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  #31 (permalink)  
Old June 4th, 2012, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by anniegb View Post
I totally agree and I suspect most do.

I suggested this to a Celebrity Manager who advised me that most US guests would object.

Go figure - I always prepay my gratuities.

Annie
Costa call it a service charge, it is mandatory for all passengers except those from the US & Canada.

Some nationalities pay it within final invoice...Australians & New Zealanders, and the rest pay it at the end of the cruise. The only ones who can alter or drop the charges are US/Canadian passengers.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old June 4th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CostaSmurf View Post
Costa call it a service charge, it is mandatory for all passengers except those from the US & Canada.

Some nationalities pay it within final invoice...Australians & New Zealanders, and the rest pay it at the end of the cruise. The only ones who can alter or drop the charges are US/Canadian passengers.
You learn something new everyday

Do any of the US/Canadian passengers alter/drop the service charge?

Curious

Annie
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old June 4th, 2012, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anniegb View Post
You learn something new everyday

Do any of the US/Canadian passengers alter/drop the service charge?

Curious

Annie
They probably do
I am not one of them though
The crew work hard to make my cruise enjoyable so they deserve the gratuity or what ever they call it on the different cruise lines

Some have now started to call it a service charge & you cannot adjust it
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old June 5th, 2012, 04:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anniegb View Post
You learn something new everyday

Do any of the US/Canadian passengers alter/drop the service charge?

Curious

Annie
They certainly do....

In actual fact, its quite funny to watch them sometimes when they ask what I think of the service charge, especially since I am a Brit and we have long been accused of being stingy...I tell them I am fine with it and that since it cannot be taken off anyway, the "Brits are stingy" argument is moot.

The looks on their faces is a picture..."You mean you CANNOT alter or remove it?......oh my...well that is a right that you SHOULD have....oh....well I would find another cruise line if we were forced to pay it....."

Seems no-one can win at this service autogratuity autotip charge thingy, can they, eh?
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1965 - Cunard Queen Mary, 1967 - Cunard Queen Elizabeth, 1970 - Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2, 1971 - P&O Oriana, 1972 - SS France, 1975 - SS Leopard, 1977 - P&O Canberra, 2005 - NCL Jewel, 2005/6 - NCL Crown, 2006 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - NCL Gem, 2008 - Costa Allegra, 2010 - Costa Allegra 34 Day B2B, 2011 - Costa Victoria, 2012 - Costa Classica
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old June 5th, 2012, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CostaSmurf View Post
They certainly do....

In actual fact, its quite funny to watch them sometimes when they ask what I think of the service charge, especially since I am a Brit and we have long been accused of being stingy...I tell them I am fine with it and that since it cannot be taken off anyway, the "Brits are stingy" argument is moot.

The looks on their faces is a picture..."You mean you CANNOT alter or remove it?......oh my...well that is a right that you SHOULD have....oh....well I would find another cruise line if we were forced to pay it....."

Seems no-one can win at this service autogratuity autotip charge thingy, can they, eh?
Costa,

It may be different for UK and other non-US passengers but the only cruise line that you cannot remove the gratuity is NCL and they do call it a service charge. I am not sure about Costa. On other lines you can opt out of the program and a number of people do. Some because of bad service and others (the majority) just don't want to pay it.

Take care,
Mike
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old June 5th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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From Costa Crociere USA website :

Quote:
Tipping is a personal matter, and your own judgment is the best guide. For your convenience, Costa will automatically debit your onboard account a modest service charge per person per day. Bartenders, servers, deck stewards and other staff may be tipped as service is received. For your convenience, a 15% gratuity is added to beverage purchases automatically.

Cruises from December 2011 through November 2012

Included:
World Cruises and neoRomantica Grand Cruises

Caribbean sailings departing from the U.S.:
$11.00 US per adult per day.The applicable service charge for teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will be $5.50 per person per day.

Caribbean sailings departing from non-U.S. ports:
Euro 7.00 per adult per day for cruises up to 8 nights; Euro 6.00 per adult per day on longer cruises. The applicable service charge for teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will be 50% of these amounts; there will be no service charge for children under the age of 14.

