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Question about “extra” tips


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Hi All, I just created an account to add a little bit to the topic.

My family and I just returned from a cruise on the Jewel of the Seas.  While talking to a member of the staff (someone who would receive tips) about extra tipping and such, this person stated that they were less concerned about an additional tip and emphasized that they much prefer that we give highest marks on the customer survey post cruise.  They stated that the survey provides  a ranking based on feedback as to the number of guests that they will tend too.  So for instance an assistant waiter in the main dining room who has higher customer satisfaction will get more tables/guests which equals more pay.  Now they did not say that tips are pooled and I didn't think of it at the time but this persons comments would lead me to believe that they are pooled and people in customer service are vying for bigger pieces of the pie.  

Purposely not stating which staff member due to repercussions they could face if for some reason they could be tracked down.

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11 minutes ago, Snowchaser said:

emphasized that they much prefer that we give highest marks on the customer survey post cruise. 

This.  If they want a career, great marks by  guests is more important than an extra $20.

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I would also like to know if this is true.  We do give extra tips to our room attendant and MDR wait staff and if this is just being pooled, then I find that unfair for those staff who go over and beyond.  As for the ratings, that is true.  That's why they highly encourage you to take the survey.  Their future work assignment and contract renewal will be dependent on the survey results.  

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1 hour ago, Snowchaser said:

this person stated that they were less concerned about an additional tip and emphasized that they much prefer that we give highest marks on the customer survey post cruise.

I was told this same thing by a Staff member, the survey is more important than the actual tip, because in the long run they can make more money, because if I remember correctly (I'm probably getting ready to talk way over my head here) the rankings they get help in getting the ship assignments they want, because the way they explained it, they wanted on the bigger more popular ships or the more popular itineraries, because they tended to stay fuller more than other ships. They also explained that some people use the same ranking to stay on the same ship for personal reason, verses moving to a bigger better ship.

This is why when I see negative comments towards customer service on lets say Symphony, it just rings wrong to me, RCCL should be putting their best and brightest on Symphony.

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1 hour ago, monctonguy said:

Interesting.....for all our experience and knowledge here about cruising...this topic always seems to be one that brings out a lot of idea's and theories but yet never feel like we know what/how it really works!

It's like @twangster pointed out.  A lack of transparency.  That's why even the most experienced cruiser doesn't really know.

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1 hour ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

It's like @twangster pointed out.  A lack of transparency.  That's why even the most experienced cruiser doesn't really know.

I was thinking about this.  I can see the point you're making, but then again, it's none of our business.  I mean, none of our employers disclose how exactly we are paid and what part goes to government in taxes, etc. Plus, these crew members know what they're doing when they sign up and understand how this works. No one forced them to take this job.

On the other hand....

You're being told to make a gratuity payment that goes towards the crew, so I can see the original point being made.

In short, I'm not sure how I feel.  I do know that as @Snowchaser said, best thing you can do is mention them in a positive light in a post-cruise survey.

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3 hours ago, Snowchaser said:

... and emphasized that they much prefer that we give highest marks on the customer survey post cruise.  They stated that the survey provides  a ranking based on feedback as to the number of guests that they will tend too.

 

2 minutes ago, Matt said:

...best thing you can do is mention them in a positive light in a post-cruise survey.

This is why I take photos of name badges and business cards left by cabin attendants. 

I also asked someone on my last cruise if responding to the survey with who asked me to fill out the survey and provide high ranking was a good thing or bad thing.  They stated it's a good thing, they are encouraged to mention it to guests. 

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5 minutes ago, Matt said:

I was thinking about this.  I can see the point you're making, but then again, it's none of our business.  I mean, none of our employers disclose how exactly we are paid and what part goes to government in taxes, etc. Plus, these crew members know what they're doing when they sign up and understand how this works. No one forced them to take this job.

On the other hand....

You're being told to make a gratuity payment that goes towards the crew, so I can see the original point being made.

In short, I'm not sure how I feel.  I do know that as @Snowchaser said, best thing you can do is mention them in a positive light in a post-cruise survey.

Totally get what you are saying but I think @tonyfsu21's original concern is that the "extra" tips we give people, we expect it to go to them and only them because they have gone above and beyond in some way.  

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Just now, twangster said:

 

I also asked someone on my last cruise if responding to the survey with who asked me to fill out the survey and provide high ranking was a good thing or bad thing.  They stated it's a good thing, they are encouraged to mention it to guests. 

