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tipping on HAL (?)

Discussion in 'Holland America Line' started by brandhr, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. brandhr

    brandhr Guest

    First time cruiser and first time poster--what a great site. Glad I found it because I've learned a lot. Just over 1 week away from our first cruise and we are excited.

    The tipping policy for HAL is pretty vague. Just wondering when/how much we should tip? We are happy to reward good/great service with a generous tip but we have no idea how this translates to a cruise.

    Does HAL provide the opportunity to tip at the end of the cruise (or can we add it to the charge when we order a drink) or do we need to keep a roll of cash to tip as we go? Do we tip at every meal? If so, how much? Do we tip the matre de (sp?) and wine steward? how about bartenders and baggage service? How much for room service? Does the steward get a daily tip or a tip for each time he provides service?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. BurBunny

    BurBunny Guest

    Traditionally on HAL, you tip in cash at the end of the cruise, not per day (bar and room service excepted, and covered below). You cannot add this amount to you shipboard account. While HAL won't suggest an amount (that's part of the "tipping not required" policy), customary amounts are $3.50 per day for your waiter and room steward, and $2.00 per day for the assistant waiter. Of course that's just a guideline and you should feel free to adjust up or down depending on the level of service you receive.

    If you use the wine steward, a tip at the end to him is also appropriate. For drinks, unfortunately you cannot add tips to each tab. So if you're frequenting a particular bar/waiter during the week, you can tip that person the last night, or you can carry small bills and tip as you go for that service.

    For the porters at the port, $1-2 per bag is acceptable. Room service you tip each time, usually $1-2 as well, unless you are ordering something more complicated, like a full dinner with multiple courses. I tend to tip $5 for that.
  3. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Guest

    Welcome to Cruise@ddicts and welcome to the world of cruising! You certainly have selected a fine cruise line for your first cruise - and a most friendly board.

    Amber has given you an excellent and very comprehensive reply. I can add just a little to it. If you decide to dine in the alternative restaurant one night, you tip your steward, assistant steward, wine steward (if used) that night. Also, referring to the main dining room, there are two additional people (possibly three) you may have occasion to tip IF they have rendered you any services - the Maitre d' and the table Captain. You didn't say which ship or length of cruise, so it's hard to suggest a guideline. Also, there's a page at the dining room entrance who dispenses mints, sometimes dates/figs after dinner - some will give him a nominal tip IF they've availed themselves of his services.

    The Front Desk will give you envelopes for tipping purposes if you ask them - they will not do it automatically, nor will any ship member give you tipping guidelines or ask for gratuities.
  4. brandhr

    brandhr Guest

    Thanks for the quick replies and good info! We will be on the Veendam for a 7 day Alaska cruise. I would appreciate if you could give us your recommendations for amounts for the Maitre d' , table Captain, and also the steward, assistant steward, and wine steward in the alternative restaurant as ShipMaven mentioned.

    Thanks again.
  5. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Guest

    Let me first add that the amounts Amber suggested as guidelines are per person, per day.

    The Veendam does not yet have an alternative restaurant (it will be added during her next drydock), so we needn't consider that.

    The Maitre d' would be tipped ONLY if he has rendered you services during the cruise. I'd say $10.00 (total), if there are two of you, would be more than generous. Some table captains get a lot more involved with their tables than others. If they are very attentive, I tend to tip in the range of the table steward's gratuity; if they do less work, then it's in the range of the assistant steward. But, quite honestly, I have rarely found HAL personnel who haven't gone the extra mile to be helpful and give good service.

    Bon Voyage!
  6. lamayboy

    lamayboy Guest

    I love HAL!

    Going on the Z next month.

    I have had better success following this list, of course amounts are up to your standard!

    Room steward $5 a day-we use the envelopes you get on baord for stationary and write thank you (name) and leave it in an obvious place, usually when we leave for dinner

    Waiter $5 a night-after each meal we thank them and hand them the cash(they are very appreciative)

    Assistant waiter $3 a night-just like the waiter

    Sommalier $5 a night-when the wine comes

    Bar tenders, especially bars you frequent alot $1 per drink

    Room Service at least $2-3

    I have done both this way and at end of cruise thing, and I find that the level of service and attitude towards you (the passenger) increases dramatically following the above, although the service is great anyhow!

