WHY DO SO MANY CRUISE SHIPS ADD A MANDATORY DAILY TIP TO THE BILL?
The charge is around $10-12 per passenger per day, and this irksome practice exists because cruise operators typically pay their waiters and cleaning staff only a bare minimum wage.
Without tips from passengers to fatten their pay packet, cruise operators would find it difficult to attract these essential staff, although "tax" would be a better word since there is nothing voluntary about this particular tip.
Mandatory tipping also smoothes out the differences that exist in tipping culture. Some cruise operators have admitted that crew are unhappy working out of ports where passengers are not known as generous tippers, including Australian and British and other northern European ports.
The mandatory tip is more common among mid and lower-end cruise operators, which do not include the daily fee in the advertised price of the cruise because it would make them look more expensive than their competitors.
Aboard the more luxurious vessels, the tip is often included in the advertised price, although many passengers will offer an additional payment to staff who display exemplary zeal – a tip in the true sense of the word.
Some cruise ships will remove the charge if passengers press the point at the purser's office, but beware. A few years back, a sharp-eyed passenger on a back-of-ship tour aboard a Carnival cruise vessel spotted a list of guests who had asked to have the prepaid gratuities removed from their bill.
The American passengers named it the spit list.