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Gratuities are going up.


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Well IMHO I don't know how they can just an increase when there has been a definite decrease in staffing, etc. Just received the following via email. We personally have all gratuities removed and chose who deserves tips, etc.

Dear Guest,

We are excited to welcome you onboard for your upcoming Royal Caribbean sailing!

As you prepare to set sail, we wanted to notify you of an update to our daily gratuity charges. As of September 7th, 2022, the automatic daily gratuity charge will increase from $14.50 to $16.00 per guest, per day for non-suite staterooms and from $17.50 to $18.50 per guest, per day for suites. The daily gratuity is shared among dining, bar & culinary services staff, stateroom attendants, and other hotel services teams.

If you’d like to pre-pray your gratuities at the current rate before your sailing, we’re happy to extend this opportunity to you. If you’d prefer to pay onboard, your gratuity charge will be applied to your onboard account at the new rate.

Other onboard gratuity policies remain the same – an 18% gratuity will be automatically added to purchases for beverages, spa & salon services, room service, and mini bar items. These will be itemized on your receipt at the end of each purchase.

To pre-pay your gratuities before your sailing at the current rate, or if you have any questions, please contact your Travel Advisor or contact us at

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Gratuities went up on:

 

Sept 8, 2022 - 16.00 and 17.50

Jan 2, 2018 - 14.50 and 16.50

July 1, 2015 - 12.95 and 15.95

July 1, 2011 - 11.65 and 13.90

 

Anyone know the last gratuity increase before 2011? Actually before that was it not an automatic, but just a recommended tip depending on position?

 

Edit: Looks like in 2005, they had a recommended tipping policy per day per crew position that came to $9.75 per day.

 

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

Gratuities went up on:

 

Sept 8, 2022 - 16.00 and 17.50

Jan 2, 2018 - 14.50 and 16.50

July 1, 2015 - 12.95 and 15.95

July 1, 2011 - 11.65 and 13.90

 

Anyone know the last gratuity increase before 2011?

 

 

 

 

$ 9.75 and $12.00 in 2011.  I think before then it was discretionary just envelopes and as you like to tip.  Too long ago to remember for me.

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The last few cruises I've been on, we've tipped every single staff member we interacted with except one - maybe that person was having a bad day or something had happened, but he just wasn't very friendly or polite to anyone, and he had gotten our order mixed up a few times! Gratuities going up isn't surprising to me, especially in this day and age where COVID19 is still very much a problem and not just the cruising industry, but every industry is having trouble attracting workers. 

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I have zero problems with gratuities going up. As @alibobali said, they all work so hard! Staff across the board are incredibly nice and so polite. They work constantly, and at a level of detail I find amazing. I add 1's and 5's to my tote every morning to tip additionally along the way each day in addition to larger tips to staff I have frequent contact with. I don't have pre-covid cruise experience to compare the current service level with, but I find the consistently wonderful service onboard to be well beyond anything I encounter on a regular basis at home. 

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We personally have all gratuities removed and chose who deserves tips, etc.”

i am confused how gratuities work. I thought gratuities was based upon what services you used. So a person who uses less services pays less. But then I got the email and it says the new automatic daily rate. Automatic means you ‘have to pay’ the daily rate regardless of services used. 
 

i am more confused when I saw the quote. Sounds like there is no mandatory minimum daily charge.

Can someone explain how gratuities work? (I do understand additional gratuities for speciality restaurants, spa.

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I have absolutely no problem with gratuities going up. This would amount to around $11 extra for my cruise. These stewards, bartenders, waitstaff, laundry workers, plumbers, electricians, cooks and other staff work tirelessly 7 days a week to ensure we have a good time. They smile, bow and scrape, suffer abuse, for very small salaries most of which they send home to their families.  My cabin steward on my last cruise had 3 children at home that he got to see every 4 or 5 months. I don't begrudge them an extra $11, and I will supplement their salaries with extra tips. I feel it is the least I can do for all they do for me.

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36 minutes ago, Cruisin Dovers said:

i am more confused when I saw the quote. Sounds like there is no mandatory minimum daily charge.

You can choose to remove the auto-gratuity by visiting Guest Services.  Some folks do so because they want to pay cash tips directly to those they wish to tip.

The auto gratuity is split up between your dining staff, room steward and hotel services staff.  You may not directly interact with all of those who are part of the tip pool.  Even if you don't visit the main dining room, those works often staff the other complimentary dining locations around the ship.

