Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gratuities - the inside story

We now seem to have a source at Costa who's confirming our suspicions about the distribution of those 'gratuities' that Costa charged to our accounts without our prior permission and in spite of express instructions that some of us gave not to do so

Our source says that, 'Costa makes it sound as if 100% of the gratuities goes to the crew. It does not, at least not as a gratuity on top of the salary Costa pays. The majority of this income is in fact being used to pay the salary of the service crew.'

He goes on:

'As an 'incentive' for 'professional service' it is true that good comment form ratings are used to pay the so called 'incentive', but this amount is set, i.e. no matter how good the rating achieved, you get no more than what is set as the 'bonus'. It is for this reason that the service crew, above all the Maitre Ds, are not motivated to give good service.'

'Other cruise lines might charge your account, but they give you the opportunity to opt out and make your own arrangements with individual crew members. This used to be the case with Costa as well until December 2006, when they introduced the present system.'

Our thanks for this to our anonymous correspondent. He has confirmed my suspicions that the crew are unhappy at the distribution of their 'gratuities', and this surely explains why there is so much unhappiness and slackness amongst them. Perhaps Costa might like to publish auditable accounts on these gratuities and thereby demonstrate that 100% of what is taken from passengers against their wishes does in fact go to the low-paid staff who we are assured will be the beneficiaries.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sir (alias ‘ Slow Learner’)

    Re: “Costagate”

    We write in reference to your blog “Costagate” posted on the above website, from your disappointment that itineraries were altered arising from technical problems with the propulsion system on the “Costa Europa”. The engine maintenance is carried out directly by the engine manufacturers who follow their standard maintenance programme.

    We understand that passengers may become disappointed when long planned holiday itineraries change at short notice.

    Customer service is at the heart of our business and we strive to constantly improve the product we offer to our guests. This can only be done by feedback from our guests and we welcome observations both positive and negative and we openly encourage honest and truthful comments to be made to us so we might continue to ensure that standards of holiday experience are maintained at their highest levels. In addition customers are perfectly entitled to comment on the internet or otherwise and give their opinion on the vessels and/or services received. There is a duty to ensure that these opinions are based on the correct facts and that the opinions are not libellous or defamatory.

    Whilst we understand that you may have been disappointed with the delay to your cruise we are concerned at some of the statements that you have made within the blog which go beyond an opinion based on the facts.

    We consider your statement regarding our “Crisis Leadership” to be defamatory. You are alleging that Costa and its senior management would be grossly negligent in response to a major incident causing unacceptable loss of life. This is a serious allegation to make and is not supported either by fact or the circumstances of your situation. We further note that you have also put further statements concerning ‘gratuities’ implying that Costa is using underhanded methods of extracting money from their customers.

    We therefore write to ask you to refrain from making any further defamatory statements in the future about the company and its management otherwise we will ask our lawyers to review the position.

    Yours faithfully

    Costa Cruises