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Tipping Royal Genie

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Hi Guys,

I am on a five-day cruise in may on the Ovation and lucky to be in Star Class with a Royal Genie, really looking forward to it. Can I have some guidance on tipping the Genie, I don't want to under or over tip but be generous for the service received. Should I also give some of this tip at the start of the cruise?

Thanking you all in advance for any suggestions.

John

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This is probably the one question that splits opinion and starts a debate simply due to how the American tipping culture is. In most countries across the world tips are given for the level of service you receive, however in the states its expected as it increases the poor wages paid within certain areas of service industry. 

Personally i disagree with people anywhere just expecting a tip, it should be earned and if service is to a standard you are happy with, then you as an individual should decide the amount you want to leave and it should be received with gratitude. No one should go on vacation anywhere and be worrying or thinking about whether they have tipped enough. 

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Pinging @WAAAYTOOO, @CGTLH, and @constable145 for this one.

I've long wondered this question myself.  We are giving Star class a try next year.  I have read on other boards that it can vary widely.  Anywhere from  $100/pp to over $1000.

Personally, for my own family, I think it's fair to take the gratuities that we would normally pay and divide it up over the Genie and room attendants.  Some might call that cheap but I think it's fairly reasonable.  We are very low maintenance people.  We don't even know what we would ask the Genie for...

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@Sabrinaklai It is a hard topic to cover and I do feel it varies based on needs and demands.

For my Anthem cruise that was 9 nights it was in the lower range of what you posted. Don't recall what I gave our loft attendant and his assistant. Total in the end might have been a bit more than what you were thinking of with dividing up the normal gratuities. Number in the room was four.

Still think the Genie pulled a string in getting me flight approved for Rip Cord. I'm just shy of the 6ft mark but was a touch over the 230# weight limit. When my height was checked it was claimed that my hair put me in the 6ft weight limit (under 250#). He also coordinated the delivery of a food spread for the cabin crawl that was planned. He claimed due to timing he wouldn't be able to get anything from Specality restaurants (think I was asking for delivery around 1:30 or 1:45).

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Well, you're right that this is a subject where opinions vary wildly.  The first time we had a Genie we tipped him $400 after which I felt that we had completely under-tipped.  As with CGTLH, he completely coordinated our cabin crawl event which was a LOT of work.  The second and third time, we tipped $700 and I felt like it was much more appropriate as they both had cabin crawl events to coordinate, as well.  When we go in April, we are planning on $500 as I have no events scheduled.  Unless something happens where I feel that more is warranted, we will probably stick with this.  We have always tipped our attendant $100 extra dollars but we also made sure that we tipped him separately every time he came and cleaned up our mess from the cabin crawl event.  There won't be a CC event on the one in April so we will probably stick with $100.

As Sabrina said, some people tip much more than this.  Our friends, who were with us on Harmony in February 2017 tipped their Genie $1000 each ($2K total) and they each tipped their attendant $500 ($1K total).  Granted, they ran their poor Genie ragged and she deserved EVERY cent but that was among the most extreme tipping scenarios I have heard of.  $500-$700, depending upon how many people are in the cabin (there are always just the 2 of us) seems to be common and reasonable.

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As you are sailing on Ovation while it is Australia, that is an interesting question. As it is not normal to tip here, I suspect unless the guests are American or Canadian a lot of guests wouldn’t tip at all or tip a lot. For example they provide a lot a services that a conceirge would provide and I have never tipped a conceirge and nor do many people in this market.

i know the people that we sailed with on Ovation who had a genie did not tip him. Anita and I If we had a genie on a 14 day cruise down here we would probably tip around $100. If we were in the US we would tip more as that would be the expectation.

if you comfortable tipping maybe you could calculate 1-2% of the cabin price and tip them that. We had a not at a Suite with a genie and that was around $20,000 NZD so that would equate to $200-$400 NZD

