Gratuities tend to be a big topic in cruise groups on Facebook so I thought I would talk about them. How do they work? How much are they? Do I have to tip?
First let’s talk about the general gratuities you see when cruising. This is what goes to the cabin steward who cleans your room and, the wait staff in the many included dining venues throughout the ship,. This can range from $15 to $20 per day per passenger and can be paid in different ways. The amount can vary by cruise line and the type of stateroom you are in, like a suite or concierge class.
Lately cruise lines are offering packages where you get amenities like gratuities so sometimes those can be beneficial. Now cruise lines like Celebrity have added all in to their rates which means gratuities, WIFI and other amenities are always included. You will find on the luxury lines like Regent, Viking and others they are always included.
Whether it’s Cucina on Carnival or Wonderland on Royal Caribbean, the standard gratuity, usually around 15-18 percent, is included in the cost of the dining experience. Of course, you will have the option to add more if you want, but remember it is already paid.
Often people will add a gratuity to the bill when paying for a drink at the bar. That is great if you want to give a little extra but you should know, the gratuity is already included. This can range from 15% to 18% depending on the cruise line. So next time you decide to add the gruatuity, take a look at that receipt first. To be honest though, often I give a little extra and you tend to get a little extra service if you are a regular at that bar.
Also remember, when you have the drink package, you have already paid the gratuity in the package as well.
Other times where you might tip.
When you arrive at the port and depart from the port, you will usually have porters taking you luggage. I usually tip them $2 a bag. Its nothing that is required but they work for the port, not the cruise line.
Often when you take excursions you will be have a guide of some kind. In most places, especially in the Caribbean, tipping is really expected. But only do this if you feel you did get superior service.
The important thing to know is gratuities are optional in most cases but remember that the staff is there to serve you and great service should be awarded.
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I have a passion for travel and believe travel is about experiences. Experiences create memories and are the stories we tell to friends and family - even with a little fudging on the facts.