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KennyFla

DIY Gratuities

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Just now, Nashna said:

.  

__________________________

 

I do not believe that my question to the concierge regarding tipping was out of line.  I did not ask about her financial situation, I asked about MSC policy.  The concierge position in the YC is different than a room steward or a waiter.   

 

Fair enough.  Still, you have absolutely no way to confirm she's telling you the whole and/or truthful story.

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1 hour ago, jkgourmet said:

 

Fair enough.  Still, you have absolutely no way to confirm she's telling you the whole and/or truthful story.

I see no reason for her to tell a lie.  What benefit could it possible give to her?  She was truly upset when she spoke about crew members on another cruise line being distraught at their reduced paychecks.  She only offered that insight after I told her that we had been asked  by our waiter, on another cruise line sailing,  if we had kept the DSC on our account.  If we had not kept the DSC, he would have to give away our tip to the pool.   Our waiter's smile broadened when we told him that we would never take off the DSC.  We had previously had a conversation with the concierge about her employment with MSC and she volunteered how much she enjoyed working for the line.  She is a true professional and I have total confidence in her ability to be truthful.  On cruises that have a DSC, we consider that charge to be part of the cost of sailing.  We also consider tipping additional amounts to those who have provided us with great service to be part of the cost of sailing.  

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We've never removed the DSC and never will.  I consider it part of the cost of the vacation - just like the daily resort fee charged by many hotels now.

 

Nevertheless, I do not believe that any of us truly KNOWS what happens with the crew, their money, their tips or otherwise.  

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I don't think we need to know...just pay the darn charge and tip extra if you wish.  

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1 hour ago, Nashna said:

I don't think we need to know...just pay the darn charge and tip extra if you wish.  

Damn right.  👍

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I think the main question is if this line pays gratuities differently from the American lines.  We are all aware how RCL and CCl (and probably NCLH) owned lines pay (all tips split and extras kept by SP if gratuities are kept in place) and are fine with that.  We keep them in place and tip extra accordingly.  This is a European line and therefore may have a different set-up.  If they are keeping part of that to pay for return airfare promised at hire or "training" the cruise line should pay for, I would prefer to make sure tips I pay go to those deserving them - just my opinion.  This will be our first cruise outside of American lines, so I DO want to know.  Our cruise was NOT cheaper than Celebrity all said and done.  If only $200 of $300 paid in gratuities goes to Service Providers, I would rather take my $300 and the additional $100 we would add and tip personally.  We cruised many years ago (American lines) when you were expected to tip in person, and many never showed up the last night at dinner to do so.  Very poor form, so I do understand why the automatic gratuity was put in place.  I just want to know if the full amount goes to employees like everyone else here.  No need to get ugly about it.

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Part of this issue is the fact that MSC calls this a Daily Service Charge where other cruiselines call it Gratuities. Different people have different customs, but here in the great state of Ohio, you don't usually tip custodial staff, kitchen workers, laundry staff, etc. that are the "behind the scenes" people that some are saying gets stiffed. Those people are paid an hourly rate. Tipped employees are paid by the company in the event their tips do not meet the minimum wage of pay. Otherwise, they're paid a small hourly amount by the company and the rest via tips. Tipped employees are waiters, maids, drivers, bellhops, etc. When other lines use the term Gratuity then some people equate that to the situation described above. Then, MSC charges a similar fee and calls it a DSC. Thus, some confusion occurs. 

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17 hours ago, Reds4life said:

Part of this issue is the fact that MSC calls this a Daily Service Charge where other cruiselines call it Gratuities... Then, MSC charges a similar fee and calls it a DSC. Thus, some confusion occurs. 

 

It is very simple, MSC and all other European cruise lines cannot call it "Gratuities", this would be totally illegal as by law they cannot collect Gratuities from their guests. Same with the port fees or port taxes they cannot collect from the guests from these markets. The DSC is already on the verge of being illegal, they solved this in the way that  guests can delete this "suggestion" and the cruise lines are not allowed to ask any question about WHY. Some years before guests only could delete by giving a reason, certainly MSC was sued for this and lost. 

