How much and to whom should I give tips on a cruise? It is always impressive to see the number of employees who have the task of making our cruise stay as enjoyable as possible. It is important to remember that a large part of these people’s wages come from tips. These people work about 10 hours a day, almost every day of the week, for several months. They therefore deserve a sign of appreciation from the passengers.

How much should I plan for tips?

The majority of cruise lines suggest that tips range from $10 to $13 per person for each day of the cruise.

When should tips be given on a cruise?

Tips are expected by employees who provide service to travellers. The cabin attendant (and his assistant), butler, Maitre D', waiters (and their assistants), bar, spa, child care staff and concierge are employees whose salary is highly dependent on tips.

Increasingly, major cruise lines charge tips (or service charges) daily directly to the cabin account. The amount varies from company to company ($10 to $16 per person per day). This automatic tip covers the services of the cabin attendant, the butler and the waiters. Passengers in cabins with access to the services of a butler are charged an additional amount.

The reason for the introduction of this mode of operation is mainly due to the desire to simplify the consumer experience (since some travellers do not have the custom of paying tips in their countries) and the introduction of open seating dinners. By being served by several different servers, the traditional model became too complex. If you choose flexible dinners, some companies will charge you tips in advance, as soon as you book.

On the other hand, some luxury cruise lines include tips directly in the price of the cruise. Others still have as their policy the traditional discretionary tip that passengers give, in envelopes, to every employee who has been at their service.

What amount of tip should be given to whom?

Althouh tip for cabin attendants and main dining waiter are included in automatic tips, if you receive or require services beyond the usual, it is recommended to tip extra.

If the tip is not included, it is advisable to give an amount to each person who served you, in an envelope, on the last night of the cruise. Here is a table showing the suggested tip fr each person who served you:

  • Dining room waiter: $3-$4 per day
  • Server assistant: $1.50 - $3 per day
  • Butler: $0.50 - $1 per day
  • Supervisor of your section’s servers: $0.50 - $1 per day
  • Cabin attendant: $3 - $4 per day

Bar staff

15% are usually added automatically to the bill. If you are a regular at a bar or bartender, giving him an extra tip could ensure you exceptional service.

Spa staff

15% to 18% are usually automatically added to the bill for spa or hair/beauty salon services.

Excursions

For the guide, $2 for half a day or $4 for a full day. A small surplus if the guide was particularly generous in his explanations. $1 for the driver for half a day or $2 for a full day.

Baggage handling

$1 per bag for people handling your luggage.

Concierge

If you have used the services of a concierge and have advised you and made reservations for you on board the boat or in a restaurant or activity in a port, you should reward him in proportion to the service offered and his dedication.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that tipping is no substitute for a thank you. The attentive staff deserves to know that their work has been appreciated.