To Tip Or Not To Tip
The moment we mention the word ‘tip’ Brits become embarrassed. In restaurants we are often too polite to be a refusenik; few of us collect the exact change from a cab driver; and if we didn’t proffer our hairdresser a sweetener, who knows what style we might sport next time we leave the salon. But the real dilemma starts when we go on holiday. Fortunately if you opt for a cruise there is a finely-tuned structure in place so you are neither skinflint nor extravagant.
Some cruise lines have taken the line of least resistance and include gratuities as part of an ‘all-inclusive’ concept. This applies mostly to ultra-luxury ships where staff is expressly forbidden to accept any baksheesh. Companies catering solely to the British cruise market such as Thomson Cruises and Saga Cruises take the sting out of those ‘nasty little extras’ and include basic tips.
The vast majority of cruise lines have a predetermined schedule of ‘suggested gratuities’ which passengers are expected to follow. In most cases these are added to your onboard account and are usually in the region of £4 to £12 per passenger per day. You can request to have these removed but bear in mind that your cabin stewardess, as well as restaurant waiter and assistant, rely on your generosity as their wages are notoriously low and, rightly or wrongly, cruise lines expect passengers to augment their salaries.
On most cruises a 15% gratuity is automatically added to all wines and bar drinks – and this is non-negotiable. Your massage becomes a little less relaxing when you discover that this, like all spa treatments, comes with a gratuity added by your therapist ‘for your convenience’.
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line; Norwegian Cruise Line; and MSC Cruises encourage passengers to pre-pay their ‘service charge’ which makes it easier to budget for your holiday.
Tipping etiquette on board cruise ships is no longer the minefield it used to be. Service on a ship, whether it’s a 3-star or 5-star vessel, is often far superior to many deluxe resorts or hipster restaurants. This is one holiday choice where largesse should be viewed as a reward rather than a rip-off. For more details call 0800 484 0370 or click on www.cruisedirect.co.uk.
- 13th February 2017