One of the biggest topics on any cruise discussion board is based around tipping. Whether you are in a traditional cabin or an oversize suite, I truly find the cabin service while cruising typically surpasses most resorts when it comes to housekeeping. So if you are new to cruising, let's start at the beginning.
Who do you tip? Here is a general list of housekeeping staff you may interact with on your cruise:
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.
And don't forget your dining wait staff. If you have a traditional dining option selected, you'll have the same wait staff daily for dinner. They are the ones that remember from each meal to the next your culinary likes and dislikes, seating preferences, and more. Or if you choose to dine at a specialty restaurant, the wait staff in these venues often exceed any service you would find on land. Typically, all of the dining staff on board is included in your automatic daily tips, but you may choose to recognize their hard work after each meal, or find them again at the end of the cruise.
For the bars and lounges, the tip is usually included in your drink package or bar tab. But if you visit a particular venue regularly and have a server that you enjoy, feel free to provide something extra. They try hard to make everything special. I still remember a wonderful lounge server that always gave extra cherries in my son's Shirley Temple. He couldn't wait to get to the lounge and look out for her. Perfect for us to enjoy the live music and drinks, too!
Besides money, here are some other ideas to consider for tips:
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.
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Thanks for cruising by! Along with creating this website and blog, I work in an office full-time and as a mom to two energetic teenage boys. With our family's busy work and school schedule, we look forward to traveling during holidays. Although it seems that our family can never agree on anything, we do when it comes to vacations. We typically travel on cruises or stay at luxury hotels. We enjoy upscale dining, beautiful decor, excellent service, and spacious accommodations. However, we still need family friendly and comfortable. When we are not traveling, I enjoy dining out locally, as well as cooking and baking in my own kitchen.
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