 

In Europe most cruise lines already have abolished the DSC and Gratuities completely (or never had it). MSC seems to have removed it in not so price sensitive markets like UK or Switzerland, but they are probably for a good reason afraid to do it in the main markets like Germany. Selling the cabin 140 Euro more expensive can make a difference. 

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On 2/19/2020 at 9:40 AM, richnorto said:

This will be our first cruise outside of American lines, so I DO want to know. 

MSC will never ever disclose, they never did and never will do. One thing that is sure, they changed the system all the time during the last years and especially after the all inclusive drinks packages went popular. And the true answer if you ask staff on board how much they get from the DSC is "I don´t know". I would not bet that ANYONE including the captain (who don´t care anyway) on board knows the system exactly, these decisions are made in Italy and Switzerland. But you can indeed expect that the DSC goes to the staff. 

 

On 2/19/2020 at 9:40 AM, richnorto said:

If only $200 of $300 paid in gratuities goes to Service Providers, I would rather take my $300 and the additional $100 we would add and tip personally. 

How you want to handle this? The DSC goes to hundreds of people, you want to give your waiter and room steward $200 each and all others nothing? Well, that is the reason why cruise lines don´t like individual tipping and ask not to do so. 

 

With all this discussions don´t forget one thing, the staff on cruise lines are not unhappy and low paid people, it is still a dream job with extraordinary high salary for so many.

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3 hours ago, perakcruiser said:

 

It is very simple, MSC and all other European cruise lines cannot call it "Gratuities", this would be totally illegal as by law they cannot collect Gratuities from their guests. Same with the port fees or port taxes they cannot collect from the guests from these markets. The DSC is already on the verge of being illegal, they solved this in the way that  guests can delete this "suggestion" and the cruise lines are not allowed to ask any question about WHY. Some years before guests only could delete by giving a reason, certainly MSC was sued for this and lost. 

 

In Europe most cruise lines already have abolished the DSC and Gratuities completely (or never had it). MSC seems to have removed it in not so price sensitive markets like UK or Switzerland, but they are probably for a good reason afraid to do it in the main markets like Germany. Selling the cabin 140 Euro more expensive can make a difference. 

PC ... The DSC on MSC is now included within the cruise cost for cruise customers from the UK since 23rd June 2019 and has not been removed, your information regarding the DSC and other lines is not 100% correct.

Costa have a Mandatory DSC which cannot be removed, P and O cruises say they have removed the DSC but it has likely been added into the cruise fare as MSC have done. 

Note that CMV and Fred Olsen charge Gratuities!

 

COSTA ...

View Useful Information

 

For all hotel services provided on board, a mandatory service charge is added daily to the Guest's account. The actual payment will be at the end of the cruise and depends on the duration of the cruise. The predetermined daily amount depends on the currency in use on board and the date of the cruise as follows:

 

Service Charges

 

The service charge rates in the table apply to Guests over the age of 14 and are per person, per day. Children between the ages of 4 and 14 will be charged 50% of the above rates. The charge is not applied to children under the age of 4. Guests may choose to add the service charge to the total to be paid when booking.

 

The smaller cruise lines in the UK Cruise and Maritime and Fred Olsen have the following ...

 

FRED OLSEN ... 

Typically, gratuities are charged at £5.00 per person, per day for guests aged 12 and over. This amount is split equally between your stewardess and restaurant waiter, and will be automatically added to your on board account. While very much appreciated, these gratuities are voluntary, and therefore can be adjusted or removed completely at Guest Services on board the ship if you wish; and you are welcome to tip personally if you prefer.

For your convenience, you can also pre-pay gratuities before your cruise. We'll check with you at the time of booking if you’d like to pay prior to your cruise.

 

CRUISE and MARITIME (cmv) ...  

Gratuities

According to international custom in the hospitality industry, tipping is accepted as recognition of good service. For your greater convenience we operate an automatic tipping system on board, so instead of worrying how much and when to tip, an amount of £7.00 per person per night (£6.00 per person per night for cruises of more than 16 nights duration) will be debited to your onboard account.

 

MARELLA/T.U.I ... Included in the price. 

DO I NEED TO TIP?

No. All tips and service charges are included in the price of your cruise. You’re not expected to tip any of our crew – unless you want to, of course.