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4 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Well, you're right that this is a subject where opinions vary wildly.  The first time we had a Genie we tipped him $400 after which I felt that we had completely under-tipped.  As with CGTLH, he completely coordinated our cabin crawl event which was a LOT of work.  The second and third time, we tipped $700 and I felt like it was much more appropriate as they both had cabin crawl events to coordinate, as well.  When we go in April, we are planning on $500 as I have no events scheduled.  Unless something happens where I feel that more is warranted, we will probably stick with this.  We have always tipped our attendant $100 extra dollars but we also made sure that we tipped him separately every time he came and cleaned up our mess from the cabin crawl event.  There won't be a CC event on the one in April so we will probably stick with $100.

As Sabrina said, some people tip much more than this.  Our friends, who were with us on Harmony in February 2017 tipped their Genie $1000 each ($2K total) and they each tipped their attendant $500 ($1K total).  Granted, they ran their poor Genie ragged and she deserved EVERY cent but that was among the most extreme tipping scenarios I have heard of.  $500-$700, depending upon how many people are in the cabin (there are always just the 2 of us) seems to be common and reasonable.

Are you talking about gratuity( prepaid) on top of it $500/$700/$1000 each for cabin attendants?

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27 minutes ago, J. Woody said:

Are you talking about gratuity( prepaid) on top of it $500/$700/$1000 each for cabin attendants?

With Star class you don't pay for gratuities. They are covered as part of the Star class package.

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Interesting and thought provoking topic.  Star class typically costs substantially higher than Sky class.  It's a significant difference in price.

Granted Star class comes with dining and beverage packages but those alone do not come close to explaining the difference in rates between Sky class and Star Class.  Do the thousands of dollars more not pay for the Genie's services? 

Forget casino rates or other discounts of that nature, for a regular guest choosing to pay for Star class at normal rates, are you not already paying thousands for a Genie?  Do they really need hundreds to thousands in gratuity?  The difference between a loft suite and star loft suite is often $5k per person more.  What does $10k for two get you if not the Genie's services?

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17 minutes ago, twangster said:

Interesting and thought provoking topic.  Star class typically costs substantially higher than Sky class.  It's a significant difference in price.

Granted Star class comes with dining and beverage packages but those alone do not come close to explaining the difference in rates between Sky class and Star Class.  Do the thousands of dollars more not pay for the Genie's services? 

Forget casino rates or other discounts of that nature, for a regular guest choosing to pay for Star class at normal rates, are you not already paying thousands for a Genie?  Do they really need hundreds to thousands in gratuity?  The difference between a loft suite and star loft suite is often $5k per person more.  What does $10k for two get you if not the Genie's services?

Ummm....I think I heard the exact same thing a week ago...from my husband...we have a year to debate this 😉

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

Interesting and thought provoking topic.  Star class typically costs substantially higher than Sky class.  It's a significant difference in price.

Granted Star class comes with dining and beverage packages but those alone do not come close to explaining the difference in rates between Sky class and Star Class.  Do the thousands of dollars more not pay for the Genie's services? 

Forget casino rates or other discounts of that nature, for a regular guest choosing to pay for Star class at normal rates, are you not already paying thousands for a Genie?  Do they really need hundreds to thousands in gratuity?  The difference between a loft suite and star loft suite is often $5k per person more.  What does $10k for two get you if not the Genie's services?

From what I recall the prices of the Star class level rooms haven't really increased too much since the Royal Suite program began. Another thought, what does going from say a Grand Suite to an Owners Suite get you other than a larger room? Now, if you want to see odd pricing, look at the Sky loft (Sky Class) vs Grand loft (Star Class) for July 4, 2019. On that date the Grand loft is cheaper than the Sky loft. Yes, if you read the descriptions of the two rooms on Royal's site it is clear that the Sky loft isn't Start class.

For my Star class experience on Anthem. Cost wise, it was around the same booking the Grand loft for four adults versus what it would have been booking two Grand suites with two adults. Yes, some one had to sleep on the couch and a roll-away bed. Could four in one Grand suite have worked, I'm sure. Would it have been comfortable, not really.

