In the past, most passengers on a cruise ship would arrive with a good supply of small bills to use for tipping the crew members who provided excellent service as well as those who were working behind the scene to make each guest’s vacation more enjoyable. But in recent years, more and more passengers have given up the idea of carrying cash and have chosen to add a blanket gratuity to their final bill. This is in most cases easier for the passengers, but it can be an issue for many crew members who are now seeing a decrease in wages due to the loss of cash tips.
Most passengers have no idea how the cruise line distributes the money that is added to a final bill as a gratuity. This money is now divided between laundry workers, cabin stewards, kitchen staff and those who are actually interacting with the passengers such as bartenders and room service staff. The behind-the-scenes employees such as the kitchen staff and laundry staff were pleased to be “cut in” on the tips, while the actual service staff was not happy to see the tips being shared among a larger pool of employees. Initially, the behind-the-scene staff did notice an uptick in earnings but have since reported that salaries have dropped to balance as the tips have increased. The overall outcome is that the workers are making about the same money, but the cruise lines are paying less and relying on passengers to tip generously to help keep the staff at a decent earning level.
The employees who are seeing the greatest pay decrease are the servers who were working diligently to secure good tips from passengers but are now only getting a small portion of the tip left on the final bill. These workers have not seen any increase in their base pay to make up for the lower tips. Instead, they are simply earning less while doing the same job. But there is a way for passengers to help these hard-working crew members.
Bringing some cash is never a bad idea when traveling. Not only is it helpful if there is an issue with electronic payment systems, but it is also a great way to thank a crew member for extra care and service. Not only will your gratuity in cash be much appreciated, but it will also likely ensure that you get great service throughout your vacation. Crew members will remember who offered a few extra dollars cash as a tip and will step up your level of service even more. Just a few extra bucks can be a great way to keep your glass filled with a cool drink and to help out some very hard working crew members.