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Tipping on MSC cruises

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Port Macquarie...
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Tipping on MSC cruises

Has anyone recently done a MSC Grand Mediterranean cruise 14 days ...if so did you have to pay the GRATUTITIES ....friends did it last year and had them removed, I was told when I booked back in Sept 2013 I could have them removed, now paying final balance and they say I cant????.

Appreciate your reply and suggestions. Shandari

46 replies to this topic
Terrigal, Australia
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1. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

cant answer your question however i strongly resent the suggestion of paying for tipping/gratuities - up front - tipping/gratuities in my humble opinion should be for services rendered - "above and beyond the call of" NOT for people just doing their job - there is no incentive to demonstrate professionalism or excellence in service !

i feel better now! - enjoy your trip !

Imperia, Italy
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for Italian Riviera
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2. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

Find 'service charge' on page 3 of msccruises.co.uk/uk_en/Already-Booked/During… - you can remove all or part of them in person on the boat "in the unlikely event that you do not receive satisfactory service"!

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for Naples
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3. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

You'll probably find recent MSC cruisers over on the Cruise Critic message boards here: boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=80

Destination Expert
for Naples
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4. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

For what it's worth, "tip" is a misleading word in this situation, it's really a hotel service charge. All of the moderately priced lines set their pricing this way in order to compete. They will do everything they legally can do to prevent you from removing them because those fees are built into their revenue structure and are required for them to break even, much less make a profit.

There are cruise lines that include this fee in their price structure, they compete as a higher priced segment of the industry. These lines offer a more "all-inclusive" experience, with things like alcohol included in the cruise fare as well as service charges.

There really isn't a place in the industry for a line to step out from the pack and include the service charge because it would simply make them look more expensive than the rest. They've all got to do it together but they can't just agree to because of anti-trust laws, and no one wants to go first. It will probably happen one of these days just as someone finally stepped forward in the airline industry and started charging for luggage and for food. Once one does it the rest will follow because it's much easier for them if it's included.

What's interesting to me is that on higher priced lines, who include the hotel charge as part of the cruise fare, customers still choose to tip. In most cultures we are accustomed to showing appreciation this way. This cruise line fee structure is a particular issue for those from places where tipping isn't as pervasive, such as Australia.

Edited: 03 March 2014, 22:04
St. Petersburg...
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5. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

I still don't understand the policy. It says that tips couldn't be removed, yet, they could if the service was unsatisfactory. What does that mean?? Can I come on day 1 and have them removed? Or I have to wait until the end in order to be able to justify the level of service? Would I need to prove that the service was unsatisfactory? It just doesn't make much sense...

Hong Kong, China
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6. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

Service charge and tips are considered two different things. Service charge is generally "mandatory." Hence, only in the unlikely event that you haven't received up-to-par standard do you normally file a complaint and ask for your money back.

Tip goes on top of the service charge. It is generally not necessary in most of Western Europe.

London, United...
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7. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

A pre-stated service charge is fine, but should have the option of being removed if the customer is dissatisfied.

Tipping is the dreadful American habit/culture of large tips to try to buy friendship/favouritism or showing off one's wealth which is against the culture of Europe where employers pay people the rate for the job (unlike America) and should certainly not be stated as a mandatory part of a fare.

St. Petersburg...
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8. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

Well, what's called "gratuity" in the other lines and is, essentially, the tip, MSC calls "service charge":

msccruises.co.uk/uk_en/Already-Booked/During…

During your cruise, you will meet staff throughout the ship who provide you with excellent service. They are supported by just as many staff and crew who work hard behind the scenes to ensure you enjoy every moment onboard. For your convenience MSC Cruises will automatically add a daily Hotel Service Charge to your shipboard account, based on your chosen itinerary and the number of days for which the services are actually provided. The Hotel Service charge serves to ensure we maintain the highest quality standards of service to our guests. The daily amounts below have been calculated with this in mind and cannot be modified. However, should you wish to remove any of the daily Hotel Service Charge in the unlikely event that you do not receive satisfactory service, you may do so by contacting the Guest Relations Manager on board.

Did anybody have had an experience of removing this "service charge"? What was the procedure?

Edited: 06 January 2015, 00:27
NY
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9. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

I suggest you consider this "service" charge as described, and only in the "unlikely" event you are not happy could you claim a reduction for a specific day or service or person, and not ask for a complete removal of all this charge just because you do not want to pay it.

Would you not be better off to register complaints during the cruise rather than afterwards? But continuous complaining might get spittle in your soup .

It is unclear if any of the staff get any of this money in addition to their wages, what do you think?.

I also suggest you just count on this as part of the total cost of the cruise when you make your decision whether to book.

St. Petersburg...
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10. Re: Tipping on MSC cruises

I believe that the new "experience"-based structure has lowered the level of service for most of the guests. Whoever came up with such an idea didn't do his job well (in my opinion). So, I am unhappy about that particular guy. And the only way I could send the message which the cruiseline would, actually, hear is to remove the service charge. As long as I am legally allowed to do so.

And, yes, I think at least some of this money the staff does not get:

cruiselawnews.com/2012/…

Besides, if I do not use some service, why should I pay a mandatory service charge for it? For instance, kids' animators. Neither me, nor my wife use their services. And we do not have any kids. So, why should a portion of MY tip/service charge go to them?

Edited: 06 January 2015, 09:31
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