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Complete Guide to Cruise Ship Gratuities for 2024

Whether your cruise line calls them daily service fees, cruise ship gratuities or crew appreciation, it’s simply tipping on a cruise. Nearly every cruise line has a name for these automatically-added service fees. 

Most cruise lines add daily gratuity fees directly to your onboard account throughout your cruise. Plus, different onboard experiences, from using your stateroom mini-bar to dining in a specialty restaurant , have an added fee.

We’ve listed each cruise line’s per-person daily gratuity. We break down tipping on a cruise to what you’ll pay depending on your stateroom category, plus any additional service fees. 

Someone to give an extra gratuity? Cruise ship bartender at Alchemy Bar on Carnival.

What are Daily Cruise Ship Gratuities?

Every cruise line has a recommended amount that each guest should pay to the crew. Holland America calls it a “Daily Service Fee.” Princess calls it “Crew Appreciation.” Basically, it’s a gratuity fee; how much you’ll pay for tips on a cruise ship. 

Some cruise lines may call this a “Guest Services Fee” on your onboard account statement. While others simply add “Gratuity” to your onboard account. 

Tipping on a Cruise Begins Before Sailaway

Savvy cruisers know that gratuities begin before you board your ship. Why? If you plan to drop off your larger pieces of luggage, be prepared to give the portside luggage handler a $2- $5 tip per bag. The amount can depend upon size, weight and amount of luggage.

If you’re a solo traveler and only have one large bag to check, a $5 tip is appropriate.

Consider this tip as baggage delivery insurance.

Ship doctor carrying my luggage. I didn't give him a cruise gratuity!

Should I Pre-Pay Cruise Gratuities?

If you want to get the daily cruise tipping fees out of the way before your cruise and avoid last-night sticker shock, I always suggest that you pre-pay gratuities.

Also, if you pre-pay your gratuities, and should the cruise line raise the cruise tip amount before you sail, you are “grandfathered-in” at the previous lower rate. 

Don’t pre-pay gratuities and if there’s an increase, you’ll pay a bit more at the end of your cruise. For one person, it’s not too bad. If you’re paying for a family, it could be a very costly added expense.

Average Daily Cruise Line Gratuity

Roughly speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $11.50 – $20.00 per passenger per day for onboard gratuities. As mentioned, cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your onboard account. 

Luxury lines like Azamara, Ponant, Regent, Silversea, Seabourn, Sea Dream, Virgin Voyages include gratuities in the cruise fare.

On cruise lines where gratuities are not included, you can monitor the charges on your shipboard bill either from the Front Desk or on your stateroom TV.

Sometimes cruise gratuities are only added at the very end of your cruise, too. Talk about sticker shock!

Cruise ship gratuities, like here aboard Wonder of the Seas, are not included in your base fare.

Cruise Line Gratuities for 2024

Here’s what you will pay per person per day for cruise ship gratuities/service fees/crew appreciation as of this writing. 

CARNIVAL:  $14.50 for Standard Staterooms; $16.50 for Suites. An 18% automatic charge is added to beverages at the bars, plus at Bonsai Sushi, Bonsai Teppanyaki and Chef’s Table restaurants.

On April 1, 2023, Carnival raised its services fees to $16.00 per person per day for those in standard staterooms. Suite passengers now pay $18.00, an increase of $1.50 per day.

CELEBRITY:   $17.50 for Standard Staterooms; $18.00 in Concierge and Aqua Class staterooms. Those booked in the Retreat do not pay a daily gratuity fee. If you purchase Celebrity’s All Included plan, the gratuity is included. But you’ll pay 20% fee if you order a drink that’s not in your beverage package (Classic or Premium). There’s an 18% charge for the spa and salon services.

COSTA:   An automatic $12.50 service fee is added onto all U.S. departures. There’s €11 on Europe departures. 15% beverage charge. Kids 4-14yrs 50% less. Under 4, no charge.

CUNARD:   With a name change from “gratuities” to “hotel and dining service charge”, you’ll pay $11.50 for Britannia Class staterooms (inside, oceanview and balcony). Then, $13.50 for those in the Grill Suites. Pay a 15% beverage charge and 12.5% for a visit to the salon or spa.

DISNEY:  $14.50 is the suggested amount for those in standard staterooms. If you’re in a suite or concierge stateroom, Disney recommends a $15.50 gratuity fee. Disney doesn’t automatically post the fees to your account, however. 15% beverage charge and 18% for spa services

HOLLAND AMERICA:   $16.00 for those in standard staterooms. Suite guests will pay an automatic $17.00 per person per day fee. Gratuity charges for beverage packages, drinks, dining room and specialty dining, and other non-included service fee amenities is 18%.

HURTIGRUTEN:   $12.00 – Suggested amount on expedition cruises. Norwegian coastal cruises there is no gratuity fee.

MSC CRUISES:  Valid until summer 2024:  $14.00 for adults 12 years and older. $7.00 for children ages 2 – 11 years. Under 2 years old, no charge. This applies to Caribbean, Canada and USA cruise departures. Cruises abroad, gratuities are in euros and at a comparable exchange rate. MSC website also states they do not recommend tipping individual members of staff.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE:   Book a Club Balcony Suite and below and pay $20.00 per person per day. Reside in The Haven or above Suites and it’s $25.00 pppd. For children under three years, there’s no daily fee. There’s also a 20% beverage charge with each non-included drink you order. On Hawai’i sailings, there’s a 4.275% pre-paid service charge GET tax.

OCEANIA:  $16.00 for guests occupying standard staterooms. For Penthouse, Oceania, Vista or Owner’s Suites with Butler Service, gratuities of $23.00 per guest, per day will be added. An 18% service gratuity is automatically added to all beverage purchases, spa services and dinner at La Reserve.

PRINCESS: Now called “Crew Appreciation” the daily fee is as follows:  inside, oceanview or balcony staterooms are $16.00. Mini-Suite and Reserve Collection staterooms are $17.00. Book a suite and you’ll pay $18.00 pppd. There’s also a “service charge” of 17% for specialty dining that’s included in the cover charge. You’ll pay 18% for individual drinks and drink packages, corkage fee and spa services. 

ROYAL CARIBBEAN:   Royal Caribbean automatic gratuity rates are $16.00 per person, per day for guests in non-suite staterooms. Book a suite and pay $18.50. Gratuities will be applied to each guest’s SeaPass account on a daily basis. There’s also an 18% charge for beverages, mini-bar items, and salon and salon purchases.

VIKING OCEAN CRUISES :  Simple here. $15.00 per day for all staterooms and a 15% beverage charge.

Queen Mary 2 front desk staff can answer any cruise ship tipping questions.

Should You Tip the Room Service Delivery Person?

Here’s another category that needs addressing; room service delivery fees.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian automatically add a room service delivery fee . Sometimes it depends on what you order. 

You can still directly offer a tip to your delivery person. He or she will appreciate it.

I always suggest to bring $1 and $5 bills from home. This way, you’re ready to personally hand it to the room service delivery person. 

Having several small bills is very handy, especially for early morning breakfast delivery. You don’t have to fumble around to find a tip. $2.00 to $5.00 is appropriate, depending on the food or how many meals ordered.

Who Gets a Share of the Gratuities?

Depending upon your cruise line and accommodation category, the amounts of who gets what may vary by a few dollars. But this should give you an idea as to where the cruise ship tips go and how it’s divvied up at the end. 

For this example, the amounts listed below are for standard (non-suite) staterooms, may vary by a dollar or so and subject to change every couple of years.

Also, these amounts will differ because the cruise lines stress that a portion of the service fees also goes to many crew members who work behind the scenes and/or towards a shared crew incidentals/emergency fund.

The top tier of crew recipients, however, are the waiters and stateroom attendants. Next, are the assistant waiters and staterooms attendants. The head waiter may or may not receive a cut in the share. 

Those hard-working crew members behind the scenes that you never see will get a small piece of the pie, too. 

Extra tipping on a cruise ship is something you can decide to do.

Cruise Tips for Those Not on the Automatic Gratuity List

Some onboard services aren’t subject to automatically-included gratuities. Since these are people that you may interact with on a daily basis, it’s nice to add them to your gratuity list.

  • Childcare provider: At your discretion, similar to your babysitter at home.
  • Bartender: Plan to frequent the same bar throughout your cruise? Give your new favorite bartender a $10 – $20 upfront tip. If you’ve had excellent service, another tip at the end of the cruise is also appreciated.
  • Wine sommelier: Based on their involvement, $10 or $20 at the end of the cruise is appropriate. Some cruise lines have done away with a sommelier and your waiter is responsible for keeping track of your wine bottles. Tip accordingly.
  • Shore excursion guide: $2.00 – $5.00. Some passengers base their shore excursion tip on 10%-20% per person based on the cost of the tour.
  • Shore excursion motor coach driver: $1.00 – $2.00, especially in Europe.
  • Spa and Salon services: The spa will automatically add a 15% – 20% gratuity. Is there a need to tip your service provider? It’s up to you.

Read more:  Seven Stateroom Locations to Avoid

Personalize your tip-giving experience.

Many cruise passengers from Britain and a few European countries where tipping isn’t a common practice, prefer to have the automatically-added tips removed from their account. This can be requested at the Reception (Purser’s) Desk.

Hopefully, these folks will then hand out cash to those who have worked hard for them during the cruise. Others simply refuse to tip. And it’s not just non-Americans, either. 

Conversely, some guests who are familiar with and follow the tipping guidelines, prefer to hand out cash-filled envelopes to crew members.

Bring a stack of small bills from home and keep separate from your other cash, to avoid the last night panic line at the Purser’s Desk.

Saying hi to the front desk staff, here it's Cunard Queen Mary 2, is one of my 12 cruise hacks for women cruising solo

You can also visit the casino cashier to break your larger bills. Bring envelopes (and thank you notes) from home in case the ship’s front desk doesn’t have any to give for tips.

