100 (and gratuities)

TipJarAccording to WordPress (the platform this website resides on) this is my 100th post. It is kind of fitting then that it has been a while since I last posted, way back on our 20th wedding anniversary in August. Here we are on September 11th so it has been more than two full weeks since I posted. Shame on me! I promise to do better.

First I want to say thank you to all my subscribers and friends and relatives who actually take the time to read (and even better—comment on) my thoughts on travel, cruising and the rest. You people rock and you humble me by reading what I write. It is a labor of love and an outlet for my frustrations, my triumphs and my photography.

That said, I have had a post ready to go all during that time but I just could not get myself to publish it. It was all about the “class system” in cruising. Much of what got me to write  it came from my feelings about our Ovation of the Seas cruise in July. The more I wrote it and reread it, it seemed like I was just whining. This is not to say that I am not good at whining. I just don’t like to do it publicly 😜. So I am going to put that post on hold until I am further away from the Ovation cruise and not so down on the system that led to our problems and move on to writing something else.

One thing I thought I could point you at today is an outstanding discussion that is ongoing on Chris Elliot’s Elliott Advocacy website about cruise ship gratuities. If you have cruised you know about gratuities. For those that don’t, most cruise lines (except the luxury lines that include everything) will charge you gratuities above and beyond your original cruise fare. Depending on your stateroom class, your gratuity charge is something in the neighborhood of $13-$15 per person in the stateroom/per day. If you have four people in the stateroom this can really add up.

But there is a catch. You can choose not to pay gratuities. But to do that you have to wait until you are on the ship, go in person to the Guest Relations desk and tell them you want to not pay gratuities. At which point they may make you feel like you are the biggest cheapskate in the world, but you can do it. The discussion on the Elliott Advocacy site (CLICK HERE) is all about whether this opt-out method of doing gratuities is (as Chris Elliott himself put it) “consumer friendly” or not. If you are interested and you go to the site, you can skip the original problem. The interesting stuff is in the comments. It’s been quite the discussion and I know exactly how I feel about it.

That should do it for today. We haven’t been anywhere in two weeks or so, so I have no new pics for you. Just a giant thank you for sticking with me.

Know how and how much to tip people who expect gratuities, even in the case of poor service. —Marilyn vos Savant

7 thoughts on “100 (and gratuities)

  1. Bob

    Tipping….bah humbug.. I’m Canadian and I do Tip but it’s a foreign concept to me. For instance. Somebody decided that 15% was no longer “Acceptable”. right after they decided 10% wasn’t enough either. Cruising is a completely other animal. We must pay more cause the worker doesn’t get paid well enough etc etc. Well my pension isn’t getting much bigger and why should I tip on a total bill percentage when the bill includes all sort of tax. Blah blah Don’t get me started.

    Congrats on your 100 piece.

    1. Paul Howard

      Hmmm. Where to start? Tipping should be a concept where someone is rewarded for exceptional or outstanding, even dare I say “awesome” service, not just for doing the job they are paid to do. The problem today is that too many establishments, be it restaurants or cruise ships use the blackmail of tipping as a way of getting us, the punters (sorry, English slang for customers) to make up the wages of the staff. It’s a double edged sword, as I assume that if tipping was abolished, the meal or cruise would simply cost more.
      The thing that I really object to is being told how much I should tip, when in the U.K. we believe 10% is perfectly acceptable. This is even worse in the US when you get a bill with different percentages already worked out, presumably because no-one in America can do basic maths? and it starts at 15% going up to 25%! They really are taking the p***.

      1. Blackmail is a bit of a harsh term.

        If our average 8 to 9% tax were 17.5 like VAT, I’d probably want to stop at 10% as well😮

        A meal is a price; tax in a given location- is a price.

        A gratuity is, and ought to be, for the service of that meal.

        No one in America can do math? Talk about taking the piss 🚫🥳

  2. Paul, I have to say I love your opinions, no matter what they are, they are always well expressed. And more and more restaurants here in Seattle are eliminating tips and just adding a service charge that is split with everyone. You are welcome to leave more cash if you want to.

    On ships, if they would let us just text, e-mail or phone Guest Services to cancel, I would cancel mine every single time. And then I would tip the people who have taken care of me very well. Certainly more than the gratuities I would have been charged. But I want to decide who gets what and what they get.

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