Interview with John Heald – Gratuities

Carnival Vista

Vista in New York from the deck of the Intrepid, underneath the Concorde

Cruising in America normally means gratuities will be added to your onboard account, unless you pre-paid them. This money goes to the hard-working crew who spend 10 hours daily for months in a row often with no days off making other people’s vacations special. For many years most passengers have just considered this as part of the cost of the cruise and rarely ever removed them – as they should because the crew depends upon earning that money. Lately though a trend of removing tips has emerged. Whether these people are greedy, selfish, or just don’t understand the process, it’s disturbing because every tip removed is that much less earned by a crew who has to work harder every day for those diminishing wages. Odds are the people who remove tips would be the first to raise a ruckus if someone had the power to remove part of their wages and did so. The daily gratuity goes to far more people than just the stateroom stewards and dining room waiters.

John Heald

Carnival spokesperson John Heald

On a recent cruise on the Vista we had a chance to interview Carnival spokesperson John Heald on his thoughts about gratuities. John’s assistant Jacinta (who was bar crew herself not so long ago) gave a very passionate plea for why people should never remove their tips. Unfortunately it was after we turned the camera off and she didn’t want to say it again on film. She said if people remove their tips to punish a less than stellar steward or waiter it’s not that person they hurt so much as it is the chef who cooked their food, the laundry crew who washed their towels, the lido and dining room staff, and many others around the ship who have families counting on them for support.

Some people say they remove the tips so they can pay in cash, but that’s just an excuse to be cheap because most of them give back far less than they took away, plus it just goes to one or two people that way and everyone else gets left out. It’s always nice to tip a good waiter or steward extra. Cash tips are always appreciated, but should be given in addition to and not instead of the cruise line’s gratuities. Think about how you would feel if someone took away a portion of your paycheck. Never remove the gratuities. We always leave something extra. Most of the time they absolutely deserve it, but even on the rare occasion when the service wasn’t up to par we leave something extra anyway. You never know when someone might be new and struggling or if a waiter or steward’s workload just increased and they haven’t yet adjusted, or what else is going on in their life.

The following is from a post John Heald put on his facebook page a couple weeks after we did the interview. He was on the Vista cruise following the one we had taken at the time.

Good morning everyone from our last day of this Carnival Journey cruise. These last few days the weather has been superb but today as New York approaches it has become suddenly grey, overcast, wet and rather chilly.

It has been a great Journey cruise and even after the loss of Amber Cove because of bad weather and serious flooding in the port the guests have had I think a superb time. Loads and loads of great comments have been given to me and my colleagues about the crew, the fun, the extra activities and events that make up a Journey cruise and of course the Carnival Vista herself. Yep, the ship is a winner and I have a feeling that when she homeports in Miami she will head straight to the top of the Carnival fleet rating charts.

I realise that things change over the years, not just in this cruise industry we all love but in the world we live in. However, there are changes that puzzle me and one is a minefield I may be a total blithering chubby grey haired hemorrhoid ridden idiot for walking through. If I go back 5 – 10 years ago the amount of guests who removed their gratuities was miniscule.

That has changed. It has changed at Carnival and it has changed on other cruise lines as well. I know this because I was discussing this very subject with a dining room employee who had 5 years in the same position at another cruise line that has a wall you can climb up……………..”its the same there,” he said.

Now a large dollop of people who remove their gratuities do pay those that have served them in cash for which we are very grateful. However, some do not and when asked if they have received bad service the answer is most always” no, not at all.”

Tipping is a personal thing, the service from our crew is still outstanding with our ratings based on your comments and reviews showing that they exceed your expectations. They are fun, they are dedicated and they make a great cruise and absolutely brilliant one. So what then has changed, have we as a society become harsher, less giving, less willing to reward others?

I don’t know the answer but I do know that I thank every single one of you who does give our crew a gratuity and on behalf of their families who they work so hard to support, the crew thank you too.

The guests have had the best of times and these Journey cruises continue to be ones that I hope we continue.

Cheers, have a brilliant day and I wish you could have been here.

Unfortunately quite a few of the comments on that bit mention that it is because of changing attitudes and feelings of entitlement in today’s society. It that’s the case things are likely to just get worse.

If you have the privilege of taking a cruise remember the crew are people too. They work very hard to insure you have a good time. They deserve every cent of the gratuities, and if you can leave a little extra so much the better.

More Interviews with John Heald

Left Behind on a Cruise

Best Places on Carnival Breeze

Life on a Cruise Ship and Carnival Funships 2.0

Carnival Breeze Things to Do and Best Kept Secrets

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About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
This entry was posted in Carnival, Shipboard Life, Vista. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Interview with John Heald – Gratuities

  1. Laura Miller says:

    On my recent cruise, I tipped an additional $10.00 per day to our cabin steward and $10.00 a day to our dining room server, This was in addition to the included tip.

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