Another of Lorraine’s pet peeves is cruisers who avoid coughing-up even the minimum suggested shipboard gratuities! They will grouse “Why should I have to pay gratuities – I paid for the cruise?”
Why? Because cruise ship employees are servers – and just like at home, servers rely on “tips” to supplement their wages. The cruise industry is not subject to labor laws, and these servers often work as many as 80 hours a week and are away from home for as many as ten months of the year.
According to some estimates (cruise ships are a bit secretive about posting actual figures) the monthly income (including gratuities) for a waiter can range $2500 to $4000, an assistant waiter, $1500 to $3000, a bartender /server, $1000 to $2500, and a cabin attendant, $2000 to $3000. Sounds like a lot – but consider – it’s for an average 320-hour month.
No, Lorraine has not become an activist for the plight of cruise ship workers – there are already enough articles on the web addressing how they are often exploited by unscrupulous “job brokers” or onboard “pecking-order” practices.
Lorraine is, however, an advocate for doing the right thing. Would you dine in a 4-star restaurant and not leave a tip for the waiter and assistant? Would you stay in a 4-star hotel and not leave a tip for the room attendant? Then why on earth would you consider “stiffing” them just because the hotel and restaurant happen to be onboard a ship?
Bar service includes an automatic 15% gratuity, but all other servers depend on your “good manners” to thank them for providing what Spud and I have always found to be excellent service. “Suggested gratuities” tend to range between $10 and $15 per person per day depending on the cruise line – simply consider them as a part of the cost of your cruise vacation and do the right thing.