    Although Tipping is not required on HAL it certainly is on other lines, this is one of the reasons I prefer HAL is I can decided if, how much, and when I would like to extend my appreciation for superb service!

    Happy Sailing & I believe you have chosen the best line for your cruise!

    You can see some of our last HAL cruise in the Pictures archives, MAASDAM 9/22 east
  7. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    lamayboy....You said you are sailing next on "Z".....

    Zaandam or Zuiderdam?
  8. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Guest


    I believe I remember Lamayboy saying they're sailing on Zuiderdam next month.

    As our resident HAL encyclopedia, what is your advice on tipping amounts?
  9. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    :) No authority on this subject.

    DH and I know so very many of the stewards so well....for so many cruises that our tipping scale is quite alot higher than most would tip. There would be no reason for them to tip as we do but when we see some of the same stewards for the 10th, 12th time and actually more than that in some cases, we are so happy to thank them generously,. We often enter Ocean Bar or Crowsnest or whatever and see so many "old friends" who greet us so warmly and we e-mail with many between cruises, well, one could say we "way overtip".

    As a rule of thumb, I agree that what has been posted here by Burbunny and you seems to be an excellent guide from which to add or subtract according to the service you receive; what special requests you may have of the Section Captain or Maitre d' in the dining room. I think a Suite passenger might wish to tip the cabin steward a bit more seeing as the room is much larger to clean and they do provide additional services.

    True tipping story:

    Last day of one of our recent cruises, DH and I were happily writing notes and inserting cash into envelopes to distribute around the lounges, dining room etc We ran out of envelopes and I said to DH, I'll go to the office to get more. I arrived at the office and one of the lovely ladies saw me taking some envelopes from the basket. She sweetly said to me, "Maam Judy, your husband was here a little earlier and he already got quite a large pile of envelopes. " Of course, she assumed I didn't know. I thanked her for the info and answered, "Yes, I know. We need more. DH thinks he is HAL's payroll Department. " She laughed and asked how she could get on our "gift list".

    I couldn't dream of leaving a "dam" ship without thanking those who have tried so hard, worked so hard to make our cruise as special as they possibly could.

    (Hmmm.....Maybe that's why they all remember us so well??? :) )

    Post Edited (08-09-03 22:39)
  10. brandhr

    brandhr Guest

    More great info--thanks!! One of my other concerns was, that if I tipped as service was performed, I would look like a cheapskate at the end of the cruise if I did not have an envelope full of cash for each deserving recepient. I prefer to reward (and encourage future) great service by providing a generous tip as soon as the service is performed. It sounds like either way is acceptable.

    Also, is tipping expected during the buffet for breakfest/lunch? I thought I read something about standing in line and also carrying ones own tray?
  11. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Buffets, by definition, mean going through a line. Unless you require assistance, I think you will find it far more convenient to carry your tray as you go from area to area. Stewards often assist me out of friendship but, honestly, it isn't necessary.

    If one has difficulty managing for themselves, then certainly a steward is ready to assist.

    I think you might find it more the "norm" that most folks tip their dining/wine stewards, by envelope, on the last night of the cruise. There is no rule that says that is what one does, but I do not think I have ever noticed anyone tipping each evening after dinner.....except for the alternative Restaurant.

    Some folks do choose to tip the bar stewards/bartenders at the time of service. That would be very much more common than tipping the dining steward as you will have the same steward in the dining room each evening but not necessarily so in the lounges.
  12. ShipMaven
    I think you are right on most of your tipping ideas, but I have a hard time Why I would tip this person and not everyone (ie the whole crew) else that does there job when I am aboard the ship.

    " Also, there's a page at the dining room entrance who dispenses mints, sometimes dates/figs after dinner - some will give him a nominal tip IF they've availed themselves of his services."

    I belive that you should Tip for getting Excellent Service and not for someone just doing there job. I think this is what HAL is saying in there Tipping not Required policy.

  13. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Guest


    I think we're both on the same wavelength - we tip those who have given us personal service, which is why we give gratuities to X, Y, Z stewards/hostesses and not to the entire crew.

