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Tipping on a river cruise

(33 Posts)
Sarahmob Thu 27-Jun-19 08:59:03

We’re getting ready to sail off on a river cruise to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We’ve saved for ages to be able to afford to do it ‘well’ with a good cabin etc. I’ve read the tipping guidelines but am sitting here feeling a bit disgruntled that I’ll be expected to tip as I feel that good service is part of what I’ve paid a lot of money for in terms of the whole holiday. Does anyone else agree with me, or should I just put up and shut up and (very grudgingly) stuff the euros in the envelope at the end of the cruise?

NainFron Thu 27-Jun-19 09:12:15

Totally agree with you! Tipping became customary when staff were paid little or no wages, and the tips made up most of their wages. (Still the case in USA, I believe). Here in the UK we have a minimum wage for everyone so I don't feel the need to tip, although I do so for exceptional service. On cruises, I don't know what the salary situation is, but they have you over a barrel. Most cruise contracts need you to pay tips and they also search you when you return to the ship after sightseeing trips, in case you smuggle cheap alcohol on board to avoid paying their overinflated prices. They see their customers as a captive audience, I'm afraid. But having made your decision to go, I suggest that you accept the extra charges (and their other rules) as one of life's lessons, put it behind you and enjoy your special holiday. I wish you a very happy birthday and hope you have a fabulous trip x

NainFron Thu 27-Jun-19 09:12:55

Sorry... I meant happy birthday to your husband! x

maytime2 Thu 27-Jun-19 09:24:48

No one can make you pay the tipping charge. I have cruised with quite a few cruise companies, both U.K. and U.S. owned and have always asked to cancel the charge preferring to give the money directly to the cabin steward and dining room waiters.

HildaW Thu 27-Jun-19 10:19:07

That's why we always choose a firm where the tipping element is already included in the price so there are no extras to add or worry guiltily about. It is probably no cheaper but it is 'out of sight so out of mind'.

Nonnie Thu 27-Jun-19 10:32:39

You can be put under a lot of pressure to tip. We went on a coach tour on the other side of the world. The first tour leader didn't suggest tipping but we did because she was brilliant. The second one said the company suggest 5$ per person per day and gave us envelopes with our names on! He wasn't very good at all so we ignored it. We were in a country where tipping was not expected and the company website didn't mention it. I think most of the others on the coach gave in but they were mainly Americans.

Sarahmob Thu 27-Jun-19 10:42:12

Our company give us envelopes and technically do leave it up to us, but I don’t want to feel obliged to do so. Thanks for your responses Gransnetters 😊

chelseababy Thu 27-Jun-19 15:13:03

Put a thank you note in the envelope?

sodapop Thu 27-Jun-19 15:52:46

I find this system really annoying. One should tip only in cases of exceptional service when someone goes over and above their role. The staff/crew are being paid for their work and should not expect more. As always when this subject comes up I find it frustrating that people in certain jobs expect to be tipped as a matter of course whilst others never get considered for a tip.
Having said that I agree with NainFron that you should not let this spoil a great holiday, pay as required and put it down to experience. Hope you have a wonderful time.

Maggiemaybe Thu 27-Jun-19 16:03:02

I’m going against the flow here. When you book a cruise you know that there’s normally an expected tip at the end. That’s why they’re relatively cheap upfront. The ship’s crew are usually very badly paid and work long, hard hours, often not seeing their families for months. Yes, we can say that’s the fault of the cruise companies, but that doesn’t alter the fact that those helpful, friendly workers are the ones losing out. Not just the people you see either, but the ones beavering away in the kitchen, the laundry, the engine room.

We’ve just been on a cruise and some of the lovely (and very well off) people we met went down in our estimation when we saw them queuing on the last day to have the tips taken off their bill.

Floradora9 Fri 28-Jun-19 09:37:15

TUI formerly Thomsons have started river cruises and the say tips are included in the price .I would not like to have tips added to my bill but would tip those I thought had done a good job. This had always been the way to get the wages up to a decent amount.