Dubai and Indian Ocean:
Euro 7.00 per adult per day for cruises up to 8 nights; Euro 6.00 per adult per day on longer cruises. The applicable service charge for teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will be 50% of these amounts; there will be no service charge for children under the age of 14.

Transatlantic sailings:
Euro 6.00 per adult per day. The applicable service charge for teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will be 50% of this amount; there will be no service charge for children under the age of 14.

South America sailings:
$9.00 US per adult per day. The applicable service charge for teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will be 50% of these amounts; there will be no service charge for children under the age of 14.

Far East :
6.00 Euro per adult per day. The applicable service charge for teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will be 50% of these amounts; there will be no service charge for children under the age of 14.

China mini-cruise (4,5,6 days):
$9.00 US per adult per day. The applicable service charge for teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will be 50% of these amounts; there will be no service charge for children under the age of 14.

Mediterranean and Northern Europe:
Euro 7.00 per adult per day for cruises up to 8 nights; Euro 6.00 per adult per day on longer cruises. The applicable service charge for teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will be 50% of these amounts; there will be no service charge for children under the age of 14.

Cruises from December 2012 through November 2013

Included:
Transatlantic and Great Eastern Cruises of november 2012

Caribbean sailings departing from the U.S.:
$11.00 US per guests age 15 and older per day for all cruise lengths.

Caribbean sailings departing from non-U.S. ports:
7 Euro per guests age 15 and older per day for all cruise lengths.

Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Dubai, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Far East):
7 Euro per guests age 15 and older per day for all cruise lengths.

Costa Victoria Far East Cruises in China:
$11.00 US per guests age 15 and older per day for all cruises

Transatlantic sailings (To/From: N. America, S. America, Dubai, Far East, Mauritius, and N. Europe):
7 Euro per guests age 15 and older per day for all cruise lengths.

South America sailings:
Nov. 2012 through March 2013:
$10.00 US per guests age 15 and older per day for all cruise lengths.
Nov. 2013 through March 2014:
$11.00 US per guests age 15 and older per day for all cruise lengths.

The applicable service charge for children between age 4 and 14 will be 50% less of the amount indicated above; there will be no service charge for children under the age of 4.
From the Costa Crociere UK website :

Quote:
2012 SEASON - for cruises from december 2011 to december 2012

included:
Transatlantic cruises of November 2011
Grand Oriental cruises of November 2011
Caribbean, Middle East, Red Sea and Oriental cruises of November 2011
Costa Serena 27/11/2011
Costa Concordia 28/11/2011
Around the World Cruise january 2013

For all hotel services on board, a service charge will be added eachday to Guests' accounts. Payment will be requested only at the end of the cruise and depends on the duration of the cruise. The following charges are applicable:
• 7 euros/day per adult for all cruises up to 8 days, or 6 euros/day per adult for longer cruises.
• 11 dollars/day per adult for Caribbean cruises on Costa Atlantica departing from Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
• 9 dollars/day per adult for 4-5-6-7-8 day mini Far Eastern cruises on Costa Classica and Costa Victoria.
• 10 dollars/day per adult for South American and spring transatlantic cruises on Costa Fortuna, Costa Magica, Costa Pacifica and Costa Victoria.
There is no service charge on any cruise for children under the age of 14, whereas Guests between the ages of 14 and 17 will be charged 50% of the above rates. The entire service charge is set aside by the company for staff who perform hotel duties on board as an incentive to continue improving the quality of service offeredon Costa ships. In this regard, Costa Cruises has received SA 8000international certification for ethical conduct and social accountability.The service charge is an integral part of the total price of thecruise and therefore the amount cannot be altered.
If you ask any passenger from the US or Canada when aboard a Costa ship, they confirm that the option to remove or reduce the service charge is given at time of booking...most do not alter or remove, but some do so either at booking or the moment they board.

I have seen it mtself too many times, the queue at Guest Services with people wanting to opt out of the service charge and its always passengers from the US and when asked for thereason why, they claim its a right of theirs to make that decision.