When in Europe, Euros are the preferred currency for tipping on both ocean and river cruises . Or you can usually put the gratuities directly onto your onboard account and credit card.

I always leave the automatic gratuities on my account. Then on the last night, if service was very good, at dinner I’ll bring envelopes with a little extra cash for my waiter, assistant waiter and sommelier.

Whether or not to tip the Maître d’ is up to you, depending on if you’ve actually communicated with this person. 

On the last night or on the morning of departure, I always give an extra tip to my room steward when I say goodbye.

Tipping After Your Cruise

After the cruise, if you ask a porter to load your luggage and wheel it to the outdoors or motor coach, you’ll need to dip into your wallet one more time.

In many ports or after a transatlantic crossing, you’ll get through the customs and immigration line quicker if you ask a porter to help with your luggage. 

If this was helpful, please PIN for others!

Pinterest pin with smiling bartender pouring a drink.

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17 comments.

Hi Jackie, Thanks for your comment. I agree 100%!

Tipping is absolutely necessary on cruises. These people work for peanuts, and they work very hard with no days off for months. TIPS stands for To Insure Proper Service. When on land you tip at bars and restaurants, then why on the cruise ships should people question it and cheap out. When we get on the ship, we leave extra tip money in the safe. On the last night, we give the envelopes with cash in it to all the people that took such good care of us on our cruise. Be a good cruiser.

Hi Crissy, thank you for reading my article and for your question. Are you referring to the concierge that, for example, is in charge of a loyalty club lounge like the Royal Caribbean Diamond Plus or Pinnacle Club? On cruises where I’ve used the concierge’s services (for show or dinner reservations or help with shore excursions), I’ll usually give the concierge $20-$30 at the end of a seven-night cruise. On a luxury line, I would tip more, depending on how involved the person was with assisting me with reservations etc.

If you’re referring to your stateroom butler, the gratuity prices are set by the cruise line and of course you can always add to it for exemplary service.

I hope this is helpful info. Thank you again for reading the article and taking the time to ask your question. Happy cruising!

How much do you suggest tipping the suite concierges?

Hi Nick, That’s a great question and thank you for writing. Since this is your first time handling the financial ends of a cruise, I would suggest leaving the automatic gratuities on your accounts. It will make the cruise more seamless and you won’t have that last-minute scramble finding small bills to put into envelopes and then locating the people for whom the envelopes are intended. If someone goes above and beyond regular service, it’s perfectly fine to simply hand him or her an extra gratuity. This could be your room steward or bartender or waiter. Have a wonderful cruise and thank you again for writing. Sherry

I’m about to go on my first cruise with my girlfriend and not with my family. Prior to this cruise, I was never responsible for any of the “stateroom “ accounts since my father always took care of the monetary issues of the vacation. After reading the article and the responses I am confused as to whether or not to take the automatic gratuities taken off my account when I go on my cruise and just gave out envelopes at the end of my vacation. What do you think

Coworker used to work for Celebrity – they get NO SALARY from the cruise line, they rely on the gratuities. Removing the automatic gratuity and then not actually tipping at least that amount in cash is akin to participating in modern-day slavery ie expecting people to contentedly serve you for free.

Echoing Jeff’s comment about folk who stingily resent a few hundred dollars to the ones who need it most.

Hi Rachel, Very well written. Thank you for your comment. Sherry

Mandatory gratuities. I don’t know whether to characterize this as the third world corruption tax in action (being forced to pay civil servants, hospital nurses, etc. a bribe before they will do the job that they are hired and paid to do); or first world predatory capitalism in action. Pretty clearly the cruise lines have offloaded the responsibility for paying their employees a living wage (or any wage) directly onto passengers via mandatory gratuities. Why don’t they just call it “bribes” or “employee salaries” on the invoice instead of “mandatory gratuities.” It is ridiculous that on top of paying for a horrendously expensive cruise and shore excursions, you have to pay bribes/employee salaries in the form of mandatory gratuities. And in some cases you have to pay extra bribes in addition to, on top of, the mandatory gratuities. It all adds up to making a cruise a “once in a lifetime” experience rather than a repeat experience.

Hi Shannon, Congrats on your first cruise! For tipping, the amount may depend upon the cruise line and your stateroom category. After your automatic gratuities have been charged to your onboard account, you could hand your room steward $20-$30 (two people) in recognition for good service. I hope this helps. Happy cruising! Sherry

Hi Sherry, I’m going on my first cruise this summer. What’s an appropriate tip range for the room steward on a 7 day cruise?

Hi Jeff, Nicely said. I would like to think that a lot of the non-tippers or those who queue at the front desk on the last night to remove the service fee are from countries where tipping isn’t part of their culture. But not always so. Thanks for your comment. Sherry

I always wonder how someone can pay thousands for a cruise, airfare, and shore excursions and then be resentful of a few hundred dollars in tips for the lowest paid of those who make the trip enjoyable. The desire to stick it to the little people reminds me of the great quote from tax cheat, Leona Helmsley, who once said that, “Only the little people pay taxes”. The jury of” little people” had little trouble convicting her. The people who are put out with tips should find other ways to vacation.

I have my doubt where the cruise gratuities go to. You can never find out what a crew member earns or how much they actually receive out of gratuities paid and so that end I refuse to have gratuities added to my state room account. However the crew get do get paid to do a job and they knew the pay before they started, they get free food and board plus flights home and we as paying public have already paid for the service they provide. Assuming that all the gratuities are passed on. The ratio of crew member to passenger after removing the staff that are not part of the gratuity pot is about 4 or 5 to 1. On a 14 day cruise at $12.75 per person that adds up to $178.50 per person x 4 and the sum per fortnights holiday gives a bonus of $714 each. That for a 9 month contract would give them a bonus of around $13500 plus pay….Think about it

Found out that the cruise line does not give the gratuities to the crew , those tips are kept by the cruise line -ask a crew member, lies and rip off .

Hi Lisa, Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked the article and I hope it was helpful.

Thanks, Scott!

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Updated on January 12, 2024 by Sherry Laskin

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Cruzely.com | Everything Cruising

Everything About Cruise Ship Gratuities for 2024 (Amounts, Etiquette, and More)

If you’re a first-time cruiser, then there’s little doubt that you have questions about gratuities and tipping on your cruise. We’re here to help.

First of all, if you’re feeling a little confused, don’t worry — you aren’t alone. In fact, we can’t think of a place where gratuities are handled the same way as they are on a cruise ship.

cruise ship tipping

Gone are the days of simply slipping a waiter some cash or leaving a couple of bills for the room steward at the end of your trip (although you can still do that if you want).

Instead, gratuities on a cruise ship are highly automated, with most people just electing to prepay or being charged a set amount for each day on the ship.

While this is intended to make things easier, the honest truth is that having automatic gratuities can actually lead to more questions. Who gets the tips? How much is charged? What if service is bad?

If you’ve never cruised, then there is no doubt that these questions and more might be floating through your head. To help explain everything about cruise line gratuities, we’ve answered a number of common questions that will make everything clearer before you set sail.

In This Article...

Explained: What Exactly Are Cruise Ship Gratuities

While the name sounds fancy, gratuities are nothing more than a tip paid to the staff members for service during the cruise. The staff works hard to ensure that your vacation is a great one. As a thanks for their service, it’s customary to provide a tip.

The gratuities go to staff that provide passenger-facing services. That means people like the room steward who cleans your cabin and the dining staff. Some cruise lines distribute them even wider to the staff.

These days, the gratuities are set daily amounts paid by each passenger. Instead of one passenger paying a lot and another paying hardly anything, these set amounts ensure that everyone pays the same. The cruise line then distributes the payment to staff.

My Cruise Line Calls it a Crew Incentive or Service Charge. Is that the Same Thing?

Depending on your cruise line, you might find different language used than the word “gratuities.” We’ve seen these charges called tips, gratuities, crew incentives, or service charges .

No matter the language, they all end up being the same thing — a set daily charge to passengers that’s passed on to the crew.

How Much You’ll Pay in Cruise Gratuities

Paying gratuities on a cruise ship

The amount you pay will vary by cruise line, but they are all in the same ballpark. You can expect to pay about $15-$20 per person, per day. Most lines charge $16 at the moment, but it steadily rises each year.

A couple traveling together will see about $30-$40 per day in gratuities, or about $200+ over the course of a week-long cruise.

Below, we’ve listed the current tip amounts charged by major cruise lines as of the time of this writing:

  • Carnival : $16.00 per person, per day. $18.00 per person, per day for guests in suites. Guests under 2 years old don’t pay gratuity. Source .
  • Celebrity : $18.00 per person, per day. $18.50 per person, per day for those in Concierge Class and AquaClass cabins. $23.00 per person, per day for guest of The Retreat. Source .
  • Disney : $14.50 per person, per day. $15.50 per person, per day for those staying in Concierge Staterooms and Suites. Source .
  • Holland America : $16.00 per person, per day. $17.50 per person, per day for guests in suites. Source .
  • Norwegian : $20.00 per person, per day. $25.00 per person, per day staying in suites and The Haven. Guests under 3 years old don’t pay gratuity. Source .
  • MSC Cruises : $16.00 per person, per day. Guests over 2 years old and under 12 years old pay $8 per day. Passengers under 2 years old don’t pay gratuity. Source .
  • Princess : $16.00 per person, per day. $17.00 per person, per day staying in mini-suites. $18.00 per person, per day for guests in suites. Source .
  • Royal Caribbean : $16.00 per person, per day. $18.50 per person, per day for guests in suites and higher. Source .

How Are Cruise Line Gratuities Paid?

How do you actually pay tips on the cruise ship? In the past, the process used to be that the cruise line would put envelopes in your room on the last day of the cruise. Passengers would then put cash in the envelope for the crew members. These days, everything is automatic.

