An Insider's Guide to Cruise Tipping

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#2
Southern California
35,938 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Well, the author is entitled to his opinion regarding tipping. I don't agree with everything he said and I'll just leave it at that.
#3
New York, NY
21,021 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
interesting. Thank you. On some ships there is no head waiter- the maitre d serves the same function(trains the service crew and supervisors). If you leave the DSC/autotip on they are included. In any case your waiter is expected to tip them(as well as the line chefs and dishwashers) out if you remove the tip(and may in fact have to turn in all the cash if the tip is removed). Ditto with the room steward(the assist head housekeeper-laundry room and supply room)....

adding to the fare would accomplish the same thing but then it would never be removable-even for bad service- and people would just complain about something else.
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#4
New York, NY
21,021 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
I have taken my grandson on a cruise. I spoke with one of the children's staff at the Cruise critic meeting. We spoke at length and I saw her a few other times(she appears in my youtube/smeyer418 website in the Waters on the Majesty)....I asked about tipping. She tells that most people don't tip them at all and they are paid somewhat better than the crew. I asked what she considered a good tip and she told me and I left that for my grandson. It wasn't $15 per day per kid.....
#5
Brooklyn, New York
826 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
I like to think I"m a good tipper, but the reviewer appears to be very generous, more than doubling the suggested gratuities. I'll have to stick with my own judgement.
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#6
Boston, MA
1,075 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Originally posted by smeyer418
I have taken my grandson on a cruise. I spoke with one of the children's staff at the Cruise critic meeting. We spoke at length and I saw her a few other times(she appears in my youtube/smeyer418 website in the Waters on the Majesty)....I asked about tipping. She tells that most people don't tip them at all and they are paid somewhat better than the crew. I asked what she considered a good tip and she told me and I left that for my grandson. It wasn't $15 per day per kid.....
Appreciate your insight, smeyer. The author, who without a doubt is one of the most generous tippers afloat, doesn't have kids -- thus the inclusion of comments from Ms. Koubek, a family cruise expert whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Budget Travel and, of course, Cruise Critic.
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#7
St. George, UT
342 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
We tip our cabin steward at the end of the cruise, however, we tip the steward who brings us our morning coffee each morning, and that works wonders in the timing.
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#8
North Massapequa, NY
576 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Great article!

Quote: "Because tips are technically voluntary, many cruise lines allow passengers to opt out of the automatic service charge and to tip by themselves. The chief reasons for this, according to fellow cruisers, is that they consider them too high. These cruisers invariably tell me they will tip the persons who serve them, and save money to boot."


Save $$$ means to me "stiff the help."

The guidelines provided by the various cruise lines are not exorbitant at all, and I'm quite sorry but anyone who says they are needs to take the proverbial step back and reexamine their way of thinking AND go to work as a waitperson, room steward, etc. and see how tough of a job these people have!

The same goes for those who conveinently go to the buffet or have room service on the last night of the cruise to PURPOSELY stiff the waitstaff! Not cool at all!!!

And don't even try to attempt to "explain away" those cultures who do not tip as the norm. ANY person who has cruised more than ONCE knows exactly what the tipping policy is! First timers can be cut slack!

Any lastly for those who claim that they cannot affort to tip, either get a cheaper cabin so you can tip or stay home!

Sorry if this ruffles any proverbial feathers but this is my OPINION and I'm STICKING TO IT!

Have a nice day!
#9
Cleveland, OH
10 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
I am going on my first cruise and it is on the NCL SKY. So with Freestyle Cruising I was curious how tipping would work. I thought the $12 per day would be enough and just tip a few dollars if I got room service. Am I being cheap? Should I be tipping bartenders, waiters, and room steward too? The author does seem very generous.
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#10
16 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
The cruise lines that automatically add a per day gratuity to the account should also state that their policy is that tipping in addition to the gratuity charge is not required or recommended.

Otherwise, the cruise line is just hiding the true cruise cost in a separate charge and expecting the passenger to come forth with the tipping as usual. This is at best a disingenuous marketing attempt to make the cruise price look lower than it really is.

Added to the complexity of all this is that many cruisers buy their cruise package from a travel agent, who will offer as an incentive to sell you the cruise at a price that includes the payment of the automatic gratuity. I have wondered whether the money for the gratuity is used by the cruise line to pay ship staff or not.