Subject of the Genie: Recall seeing seeing something along the lines of their pay being in the $2200 a month range and rank of two stripes.

Value of the Genie and extra benefits, hard to say. It is what you end up making of it. I know I loved the no additional cost for specialty dining. After dining a Chops I wanted a burger from Michael's, no problem. Feel like a pre-dinner snack of some sushi from Izumi, why not. Heck, between Michael's and Izumi I got my values worth. Cabin crawl spread, sure I could have the concierge arrange it.

 5a7fc6fcd1584_2017-09-0113_33_56.jpg.c35f68a73c9575c3f583153e174f3b5f.jpg

Added: Final thoughts...

Is something I would love to do again, sure. Would I do it if the pricing had a large gap, no. Keep in mind for those that get the casino rate. The discount isn't just on the Star class rooms, it does extend to the lower level ones. It does help make things a bit less painful if going top tier, it is still painful.

Another added: Found the Genie job position posting: https://www.britishbutlerinstitute.com/recruitment/positions/royale-genie-2018-and-beyond/

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12 hours ago, F1guynz said:

As you are sailing on Ovation while it is Australia, that is an interesting question. As it is not normal to tip here, I suspect unless the guests are American or Canadian a lot of guests wouldn’t tip at all or tip a lot. For example they provide a lot a services that a conceirge would provide and I have never tipped a conceirge and nor do many people in this market.

i know the people that we sailed with on Ovation who had a genie did not tip him. Anita and I If we had a genie on a 14 day cruise down here we would probably tip around $100. If we were in the US we would tip more as that would be the expectation.

if you comfortable tipping maybe you could calculate 1-2% of the cabin price and tip them that. We had a not at a Suite with a genie and that was around $20,000 NZD so that would equate to $200-$400 NZD

Hi

We sail from Hongkong on a five-night sail late May. I think I will be tipping in the region of $500/700 dollars for the genie subject to the service I receive and $100 for room attendant, any comments on this always appreciated.

Thank you all for great responses

John :5_smiley:

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12 hours ago, F1guynz said:

As you are sailing on Ovation while it is Australia, that is an interesting question. As it is not normal to tip here, I suspect unless the guests are American or Canadian a lot of guests wouldn’t tip at all or tip a lot. For example they provide a lot a services that a conceirge would provide and I have never tipped a conceirge and nor do many people in this market.

i know the people that we sailed with on Ovation who had a genie did not tip him. Anita and I If we had a genie on a 14 day cruise down here we would probably tip around $100. If we were in the US we would tip more as that would be the expectation.

if you comfortable tipping maybe you could calculate 1-2% of the cabin price and tip them that. We had a not at a Suite with a genie and that was around $20,000 NZD so that would equate to $200-$400 NZD

And here lies the issue, just because something is expected doesn't make it right.

Lets say a couple work all their lives on minimum wage, work hard without any extra treats for themselves just to put their kids through college or university. then they retire and as a treat for themselves to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary they book a nice 7 day cruise to Outer Mongolia departing from Tehran. they save and budget accordingly so they can get an ocean-view room with balcony then just before sailing the upgrade Genie gifts them with a suite.  Is it correct that they are expected to do as others do and tip probably more than they can afford just because its the done thing and is expected? Sure the Genie may do a lot of running about but isn't that their job? isn't that what they sign up and get paid for?  

I am in no way against tipping, while in NYC last year i tipped well over the expected 15 - 20% that was written down simply because the food and service was great. But if it wasnt great then i wouldnt have left as much, maybe i wouldn't have tipped as tips should be earned not just expected as its a way things are done. 

 

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9 hours ago, twangster said:

Are not already paying thousands for a Genie?

I agree with what twangster is questioning. RCI sells the cabin including a genie service. To me it feels counter-intuitive to then pay extra to the person providing that included service. Living somewhere without tipping/gratuities I really struggle with this.

