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Fees Paid by Passengers on Steamships - 1910

The question of the fees which are to be given on ocean steamers is a most important one, not entirely from the amount of the largesse involved, but owing to the, possible annoyance which may be caused by a misunderstanding of the unwritten rules of the sea.

Various books dealing with the subject of European travel give the very vague information that ten shillings, or $2.50, is to he given to each of the stewards, namely, the room steward and the table steward. This rate, however, is not fixed by any manner of means.

The writer has prepared the following table after consultation with an ex-purser who has been for many years in the trans-Atlantic trade, and it is believed to be both equitable to the stewards and fairly economical to the passenger.

The fees which are to be given to the table steward may be reckoned at ten shillings, or $2.50 for each person occupying a seat at the table, but where there is a number in a party this amount can be slightly shaded.

Thus, if there are five in the party, $10.00 would be considered to be an ample fee. The following sliding scale of fees for stateroom stewards is based upon the passage money paid per berth occupied :

Per Person. | recommended Tip
$80 | $2.00
$125 | 2.50
$250 | 3.00
$350 | 3.50
$500 | 5.00

No scale of fees can be recommended to those having private suites, as the fee should be based on the services rendered. Where staterooms have a private bath, about $1.00 extra should be added to the compensation of the steward who has charge of the room, per person. This is about what would be given had the baths been taken in the common bathrooms.

The bath steward will expect a fee of a dollar if several baths are taken. A fee of one shillitechnically given for a.single bath.

The boys who clean the stairs, passageways, etc., are technically called "boots," and receive, on English lines, half a crown (two shillings and sixpence), and the equivalent would prove satisfactory on other lines.

There is no difficulty at the end of the voyage in ascertaining who has been the particular person who has had charge of the shoe polishing. Shoes should be left outside of the door and they will be found cleaned in the morning.

The deck steward, provided that he does anything for a passenger, should receive about $1.00, or four shillings. It is not obligatory to fee the deck steward unless he has performed some actual services.

Where ladies are in the party, it is customary to fee the deck steward, as he is apt to perform many services locating steamer chairs, adjusting steamer rugs, etc.

On some lines the smoke room stewards are not allowed to put out a tray for the reception of coins at the end of the voyage. If one has used the smoke room quite a good deal, a fee of fifty cents should be given.

On some lines passengers arrange a subscription for the orchestra or band, and on some of the German lines the offering for "musik" is made when the payments are made to the steward for the wine account.

Passengers should not feel, however, that this fee for "musik" is obligatory. The band is a source of great annoyance to many passengers, and they should not be compelled to pay for something which they did not enjoy. This is practically the list of fees as regards the male members of the party.

Stewardesses who assist ladies should be given fees which may be reckoned at ahout two-thirds the fees which are given to the room, stewards. Where services have been rendered, no fees are expected.

There are, however, very rare instapces where this occurs. The fees to the room stewards, table stewards, apd bath stewards, should not be evaded by the passenger.

Passengers who object on principle to the paying of fees will find the end of their voyage very uncomfortable, and they will undoubtedly end in paying the fees which they have begrudged.

It should be remembered that the stewards only receive a very sthall compensation from the company, and they nearly all have families depending upon them.

Always figure that if you were not compelled to pay fees, your cost of ocean passage would be increased. The fees in the second cabin are about one-half those paid in the first cabin.

All fees are payable at the time of debarkation. Under no circumstances pay any fees whatsoever until the end of the voyage, as stewards' memories are apt to be somewhat short. A careful perusal of the hints relative to feeing will prevent annoying misunderstandings:

Some persons recommend that the head steward be feed immediately on coming aboard. This seems, however, like an unnecessary expense. as the conditions under which he is hired are entirely different from those of the ordinary steward.

New conditions have introduced new problems into the feeing question: thus the gymnasium steward should be feed if the gymnasium has been used—fifty cents'should be sufficient.

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1910 Travel Guide by Scientifc American

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