Dare I say it....Alaska excursions tipping...

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181 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
I am sorry to beat a dead horse but have seen some varied opinions here and there on the site.

We are first timers on an Escorted Alaskan CruiseTour with Princess. (fyi..we picked our trip by itinerary and ended up with escorted).

During the Land and cruise we have serveral excursions booked (whitewater rafting, flightseeing, hiking, kayak rental w/guided glacier walk for an hour, fly/drive flightseeing, horseback riding, etc., etc.)

I have read that some people tip by percentage and others tip a standard 10-20$pp depending on the excursion and service. What do you think??

Also...opinion on how much to tip captain for day long halibut fishing excursion on Prince William sound?? Different from other excursions?

Thank you in advance for your input!
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[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] Elise & David

5,361 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Tipping is really very simple.

You tip people who have provided specific personal service that enhanced your enjoyment of your vacation, proportionately to the personal service and how much it helped you.

A bus driver who herds you and 40 other people through a half day tour gets a couple of bucks. A trail guide who takes you and 8 other people on a full day ride gets substantially more. A captain who gives you and two other guys a wonderful day fishing and brings you home grinning with a bountiful catch ... wow, what is that memory worth?

Tipping is a wonderful thing when done right and helps us all to have good experiences. If good guides are rewarded and poor ones stiffed, the poor ones soon leave and we have nothing but good guides. However, if people get the idea that a specific amount or percentage MUST be given to every guide, no matter, then tipping loses its purpose and just becomes another expense. Let the service be your criteria, not some arbitrary percent.

Have a GREAT cruise!
Gallatin, TN
546 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
We've tipped anywhere from nothing (when the not-so-nice lady taking us to Cemetary Beach in Grand Cayman decided to increase the pre-agreed upon price up $2 pp) all the way up to $50 pp extra!

It really does vary tremendously. On average, we tip around $10-$20 pp for an average ship excursion and around $50-$60 for a more pricey one. When planning costs, I always round the price up to the nearest $100 to make "room" for tipping.

I'd say plan on around 10-30% tip and you'll be fine. My way of thinking is that these folks are working and I'm blessed to be enjoying a nice vacation, therefore I'm going to tip appropriately! Plus, if you can't afford to tip, you should probably either rethink travelling all together or decrease the number of activities/days within the trip. Just my opinion only....not meant to offend anyone.
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Joined Dec 2003
I only tip when I feel I've been given service above and beyond the job description. If your job is to serve me coffee and that's what you do, then no tip. If you remember my name and what I like in my coffee, then I tip. Tipping is not required just appriciated. I give to break me from greed not out of guilt and I never give more than I give God (10%). I worked for tips to pay for college and I was given large tips for making sure a glass was never empty or giving service that I myself would want. So I never tip for a job half done. My husband works hard for our money and I would be silly to give it to someone for a job they are already getting paid to do. I am blessed by being able to travel, that doesn't mean I should feel guilty that the guy giving me a tour had to work instead. I don't think tipping is a matter of affording too (or budgeting) but a desire in the moment to reward someone for a job well done.
5,361 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Originally posted by newstarr
I only tip when I feel I've been given service above and beyond the job description. If your job is to serve me coffee and that's what you do, then no tip. ... So I never tip for a job half done. My husband works hard for our money and I would be silly to give it to someone for a job they are already getting paid to do....
There is a great deal of truth in what you say. However, you do have to remember that in certain occupations, tipping is expected and is considered part of their income. While servers at a coffee shop might be paid minimum wage, it is actually true that servers in some fine restaurants actually pay the headwaiter for letting them work for tips.

Many people in tourist businesses are in the category of expecting much of their income in the form of tips. This is actually a boon to the passengers, if you think of it properly. Instead of paying a bus driver an extra $5 per passenger, and then adding that charge plus overhead plus profit to the cost of the tour, making the tour price maybe $8 more, the business instead lets US, the passengers, decide how much the driver should be paid. As I noted above, this results in people who really give good service making good money and staying around, while the surly, unresponsive, or unhappy ones get poor tips and quit in disgust. This works greatly to OUR benefit and is really a very good system.

Of course, this means that the people who say, "I don't pay somebody else's employees for doing their job!" and then cheap out on the tip are getting a free ride at my expense. I accept that as a price I pay for having the advantages of this excellent system. In spite of them it works very well.

Again, as I said above, it ONLY works if we really reward good service and do not feel that we HAVE to tip a certain amount or percentage of the price.