Tipping lies cruise lines like to tell

eAlisa / Shutterstock.com
eAlisa / Shutterstock.com

If you thought tipping was out of control in the United States, try heading out to sea.

That’s where Jane Greene discovered the tipping economy isn’t just alive and well, it apparently sustains the crew of major cruise ships. That’s a particularly interesting revelation in light of the U.S. government’s plans to regulate the cruise industry.

“Prior to our most recent cruise, we always tipped generously — above and beyond what was recommended for individuals who showed extra initiative,” says Greene, an author from Pensacola, Fla.

But on her latest cruise on Oceania, she found a surprise charge on her final bill: it included a hefty, and automatic, tip for the crew.

Oceania’s tipping policy is spelled out in its frequently-asked questions section: For guests occupying staterooms, gratuities of $14.50 per guest, per day, will be added to the final bill. Plus, an 18 percent service gratuity is automatically added to all beverage purchases, spa services and dinner at its signature restaurant, La Reserve, it says.
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Their luggage went missing, but does anyone know why?

By all accounts, Maddy and Phil Handler liked their October cruise on the Riviera, one of the new mid-size ships in Oceania’s fleet. There was just the matter of the Handler’s luggage — and reams of correspondence between the couple and a vice president at the cruise line, bickering about what happened to it.

The cruise line claims another passenger inadvertently took the Handler’s suitcase and that it tried to help them retrieve it. But these passengers are unhappy with the way in which their claim has been handled, and they want answers about their missing luggage. They want me to step in and get a clear explanation from Oceania.
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