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Tipping Guideline For Galapagos Liveaboards?

Discussion in 'South America' started by cleung, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. CWK

    CWK Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Probably on a LOB somewhere
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    I don’t have a problem with a LOB asking guests for tips. I’m quite sure that they would be very happy if guests tipped 10% and even happier if guests tipped 20%. However, I don’t think that anyone in the dive industry should make misrepresentations with a view towards maximising happiness.
     
  2. runsongas

    runsongas Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California - Bay Area
    3,783
    1,547
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    what is the misrepresentation? that crew members expect and count on tips? why do you expect people to work long hours picking up after guests on a liveaboard for just a living wage?
     
  3. CWK

    CWK Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Probably on a LOB somewhere
    986
    610
    93
    Please accept my apologies for the late rejoinder. Yesterday I traveled KULSYD, and I am now enjoying Qantas hospitality before traveling SYDAKL and beyond. A LOB awaits me in the not so distant future, where I will have the great joy of swimming with sharks. Unfortunately, this means that I will not have regular WIFI access and will not have the pleasure of continuing this discourse with you.

    My first post in this thread noted that in many of the diving hotspots around the world, tipping is a practice that is alien to the local culture. I grew up in Malaysia which is not a tipping culture. By this I mean that when a Malaysian goes to a restaurant in Malaysia, a voluntary tip of 10, 15 or 20% would not normally be added to the bill by the person discharging the bill. Sipadan is considered a top dive spot by many so it qualifies as a diving hotspot in my view. My first visit to Sipadan was some 30 years ago and there was no tip box at the Borneo Divers resort on Sipadan, nor were any of the primarily local divers asked for a tip. On my last Sipadan trip with Borneo Divers in Mabul two years ago, I did note that there was a tip box present and I did tip even though Malaysia is not a tipping culture. By and large, I believe that people are quite hospitable and would be quite horrified if people from tipping cultures were to suffer from tipping withdrawal should they not be given the opportunity to tip.

    I was in the Galapagos last month so I do have brief exposure to Ecuadorean culture. I stayed one night in Guayaquil and went out for dinner. When I paid the bill, it was not obvious to me that the restaurant expected a tip and none was offered. There was absolutely no indication on the part of the restaurant that I had not observed local culture. The next morning I had breakfast at Baltra Guayaquil airport. When I discharged the bill I did not leave a tip and it did not appear to me that the waitress was expecting a tip. From Guayaquil airport I flew to Batra where I had a snack at the airport cafe where it did not appear to me that the cashier was expecting a tip. On the last night of my cruise with the Aggressor, I had dinner in one of the towns with some of the other guests from the boat. There was one bill for the table of 10 but the restaurant agreed to individual payment by each of the 10. I went to the counter, told them which items on the bill were mine. The cashier told me the total and I discharged it. It was not obvious to me that a tip was expected. Based on my limited experience of Ecuador and the Galapagos, I would say that tipping is not generally practiced.

    This suggests to me that tipping is part of the culture in Ecuador or the Galapagos. This is a misrepresentation based on my experience of Ecuador and Galapagos, and it is directly contradicted by the guidance on tipping by Galapatours who say:

    The most important thing to remember is to never feel pressured to give any particular amount - tips are never an obligation but should be given as a reward to staff for good service. You can discuss tips with fellow passengers - many groups end up pooling tips to be split between the guide and the crew. If anyone gives you exceptional service then it would be appropriate to give an additional personal tip. Also, it's worth noting that Galapagos guides actually receive an extremely high wage in comparison to the average Ecuadorian income.

    As a general guide, Galapatours consider the following amounts to be suitable for tips (suggested amounts are per passenger and to be split according to personal preference between guide and crew):

    Budget or Mid-Price Galapagos cruise
    4 days - $40-$50
    5 days - $50-$70
    8 days - $80-$120

    First-Class and Luxury Galapagos Cruise
    4 days - $50-$75
    5 days - $75-$100
    8 days - $120-$150


    Very rarely, the boat guide or captain may pressure passengers to tip more than this, but we urge our clients only to give what they feel to be appropriate and not to feel uneasy if giving less than is suggested.

    (My emphasis)

    See: What is the tipping recommendation in Galapagos?


    Thanking you for sharing your views. I'm sure that members of this board would have benefited from your point of view.
     
  4. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    1,017
    856
    113
    {edited} actually....on reflection..I’m bored of continually having this discussion so i’m Not even going to jump in ...:happywave:

    Ok... that’s a lie..
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  5. runsongas

    runsongas Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California - Bay Area
    3,783
    1,547
    113
    Right, because the pay isn't high enough to retain someone who doesn't appreciate the ancillary benefits of working on a liveaboard. Even with tips.

