A Guide to On-Board Tipping: When, How Much and to Whom

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One of the things that you are guaranteed on a Cruise1st holiday is fantastic service from the on-board staff. The incredible volume of skilled staff working at any time ensures a high level of personal service. This leads to many people wanting to leave a gratuity as a thank-you to the hardworking staff but are unsure how to do so and how these are divided.

 

With many cruises travelling to and from countries with different tipping policies, we have moved to clear up the tipping confusion and detail the individual policies of each liner.

Azamara Cruises

The cruise fare covers tipping but additional gratuities can be paid at the discretion of the passenger. This does not cover spa treatments and an additional 18% spa gratuity will be added to the on-board account for spa services.

Carnival Cruises

An automatic gratuity of $11.50 is added per-person, per-day to on-board accounts. The amount is not added in the case of children under the age of two. Passengers can however change the amount of gratuity that is automatically added through the guest services desk, so if you want to pay less or more you can do.

Additionally, an automatic 15% gratuity is added to all bar bills.

Celebrity Cruises

An automatic gratuity of $12 is added per-person, per-day to Princess on-board accounts. Concierge Class and AquaClass passengers will be charged $12.50 per-person, per-day. There is an additional $3.50 per-day, per-person surcharge for suites with a butler. This amount can be adjusted at the reception.

A 15% gratuity is added to bar bills.

Dining Room - Tom Mascardo

Cunard Cruises

Passengers in Britannia accommodations are charged $11.50 per-person, per-day and passengers in Grill Class accommodations are charged $13.50 per-person, per-day.

A 15% gratuity is added to bar bills. On Cunard cruises, casino dealers and spa personnel do not receive a cut of these fees, so it may be worth additionally tipping these staff members.

Disney Cruises

Unlike most cruise companies that set a per-day gratuity, Disney prefer to set a gratuity rate based on the length of the cruise. Disney suggests that passengers on a three-night cruise should leave $9 for the assistant server, $12 for stateroom host and $12 for the dining room server per person. On a four-night cruise these are amended to $9, $12 and $12; on a seven-night cruise $21, $28 and $28. These can be pre-paid or charged automatically to your on-board account.

Additionally, a 15% gratuity is added to all bar bills.

Towel - Julie

Fred Olsen Cruises

Fred Olsen Cruises recommend a gratuity of £4 per-person, per-day to be split between cabin stewardesses and waiters and automatically adds it to the on-board account unless adjusted by the passenger.

The company also provides envelopes at the reception for individuals who want to tip independently.

Holland America Cruises

On-board accounts are automatically charged $12 per-person, per-day. Passengers occupying suites will be charged $12 but both of these amounts can be adjusted at the front desk. All purchases from the bars and dining room are subjected to an additional 15% gratuity.

Island Cruises

Like its sister brand, Thomson Cruises, Island Cruises leave tipping entirely to the discretion of its passengers.

Waiter - Giorgio Montersino

MSC Cruises

MSC have a slightly more convoluted process than most cruise companies in regards to gratuities. The auto-gratuity varies according to the destination and on-board currency. Caribbean cruises and eastbound grand voyages see $12 per-person, per-day being added and $6 for children. Westbound grand voyage passengers are subjected to a €6 per-person, per-day charge with €3 for children.

For European cruises, a €7 gratuity is charged per-person, per-day and €3.50 per child.

For South African cruises, a $6 gratuity is charged per-person, per-day and $3 per child.

For South American cruises, a $9 gratuity is charged per-person, per-day and $4.5 per child.

The gratuity amounts cannot be altered, but can be completely removed if a complaint of unsatisfactory service is lodged.

Bar payments are subjected to bar purchases, but no gratuity is added to spa bills.

Norwegian Cruise Line Cruises

A $12 per-person, per-day gratuity is charged to support a salary and incentive program for the service staff. This rate can be adjusted with the reception desk.

Additionally, a 15% gratuity is added to bar bills and 18% to spa treatment. The company also suggests that passengers who utilise the concierge and butler services should provide an additional gratuity.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises were amongst the last of the major players to switch to automatic gratuities, but now charge £3.50 per-person, per-day. This can be adjusted at the reception and P&O does not add gratuities to other services.

Waiting Staff - gettheshot75

Princess Cruises

An automatic gratuity of $11.50 is added per-person, per-day to Princess on-board accounts. Passengers in suites and mini-suites will be charged $12 per-person, per-day. It is possible to adjust this rate of gratuity or remove it completely.

Additionally, a 15% gratuity is added automatically to bar bills.

Royal Caribbean Cruises

An automatic gratuity of $12 per-person, per-day is added to the on-board bill. These tips can be pre-paid and are split between dining services staff, cabin attendants and housekeeping personnel. Passengers who believe that they have received sub-standard service can have this level of gratuities adjusted or removed completely.

A 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar bills, salon and spa bills and mini-bar purchases.

Thomson Cruises

On Thomson Cruises, passengers are left entirely to their own discretion when tipping.

Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Giorgio Montersino, Tom Mascardo, Julie, gettheshot75

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About Author

Claire Wilde

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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