Jump to content

Tipping Question


Jack_Lime
 Share

Recommended Posts

I know there are a lot of threads on this already, but the ones I found are about specific instances, not in general.

I am going on my first cruise ever in December, and I have never been in a 'fancy' situation where one would tip outside of food service. Never had room service, or a bell boy bring my stuff, never had valet parking. I just have no idea what things I would be expected to tip for.

I don't want to be rude to the staff, and plan on bringing a good amount of singles and fives specifically for tipping. I just have no idea when I would be expected to tip and when/if there are situations when it would be 'rude' to offer one.

My question is: What are the appropriate times to tip staff on a cruise and how much should I tip for each thing?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, Jack_Lime said:

when/if there are situations when it would be 'rude' to offer one.

My question is: What are the appropriate times to tip staff on a cruise and how much should I tip for each thing?

I can't think of any situation on a cruise where it would be rude to offer one.

Tipping is very subjective and with added gratuities to drinks, room service, daily gratuities for room cleaning and dining it isn't really expected but is always welcome.

I usually expect to tip for:

  • The porter when I arrive to the port.  This will be the person that rushes you to take your luggage to a cart so it can be loaded onto a cruise ship.  This is probably the only point where I ever feel pressured to give a top.  They often do expect one.  The porters are NOT employees of the cruise line.  I generally tip a few bucks per bag.  Depends on what I have convenient in terms of small bills.  They also are around when you get off the ship and can be a big help to get you through customs faster.  I would tip more for that for sure but I've never actually ended up using one.
  • Bartenders.  Even though you are charged 18% with your drink I find that you can brighten someone's day and even get better service by handing over the occasional cash tip.  You can do it drink by drink, every other drink, or if you visit the same bartender over and over again just do it in a larger amount one or two times.
  • Room service.  Unless you are ordering continental breakfast or are in a Grand Suite or above, there's a charge for room service.  It's a single charge per time but you can order as much food as you want at once.  You are charged an 18% gratuity to your room service order.  I always tip whoever delivers.  If it's just a tray with coffee in the morning it may just be a couple of bucks.  If it's stacks of room service plates, then they will get tipped more.
  • Dining.  If you eat in the specialty restaurants you have the chance to leave a tip on your bill just like at a regular restaurant.  I tend to tip $5 per person for lunch and $10 per person at dinner.  It's been a long time since I've eaten in the MDR..but when I used to we would give a tip to the waiters at the end since it was a set dining time and you always had the same waiter team.
  • Room steward.  I end up tipping $20 at a minimum to the room steward, even if they don't do their job.  If they are excellent and I have a good rapport with them I will give them more..usually hunt them down the morning of embarkation to give them the tip.
  • Excursions.  I tip for rideshares, taxis, tour guides.  Some ports have folks out in the port area that expect tips if you take photos with their pet iguanas or monkeys..so be aware of that.  If you have a cabana or waiter at a beach, you tip them.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head that I deal with regularly on cruises. 

Ride on the gratitude that you feel when you give them the tip..I know that tends to make me want to be even more generous.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Jack_Lime said:

Thank you for the thorough answer!!

No problem!  I don't really delve into the "luxury" lifestyle at all..so I don't really experience these situations a lot.  I tend to refer to things like valet service as being too "pinkies up" for me.  But I find myself enjoying it on a cruise ship.  I know how long and hard the cruise line employees work and they are always so genuine when you do tip them that I just figure it into my costs for cruising.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't tip too much beyond what is already charged as a tip, such as the 18%. I do tip the porters (something like $5 for two bags), and I do tip my room steward extra IF they have been particularly good (but my last cruise I didn't tip any extra, because he simply didn't do anything beyond basic room cleaning to deserve it). Don't feel like you need to tip someone just because you feel obligated...if they earned extra above what I am already providing them, I'll certainly do it, but I won't do it "just because". 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My last cruise I gave a little extra to bar staff and cocktail staff ... It was a bit random with some exceptional getting it more often. I gave extra my two chops visits and tipped after a CK meal (only had one). I gave a bit extra to room steward and suite concierge. This was my first cruise tipping the suite concierge as it was the first time in 3 suites we actually used him a few times (only to make some calls and replace cards but it saved is some time and hassle.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Jack_Lime said:

I know there are a lot of threads on this already, but the ones I found are about specific instances, not in general.

