Tipping on a cruise holiday is perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of the voyage. With each line having its own policies in place regarding the recommended tipping amount, how to tip, who to tip, and when to tip, it is sometimes difficult to know what is expected of cruise passengers today.
You are however, well within your rights to amend any automatic tips that are added to your on board account, with the exception of those for drinks or spa services but it’s important to remember why tipping is recommended.
If you’ve cruised before, you’ll know that the service you receive from every staff member on board is exceptional.
Waiters and cabin stewards really do go above and beyond to help give you the experience of a lifetime.
While we don’t recommend tipping for the sake of it, it is expected for passengers to tip those who help to make their cruise holiday special.
What is the ‘Correct’ Way to Tip?
The expected method of tipping will vary by cruise line. Some offer pre-paid vouchers and envelopes to be handed to individual staff members, whilst others encourage the transfer of cash.
However, more and more cruise lines are opting to automatically add gratuities to the guests’ on board account, or include tips in the base cost of the cruise.
Typically, this amounts to around £7 per person for day, with some lines charging more, and others less. Whether or not tips are automatically added for children will depend upon the cruise line.
Some do expect children to pay tips; others will waiver gratuities for children under a certain age.
It is actually quite unusual now to have to tip ‘extra’, and there are two reasons why many cruise lines have amended their policies in this manner.
Firstly, cruise lines are attempting to appeal to wider audiences, respecting those from cultures where tipping is not only an alien concept, but also one that is considered incredibly rude.
In the UK, for example, while the notion of tipping is understood, it’s still not a part of everyday life, and in Japan, tipping a service worker is impolite, and can, in fact, be very awkward.
In removing the passengers’ need to deal with tips, cultural differences on board become less of an issue. Secondly, cruise ships are offering their passengers more and more freedom on board.
While dining was once confined to a certain table, in a certain dining room, at a certain time, this is not the case today. Some lines offer flexibility with regard to dining times, and practically all lines offer alternative dining options, such as speciality restaurants, cafes, and buffet-style venues.
Passengers are no longer served by just one small team during the entire duration of their cruise, and tipping each team in each restaurant is highly inconvenient. Automatic gratuities allow for tips to be divided between service workers, ensuring everyone is rewarded for their hard work.
Can I Amend Automatic Tips?
Absolutely. With the exception of one or two cruise lines who class tips as mandatory, the exact amount you tip is at your discretion.
Some passengers prefer the more traditional method of tipping individual staff members who have personally added to their enjoyment, and opt to remove automatic gratuities at the Pursers Desk, and tip with cash on the final night of the cruise.
When tipping with cash, while there is no ‘correct’ time to do so, some passengers find that tipping primary staff members a portion at the beginning of the cruise ensures good service.
Tipping really is a part of the on board experience, but passengers shouldn’t feel like they are forced into offering a set amount.
Tipping should be based upon the experience that you receive, so don’t feel bad about tipping more, or less, than the recommended amount.
That’s just what it is – recommended, but we are confident that at the end of your voyage, you’ll be more than happy with to tip the incredibly impressive and hardworking crew members that help to make cruising so special.