Q – We’ve been entirely impressed with the ships and service on Silversea and we have an upcoming 20-Day sailing coming up with them this winter in the Orient. We booked on-board to get extra incentives so we were not able to use a consultant. On our last cruise, we used the Concierge on the Silver Whisper to make restaurant reservations for us several times. Although the line has a “no Tipping” policy I wonder what an average daily tip for the Concierge would be for such services booked on-board?
A – Normally, we would recommend a gratuity to the on-board concierge of between $10-$20 per day assuming special services or reservations ashore have been made on your behalf. The difficulty level determines the tip. Any of the Lines on our Top Ten cruisetruth.com site pay a salary with benefits to their Concierge Team. But gratuities for off-ship arrangements are entirely appropriate no matter what the policy. The best way to handle this is to shake hands with the Concierge prior to disembarkation with an envelope discreetly placed in your palm.
Savvy cruisers bring along a number of envelopes address to top-level management so they can slip in a note complimenting a particular member of the crew before getting off the ship.
Finally, we need to correct something you stated in your question. There is never, not once, an instance in which any booking made aboard a quality ship with the on-board cruise consultant can’t be immediately turned over to a cruise consultant. This is something that happens with our firm on a daily basis and we encourage our clients to book on-board. The lines have our number and contact information in their on-board system and they know when we booked you originally. When we receive your confirmation from the line,usually while you are still on your original cruise, we check it for pricing accuracy, make certain that you have been booked in the best possible cabin location, and then certify you, sometimes lowering your price, to include unpublished consortium offers etc. There really isn;t any competition in all this. Cruise bookings are complex and involve any number of decisions related to pre/post, insurance, air etc. The on-board cruise consultant has no expertise in these areas. But they are equipped to reserve your stateroom on a future cruise. It sounds as though you have found a second home at sea. Enjoy your cruise.