I am going on my first cruise ever in December, and I have never been in a 'fancy' situation where one would tip outside of food service. Never had room service, or a bell boy bring my stuff, never had valet parking. I just have no idea what things I would be expected to tip for.

I don't want to be rude to the staff, and plan on bringing a good amount of singles and fives specifically for tipping. I just have no idea when I would be expected to tip and when/if there are situations when it would be 'rude' to offer one.

My question is: What are the appropriate times to tip staff on a cruise and how much should I tip for each thing?

I'd suggest saving most of the cash the for the end of the cruise  (those envelopes the Stateroom Attendant provides or that you pick up at Guest Services) and using your Seapass to provide "additional tips" when merited with the following exceptions:   If you don't pay by the drink, e.g., you have a package or take drinks in the Diamond Lounge, then the previously provided advice by @AshleyDillo makes sense.  That is what I do.  Tipping trends also vary by cruise itinerary -- in Australia you wouldn't tip as much or as often as in the US.  Also, some countries have Value Added Taxes and different compensation practices.  Compared to the rest of the world, Americans over-tip and can contribute to rising expectations.  That said, I strongly believe in rewarding outstanding service, and to me that is more than 18%, so I make up the difference somehow.  Whatever you choose to do, you will be fine; just have a good time, and cruise again when you can!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, ChessE4 said:

 in Australia you wouldn't tip as much or as often as in the US.  Also, some countries have Value Added Taxes and different compensation practices. 

Most of the world pay staff decent wages, therefore tips are an added bonus recieved for good service and you leave what you feel is right, no % written down or staff demanding a certain %, while in the US some services such as waitresses etc rely on tips just to survive due to poor wages.

 

Value added tax ( VAT) has nothing to do with tipping, this is a government tax and they get all the money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My room attendant I tip at the end 10-15 a day depending on service. 

I tip at the bars and the coffee shops maybe $2. If I notice I’m getting better service (they make sure my drink isn’t empty, the remember my name) I will continue to tip. If not I’ll stop going beyond the 18%. 

If I dine in the MDR at the end we’ll give an envelope for the whole table. If I do specialty restaurants I’ll tack on a few bucks for good service.

i factor this all for the cash i bring. I tend not to buy anything on a cruise do this is my only extra expense. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too am going on my very first cruise soon. I never know how to tip coz I'm rarely in that situation, and I always feel awkward when doing it. That's why I pre-paid the gratuities and thought that solved the problem.

From what I learn here today, looks like the biggest expense on my upcoming cruise will be tipping. The amount you guys suggested are way more than I plan to give.

Thank god I read this thread. Otherwise I'll probably be labelled as "that cheapie" by the staff.

Just one quick question. I don't drink at all. But do we usually tip servers at the buffet, Cafe Promenade and El Loco Fresh? I mean where the food is "free".

And at MDR, where we're not gonna receive any bill, I can just tip our server before we leave right?

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, zillono said:

I too am going on my very first cruise soon. I never know how to tip coz I'm rarely in that situation, and I always feel awkward when doing it. That's why I pre-paid the gratuities and thought that solved the problem.

From what I learn here today, looks like the biggest expense on my upcoming cruise will be tipping. The amount you guys suggested are way more than I plan to give.

Thank god I read this thread. Otherwise I'll probably be labelled as "that cheapie" by the staff.

Just one quick question. I don't drink at all. But do we usually tip servers at the buffet, Cafe Promenade and El Loco Fresh? I mean where the food is "free".

And at MDR, where we're not gonna receive any bill, I can just tip our server before we leave right?

Thanks.

If you have prepaid gratuities then you do not have to tip anymore, tipping extra is then up to each individual. 

We left a tip for room attendant, what it was i will not say because to be honest if i say i left $500 then it puts pressure on others to do likewise and if i say i only left $10 then it make me look cheap. But i left something and they should be grateful no matter the amount left. 

Bar staff i didnt tip until last night, no way im tipping someone extra every drink just to get better service after all its their job to serve people.