Thanks for clarification!  I have answered no to that because I did not want to have the employee get in any trouble.

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1 minute ago, twangster said:

I also asked someone on my last cruise if responding to the survey with who asked me to fill out the survey and provide high ranking was a good thing or bad thing.  They stated it's a good thing, they are encouraged to mention it to guests. 

And this is where I start to get confused...they are encouraged to mention it but when we do the survey, we shouldn't say that they mentioned it??  That part always confuses me.

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1 minute ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

And this is where I start to get confused...they are encouraged to mention it but when we do the survey, we shouldn't say that they mentioned it??  That part always confuses me.

You should state who asked you to provide high rankings on the survey.  The survey has options like 'Main Dining Room staff', 'Cabin Attendant,' etc.  Feel free to check all that apply, that is a good thing according to my MDR wait staff who were fantastic on Adventure.   

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21 minutes ago, twangster said:

You should state who asked you to provide high rankings on the survey.  The survey has options like 'Main Dining Room staff', 'Cabin Attendant,' etc.  Feel free to check all that apply, that is a good thing according to my MDR wait staff who were fantastic on Adventure.   

Oh great. So you're saying I actually penalized my staff by saying no one told me to give a high rating? ?

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I know that TIP pooling is a common practice in the service sector.  In the case of Royal Caribbean, I figured that the prepaid gratuities where the shared portion and what we gave to individuals after that was for them to keep.  I think that RC should make their policy clear to their customers, if just to be above board and transparent.  I have never encountered a room steward who didn't do a good job so if they are pooling tips, it doesn't really bother me.  I think I would feel differently if I had a Genie who was really going out of their way to  make me happy.  I suppose sharing  helps "spread the wealth" because the inclination to tip varies greatly among the passengers.  And yes, the head waiters get a piece of the pie.  That is also a standard practice.   C'est la vie! 

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I agree with the comments that RC should just make the policy known. I don’t think it’s something just between the employer and employee because RC should know customers will “extra tip."

In everyday day situations I always tip more than 18% (up to 30% when service is excellent and our party is being difficult or picky) so why would I stiff the employee just because the auto added/pre-paid says 18%? 

I don’t have a problem with tips being pooled to some extent. Having worked as a waitress I know the behind the scenes people are very important to efficiency. But, RC should know that people will want to reward service that goes beyond satisfactory and that its measurement is commensurate with the level of service given… whether that be by extra money or survey. Just let us know which is the better reward.

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32 minutes ago, ADK said:

 I don’t think it’s something just between the employer and employee because RC should know customers will “extra tip."

Here in the US in many states wait staff in restaurants are not eligible for minimum wage and it's common for wait staff to be paid minimum or no salary and earn the majority of their compensation in tips.  It varies greatly state by state.  Some do get minimum wage.  The nature of their contract or employment agreement isn't public and I'm not sure cruise line employee contracts should be either.  Does anyone want their compensation posted publicly? 

36 minutes ago, ADK said:

In everyday day situations I always tip more than 18% (up to 30% when service is excellent and our party is being difficult or picky) so why would I stiff the employee just because the auto added/pre-paid says 18%?

This is a good point.  18% is average by US standards but is excessive in other regions of the world.  It's even more painful for folks paying high exchange rates from their home currency while sailing RCI.

At the end of the day put everything in a spreadsheet including extra tips if you so choose.  Add it all up from the tip to the porters, the taxi tip, the maid in the hotel room the night before tip and tips you choose to provide on board in addition to the base cruise fare, excursions, transfers, hotels, airfare and auto-gratuities.  That's the total cost to judge whether cruising is of value to you.  Getting hung up in the weeds takes away from my overall cruise enjoyment.

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With so many different nationalities travelling with Royal, we all have different customs and traditions. So trying to make it the same for everyone when it comes to cruising is difficult.

 

I get that in the US, many servers in many states don't make minimum wage so they rely on tips for 90% of their income. Here in Canada, such is not the case..working at Mcdonalds or a coffee shop or a bar, your minimum wage can be  close to $30-35,000/yr plus tips. So someone pouring your coffee or beer or flipping your burger makes the same thing. Why does the one who pour a beer deserve a tip or more of a tip than the other two?

 

That was just an example of how different it can be from country to country...so to expect everyone to agree and commit to these 18% auto grats and daily grats and feel like Royal will do what's best for its customers and employees is hard to accept and get used to.

 

Don't even get me started on exchange rates....18% grats really are about a 25% real cost to me with exchange rates..but that's another whole issue.....

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