It causes alot of consternation at the evening meal since it invariably gets brought into the conversation...those who booked and were not made aware of the service charge by their agent, the ones already paid it with their final invoice and those who know all about it and accept it...then you get the token US passenger say "Oh well I just asked the agent to opt me out of it and they did"...makes for quite significant heartburn at mealtimes.

This is why I wish that no matter which line you sail with, they all should have a fixed & identical amount, they should make it mandatory for everyone regardless of nationality/culture...it would save countless arguments at guest services from passe ngers who rightly ask why certain nationalities have been let off the charges (or at least given the opportunity to be let off from them).
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Next :

Costa Pacifica - Dec 2012
Costa Favolosa - June 2013
Costa Deliziosa - Dec 2013


Past :

1965 - Cunard Queen Mary, 1967 - Cunard Queen Elizabeth, 1970 - Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2, 1971 - P&O Oriana, 1972 - SS France, 1975 - SS Leopard, 1977 - P&O Canberra, 2005 - NCL Jewel, 2005/6 - NCL Crown, 2006 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - NCL Gem, 2008 - Costa Allegra, 2010 - Costa Allegra 34 Day B2B, 2011 - Costa Victoria, 2012 - Costa Classica
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old June 5th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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The sooner they consolidate the gratuities into the cruise fare the better.

Annie
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old June 5th, 2012, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anniegb View Post
The sooner they consolidate the gratuities into the cruise fare the better.

Annie
I would agree with you there

That will give people something else to complain about
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old June 8th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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I would also agree with adding into the fare from the get go...The staff would get what is owed and less hassle for the passenger.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old June 8th, 2012, 11:07 AM
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We have yet to run into those tipping, 'scams' mentioned by Paul on a cruise, but we had an Amtrak room attendant once try something similar. He was so shameless and blatant, thinking we were fools, that needless to say, he didn't get a tip!

We always tip on board ship. The staff and crew work long hard hours. Most cruise employees have a strong work ethic and appreciate the job they have. And, I believe they do earn a decent wage.

We tend to think that 'service' jobs are menial, somehow degrading, and so any wage they earn would not be enough to cover the embarrassment of having to serve and clean up after someone else. Actually, some of the staff and crew on cruise ships LIKE their jobs...and want to KEEP them. They feel lucky to have them...enjoy the travel and meeting new people. When they've had enough, they quit. Yes, and some when their contract is up, sign on again!

I don't by any stretch of the imagination believe they are indentured servants or slaves force to work at a job they hate or that they are grossly underpaid.

We tip because we appreciate the good service and efforts they make to ensure our cruise is special and enjoyable.
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old June 8th, 2012, 12:05 PM
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In relation to wages, sometimes I am sure there will be crew who may lay it on a bit thick in regard to their wage...that is inevitable. It would only be a very small minority who would do that though.

When I was aboard Costa Classica a few weeks ago, I was chatting to one of the cocktail waitresses and wer were talking about the newly introduced all inclusive drinks package, which is €19.50 per day inc service charges (the package covers water, coffee, soft drinks, mocktails & alcohol upto €6.99 per drink)...its excellent value for even the tee-totalers like me...

Anyway we were chatting and without any prompting she reached into her pocket and pulled out her last wage slip, dated a few days before. Her take home pay (after any taxes/deductions) was $875 for the month...which given that she was Thai, came out at 27670 Thai Baht. She has two children at home living with her mother in a house that she purchased outright just outside Bangkok, her husband works in the laundry department on Classica (Costa try to keep married couples together on the same ship whenever possible as they believe that it is better for the couples welfare) and he earned a take home pay of $720 (22720 Thai Baht) for the month.

They pay $0.25 for any soft drinks in their crew mess (I visited the crew mess & bar when I was on board) and they pay $0.10 per item in the laundry that is not uniform, the uniforms are cleaned free of charge. They have 3 meals a day, they share a cabin and everything else that you associate with being a crewmember. On board every Costa ship is a chaplain who not only takes care of the passengers religious needs but also the crew, he also organised shorex that are paid for by Costa and he basically has an open door for any crew that need his assistance with anything...the chaplain also organises parties for the crew, arranges for bikes to be kept on board for crew to use in ports and other activities.

