• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

First time cruiser w/question on pre paying service charge...

#1
We leave next month for our first family cruise on NWCL Gem. Not sure if we should do the pre pay service charge or just tip as we go. Any recommendations? I know it's the economical way to go prepaying, but do you find yourself double tipping service workers this way. I know me, and I like to make sure my servers are tipped & may feel bad just walking away... How do they know you've already pre tipped. Any feedback would be helpful. Thank you.
 

connie seabee

Well-Known Member
Community Sponsor
#2
Congratulations on your first cruise. I'm sure it won't be the last cruise you'll be going on.

Most cruise lines have Automatic Gratuities charged to you sail and sea card. Carnival charges you card on the second day, I'm not sure how NWCL does theirs.
You can have the automatic gratuity removed and distribute the tips yourself. The staff will know that you removed the automatic gratuities.
I personally think it's a good idea to have it charged to my bill. It will be distributed fairly to the staff, and I don't have to worry about it.

That being said, when we order food service to our cabin, we give a tip. Also if you feel that your room steward is doing a great job, you can always tip a little extra during the cruise. That is up to you if you want to or not.

Have a great cruise!
 
#3
Thank you, Connie. NWCL has a prepay charge that we can take care of now. I was assuming they'd have some sort of card or wrist band type procedure, but was not sure. I wanted to make sure the servers were aware of who prepays and who "pays/tips as you go." NWCL charges $12 per day, per guest to pay up front as an option. It would be nice not to have to worry about it. Of course any service above & beyond deserves a bit more ;) Thanks.
 

BruinSteve

Well-Known Member
#4
You really can't think of tipping on a cruise ship the way you do with restaurants back home.

First of all, your tip is not just to the dinner waiters...it also takes care of your cabin stewards--the folks who make up your room every day, change your sheets, etc. And...it compensates the folks who cater to you in the buffets as well...

On most cruise lines, all of the tips are distributed, by formula, to the entire crew anyway...

Traditionally, cruise lines had assigned tables at dinner--so you got the same servers every night...and you tipped them all on the last night of the cruise. That has changed in recent years as many cruise lines have gone to "Open Seating" concepts...different table and dining time every night...to various extents. Most cruise lines give you an option on which method you would like (there are both positives and negatives to both). NCL, I believe, just does open seating every night. All cruise lines have open seating for Breakfast and Lunch.

Most cruise lines now just "automatically" charge your account with the suggested tip.

If you really look at the service you are getting...and what you would likely have paid in tips at similar restaurants with similar menus and service back home, you quickly realize the ship gratuity charges are a BARGAIN.

Cruises are also a "cashless" environment...Everything (in the way of extras onboard) is charged to your card...There is little reason to EVER carry cash.

I consider the automatic tip to be a convenience--less reason to need a lot of cash (in the old days, you put those end of cruise tips in cash in an envelope to each crew service person)...

I DO carry some cash for the following reasons:
1) Room service customarilly requires a small cash tip.
2) I will generally still give a little extra tip, above and beyond the automatic tip, to any particular server who I felt went above and beyond the customary excellent service--again, on the last night of the cruise...

But I strongly recommend you drop the idea of giving out tips "as you go"...It does not really work well. The service is usually outstanding anyway...and the wait staff and cabin stewards are very accustommed to the system. They know it has been prepaid...

Welcome to cruising...
 
#5
We leave next month for our first family cruise on NWCL Gem. Not sure if we should do the pre pay service charge or just tip as we go. Any recommendations? I know it's the economical way to go prepaying, but do you find yourself double tipping service workers this way. I know me, and I like to make sure my servers are tipped & may feel bad just walking away... How do they know you've already pre tipped. Any feedback would be helpful. Thank you.
Some people like to prepay the Daily Service Charges or DSC, just so that it is not included in the charges that will apply to their account at the end of the cruise as they know they will be incurring extra charges like drinks and specialty dining etc. But either way, pay it pre cruise or pay it at the end of the cruise, the amount is the same, $12 per person per day. If you don't prepay, the $12 is added to your account daily.

It really does simplify things to do it this way. No stuffing cash into envelopes and running around on the last day looking for waiters or other staff. There really is no "pay as you go". You will not have the same waiters every night. They are rotated throughout the ship as needed. And as others have stated, the DSC even covers tips for those who are behind the scenes. The base pay of the staff in the DSC pool is low. They depend in great part on their share of the DSC. If you tried to pay as you go, you would miss many of these folks.

There is no need to tip at dinner as you would in a restaurant at home. But some do offer a cash tip if they feel that someone has gone above and beyond. The bartenders are not in the DSC, but there is a percentage added to each bar tab to cover their tip. But most people do tip the bartender a buck or two extra occasionally. We usually give our room steward a little extra with a thank you card at the end of the week, but it is not required. If you are in a suite which comes with the services of a butler and concierge, they are not in the DSC pool, and should be tipped accordingly.
 

Cruizer

Well-Known Member
#6
Tipping on a cruise is not like tipping on land. You don't tip each server as they tip you. If you prepay, yes, they will know you prepaid. Otherwise, you gratuities will be charged to your on-board account. If you want to tip extra, you can do so in cash.

On NCL, you will not have the same server for each meal. In fact, there is a good chance you will not even eat each meal in the same restaurant. However, you will have the same room steward for the entire cruise.

Whether or not you pay in advance, if you want to tip someone extra, then you can tip them in cash.