and many crew members rely on it so to pull it has a ripple effect. 

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We like to bring a whole bunch of mainly $5 bills, and some 10s and 20s with us.  It's hard to get small bills once on board.  In spite of Covid, we've had a couple of really good years.  Generally, it's not unusual for us to tip over 50% on meals out at home.  On the ship, we'll spend a few hundred on cash tips. 

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10 minutes ago, Bill S said:

We like to bring a whole bunch of mainly $5 bills, and some 10s and 20s with us.  It's hard to get small bills once on board.  In spite of Covid, we've had a couple of really good years.  Generally, it's not unusual for us to tip over 50% on meals out at home.  On the ship, we'll spend a few hundred on cash tips. 

Wow, can I wait on you?!?!!

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I am a firm believer that even the experts don't really know where the pre-paid gratuities go.  I have asked many times while on a ship,

and never twice in a row do I get the same answer, either from employees or supervisors.

 

So, I do pre-paid gratuities, I pay the 18% that's tacked on drinks, and I still tip my servers, waiters/waitresses, and room attendants in cash.

 

Ain't nobody calling me a cheapskate.🤑

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