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Requesting Tips on top of Gratuities


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On 7/22/2022 at 11:30 PM, Traveling Mike said:

I just got back from an Alaska Cruise and seen something in my cabin that I have not seen before.  They left me 3 envelopes allowing/asking me for additional tips on top of the Gratuities I have already paid.  I normally give extra cash to the people that go beyond for me but this asking for an extra tip rubbed me the wrong way.

Two Questions:

  1. What do you think about asking for extra tips?
  2. When you have Unlimited Dining do you add an extra tip when you have dinner?

Those tip envelopes have been around forever. We were disappointed when we only had one dropped off. We always go to Guest Services and get more envelopes for the planned and unplanned additional gratuities.

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On 7/22/2022 at 11:30 PM, Traveling Mike said:

I just got back from an Alaska Cruise and seen something in my cabin that I have not seen before.  They left me 3 envelopes allowing/asking me for additional tips on top of the Gratuities I have already paid.  I normally give extra cash to the people that go beyond for me but this asking for an extra tip rubbed me the wrong way.

Two Questions:

  1. What do you think about asking for extra tips?
  2. When you have Unlimited Dining do you add an extra tip when you have dinner?

I don't remember the last time we had envelopes in our room, as we always pre-pay.

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On 7/25/2022 at 10:29 AM, Matt said:

We had envelopes waiting on our bed last night on Mariner.

They're just an option for people that prefer to give out cash tips.

You shouldn't read anything into it as an impetus to tip beyond the automatic gratuities. It's just a vestige of the old days of cruising.

Actually, I liked the old days. We would fill each envelope with the tips and we were able to give them directly to each person. Much more personal that way. 

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1 hour ago, LovetoCruise87 said:

Actually, I liked the old days. We would fill each envelope with the tips and we were able to give them directly to each person. Much more personal that way. 

I agree that its more personal that way.

I disagree that it is a good idea.  You would be surprised as to how many people do not tip, refuse to tip, or just don't know they should tip.  Many countries outside of US do not have a customary tipping tradition like we do.  The auto-grat is a decent system (even with apparent flaws) and additional tipping is a great option.

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On 7/24/2022 at 7:04 PM, CGTLH said:

Envelope in question???

 

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I do all the cooking at home, so I've taken these home and place them next to my wife's plate at the end of her meal, when its a "special" homemade meal. Kids think its pretty funny, just to reminder her to at least say thank-you for the home cooked meal.

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3 hours ago, LovetoCruise87 said:

Actually, I liked the old days. We would fill each envelope with the tips and we were able to give them directly to each person. Much more personal that way. 

On our Baltic Cruise we asked for extra envelopes so we could give them directly to those who we felt deserved a bit extra on top of the prepaid. 

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1 hour ago, CruisingNewb said:

I agree that its more personal that way.

I disagree that it is a good idea.  You would be surprised as to how many people do not tip, refuse to tip, or just don't know they should tip.  Many countries outside of US do not have a customary tipping tradition like we do.  The auto-grat is a decent system (even with apparent flaws) and additional tipping is a great option.

Exactly.  I remember the days of a half-full MDR on the last night because all the cheapskates didn't want to face they waiters and buspersons they were stiffing.

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37 minutes ago, Husky1987 said:

Exactly.  I remember the days of a half-full MDR on the last night because all the cheapskates didn't want to face they waiters and buspersons they were stiffing.

And now we have a half-full MDR because the MDR experience isn't what it once was and/or isn't desired by many cruisers.

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43 minutes ago, Husky1987 said:

Exactly.  I remember the days of a half-full MDR on the last night because all the cheapskates didn't want to face they waiters and buspersons they were stiffing.

My family has more or less all worked in the service industry at some point in our collective lives.  You would be amazed at how many times we have been stiffed.  

Also, I have traveled to countries where tips are not customary and when we give tips, it makes their day (Most of the times-one instance where a Cab Driver took offense LOL).

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I just got off Liberty and received only one envelope on the bed on night 6 w/ the invoice of our current tab.  I went to our room steward and asked for more envelopes.  Our MDR servers went  over and beyond each night for our family, an extra tip was the least I could do.  They loaded us up with plates of chocolate chip cookies, for my husband and teen boys to take back to the room each night.  Those cookies really came in handy the next day in a ziplock bag when we were on shore excursions.  The head waiter even brought our whole table samplings of phenomenal Indian foods to try on top of all the foods we had ordered.  I appreciated having the envelopes to hand to them.