Your on vacation to enjoy yourself not worry about whether you are tipping enough. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be kind to bartenders. Last cruise I was at the Sky Bar settling down for the International Belly Flop Championship. Ordered a Hurricane. Bartender was Hugh. He made the standard 2 shots of rum, one dark, one light followed by a lot of juice and ice.. Gave him a 2 dollar bill. He smiled. Next one he let the shot cups overflow a little into the glass. Gave him a dollar. Third drink he just poured in rum glug, glug, glug. Alcohol to juice now at 50/50. Another buck for Hugh. Last one (#4) he glug glugs the well rums then goes into the fridge and pulls out a bottle of Kraken and gives me a nice dose of that. Hardly any room for juice, just a splash fits in. Hugh gets another 2. I'm hammered by now and I ask Hugh to marry me before leaving. Wife has cut me off by now. 

Did I say be kind to bartenders?


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Ray said:

Most of the world pay staff decent wages, therefore tips are an added bonus recieved for good service and you leave what you feel is right, no % written down or staff demanding a certain %, while in the US some services such as waitresses etc rely on tips just to survive due to poor wages.

 

Value added tax ( VAT) has nothing to do with tipping, this is a government tax and they get all the money.

yes, but that wasn't my point; the point is that the underlying wage assumptions are different, and some of those countries round up rather than formally tip, so practices vary by country. when tipping is the custom, the amount varies, too.  finally, when you use your Seapass to buy a drink, the VAT increases your cost on the ship, and some folks don't know what all of that means when they are thinking about extra tip amounts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, ChessE4 said:

yes, but that wasn't my point; the point is that the underlying wage assumptions are different, and some of those countries round up rather than formally tip, so practices vary by country. when tipping is the custom, the amount varies, too.  finally, when you use your Seapass to buy a drink, the VAT increases your cost on the ship, and some folks don't know what all of that means when they are thinking about extra tip amounts.

Easiest solution is for governments to ensure companies be it on land or at sea pay better wages and employees from other countries have the same rights as any other employee as we do in the UK with the Modern Slavery Act. Then tipping wouldnt be an issue, its not as if those high up the chain of big corporate companies cant afford it. 

I mean 4 weeks ago a filipino RC employee fell from height while working as instructed over the side of a ship while docked with no ppe, they died yet due to legislation all this employees family get is $50000. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, zillono said:

I too am going on my very first cruise soon. I never know how to tip coz I'm rarely in that situation, and I always feel awkward when doing it. That's why I pre-paid the gratuities and thought that solved the problem.

From what I learn here today, looks like the biggest expense on my upcoming cruise will be tipping. The amount you guys suggested are way more than I plan to give.

Thank god I read this thread. Otherwise I'll probably be labelled as "that cheapie" by the staff.

Just one quick question. I don't drink at all. But do we usually tip servers at the buffet, Cafe Promenade and El Loco Fresh? I mean where the food is "free".

And at MDR, where we're not gonna receive any bill, I can just tip our server before we leave right?

Thanks.

Honestly, after many many cruises, I find that the tip "a lot" advice you get on any of the forums is very exaggerated.

You pay your gratuities that are charged daily or prepaid.  This also covers the buffet, Cafe Promenade and El Loco Fresh who area all in the tip pool.

You pay18% per drink or via the package purchase that added the 18%

You pay an 18% gratuity for a specialty restaurant, or if pre-purchase before boarding it is included in the price.

Really about the only time you have to worry about extra tipping is when you finally reach a C&A level where you are getting free drinks, or use the services of the concierge, then it seems more appropriate.  Then again if any service is way over the top, then you might consider a little extra. 

No one on the staff is going to label as "that cheapie" , they reserve that for those that remove their daily gratuities .... ?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to iterate that it would depend on the sailing if you were doing an Japan sailing, tipping can seem as rude and it is extremely frowned upon there. In the US or the Caribbean you can tip extra but if you prepaid your gratuities then you SHOULD be set. Make sure you plan on tipping the porters who take your luggage to the ship (you really don't want to lug around your stuff until the rooms are open) and if you are going on any tours plan to tip the guides/drivers as well. I know a lot of people like to find one bartender who they like and stick with them throughout the cruise and give them a big tip either at the beginning or the end of the sailing. Same with if your room steward goes above and beyond some people will give extra to the already taken out gratuities. 

 

For the porters, I plan on tipping $1-2 a bag depending on how heavy it is.