When you book the cruise you’ll have the ability to prepay gratuities . You are charged a set amount, per person, per day. You simply pay this extra amount in full for your cruise as part of your cruise fare.

If you don’t decide to prepay the tips, then the amount is automatically charged to your onboard account each day. When it comes time to settle your final bill at the end of the cruise, you’ll have the gratuity charges to pay as well.

Want to tip more? You can still hand out cash to individual members of the staff that you appreciate, although it’s not required.

Is Every Passenger Charged Gratuities? 

The vast majority of passengers are charged these tips, no matter if they are young, old, have special requests, eat in the main dining room, or only hit the buffet.

That said, some cruise lines make exceptions for small kids. For example, Carnival does not charge tips for kids under two years old. Norwegian Cruise Lines doesn’t charge gratuities for kids under three. However, for the most part you can expect that every passenger on your trip will see a charge.

Here are the policies for major cruise lines:

  • Carnival : Guests under 2 years old aren’t charged gratuity.
  • Disney : All guests pay gratuities at their discretion.
  • Holland America : All guests pay gratuities.
  • Norwegian : Guests under 3 years old don’t pay gratuity.
  • MSC Cruises : Guests under 2 years old don’t pay gratuity. Guests over 2 years old and under 12 years old pay half amounts.
  • Princess : All guests pay gratuities.
  • Royal Caribbean : All guests pay gratuities.

How Can I Know How Much I Will Be Charged in Tips?

When you book your cruise, the gratuity amount is usually disclosed in full for your trip, with an option to prepay the amount with your cruise fare.

If you’d like to calculate exactly what your gratuity amount will be before you book your trip, then you can use our calculator here . Simply enter the cruise line, length of trip, and the number of passengers and it will show you precisely how much you’ll be charged.

Can I Adjust the Amount of Gratuities?

For most people, the service they receive on a cruise is outstanding. They recognize that the staff goes above and beyond to make their vacation enjoyable. But that’s not always the case. With millions of passengers sailing every year, there’s inevitably going to be someone who feels they received poor service.

If that’s the case — and you decide you want to change the amount you are charged for tips — then you can do that. Gratuity charges are typically not mandatory and can be adjusted. To do so, simply head down to Guest Services on the ship to tell them that you want to change your tip amounts.

That said, it’s unusual to adjust the gratuity amount, and the staff works extremely hard to make your trip enjoyable. If you have a major issue, however, you can change your gratuity amount accordingly.

What If I Don’t Pay Gratuities on my Cruise?

With the introduction of automatic gratuities, it’s much more difficult to avoid paying tips on your cruise. That said, in theory you could request that tips be removed from your account and not tip at all.

So what will happen? As far as your trip, likely very little. The staff isn’t likely to treat you any differently or even know that you aren’t tipping (after all, some people still like to pay cash at the end of the cruise). They will still go out of their way to make your cruise comfortable and enjoyable.

That said, if you don’t pay gratuities, then it’s the staff that will be hurting — not the cruise line. The cruise line collects the tips and then distributes them accordingly. Without your contribution, the compensation for the staff members will decrease. For staff members that rely on these dollars, that can be a major blow.

How to Pay Extra (If You Want)

Want to pay more in gratuity? That’s allowed. In fact, the staff will love that you want to give them more money. If you want to pay extra, we suggest simply handing cash directly to the people you want to recognize for their service. This happens regularly for passengers feeling generous or thankful for the staff’s work during their trip. In fact, your cruise line might leave a few envelopes in your room exactly for this purpose.

Should I Prepay the Gratuity Charges?

When you book your cruise, you’ll be given the opportunity to prepay the gratuities. In this case, you can simply choose to have them lumped in with your cruise fare, paying them all at once.

The advantage is that you get your payment out of the way ahead of time. So when you’re on the ship, it’s one less charge to worry about.

On the other hand, many people choose to instead pay the gratuity charges automatically through their onboard account once on the ship . Each day there will be a gratuity charge — or a lump sum added at the end of the trip.

The advantage here is that you get to hold on to more of your money for longer. Instead of handing over the charges well in advance of your sailing, you can keep it until you’re actually on your cruise.

Bottom line is that it comes down to personal preference. You can get the charge out of the way early, or hold onto your money until you actually sail.

Who Gets the Gratuities That You Pay?

From the passenger perspective, the gratuity amount is simple — pay a set amount per person, per day, and be done.

On the cruise line side, that money gets cut up to be distributed. The tips are spread out between the room steward, dining staff, and others that have customer-facing positions. That said, cruise lines are quiet on exactly how the charges are distributed.

The good thing for passengers about gratuities is that this distribution is done automatically by the cruise line instead of having to give tips to several different staff members at the end of your cruise.

Why Aren’t Gratuities Just Included in the Price of the Cruise?

For some cruise lines (usually luxury lines), gratuities actually are included in the fare — you don’t pay anything extra apart from your cruise fare.

However, for the majority of mass market cruise lines the gratuities are extra charges on the price of your cruise. These can be a surprise to some people, especially first-time passengers.

While the cruise lines might say differently, we think that gratuities aren’t included in the headline price for marketing purposes. There’s little doubt that the extra tips can be expensive. The cost for two people on a week-long cruise can be well above $200.

Meanwhile, cruise fares are often shown as dirt-cheap prices. They are often expressed as the rate for a single person (despite having to pay for double occupancy) and don’t include port fees or taxes. Having to add in gratuity costs to these advertised rates could make them less attractive to potential cruisers.

How Often Do the Gratuity Rates Increase?

The tipping rates charged change from time to time. We’ve seen instances of multiple increases in a year and other times when rates won’t change for a year or two. Just like the price of anything else, you should expect over time for these rates to continue to rise slowly but surely. Typical increases are around $1 per person, per day and seem to happen about once a year. 

One perk of pre-paying gratuities is that if you pre-pay and the rate later increases, you aren’t charged the higher rate.

Who Else to Tip While On the Ship

Drink gratuity on a cruise ship.

You would think that paying a hefty daily tip would cover everyone on the ship. In fact, there are a couple of instances where paying additional gratuity is recommended or automatic.

First, any time that you buy a drink from the bar, you will be charged an extra tip, usually 18%-20% of the menu price, depending on the cruise line. This happens automatically and will be tacked on to the price. So a $10 menu price on a cocktail is actually around $12.

Be aware that when you sign the receipt there will be another line for an additional tip. Unless you are feeling generous, there’s no need to tip more .

Second, any time that you purchase anything service related — such as dinner at a specialty restaurant or a service at the spa — expect there to be a tip added on to the cost. Again, this normally runs around 18%, but can range from 15% to 20%, depending on the cruise line.

Finally, if you order anything from room service, then it’s expected that you give a couple of bucks to the staff member that delivers the food.

Other than that, your gratuity charges cover the housekeeping and dining staff. So when you leave the room you don’t have to put down any extra cash (unless you want to). And when you leave the dining room, no need to drop down any money on the table.

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We have just returned from a Cruise on NCL around the Canaries and Med The Crew was 65% Philipino and were on minimum wage. Although I appreciate that NCL is a USA Company that has no respect for its workers it is why they recruit from Asia, instead of paying a decent living wage they charge the passenger’s outrageous gratuities to compensate for their bad business practices. The only reason they will not add the Gratuites to the original brochure price or remove them like P&O has is then they would have to pay their crew a living wage. In the UK we tip for good service not to prop up the wages of poorly paid employees.

The employer has to pay its employees their salaries And we thé customers should not be worried about this. We pay the Cruise and that’s it. This tipping business is getting out of control and is shifting responsibility from the employers to the clients using our guilty conscience from being on a cruise? Also in the restaurants, hair salons, all businesses …this is all wrong

The baggage porters at the port do not work for the cruise line, but for the port itself. You customarily tip $1 – $2 per bag (more if you want) OR you can NOT tip and risk that the one guy you didn’t tip handles your bag with care and the bag actually makes it on the ship and doesn’t “accidently” get left behind. The risk to me isn’t worth the $5 tip we give for 2 bags. On another subject, what makes Miami the worse port? We just booked a cruise out of Miami for the first time in 10 years. What makes it “the worse”, other than your bad experience with the porters dictating what you should tip, which is 199% wrong, in my opinion.

I don’t understand why we are paying the salaries of the teams and not the cruise line. I know Tui and P&O don’t charge gratuities, it’s actually the choice of the person if they wish to give a tip. I have booked with NCL next year because I’m advised taking my money can either be pre paid or can opt out. I so hope that’s true.

I think this was an excellent way of looking. Have a set routine payout and adjust accordingly to the level of service.

This abuse of tipping allows companies to pay their workers a lower wage and pocket the profits. Whatever happened to just doing the job you’re paid for? Housekeeping is supposed to make up rooms, servers are supposed to serve food… But I’m supposed to pay a hundred bucks a day for a family of five, in the same room, and after I’ve already paid five grand for the cruise? Ridiculous.

All of you have great advice. I too pay in cash and at times have given extra. What do you do about the porters at the ports. I gave always given them money to take my bags to the ship. Tipping is out of control everywhere. In Miami the worst place to board the ship. I have stepped out of the shuttle seeing the conveyer a short distance away. The porter stands there counts the luggage and has told the price for a handling fee. Really, do they get an hourly wage that’s so low they need tip to survive? Are tips required? What the real deal? If tips are not required, do their supervisors know about this up charge?

If I travel with my family of 4, and I pay the waiting $20 ($5 per person) staff each time we eat in the dining room, which would be for dinner only, over 7 days, that would $140. Then if I pay another $5 per person each day for room clean-up, that’s another $140, for a total of $280. I think these amounts are reasonable. But RCCL wants to charge $448. That doesn’t seem fair.

Thank you! You were extremely helpful for my upcoming cruise!

