"The company recently announced an early embarkation program across its 12-ship fleet that features boarding as early as 11:30 a.m. and a leisurely disembarkation process at the end of the voyage. In addition, other service enhancements include a convenient folio posting of nominal, optional gratuities, as well as automatic service charge postings to bar-bills, thus simplifying the sometimes confusing cruise tipping system."
This sinks, It looks like HAL wants us to pay the salary of it people now, and who cares about the service. I also see that they have a few more things to Nickel and Dime us to Death.
This looks to be nothing but a Marketing Ploy to keep the people who are moving up to Oceania and Radisson.
Don't get me wrong we will more then likely still sail on HAL, but it makes you wonder just which way will the company go in the future.
I am NOT a fan of Billed Automatic Tips. We have always enjoyed preparing our tip envelopes and saying thank you and "hasta la vista, ciao, etc" in the internationally recognized manner.
I have seen far too many stewards stiffed on the last night too many times to not understand the reason for the change. I have sat in Ocean Bar for each night of a given cruise with primarily the same crowd who suddenly have a pressing need to try Crowsnest pre dinner on the last night.....obviously to avoid tipping. I have seen too many tables empty on the last night and the pax simply too busy packing, too tired......TOO CHEAP to come to the dining room to have any confusion as to why HAL is making this change.
BUT I DON'T LIKE IT.
Service inevitably HAS to suffer. Where's that tiny little extra bit of necessary Motivation?? It is human nature. People are people. Motivators serve a purpose IMO
Yes..I imagine that if a steward is found to be "slipping" when that motivator is eliminated, he will be spoken with. He many be told he might have a little bit of a problem getting his contract renewed. NOT if he has a Visa to re-enter. HAL will need more crew persons as the fleet continues to grow.
"In addition, other service enhancements include a convenient folio posting of nominal, optional gratuities, as well as automatic service charge postings to bar-bills, thus simplifying the sometimes confusing cruise tipping system."
When I first read this, I thought it to mean that 'a convenient folio' would be a little folder showing us recommended amounts. Reading through the subsequent posts now makes me wonder if by "folio" they mean as in final bill? Can somebody confirm this? If so, does this not go against their long-standing policy against soliciting tips?
I don't mind tipping, and probably am one of the better tippers on board for fear of not doing enough, but I will be disappointed if something I have come to treasure from this line is now a thing of the past.
"automatic service charge postings to bar-bills" can only mean one thing IMO
All bar bills will have a gratuity automatically charged to it.....like Princess, RCI, Celebrity etc
"convenient folio posting of nominal, optional gratuities" is alot less clear IMO as to just what they mean. I can imagine them sitting around some conference table for hours trying to come up with that perfectly muddy, unclear wording. I suppose this provides some wiggle room if they find the reaction it receives is less than enthusiastic????
What is nominal?
What does optional mean? Go stand in line and humiliate yourself if you choose to refuse the option?
Like all others on all of the BB's, I shall state that in our over 40 cruises on HAL we have never failed to enjoy preparing envelopes to give to our stewards with our sincere thanks. It is dribble to say it IMO as, also IMO, if EVERYONE was indeed doing that, the policy would not be changing. I have yet to read one poster say they "stiffed the crew" but I have sure seen plenty of folks do just that. We have seen it far too many times!!!! So, I guess those who are doing the stiffing never post on the BB's???
Thanks S7S for posting your opinions.
I have been on two previous HAL sailings, one Disney (our first cruise and I was SO turned off by the tipping "lecture" we got at the last evening's entertainment) and am anxiously awaiting Dec. 22 to arrive when we embark on our 15-day Circle Hawaii tour.
I can see how the wording is ambiguous, both in the original "tipping not required" policy and in this "convenient folio posting of nominal, optional gratuities" message. It does make me sad.
If anything, I would have far preferred that they include gratuities up front in the cost of the cruise (I believe RSS does this?). That way, anybody who can't (or won't) afford to tip by the end of the journey is faced with that decision right up front.
However, it's possible you then get to the point where some guests tip on top of the pre-paid gratuities causing a new expecation and it just becomes a vicious circle.
