The staff works hard so you don't have to. Your Cabin Steward and/or Assistant Cabin Steward will come in your room twice a day. They magically make your beds, clean your bathroom and tidy your room in the time it takes you to slip out quickly for breakfast. Then while you are at dinner, your room is again being tidied and transformed into a relaxing sanctuary for you to get a good night sleep. On some cruise lines, the staff shows off their talent by creating whimsical animals out of your bathroom towels. (See the Cabins section for some creatures we've experienced in our travels.) They may even leave a delicious chocolate or treat in your room. They also typically leave the next day's printed schedule so you can easily decide on the activities ahead of time. Perfect for a planner like me!
For traditional cabins, the cruise lines suggest tipping the Cabin Steward and Assistant Cabin Stewards. If you are in a suite, the butler's tip is also added in. Recently the cruise lines are starting to automatically add tips on to your daily charges. They add a specified amount daily to cover the housekeeping staff assigned to your cabin. This way, the housekeeping staff is guaranteed a tip per guest in each cabin (and better yet, you don't have to worry about the correct calculations.) Keep in mind, their base salaries are not considerable, especially when compared to American standards.
- Plan ahead and bring a special, sealed gift(s) from your hometown to give to your cabin staff
- While at port, purchase a small, sealed or wrapped gift(s) for cabin staff
- If you are fortunate enough to have a top suite, it often comes with a stocked liquor cabinet. If you have an unopened liquor or wine bottle, the staff would definitely enjoy it on a day off
Even though tips are automatically charged, presenting a gift or cash to anyone personally is much more rewarding. Cruise ship staff are always appreciative of a little extra something to make them feel special. I realize that they are away from their family in order to take care of mine. And with 2 young teenage boys, my family isn’t always so neat or easy! I appreciate the daily chores taken off my hands while my only job is to relax and enjoy my luxurious cruise vacation.