When we researched tipping policy on a recent Princess cruise, we found that the cruise line pools that money and uses it for bonuses, etc. over all its ships, not just the cruise we were on. I find this to be an outrageous ploy to hide the true costs of a cruise. We nearly always opt out of tips and tip whom we want directly.

We are cruising with NCL later this year & we have a beverage package included & gratuities included does that mean we will not pay any more gratuities at end of cruise?

Yes, except if you are sailing in the U.S., then NCL tacks on the gratuities on the amount of the beverage package even though the package is free. So the $99 per day package is free, but you are charged about $20 per day still for the drink package gratuities.

I Agree, we always opt out and give tips to our steward and waiter/waitress at the end of the cruise.

We always hand our tips in cash to the person whose service we wish to commend. We never use a credit card for our on ship account. We deposit cash to use for our onboard account. If gratuities show on our account when we settle at cruise end, we ask for them to be removed. We want the people who earned the tip to receive, not the lousy,greedy, uninvolved government! We rarely buy anything on the ship of value. We use prepaid drink cards to purchase beverages.

Great advice. This is my first cruise. I didnt know I could have the tips removed from my room charges. I detest the idea of: A. not knowing who my tip is going to B. Paying a tip twice C. Paying a standardized tip for poor service. I want the employee to know they received a tip from me. Not to split them across all the employees equally. All service isn’t created equally.

What sucks is the workers then have to pay a tax on the “tip” where we would rather give the workers a “gift” of cash.

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Tipping on a Cruise Ship – The Ultimate Guide to Cruise Gratuities

Tipping on a Cruise Ship – The Ultimate Guide to Cruise Gratuities

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Cruise line tipping policies vary from one cruise company to another. However, there are a few common practices and guidelines. Even though cruise gratuities technically aren’t mandatory, they are customary on most mainstream cruise lines.

If you’re new to cruising, you might be wondering who to tip on a cruise, how much to tip, and exactly how onboard gratuities work.

I’ve got you covered! I’ve been cruising for over 15 years, and the practice of tipping on a cruise has certainly evolved. Cruise lines have implemented automatic gratuities, options to prepay gratuities and some popular cruise lines have begun including tips in your cruise fare .

In this post, I’ll be going through the cruise tipping policies by cruise line and answer some of the most common questions people have about gratuities on a cruise.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click and buy that I may make a commission, at no cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

cruise ship tipping

How Gratuities Work on a Cruise

If you’re going on a cruise, you can expect daily gratuities to be charged automatically to your onboard account. This amount varies by cruise line, however the average daily gratuity is $14-15 US per day, per passenger for a standard cabin and $17-18 a day for guests in suites. Cruise gratuities are divided among your cruise cabin steward, waiters and other crew members who work as support behind the scenes.

Some cruise lines refer to the gratuities as a crew incentive or a service fee, but essentially these are tips for crew members that are used to augment their low wages. In addition to the automatic daily gratuities, a tip or service fee of 15-20% is added to drinks and/or drink packages as well as spa services on a cruise.

cruise ship tipping

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cruise ship tipping

Can You Prepay Cruise Ship Gratuities?

You also have the option to prepay your gratuities before your cruise. This is a convenient option for cruise passengers that don’t want to think about extra charges once onboard. We like to prepay gratuities when we make our final payment for our cruise, but this is optional.

Read more: Should You Prepay Gratuities on a Cruise or Pay Onboard?

Can You Pay Tips in Cash?

cruise ship tipping

If you don’t prepay your gratuities, they will be added to your onboard account. Typically, this is associated with your credit card which you’ll be prompted to set up when you complete your online check in. However, if you prefer to pay off your account and daily gratuities in cash, you can do so by going to guest services.

When you book your cruise, you’ll be charged your cruise fare, port fees and taxes. However, your cruise vacation expenses won’t end there. You’ll want to factor in the cruise line gratuity charge, sometimes called on board service charges (Norwegian Cruise Line) .

How Much Should You Budget for Cruise Gratuities?

The average daily gratuity on a cruise is $14-15 USD per person  – approximately $30 per day, per couple in a cabin. A couple should budget about $200 in gratuities for a 7 day cruise. Most cruise lines charge for children as well, although there are some exceptions for very young children on select cruise lines.

Cruise Tipping Guidelines by Cruise Line

Wondering how much gratuities are on a cruise? Here is a list of the daily gratuity charges by major cruise lines.

Prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted and cruise line gratuities may be referred to a daily service charge or crew incentive.

Carnival Cruises

cruise ship tipping

Carnival’s daily gratuities are $13.99 per person, per day for guests in standard cabins. $15.99 per person per day for guests in suites. There is no charge for children under 2 years of age.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises now includes daily gratuities in it’s Always Included cruise fare.

Costa Cruises

On Costa Cruises, service charges of $12.50 per person, per day are charged for cruises departing from the US. Cruises in Europe, World cruises and those departing from a non-US Caribbean port charge 10 Euros per person, per day. Other itineraries may differ. Please check Costa’s website for details.

Service charges for guests ages 4-14 are half of the adult rate. Children under 4 are not charged.

Cunard ‘s daily gratuities are set at $11.50 per person, per day for guests in standard cabins. The cost is $13.50 per person, per day for guests in Grill Class suites.

Disney Cruise Line

cruise ship tipping

Disney cruises has a suggested daily gratuity charge of $13.50 per person, per day for all guests.

Holland America Line

Holland America’s daily gratuity is $14.50 per person, per day for guests in standard cabins and $16.00 per person, per day for guests in suites.

MSC Cruises

The service charge on MSC Cruises is $12.50 per person, per day for guests in standard cabins. Children aged 2-11 will be charged $6.25 per day. There is no service charge applied for children under 2 years of age.

Please note that gratuities are charged in US dollars for Caribbean, US and Canada cruises. Cruises in Europe are charged in Euros. There are different service charges for certain itineraries. Please check MSC’s website for details.

Oceania Cruises

The gratuities on Oceania Cruises are $16.00 per person, per day for most staterooms and $23.00 per person, per day for guests in suites.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line charges a daily service fee of $15.50 per person, per day for guests in standard cabins and $18.50 per person per day for guests in suites and The Haven. There is no charge for children under 3 years of age.

Princess Cruises

cruise ship tipping

Princess Cruises will automatically charge a crew incentive of $14.50 per person, per day for guests in inside ocean view and balcony cabins. The gratuity is $15.50 per person, per day for guests in mini-suites and $16.50 per person, per day for guests in suites.

Princess Cruises also has the Princess Plus fare, which includes gratuities or the crew incentive, Medallion Net wifi and Princess’ premium beverage package .

Royal Caribbean

cruise ship tipping

Royal Caribbean’s daily automatic gratuities are set at $14.50 per person, per day for guests in standard cabins and $17.50 per person, per day for guests in suites.

Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises gratuities are $15.00 per person, per day for all staterooms.

Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises daily gratuities are $12.00 per person, per day for all cabin types.

cruise ship tipping

Cruise Lines that Include Gratuities

With the exception of a couple cruise lines on this list, most cruises that include gratuities are luxury lines.

Luxury cruise lines have a higher upfront cost than most popular cruise lines, however they’ll often include many valuable extras. While each cruise line is different, many include alcoholic drinks, soda and specialty coffee, gratuities, specialty dining and some shore excursions.

Here’s a list of cruise lines that include gratuities:

Something to note is that although daily gratuities aren’t charged, there may be a service fee or tip added to certain services onboard.

  • Celebrity Cruises 

Celebrity Cruises isn’t a luxury cruise line, however it is a top premium cruise line that markets itself as “modern luxury”. When booking a Celebrity cruise, tips are included in their Always Included program. A cruise only rate may be available on select cruises, which would not include gratuities.

  • Crystal Cruises
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Seadream Yacht Club
  • Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages does a lot of things differently than it’s mainstream peers. One of these differences is that cruise gratuities are included.

Cruise Gratuities: Who to Tip on a Cruise and How Much

When paying the automatic daily gratuities, cruise lines tell us this amount gets divided by your cabin attendant, waiter and other dining staff. In addition, a portion of the tips are given to those who work behind the scenes or may serve you in different areas of the ship. 

cruise ship tipping

Are there additional tips charged onboard a cruise?

Gratuities or a service charge are added onto some onboard services. This includes drinks at the bar or cafe, spa services and salon visits. A tip of 15%-20% is common, so check the bottom of your bill before adding an additional amount.

Who Else Should You Tip on a Cruise?

While not obligatory, there are some of the workers you may want to recognize with a tip when cruising.

cruise ship tipping

Keep a few dollars handy to tip the cruise porters on embarkation day . The porters will assist with your luggage and it’s customary to tip for their service.

We like to keep a few dollars handy for this purpose as we board our cruise ship .

Room Service

You may want to give a small tip to the person who delivers your room service order.

cruise ship tipping

Do you have a favorite bartender? You may want to give them a tip per drink or a larger tip at the end or even the beginning of your cruise. There will be an 18-20% tip automatically charged when ordering an individual drink, so no need to add more in most cases.

Specialty Restaurant Waiters

If you opt for a specialty restaurant, the tip isn’t usually included. It’s customary to tip the waiters generously at specialty restaurants.

Shore Excursion Staff

If you go on a tour or shore excursion, it’s nice to tip the driver or shore excursion staff if you’ve appreciated their service. Have some small bills handy for these times.

Youth staff

Some cruise lines point out that you may wish to tip the kid’s club staff. If your kids have had a great time and you’ve appreciated the service, a few extra dollars are surely appreciated.

cruise ship tipping

Cruise Gratuities Frequently Asked Questions

Can i opt out of paying gratuities or have them adjusted.

Most cruise lines allow guests to remove automatic gratuities . You can do so by going to guest services and making the request. You can also adjust your gratuities up or down. If you choose to pay tips in cash, there are usually some envelopes available at the guest service desk.

