Cruise question of the day: What do you think about cruise gratuities?
On some cruise lines (like Crystal Cruises featured in the photo above), gratuities are automatically included in the cruise fare. On other cruise lines, passengers will have an opportunity to show their appreciation for exceptional service through an automatic gratuity.
Thanks for the inspiration #CruiseChat (a weekly Twitter chat)
Q2: Do you prefer having gratuities automatically added to your account or do you like the “old school” envelope process? Why? #CruiseChat
— CruiseLineFans.com (@CruiseLineFans) September 2, 2014
The topic of gratuities on cruise ships is always exciting. In the old days of cruising, guests who wanted to show their appreciation for outstanding service would give a “tip” to a worker in a sealed envelope (very dignified). Then the practice started where envelopes would be provided and the cruise line provided some guidelines (and your travel agent told you).
Based on the cruise tip calculator, here is what I would have to budget for a 7-day cruise on Royal Caribbean
So for me sailing with my two kids, I would have to budget an additional $245 dollars for gratuities.
Links to articles about gratuities from Royal Caribbean:
- Does the automatic gratuity apply to all guests?
- How does my gratuity help the crew and who does it go to?
- What if I’m totally WOW’ed and want to provide special recognition for a crew member?
- Are there other gratuities to be expected during my cruise?
- Why would I need to modify my gratuity amounts?
- How do I pay for gratuities?
- I booked my cruise before the Automatic Gratuity Program went into effect. How does this impact my cruise?
- Why is the gratuity automatic?
- Is the gratuity required?
- Is the amount of the automatic daily gratuity different than the previously recommended gratuity amounts?
- What are the gratuity guidelines for cruises?
- Why the increase in gratuities?
- If I make a booking for a sailing before July 1, 2011 will the new gratuities apply to my sailing?
- I booked my cruise before this adjustment. Do the new guidelines apply to my cruise?
- When do the new gratuities start?
- How does the new Royal Caribbean suggested daily gratuity compare to their competitors?
- Am I required to pay these adjusted totals?
- Will you be adjusting the gratuity for bar, wine and beverage service?
- Is there a deadline to modify or remove my prepaid or automatic gratuities?
On the other hand, here is what a couple of the luxury cruise lines have to say:
With Crystal’s all-inclusive cruising, complimentary gratuities for housekeeping (Penthouse Butler, Penthouse Attendant, Stateroom Attendant and Trainee Stateroom Attendants), bar and dining staff (including specialty restaurants and in-room dining service staff) are included.
If you would like to present gratuities for other service personnel, please do so at your discretion, or if you have any questions regarding gratuities, please contact the Reception Desk on board.
Fares include onboard gratuities
Takeaway: Buzz-crush or Buzz-crush?
Buzz-crush.. I am not a big fan of automatic gratuities. I would prefer to have the gratuities automatically included in the cruise fare.
Here are some more interesting questions from today’s #CruiseChat
Q1: Should gratuities be included as part of the advertised #cruise fare? Why or why not?
Q2: Do you prefer having gratuities automatically added to your account or do you like the “old school” envelope process? Why?
Q3: Have you ever tried to reduce or remove automatic gratuities from your onboard account? Why? What was your experience?
Q4: Do you tip on top of the recommended gratuity amount? What’s the most you’ve ever given a single crew member?
Q5: In what other ways to do you recognize a crew member when you receive outstanding service on a cruise?
Q6: Do you typically tip your tour guides and bus drivers when you take a shore excursion? Why or why not?
Q7: We promise not to judge, so tell the truth: Have you ever left no gratuities on a cruise? Why?
Q8: Do you think service is less attentive on #cruise lines that have automatic or included gratuities? Why or why not?
Q9: Why do you think there is such a cultural divide between Americans and the British when it comes to gratuities on a #cruise?