P&O brings in fixed-rate tipping

//P&O brings in fixed-rate tipping

P&O Cruises has announced that it will automatically add £3.10 per day in tips to passenger accounts from next April.
It says the new policy on gratuities will make the “often confusing and sometimes awkward subject” of tipping clearer and easier for passengers.
The move has taken some by surprise, especially in view of the fact that just 12 months ago, managing director Carol Marlow was promoting P&O’s value-for-money by pointing out that unlike some of its competitors, the company did not automatically add tips.
Today she says: “Tipping has always been an integral part of the cruise experience but sometimes our passengers tell us they’ve been confused over whether or when to leave a cash tip for their waiters and cabin stewards.
“Our new tipping policy aims to remove this confusion in much the same way as most restaurants these days add a suggested gratuity to the bill.
“The recommended daily rate per person will be the same as has been in place for several years, namely £3.10, which is less than other cruise companies recommend as a daily rate. If our passengers wish to vary this amount they can do so whilst on board.”
She added: “We have had this policy in place for some time for those customers choosing to dine in the Freedom Dining restaurants on Oceana, Ventura and Azura.
“We have found the practice works well both for our customers, removing any awkwardness and confusion, and for our restaurant teams as they receive a fairer and more consistent level of tips. For this reason, we are extending the scheme to both dining and cabin stewards on all seven ships in the fleet from April 2012.
Regular passengers on P&O’s Cruise Community forum have largely welcomed the move. While one pointed out that they are not expected to add a payment to the checkout staff at their local supermarket, others are pleased to see their payments being simplified.
But perhaps one couple, posting as “Mervyn and Tish” made the most sense when they suggested: “As this is now becoming standard across the cruise industry isn’t it about time the current tip systems were abolished completely, basic wages were enhanced to reflect that loss and the cost built into the basic price of a cruise? Crew would know better where they stood with a regular guaranteed income and we would know where we stood when comparing prices of different lines? ”
I couldn’t agree more.
P&O’s £3.10 a day looks like the lowest rate in the industry (apart from the all-inclusive luxury lines and companies such as Saga, Voyages of Discovery and Thomson which include gratuities in the fare). Here’s a comparison of average rates.
Carnival Cruise Lines £6.50
Celebrity Cruises £7.50-£10
Costa Cruises £5-£6.50
Cunard £7-£8.50
Cruise & Maritime Voyages £4-£5
Disney Cruise Line £7.70-£8.70
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines £4
Holland America Line £7
MSC Cruises £5-£6
Norwegian Cruise Line £7.75
Oceania Cruises £8.75-£12
Princess Cruises £7.50-£7.75
Royal Caribbean International £7.50-£8.75

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:58+00:00 25 November 2011|Cruise News|3 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Karl Turner MP 25 November 2011 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    A fair payment that works for the many and not just a few
    We are living through a time when mistrust is common and boardroom responsibility is an increasingly rare commodity. In Noah’s Ark fashion we have seen those in positions of great responsibility board the ship of irresponsibility. First MPs and Lords fiddled their expenses, Bankers went bonus crazy while the country went bust, and journalists and the police conspired to undermine the rights they are supposed to defend.
    This week has been the turn of the Chief Executive. The High Pay Commission reported this week that while the average employees pay grew by 2.7% the average pay of FTSE 100 directors has increased by a massive 49%! The financial crisis and the following austerity have meant that hard working families won’t stomach injustice like they used to. These huge inequalities will be damaging to our businesses, our economy and our society.
    I didn’t have to look far to find examples of this gross unfairness in my own constituency. A week before the High Pay Report was published I had learned that P&O Ferries had been shirking their own responsibilities.
    P&O Ferries have decided to change the status of two liners; The Pride of Hull and The Pride of York. They are currently registered under the British Flag but the company plans to re-register the liners under the flag of the Bahamas. This means that they would be able to circumvent European and British employment laws. This affects everything from minimum wage through to the length of the working week.
    At the same time in the boardroom, the ocean is not looking so rocky. It has been reported that Chief Executive, Helen Deeble, received a bonus in the region of £450,000. I am not sure what other dividends she has received in the past year but I expect she will not be worried about paying her winter fuel bill. According to the TUC top salaries at P & O are somewhere in the region of £2 million pounds per year
    As a result of “flagging out” to the Bahamas P&O can employ people from my constituency, or any other, without the need to pay minimum wage, offer a fair working week or proper working conditions. While at the same time their Chief Executive is earning extraordinary amounts. The CEO is raking in astonishing amounts while consciously driving down pay and conditions. It sets an unnerving precedent. So far it is only two liners being re-registered. However If this pilot proves to be commercially viable, regardless of whether it is morally viable, why wouldn’t P&O extend it to the rest of their fleet. If this pilot is successful and they ride the wave of criticism then it surely only a matter of time before the roll this out across their fleet.
    The attitude of P&O appears even more scandalous when you bear in mind the generous tax breaks they have been receiving for the past 10 years. The ‘Tonnage Tax’ which was designed and implemented to help stem the decline in the UK fleet means P&O ferries pay far below the normal rate of corporation tax. In good faith the government extended support to an ailing industry and P&O have decided to take the money and run.
    The P&O “take the money and run attitude” is not the attitude of all businesses but it certainly is the attitude of some of them. A culture has been developing in this country which allows the big beasts of the UK economy to run riot. A culture in which responsibility is disregarded and workers rights are trampled on as companies chase the quick buck.
    It is time for a new settlement in the way business works in this country. Not anti-business but anti-business as usual. We need workers on remuneration boards to keep salaries in check; we need more transparency and more fairness in our board rooms. We need a settlement that works for everybody and not just a few.

  2. John Honeywell 25 November 2011 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your lengthy comment. I hope you don’t mind me pointing out that you appear to have confused two separate companies which have had nothing in common except a name for 11 years. My report refers to P&O Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Corporation, an American company. Your comments largely relate to P&O Ferries, which is now wholly owned by Dubai World. P&O Ferries was demerged from the cruise company in 2000. Your predecessor as MP for the Hull East constituency would probably be able to explain the difference to you, as he is a former employee of Cunard, which is now also owned by Carnival.

  3. Kelvin Theobald 30 November 2011 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Whilst I can see the fairness in the fixed scheme in so much that all crew members recieve something I feel it could be better arranged such that part of the gratuity is shared by all and part is given to individuals who have “gone that extra mile”. This could be easily achieved if gratuity envelopes are handed in at Reception and include a form indicating individual crew members who would recieve 50% of the gratuity and the remainder shared amongst the crew. A copy of the form could be handed to the preferred individuals to ensure they recieve their reward.
    My previous experiences have shown that indivdual tipping in Restaurants, Hotels, Bars, Cruise Ships etc. creates a higher standard of service which seems to rub off onto clients and encourages a more polite and courtious manner.

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