In some countries, there is no gratuity added and it is included in the cost of the cruise.

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I personally don't understand removing the automatic gratuities or people who would begrudge an increase. Many of the crew work in multiple areas of the ship to ensure I have the best vacation I can. I don't see them all and $16-18 dollars a day is not that much to ensure I continue to have a wonderful time. I think personally trying to tip each person I interacted with at the end of the cruise seems like a huge burden. I tip those that made my experience wonderful as I go, knowing that the grats will cover the rest.

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26 minutes ago, RCIfan1912 said:

We had just the best cabin attendant last week on Oasis, Ryan. He was so good at his job, spotless room, friendly and always great info and tips. Tipped extra cash. He told us he has 18 rooms to take care of. 

wooooof 18 cabins under his care!!! i don't know how they do it, the crew all work so hard, and the cabin attendants are unfailingly pleasant and kind every day, no matter the hour!

i do not think i could be that cordial with everyone if i was tidying up after them all day long, that's for sure! we try to keep things pretty neat on our end but having the room cleaned is a treat/perk of vacation and i can only imagine what they see/have to take care of on the regular.

they deserve medals or sainthood, honestly. 💚

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6 hours ago, Cruisin Dovers said:

We personally have all gratuities removed and chose who deserves tips, etc.”

 

I'm pretty sure that you pay one way or the other! 

If you prepay its added onto your total and paid before you cruise.

If you decide not to prepay then its added onto your onboard account and you are charged at end off cruise. 

From my understanding and hopefully someone will correct me if im wrong but your paying the daily gratuities no matter what! 

 

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Hi Ray,

 

You are able to go to Guest Services and ask them to remove the gratuities.  So there is a path to not pay them for those that choose to either not recognize the service or do so in a different way that is perhaps more or less than the automatic.

It's not something I would do and I think most people receive a level of service that makes them want to add to the daily.

On the issue of staffing brought up by the OP, when a business has a difficult time in the employment marketplace filling positions, the answer is not to pull back wages, but to increase them to be more competitive vs other opportunities.  This should aid in any staffing deficiencies over the long run

Bill

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I found an old RC blog post that says you can prepay your gratuities online. I've searched around in the cruise planner and in the payment area and did not see a place to do this. Does anyone know the exact place this can be done, or do I need to call in (no TA)?

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10 minutes ago, lapelirroja said:

I found an old RC blog post that says you can prepay your gratuities online. I've searched around in the cruise planner and in the payment area and did not see a place to do this. Does anyone know the exact place this can be done, or do I need to call in (no TA)?

You need to call.

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16 hours ago, Pub Crawlers said:

 

Well IMHO I don't know how they can just an increase when there has been a definite decrease in staffing, etc.

 

I’m not singling you out personally, just calling attention to what you said….I’ve seen very similar things said recently, and not just here  

This describes the service industry as a whole, not just cruise ships. 
 

Prices are up on everything and there aren’t enough workers, even with increased wages. Seriously. 
 

I’m in retail.  Since the pandemic started in early 2020, I’ve been working 6 and 7 days a week other than the three cruises we’ve taken.  Costs have increased and we can’t find enough help.  No one is happy…customers or workers.
 

When we are lucky enough to have 7 to 8 days of doing nothing, we appreciate the people who wait on us.  We not only pay the gratuities that Royal charges, we pay additional cash directly to the workers who have made a direct impact on us  

Food for thought:  Something we hear from a lot from new hires who leave after a month or so is that they don’t want to work in retail because of the way they get treated by customers.   I know I’ve personally seen crew on ships get talked to by guests in ways I don’t know if I could handle….and I’ve been interacting with customers for 37 years. 

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12 minutes ago, teddy said:

Food for thought:  Something we hear from a lot from new hires who leave after a month or so is that they don’t want to work in retail because of the way they get treated by customers.   I know I’ve personally seen crew on ships get talked to by guests in ways I don’t know if I could handle….and I’ve been interacting with customers for 37 years. 

Last week in MDR, we saw a family ream a lead waiter over one brunch item coming out wrong. We were seated next to the waiter's station. After the waiter politely took the offending plate away, he returned to the waiter's station and said to his assistant "I don't know if I can take this anymore". It was so sad to see, because they do work so hard and are so nice. Seriously, your meal came out wrong, they get you another one so quickly, why do you feel the need to be rude and demeaning to another human. He continued to serve them very politely and respectfully as they continued to ask for more and more food (that they hadn't previously ordered) throughout the service.

