Monday, August 6, 2007

Cruise Line Tipping Policies

Tips and gratuities are a part of life when taking a cruise that many first time passengers may not know about or understand. The main type of gratuity is the service gratuity. With the exception of "luxury cruise lines" such as Windstar, Regent, and Seabourn, most all mainstream cruise lines have a service gratuity policy. It goes to the dining staff, kitchen staff, and hotel staff. Passengers can expect the amount suggested to be between $8 and $15 per day per passenger depending on the cruise line. Tips are usually collected at the end of the cruise, either by envelopes that are supplied, or as many cruise lines have adopted, the tips will be added to the on board account to be paid however the account was set up. If the gratuity is added to an on board account, the amount can be adjusted by visiting the pursers desk. A third option a few cruise lines have been offering is the ability to prepay the tips in advance. Some passengers like this option when budgeting for their vacation. In addition to the service gratuity, many cruise lines also add a 10-15% gratuity on drink purchases. While this amount is no different than what would be expected in a bar on land, it is automatic.

Many people think that cruise line tipping policies are to high and unfair to the pasenger, especially when a family of four sees an extra $280 added to their bill at the end of a seven day cruise but this is one of the ways that the cruise lines have kept the cost of cruising from skyrocketing. These tips are a main part of the salary of the crew of people that work hard to make your vacation enjoyable. They work long hours seven days a week on contracts that are six months long or longer. So if you have have good service, they deserve it, and if you had great service (I know we have on many occasions) let them know because there is no rule about tipping more.

If you agree with me or not, leave a comment, I would like to see other opinions on this topic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tipping is a part of life for the hospitality industry. I've been in the restaurant business for 36 years and you would expect to pay a 15-20 % tip for good service when you eat for every meal!!! Then if you stayed in a hotel you would be leaving a tip for the housekeeping staff. At $10 per day per person it's pretty close to what you would pay on land. On land you just don't see it at one lump sum at the end of the week! If you can't afford to tip you shouldn't be at the table! It's all part of the cost of the meal/cruise!