Tips for tipping on a cruise

Tips for Tipping on a Cruise

A necessary (but often confusing) part of planning for a cruise is budgeting to tip the hard-working service staff. Failing to plan for gratuities can lead to a significant expense that is expected to be paid in the last few days of your cruise. However, navigating how to plan for gratuities doesn’t need to be hard. Keep the following tips for tipping on a cruise in mind while planning your vacation, and you’ll find that things will be smooth sailing!

Plan ahead

Before your cruise, you’ll probably spend a lot of time planning shore excursions, activities, and meals, but what about planning how you will tip those who made your vacation a great experience? Creating a budget for onboard gratuities should be a part of your cruise savings plan. To make this easier, many cruise lines offer the ability to prepay gratuities for onboard staff prior to sailing. Check with your individual cruise line to see what your options may be.

Know your options

Some major cruise lines, like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, suggest a standard tip rate that can range from $13-$18 per passenger, per day, based on your level of accommodation. These suggested tip amounts can be automatically applied to your onboard account and paid within a day or two before debarkation. Other cruise lines, like Norwegian, don’t suggest a certain gratuity amount but encourage cash tips for outstanding service. They also include a sneaky “service charge” which is essentially just a tip, so be mindful of that.

Others, Like Disney, suggest tipping on a cruise based on the types of services rendered that can also be automatically applied to an onboard account. Research your tip options with your cruise line and be sure to make the decision on how you will pay at least a week prior to sailing.

When shouldn’t you tip onboard

Generally, cruise lines that suggest a daily gratuity rate state that tips are split between the culinary team, stateroom, and behind-the-scenes service staff. If you decide to prepay your tips or have them automatically added to your stateroom bill, you shouldn’t need to tip them separately. Select services onboard, like salon and spa treatments, may automatically add a 15-20% gratuity to your bill, so a separate tip isn’t needed (unless you feel inclined to tip above the automatic amount). Bar tabs and specialty dining services may also add gratuities to your bill, so check your bill before deciding to add an additional tip.

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Other times to tip

Tipping on board isn’t the only time you’ll need funds for gratuities on a cruise. You should also budget funds for tipping while in-port. People like shore excursion tour guides, restaurant servers, and private transportation drivers deserve to be rewarded for excellent service too! It’s a good idea to research the customary currency for each particular port-of-call you will visit, and exchange your currency as needed.

Taking a little time to plan for tipping the people who will help make your cruise great will avoid surprise expenses and alleviate unnecessary stress while sailing. Follow these tips and you’ll have peace of mind before your next cruising date!

Savannah D. is a writer and digital marketer based out of Orlando. Originally from Pennsylvania, Savannah moved to Florida in 2009 for its beautiful scenery, great weather, and to work for the Mouse. Now, Savannah spends her time writing, marketing for local businesses, working at Disney, and exploring all Florida has to offer with her husband.