A How to Guide on Cruise Gratuities [2018]

While on a cruise, it is customary to extend tips or gratuities to the staff for their exceptional services. Tips or gratuities are however one of the most confusing elements of taking a cruise especially if it is your first time. How to tip, how much to tip, and when to tip, are just some of the difficult questions that may be going through your mind. It is essential to understand that different cruise lines have different gratuity policies. Below is helpful information on extending gratuities to guide you when the time comes to show gratitude to the cruise crew.

Is tipping necessary on Cruise?

Crew members depend on the generosity of their passengers to supplement their income. Tips also help to incentivize higher service standards among the crew members. Due to the rising number of international travelers who do not share the tipping mentality, some cruise companies place automatic service charges on their passenger’s accounts. Other cruise companies offer their passengers the option of prepaid gratuities during booking. If you are wondering “should I prepay gratuities on a cruise?” understand that it is more convenient to prepay than to keep handing out tips during your trip. One way of viewing gratuities is a necessary service charge which ensures the hard working cruise crew gets fair wages.

How to give a tip on a cruise?

In the past, passengers handed out cash in envelopes when they wanted to tip the crew members. Today, you can opt for the automatic service charges as per the cruise company’s policies. An example is cruise gratuities, Norwegian system states they charge a certain amount per passenger every day. The same applies to cruise gratuities on the Royal Caribbean. The policy is fair to all the staff because the amount will be equally distributed to the crew members. It also saves you the headache of keeping up with your finances while on board.  Tipping is voluntary, and passengers can opt out of the automatic service charge and pay tips in cash, the old-fashioned way. If you choose out of the electronic service charge, remember cash tips should be passed hand to hand and preferably in an envelope.

When to tip on a cruise?

It is advisable to repay the amount fully upfront before getting on the cruise. At the end of the journey if you feel that the automatic service charge should be adjusted, request with the guest services before you disembark. In case of cash tips, the rule of thumb is to hand it out on the last day. However, there are some exceptions to the state of thumb. If you have a sick member or a child in your cabin, paying the tip beforehand can make a huge difference in the services you get.

Paying or not paying cruise gratuities is a personal decision. It is; however, fair to reward the crew for their outstanding services. Tipping etiquette on a cruise can be baffling, but with the information above you can now rest easy on your next cruise trip.