There are some exceptions. Norwegian Cruise Line has onboard service charge will is charged automatically for guests 3 and up, and distributed among staff that serve you in various ways. Rather than reducing the amount payed, they point out on their website that they will work to resolve any service issues experienced.

The fact is, the tips that crew get from passengers make up a good part of their wage. Crew members work really hard and make the difference between an ok and a memorable cruise vacation. Since this is the current pay structure for most major cruise lines, removing tips really affects the cruise line workers.

I go into more detail about this topic in this post:  Can You Refuse to Pay Gratuities on a Cruise?

cruise ship tipping

Is tipping on a cruise mandatory?

“Do I need to tip on a cruise or pay service charges” , is a question that comes up often. Although gratuities aren’t mandatory, and in most cases you can go to guest services and have the amount adjusted, most cruise lines do tend to discourage it.

Cruise Tipping Etiquette – Should I give more than the recommended or suggested amounts?

As much as some people opt to remove gratuities on their account, some give extra. If you feel that you want to tip above and beyond the cruise tipping guidelines, go for it.

This is a personal decision and I’m not sure if there’s a tipping etiquette for it. If you feel that you wish to give an extra amount to anyone who you feel has done a great job, they will be appreciative.

What I can say, on a personal level, is that we have found that the majority of cabin stewards, waiters, assistant waiters and ship staff have given us amazing service. In  fact, I think most would agree that cruise line staff make a huge difference in the cruise experience.

What to do if you’re not satisfied with the service on your cruise

cruise ship tipping

This may be rare, however if there’s a problem with service or you have a complaint on your cruise , that you should bring this to the attention of the staff member, supervisor, or guest services when it occurs. The worst thing you can do is wait until you are home from your cruise to address it. It’s unlikely to do any good by this point.

In reality, the cruise staff on board want you to be satisfied, so this is the time address a problem. Not only will it improve your cruise experience, but you’re also allowing the cruise ship staff the opportunity to make things right.

Video: Cruise Gratuities Explained

Here’s a video which answers many questions that you may have about cruise gratuities and tipping on a cruise ship. It includes who to tip, who not to tip, and some tips to help as you plan your cruise vacation.

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Final Thoughts on Tipping on a Cruise & a Guide to Cruise Gratuities

In this post, we’ve gone over how tipping works on a cruise. In addition, we’ve included a list of daily gratuities per cruise line and who else you may wish to tip. As a cruise passenger, you want to be aware and set your budget expectations to include these amounts for the cruise ship staff.

What do you think about cruise line gratuities and service onboard? Do you prefer to prepay your gratuities or to pay in cash? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy cruising!!

P.S. If you found this helpful, please don’t keep it to yourself ;-). Please share on Facebook or PIN to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

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18 Comments

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Could you possibly make your articles printable? Our Hawaiian cruise in April will be the first we’ve been on in 15 years, so, obviously, things have changed a lot. I love reading your blog and learning, but I don’t often have time to sit down at the computer to read. It would be so helpful if I could print just the blog to read at random times–car trip, etc. Any chance of that?

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I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog and find the posts helpful and appreciate the feedback.

Having the articles in a printable format is a really interesting idea. I’ll definitely look into it and see how I can best do that on this site.

Your cruise in April sounds amazing! Is it the 15 day or the 7 day from Honolulu? Both beautiful cruise options!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment!

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Hi – this was helpful, thank you. We did prepaid gratuities, and then I also see that bar tabs will have the auto 18% added so I feel like it won’t be necessary to leave an extra tip on the bar tab. But I also feel like people will think I’m rude for not doing so – in reality tho, they are already being tipped 18%. Thoughts? Thanks!

So glad this was helpful. You’re right – an 18% gratuity is added each time you purchase a drink. I don’t think anyone will think you’re rude for not tipping over and above this. Of course, as always, it’s at your discretion.

Have a great cruise!

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Still confused . We sail Celebrity and opt to prepay gratuities. However ,usually you can have at least 2 cabin stewards. Given that most , all ? Are very professional, what should a tip look like at the end of a 10 day cruise?

If you’re booked with Celebrity’s Always Included, the gratuities are included. If you want to give an additional tip to your cabin steward (or two), I’m sure it’s very appreciated. The amount is very personal. I have a video on my YouTube channel about this and people have commented amounts they give so his could be helpful (just check YouTube and search cruise gratuities Life Well Cruised)

Have a great cruise,

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It’s important to note that, especially on the luxury lines, tipping is not expected. After 50 cruises I know they really mean it! Also, if free gratuities are an amenity, you’re not expected to go beyond it unless someone goes way beyond what’s normally expected. The best advice I can give Americans and Canadians, if they are tipping questions arise either on the ship or ashore, follow the lead of Aussie’s and ask their advice. Most are experienced cruisers and, as a group, they’re very well-liked. They will seldom steer you wrong.

Great points about luxury lines and that gratuities are included. As for tipping above and beyond prepaid gratuities, I agree completely that there is no expectation. Thanks so much for your input on this.

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We’ve been on 4 cruises with our 5th. one in 2023. We usually do the prepaid tipping and also give some extra at the end of our cruises. The thing that gets me so mad is we never were approached by the Maitre’d…..except the last night when the extra tipping comes in. We never gave him anything. I think it’s pretty bad when that’s the only night they make their presence be known. I’m not expecting him to kiss our butts, but come on.

That’s a funny thing that we’ve experienced in the past as well. I have to say, we simply prepay or leave the tips as is, so I really don’t pay attention these days. Our last few cruises on Celebrity and Princess, we actually had lots of interaction from the Maitre’d and we did appreciate the work they did.

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Cruise line employees work their butts off to earn those tips. They are always pleasant and willing to do whatever they can for you. I always prepay the gratuities. I also tip constantly while on the cruise. The staff learns real quick who tips extra, and who does not. They will do extra for you after they realize you are a tipper! You will get great service either way. If you tip extra, you will get FABULOUS service! I give my room steward $5 at the very beginning of the cruise. That lets him / her know upfront that we tip, and there is more to come at the end of the cruise!

Cruise line employees are extremely hard working, I agree, and they go above and beyond so often. I don’t tend to tip in advance, so this is an interesting way of doing things.

Thanks for sharing.

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I agree with Kelli. Having worked in the service industry, if people want to extra tip, then doing it at the beginning is the way to go. You just can’t help being extra nice or helpful when you know the people are going to be extra nice to you, ie the extra tips. If you wait to the end to tip, then the servers won’t know and you possibly missed out of knowing how wonderful the cabin steward or others could be. However, extra tipping and being a jerk do not go hand in hand. Extra tipping doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk, but if you are a jerk, you had better extra tip!

Love this! Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

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We always tip cruise staff but in cash not automatic tipping. We also always tip bar staff even when drinks are complimentary. Our concern is that the cruise lines take advantage by paying lower wages and then guilting passengers into higher tips. The industry should pay fair wages so that our tips are in fact tips and not wages.

Thanks for sharing your view on this. The cruise industry has worked this way for a long time, although the automatic gratuities are only the last few years. I would imagine we’d see prices increase overall if they did this, but perhaps it amounts to this anyway.

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Could you please go into tipping for the haven ncl staff , butlers and more. Your articles are so helpful at navigating the cruise world.

This is a good question. I do think it’s a very personal choice, but we can talk about this in a future video for sure!

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Should Be Cruising

Tipping on a Cruise Ship: What You Need to Know About Cruise Gratuities

By: Author Carrie Ann Karstunen

Posted on Published: July 26, 2021  - Last updated: June 3, 2022

Tipping on a Cruise Ship: What You Need to Know About Cruise Gratuities

If you’re new to cruising, or it’s been a while since your last cruise, it’s important to know about cruise tipping guidelines before you sail. Tipping on a cruise ship isn’t mandatory, but it is customary, and many crew members rely on tips as a large part of their income.

I’ll explain everything you need to know about cruise gratuities—from who you should tip, how much you should tip, and who you should never tip on a cruise ship.

Tipping crew serving drinks on a cruise ship

Why is tipping on a cruise even a thing?

The practice of tipping is controversial, even in the United States where paying tips is part of the culture. In some service industries where wages are substandard, customers are expected to pay a gratuity, typically 15 to 20% of the bill, to augment the workers’ low hourly wages.

Tipping is supposed to encourage excellent customer service from workers, because (in theory at least) customers will tip generously for friendly, prompt service.

Most mainstream cruise lines have their headquarters in the US. So they follow this model with many of their crew members who perform services for passengers. Tipped crew on many cruise lines include housekeeping, dining, and laundry workers.

Cruise lines pay these workers very low wages for the long hours that they work each day, and expect that passengers will tip to increase the crew members’ earnings to a reasonable rate.

So why don’t cruise lines just increase the price of fares, and pay their crew a living wage with a decent hourly rate?

Cruise lines typically flag their ships in countries with lax employment laws. They pay their crew (usually recruited from countries with limited economic opportunities) per contract, not by the hour.

If mainstream cruise lines decided to abolish tipping and pay all crew members a reasonable rate per hour, they would have to significantly raise the cost of cruise fares.

Many luxury all-inclusive cruise lines include gratuities in their cruise fares, or have a “tips neither expected nor required” policy. But the sticker price of their fares tends to scare off many budget-minded travelers. However, you might end up paying a similar total price on a mainstream line when you factor in gratuities, drink packages, shore excursions, and the like.

For many cruises that operate in the Australian market where tipping isn’t part of the culture, automatic gratuities aren’t added on to passenger bills. Instead, passengers can tip—or not—at their own discretion.

What are automatic gratuities?

Automatic gratuities, also called autogratuities or autograts, is the cruise term for the system most cruise lines now use to simplify tipping for passengers. Some cruise lines refer to these tips as a “service charge”.

Until fairly recently, cruise passengers customarily tipped only in cash, in person. Cruisers would have to tip each of their service personnel (the cabin steward, restaurant servers, bartenders, etc.) separately, near the end of the cruise.

