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Author: lynns

Joined: 1/3/2011
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2009

June 12, 2013

Careful reading of the Traveler's Handbook revealed the information that a gratuity of $22.50  would be charged to our credit card upon check in. No one at GCT seems to know if that is per person, per cabin, per diem or all of the above. Any information from travelers who have taken the China trip since May 2011 would be very much appreciated. Was this explained by the Trip Leader or was it just an unpleasant surprise after you arrived home?

Thanks! Lynn

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 152
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

June 12, 2013

FWIW, I found this (which may, or may not, shed some light on the topic) and it appears to be per person, not per cabin:

 

Money on Yangtze Victoria Cruises - Tipping Policy

Beginning in March, 2011, in lieu of tips, Yangtze Victoria Cruises will charge Rmb. 150 (approximately US $22.50) for cruises of 5 days and under, and Rmb. 300 (approximately US $45.00) for cruises of 7 days and over, to be billed on passengers' credit cards upon check-in. This service charge does not include a gratuity to our river guide or cruise director, which may be given at passengers' discretion based on your satisfaction with services received, as can gratuities for additional special services requested by passengers.

Guest satisfaction is highest priority for Yangtze Victoria Cruises. Any service issue should be communicated to the Cruise director, so that they can address it in a timely manner. Should any service concerns not be met to your satisfaction, the service charge can be adjusted by our Cruise Director at time of disembarkation.

http://www.myyangtzecruise.com/yangtze-victoria-cruises---money-on-board_12803_c/

and

What about tipping on board?

A modest service charge has been instituted by Victoria Cruises in lieu of tipping. Please check at time of booking for the current daily amount. The service charge does not include a gratuity to our river guide or cruise director, which may be given at passengers' discretion based on their satisfaction with services received, as can gratuities for additional special services requested by passengers.

http://www.victoriacruises.com/your_trip/faq/

Author: oatadmin

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 7
Trips Taken: 0

June 13, 2013

Hello Lynns -

Thank you for your question.  We apologize that the Handbook is not as clear as it could be.

We are currently working with our regional office in China - they are closed for a holiday today though - to get clarification for you.

Kind Regards,

Michelle

GCT/GCCL Forum Moderator

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 217
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

June 13, 2013

I don't know anything about this type cruise--how large the ship line is, where it goes--not interested in that.

On our Holland America cruise in 2010, and the one we booked but cancelled on Princess in 2013, it was clear in their contract information that each person would be charged on their credit card for tips to cabin stewards, dining staff, and in fact the whole crew.  It was something like $11.00 per day.  If we disagreed with service, we could, of course, go to the desk and discuss with staff and the tip charge would be lowered if necessary.  It was explained that the tips were to be pulled and enjoyed by the entire crew, not just our table staff and room steward.  When you think of it, there is a lot of other work done by parts of the staff we never see.  If they received a decent wage, we wouldn't be asked  to tip them, too.  But, by automatically charging each person the mandatory tip  amount per day , we are tipping the entire staff.  The cruise information also states quite clearly, that we can, of course, tip additional to our steward and wait staff if we choose.  And we did just that.  We calculated how much we had already been charged for tips to our room, counted the number of days on the cruise, came up with a number, and gave an additional amount to the head waiter for our table  He must have  not understood the result of mandatory tipping, because after we gave him the additional amount which was  not a little amount, we got the worst service of the entire cruise.  He didn't think it was enough I guess.  Welcome to the real world.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 884
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 13, 2013

Many many years ago, Holland-American did not allow tipping on its ships.  I'm talking 60 or 70 years ago and when most people traveled to Europe by ship rather than plane.  It was explained to the passengers that a service charge was added to the cost of the cruise and that would be shared out among the crew and was to be considered sufficient.  Those days are gone forever.

I went to China with a different company in 1998, and our Yangtze River cruise was on a Victoria river ship.  The guide we had for the entire trip had suggested at the beginning that if we wished, she would hold our tip money and dole it out to each local guide and bus driver, including the ship's crew, and explain to us why she was giving each amount.  Before handing it out, she would have one or two of us check the envelope to verify that the amount of money it held was what she said.  Most of us agreed to it, and the recipients all seemed satisfied.  But there was no mention of a service charge on the ship.

 

Author: lynns

Joined: 1/3/2011
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2009

June 14, 2013

Thanks to everyone for their responses. According to the Travelers Handbook GCT/Victoria Cruises have had this tipping policy since 2011. Therefore, I can't understand why there was no one at GCT who was able to explain if the charge was per person, per cabin or per diem. It's hard to believe I am the first traveler who has questioned the ambiguity of the paragraph as it appears. We have traveled extensively on all the major cruise lines and are well aware of their automatic tipping policy that is assessed per passenger, per diem.. However, when we took the Egypt trip with OAT, including a 3 day cruise on the Nile, we tipped personally and had the option of determining the amount. We had the expectation that this cruise on the Yangtze would be the same. The mandatory amount is not mentioned in the guidelines for Trip Leader, daily guides or drivers, but can only be found in a section "To Tip or Not To Tip." Since tipping seems to be a source of much negative discussion everywhere on the Traveler's Forum, this additional expense, over which we have no control, should be presented upfront as part of the cruise cost. This is done with the Optional Tours, where you can choose to go or not go, but is not included as a cost that is NOT optional. The same could be said for the cost of $450 for obtaining a China Visa. Does anyone remember seeing that itemized as a part of the final cost of China and The Yangtze River? I don't! We continue to be excited about our upcoming trip, and have been very pleased with all our previous trips, but it is unsatisfactory handling of these kind of issues that is making us unhappy travelers.

Lynn

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 245
Trips Taken: 0

June 17, 2013

Hello Lynns-

We apologize that the tipping information is unclear.  We are working with our Regional Office to ensure that the information is clear.

In response to your question, the tipping on the Victoria Cruise is per person, not per cabin.

Also, I am arranging for somebody to call you so that you can discuss any additional questions around this issue.

Kind Regards,

Michelle

GCT/GCCL Forum Moderator

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