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10 minutes ago, FloatyBoaty said:

Last week in MDR, we saw a family ream a lead waiter over one brunch item coming out wrong. We were seated next to the waiter's station. After the waiter politely took the offending plate away, he returned to the waiter's station and said to his assistant "I don't know if I can take this anymore". It was so sad to see, because they do work so hard and are so nice. Seriously, your meal came out wrong, they get you another one so quickly, why do you feel the need to be rude and demeaning to another human. He continued to serve them very politely and respectfully as they continued to ask for more and more food (that they hadn't previously ordered) throughout the service.

I do not understand why people on vacation, specifically on a cruise think its ok to treat people like crap. I get SO MAD when I see crew members mistreated. The days of standing by are over, I confront people now who do this. This is my vacation/cruise too and if you are gonna be an A-hole to a crew member then you are gonna get it back from me. I used to just sit on my hands, no longer. Someone needs to stick for these people. We are SO overly nice to the crew because of the A-holes that treat them like crap.

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I don't mind the gratuities, I just wished they were inclusive and not separately identified.  I don't consider them gratuities anyways, I consider them cruise fare.  

That said, I have read or heard that the gratuities pool is a gray area.  Like, who gets a cut and who doesn't?  And how is it regulated to insure that the total actually collected gets correctly distributed?  Is it an even split or do some get a bigger share?

Quick math, Ovation has approx. 4100 guests and 725 crew.  I am not sure how many guests have their gratuities removed but I would guess (or hope) that it is a small percentage.  So say 3700 people paying $14.50 a day for a 7 day cruise, that is approx. $375,000 in gratuities for that week.  Say maybe 600 of the crew split that, so $625 per person per week.  Add in their normal wage, doesn't seem terrible, certainly not indentured servant compensation.  At least I hope that is how it works.  Now the waiters, bartenders and room cleaners are the people that get additional tips on top of that too.  I tip bartenders as I go, and I always leave additional cash for my room attendant and both waiters assigned to my table in the MDR. I would guess at least 50% of people do this?

Anyone closer to the industry have any insight into this?  Is my example above way off?  Just curious.          

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I am a big supporter of tipping and certainly have no issue with prepaying the gratuities as well as handing out more $$$ throughout my cruise.  My most recent cruise was on Adventure with my balcony room as far aft as possible.  There were some mornings I would walk up the long hallway and peep into rooms that were being “serviced”.  I could not believe the condition of some of the rooms!!  Items thrown everywhere, suitcases still in the way, totally messy rooms!  I would hyperventilate if I was the one who had to go into those rooms to straighten out the beds and pick up after the slobs!  (Sorry for this description but I just couldn’t find any nicer words) No money would be able to compensate for my hard work…some of the rooms even stunk like body odor or old food!  
I do and always will over-tip my room steward as well as compliment him or her (although, I’m not sure I have ever seen a female steward?) for their dedicated service.

Oh…and should I ever come across a steward who isn’t quite up-to-par with the daily duties, I will politely request or mention what is lacking.  That would not change my gratuity compensation.  After all anyone one of us can have an off day…no?

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We are very generous tippers and I totally believe in the gratuity culture....but I also agree with @JBC and feel as if a mandatory gratuity is not a gratuity at all, but a compulsory charge.  I would much prefer that they include that compulsory charge in with the cruise fare.  That would permit people who want to tip generously to do so and those who would be removing their mandatory gratuity would feel as if they're getting away without paying. Win-win.

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I am going on Harmony in January and pre paid gratutuities and the price was $14.50/ per person had to call RC rep to do so.  Always leave extra cast at end of cruise for cabin attendent .  In my opinion they have one of  the hardest jobs .  Also tip extra for waitstaff in specialty dining venues and bartenders.

 

They work the butts off.

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3 hours ago, teddy said:

I’m in retail.  Since the pandemic started in early 2020, I’ve been working 6 and 7 days a week other than the three cruises we’ve taken.  Costs have increased and we can’t find enough help.  No one is happy…customers or workers.

