March 2023
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The great cruise gratuities ‘scam’

(One can’t write about politics, economics, immigration and the destruction of Britain every day. So today I’d like to introduce you to the great cruise gratuities ‘scam’)

I don’t know if any readers ever go on cruises. But if you do, you’ll have noticed how eagerly and effectively the cruise companies extract money from passengers, supposedly for gratuities. And if you’ve never been on a cruise and never intend to, you might still find this little tale of fleecing customers mildly amusing.

Large cruise ships – here’s how it works on many large cruise ships:

1. When booking you get a choice – either pre-pay your gratuities at typically about £7 a day per person or else the cruise company will add a higher sum – perhaps £10 a day – to your bill at the end of the cruise. This pressures you to pay upfront.

2. When you get on the ship, you then discover that these pre-paid gratuities don’t include things like the bar. So another 10% to 15% is automatically added to any drinks you buy

cruise ship

3. Supposing there are 3,000 passengers on a 2-week cruise, then that’s £21,000 a day – £294,000 for the two weeks – that the cruise company is getting in pre-paid gratuities. Does anyone really believe the cruise company is distributing absolutely all of this £21,000 a day (£294,000 for two weeks) to their staff?

River cruises – things are reportedly much worse with a company called Viking which specialises in river cruises. According to a report in the Torygraph:

1. On its two-week Yangtse River cruise Viking ‘recommends’ that each passenger pays $15 a day in gratuities for the crew, $10 a day for the tour guides, $2 a day for local guides and $1 a day for drivers. This all adds up to $28 (£18) per day per passenger

2. There are 170 passengers on the Yangtse River cruise. If these 170 passengers pay their £18 per day, then that’s £3,060 per day – £42,840 for the two weeks

cruise yangtse

3. There are about 80 crew on the boat. Of course, officers will get a bigger share of the tip money and toilet cleaners rather less. But on average Viking are taking £535 in tips per crew member for the two weeks – £267 per week. That may not seem a lot, but…

4. The average wage in China is $4,755 per year – about £3,067 – equivalent to about £60 per week

5. So Viking would have us believe that, in addition to their salaries, its staff are each getting around four times the average wage in tips! Does anyone really believe that Viking actually distributes all the £42,840 per two-week trip to its 80 staff? Or are there some cynics who are tempted to suspect that Viking pockets a goodly proportion of the gratuity money to help boost company profits?

If it looks like a scam, smells like a scam, feels like a scam and seems like a scam, then it’s probably a scam.

I have the impression that the way cruise companies extract gratuities from passengers is a massive and massively profitable scam.

The ‘Spit List’ – You could, of course, refuse to pre-pay your gratuities and give very little during your journey. But it’s rumoured that on some boats the crew keep a list of passengers who don’t pay gratuities – the so-called “Spit List”. I probably don’t need to explain why, if one wants an enjoyable holiday, one wouldn’t want one’s name on the “Spit List”.

3 comments to The great cruise gratuities ‘scam’

  • Rie

    Hi, tipping is optional. You just so to service desk and have removed. In Australia the charges automatically removed on P&O and Princess, with the cruise lines paying the staff higher wages. If you Dont tip you are helping everyone get higher wages like here is Australia. I can not believe people from USA are so mean that they support tipping and treating people like dogs.

  • steve

    all large cruise ship companies are registered in the cayman islands or the like which is why they can get away with paying staff peanuts in wages. its how they get around the minimum wage. by the same rule of thumb they dont pay much tax either. disgraceful really considering how much a cruise costs.

  • Jozef

    I’ve been on a few cruises sea and river and hate the fact that staff are paid crap
    Money and that I’m being ripped off. My insists but she doesn’t really
    Want to listen to what I have to say ? I will show her this report !!
    I want to go on another cruise , but it puts me off knowing I’m
    Going to pay extra . We always upgrade to a better room with a balcony.
    On the first cruise with Royal Caribbean my wife made me upgrade our drinks package which cost us £1,200 extra for the two weeks!! Unfortunately it
    was only for drinks up to 12 dollars , and the wine we liked was 15
    Dollars!! So had to pay even more!! Some couples have been
    Known to get one upgrade and share , but if they find out
    they take away the single upgrade! My own opinion of cruise
    Ships is that once they get you on board they want to get
    as much money from you as possible. Fake art auctions
    Is another scam. Getting folk to pretend to bid until that
    Catch some unspecting guest and wham – rip off time.
    One couple paid £14,000 for a painting that when they
    took it to an auction gallery in England found it was only worth
    Then there’s the spa where after my wife had a massage
    they tried to sell her £1,000 worth of products, which were
    only worth a fraction of the price, and when she declined
    They became abrupt !!!
    The list is endless , it’s all about taking your money, and I hate it!
    Just reading the Daily mails escape cruising supplement
    and it all seems so nice, but I know the truth.
    Stay away is the real answer and do something different..

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