I believe most cruisers want to pay their fair share of added gratuity for salaries to ship staff. The policies on tipping need more transparency and explanation. This article doesn't do that.
#11
Savannah, GA
150 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Although I do think the author tips more than I would, we always tip at least our waiter, room steward, and favorite bartender/bartenders extra. Quite honestly I think the daily amount that they have in the auto-tips is extremely low based on the service some of these people provide. However, having worked as a server in a restaurant before, I know the hard work it takes and regularly tip 20-25% in restaurants and bars. I only tip 10% if the service is bad- I think only once have I left a restaurant and not tipped anything.
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#12
Southern California
35,938 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by jimmyp80
I am going on my first cruise and it is on the NCL SKY. So with Freestyle Cruising I was curious how tipping would work. I thought the $12 per day would be enough and just tip a few dollars if I got room service. Am I being cheap? Should I be tipping bartenders, waiters, and room steward too? The author does seem very generous.
The $12 per day covers the dining room staff and the cabin attendants. If you buy a drink, and drink that you pay for, including soft drinks, a 15% gratuity will be added to the bill. The only one you have to go out of your way to tip (because the food is free) is room service. $1 or $2 should cover it.
#13
New York, NY
21,021 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Originally posted by Dan Askin
Appreciate your insight, smeyer. The author, who without a doubt is one of the most generous tippers afloat, doesn't have kids -- thus the inclusion of comments from Ms. Koubek, a family cruise expert whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Budget Travel and, of course, Cruise Critic.
LOL I always love experts...because sometimes they know so little. $15 a day is almost what my son pays for preschool...and no tips there. Its just too much when these are salaried employees. When NCL raised its DSC from $5 to $12 for 3-12 year olds, the tipping suffered. I wrote NCL and suggested that at least a portion of the increase should go to the Kid's crew. It was considered and rejected. But I do think they should be tipped. If the recommended amount for the Butler is $5pdpp(per day per person) $15pdpp is just not an amount that most people will leave. I was told about what some people left but I don't want to get the staff in trouble and sometimes it was less than $15 per child for a week or more....
#14
New York, NY
21,021 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Originally posted by fareast
....

Added to the complexity of all this is that many cruisers buy their cruise package from a travel agent, who will offer as an incentive to sell you the cruise at a price that includes the payment of the automatic gratuity. I have wondered whether the money for the gratuity is used by the cruise line to pay ship staff or not.

I believe most cruisers want to pay their fair share of added gratuity for salaries to ship staff. The policies on tipping need more transparency and explanation. This article doesn't do that.

I am an attorney and monitor the websites where it is reported when employees sue the cruise lines. There is not one report that the prepaid tips goes anywhere except the crew- in full without deduction for so much as the cost of the credit card fee. Employees of cruise lines sue the cruise lines all the time(class actions too) and there has not been one report of any skimming at all. On each cruise I have been on where the tips were prepaid a list is circulated to the crew- so they in fact know. Its also true that if you remove the tips the crew is also made aware of it....
#15
399 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
At first glance, the author does seem (perhaps overly) generous, but I think his point is the distinction of a "gratuity" for merely performing a service, and an extra "tip" for performing it well.

I got the impression that the amounts he recommended were discretionary tips given as rewards for exceptionally fine (rather than merely competent) service. Those who simply performed their jobs to the minimum necessary standard should be content with the auto-gratuity, while those who found ways to do more than the minimum in a pleasing and engaging way should get the bonuses.

Ultimately, I think there's a chicken-&-egg conundrum here. Does the writer tip heavily because he consistently receives exceptional service, or does he consistently receive exceptional service because he tips heavily?

I think it has to start with the staff; they need to demonstrate early and often that they are willing and happy to go beyond minimum standards simply for the sake of rendering good service. Once the traveler begins to recognize their efforts with appropriate discretionary tips, the staff are further encouraged to keep to a high standard in order to keep the tips flowing.

If the staff do their part and go beyond, and the guest merely takes their efforts for granted and does not respond with a suitable reward, what incentive does the staff now have to continue to operate at a higher-than-necessary standard?

I think in many cases, the expectations of guests concerning the level of service they should be "entitled to" without further contribution are too high. I see many posts concerning allegely poor service where it seems to me that the guest was expecting a level of deference and servitude such as might be found on a personal yacht with private salaried staff, and not on a mass-market cruise ship trying to accomodate thousands of guests, most of whom probably used every trick in the book to get the cheapest fare possible.

