One of the concerns many people have in mind when organising their cruise holiday, especially if it is their first cruise experience, is the proper procedure of how to go about tipping cruise staff.

Many cruise companies have very confusing tipping policies, which leave passengers unsure who, how and how much they should tip, if at all. So, what do you need to know about tipping on a cruise?

Cruise Staff

A large number of cruise companies include gratuities in the price that you pay for your cruise holiday. Make sure to check when you make your booking, whether it’s online, via a travel agent, or directly with the cruise company, as often tipping is added onto your final balance without being made explicitly clear to you.

If this is the case, you can normally opt out of it at the time of booking, should you wish to do so. Alternatively, you can usually opt out of this during, or at the end, of your cruise holiday simply by asking at the Purser’s Desk or reception area on board. You can also choose to alter the amount which you tip crew by visiting the Purser’s Desk.

Reception Area

Many people then ask ‘If the tip is included in my final bill can I forget about it?’ The answer to this is, rather confusingly, sometimes. On some cruise lines for example, Holland America, the tips are included on your final bill and will be distributed to staff in the manner in which they see fit.

This means a percentage to your stateroom attendant, dining table waiter, assistant waiter and a percentage to the so-called backroom staff, who you don’t come into contact with during your cruise, but are important none the less.

On some cruise lines, tipping is entirely at your discretion. Some cruise lines will leave tipping entirely to passengers to decide. On this type of cruise, passengers will generally find a set of envelopes with the name of each crew member they might (or it is suggested that they might) like to tip.

It is then customary to fill the envelopes with the amount which you see fit, and distribute it to the selected crew members on the last day, or evening of your cruise.

There will generally be a ‘suggested amount’ or ‘guideline amount’ printed in your cruise handbook to guide you in your decision.

Cruise Handbook

It is your choice whether you choose to adhere to this, or tip less or more. It is worthwhile to bear in mind that most cruise ship workers are not paid particularly well and rely on passenger’s tips in order to make a decent living. If you’ve received great service, then you should reflect that in the amount you tip.

So, by now you’ll have realised tipping on board a cruise can be very different depending on which line you’re cruising with. As long as you remember to check the policy of your chosen cruise line before you travel, you’ll be able to navigate your way to a decision easily and without problems.

Thanks Emma

How do you like to tip or do you opt out? Tell us below.