Video:How Much to Tip on a Cruisewith Jonathon E. Stewart
Cruising is nothing but smooth sailing when it comes to paying for things, but tipping can be a little confusing. Find out the ins and outs of tips and tipping on a cruise ship.See Transcript
Transcript:How Much to Tip on a CruiseHey guys - Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. Jumping on a boat and spending your vacation cruising from one port to the next can be a great way to get away. Many cruises include the cost of food and sometimes even alcohol, which makes things pretty easy to pay for, but what about tipping? Well take a look at these tips, and you'll be sailing the high seas, worry free. Check it out.
Check the Cruise Line's Tip PolicyBefore you do anything else, it's important that you're clear on the policies set forth by your cruise line. Some companies automatically include gratuities either at the beginning or end of your voyage, but many still leave it entirely at your discretion. Your cruise literature booklet will be very clear about the subject, and may even recommend amounts as well.
Being on a cruise ship is essentially putting yourself in the vortex of about a dozen different service industries, all in one place. So whatever you do, it's pretty important to make sure that if tips aren't included, you take care of the people that have been taking care of you.
How to Distribute Tips on a CruiseMany online sites provide a cruise tip calculator, which can be a handy way to plan out how much you'll need to set aside additionally for your trip. These days, gratuities generally can be left on your on-board charge account, but you can always leave cash as well. And, you can always hand over a portion of that cash at the beginning of your trip, which just might ensure that the service you get really is impeccable. Plus, if you start off the week with a big roll of singles and hand them out generously, you kind of feel like an old school mobster.
How Much to Tip on the CruiseStarting from the beginning of your trip, it's a good idea to tip luggage porters about a dollar a bag for retrieving your things from a taxi or shuttle, and be sure not to stiff the ship's stevedore, who is responsible for making sure your bags get from the curb to your cabin - a cool fiver here will do. Once you're actually on the boat, you generally won't have to worry about tipping until the end of your cruise, at which point tips break down as follows, all per person, per day: about $3.50 for your cabin staff, $3.50 for your dining room waiter, and $2.00 for your dining room assistant waiter.
Tipping Different Cruise StaffIf you are tipping in cash, be sure to hand it over in person or in a tip envelope if your ship provides one. Your cabin steward's tip can be left bedside, and you might also want to think about handing over a few bucks to a particularly helpful sommalier, maitre d', piano bar entertainer, or croupier. Salon and spa services are generally included, but 15% is standard if not, the same for bartenders.
Finally, no matter what, don't try to discount your daily tip amount by counting kids as half or not at all. I mean, I cry and throw food on the floor and send back weird stuff with the best of 'em, but you don't see me trying to pass myself off for a half-tip... And, as always, remember to be gracious and friendly with your service staff - they deal with a lot of whiners, and sometimes all it takes is a genuine smile from you to make their day a little brighter.
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