'Tips Included' Losing a Cruise Line

It should be said up front that when it comes to tipping, we belong to the sect that likes it included, doesn’t want to know, doesn’t care if it’s justified or not, and generally would rather not deal with it.

In an industry — cruising — where the mantra is all-inclusiveness, why are tips the exception, and why are they sometimes problematic?

Make them 15%…bury them in the fare…end of story.

Having gotten that off our chests, we know it happens only in pockets of the cruise ship industry, and that’s not likely to change, except here and there.

Like P&O.

This is a cruise line that has made no secret of the fact that it did not automatically add per-person, per-day gratuities. P&O attributes it to confusion on the part of passengers as to “whether or when to leave a cash tip for their waiters and cabin stewards.”

So starting in April, P&O is adding £3.10 per day to passengers accounts. That’s just under $5, still less than every other major cruise line. There’s a punch line to an old joke that we can’t remember which goes something like this: “Now we know what you are, we’re just haggling over the price.”

If tips were included in the price of all cruises, it would enable crew members to count on a regular guaranteed income…and it would enable passengers to compare cruise prices with more accuracy.

Costa Concordia
7 nights
January 21, 2012
Savona, Italy return
Inside $399

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