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Never Never let RCI or any American cruise line do the conversion, leave it to your credit card company. As for Grats, it's the most emotive subject on any cruise site so do what you feel right for you & don't be led.
All these answers are confusing me, sorry, but I really don't understand this tipping business. I've just booked to go on Ind of the seas in Oct 09. I booked with Thomsons, who advised me to pre pay our gratuities/tips, being the 1st time we're cruising, I took their advice.
From reading everyones' answers above, I think I may have made a mistake.
Could you please advise, in simple terms! Thank you.
Here Goes! All cruise lines have differences in the way we tip the staff. The options with RCI are, prepay, agree to them being added to your on board account (i.e. pay at end of cruise on your credit card) or do nothing & pay tips as you feel, in cash ($US) to those you feel most deserve. You have ‘elected’ to pay up front, $10.50 a day per person, which is the same price as agreeing to having them added to your on board account. If your having second thoughts, you could always get your T A to change your ‘booking’ as it’s never too late until final payment. 15% will be added to your drinks bill regardless of how you pay. One final piece of advice, when booking a cruise, go to a Cruise Specialist, like the Freephone number on this site, or any of the many Cruise Agents on the internet, people who know the cruise business. If you’ve any further questions, just click on the comment button & fire away.
Thanks for that Wilba, it's become clearer, sorry to ask again, but.. we've obviously chosen the prepay option (so far) as you say, however, this pre pay option will be paid within the balance of my holiday so how can that be added to my on board account? That would mean I'm paying them twice?
You have opted to 'prepay', so that will be paid by you in your final balance to Thomsons. Nothing further will be added to your on board account. In other words your fully paid up as far as the gratuities/tips are concerned. When you purchase drinks, 15% will be added to the drink price. So, in a nutshell, your fully paid up. If when on board you purchased no drinks or spent nothing at all, your on board account would be 'zero' at end of cruise.
Ok you've made it clear now, thanks a lot for that. It's really confusing for 1st timers!!....
With RCI you need to opt out of paying your tips at the pursers desk early on otherwise they will get added on to your sea pass account then charged to your credit card,we find it easier to use the voucher scheme they give you the vouchers which you pass on to the different staff.The staff do get the full amount and you can add some extra cash if you wish,you could have it paid by on your card in dollars but credit cards charge you any way the exchange rate can alter daily,RCI brochure will tell you roughly what each person should get as a tip.
Thanks for your answers. Though still not clear about pre-paying tips. If I have the tips added to my travel agent's booking form now, the charge will be £53.91 each for 11 days. So costing me in total £215.64 for 2 adults and 2 teenagers. Is this exactly the same as what RCI would add to my sea pass account or is it cheaper because it is pre-paid. Also, if I settle my bill with dolllars cash, will I still have to register a credit card. Many thanks, this is a first cruise and I am on a tight budget!
Does not make any difference whether you prepay or have them added to your on board account - they will charge the same amount. However we never prepay and always ask for them to be removed from the on board account. WE THEN DECIDE WHOM and how much. It really is up to you. I am sorry I know this upsets some people but if your children are sharing your cabin although yes there are four beds to make up - the room doesnt take that much longer to clean & tidy up. Also my children do not always eat with us in the Dinning Room - therefore I do not tip the full amount for my children. Also you will find they automatically add a tip for the Maitre De - fine if he does you a good service, but most of the time you never even see him/her until the last night. Like Wilba said, its an emotive subject. Just do what feels right for you. Even if you dont want to tip them cash in hand you can have the charge to your on board account adjusted according to what you want to tip.
We just told our TA we did not want gratuities added to our account and put dollars in the envelopes at the end of the cruise. These are delivered to your room on the last night. That way you can give what you think the individuals deserve. For example we had an envelope for the Head Waiter and we never saw him so if we had pre-paid he would have got a tip for basically doing nothing, i would rather give more to who i think deserves it. We were on Legend of the Seas to the Carribean.