Re automatic charge for gratuities

This is subscriber only post.
Get one year of online-only access — only $15!
Below is a sample of the article.
Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

With reference to the growing trend of cruise lines to charge each passenger $10 per day for gratuities to shipboard staff, we booked for September ’03 an 18-day Mediterranean cruise on Cunard’s Caronia and noticed in their brochure that they would charge that much per day per passenger as a gratuity for shipboard staff.

We advised Cunard through our travel agency that we chose to tip their service personnel as we so desired and would cancel any automatic charge for gratuities charged to our account. Their Stateside office agreed to that and suggested that we advise the ship’s Purser when presenting our credit card for all charges. We so did, and no charges were levied against our account.

At disembarkation, we tipped all the service personnel with whom we had come in contact. I don’t know the exact amount my wife tipped, but I tipped $190 between the dining room waiter, the maître d’, the cabin attendant and a deck steward who was very accommodating. Further, there was a charge of 15% for bar service and a personal tip for the bar waiters.

After that, we booked a cabin aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 on her inaugural cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rio and return (a 24-day cruise), Feb. 11-March 6. On their Guest Statement to us, they stated, “Gratuities are not included in Cunard cruise fares. If not prepaid, a gratuity of US$264 per person will be charged to the guest’s onboard account. See Cunard brochure for details.”

We contacted Cunard through our travel agency to state that we would tip as we so desired and would cancel any automatic charges for gratuities. Cunard answered that it was okay but that it would have to be told to the embarkation agent in Fort Lauderdale, who I am certain will suggest that we advise the Purser onboard.

We feel gratuities should be earned for service rendered, the amount in tandem with the way the service was given. The cruise lines should not expect nor ask the passengers to subsidize their payrolls, which, by the way, leave much to be desired for service personnel who work untold hours without redress. Further gratuities should be given to personnel who give their service, not for other employees aboard ship with whom the passengers do not come in contact.

Name withheld

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

With reference to the growing trend of cruise lines to charge each passenger $10 per day for gratuities to shipboard staff, we booked for September ’03 an 18-day Mediterranean cruise on Cunard’s Caronia and noticed in their brochure that they would charge that much per day per passenger as a gratuity for shipboard staff.

We advised Cunard through our travel agency that we chose to tip their service personnel as we so desired and would cancel any automatic charge for gratuities charged to our account. Their Stateside office agreed to that and suggested that we advise the ship’s Purser when presenting our credit card for all charges. We so did, and no charges were levied against our account.

At disembarkation, we tipped all the service personnel with whom we had come in contact. I don’t know the exact amount my wife tipped, but I tipped $190 between the dining room waiter, the maître d’, the cabin attendant and a deck steward who was very accommodating. Further, there was a charge of 15% for bar service and a personal tip for the bar waiters.

After that, we booked a cabin aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 on her inaugural cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rio and return (a 24-day cruise), Feb. 11-March 6. On their Guest Statement to us, they stated, “Gratuities are not included in Cunard cruise fares. If not prepaid, a gratuity of US$264 per person will be charged to the guest’s onboard account. See Cunard brochure for details.”

We contacted Cunard through our travel agency to state that we would tip as we so desired and would cancel any automatic charges for gratuities. Cunard answered that it was okay but that it would have to be told to the embarkation agent in Fort Lauderdale, who I am certain will suggest that we advise the Purser onboard.

We feel gratuities should be earned for service rendered, the amount in tandem with the way the service was given. The cruise lines should not expect nor ask the passengers to subsidize their payrolls, which, by the way, leave much to be desired for service personnel who work untold hours without redress. Further gratuities should be given to personnel who give their service, not for other employees aboard ship with whom the passengers do not come in contact.

Name withheld