With the entire world going electronic, it can be wearying to think about all of the tipping that will be required on even a short 3 or 4-day cruise. But it is important that you think about tipping before you leave home without as much as a single dollar in cash. Having an idea of the tipping standard can allow you to plan for this aspect of your cruise and pack for it just as you do your clothing, electronics, and toiletries.
The first person you meet is going to be the person who makes sure that your luggage gets on the ship. This is going to be a critical task and one that you should reward well. Standard tips for pier side luggage handlers ranger from $2 to $5 per bag. If you have excessively heavy bags then be kind and tip well. This is the best kind of luggage insurance that you can buy.
Most of the average cruise lines add a gratuity to your account on a daily basis. The cost will range from about $12 a day to $20 a day per person. The higher end and luxury cruise lines include this fee in the cost of your cruise, so there are no charges added to your tab each day. It is also important to know that many cruise lines add the tip into the cost of each drink that you purchase, for example, Carnival adds 18% and Cunard and Holland America each add 15%. It is customary to tip a few dollars in cash to each person who delivers any room service.
Tipping is always up to your discretion, but there are a few service providers who are not a part of the division of the automated tip charge added to your tab. Childcare providers do not get tipped unless you give a cash tip. Tipping your bartender for above and beyond service will help to keep your drinks coming quickly, but they do get the money from the automatic tip added to the drink cost. If you plan on staying at a single bar area for most of the trip, a $20 tip early in the cruise can get you great service and even some extra attention when the bar is busy. Anyone who is working with an excursion should be tipped in cash if you feel the assistance warranted a tip. A $5 tip for a guide is generally accepted as generous, and a $3 tip for a driver is in line for good service and pleasant chit chat.
At a time when few people carry cash, adding a handful of small bills to your packing list can be very helpful. Each person who makes your vacation a little more enjoyable will appreciate your kind gesture.