Tipping the Butler/Concierge-Suite First Timers

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#1
3,266 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
It my understanding that the butlers and concierges do not share in the NCL service charge. Both should be tipped separately at the end of the cruise. What is a fair amount for each assuming that we receive good to excellent service?

Whenever we have had room service, etc. we have always tipped when the food/service arrived. I assume that if a regular staff member delivers to the suite you should tip. But if the butler brings you a requested item do you tip him/her then or do you wait until the end of the cruise?

Sorry to be such a dummy, but could not find my answer with searching.
#2
Minutes from Pt. Canaveral !!
21,353 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
There will be a wide range of answers to that question. I've read that some people regularly give the concierge $200 at the end of a cruise. I can't imagine that they would do so much for us to justify that. Our average is in the $50 range, but again that's dependent on what we ask of them and the level of service.

On Celebrity those in suites, thus those who have a butler, have an increased daily gratuity of $3.50 per person. Thus their base "value" assigned to the butler would be $49 for two people on a 7 night cruise. We often give a bit upfront to begin with - any additional later on will be based on multiple factors.

Tom
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#3
6,406 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by kcwingwalker
It my understanding that the butlers and concierges do not share in the NCL service charge. Both should be tipped separately at the end of the cruise
.

Correct. Neither of these positions receive a share from the DSC, and both should receive their tip at the end of the sailing. Many cruisers bring along a few Thank You notes, and place their tip inside the card. You can present the tip either the evening prior, or on the morning of disembarkation.

Originally posted by kcwingwalker
What is a fair amount for each assuming that we receive good to excellent service?
There are countless discussions (arguments) on this topic here on the boards, as this is an oft-asked question. The most often-given advice is to budget $10 per guest per day for each, and then adjust up or down depending upon how much you utilized the services, and the level of quality/professionalism of those services. Many feel they utilize the services of the Concierge much less, and so oftentimes people suggest budgeting $5 per guest per day for tipping the Concierge.

Originally posted by kcwingwalker
Whenever we have had room service, etc. we have always tipped when the food/service arrived. I assume that if a regular staff member delivers to the suite you should tip. But if the butler brings you a requested item do you tip him/her then or do you wait until the end of the cruise?
Anything that you request will always be brought by a Butler (with the exception on rare occasions, of pizza delivery). If your regular Butler is off-duty, there is always a Night Butler who fills in and provides these services. In that event, you would tip the person who is filling in for your Butler.

Originally posted by kcwingwalker
Sorry to be such a dummy, but could not find my answer with searching.
Please don't feel like a dummy! This is one of the most asked questions on these boards, and very often the search function provides minimal results. No worries.
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#4
3,266 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by WaldosPepper
.

Correct. Neither of these positions receive a share from the DSC, and both should receive their tip at the end of the sailing. Many cruisers bring along a few Thank You notes, and place their tip inside the card. You can present the tip either the evening prior, or on the morning of disembarkation.


There are countless discussions (arguments) on this topic here on the boards, as this is an oft-asked question. The most often-given advice is to budget $10 per guest per day for each, and then adjust up or down depending upon how much you utilized the services, and the level of quality/professionalism of those services. Many feel they utilize the services of the Concierge much less, and so oftentimes people suggest budgeting $5 per guest per day for tipping the Concierge.


Anything that you request will always be brought by a Butler (with the exception on rare occasions, of pizza delivery). If your regular Butler is off-duty, there is always a Night Butler who fills in and provides these services. In that event, you would tip the person who is filling in for your Butler.



Please don't feel like a dummy! This is one of the most asked questions on these boards, and very often the search function provides minimal results. No worries.
Excellent and kind answer............thank you!

One point I still don't quite understand is do I tip the butler a few dollars immediately when for instance he/she brings an evening snack to the room or do I wait until the end of the cruise?
#5
6,406 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by kcwingwalker
Excellent and kind answer............thank you!

One point I still don't quite understand is do I tip the butler a few dollars immediately when for instance he/she brings an evening snack to the room or do I wait until the end of the cruise?
You are most welcome!