Now, with automatic gratuities, the process is much simpler and you don’t need to carry all that cash. The cruise line assesses a daily fee and divides the money among the tipped crew.

With the autograt system, many crew members who rarely received tips before now get a share—like the laundry or kitchen staff on some cruise lines.

On the flip side, passengers have less control over where their money goes with autogratuities. You can’t choose how much each crew member gets.

You may also like: A Cruise Glossary: Cruise Terms You Should Know

How much are automatic gratuities on a cruise?

Most mainstream cruise lines will charge you about $14 to $15 per person per day for automatic gratuities. Each passenger is charged for these tips, including kids. However, a few lines don’t add autogratuities for babies and toddlers under age two or three.

Here are some daily automatic gratuity costs for several popular ocean cruise lines in USD (prices accurate as of summer 2021):

  • Carnival:  $13.99 per person, per day ($15.99 for suite guests). Gratuities waived for kids under 2.
  • Celebrity: now includes gratuities in the fare. (guests who booked prior to November 17, 2020 will pay $15.50 per person, per day ($16.00 for Concierge Class and AquaClass guests, and $19.00 for The Retreat).
  • Disney: $40.50 per person for 3-day cruises. $54.00 per person for 4-day cruises. $94.50 per person for 7-day cruises. (This equates to $13.50 per person, per day)
  • Holland America:  $14.50 per person, per day ($16.00 for suite guests).
  • MSC Cruises:  $12.50 per person, per day. Kids 2-11 pay $6.25 per day. Gratuities waived for kids under 2.
  • Norwegian: $15.50 per person, per day ($18.50 for guests in suites, Concierge, and The Haven). Gratuities waived for kids under 3.
  • Princess: $14.50 per person, per day ($15.50 for mini-suite guests and $16.50 for suite guests).
  • Royal Caribbean: $14.50 per person, per day ($17.50 for guests in grand suites and above).
  • Viking Ocean: $15.00 per person, per day
  • Virgin Voyages: includes gratuities in the fare.

Should you prepay automatic gratuities?

Unlike with the deals you can get for prepaying for drink packages and some other add-ons, you won’t get a discount for prepaying your automatic gratuities. But many cruisers (including myself) choose to prepay to avoid a big charge at the end of the cruise.

I like knowing that my bill is all set before I sail! The only charges that should appear on my final tab are any extras I decided to add on during the voyage.

But if you don’t want to prepay, that’s fine too. The cruise line will assess your fee each day, then they’ll charge your credit card on file at the end of the cruise.

Can you remove or adjust autogratuities on a cruise?

On most cruise lines that collect automatic gratuities, you’re able to remove or adjust the charges by visiting the passenger services desk. One notable exception is Norwegian Cruise Line . On NCL, passengers who don’t want to pay autograts need to file a claim for reimbursement after the cruise.

For other cruise lines, you’ll be able to adjust your autogratuities at the Passenger Services desk. You can raise them, lower them, or remove them altogether.

What you can’t do is adjust or remove automatic gratuities for a specific crew member.

You may also like: 26 Hidden Cruise Fees You Should Know About

Why you shouldn’t remove autogratuities

Most cruisers wouldn’t dream of removing the automatic gratuities. It’s a part of our cruise vacation cost and helps the hardworking crew make a living. Tipped crew make the majority of their income from gratuities!

But let’s say you have a negative experience with your server in the dining room, or you feel that the cabin steward isn’t doing their job. You might want to remove their tips as a punishment for poor service.

Since you can’t remove the automatic tips for just that one crew member, removing or lowering your automatic gratuities hurts all the tipped employees. A better solution is to have a discreet word with the crew member’s supervisor about your concerns. You’ll likely get much better service by doing that instead of just removing the tip!

Other cruisers, often people who remember cruising before autogratuities, prefer tipping crew in cash. They might feel that it gives them more control over tipping, rewarding the crew based on their level of service. Others just prefer the face-to-face experience of handing over a cash tip.

However, cruisers don’t always see all of the crew who work behind the scenes for them, like the kitchen and laundry workers. Often, these crew members are part of the tip pool, and they lose part of their expected income each time a passenger removes autogratuities.

If you enjoy tipping in cash, consider giving an extra cash tip to the crew members who gave you excellent service on your cruise.

Who else should you tip on a cruise ship?

Tipping for room service on a cruise ship

Automatic gratuities cover just about every tipped crew member on the ship. There are a couple of exceptions, though. If you order room service, it’s customary to give the person that delivers your tray about $1-2 per meal.

If your kids had a great time at the kids’ club on board, giving a tip at the end of the cruise to their favorite staff members is always appreciated.

It’s also a nice gesture to tip the maître d’ or head waiter in the main dining room, especially if they were helpful with special menus or seating arrangements.

Do you need to tip for drinks, meals, or snacks on a cruise?

Cruise lines usually add a service charge, usually 15-18%, to all beverages that aren’t complimentary. If you don’t have a drink package, they’ll add the price of each drink plus the service fee to your onboard tab. There’s no need to add an extra tip for each drink.

With a beverage package, you’ve already paid the service fee when you bought the package, so the tip is included.

In the main dining room, buffet, specialty restaurants, and other dining venues, your tip is included in the automatic gratuities.

Some cruise lines employ a sommelier or wine steward in the main dining rooms, who isn’t included in the tipping pool. $10-20 at the end of the cruise is a nice gratuity for their service.

In for-a-fee specialty dining restaurants, you might see a spot on your bill (if you get one) to add a tip. Tips are either covered by the autogratuities or there’s a service fee tacked on, so you don’t need to tip again. You can always add extra for exceptional service, though! Just remember that a cash tip goes to your server, and a charged tip gets added to the tip pool.

If you have a special in-room dining experience, like Ultimate Balcony Dining on Princess (which I highly recommend, by the way), it’s a nice gesture to add an extra cash tip for the servers who brought your meals up and made your dinner a special experience.

Do you need to tip at the spa on a cruise?

Some cruise ship spas, like those on NCL and Royal Caribbean, add on a service fee or gratuity, usually about 18%. Check your bill after your services to see if your tip is already included. If not, 15-20% of the bill (excluding any products that you buy) is customary.

Should you tip extra on a cruise? How much?

Many cruisers opt to give extra cash tips to crew members who made their vacation that much more enjoyable. You might want to reward your cabin steward, favorite bartender or MDR server, or any other crew member you think did a great job.

The amount you tip is up to you—I generally give about $5 per person per day to my stateroom steward. For favorite bartenders or waitstaff, I give about $20 to each for a seven-day cruise.

Some cruisers swear by tipping at the beginning of the cruise to ensure excellent service. That’s up to you! I prefer waiting to see how the service is before deciding on an extra tip, but that’s just my preference.

You can just hand over folded cash, or use the tip envelopes you’ll find in your stateroom or at Passenger Services. It’s a good idea to hand over your tips the day before disembarkation. On disembarkation day, you probably won’t find your fave crew members in their usual spots!

What currency should you use to tip on a cruise?

When you’re tipping in cash on a cruise, it’s always best to use the official currency on the ship. Giving service staff tips in a currency they can’t easily use means they’ll have to pay a fee to change your cash tip into another currency.

Most cruise ships have ATMs, and some have currency exchanges on board. Or you can plan ahead and take enough cash in the correct currency to cover any tips you might want to pay.

Tip: Want to avoid paying hefty ATM fees on the cruise ship to get cash for tips? Some cruise lines allow you to use your cruise card to deposit money in the casino. Then you can take your deposit out in cash at the casino cashier.

Who should you never tip on a cruise?

When you’re on a cruise, you shouldn’t tip the captain or the officers. These cruise line employees are highly compensated, and offering a tip isn’t necessary. Even if you try, they’ll likely graciously turn down your offer.

passengers meeting the captain on  a cruise ship

You also shouldn’t tip the cruise director, the entertainment staff, or any independent entertainers like musical guests, comedians, or magicians. One exception is the piano player in the lounge—most accept tips for song requests or if you enjoyed their music.

What else can you do to show the crew your appreciation?

If there’s a crew member who goes above and beyond for you, there are some other ways to show your appreciation. Beyond leaving a cash tip for your cabin steward, or favorite server or bartender, some other small gestures will go a long way.

Near the end of your cruise, you’ll probably receive some comment cards in your stateroom that you can use to leave feedback about a member of the crew. You don’t need to write a novel—just a few sentences about how the crew member made your cruise even better will do.

These feedback cards mean a lot and sometimes lead to a stellar crew member getting a raise or even a promotion!

If you don’t see the cards in your room, ask at the Passenger Services desk, or leave the feedback in your post-cruise survey. (You’ll often see a survey pop up in your email inbox a few days after your cruise.)

You can also leave a small gift for your favorite crew member. Just remember that cruise ship crew live in very tight quarters, without much room for personal belongings. So something edible (maybe a favorite candy or snack from your home region?) will be more appreciated than something they would have to store.

But honestly, they’d prefer cash over a gift basket—no matter how yummy your treats are!

Other people you should tip during your cruise

During your cruise vacation, you’ll probably receive services from other people who aren’t cruise line employees—but you might not realize it! Here are some other people you should tip during your cruise.

1. Luggage porters

On embarkation day of my very first cruise, a porter came up to my taxi and whisked my luggage away, seconds after I got out of the car. I had prepaid my gratuities, and I assumed the porter was a cruise line employee, so I didn’t tip him.

Later I learned that the porters outside of the cruise terminal are not cruise line employees at all! In North America, most cruise terminal porters are longshoremen. At some North American ports, you’ll see signs stating that the porters do not accept tips. However, most cruisers do tip them for their service.

About $1-2 (or the equivalent in local currency) per bag is fine.

