Dos & Don’ts of Cruise Tipping

Frequently discussed by both cruise virgins and seasoned pros, tipping is a hot topic that can really pile on the pounds to your holiday budget. Use this handy guide to navigate the tempestuous waters and get yourself a great deal, fab service and a relaxing holiday.

DON’T feel pressured into tipping. Even if it’s automatically added to the bill you are not obliged to pay it.

DO consider it an easy way to reach out and thank all the people who helped you on your holiday though – with so many dining options, entertainment staff and service personnel it’s hard to tip them all!

DO respect a no-tipping policy on a cruise, which is common when you’re on a ‘cashless’ voyage, where everything gets charged to your room, and you pay at the end. Staff who get tipped in cash on such cruises are often not allowed to keep the money anyway.

DON’T leave your cabin steward’s tip on the pillow as used to be customary – dedicated cleaning staff are more likely to end up with it.

DO look out for the envelopes so you can offer your tips on the last night. It’s usual to tip cabin stewards and butlers, dining room waiters, assistant waiters and head waiters all at the end of your stay. Total tips should never exceed 10% of your room cost.

DON’T hold off on tipping your cabin steward or butler until the end if you think you’ll require extra service due to illness, mobility problems or have an infant with you – give them half at the start.

DO regularly tip room service stewards and bar staff it you think they are doing a good job, just a small amount will do.

DON’T forget that the guides who take you on your trips should be tipped too.

DO keep the amounts small for bag handlers, guides, waiters etc – $1-$2 for a small task or $5 for a bigger task is reasonable.

DO look out for gratuities added to your drinks bills – these include tips for the bartenders.

DON’T tip an officer or a member of the cruise staff. If they do something especially impressive then write to the cruise line stating that on return instead.

DO tip like you’re at a normal restaurant if you dine at one of the ‘optional extra’ dining rooms.

DON’T worry so much about tips that you don’t enjoy your holiday! Just pay what you can afford and what seems fair. If you’re a stickler for the rules try here for a numerical guide.

DON’T forget to also say thankyou!

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