ABTA 2009: Royal Caribbean to review tipping policy

Royal Caribbean International is "evaluating" its gratuities system in the UK because the British won't tip.

Royal Caribbean Cruises vice-president and managing director UK and Ireland, Robin Shaw, told the Cruise Forum in Barcelona on Thursday that the British refusal to tip means the crew is not being remunerated as it should be.

He said it has become a "significant issue" for the cruiseline because of the number of British passengers Royal Caribbean now carries.

From April 2010, Royal Caribbean is basing Independence of the Seas in Southampton year-round for the British market. Sister brand Celebrity Cruises will have Celebrity Eclipse sailing from Southampton next summer, also dedicated to the UK market.

At the moment Royal Caribbean passengers can pay their gratuities at the end of the cruise, but it is not mandatory, or pre-pay them at the time of booking. The latter is compulsory for passengers who opt for flexible My Time dining.

Shaw said: "The British don't tip and that is a challenge for us. We are evaluating our options in the UK."

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