Welcome back, Star Travelers!
As a travel agent, one of my highest priorities is not only staying up to date on the latest in travel trends but also keeping my fellow travelers in the know, as well. That's why I'd like to focus on the changes the travel industry may start to see as traveling ramps back up from the effects of the pandemic.
Of all the different kinds of travel, cruising will definitely be one of the industries to see the most changes. As a close-quartered means of travel with little room for limiting contact, the precautions for keeping passengers safe may vary from cruise line to cruise line.
However, one thing is going to remain a constant no matter who you are traveling with and this is your cruise crew. Your hardworking crew will always be ready to provide excellent customer service, ensuring that you receive the attention and relaxation you deserve on your vacation! That said, each cruise's dedicated crew relies on passengers' generous recognition of this hard work.
That's where tipping comes in. It can be called cruise gratuities, crew appreciation, or a service charge, but its point remains----to thank the crew, of course!
If you have booked a cruise lately, you may have noticed many are operating on a lower-than-normal capacity. This is appealing to those who enjoy the space and dislike crowds. However, when it comes back around to appreciating that hardworking crew, they are the ones suffering from the decreased capacity. This is because crew members actually rely on a fixed percentage of overall tips per passenger.
Therefore, a lower number of passengers means the cruise staff (many of whom may still be reeling from the loss of income due to the pause in cruising) are receiving less amount in tips for the same work, at a time when we are all more reliant than ever on making ends meet.
Now, I'm sure we all know how important tipping is (not to mention how a generous hand is the quickest way to ensure VIP service from the bartender), but what I'd really like to stress is tipping even on top of prepaid gratuities.
A Quick Look at How Prepaid Gratuities Get Distributed to Cruise Staff
Prepaid gratuities are a great invention! They keep things as in-budget and convenient as possible. But have you ever wondered how this money eventually makes it into the hands of staff? In truth, I hadn't considered this prior to entering the travel business! And that's perfectly all right---the option is there for a reason. However, in light of recent capacity changes, I do feel it is important for travelers to know how it works, and you'll see why.
All passengers' prepaid gratuities go into a pool of tips that the cruise line is then responsible for distributing to staff, determined by a percentage. What's nice is 100% of your prepaid gratuity goes directly to your staff (minus any credit card transaction fees). Tips are typically distributed to cruising staff either in lump sums every few months or given out as bonuses. With this in mind, you can see how important it is to supplement where you can, given the fact that this pool of passenger gratuities is going to be smaller with the smaller amount of passengers.
Like waiters and bartenders, cruise staff work for a minimum wage and depend on kind passengers' tips in order to make a viable income. Since tips are based on percentages, the number of passengers directly correlates to how much they are able to make. If your cruise, for example, is operating at 40% capacity, your cruise staff will only be making 40% of what they could be earning otherwise.
Of course, this doesn't mean you have to go overboard! It's simply a generous gesture to show your ship staff how much you appreciate all they do. If you can afford it, consider it. The pandemic was a good reminder of how important it is to have each other's backs and that, at the end of the day, we're all in this together!
That's all this week! Thanks so much for checking in and being open to seeing how to show your support to our hardworking staff members that make the cruises we love possible. To talk about booking your next cruise, get in touch here.
Until next time, toodles!