Smooth Sailing: Navigate the Seas of Tipping with these 11 Expert Tips!

Cruises are an excellent way to relax and see the world, but they can also be expensive. One way to show your appreciation for the excellent service you receive onboard is to tip the staff appropriately. However, tipping can be a bit of a minefield, with many potential pitfalls.

Here are 11 big tipping mistakes NOT to make on a cruise.

1. Not Tipping at All

The first and most significant tipping mistake is not tipping at all. While some cruise lines include gratuities ($16.99 per day per passenger) in the cost of the cruise, many do not. It's essential to research your cruise line's tipping policy before you sail to avoid this mistake.

2. Not Understanding the Tipping Policy

Every cruise line has a different tipping policy, and some have specific guidelines for tipping. It's crucial to understand the policy so that you can tip appropriately.

3. Not Tipping the Right People

Tipping the right people is crucial. The people who provide you with exceptional service, such as your room steward or your waitstaff, should receive a tip. However, tipping someone who has not provided you with any service is unnecessary.

4. Not Tipping Enough

Tipping too little can be just as bad as not tipping at all. While the amount you tip is entirely up to you, it's essential to tip appropriately for the service you receive. Most times your cruise bill is automatically charged $16.99 per day per passenger for gratuities. You may always go to Guest Services and ask them to remove the automatic gratuities. However, when you do this, please note that those people who are mopping up the water on the pool deck, or those who vacuum the elevator, the chefs, or laundry attendants may never receive your gratuity appreciation that you plan to hand to those who you regularly come into contact with.

5. Not Tipping In Person

While it's common to leave cash in an envelope in your room on the last night of the cruise, it's also a nice gesture to hand your gratuity directly to the crew member who provided excellent service. This way, you can personally thank them and let them know how much you appreciate their hard work.

6. Not Tipping in Cash

While many cruise lines now allow you to add gratuities to your onboard account, it's still customary to tip in cash. Cash tips are more personal and allow you to show your appreciation more directly.

7. Not Tipping on Time

Tipping on time is crucial. If you wait until the end of your cruise to tip, the staff who provided you with excellent service earlier in the cruise may not receive the recognition they deserve.

8. Not Tipping for Special Requests

If you make a special request, such as having a meal made to your specifications, it's appropriate to tip the staff who fulfilled that request.

9. Not Tipping for Room Service

Room service is often overlooked when it comes to tipping, but it's still a service that deserves recognition. Be sure to tip the person who delivers your food.

10. Not Tipping for Extra Services

If you use the spa or other onboard services, it's appropriate to tip the staff who provide those services. If you dine at a specialty restaurant on a cruise, it's customary to tip the staff there in addition to the recommended gratuities. Many people forget to do this, but it's an essential part of tipping etiquette on a cruise.

11. Not Tipping for Exceptional Service

If you receive exceptional service, it's appropriate to tip more than the standard amount. Excellent service deserves recognition, and tipping appropriately is an excellent way to show your appreciation.

In conclusion, tipping can be a bit of a minefield on a cruise, but by:

  • understanding the tipping policy,
  • tipping the right people,
  • tipping appropriately,
  • and tipping in cash,

... you can avoid these common tipping mistakes. Remember, tipping is an excellent way to show your appreciation for excellent service and is an essential part of the cruise experience.