at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we have personally used and/or vetted.
The best way to tip on a cruise is one of the most common questions we get asked about tipping. Knowing how to tip on a cruise can be confusing for most cruisers, and the problem is if you ask five people how to tip, you will get six different answers.
First-time cruisers and seasoned travelers may find it difficult to understand how or when to tip onboard a cruise. With the guidelines for tipping varying from one cruise line to the next, you have to be aware of the requirements (if any) for your cruise. Officially, though, there are no hard, universal rules to follow when it comes to tipping. Everyone needs to review their cruise line recommendations or ask your cruise travel agent what the tipping policy is.
While tipping is a personal decision, there are generally two categories that giving tips (or gratuities) on cruises can be classified:
To remove the trouble of figuring out what the proper tip to give is at the end of your trip, many cruise lines are adding tips automatically to your onboard account. These tips are per day per person but are often not mandatory.
Some cruise lines, such as Carnival and Norwegian, add sixteen to twenty dollars per day per guest to cover gratuities for the crew, which are pooled and split between all crew eligible to receive tips. Sometimes, you can even prepay these charges before you board the ship at a discount, so be sure to check your online account before you embark on your cruise to see if that is available to you.
It is important to reiterate, however, that these are not mandatory. The amount of the tips is controlled by you when the account is closed. Many people visit the guest services desk to either increase or decrease the amount being paid based on their experience. If you desired, you could hold back the entire gratuity. We would not recommend this as an option unless you have the worst experience imaginable. Remember tips are part of the crews’ total compensation.
Most luxury cruise ships tell you that giving cruise gratuities is unnecessary. These upscale cruises often include tips as part of your total cruise fare. Sometimes if the service is quite good, you can award an additional tip for the excellent service. If you have decided to wait until you are on the ship, you need to talk with the onboard help desk to find the standard tip that should be left and who should be tipped.
Some of the most common crew members to tip include the host in the dining room, your waiter and his helper. Also, you may want to tip the steward that cleans your room and the bar staff who mixes your drinks. If you are traveling in some of the VIP accommodations on the cruise lines you can also consider tipping the concierge, butler, and bar staff.
Take time to plan out your tipping options because cruise lines can drain a lot of your money if you’re unaware of how things work. Going on a cruise is like walking inside a floating Las Vegas casino, and everything inside the ship is designed to make you spend lots of money.
You want to let the people who serve you know that you appreciate their hospitality. It will benefit you to tip because they recognize that you are a generous guest and you appreciate their service efforts. It will often lead to you getting special attention from the crew member.