Tipping: Looking for a response from Road Scholar

I posted this question back in November under Afloat > Ocean Cruises. I'd hoped to get a factual/authoritative answer from someone with RS. So far it does not appear that any RS staff have taken note. So I am reposting it here:

  Tipping is a major consideration when planning an ocean cruise. Road Scholar states that customary tips are covered in the cost of its programs, but does that include the tips that are expected by waiters and room stewards on large cruise ships? This is important to know ahead of time for estimating the actual cost of the program. 

  • Hello, yes all tips, taxes, and gratuities are covered by Road Scholar on all adventures including cruises. We are available if you have any further questions or concerns. ~ Your Friends at Road Scholar
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    Does this include travel on the National Geographic Endeavor II for the Galapagos portion of the Discovering Machu Picchu and the Galapagos trip?
  • In reply to stevesbe080609:

    Hi stevesbe080609,
    This does also include the trip you mentioned above to the Galapagos and Machu Picchu, yes. That is one of the perks with traveling with Road Scholar is there are not any hidden fees or additional tips, taxes, or gratuities that you'll need to pay on your trip! There are some things you can purchase separately onboard such as a massage or an extra alcoholic beverage if it's not provided at a particular dinner.

    Feel free to let us know if you have any further questions!

    All the best,
    Your Friends at Road Scholar
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    We spoke specifically on this topic with the hospitality (cooking, serving, special meal requests, rooms) at the lodge on a recent trip. They said they never saw money from RS. Lodge is a long time faciilty for RS on several programs.
  • In reply to mollysydney012712:

    Perhaps the RS rep can clarify whether the service providers are told that the "customary gratuities" are included in the contracted amount they are paid. Is it possible that the providers are accepting the "tips included" deal but not telling their own employees -- or perhaps not even passing those amounts on to the people who interact with the RS travelers?
  • In reply to beckerlmkc011037:

    I have been on 21 Road Scholar trips in the US and Internationally and have never encountered a guide hinting for tips. Road Scholar makes it very clear that gratuties are included. I have had this discussion with fellow travelers and some have discretely tipped the guide. The guides are paid so their “tips” are included in that amount even if it is not listed to them as a tip.
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    I have been a group leader for many years. It has always been crystal clear from RS that tips for group leaders, guides, restaurant service, etc are included. For me, just the joy of leading and being with RS groups having a wonderful experience is reward enough. However, my concern is for the people like hotel housekeepers and the like who are far down the pecking order, and who customarily would be receiving gratuities (and I might add, who depend on those gratuities to try to make a living wage.) RS says their tips are included. But HOW do they receive their due? I have asked hotel housekeeping staff many times over the years if they receive gratuities from RS programs/guests, and invariably they say no. How fair is that?
    My question: How can I be sure that the pleasant, hard-working housekeeper who has done such a good job
    cleaning and straightening my hotel room the last 1 or 2 or 6 days will actually receive the gratuity that RS has promised them?
  • In reply to wd70schu102914:

    I wondered the same thing, about house-keeping staff. At home in the USA I always talk to the staff to make sure they get my tips.
  • In reply to ezaltzberg050709:

    Road Scholar participants are told that "all tips are included..." so they typically do not leave gratuities for their hotel housekeeper. My question is: how much actually is the RS budgeted gratuity amount per night and, more importantly, how does that tip actually go to the housekeeper who cleaned my room each day?
    I have long advocated for RS to say all tips are included EXCEPT housekeeping gratuities because of the difficulty of tracking that the housekeepers who actually cleaned my room actually received the gratuity that I paid as part of my program fee. Seems like a simple solution to a long standing problem, and I bet the hard working housekeepers of the world who deserve and count on their tips to supplement their usually minmal wage would really appreciate it, and feel a lot better about Road Scholar.
  • I just completed my first RS trip after traveling with other companies where tipping was expected. Although others on the trip said tipping the lead guide is not expected, I chose to do so at $10 per day because he had done an excellent job. I really don’t think these guides are paid a lot of money. He was very grateful and I have no regrets about showing my appreciation in this way. I would not tip a mediocre guide.
  • In reply to nancyb7518021746:

    I am glad you had a wonderful trip. Elderhostel truly is a fantastic organization that organizes excellent learning adventures across the globe.
    However, my concern remains about their included gratuities claim. Specifically housekeeping gratuities.
    Road Scholar: please resond to these two questions.
    1. What is the dollar amout per day for housekeepers that you include in the program price?, and
    2. How can participants be assured that what they have already paid in housekeeping gratuities actually go to their particular housekeeper?
    RS, Thank you for responding.
  • In reply to wd70schu102914:

    I always leave a tip for housekeepers. It never occurred to me that this is included in the RS tips.
  • In reply to naneiben091502:

    I agree with your practice of leaving a tip for the housekeepers. Although RS says all tips are included and I trust them to so it, I can't be sure what happens in hotels in terms of passing the tips along. Housekeepers earn very little and I figured that $10, $20 matter little to me but might make a difference in the housekeeper having a better lunch or supper.