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. 

  • Good Afternoon All,

    We appreciate everyone taking time to share their concerns regarding our tipping policy– our team regularly monitors these boards, and conversations like this help us to understand where we can do better and communicate more clearly.

    With that in mind, we would like to take a few moments to clarify several points that have been discussed throughout this thread. First and foremost, we want to reassure you that gratuities are always included in our program costs as part of our value promise. The dollar amount of the gratuity may vary dependent on the destination, but our intention is to provide tips to group leaders, housekeeping, porters, drivers, and restaurant staff.

    With this in mind, please feel welcome to contact us if you encounter on-site program staff who indicate that they have not received a gratuity, as we would like to investigate the issue immediately.

    Elizabeth at Road Scholar
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    Thank you Elizabeth for your response, but I still want to have an idea of what the RS budgeted tip AMOUNTS tend to be for the various jobs you listed in order know if, for me, the RS tip feels adequate or appropriate based on my experience and my tipping preferences.
    If I have an idea of what the RS tip amounts are, ONLY THEN can I actually determine if I feel a need to discreetly further tip or not. Does that make sense?
    I, and many others I'm sure, look forward to your response to this important issue.
  • In reply to wd70schu102914:

    Hello wd70schu, Program Staff gratuities are currently determined by their direct employer. Road Scholar is, however, creating standards for gratuities to assure they are as fair and equitable as possible for all Road Scholar Program Staff. Sincerely, Elizabeth at Road Scholar
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    So, if our guides have done an exceptional job, we are free to give them an extra tip (like $10 or 20) but should not feel required to?
  • In reply to nahick070902:

    I guess it depends on how much the group leader's program-included tip actually is and if one feels that amount is adequate/fair enough given the group leader's job performance. Seems to me the program fee included tip amounts for group leader, housekeeping, luggage handling, etc should be known by participants so they can make an informed decision about extra tipping or not. Doesn't that seem reasonable?
  • In reply to wd70schu102914:

    Sorry but I disagree. Group leaders are professionals in their fields. They are paid a salary by their respective employers as most people are. If they feel they are underpaid , they need to take that up with their employer, usually a contractor for RS. Although RS says the tips are a “perk” RS gives participants, I have to throw the BS flag. Don’t think for a minute the participants aren’t paying the group leader’s salary (tip, if you prefer) out of your program cost. That’s ok. RS should be able to run their business as they choose to. It’s really not our business to be involved in minutae. Nor is RS accountable to us, the customer.

    RS may be classified a not-for-profit, but they need to generate revenue. They are a business. I don’t mean that in a negative way.

    When I worked for not-for-profits, I was paid a very good salary and didn’t expect nor accept tips when I led tours and field trips.

    In the final analysis, if you wish to give anyone associated with your program a gift, that’s up to you.
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    I have done over 30 RS trips, but still see so much uncertainty about tipping!
    Why does your website not lay it out clearly?

    On my most recent trip #6858, the tour leader let the group know that:
    wait/restaurant staff was already tipped
    room maid service was not
    *** and his (tour guide) & bus driver tips 'would be appreciated'.
    He made it sound like he & the bus driver did not receive any tipping from RS.
  • In reply to charmaynebischel032721:

    Yes I’ve heard that on my trips too. Of course restaurant staff is covered because they add to to the bill for groups. But staff in inns told us they receive nothing. I’m not sure who gets covered by RS especially when all these other companies are involved. I think it is pretty much like just when you go on your own trip. Think about it, if out of a group of 40, a bus driver gets $5 from 30 people that’s quite a payment!
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    Elizabeth, why have group leaders then told us that the bus drivers don’t get tips from RS? I’ve heard this on tours on Alaska and Amelia Island, Fla.