    I am just not convinced the people who are against tipping would be completely ok with paying more if it was completely going to crew wages. Really no difference in the end whether the liveaboard lists it as 3500 or 3000 (with 200 port fees and 300 suggested tip). It'd just be complaints abou the new higher listed price instead of the tipping policy.
     
    Ministryofgiraffes likes this.
  6. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    1,017
    856
    113
    That is fair/likely in the short term, but I honestly think it would end up being better for the industry/environment etc. in the end. The difference is that the people who are against the fair wage or the tipping wouldn’t even make it onto the boat, so the crew etc wouldn’t risk the issue of no tips/not enough tips and the operator just shrugging and saying “well I guess ya better work harder next time”

    Operators would have to pay a fair wage to get the best staff and the industry would correct in time....just ask Danny Meyer etc..
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  7. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    1,017
    856
    113
  8. DiveTheGalapagos

    DiveTheGalapagos ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    After 12 years in Galapagos, frequently for months at a time, my experience tells me your interpretation is way wrong. Ecuador, and especially Galapagos, is very much a tip culture. Just because people don't let you know how they feel about you not tipping doesn't mean they don't let others know how they feel about you not tipping. Ecuardorians are a very warm, friendly and non-confrontational people. It's not their way to complain. They will just absorb the sting of disappointment rather than make you feel uncomfortable.

    Among the older dive guides, it used to be almost a given that if they knew Europeans were coming onboard, they ended up 'sick' that week. It's not uncommon for a crew to blame a lack of tips on the guides, as though it's their fault. I hate to see guides beg or pressure divers in any way about tips. I think it backfires. I know it makes me uncomfortable.

    What I tried to do was outline how essential everyone on the crew is to the success of your trip. People tend to overlook all but the guides. 10% has been a recommendation since long before I was here. Tipping is most definitely discretionary based on the service you received. It is in no way obligatory anywhere. But where it is the custom, I still think you should respect the culture you're visiting rather than the culture you come from.

    PS..I just looked at the site you linked. It was started by Germans, a non-tipping culture.
     
  9. CWK

    CWK Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Probably on a LOB somewhere
    986
    610
    93
    I understand that your homepage is the Calipso. I can only presume that you are in some way linked to the Calipso. Another cruise operator, Nemo, is a family business with 3 cruise ships in the Galapagos. I can only presume that they are Ecuadorean. They offer an their view:

    Throughout the years we are often asked what gratuity would be appropriate to leave for guides and crewmembers.
    From experience we would like to make some important references. • Tipping and gratuities depends very much on the cultures and customs, so be aware that some information provided may appear reasonable, exaggerated or diminished.
    • Please remember that quality of service should be the sole determination for the amount of any tip.
    Do not feel obligated since all crew members are properly paid and compensated.
    • In order to avoid misunderstandings that have occurred in the past, we would like to clarify that all naturalist guides, crew and staff are paid according to Ecuadorian laws and Galapagos Special Law. Here is a suggested guideline. FOR NATURALIST CRUISE:
    Guide and crew are tipped separately.

    If the service has been deemed excellent, the average tip has been USD 80 – 100 per person for the entire ship crew and USD 60 - 80 per person for the guide.
    Please note that this is merely a suggestion: tipping and gratuities is a personal discretion and entirely depends on the value of the service you have received from us. Deposit gratuities for the crewmembers in an envelope and provide it to the captain.
    (My emphasis)

    See: NEMO GALAPAGOS CRUISES (Scroll down to Tipping and Gratuities near the bottom)
     
  10. DiveTheGalapagos

    DiveTheGalapagos ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    CWK...Yes I work with Calipso, however, for over a decade, I've said the same thing about all Galapagos liveaboards. Please bear in mind NEMO does not offer dive cruises. Diving requires a LOT more effort than simply assisting someone in a life jacket onto a Zodiac. You have your cabin guys, your barman, even the captain on the dive deck assisting divers into the panga and lifting all gear (including tanks) off the panga after each dive. No one has to fill tanks on naturalist cruises. The land visits are not 14 hours north of the central islands. Your life does not depend on the panga driver following your bubbles so you're not swept away by the currents when you're on a naturalist cruise. On a naturalist cruise, they're transportation to the land site with little to no effort. Obviously, it's much easier for a guide to talk a walk and tell you about wildlife than it is for a guide to dive in advanced conditions with you.

    Operations and what is required of a crew for dive cruises tend to be very different than for naturalist cruises.
     

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