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Wilba - Answered a Question by Arnold (19 Aug 08 21:02)

I am not going to get involved in a ‘tipping’ war as this has been well ‘beaten out’ by cruise dot uk over recent times. As I understand the law & I’m no legal eagle, a service charge in UK law has no legal standing. ie You go for a meal in a UK eatery, if you don’t like the service charged for, your within your rights to strike that charge & pay for the price of the meal only. The fact there are signs around a restaurant stating a service charge will be added does not constitute a contract. Ie If I put a sign up saying I will shoot you if you don’t leave a big tip, doesn’t give me the right to do that! If your booking through NCL via a UK agent then your UK rights should stand, so maybe someone in the legal profession could either correct me or confirm my understanding of this matter.

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S - replied to Wilba (20 Aug 08 22:32)

Not quite right, Wilba. If the intention to make a specified 'service charge' is PROPERLY notified beforehand to a customer (e.g. on a restaurant menu), it forms part of the contract and must be paid in full. The ONLY exception to this is if the customer can fairly say that the 'service' provided was truly not of an acceptable standard, i.e. really bad (so the restaurant or other provider was in breach of contract). In such a case, one can withhold part or all of the service charge, or the price of the food etc if there is something wrong with it. Where a service charge is merely 'suggested' or described as 'discretionary' (as seems to be the usual case for cruise ship staff), it is entirely up to the individual whether to tip or not, and to decide the amount. If cruise operators will not be honest in telling passengers that they are expected to pay through tips most of the waiters' and stewards' wages (as distinct from simply rewarding excellent service), then they cannot complain if a 'discretionary' payment is not forthcoming - Aldrich to please note (again).

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Stanbury - replied to S (20 Aug 08 22:34)

Sorry - I wasn't trying to be anonymous here, my finger slipped! (Must be more careful - I might lose the 'tip' next time!).

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Wilba - replied to S (21 Aug 08 07:17)

Thanks very much. I listened to an explanation given by a Trading Standards Officer but he didn't put in the detail that you have provided, & that is what I wanted clarifying. Thanks Again... Wilba.

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Aldrich - Answered a Question by Arnold (19 Aug 08 18:02)

Dispicable, Disgusting and a Disgrace is how I would view your post Mr Arnold. Please do not book a cruise if that is the way you want to treat the employees.

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Arnold - replied to Aldrich (21 Aug 08 08:40)

Yes I agree with comments from Park London, your comments were agressive and un helpful, this is th first time I have used a forum and was shocked to receive such comments. I only asked a simple question after all.

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middleton - Answered a Question by Arnold (19 Aug 08 18:28)

Its the american way of life, if you dont like it dont book it.

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Bradbury - Answered a Question by Arnold (19 Aug 08 19:27)

I did a couple of years back (Dont know if their Terms & Conditions were the same then). We experienced really bad wait service throughout the cruise in the Dining Room. About 4 days before the end of the cruise I went to Guest relations desk to ask for service charges to be removed. Was persuaded to try and wait to see if 'Service improved'. After three persistant attempts they removed the charges on the last sea day - I had to fill in a form to state my resons. I then 'tipped' (after all that is what the service charge is) who I wanted and who deserved it, in cash. I know there are some hard nuts on here who will slate anyone who says they remove the service charges, but do we go into a restaurant at home and offer a tip up front - No, so why should we on cruises. Do what you want and take no notice of those with different opinions. PS: I would just add that $10 per day is only around £5 per day and does give you the convenience of not having to take extra cash.

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Park - Answered a Question by Arnold (20 Aug 08 08:56)

This is a common system on cruises. There is certainly the option to say no, it is not legally binding. However,as Bradbury says approx. £5 is minimal. It all depends on the service people receive as to how willing they are to pay this. I cruised on the QM2. From the start I received exceptional service both in my cabin and in the dining room, so I was more than happy to pay the tip. In fact I added another $100 dollars personally to tip my housekeeper and waiter. Other people were not so lucky and had to ask repeatedly for things for the cabin and had surly service at the table. The meals served to us were superb and in extremely nice surroundings. If that had been at home I would have been tipping at least 10% and 15% in the US (providing the service was good). The service charge on board would nowhere near cover this. I would wait and see what you think after the first few days. If you are not happy, then complain about the service and ask to be removed from the service charge system. The staff are on low wages and do rely on these tips to supplement them but they do need to earn this by giving good service. Please also remember that staff behind the scenes (washing up etc.) benefit from these tips. There is the opportunity to put some money in an envelope and leave it with reception to be distributed throughout the staff, then tip individuals as you please. Don't let this issue spoil your cruise, it could end up dominating your thoughts. Decide quickly what system you want to use and then forget it. By the way, Middleton and Aldrich, I don't buy 'it's the American way of life' nor do I agree with aggressive comments about a posting which is asking a simple question. Neither of these answers were helpful.

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Waites - Answered a Question by Arnold (20 Aug 08 23:16)

I agree with the comments by 'Park', London. You will most likely find that you leave the automatic grats. on your account and also offer a little extra to your steward/ess, waiters, wine waiter etc.on the last night. You don't do that at the bar as 15% is added to every order! However the drinks are so reasonably priced that it does'nt seem OTT! As Park says, just put it out of mind and enjoy yourselves. Incedentally, would you happen to be Trevor Arnold who attended Beverly Grammar in the mid 1950's ? Ernie Waites.

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