No need to tip at all until the end of the sailing.
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NCL Dawn X 2 2/06 Eastern Caribbean and 8/16 Bermuda
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NCL Gem 1/14 Eastern Caribbean
NCL Epic X 2 3/14 and 1/15 Western Caribbean
NCL Getaway 9/14 Eastern Caribbean
NCL Breakaway X 3 8/15, 2/16 and 2/17 Bermuda /15 and Florida/Bahamas/16 & 17

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#6
3,266 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by WaldosPepper
You are most welcome!

No need to tip at all until the end of the sailing.
Many thanks, now I understand. My DD will be impressed with my "suite" knowledge thanks to CC members. We are enjoying planning our trip in April and spent almost an hour last night on the phone chattering about all the fun we will have.
#7
Minutes from Pt. Canaveral !!
21,353 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
I must admit, until very recently, I thought that NCL was similar to Celebrity in that the butler's base tip was included with the daily service charge (gratuity). Therefore I feel we shortchanged a couple of butlers. However, two (out of four of them) were sub-par... ignoring simple requests multiple times - and we are not demanding people.

Tom
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Upcoming 2018: ESCAPE, INFINITY... 2019: BLISS
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#8
The OC
1,236 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by Tom-n-Cheryl
I must admit, until very recently, I thought that NCL was similar to Celebrity in that the butler's base tip was included with the daily service charge (gratuity). Therefore I feel we shortchanged a couple of butlers. However, two (out of four of them) were sub-par... ignoring simple requests multiple times - and we are not demanding people.

Tom
Sheesh, maybe they heard about your tipping habits.

(Sorry- Just kidding- I couldn't resist! )

I'm used to Celebrity's policies, too.

Alison
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#9
CT/NY
5,901 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
my gramma loved saying when you know better you do better lol, nothing beats knowledge
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#10
CT/NY
5,901 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
oh also I usually tip my butler when they escort me to the special debarkation area unless they are also on their last cruise then I tip the night before enjoy your cruise
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[font=Arial Black][size=4] 51 & counting. + alot of CTNs cruises !!! [color=blue] 11years living the suite sweet life. YOOOOOOOOOOO 11
#11
California
791 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
I'm so glad you started this thread. We're also going to be in our first suite on NCL and didn't have a clue what the tipping protocol was. Now at least I have a guide. I honestly don't think we'll use the butler or concierge much, if at all, since we're pretty self reliant. You've given me answers to a lot of my questions. Thank you.
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#12
Minutes from Pt. Canaveral !!
21,353 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Originally posted by JuneauWhatIMean
Sheesh, maybe they heard about your tipping habits.

(Sorry- Just kidding- I couldn't resist! )

I'm used to Celebrity's policies, too.

Alison
Laughing right there with you!

Tom
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Upcoming 2018: ESCAPE, INFINITY... 2019: BLISS
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102 cruises – 500 days at sea ---- Carnival: 67 cruises (Diamond), Celebrity: 15 (Elite Plus), NCL: 9 (Gold), RCI: 6 (Diamond), HAL: 1, Princess: 1, Others: 3
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Ships sailed (in order of first time on each): STATENDAM (1966!), SENSATION (1999), FANTASY, PRIDE, INSPIRATION, GLORY, LEGEND, MIRACLE, IMAGINATION, SOVEREIGN, CENTURY, CONSTELLATION, FREEDOM, DREAM, SOLSTICE, SKY, DESTINY, EPIC, VALOR, PEARL, ECLIPSE, MILLENNIUM, LIBERTY, CARIBBEAN PRINCESS, REFLECTION, ALLURE, BREEZE, OASIS, ENCHANTMENT, BREAKAWAY, SUNSHINE, CONQUEST, EQUINOX
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#13
Texas
307 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
We stayed in a suite for the first time on the Star in March. We really didn't use the butler much at all - he brought us extra hangers on the first day (there were only 6 in the closet), he brought snacks some afternoons when we weren't napping or relaxing after an excursions, and he delivered a pizza one day. I just figured it would be someone from the pizza place delivering.

