Tipping on Cruises -
Tipping and Gratuity Guide

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Cruise Tipping and Gratuities

As in restaurants, tips and gratuities on cruise ships have become a normal part of cruising. Yet they never are part of the quoted cruise price, so it's something you need to factor in, an average of US$12-$16 per person per day. For a family of 4, that amounts to $48-$64 per day.

Cruise lines may bill the total amount at the beginning of the cruise, add the amount to your ongoing daily tab or add the gratuity total to your bill at the end of the cruise. The process makes it clear cruise lines do not consider gratuities a discretionary reward. On most cruise lines, children of all ages--including infants--are expected to pay the same gratuity as an adult.

Things to Know

1) Many people dislike mandatory tipping. They feel they are forced to pay hundreds of dollars extra to people for just doing their job. Cruise lines could simply include the extra charges into the cruise price but until all of them do none of them are likely to. No one wants to be at a price disadvantage.

2) Gratuities are divided among all crew members, including many essential personnel you never see. Crew members, like restaurant waiters, rely on gratuities for most of their income. This business practice places pressure on cruisers to pay the gratuities. If the service has been good, most passengers are happy to pay the added charge.

2) What if service has been poor? You may ask that the gratuities be reduced or removed entirely from your bill, and most cruise lines will do this while you are on board. Some require that you send in a reimbursement request following the cruise.

3) If you intend not to pay any gratuities or reduce the tip amount, do this at the front office several days before the cruise ends to avoid waiting in a long line the morning you are supposed to disembark.

4) Always feel free to ask for an envelope(s) so you can directly tip the crew members who provide exceptional service.

5) The best way to avoid the gratuity hassle is find a promotional cruise where gratuities are included. Some cruise lines run such promotions annually.

6) Yes, there are all-inclusive cruises where tipping is covered. But you won't save any money by taking one. All-inclusive cruises are what luxury ships specialize in, with prices to match.

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