Sarahmob Fri 28-Jun-19 09:54:10

Thanks for all your thoughts - I guess ‘relatively cheap’ is relative in terms of a personal financial position Maggiemaybe as I don’t feel that our cruise has been particularly cheap, as I said in OP we’ve saved for ages to be able to go. Have decided that I’ll go prepared to tip something, but may not follow their guidelines in the amount we choose to give.

Jane10 Fri 28-Jun-19 10:09:04

I certainly don't think river cruises are 'relatively' cheap! I think cruise lines are just 'at it!'. Pay staff appropriately and charge customers accordingly.
On our last river cruise, envelopes were left in our cabin and a large trunk in the entrance was placed for people to post their envelopes.
Americans on the trip all expected to pay tips, the Australians were very cross at being asked and the Brits quietly made their own decisions. Different cultural expectations.
On our most recent ocean cruise tips were included as were all excursions and drinks. It was very nice to have nothing more to pay.

Pittcity Fri 28-Jun-19 13:12:56

We left the envelope empty and simply gave our leftover Euros to our favourite waiter after our river cruise.
I agree with Jane10 that the crew should have a decent wage and any tips just a thank you for excellent service.

Maggiemaybe Fri 28-Jun-19 13:22:38

Perhaps river cruises are different then. We’ve just been on a 15 day Baltic cruise for £800 each, which I do consider relatively cheap for what’s included compared to a touring holiday. There are always deals if you buy early or late. Nothing whatsoever to do with my financial position - why would it be? hmm

Maggiemaybe Fri 28-Jun-19 13:26:10

And as I said, if tips were included and the crew were paid better we’d just pay more for the holiday in the first place, wouldn’t we?

Jane10 Fri 28-Jun-19 13:29:47

£800 for a 15 day cruise? Blimey it must have been either a massive vessel or a very elderly one. To be honest, I'd be so suspicious of such an inexpensive cruise that I'd most likely avoid it. Who was it with?

Gma29 Fri 28-Jun-19 13:33:15

Maggiemaybe generally, river cruises are much more expensive than ocean ones, as the scale is so much smaller

Maggiemaybe Fri 28-Jun-19 13:38:41

Really? Well perhaps your own financial situation is such that you can sneer at those of us who can’t afford a luxury liner.

CMV, Columbus, from Newcastle. Dundee, Warnemunde, Aarhus, Tallinn, 2 days in St Petersburg, Copenhagen, Helsinki. And it was a fabulous holiday, thank you for asking.

For those who would enjoy it, there’ll be buy one get one free offers available now for next year’s departures. If you book last minute, as we did, you’ll get it for half price as we did.

Maggiemaybe Fri 28-Jun-19 13:39:16

That in answer to Jane10.

Calendargirl Fri 28-Jun-19 14:20:15

Not river cruises, but a well known world-wide tour operator always make “helpful”🤔 suggestions as to how much to tip their tour managers, local guides, drivers etc. We always tip what we think they are worth, and how well they have done their job.

Jane10 Fri 28-Jun-19 16:47:01

Maggiemaybe you pays your money you takes your chances as they say. I prefer to stay at home and save up for longer. Not sneering just different.

Sarahmob Tue 09-Jul-19 11:29:09

Just back from our cruise, having had an amazing time so here’s an update - we decided to tip, having received service above and beyond what was expected. Didn’t begrudge it at all 😊

geraniam Tue 09-Jul-19 11:45:14

On a coach trip to Europe I got talking to a fellow passenger who worked in the office of a touring coach company. She told me that at Christmas time they were inundated with presents for their drivers, from grateful shop owners, bars, hotels, bistros, anywhere the drivers recommended their passengers visit or spend their money.

Jane10 Tue 09-Jul-19 12:51:26

I bet they do! We've often been told to tip at certain places by guides.