    As for the little Page, some people - most certainly not all - form a friendship with the chap. They'll stand and talk with him after dinner, get photographed with him, etc. They are the ones likely to tip him. The point I was trying to make is that it would not be incorrect to tip him IF you so desired.
  14. lamayboy

    lamayboy Guest


    We are on the Zuiderdam on 9/20, with a three night stay at the Harbour Beach Resort by Marriott before, and the Eden Rock in Miami beach for three nights afterwards. Looking forward to a two week get away! Can't wait!
  15. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Sounds like a wonderful trip. Hope you have a great time. My goodness....the Eden Roc. Haven't heard mention of that hotel for ages. Once upon a time it was THE place to stay in Miami Beach. Love to hear if it has been maintained and is still wonderful. Hope you'll post some comments when you return.

    When I read "Z"....cannot be sure about which the person is speaking. Folks tendto forget, there are now two "Z's" :)

    Have a fabulous time :wave
  16. Bruce

    Bruce Guest

    Anybody who thinks C@ isn't special just has to read this thread. Any other board on HAL tipping, there would have been rocks thown by now. This subject is a firestorm on most boards. But we are the good guys. Laughing.
  17. CruisinTex

    CruisinTex Guest

    Brandhr, first, welcome to our happy home! :wave :wave :wave

    Bruce...baby...cutie-pie...dahling... I cannot agree with you more! The HAL Lovers on this board are a very special group of people. Doesn't take much to keep us happy - just a booking on any -dam ship will do!!!

    Brandhr, there isn't anything I can add to the previous posts except to tell you that the Front Desk provides envelopes for tips. Sometimes they are in a pile on the side of the desk and if you don't see them, you'll have to stand in line and ask for some. We usually tip our dining room wine steward 15-20% of our total dining room bar bill (easy to determine by checking the receipts you'll sign for each night). And do not expect to receive ANY help from HAL onboard as far as how much to tip. This is somewhat of a taboo topic!!! What I think you will find to be totally amazing is that the waiters/bar staff in Ocean Bar and Crows Nest, in particular, will remember you after the first night. We have cruised with people who felt they wanted to "tip as you go" rather than having to remember "who" and "where" pampered them to tip those people in the end, so they gave cash each night in the various bars. This worked for our friends and also seemed to be ok with the bar staff.

    My advice on room service - yes, tip these guys. A buck or 2 for coffee/tea and a little more for a full meal - BUT have your tip ready before the guy arrives at your cabin ---- he operates in a "tipping not required" atmosphere, and we've had several times where he was "gone in a flash" before we were able to get money to him. They do NOT wait around for tips.

    You have picked a fantastic line for your first cruise experience...enjoy!!!

    Post Edited (08-11-03 00:17)
  18. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Tex....you are so right. :) The room service stewards almost make a game out of not giving any hint of expecting a tip. They quietly knock on the door (ring the bell in a Suite); wish a pleasant good morning; set our breakfast on the veranda table and try to exit as quickly as possible. We have taken to being sure to have tip money out and ready in order to beat him to the door before he leaves. They never give the demeanor of expecting it or waiting for it but always nicely thank us and are appreciative.

    I always bring with me an envelope full of one dollar bills when we cruise. I want to always be sure to have $3 or $4 in hand to thank those darling fellows. (We always order a full breakfast for each of us so he has lugged a big tray.)
  19. Bruce

    Bruce Guest

    Sail, I always pick up a supply of two dollar bills at the bank before I cruise. Perfect for room service in most cases. I agree it is a game for them to try and get out the door before you can react, I always lay some bills on the bar before they get there and not have to waste time fumbling for them. Just as an aside, I almost always order room service breakfast on the balcony, and on the Zaandam this past cruise, the server let me know he would be doing my breakfast every day. I am not sure if he was trying to let me know I could wait till the end or what, I continued to tip him when he brought the service, so I wouldn't get caught up at the last minute and forget someone.
  20. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    That's a good idea, Bruce. It not only thanks them for their service but conveys a subtle message to them that you prepared in advance to appreicate their hard work.

    Think I may do the same for our upcoming ZUDM cruises. I 'll tell them it was YOUR idea :)

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