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8 hours ago, CruisingNewb said:

My family has more or less all worked in the service industry at some point in our collective lives.  You would be amazed at how many times we have been stiffed.  

Also, I have traveled to countries where tips are not customary and when we give tips, it makes their day (Most of the times-one instance where a Cab Driver took offense LOL).

My wife runs through our stack of ones giving $2-3 to just about every person she runs across cleaning stair railings and bathrooms and bussing our tables in the WJ.  She's actually had some break into tears.

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If we do not receive envelopes, we ask for them at the desk. We almost ALWAYS tip extra cash above and beyond the automatic gratuities for our waiter, assistant, room steward, etc., etc. on the last day of our cruise.  We find our cruise staffs to be hard-working, and we know they are most likely underpaid as compared to we who are traveling.  Yes, this is a custom from the past, but I have cruised long enough that I remember when the entire tip was cash and given in an envelope.  I think the automatic gratuities solve many problems, and it is a bit of a shame that some people remove them because they do not budget appropriately for a cruise. 

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We like using theses envelopes and always stop by customer service to get more.  We always tip as we go but we also like to reward a few who go above and beyond for us....Like on our last cruise it was our head waiter who was from India.  We mentioned we like Indian food and really like a good curry dish.  He bought us a different curry dish to our table at dinner every night from the crew mess...He got one of our envelopes.  

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On 7/23/2022 at 12:18 AM, Traveling Mike said:

This does not make sense.  I just finished my 5th cruise with 3 different cruise lines in the past year and not one envelope.  

Edit:   I just found this post that talks that it is hit and miss if you get envelops.  It is up to the Cabin Stewart.  I always give him a large extra tip at the begging of the cruise so there is no reason for him to ask for more.  Gratuity Envelopes? - Royal Caribbean Discussion - Royal Caribbean Blog

 

It is standard for them to leave those envelopes.  If you don’t want to use them, ignore them. We give some people extra tips including our room steward and the concierge so we find it helpful to have extras (although we usually go by guest services and get extra ones). I can’t see a reason to be irritated by it.

 

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On 7/23/2022 at 1:24 PM, Last Lion said:

 

I would still like to know if cabin/dining room staff know whether or not you are auto tipping.

I would like to know why you want to know this? 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/23/2022 at 8:49 AM, SpeedNoodles said:

I've been left envelopes for extra tips on every cruise that I've taken since 1999.

I've been on 5 cruises since 2020 with royal, envelopes every time, this last cruise I had to request extra envelopes. I do the automatic tipping and also use the envelopes for the standouts. This recent cruise two weeks ago to Alaska on Radiance, we had a bunch of standouts. It's an older ship but boy did we had some staff that were exceptional. Palmed them each a $20 mid cruise and then again in an envelope at the end. I was worried as this was the first full capacity ship we have been on in a while and commenters mentioned staffing issues, we saw none of that, might have been the best staff we've ever encountered. My BIL is an Indian food junkie, these waiters were bringing him off menu items, likely from the staff dining room that had him blown away. The manager and Matre di, were on a first name basis with us by the end of the week and we all used the envelopes accordingly. We booked another cruise while onboard and I bought more stock in the company, I don't see the envelopes as offensive, I see them as obligatory for what is a reward for service that unfortunately an anomaly at my local restaurants.  For perspective, we went out last weekend locally with three couples, $750 tab $150 tip, for just okay service. That's close to my tip for a week of service on RCL for dining, that is a bargain by comparison.

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On 7/26/2022 at 7:43 PM, Husky1987 said:

My wife runs through our stack of ones giving $2-3 to just about every person she runs across cleaning stair railings and bathrooms and bussing our tables in the WJ.  She's actually had some break into tears.

I like your wife and haven't met her. I give my wife $100 in ones per cruise and tell her tip $2 a drink, but I never thought about the cleaning staff, I'm going to copy you but I'll give you full credit for the idea. We leave tips in WJ but we are never around to see the reaction, I like your approach.

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3 hours ago, Temeculaguy said:

I like your wife and haven't met her. I give my wife $100 in ones per cruise and tell her tip $2 a drink, but I never thought about the cleaning staff, I'm going to copy you but I'll give you full credit for the idea. We leave tips in WJ but we are never around to see the reaction, I like your approach.