It was actually nice to be able to sit with the crew and talk so candidly about these things...and to see the evidence too...especially as there is quite alot of speculation about crew wages and their working conditions.

The waitress had noticed that her service charge earning ability had dropped due to the all inclusive package but like she said, each package has a single 15% service charge which is passed on in full to whichever waiter or waitress sells that package...so she hasn't lost too much by the package's introduction.

Speaking to other crew, they seemed genuinely happy and comfortable...there were a few who had come from other lines to Costa and who thought Costa looked after them much better than the other lines....several had been with Costa for many years and were on the 10th + contract...so they have to be happy to stay that long. There were also about 50 crew from Concordia who were aboard her when she had her accident, they were happy to be at sea again and it showed...there were no "put on" smiles amongst any of them.
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Past :

1965 - Cunard Queen Mary, 1967 - Cunard Queen Elizabeth, 1970 - Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2, 1971 - P&O Oriana, 1972 - SS France, 1975 - SS Leopard, 1977 - P&O Canberra, 2005 - NCL Jewel, 2005/6 - NCL Crown, 2006 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - NCL Gem, 2008 - Costa Allegra, 2010 - Costa Allegra 34 Day B2B, 2011 - Costa Victoria, 2012 - Costa Classica
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old June 8th, 2012, 12:14 PM
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I have worked on several cruise ships - so don't forget that in addition to free room & board they also get full medical and dental coverage and have to pay no utility bills.

When you subtract you mortgage, monthly food allotment, utility bills, medical insurance and dentist costs, I dare say some of us here barely make $1500/month in pure profit for a rainy day.

I just think characterizing foreign cruise ship workers as "slave labor" is insane - and anytime I see a cruise industry critic do it (Ross Klein?) I can't help but dismiss everything they say - they obviously really knowing nothing about the cruise industry.
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old June 8th, 2012, 12:16 PM
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But as far as gratuities go - I have always paid them and much prefer it when they are just added to my onboard acct. I don't like the RCCL/Celebrity policy of making you have to approve the charge mid-cruise, because if you forget you have to get the cash and hand out envelopes. That was always a hassle and I am very happy to see that practice gone.

Donna - while you might prefer having them in the cruise fare, that would raise the price of cruises and the industry wants to avoid that at almost all costs right now. They still want the price of cruises to appear as low as possible - and in fact they are about as low as possible.
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  #44 (permalink)  
Old June 8th, 2012, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I have worked on several cruise ships - so don't forget that in addition to free room & board they also get full medical and dental coverage and have to pay no utility bills.

When you subtract you mortgage, monthly food allotment, utility bills, medical insurance and dentist costs, I dare say some of us here barely make $1500/month in pure profit for a rainy day.

I just think characterizing foreign cruise ship workers as "slave labor" is insane - and anytime I see a cruise industry critic do it (Ross Klein?) I can't help but dismiss everything they say - they obviously really knowing nothing about the cruise industry.
Sorry Paul, I think that is a bit simplistic.

Yes the crew may have free board and lodging but many will be responsible for providing board and lodging for family at home. So they may have mortgage payments.

Btw - just one little grumble , please change the heading from Why Brits don't tip - to why some passengers don't tip. I know many Americans who are 1st in line to have the gratuities taken off -not you of course.

Annie
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  #45 (permalink)  
Old June 12th, 2012, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I have worked on several cruise ships - so don't forget that in addition to free room & board they also get full medical and dental coverage and have to pay no utility bills.

When you subtract you mortgage, monthly food allotment, utility bills, medical insurance and dentist costs, I dare say some of us here barely make $1500/month in pure profit for a rainy day.

I just think characterizing foreign cruise ship workers as "slave labor" is insane - and anytime I see a cruise industry critic do it (Ross Klein?) I can't help but dismiss everything they say - they obviously really knowing nothing about the cruise industry.
That may be true on the ship, but don't those crew members also have rent/mortgage, utility, medical, etc., payments to make back home?
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