Tipping on Cruises

There is no more contentious issue about cruising than that of tipping, and the cruise lines vary in their approach to tipping policies.

tipping on cruises
photo courtesy Windstar Cruises

Tips and Advice About Tipping on Your Cruise

Some adopt a “tipping not required” policy but encourage tipping for outstanding service.

Others provide tipping guidelines according to the staff in question. Those that suggest tipping guide lines, like Celebrity, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, and Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines usually suggest the following range of dollars per day per passenger:

Assistant Chief Housekeeper $1
Stateroom Service $4 - $6
Assistant Maitre d' $1
Waiter $4 - $6
Assistant Waiter $2 - $3
Butler (where applicable) $4 - $8

Most cruise lines, like Cunard Line, Carnival, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines charge an automatic flat fee for service and add it to your onboard account. This can be anything from $8 to $15 a day per passenger depending on the cruise.

And some cruise lines, like Cruise West, The Yachts of Seabourn, Silversea Cruises, Hebridean Island Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises actively discourage tipping.

Gratuities for bar bills and wine checks generally are added automatically at point of consumption, but tipping in the speciality or alternative dining facilities, and for spa services, are usually expected at point of service.

Whatever the policy of the cruise line, however, it is clear that gratuities are a cost you need to consider when budgeting for your cruise. They are one of those unavoidable hidden costs such as port taxes and transfer fees.

There is an argument to be made that the cruise lines should not be relying on the passengers to supplement the service staff’s meagre wages, and the typical response is that without tipping, cruise lines would have to increase their cruise fares.

Whatever your opinion, the truth of the matter, rightly or wrongly, is that the service staff do rely on these gratuities.

Cruise lines are very clear about their particular tipping policies and information about it can be found on their web sites and in the materials sent out with the travel documents.

 Cruise Advice - Tips

• Running on a Cruise

• Advice for an Alaska cruise
• Avoiding putting on weight
• Bringing Alcohol Onboard
• Cabin Fever
• Child Free Cruises
• Choosing a Cabin
• Cold Climate Cruising
• Cruise Dress Codes
• Cruise Etiquette
• Cruise First Aid
• Cruise High Fashion
• Cruise Ship Entertainment
• Cruise Ship Laundry
• Cruise Ship Libraries
• Cruise Ship Officers
• Cruise Vocabulary
• Dealing with Disabilities
• Disembarking
• Early/Late Seating for Dinner
• Family Cruises
• Food Poisoning
• Healthy Eating
• Healthy Cruising
• Internet on a Cruise Ship
• Jet Lag
• Lifeboats on Cruise Ships
• Maintaining mental health
• Medical Preparedness
• Norovirus/Norwalk
• Packing for a Cruise
• Packing for a Cruise (more)
• Phoning from a Cruise
• Rewards Programs
• Safety at Sea
• Saving Money on a Cruise
• Seasickness
• Shore Excursions
• Smoking on Cruise Ships
• Sun and the Topics
• Swine Flu
• Table Assignments
• Taking Alaska photos
• The real cost of cruises
• Tipping on Cruises

 Ship's Doctor

Medical expert and travel enthusiast Joe Springfield offers some tips and advice about typical travel concerns.

• cabin fever
• cold climates
• food poisoning
• jet lag
• norwalk virus
• seasickness
• tropical concerns

For more information about tipping on a cruise, take a look at the Prow's Edge Cruise Forums and Cruise Message Boards and see what fellow passengers have to say about cruise tipping.

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