With personal attention and exceptional service, cruises raise the bar on pampering vacations. Acknowledging those who go above and beyond to make your experience memorable goes a long way. But knowing whom to tip and how much would likely confuse Emily Post. From massage therapists to your personal butler, if you wondering how to tip on a cruise, refer to our cruise gratuity guide below.
How do I tip?
In general, most gratuities can be added to your onboard account and settled with cash or credit at the end of the cruise. Opting for the automatic service charges takes the guesswork out of how much to tip and whom to tip. By signing up for the automatic service charge, you can be sure that everyone working behind the scenes gets acknowledged. With that being said, even if you sign up for automatic gratuities, if someone went above and beyond to make your cruise memorable, it is perfectly acceptable to had that person cash with a thank you note on you last evening.
Who do I tip?
They take care of your bags when you arrive and depart from the terminal. Tip $1-$2 per bag.
Tip your server $5 per day and offer them the total in cash at the end of your cruise.
A nice perk of cruising is the complimentary room service. Tip $3-$4 per visit.
Your butler will be tending to many of your needs while cruising from keeping your bar stocked to making reservations, so it is a nice gesture to hand your butler $20-$40 at the beginning of your cruise. If at the end of the cruise the service has been exceptional consider $10-12 per day.
Tip your massage therapist, manicurist, esthetician or any other spa personal the same as you would tip on land, generally 15-20% of the cost of the service.
If an employee went above and beyond to help your child adjust or make the experience special, a tip of $5 or so after the occasion is a nice gesture.
If you signed up for automated tipping your sommelier will be compensated, but if you are a wine enthusiast and benefited from the knowledge of your sommelier, tip $20-$30 at the end of the cruise.
For half day excursions, tip $5-$10, depending on how many people are in your party. For full day excursions between $10-$20.
If you have a bartender who has your drink order down, give them a token of your thanks by adding 15% to your total bill. Giving a generous tip, $20, at the beginning of the cruise may lead to a good relationship with that bartender throughout the cruise.
The bottom line; unless you are on a luxury cruise line such as Crystal, Seabourn, Silverseas, Azamara or other boutique fleets with a no tipping policy, not only is tipping on a mainstream cruise an expression of gratitude but most cruise employees in the service industry rely on the generosity of the passengers to supplement a low base wage. Even some mainstream cruises are moving to an automatic service, so you may want to investigate your cruise details, but regardless of whether gratuity is included, a little kindness goes a long way.