Lorraine and some “frequent floater” buddies were talking recently about how things have changed since we began cruising all those many years ago. And change they have – some for the better and some not so much for.
Among the many topics of conversation which she will share with readers along the way was that of “automatic” gratuities. One said he missed the days when you would give your servers envelopes of cash on the final night along with a “thank you” handshake. One said she felt the level of service had declined since servers no longer “work” for tips. While another countered that he felt the level of service had actually improved since servers no longer had to worry about being “stiffed” by “cheepies” who gave nada. Most wondered why the policy was instituted in the first place. Well, let’s look at a couple of the reasons.
For purposes of discussion, consider “tip” as an unavoidable cost of being served (service charge) and “gratuity” as a voluntary “thank you.”
Ready? First of all, the concept of a single dining venue (besides the buffet) has drastically changed. Today you may opt to dine in any number of different restaurants - interacting with any number of different servers. How do you keep track of them? What about tipping in the buffet – or dining room for breakfast or lunch? Much too confusing! A portion of that daily assessment is distributed among all food servers.
Another reason is the increasing number of cruisers from different countries and different cultures. While most U.S. cruisers see no technical difference between “tip” and “gratuity,” Europeans are accustomed to a “service charge” (tip) being included in the cruise fare and anything over that (gratuity) is practically unheard of, while in Japanese culture either is frowned upon and may be considered an insult. With “automatic” – all cruisers from all countries and all cultures are assessed the same daily rate – it simply levels the playing field.
More to follow on “automatic gratuities” – but for now Lorraine would like to know your thoughts…..are you for ‘em or a’gin it? WHY?