You may also like: Eight Things That Will Surprise First Time Cruisers

2. Shore excursion guides and drivers

Even if you prepay for your shore excursions directly through the cruise line, it’s customary to tip your tour guides and drivers in cash after each excursion. Cruise lines just have contracts with their preferred shore excursion companies—the guides and drivers aren’t employees of the line.

Tipping tour guide and driver on a Cruise

Most cruisers tip anywhere from $2-$10 per person (or the equivalent in the local currency) to the tour guide, and hand a couple of dollars to the driver. You can adjust this based on the length and complexity of the tour. I’d give a much larger tip to a knowledgeable tour guide who led us on an intensive nine-hour experience compared to a guide who did a basic three-hour city walking tour.

If your shore excursion includes lunch, you generally don’t have to leave a tip—the tour company takes care of the lunch bill.

But if your excursions include free time where you eat lunch on your own, it’s a good idea to research the local tipping customs in the countries you’ll be visiting before your cruise.

You may also like: Do You Need to Bring Cash on a Cruise?

What do you think about the custom of tipping on a cruise ship? Do you tip above and beyond the automatic gratuities? Or do you remove them altogether? Let me know in the comments below!

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cruise ship tipping

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Alex Quenault

Tuesday 9th of August 2022

Thank you, Carrie Ann. This is an excellent article, which really clearly explains all the issues around tipping. In the UK, tips are completely discretionary and are only to reward service that goes above the normal expectations. For this reason, I have always found being expected to pay tips, on an already expensive cruise, very irritating and have sometimes had them reduced at the service desk. Your article has done a lot to change my philosophy and increase my understanding of why there is this charge and what the implications of reducing it might be.

Thursday 11th of August 2022

Hi Alex, thanks so much for your lovely comment. It really made my day! The tipping culture in North America and on cruise ships is flawed, but (as you mentioned) reducing or eliminating tips only hurts the hardworking crew and their families - and does nothing to change the system. I'm so glad you found my post! Happy cruising :)

Janet Patrick

Sunday 28th of November 2021

I ALWAYS tip extra to the outstanding employees on every cruise I have ever taken. I just arrived on board for our 6th cruise, after my 5th cruise just 2 months ago. Our Stateroom Attendant on cruise #5 was fabulous, and I showed my appreciation by leaving him (thanks Mahbob!) a $200 gratuity on top of my prepaid gratuities. I also tipped my wait staff very generously in the main dining room and specialty restaurants, as well as my drink waiters! These kind, helpful, generous, employees work extremely hard to make sure guests like myself have a fabulous time, and since I do, the very least I can do is show my appreciation in a way that benefits them the most!

Cheers to the Staff of RCCL!

~ janet RCCL Crown & Anchor Diamond Member at the end of this cruise!

Monday 29th of November 2021

Hi Janet! I'm sure the crew appreciated your extra tips - they all work so hard! Congrats on reaching Diamond :) Happy cruising!

cruise ship tipping

cruise ship tipping

Gratuties and tipping on a Cruise ship. A Guide to Extra Tips for Crew Members & Staff

To tip (extra), or not to tip, the dilemma on a cruise.

Bring up the topic of tips & tipping on a cruise ship and you’ll get a wide variety of recommendations and no shortage of opinions on both ends of the gratuity spectrum. For some people, even the mere mention of how much to tip on a cruise evokes panic and stress. We’re here to help out with that a little.

Before we get into tipping etiquette when you go on a cruise vacation, it’s important to point out that attitudes on extra tipping are largely cultural and vary greatly. Americans have tipping engrained in their DNA whereas Europeans don’t consider tipping a requirement. For Europeans, it is more of a gesture of simple “thanks” no matter how small the amount is.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to tipping extra on a cruise. It’s a very individual choice.

The most compelling comment I’ve heard regarding tipping crew members on a cruise was from a fellow passenger from the UK. She simply stated that everyone’s economic situations are different. Someone from the UK who has saved 2 years for a cruise vacation and has paid for gratuities during booking won’t necessarily have significant extra resources to continue tipping people and will likely believe the cruise line-imposed gratuities are sufficient. Conversely, an American passenger will normally budget extra money for their cruise to accommodate additional gratuities while on board.

Most, if not all, major cruise lines impose automatic gratuities now. These are in addition to the cruise fare, port taxes, and general taxes. These automatic gratuities or ‘service charges’ are split, in theory, among all service staff on the ship as well as behind-the-scenes staff. These extra service charges don’t come cheap either! For your average cruise, expect to spend $15 per passenger per DAY. For a family of 4 on a seven-day vacation, this adds up to an extra $420 to the vacation cost.

Each cruise line distributes these gratuities differently among front-of-house and back-of-house staff, so it’s impossible to really know how much of this mandatory service fee goes to each person you come in contact with every day.

All of this complicates the question of which crew members to tip extra and when it’s appropriate to tip on a cruise. So we have put together a quick guide on what we have experienced in 20 years of cruising when it comes to tips for the crew.

If you’re a first-time cruiser reading this guide, check out our 20 great tips for first-time cruisers !

On a Cruise, Who to Tip & how much :

Most importantly, when you spend money for anything on most cruises, there is generally an automatic gratuity added to the bill. First and foremost, if you’re feeling generous and want to leave an extra tip for a service, don’t accidentally double-tip! Inspect your receipt before adding any gratuities. Beyond that, don’t feel pressured or obligated for additional tipping. Reserve it for exceptional service if you feel the need.

Should you tip a room steward / cabin attendant?

Dig through Facebook groups and Reddit threads about tipping on a cruise, and how to handle extras for a room steward. It’s a hot topic! While most cruise lines have a per-passenger daily gratuity added to the cruise fare, many people assume that is for the steward exclusively. In reality that is a shared gratuity. This leads a lot of people to give additional money to their stewards. I’ve talked to so many passengers over the years and the consensus is that giving SOMETHING extra is the norm. What that SOMETHING extra amounts to is so subjective. Here’s how we do it:

If a steward goes out of their way to introduce themselves at the start of the cruise and makes sure you have a bucket of ice or some other small convenience available immediately, generally on the first day we’ll give them $10-$20. While many people will feel like this is ‘greasing the palm’ of the cabin steward, it’s showing appreciation for their proactive attempt at starting the cruise right! Beyond that, if everything is exceptionally clean and we are provided the expected service, mid-cruise we generally contribute another $10-$20 +/- and at the end of the cruise, if the steward has been attentive and performed ABOVE expectations, and maybe makes a towel animal here and there, we’ll leave more! Generally, the total adds up to about $50-$75 for a 7-day cruise in addition to the prepaid gratuities.

However, If we enter our cabin with a steward nowhere to be seen and we don’t ask for anything above basic service, we’ll sometimes leave nothing extra. This will be controversial to many experienced cruisers. So let me put it in perspective.

As a rule, we generally are very clean and tidy up our cabin. On some cruises, we ask for no service for several nights and sometimes never see the steward. I believe we are doing as much or more than financially rewarding them by not asking for anything at all.

Just remember the concept of exceptional. It goes both ways. If your steward is outstanding in what they provide you, they deserve a little extra. If you are an exceptionally messy person and your steward is taking a lot of time sorting out your cabin every day, then they deserve extra. To round this out, if you are difficult as a passenger, they probably deserve a lot more than you’re going to give them!

At the end of the day, the choice is always yours on whether or not to tip the cabin steward extra.

tipping a cabin steward on a cruise

Should you tip bartenders on a cruise?

Tips for cruise ship bartenders are generally more common. Passengers, especially those from the United States equate bar service with tipping. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see bartenders getting tipped frequently on a cruise.

We’ve been on cruises where we’ve witnessed the typical tipping behavior, leaving a dollar or two per drink or per round for a bartender. That’s definitely mighty generous considering that you’re going to be paying an automatic gratuity for that beverage or if you have a beverage package, you’ve paid substantial gratuities in that package cost.

Here are our thoughts on extra tipping for cruise ship bartenders :

As with other service people working on a cruise ship, those who give exceptional service are those we often tip extra. This includes bartenders. Our standard practice is if we’ve discovered a specific bar location and staff that really go out of their way to either give prompt service or make drinks to our liking, we usually tip a little extra a few days into the cruise then towards the end. ($10-$20) If the bartender(s) do something special, we’ll often leave more. However, if we’re on a cruise where we literally just have a beer here and there or a glass of wine on occasion, we’re less likely to tip much extra if any at all.

It’s worth noting that in general, if you tip a bartender, that tip may be pooled with other bartenders at that bar. It’s always worth asking if you intend your tip to go to a specific server or bartender.

Remember, you’re never going to get treated poorly if you do not tip extra! You will still receive great service. Some passengers just choose to tip extra to feel like they’re getting priority service, but in reality, I rarely see anyone get served ahead of another customer because they’re tippers.

tipping bartenders on a cruise

Should you tip the main dining room servers?

The automatic service charges you pay when you book a cruise are divided among many staff members, including the main dining room servers and assistants. Though it’s not uncommon to leave extra for a server that has been. your dedicated server for the duration of your cruise vacation. Some people will leave nothing extra while I’ve witnessed passengers give a server $100+ at the end of a cruise. Again, this to me comes down to service level. I’ve had a wide variety of service quality over the years and If the server is the same server every night, I’ll often leave them around $25 at the end of the cruise IF the service has been really good. When there is an assistant server, I’ll usually give them a bit as well. If the service is just average, I’ll sometimes leave nothing extra.

This gets even more complicated on cruises where you can choose your own dining time like on Norwegian Cruise Lines with their freestyle dining. You may never encounter the same server twice, so tipping becomes more difficult.

Gratuties and tipping on a Cruise ship. A Guide to Extra Tips for Crew Members & Staff 1

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Should you tip in the specialty dining restaurants?