Is it true that HAL pays their employees better than other lines and therefore don't need to make such a big fuss for tips because they can sleep at night knowing their staff is taken care of appropriately? Or did they just decide early on to be more refined and not hawk their paying guests for more money?
"Is it true that HAL pays their employees better than other lines and therefore don't need to make such a big fuss for tips because they can sleep at night knowing their staff is taken care of appropriately? Or did they just decide early on to be more refined and not hawk their paying guests for more money?"
Yes and Yes , but HAL is losing a lot of there Indonesian employees and are picking up others to replace them, I believe it has something to do with the security checks that the government is making them all go through so there is a large change-over going on right now.
To the best of my knowledge, the only Indonesian crew which have been "replaced" by others are the stewards in ZUIDERDAM'S Odyssey. I think (but am not sure) that the Indonesian crew on other ships in Pinnacle/Odyssey, will also be "replaced." Those Indonesian stewards returned to the dining room. The reason we were given for the Hungarian crew to work in Odyssey had nothing at all to do with "security issues".
Must admit that my first reading of 'convenient folio' was the same as LandLockedinAZ's. I thought....well, it's about time they put a nice little folio/folder in each cabin with tipping guidelines. But then I realized they were using the word folio to mean shipboard account. I'm with s7s - I just plain don't like this. Yes, it will take care of the people who don't tip, and yes, I'm guessing we could get the automatic tips removed from our onboard accounts, but that will be a hassle. We have always tipped more than "normal" to certain people and have enjoyed the fact that we could tip whomever we wanted without interference from HAL (i.e., if the maitre d' didn't do a blasted thing for us, he got no tip; or if three waiters in Crows Nest pampered us to death every time we walked in there, they each got a very decent tip).
When we were on the QE2 last spring, we had a lengthy discussion with our dining room waiter about the automatic tipping (Cunard added tips to our onboard account, we were told ahead of time what the total amount would be, but not who would get what amount). What I found interesting, and also very sad, is that he said his tips have decreased to 85% of what they used to be since the beginning of auto tipping.
And what is this deal about adding two more dining times????? What time will they be...4:00 and 10:00?????
I'm one of those old dogs that doesn't like new tricks :grin and this I just plain don't like. I'm hoping HAL won't have this in place before our Zaandam cruise in January, and maybe not even before March on the Rotterdam.
We'll be on Maasdam next week. (and the next).....I sure hope that we won't be the "test case" to see how it all flies.
DH and I talked about this over dinner tonight and we see it as costing us more, more, more.
These "old dogs" are way to used to preparing tip envelopes and giving them to our stewards on the last night. We like that opportunity to personally thank them, (share a hug), and wishes for "til we meet again. Because we visit Ocean Bar nightly; because we visit Crowsnest nightly (on all ships except Zudm); because we have drinks at the pool everyday, we tip alot of stewards. We have never left an HAL ship without tipping at least ten + bar stewards/bartenders. (How can we not tip the pool guy who pampers the dickens out of us? How can we stop tipping the bartender who we've known for ten years and have tipped for that long?)
We are not going to stop going that.
So.....that means we will be billed for tips on our bar bills. We will still tip. We will be paying alot more money. Not everyone can; not everyone wishes to; many long time HAL cruisers will resent they are being deprived of the enjoyment they got from these pleasant thank yous and goodbyes because they simply cannot affort to pay for the cruise, be BILLED for tips and then add their usual tips to that sum.
What this leads to is ......Resentment and Displeasure.
I would much prefer giving out envelopes to those employees of the cruise line that we felt deserved them. Maybe the ones that don't get tips are hoping for this new system so they share in the good work of others.
Our first voyage on HAL is coming up in January, but on Princess they have a similar system - where tips are automatically billed to your account. We simply remove the tips from the account (not at all long or complicated as long as you don't wait until the last couple of days), and then tip on our own. We felt the same way as some of you, that we really wanted to reward our servers for a job well done, but we didn't want to tip twice (and therefore make the voyage unaffordable). So, we just tip as we used to...in envelopes on the last night. It has worked out just fine.
>>We'll be on Maasdam next week. (and the next).....I sure hope that we won't be the "test case" to see how it all flies.