Two truths: Good help is hard to find, and you get what you pay for.

This entire post is JMHO and of course YMMV.
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#16
Crystal River, FL
3,493 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by Cuizer2
Well, the author is entitled to his opinion regarding tipping. I don't agree with everything he said and I'll just leave it at that.
That sums it up very well for me.
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#17
Virginia Beach, VA
615 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
On my upcoming cruise I am tempted to give the cabin steward a 20 on the first day to ensure better than average service. Does this sound like enough for a 14 day cruise? And how should I approach the topic? I can not say here is some money now I expect great service.... Some ideas???
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#18
Southern California
35,938 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by Comptech
On my upcoming cruise I am tempted to give the cabin steward a 20 on the first day to ensure better than average service. Does this sound like enough for a 14 day cruise? And how should I approach the topic? I can not say here is some money now I expect great service.... Some ideas???
Why don't you just be honest and tell the cabin steward that you are offering this bribe (which is what payment before the service is rendered is - since a tip is supposed to be thanks for good service) since you don't think (s)he will provide you good service unless you offer the bribe.
#19
Australia
51 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
I reckon that tipping is a throwback to the days of slavery. People should be paid a proper wage and that's that. I feel awkward giving a grown fellow-man or woman a few dollars.

The cruise line, showing no pity, demeans them by paying them peanuts for being from a less fortunate country; then they tug at our sensibilities to give these people charity, when what they crave for, and should be getting, is equality.

Tipping makes me feel an accomplice in demeaning their worth as human beings; by tipping I am confirming their inferiority and that they are not worth a proper wage in the first place.

But having said all this, I know I must tip and I do; otherwise I would be robbing them.

I hate the idea of tipping but there is no way I wouldn't pay it in these circumstances. I also advise other first time Aussie cruisers to pay it even though it is so much against the grain of Aussie sensibilities and workplace culture-where everyone gets a proper wage. (Restaurant waiters would get $30+ per hour in Australia). Some cruise lines operating out of Australia are now adding the tip into the overall price of the cruise.

A few times I considered "doing my own thing" on tipping but I was told that whatever I give one person in their hands has to be put into the "tipping heap" and shared equally any way. I was told this by senior pursers on Holland America and Princess more than once.

The author's "Tipping Table" is just too hard. I don't want to go round the ship dropping cash and envelopes so I just pay whatever the ship says I should pay and let them work it out. I don't care if they double it or triple it as I know that really it's part of the price of the cruise and they separate it to make the advertised price look cheaper.

I also don't believe that the Europeans started this but that it is a US custom.

I would much happier to pay a bit more for my cruise to enable the cruiseline to pay the crew a proper wage.
#20
New York, NY
21,021 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Originally posted by Inlyk
I reckon that tipping is a throwback to the days of slavery. People should be paid a proper wage and that's that. I feel awkward giving a grown fellow-man or woman a few dollars.

The cruise line, showing no pity, demeans them by paying them peanuts for being from a less fortunate country; then they tug at our sensibilities to give these people charity, when what they crave for, and should be getting, is equality.

Tipping makes me feel an accomplice in demeaning their worth as human beings; by tipping I am confirming their inferiority and that they are not worth a proper wage in the first place.

But having said all this, I know I must tip and I do; otherwise I would be robbing them.

I hate the idea of tipping but there is no way I wouldn't pay it in these circumstances. I also advise other first time Aussie cruisers to pay it even though it is so much against the grain of Aussie sensibilities and workplace culture-where everyone gets a proper wage. (Restaurant waiters would get $30+ per hour in Australia). Some cruise lines operating out of Australia are now adding the tip into the overall price of the cruise.

A few times I considered "doing my own thing" on tipping but I was told that whatever I give one person in their hands has to be put into the "tipping heap" and shared equally any way. I was told this by senior pursers on Holland America and Princess more than once.

The author's "Tipping Table" is just too hard. I don't want to go round the ship dropping cash and envelopes so I just pay whatever the ship says I should pay and let them work it out. I don't care if they double it or triple it as I know that really it's part of the price of the cruise and they separate it to make the advertised price look cheaper.

I also don't believe that the Europeans started this but that it is a US custom.

I would much happier to pay a bit more for my cruise to enable the cruiseline to pay the crew a proper wage.

It was started by Samuel Cunard....a UK citizen born in Canada.