Leaving a tip or gratuity for a service provider is simply a gesture to say thank you for prompt, quality service. And in most parts of the world, it is this added income that increases a server’s modest income to a living wage. But what many travelers don’t know is that there are certain standards for tipping when it comes to the huge number of service providers on a cruise ship.
There is one instance where many guests are unknowingly over tipping during their cruise. When ordering from the bar, the cruise line is almost always adding 15 percent for a tip. This includes Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and many other major lines. So unless you received exemplary service or made a special request, the tip added to your bar tab is considered sufficient.
Unlike the old days of an envelope for staff who tidy up your room, now a gratuity is automatically added to most onboard accounts. The rates vary from about $10 to $20 per person per day. If a guest would like to either increase or decrease this automated tip, a trip to the reception desk is required in most cases. As you might guess, the higher end cruise lines tend to add the larger gratuities and the economy cruise lines offer more reasonable tips fees.
Tips for the standard dining room staff are another expense to take into consideration. A general expectation is up to $4 per person per day to the server and $3 per person per day to the assistant server. Some cruise lines allow this rate to be adjusted while others simply add it to your onboard account.
Other Staff Tips
From start to finish, there are quite a few people who are expecting a tip from you as you enjoy your cruise vacation. The first is the porter who delivers your bags. The standard tip is $1 per bag when they are delivered and the same amount when they are picked up when you return to port. Spa services are another area which often includes the tip in the final bill for the service. Be sure to read your invoice or bill as most lines add anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent of the cost of the service as a tip. Other service providers who will expect a tip include the dealer in a casino, the staff in a child care facility and any instructors who are offering formal classes
Many guests are rather shocked at the end of a cruise when they see how the tips have increased their final tab for their onboard account. It is always smart to verify with a cruise line before your trip to be certain what tips will automatically be charged to your account and what customary tips are for that cruise line. It is very easy for a family of four to pay $100 a day at the very minimum for tips.