 

CUNARD ...

From your waiters and stateroom stewards to the many more people supporting behind the scenes, every Cunard crew member puts their heart and skill into ensuring you experience Cunard's legendary White Star Service.

To ensure crew in these areas are rewarded for the service they provide to you, and to eliminate the need for tipping, a hotel and dining service charge is added to your on board account and every dollar collected goes directly to the crew members.  There is no administrative fee.  Of course, should you wish to individually reward any other crew member who has made your time on board particularly memorable, please feel welcome to do so.

Casino personnel do not share in the hotel and dining service charge as not all guests use their services. For all bar, wine and salon services, a charge is automatically added to your on board account for each purchase, which is shared amongst the crew in these teams.

 

How are these charges calculated?

Hotel and dining service charge

Amounts vary by stateroom category as follows:

Queens and Princess Grill Suites $13.50 per person per night
Britannia Staterooms $11.50 per person per night

For bar, wine and salon services 

A 15% charge is automatically added to your on board account for each purchase

Edited by sidari

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26 minutes ago, sidari said:

PC ... The DSC on MSC is now included within the cruise cost for cruise customers from the UK since 23rd June 2019 and has not been removed, your information regarding the DSC and other lines is not 100% correct.

Costa have a Mandatory DSC which cannot be removed, P and O cruises say they have removed the DSC but it has likely been added into the cruise fare as MSC have done. 

Note that CMV and Fred Olsen charge Gratuities!

 

Well if it is included in the price as with Costa* and MSC UK, then I would not call it a "mandatory DSC" anymore, as it is not visible and as you say with P&O it is just a part of the cruise price. Same with this mysterious port taxes some nationalities have to pay. I never heard of the lines "CMV" or "Fred Olsen" (funny name), but certainly they also cannot break the law. There is just one "trick",  do not sell your cruises "officially" in these markets, just use global webpage so you only need to follow the law of the place where the company is based. Genting Cruises is doing this, they can force all passengers to pay service charges. 

 

*Costa defintely cannot add a "mandatory" service charge to the accounts, if they not collect it with the stated cruise price in the catalogue it is purely voluntary. Very surprised to read that UK law doesn´t protect customers from companies changing the "final price". 

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Costa add the mandatory charge to the final bill onboard seperate from the cruise price.

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2 hours ago, sidari said:

Costa add the mandatory charge to the final bill onboard seperate from the cruise price.

Very funny, it was MSC who sued Costa in Germany a couple of years before for exactly this. Certainly Costa lost and then changed to abolish the charge completely and include it in the cruise price. It did not know that they did not do this in UK also. 

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https://www.weatthesea.com/should-you-prepay-gratuities-on-a-cruise/

 

Good article on this subject. Explains it well. 

 

A few thoughts:

 

The World has 7.6 billion people. 

Around 30 million of us cruise each year. 

 

We are incredibly blessed to be able to do so. 

 

Out of this abundance of blessing, not only should we ALL always prepay our gratuities, but we should ALSO bring cash and tip out of the goodness and abundance of our hearts. 

 

Personally, I bring $2 bills. A few hundred of them. And, give them out all over the ship. The crew love them!

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27 minutes ago, TheSoccerCoach said:

https://www.weatthesea.com/should-you-prepay-gratuities-on-a-cruise/

 

Good article on this subject. Explains it well. 

 

A few thoughts:

 

The World has 7.6 billion people. 

Around 30 million of us cruise each year. 

 

We are incredibly blessed to be able to do so. 

 

Out of this abundance of blessing, not only should we ALL always prepay our gratuities, but we should ALSO bring cash and tip out of the goodness and abundance of our hearts. 

 

Personally, I bring $2 bills. A few hundred of them. And, give them out all over the ship. The crew love them!

 

The crew are never going to act anything other than pleased when given something by a pax. But your 'cute' $2 bills are actually a royal pain for them as they are much more difficult to exchange and they get a worse exchange rate.  They take them because something is better than nothing, but you aren't doing them any favors by doing this, compared to just giving them 2 singles.

