Carnival Cruise Line Quietly Raises Some Gratuities

by Cheryl Rosen
Carnival Cruise Line Quietly Raises Some Gratuities

Photo: PabloPicasso/Shutterstock.com. 


Carnival Cruise Line has quietly raised the automatic gratuity that it charges for onboard beverages and a la carte dining outlets from 15 percent to 18 percent, matching the amount charged by other major cruise lines. But there is some controversy in the press over whether all of the gratuity will actually go to the servers.

CrewCenter.com, a website for cruise ship crew members, on Friday printed a letter from Richard Morse, senior vice president of hotel operations, announcing the increase and noting that guests’ bills also will have a line asking if they would like to add an additional amount.

“From this 3 percent increase, 1.5 percent will go to server and remaining 1.5 percent will go into the ASP pool,” the letter says. “As you know, the ASP pool funds employee compensation and benefit programs that you receive; including bar level pay, itinerary stipend pay, as well as free uniform and return airline tickets.”

The letter goes on to thank the crew for their hard work. “Our bartenders and bar waiters lead the cruise industry in compensation,” it notes. “This is a result of everyone's hard work and efforts to increase overall bar sales, as well as the success of the Working Smarter program. As we look forward to 2019, we expect this trend to continue, and this will ensure that Carnival Cruise Line remains the employer of choice.”

Asked by Travel Market Report for further explanation, Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen said gratuities “are shared across all crew members who support the beverage operations, including those our guests may not see but are working to stock, clean and run equipment and support tasks. A very small portion of the gratuity pool funds items that crew members normally cover beyond what the company pays for in travel and uniform costs.”

The crew “appreciate everything our guests do for them,” he said. “They work very hard and understand the policies in place. The salary Carnival pays them and the gratuities our guests give allow our crew to provide a better for life for themselves and their family. And they are also supportive of how we administer the pool portion of the gratuity, which fully and exclusively benefits our shipboard employees.”

Carnival also raised the daily gratuity charges on its cruise ships, effective Dec. 1. The new rates are $13.99 per day per person for standard staterooms and $15.99 per person per day for suites.

Gratuities are assessed on all guests over the age of two, and whether the guest eats at a restaurant or at a buffet.

Raise prices or tack on a fee
The whole issue of gratuities is an ongoing subject for discussion among travel professionals and guests, many of whom wish the major cruise lines would just raise prices rather than tack on an extra fee.

“To say that a portion of gratuities will be used for uniforms and transportation is not right,” said Ann Erwin, manager of The Travel Shoppe. “And when the folks pay tips upfront, why should they work harder? I make sure my clients know they have the option of adjusting their gratuities, whether it be increasing them for great service or lowering them for lack of service.”

“I believe fares should be raised enough to include gratuities or a better rate of pay,” said another travel advisor on Cheryl Rosen’s Facebook page. “If we want to give a gratuity to somebody specific, they should be able to keep it.”

And indeed, many of the luxury cruise lines — including Azamara, Crystal, Seabourn, Silversea, and Viking — do just that.

But the major lines continue to bill customers directly for two reasons. First, they say, international customers from countries where tipping is not customary often do not understand how gratuities are part of the compensation of the crew. And second, the proliferation of venues means that guests have many waiters, and tipping everyone individually would be cumbersome.

  1
  0
Tip of the Day

Something could happen to any of us, the loved ones we travel with, or in this case, to the magnificent marvels put up by those who came before us. So we must travel as far and as often as time and money allow.


Stefanie Katz, The Travel Superhero

Daily Top List

Five Good Reasons to Tell Your Clients About Loyalty Programs

1. Saves money for your clients.

2. Saves time for your corporate clients.

3. Gets all sorts of perks for your clients.

4. Offers enhanced reporting to corporate clients.

5. Provides better service and better client relationships.

Source: TMR.

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=b75eceda-865f-e911-b4aa-782bcb66a2f2

5 Good Reasons to Tell Your Clients About Travel Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs, also known as frequent buyer programs, have been around for a long time. But you might be surprised to know that many travelers don’t know about them. Here are five good reasons for travel advisors to spread the word to their customers, both leisure and corporate travelers.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Cruise Lines Awaiting New Cuba Rules, Making No Changes to Current Itineraries
Cruise Lines Awaiting New Cuba Rules, Making No Changes to Current Itineraries

With travel to Cuba up in the air, cruise lines like Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and more are awaiting word on apparent new regulations.

Carnival Cruise Line Returning to Antigua
Carnival Cruise Line Returning to Antigua

After Carnival Corp. reached an agreement with the government of Antigua, its cruise lines are set to return to the island as a port of call for Caribbean itineraries.

Even with Progress Already Made, There’s Still Room for Cruise Industry to Grow
Even with Progress Already Made, There’s Still Room for Cruise Industry to Grow

New players coming into the industry, like Virgin Voyages and Ritz Carlton-Yacht Collection, are raising the bar, forcing legacy players to adapt and change, lifting the industry higher.

Federal Court to Decide on Blocking Carnival Ships from U.S. Ports on June 24
Federal Court to Decide on Blocking Carnival Ships from U.S. Ports on June 24

Carnival Corp. and all its brands will continue to operate its normal cruise schedule.

Tauck Planning Three Itineraries and a New Ship for Douro Debut
Tauck Planning Three Itineraries and a New Ship for Douro Debut

The ship’s capacity could have reached 112 guests, but the line purposely limited it to 84 guests to ensure the highest levels of care and service.

Scenic Eclipse Still on Track for August Debut
Scenic Eclipse Still on Track for August Debut

With 228 guests, the vessel will sail exploration itineraries, including cruises to the Arctic and Antarctic.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tropics and Exotics 2020 -2021 Collection