For tours (guides/drivers), depending on how thorough the tour and how much they did, I plan on tipping between 10-20%

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, CruiseGus said:

Honestly, after many many cruises, I find that the tip "a lot" advice you get on any of the forums is very exaggerated.

You pay your gratuities that are charged daily or prepaid.  This also covers the buffet, Cafe Promenade and El Loco Fresh who area all in the tip pool.

You pay18% per drink or via the package purchase that added the 18%

You pay an 18% gratuity for a specialty restaurant, or if pre-purchase before boarding it is included in the price.

Really about the only time you have to worry about extra tipping is when you finally reach a C&A level where you are getting free drinks, or use the services of the concierge, then it seems more appropriate.  Then again if any service is way over the top, then you might consider a little extra. 

No one on the staff is going to label as "that cheapie" , they reserve that for those that remove their daily gratuities .... ?

 

 

I agree with this post and find that I usually tip extra because I want to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We tipped the porter $5 on embarkation day - my wife and I shared one large piece of luggage.

We did prepay gratuities on our last cruise. While I'm not sure if this was the spirit of prepaying gratuities (we also got the deluxe drink package, which included gratuities as well)...I must admit, it was nice walking around the ship without having to worry about carrying a wad of cash for tips. For most of the time, I walked around the ship with literally just the clothes on my back and my Seapass card on a lanyard. It made the experience that much more relaxing.

I'm certainly no cruise expert, but after perusing through the boards, doing some online research, and asking my TA for advice...as long as your pay the gratuities (prepaid or daily charge), whatever you decide is going to be the right decision. I have come to accept the fact that cruise tipping will probably be one of those controversial "GM vs. Ford"  topics for the rest of time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Flacruiser99 said:

I agree with this post and find that I usually tip extra because I want to.

They say we have different "love languages".  For some it is gifts (giving).  There's joy that comes from tipping. Since cruising is about enjoyment, those that have this love language just tip away!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We just got off Serenade.  We had the drink package (with 18% gratuity added).  We also prepaid the gratuities.

Our general rule of thumb is that the tips have already been added, but we'll give a cash tip for exceptional service.  This most recent one, we had one server that we really enjoyed, she always had a smile, a simple thing which far too many servers don't do, learned our likes and would always get to us as soon as she saw us walk in.  We gave her $20 in cash at the end.  Our stateroom attendant was very good and we gave him an extra $20.  Our MDR staff was average at best and we didn't give extra.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We tend to tip extra for those people that made the extra effort to help us. People who always knew our name, even by the 2nd time they saw us.   On our last cruise the barista at Cafe 270 remembered my husband's name after the 1st time he served him - every morning he greeted him with a huge smile, addressed him by name - it made a huge impression on us - it was a pleasure to leave him with an extra "thank you" at the end of the cruise!  We also tipped the 2 attendants at the Bionic Bar, as they always made an effort to come over and chat with us, they kept Mix and Mingle clean and running well, and I feel they kind of get ignored a lot (poor humans!).  But we never felt obligated to do so in any case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People have already covered the room stewards, porters, waitstaff, etc very well but I wanted to chime in a bit on the bar tipping. I don’t drink, but I always get the refreshment package because I like mocktails and bottled water. I know that I already paid my 18% gratuity on that one so I don’t automatically feel obligated to tip additionally on every drink I get. My rule of thumb is that if I’m brought a drink by someone wandering around the solarium or pool deck, they definitely get a tip.  1. They definitely earn it because the drink comes to me 2. Tipping also ensures you will get follow up check ins on your hydration levels. I also will tip early and often at the bars that I know I will frequent (Solarium mostly for me) and that tends to result in faster service when they are really slammed. Esp if all I need is water, they will see me, ask if I need water, and toss me some bottles while making someone else’s drink and not need my card. I don’t necessarily carry small bills around with me so I will tip on the receipt they bring. 
 

As for restaurant timing, the only one I tipped at time of service was at specialty. That one I only really tipped above and beyond the included because they brought my mom a dessert from another restaurant for her birthday. At CK and MDR, I made notes in my phone of everyone’s name/notes about them and handed out gratuity envelopes at the end of the cruise. This also doubled for being helpful for recognizing great service on the end of cruise survey. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...