 

When we are lucky enough to have 7 to 8 days of doing nothing, we appreciate the people who wait on us.  We not only pay the gratuities that Royal charges, we pay additional cash directly to the workers who have made a direct impact on us  

Food for thought:  Something we hear from a lot from new hires who leave after a month or so is that they don’t want to work in retail because of the way they get treated by customers.   I know I’ve personally seen crew on ships get talked to by guests in ways I don’t know if I could handle….and I’ve been interacting with customers for 37 years. 

i worked retail for 15+ years and right during Peak Pandemic and it was,,,,, something.

while i think everyone can agree that things have changed since 2020, there are just as many people who refuse to adapt and take their frustrations out on people. so many times i have seen or been a victim of people just flipping out over something trivial because they were already irritated at XYZ.

i was able to get out of retail last year and remain grateful that i can work in an industry that allows me some space from that type of interaction; but that doesn't mean i'm fully clear of it -- i still have calls and meetings that go rogue, where people ream me out for no reason and just make me the scapegoat for their anger. thankfully, i can walk away at the end of those calls/meetings and put it behind me (this is far easier said than done).

my point is -- i can't imagine being on a ship with their insane workloads and having to be "ON" all the time. their schedules are grueling and people are NOT respectful. they don't often have the ability (if ever) to walk away or take a breath; they have to roll with it and go on to the next guest interaction like nothing happened. i know for a certainty that i would not be able to do that job with a fraction of the good attitude they have, and believe they deserve every single penny of gratuities and then some. (always why we pre-pay and then tip onboard with those we engage throughout our stay.)

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I recieved this email yesterday and called RCL. Spoke to a very helpful operator Carla. There will be 11 of us traveling in June 2023, I requested that our gratuity be added to our total bill meaning we will be paying for it before we set sail at the rate of $14.50 per person per day and not being charged at the end of the cruise at $16.00. I believe u have to make this request before Sept (but not totally sure). We will still tip throughout our cruise to helpful staff.

Hope this was helpful.

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I do not see anyone complaining about paying gratuities, it’s more of how they’re being charged. 

i find the phrase cheapskate being thrown around is very judgmental when no one here knows the heart or actions of another.

Also the comment if you can pay for a cruise you can afford to pay whatever fees there are, is not totally accurate. Easy to say for anyone who can afford a cruise every year and especially be able to get a suite. FYI, not everyone is sitting on big 401ks.

For my wife and I now on a fixed income It has taken years for us to be able to afford a cruise, and sleeping in our car many times on vacations just to save money. An extra $150 means something to us. If we can save $50-$75 by only tipping for the services we partake of that helps cover other costs.

PS I realize that some that are paying for a suite had to save up for years to be able to do it. I am sure they’re not the ones calling people cheapskates. 

Also I think most working on the cruise line are making more than our combined Social Security even without tips. But I am not against tipping what I can afford.

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I haven't seen any use of the word "cheapskate" in this thread.  You are able to have the auto gratuities removed and tip how you see fit.  As far as the services to which you partake, every passenger has a cabin and every passenger eats.  Those gratuities are for the room steward and the dining servers.

I certainly understand first hand and respect being mindful of your limited vacation dollars.  

Hope to see you on the sea.

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I can understand tipping only what you can afford, but let's be honest here. Many say "I only  tip the ones that directly serve me". What about the cooks, the maintenance workers, laundry, etc. You don't see them but they're working hard. And from people I've talked to they'll tip the room steward $40 and their waiter $40 or so. That's $80, versus a couple of hundred for a couple on a seven night cruise. It's done to save money. I guess it's better than a couple of decades ago when a large portion of diners would skip the MDR to avoid tipping the waiter and maitre'd on the last night of the cruise but still.

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Hmm, I never heard of tipping cooks, dishwashers at restaurants. Never heard of tipping laundry staff, maintenance staff at hotels. I obviously hang with people who have little money. But it is nice that those who have the money are helping out in that way. 

What my wife and I will do is: be polite, kind, respectful to the crew. We will do what we have done for decades: be a listening ear, encourage, show compassion, give counsel, pray, just plain ole give of our time, and give our personal phone number that they can call 24/7. 

We may not give a big tip at the MDR but we will give them our room number that they can drop by anytime or meet up with us somewhere if they need encouragement, counsel, or pray. 

Being able to bless someone with money is a great thing! Blessing someone with a part of your life is a great thing.

Lets all give what we have been blessed with and not hoard it. 

 

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