You give your wife money? That's not how it works in our household! SHE gives ME money!

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1 hour ago, Osopecoso said:

Do you think it's inappropriate to tip only cash at the end instead on putting on cruise account?  I prefer to just tip out cash at end so nothing is on my card.

Not at all, as long as you're tipping the same people the automatic gratuities would cover.

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

Not at all, as long as you're tipping the same people the automatic gratuities would cover.

We have a vacation account that pays for the cruise and any expenses.  Before the cruise, we would go to the bank and take out cash to cover for the cruise gratuities since we already know how much it is per-person per day.  

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4 hours ago, Osopecoso said:

Do you think it's inappropriate to tip only cash at the end instead on putting on cruise account?  I prefer to just tip out cash at end so nothing is on my card.

You can go to Guest Services and pay cash towards your account to offset the auto-gratuities at any point during the cruise.

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On 7/22/2022 at 10:30 PM, Traveling Mike said:

I just got back from an Alaska Cruise and seen something in my cabin that I have not seen before.  They left me 3 envelopes allowing/asking me for additional tips on top of the Gratuities I have already paid.  I normally give extra cash to the people that go beyond for me but this asking for an extra tip rubbed me the wrong way.

Two Questions:

  1. What do you think about asking for extra tips?
  2. When you have Unlimited Dining do you add an extra tip when you have dinner?

We usually add a three night dining package on our cruises and yes we do give a tip when get get good service even though they hit us with the 18% on purchase.

One thing I have never been certain of is whether the staff in Coastal Kitchen get tips from the auto tip for suites.

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On 8/25/2022 at 6:30 AM, Mike n Ky said:

We usually add a three night dining package on our cruises and yes we do give a tip when get get good service even though they hit us with the 18% on purchase.

One thing I have never been certain of is whether the staff in Coastal Kitchen get tips from the auto tip for suites.

I watched a video from a staff member that said everyone in the kitchen are part of the tip package.

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On 8/28/2022 at 5:58 PM, Traveling Mike said:

I watched a video from a staff member that said everyone in the kitchen are part of the tip package.

So, the waiter only gets a part of that 18%? If so then I am glad we pass the cash to them.

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On 7/23/2022 at 1:19 PM, SpeedNoodles said:

I've been left envelopes for extra tips on every cruise that I've taken since 1999.

Because you use them every time there is a note on your profile.  When your room steward does their prep for your arrival they know what to expect.

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On 8/22/2022 at 9:37 PM, Rogillioville said:

I've heard that anything that goes into an envelope is supposed to be turned in and shared among all the crew.  Does anyone have any insight to this?

I always give them directly to the staff person who it was meant for just for that reason.  Not 100% convinced it all goes to that individual if it is left in the room, or dropped off to customer service. 

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2 hours ago, KenCP said:

Because you use them every time there is a note on your profile.  When your room steward does their prep for your arrival they know what to expect.

Sorry, I don't buy this.  I don't believe there's any sort of guest profile that follows  you from cruise to cruise beyond your C&A status.  Nothing in my experience backs that up.  Plus I only use the envelopes maybe 1/4 of the time as I usually just hand cash to the crew.

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I have a box of Thank You notes that I keep with my cruise basics. I always write a note, addressing the person by name, and let them know what part of the experience I really enjoyed. I also include the tip in the note. Then I hand deliver the note to the intended person. I have never used the envelopes, but they are always in the room with other departure info.

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I have enjoyed reading this post. I was lucky enough to be on two European cruises this summer with a large contingent of US clients. However I didn't see 1 dollar pass hands or get left for any drinks over my 14 nights of cruising  I'm really surprised at this considering that many on these boards say they take stacks of 1$ bills to hand out. Does the tipping policy not extend when not cruising out of US ports? Or is it done discreetly via a palm with the deluxe drink card hand over. I'm not saying it doesn't happen just I expected to see it once or twice on my cruise but didn't see it at all on any night. 

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2 hours ago, Morganno said:

I have enjoyed reading this post. I was lucky enough to be on two European cruises this summer with a large contingent of US clients. However I didn't see 1 dollar pass hands or get left for any drinks over my 14 nights of cruising  I'm really surprised at this considering that many on these boards say they take stacks of 1$ bills to hand out. Does the tipping policy not extend when not cruising out of US ports? Or is it done discreetly via a palm with the deluxe drink card hand over. I'm not saying it doesn't happen just I expected to see it once or twice on my cruise but didn't see it at all on any night. 

