When it comes for tipping on a cruise, there are a lot of questions. Who do I tip? How much do I tip? When do I tip? How do I tip? We help answer those questions with these tips for tipping on a cruise.
To Tip or Not To Tip
Many luxury and boutique cruise lines include prepaid gratuities in the fare. Other lines automatically add tips or give travelers the option for prepaid gratuities. Automatic and prepaid tips are dispersed among the entire service staff, so everyone (even the more behind-the-scenes employees that are often overlooked) is included. There are always crew members that go above and beyond to make your cruise even better, and you can give them an additional tip during your cruise should you feel compelled.
How to Tip on a Cruise
The easiest way to tip is to opt into the cruise line’s automatic service charge or prepay your gratuities. You won’t have to bring a lot of cash, figure out who to tip during the trip, and then track everyone down. If you want to give an extra tip to any standout employees, the best way to do so is with cash. Bring $1s, $5s, and $10s with you for those scenarios.
When to Tip on a Cruise
Prepaid gratuities: the prepaid gratuities on luxury lines are included in your fare, so you will have already paid them before embarking.
Automated tipping: If you opt into the automatic service charge, it may be charged before your cruise or come in the final bill. We recommend paying ahead of time so you don’t get a hefty bill on the last day of your cruise – talk about taking the wind out of your sails!
Additional tipping: If you want to give a little extra to outstanding employees, do so towards the end of the cruise. Just don’t wait until everyone is disembarking – it can be difficult to find the staff members. There are also some instances where you will want to tip in the moment, and that brings us to…
Who to Tip
Baggage handlers: The in-port baggage handlers typically are not employees of the cruise line and will not receive any pre-paid or automatic gratuities. Consider tipping $1-2 per bag.
Butler or cabin steward: During your cruise, you will have a lot of interaction with your butler or cabin steward and may want to tip a little extra. Consider tipping $3-5 per night, per person for exemplary service.
Room service: Unlike hotels, most cruise lines do not charge for room service. Depending on your order and the number of people, consider tipping $3-5.
Bartender: Whether you want the bartender to remember your drink order on day one, or the bartender takes it upon himself or herself to know it, consider tipping your go-to bartender $10-20 upfront or at the end of the cruise.
Dining staff: If the maître’s d’ is able to secure a fabulous table with a view or your waiter is extra helpful, consider tipping $5-15 at the end of the cruise.
Spa: Tips for your spa service are not typically included in prepaid gratuities. Generally there is a 15-18% gratuity added to your bill, but you can add additional tip if the service was exceptional.
Use these suggestions as a guideline for your next cruise, and be sure to read – or ask your travel advisor – about the tipping policy on your ship. To start planning a cruise, click here.