Cruise line pre-paid gratuities ? Worth it or not? Confused…

posted 3 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Member
1504 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@lolita39:  Wow, how fun. I’ve been on hundreds of cruises. The 115$ gratuity will go to your servers, and housekeepers. I never pay them up front. I always give my head waiter and head housekeeper my tip at the end of the cruise.

Post # 4
Member
1548 posts
Bumble bee

No I wouldn’t bcz I pay according to service, so if they r extremely ridiculously horrible sry buddy but ur nt getting a gorgeous chunk of change but if u do amazing I’m happy to throw in extra on top of what’s expected

Post # 5
Member
2913 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas

I have always payed at the end. What if your server, etc, does a bad job? You will want to reflect that.

Post # 7
Member
1548 posts
Bumble bee

@lolita39:  see wen I took the carnival cruise it was 6 yrs ago so I dnt remember but if it was me I’d feel safer paying at the end

Post # 8
Member
871 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

@lolita39:  There are actually some cruise companys where that $ is a set price no matter what service you receive. My parents cruise a lot and what they like to do is go ahead and prepay the service fees and then if anyone goes above and beyond they give cash but this way they dont owe the automatic fees to anyone. You will have a gratiuty bill at the end of your cruise regardless so its not like if you dont pay now you could pay less later so we plan on prepaying it so we dont have to think about setting that $ aside and then just tipping extra when we feel like its deserved

Post # 9
Member
42510 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@lolita39:  We are cruising Carnival to Hawaii in September. You do have to prepay your gratuities, but you can go to the purser’s desk before you disembark, and adjust the total amount of gratuity on your bill to any amount you choose. Therefore your total need not be 15%. It can be any amount you choose.

If you do happen to get terrible service, by all means decrease the gratuity.

Post # 10
Member
47 posts
Newbee

I just returned from a carnival 5 day cruise to the Bahamas with Carnival.  They will be charging you for gratuities regardless of your choice.  You will get the bill at the end of the trip for around $11 a day per person. 

You will also have a card for the cruise.  You can not use cash or credit just this card on the ship.  (except for the casino which will take cash) You will need to pay for all alcoholic drinks and sodas.  Whenever you order a drink they will automatically charge you the 15% no choice and then you can add an extra tip if you want. You will be linking your Sail and Sign card to a credit card that will be billed at the end of the cruise. 

You can buy an all inclusive alcohol package for about $250 but that is only for drinks on the boat.  It does not cover drinks at their private island either.  If you get this option everyone over the age of 21 in the stateroom must get it as well. 

I did not see or hear about any other pre paid gratuities…

Post # 11
Member
763 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@lolita39:  DH and I took a Carnival cruise for our 1-yr anniversary, and we did the pre-paid gratuities option (ours were ~$90 a piece for a 7-day cruise, BTW). From what I read, doing the pre-paid option is “more fair” becuase the grauties are then split evenly between ALL the folks that serve you, even the ones you don’t see (like the ones that do towel laundry, the ones that keep the pool deck clean, etc).

From what I understand, it is like when you go out to eat.  Even if the service is “meh”, you still tip (albeit not as much as if the service was great).  In my mind, the pre-paid cruise gratuity is the “meh” tip, and then you give extra $$ if the service was great (we gave our cabin steward extra money at the end of the cruise). 

Also, FWIW, I thought the service on our cruise was good.  I was annoyed with some of the other passengers on the cruise, but that is another story.

And yes, even if you pre-pay gratuities, you still need to pay the 15% for each drink. 

 

 

Post # 12
Member
29 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Carnival suggests you tip $11.50 per person per day. This tip goes to the people who clean your room and the servers. We always prepay because we’ve never had bad service on a Carnival ship. I’ve been on 4 cruises and my husband has been on 3. If you have an issue wtih someone you can go to guest services and have your tip decreased. But like I’ve said I’ve never felt like this was nessessary. We also always prepay because it’s easier to budget that in advance. You’ll end up paying for it one way or another. Also, keep in mind that these ships techincally operate out of other countries like Panama that don’t have minimum wage laws like we do. They also work up to 16 hours a day 7 days a week for many many months at a time. We usually always tip over what is suggested.

Post # 13
Member
420 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@Rock Hugger:  +1

 

@lolita39:  The $11 per person per day tip that Carnival allows you to either pre-pay or pay at the end of the cruise really is a base-line for tipping on cruise ships.  Figure it this way, the employees make fairly low pay, in part because cruise customers are expected to tip.  If you don’t tip – they’re not getting paid a fair wage.  My FI and I look at it as an added cost to the cruise to ensure that the cruise workers are getting a fair wage, while we wish Carnival would just raise their prices to absorb this tip and actually pay workers well, we recognize that this system does work.

If you receive truly terrible service and you do not prepay your tips, you can lower the amount at the pursers desk.  

You will still be charged a 15% gratuity anytime you purchase a drink, so don’t worry about tipping extra unless your bartender is really great.  In addition, you should tip whomever delivers room service (about $1 a plate) and the porters who take your bags at the dock (about $1 a bag).

I highly recommend tipping over and above the pre-set amount to your room steward and your head waiter at the end of the cruise if you find that you have received truly “tip-worthy” service.

 

 

Post # 16
Member
42510 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@lolita39:  Instead of tipping extra at the end of the cruise to the cabin steward, waiter in the dining room etc, we always tip an extra amount at the beginning of the cruise. It ensures FABULOUS service!

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