For the 'free diamond drinks' on wonder in the med last week, I would tip discreetly.  A couple of times it was *too* discreetly, as the bar waiter didn't notice and left before I could pass it over... lol

I always tip discreetly though; it seems weird and wrong to be too showy about it.

 

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2 hours ago, Morganno said:

I have enjoyed reading this post. I was lucky enough to be on two European cruises this summer with a large contingent of US clients. However I didn't see 1 dollar pass hands or get left for any drinks over my 14 nights of cruising  I'm really surprised at this considering that many on these boards say they take stacks of 1$ bills to hand out. Does the tipping policy not extend when not cruising out of US ports? Or is it done discreetly via a palm with the deluxe drink card hand over. I'm not saying it doesn't happen just I expected to see it once or twice on my cruise but didn't see it at all on any night. 

This has been my question as well.  I've only done caribbean cruises and have never seen money OR envelopes pass hands or be left on tables, but keep seeing the posts on giving tips.  That is a lot of discrete tipping happening.  I need to up my game!

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On 7/23/2022 at 9:54 AM, WAAAYTOOO said:

We always tip at the end of a specialty dining meal even though a standard gratuity has already been incorporated into the cost of your specialty meal.  Since we tip-on-the-spot, we leave it with the server at the time we receive the service.

We do the same for both Specialty and Main Dining Room meals.

The level of "above and beyond" service we receive is amazing because of this strategy.

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54 minutes ago, karl_nj said:

For the 'free diamond drinks' on wonder in the med last week, I would tip discreetly.  A couple of times it was *too* discreetly, as the bar waiter didn't notice and left before I could pass it over... lol

I always tip discreetly though; it seems weird and wrong to be too showy about it.

 

We just hand them a dollar or two with the SeaPass. Nobody else needs to know it's there.

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11 hours ago, The Fox said:

I have a box of Thank You notes that I keep with my cruise basics. I always write a note, addressing the person by name, and let them know what part of the experience I really enjoyed. I also include the tip in the note. Then I hand deliver the note to the intended person. I have never used the envelopes, but they are always in the room with other departure info.

Such a simple idea that I never thought of it. There are times when someone is exceptional and we try to acknowledge tha,t and always do in the survey, but your gesture is great. Thanks for sharing.

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16 hours ago, Morganno said:

I have enjoyed reading this post. I was lucky enough to be on two European cruises this summer with a large contingent of US clients. However I didn't see 1 dollar pass hands or get left for any drinks over my 14 nights of cruising  I'm really surprised at this considering that many on these boards say they take stacks of 1$ bills to hand out. Does the tipping policy not extend when not cruising out of US ports? Or is it done discreetly via a palm with the deluxe drink card hand over. I'm not saying it doesn't happen just I expected to see it once or twice on my cruise but didn't see it at all on any night. 

This could be a cultural thing, In European countries (Canada sometimes included, except Vancouver in my experience) the service staff are paid better and tipping isn't the majority of their pay. In the US and Mexico, tip income can exceed their paychecks. We frequent all inclusive resorts in Mexico and Europeans and some Canadians complain on review sites that the staff favors the Mexicans and Americans who tip 20% while they follow the resort's website that insists tips are included in their room rate. I blame the resorts or TA's, just be honest, most people will adapt to local customs when traveling if they are informed even if it is different from their home country. My son lived and worked in Asia for a few years and when we visited he constantly scolded us because we tipped our normal percentage for taxis, waiters and other service staff which was apparently not culturally appropriate. But we were in a very inexpensive country (vietnam) and tipping the cab driver the equivalent of a dollar felt insignificant because the fare was only $2. I just blamed it on the confusion over the exchange rate being 23,000 dong to one dollar and my lack of the various denominations. If a meal for two was 120,000 and I left 200,000, yes its an exorbitant tip but it is only $9 and 200k bills ($4.50) is the smallest bill I had, plus everyone is really nice to me. Pesos I'm better with, one peso is about a nickel, my brain can figure that out, but 1 dong equaling .0043 cents, I'm lost. Somebody is getting a big tip.

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