Sail - what a coincidence that you're sailing the next two weeks. I have very low-key clients/friends who'll be on Maasdam at the same time, and I've been giving serious consideration to flying in and joining the ship one of the weeks. We'd FINALLY get to meet!
I knew you were doing b-to-b's, but not sure of the time frame. BON VOYAGE!!
"HAL is losing a lot of there Indonesian employees and are picking up others to replace them, I believe it has something to do with the security checks that the government is making them all go through so there is a large change-over going on right now."
"To the best of my knowledge, the only Indonesian crew which have been "replaced" by others are the stewards in ZUIDERDAM'S Odyssey. I think (but am not sure) that the Indonesian crew on other ships in Pinnacle/Odyssey, will also be "replaced." Those Indonesian stewards returned to the dining room. The reason we were given for the Hungarian crew to work in Odyssey had nothing at all to do with "security issues"."
"We'll be on Maasdam next week. (and the next)."
S7S, Please check and see for me, I was told by more then one Manager Type and many employees on our last cruise this is happening. Thanks.
It has become tighter for Indonesians to get work Visas. I, too, have heard about the special Immigration checks certain crew persons have to go through each time the ship comes into FLL.
With no disrespect intended toward anyone, I think that is a good thing. If for one reason or another, Homeland Security (formerly Immigration) thinks they need to closely examine any foreigners entering the U.S., well.....so be it.
Nevertheless, with tighter restrictions on certain nationalities, we were told a very specific reason pertaining to Hungarian crews working Pinnacles/Odyssey. In that limited scope, the reason is not security related; not related to difficulty getting sufficient Indonesian crew persons with valid Visas.
This change in tipping policy truly saddens me. I agree with everyone regading the increased cost potential. I am also one who enjoys preparing tip envelopes and seeking out those who have provided us with excellent service. And yes, we do notice many people not tipping as well...partially because they don't understand the "Tipping not required" policy. And yes, I hate it when I hear about the crew being "stiffed".
But has anyone remarked about what probably makes us all dislike this the most???
Here is the policy as HAL states on their marketing materials (website):
"Tipping Not Required Policy:
Exceptional service is part of the Holland America cruise experience. Because you are our guest, it is our goal to make sure you receive the finest service possible. Our "tipping not required" policy ensures that the professional and gracious service you receive on board is truly sincere; that we are dedicated to providing the most relaxed cruise vacation, not simply providing service in return for tips. ... "
So with this change, are we no longer assured the service we will receive is sincere? Will the service no longer be as professional and gracious if the staff knows they will get a tip regardless?
I realize that we are supposed to be able to alter/delete the tip from the automatic billing. Maybe the proper thing to do would be to allow passengers to place the tips on the folio in case you run out of cash to give...or neglect to plan ahead and prepare your envelopes, or heaven forbid, you get ultimate service from many staffers and you feel you want to tip more but don't have the cash. I see no reason why a service person could not just as easily process a room charge on an individual basis using your onboard card. On the last night, or whenever, simply have the service person provide you with a charge slip with their name on it that you can fill out and turn in at the Front Desk or use your onboard card right then. I think there are many alternatives to getting the service people proper tips. Those people who used to skip out on tipping will most likely cancel their tips from the folio, and still skip out on the tip anyway. Many of us will cancel the folio and tip on our own as before. But some will just leave the folio as is, but I imagine this will just split tips up across the board to all staff, not recognizing anyone for exceptional service. Sounds like just an across the board raise at a hidden passenger expense. So why not raise the cost of the cruise a few dollars for everyone to fund the salary increase and keep the current tipping policy which truly rewards excellent service persons? The result of the new way may easily be a reduction in tips for those giving exceptional service and increase in tips for below average staffers...thus everyone gravitates to the average...as will the service...how sad for this "Signature of Excellence" as it may well be the beginning of a "Signature of Mediocrity".
It has occured to me that the wording is "purposely" ???? so unclear that the only real changes HAL is instituting in the tipping policy we can determine for sure is that tips will be added to all bar bills.
I simply cannot decide how tipping changes are going to apply as to cabin stewards/dining stewards. Are they saying we will have the option of charging their tips to our shipboard account?? Or, are they saying THEY will automatically add those tips to our shipboard account, thereby making those tips a Bill?