"" Writer's Wanderings: Cruise Gratuities--They've Changed Over The Years

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Cruise Gratuities--They've Changed Over The Years

When we first began cruising tipping or gratuities were usually done with cash and handed out in envelopes on the last day or two of the cruise. It was a little bit of a hassle sometimes trying to find everyone you needed to give a tip to and some of the people you never even saw until the last day. You really didn't know why they were supposed to get a tip when you didn't see them or have direct contact with them until it was tip time.

That has changed. At first it was an option where you could ask that the tips be added to your final bill before disembarking. At least then you didn't need to have cash at the ready to put in the envelopes. That did make it a bit easier.

Soon the option became a part of your cruise package. Tips or gratuities are now automatically included in your daily charges. This wasn't a problem for us until we encountered a really bad stateroom attendant once. He would forget to service our room or leave clean towels among other things. By the end of the cruise we were frustrated with knowing that the automatic gratuity was going to get to him. We went to guest services and were assured that our complaint would be noted and the attendant would not receive a tip from us. I don't know that they followed through but at least the situation was noted.

Since there are so many other changes from old-time cruising, like so many more dining options, it does insure that the tipping gets to more people who have served you as you cruise. But it also goes to some that you may never see. An article at Cruise Critic talks about gratuities and how so many crew members rely on them to supplement their income. It's not unlike some in land based service positions, waitresses for example, who make a low base pay and rely on tipping to see them through. The article is very interesting and gets into what the base salaries of many on the ship are.

When you are booking a cruise you may want to look at the price and add on what you know the gratuities will be. An all-inclusive cruise package may look expensive but if it is including the gratuities in the pricing, it may be the same or even less than another package where gratuities are added on daily.

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