Subject: Re: Hotel service and more
Hello Ziners,

I followed the discussion on good or bad service in hotels with interest. I'm responding after just watching a BBC documentary on floating hotels, cruise ships. This segment followed the owner of the Carnival line, a certain Bob (on Celebration, I believe, a ship with 2500 passengers and 800 crew) from Miami to Cozumel, by way of the Caymen Islands. A week-long bargain cruise, around $350/per person all inclusive (except drinks), it was stated. Many passengers balked at an extra $50 tagged onto their bill for tips and were told that it was optional, they could decline.

During the documentary Bob, the owner, took on the tasks of various crew. One minute he was a waiter, then an animator, then part of the room-staff cleaning the cabins, straightening the beds. All this was great pr for the boss, until it was revealed that the actual staff was paid $1.50 (one and a half dollar) per day. For the rest they had to rely on tips. Sometimes they scored well, other times, particularly on those bargain voyages, they, especially the room-maids, touched very little beyond the daily wages. The waiters that brought drinks to the pool-side passengers did well, especially if they were swift on their feet.

Most of the staff is from Eastern-European countries or West-Africa. They work 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week.

When Bob was questioned about this practice, he defended it by saying that this was the way to get the best service to the customer. And it showed with big smiles from the staff. I've never taken a cruise myself and wonder what the practice is of tipping the crew. It seems their livelihood depends on it.