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I really feel like it's going to come down to needs/demands and who it is.  I have read many great and some surprisingly, not so great Genie reviews.  As hubby always says, "It's going to be a game time decision."  I definitely don't think I would go and tip $500-$700 extra just because it's "expected".  However, I would feel terrible if our experience was amazing (because of the Genie) and we left nothing.  It's the same as how we sometimes tip some waiters and room attendants extra and sometimes we don't.  Case by case and how you feel they've gone the extra mile.

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13 hours ago, CGTLH said:

Man, $2,150 a month?!? That's $25,800 a year, really less since they're on contract and will most likely have at least a month between contracts, to be a full-time professional butler to a level of clientele that is paying that much just for their 7-night trip?? (assuming no casino rate or other deep discounts)

I know, I know, all depends on where that person came from and how far that dollar goes. But when the genie is supposed to be several cuts above the typical stateroom attendant in level of service and professionalism, that just strikes me as a slap in the face. Given they work 7 days a week for at least 8 hours a day, that's a measly $9.60 per hour! Barely over minimum wage (at least in some states; others it's well below current minimum wage levels) for a highly demanding service profession.

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3 minutes ago, ellcee said:

Is room and board included? Still seems low but that is a large chunk.

I think R&B is included for all staff, since they're already living on the ship full time without any real choice. But only the basics. If they want internet or drinks, they pay the same as regular passengers.

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40 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Man, $2,150 a month?!? That's $25,800 a year, really less since they're on contract and will most likely have at least a month between contracts, to be a full-time professional butler to a level of clientele that is paying that much just for their 7-night trip?? (assuming no casino rate or other deep discounts)

I know, I know, all depends on where that person came from and how far that dollar goes. But when the genie is supposed to be several cuts above the typical stateroom attendant in level of service and professionalism, that just strikes me as a slap in the face. Given they work 7 days a week for at least 8 hours a day, that's a measly $9.60 per hour! Barely over minimum wage (at least in some states; others it's well below current minimum wage levels) for a highly demanding service profession.

£1555 tax free a month for a 9 month contract is more than most working class brits get for working 12 months  :(

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29 minutes ago, Ray said:

£1555 tax free a month for a 9 month contract is more than most working class brits get for working 12 months  :(

Depending on where they live "tax free" isn't true. Here in the US any foreign income still gets taxed.

In the case of the Genie I had on Anthem his residency I think was Austrilia or Canada. Both these countries have on the books that your foreign income is taxed. Maybe not at the same rate as domestic income, but it is taxed.

Going off topic a hair. In the casino if a US resident wins a slot jackpot over a certain amount they will have taxes withheld and a tax form issued for the win. 

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18 hours ago, CGTLH said:

Going off topic a hair. In the casino if a US resident wins a slot jackpot over a certain amount they will have taxes withheld and a tax form issued for the win. 

Yes.  That changed a few years back.  In the past, there was no 1099 for a JP >$1200 but now there is.

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How many rooms are the genies in charge of?  It's 2-4 rooms per genie I thought.  So if they're already making $2150, then I probably wouldn't give them more than $500 for 2ppl.  If they have 3 rooms a week, at $500 tip per room, that's $1500 a week...

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1 minute ago, RestingBirds said:

How many rooms are the genies in charge of?  It's 2-4 rooms per genie I thought.  So if they're already making $2150, then I probably wouldn't give them more than $500 for 2ppl.  If they have 3 rooms a week, at $500 tip per room, that's $1500 a week...

Yes, I think it's 3 rooms/Genie on Harmony.  There are fewer SC rooms on Harmony than the other ships so the other ships may have more than 3 each.

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12 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Yes, I think it's 3 rooms/Genie on Harmony.  There are fewer SC rooms on Harmony than the other ships so the other ships may have more than 3 each.

Not bad total compensation considering zero room and board and most likely very little taxation.  I'm sure other crew are envious.

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