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7 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

The crew are never going to act anything other than pleased when given something by a pax. But your 'cute' $2 bills are actually a royal pain for them as they are much more difficult to exchange and they get a worse exchange rate.  They take them because something is better than nothing, but you aren't doing them any favors by doing this, compared to just giving them 2 singles.

 

Thumbs Up 10X.  Same goes for those who insist on giving them little gifts, candy, a souvenir from your hometown, etc.  They don't want it.  They haven't room for trinkets in their cabin or luggage when they finally get to go home. They have PLENTY to eat.  They don't care about YOUR hometown.  All that may make YOU feel good, but its crap to them (no matter how grateful YOU think they are.)

 

They care about taking care of their families.  Be kind and thoughtful - give cash.   

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40 minutes ago, jkgourmet said:

 

Thumbs Up 10X.  Same goes for those who insist on giving them little gifts, candy, a souvenir from your hometown, etc.  They don't want it.  They haven't room for trinkets in their cabin or luggage when they finally get to go home. They have PLENTY to eat.  They don't care about YOUR hometown.  All that may make YOU feel good, but its crap to them (no matter how grateful YOU think they are.)

 

They care about taking care of their families.  Be kind and thoughtful - give cash.   

I was a crew. For four years. We DID enjoy gifts, chocolates, etc. We give cash AND gifts. 

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54 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

The crew are never going to act anything other than pleased when given something by a pax. But your 'cute' $2 bills are actually a royal pain for them as they are much more difficult to exchange and they get a worse exchange rate.  They take them because something is better than nothing, but you aren't doing them any favors by doing this, compared to just giving them 2 singles.

$2 is still legal tender and still worth $2. Many consider them lucky as well. 

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2 hours ago, TheSoccerCoach said:

$2 is still legal tender and still worth $2. Many consider them lucky as well. 

 

Legal tender doesn't cut it at currency exchange.

 

Try it yourself.  Take some of the $2 bills and try to get them changed into local currency.  

 

Look, I understand you were trying to do something nice in a distinctive way and didn't realize that the distinctiveness was detracting from the niceness.  Now you know.  What you choose to do with that information is up to you.

Edited by Toofarfromthesea

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16 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

Legal tender doesn't cut it at currency exchange.

 

Try it yourself.  Take some of the $2 bills and try to get them changed into local currency.  

 

Look, I understand you were trying to do something nice in a distinctive way and didn't realize that the distinctiveness was detracting from the niceness.  Now you know.  What you choose to do with that information is up to you.

ok

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6 hours ago, TheSoccerCoach said:

I was a crew. For four years. We DID enjoy gifts, chocolates, etc. We give cash AND gifts. 

Okay - maybe entertainment crew.  Maybe the activity crew.  The folks cleaning the toilets, changing the sheets, serving the booze, etc.  Nope, NOT buying it.  

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8 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

. But your 'cute' $2 bills are actually a royal pain for them as they are much more difficult to exchange and they get a worse exchange rate.  They take them because something is better than nothing, but you aren't doing them any favors by doing this

How many times in your life you tried to exchange a $2 bill in Indonesia or the Philippines? Probably never, but you tell people here that you know exactly how it goes, great! Certainly you can exchange a bunch of small USD or EUR bills there also. Only these two currencies of cause. Somebody who has do it more often will also have the money changer of his trust (we all have here in SEA, also me in Malaysia), and will get a very good rate from them also. 

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12 hours ago, sidari said:

Costa have not abolished the mandatory charge!

They did. Go to the German website and use Google Translate. Or to make it short "Servicegebühren inbegriffen" means "Service charges included". As it is required by German law. My brother sailed Costa last year with a booking from the German website, he also had a drinks package included and his final bill was zero. Prices in Germany and most other developed countries 😉 have to be published including taxes and all other parts, thats why they call it final price law. I am a little bit shocked that the UK is not following this as I thought it is a place with exemplary consumer protection. 

 

If the EU should bring anything to all countries in the world that it is this final price law. Everything else is just customer cheating. 

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11 hours ago, Jossie1960 said:

I really love to read about the generosity of our American cousins, it really is heartwarming.  I for one don’t believe a word of their pompous boasting, I just observe them standing inline at guest relations.  

 

Love your post, exactly my sentiments........

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