We had no idea what to do about the tip. I had read the boards like you have. He had a new baby at home in the Philippines and was flying home to see it for the first time when we returned to New Orleans. My husband gave him $100 and he thanked us at first and then looked down and saw the amount and came back and gave us both a hug. I felt like we were probably tipping on the low side, but from his reaction he must see tips in all different amounts. Maybe we looked cheap or we were just so low maintenance he didn't expect it. Think how many people don't read CC and have no idea.

The concierge was another story - the one thing I asked for help with (changing a dinner reservation time while we were at breakfast). I was going to do it myself, but the restaurant reservation desk didn't open until 8 am - the availability on the tv screen showed green for the time we wanted and I was told it was full without the concierge even looking. Needless to say at 8 am - I was able to change it myself. His tip just got cut in half.

The suite-life is great, unfortunately I can't get my hubby to book a non-suite room- which equals fewer cruises for us. I know you'll have a great time.
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#14
The OC
1,236 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Nice post, Tricialy.

~**~Fist bump, Tom!~**~

The only times DH and I have had a butler, (thank goodness the same one), was on our two Alaska cruises on Celebrity's Mercury. We also are very low maintenance and I can't remember asking for anything. But the dear heart showed up every time we were in the cabin and brought ice or snacks. Midway through the first cruise we would open the door and yell at him "No more food, go away!!!" And he would just laugh and bring it in anyway. Priceless! Needless to say, he was well rewarded.

We're celebrating our 30th anniversary on the Breakaway next May in an Aft Haven Penthouse Suite and I hope to hone my butler request skills a little more. Perhaps a couple of meals on the balcony, at least. And, or course, tip appropriately.

Alison
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#15
Howell, NJ
317 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Thank you for all the great tips here. I am sailing on the June 29, 2014 Breakaway Cruise in the Haven Aft Facing Penthouse. This is a first for my family and my wife and I are looking forward to it. We are surprising our 2 daughters with this room. As one will be graduating from HS. So last Vacation before College for her.
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#16
Minutes from Pt. Canaveral !!
21,353 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Originally posted by Tricialy
...
The concierge was another story - the one thing I asked for help with (changing a dinner reservation time while we were at breakfast). I was going to do it myself, but the restaurant reservation desk didn't open until 8 am - the availability on the tv screen showed green for the time we wanted and I was told it was full without the concierge even looking. Needless to say at 8 am - I was able to change it myself. His tip just got cut in half.
...
... and at 1/2, I think you were more than generous! He'd be lucky to get a feigned smile from me!

Tom
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>CRUISE PHOTOS: Smugmug


Upcoming 2018: ESCAPE, INFINITY... 2019: BLISS
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
102 cruises – 500 days at sea ---- Carnival: 67 cruises (Diamond), Celebrity: 15 (Elite Plus), NCL: 9 (Gold), RCI: 6 (Diamond), HAL: 1, Princess: 1, Others: 3
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Ships sailed (in order of first time on each): STATENDAM (1966!), SENSATION (1999), FANTASY, PRIDE, INSPIRATION, GLORY, LEGEND, MIRACLE, IMAGINATION, SOVEREIGN, CENTURY, CONSTELLATION, FREEDOM, DREAM, SOLSTICE, SKY, DESTINY, EPIC, VALOR, PEARL, ECLIPSE, MILLENNIUM, LIBERTY, CARIBBEAN PRINCESS, REFLECTION, ALLURE, BREEZE, OASIS, ENCHANTMENT, BREAKAWAY, SUNSHINE, CONQUEST, EQUINOX
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#17
central New York
790 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
We have been in 2 suites prior to our upcoming cruise next week all on NCL. The first time the concierge did nothing for us. I had to call his office to see about tender tickets! and dealt with his assistant. I did give him $50 because I felt cheap ignoring him. Our butler was nice, but I didn't know what he could do for us so we barely used him.

The 2nd cruise in a suite we had a great concierge and a so/so butler. The butler does bring your afternoon snacks (whether you want them or not) and that is about all he did. I ended up giving part of his tip to the concierge because he made our trip so much fun. He even included our friends (not in a suite) in a couple of things like the early entry to the chocolate buffet.

Hoping and praying for a good experience this time but with all the comments on CC I feel much more comfortable with dealing with them. We too are low key people and don't expect the pampering that I've seen occur with some suite guests.
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