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Just came back from an RC trip it was great the only draw back was the tips, we opted out before we went, and gave tips to who we felt had earned them, only to find out that you have to opt out again whilst on board otherwise the tips will be automatically billed to your on board account, and they will not refund the money to you. My advice is to opt out and as soon as you are on board go and fill out the on board form to opt out again, they will tell you that you can do this at any time, just insist that you do it now, and all will be ok.
I'd check your terms & conditions & booking information because as far as I remember Royal Caribbean include their tips in the price. Check with Victoria Travel if you can't find it, or look at http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk.
We sailed with RCI last year and took the on-board option to pay for waiter/cabin steward tips by a voucher system that is added to your end of cruise account. This defused any potential under/overpayment issues and meant that we actually paid later on back home when our credit card bill arrived. I recommend this approach. Drinks etc are automatically surcharged at 10% so your cocktail waiter is tipped via this system. Remember - you are cruising on an American liner and their culture is very tip orientated. Having said that the experience was superb.
We have recently come back from a cruise on Navigator of the Seas and as we did last year on Legend of the Seas we opted out of tipping beforehand. About 3 days from the end of the cruise you will receive a form asking if you want to opt out of tipping, complete this and hand it in to the Customer Desk. You will still receive printed envelopes i.e. Head Waiter, Waiter, Asst.Waiter & Cabin Staff. We then put in what we choose in sterling and avoids adding it on to your sea-pass and then on to your Mastercard, Visa whatever. We only do this as you are not dictated to as regards the amount that they recommend for tipping. Anyway hope this helps and have a good cruise in September.
We have cuised with Royal Caribbean 4 times and always give our tips on the last night.You can prepay or pay on the ship but you will be tipping for umpteen people whose services you may not use !!. We have only ever tipped the waiters who serve our table in the evening and our cabin steward. This appears to be the norm with most guests I have spoken to. Pauline - Renfrewshir.
We went on the same ship , if i were you do as we did and opt out of the standard fee added to your account and just tip whoever you feel has been a service to you on board. when you get on board go to the help desk and they will stop the payments straight away.
we tipped waiters, cleaners and activity staff at the end of the holiday. hope this has been of help.
We did our first cruise in February and where advised not to tip before we went, we got first class service from all staff aiming to please and used envelopes provided, we did not think tips where excessive for service, hope you have as good as time as us it was all we believed it would be and more, can not wait to go on another, sandra from somerse.
We have also booked september cruise with RCI. Our friends always ask for an envelope so that you can tip at your own.
We are regulars with RCI and always opt to pay our tips on board. We invariably have the tips set against our onboard account unless we feel that someone who would normally be tipped had not given excellent service. (only happened once). We also have a credit card from Nationwide because we find that their rate of exchange is always top-notch and there is no commission charge which gives super value. As far as I know paying in sterling is not possible as Celebrity and Royal Caribbean are US$ ships, they will convert into British £s but never quite as much as you would like. The staff on board rely so much on their tips so try not to be miserly. RCI are really good.....you'll enjoy your cruis.
We have just returned from a cruise on navigator of the seas with royal caribbean we have been with them previously, we have paid gratuaties before we go on both occassions and found this the best way, we have added cash to the envelopes if we thought someone deserved i.