Remember! When you pay for specialty dining on your, even if it’s a perk in a package from cruise lines like Norwegian, you’re going to be paying a mandatory gratuity when booking. It makes this tipping advice a bit trickier. Knowing we’re paying an automatic tip means that the service should be special to consider tipping extra in the specialty dining restaurants on a ship. Many may disagree with this since the experience is supposed to be “elevated” and believe gratuities should better reflect that, but I stick with the personal opinion that the service should be above and beyond my expectations to consider tipping extra. When that happens, I’ll generally leave an extra $10 +/- for a specialty dining restaurant tip.

Tipping Musicians & Performers on a Cruise

Generally speaking, the entertainment staff is very well paid and on contract from an outside entertainment company. These talented folks don’t rely on tips and don’t expect any additional gratuities while performing on board. There are a few occasions, however, when we’ve observed passengers & guests tipping singers and musicians. This usually can be seen when there is live music in one of the bars. It’s not uncommon to see a passenger hand a musician singing solo a few dollars or even buy them a drink (depending on the rules of the cruise line).

Other cruise gratuity advice

You are going to encounter hundreds of crew members on a cruise ship, many of whom are paid a living wage and do not ever expect anything extra! These include :

  • The Cruise Director
  • Entertainment Staff & Performers
  • Maintenance Staff
  • The Captain

There are other services where people generally give staff a tip and those are:

Room service on a cruise – Remember, it’s never required to tip, but usually people who make use of onboard room service leave a small tip of $1-$5 per delivery.

Baggage handlers at embarkation port – It’s customary to tip a little to a baggage handler, especially at American ports. On average, $5 is usually sufficient. However, some passengers will insist that $5 per bag is more appropriate. I’m somewhere in the middle on this. I generally tip a minimum of $5 if I have a couple of bags, but on a transatlantic cruise where I might have 5 or 6 bags, I’ll definitely tip extra.

Automatic service charges & gratuities by the major cruise lines

Each major cruise line has a slightly different policy and fee for per-day automatic service charges and gratuities .

MSC Cruises Daily Service Charge / Gratuities:

MSC Cruises doesn’t call this “gratuities”, they call this a hotel service charge. These charges also vary by region. In typical MSC fashion, there’s nothing straightforward about their service fees <insert huge eyeroll>

For the Caribbean, South America, and Asia MSC daily gratuities are:

  • $14.50 per night per adult and $7.25 per night per child (2yrs or older)
  • 12 Euro per night per adult / 6 Euro per night per child (2yrs or older) for European booked clients

European Itineraries, MSC bills and books all gratuities in Euro only:

  • 12 Euro per night per adult
  • 6 euro per night per child

South African cruises have a slightly different daily gratuity amount with MSC:

  • $10 per adult per night
  • $5 per child (2 and over) per night

MSC Cruises charges a little more for Grand Voyages depending on the itinerary, it’s best to confirm this with them at the time of booking.

What is Royal Caribbean’s service & gratuities daily amount?

The Royal Caribbean automatic service gratuity is as follows:

  • $14.50 USD per person, per day for guests in Junior Suites and below, or
  • $17.50 USD per person, per day for guests in Grand Suites and above.

Read the full automatic gratuity policy at the Royal Caribbean website.

How much are the required daily gratuities and service charges on Norwegian Cruise Line?

Norwegian has steadily raised their daily service charge per person depending on cabin type.The service fees are as follows:

  • $20.00 USD per person per day for The Haven and Suites;
  • $18.00 USD per person per day for Club Balcony Suite;
  • $16.00 USD per person per day for all other stateroom types

For the complete service charge information with NCL, see the Norwegian Cruise automatic service charge rates & information .

What are the per-day service fees for Carnival Cruises?

  • Standard Staterooms: $16 USD per person, per day
  • Suite Staterooms: $18 USD per person, per day

How much is the Celebrity Cruise automatic gratuity?

Celebrity automatically adds gratuities to guests’ onboard SeaPass® account, except for guests in Excluded Bookings*, as defined below, in the following amounts:

  • $17.50USD per person, per day for Inside, Ocean View, and Veranda staterooms
  • $18.00USD per person, per day for Concierge Class and AquaClass staterooms
  • $21.00USD per person, per day for guests of The Retreat.

A 20% gratuity will be added to all beverages, mini bar purchases, and beverage packages.

But WAIT! Celebrity also has an all-inclusive program called “All Included rate” (formerly Always Included) where these fees are part of the rate. You’ll have an option at booking to go the all, or nearly all-inclusive rate or select a cruise-only booking where the above automatic tips are added.

For a complete service charge policy, visit the Celebrity Website

Still have questions? Here are a few that we hear being asked regularly. If you still have more, please comment and we’ll add your tipping questions to this list!

Holland America Line Daily Gratuity Amount:

The cruise line calls this “Crew Appreciation” which is the most appropriate across all cruise lines.

The daily Crew Appreciation charge is $16.00 per guest per day on Holland America for non-suite stateroom guests and $17.50 per guest per day for suite guests. The charges are subject to change without notice.

Holland America Line explains their gratuity policy and how it’s adjustable on their website, which makes it feel a little better about being charged extra fees.

Do you have a comment?

Did we miss something? Have you had a different experience? Did we get it wrong?

Recently we were asked this by a fellow passenger – so let’s elaborate :

For the Room Steward, you give “about $50-$75 for a 7-day cruise in addition to the prepaid gratuities” for services above expectations. This converts to a daily range of about $7-$11, helpful for shorter / longer cruise calculations. For MDR waiters, you often leave ~$25 at the end of the cruise for really good service. But you don’t indicate the length of cruise you are referring to. Is that figure also for a 7-day cruise, which would convert to about $3.60 per day? CR Christian

As for the question, I use this as a guideline regardless of the cruise length actually. With gratuities already being added to the cruise, and they are ever-increasing, I’ve become more selective on how I choose to tip extra. If our room steward goes out of their way for anything, I’ll tip extra… and if they frequently go out of their way, I’ll possibly leave an extra $75 regardless of the cruise length.

For the waiters, I use the same rule of thumb. If I am particularly needy during a trip, I’ll leave extra. But I often dine at the specialty restaurants that have gratuity already added, so it’s not unusual for me to only visit the main dining room 2-3 times on a 7-10 day cruise.

This is all discretionary, don’t feel compelled to tip if you don’t feel like it, it’s up to you as the passenger. The topic is frequently discussed and devolves into a heated debate, just remember it’s your money and your experience, tip or not, do what’s best for you!

Phil Crane

Cruise Gear Editor

I'm a global nomad at heart, and the dedicated editor behind CruiseGear. For the past two decades, I've experienced exciting voyages across the world, discovering countless ports from the decks of dozens of ships, visiting 40+ countries (and living in some of them for years). It's been an exhilarating journey to say the least! I want to share everything I've learned and hope to make your next cruise vacation as enjoyable as possible.

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Is there a general guideline for the concierge manager who works with the suite passengers on Princess?

Hi Terri – I’ve never heard of anyone tipping a manager in concierge / suite class cabins. Usually it’s all about tipping the actual concierge or butler. So to be honest, I have no idea what someone would tip a management level person. 🙁

Well, on the one hand, cruise workers don’t get a good salary like that. But sometimes people work really well, which makes you leave a tip. The main thing is not to tip employees who are hypocritical – it is immediately written on their face. I usually tip the steward or the photographers who can take cool photos of me and my partner from time to time! I really adore this. But usually, in general, tips are already included in the cruise ticket, so it’s up to you to leave a tip or not.  But it’s never a bad thing, in fact, if a person does his job well and helps you feel relaxed during the cruise.

I think that it’s ok to tip the photographers. There was a team of 4 on our ship. They worked tirelessly and was always so friendly. Thanks to them we have a wonderful set of photos from our trip. Plus we did a professional photo shoot while aboard. They turned out so beautiful. We tipped them for their work. They seemed surprised as if they never see tips.

I don’t entirely disagree about photographers, especially when they do a great job! But like you said, they’ll probably be surprised as they don’t usually get tips.

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Tips on Ships: Everything You Need to Know About Cruise Gratuities

What to expect—and what to budget—when it comes to tipping on the high seas

By Tiffany Leigh

Updated February 24, 2023

Figuring out which service employees you should tip—and how much you should give—is a perennial head scratcher in travel. To help remove some of the guesswork, many cruise lines now automatically apply recommended “crew appreciation” amounts to your stateroom account.

But those amounts vary by ship, cruise line, stateroom, and other factors. What’s more, although the gratuity charges are automatically applied to your account in most cases, you can opt out of paying those fees, provided you haven’t purchased a prepaid gratuities package (those are nonrefundable). So confusion remains a possibility. 

To help you sort things out, the following guidelines will give you an idea of what to expect with tipping on cruises and provide some answers to frequently asked questions.  

How much am I expected to tip?

In general, plan on giving $16–$23 in gratuities per day for each passenger. Note that the amount should be tabulated for each individual in your party—don’t try to tip once per couple or group.

So if you’re planning to go on a 7-day cruise, expect to give a total of between $112 and $161 per person in gratuities. Don’t forget to factor those charges into your overall vacation budget. 

How do I tip?

For most cruises—including those operated by Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess Cruises, and Disney Cruise Line to name a few—service gratuities in the amounts mentioned above are automatically added to your stateroom account each day.

On top of the daily service rate, you may also see automatic gratuities (often an additional 15%–20%) for specialty services such as spa treatments, alcoholic beverages, specialty dining (at restaurants not included in the overall cruise rate), and other extras you partake in.   

At the end of your cruise, you’ll be given a document (usually slipped under your door) that lists various charges, including gratuities, for your review. Once reviewed and approved with guest services, payment is completed with a credit card before you depart the ship on the final day. 

Do tipping amounts vary by cruise line?

Yup—and the range of your gratuity total depends on the stateroom category you’re staying in, too.

With Princess Cruises , for instance, the current tip amount for each passenger staying in interior, ocean-view, and balcony staterooms is $16 per day; for mini suites it’s $17 per day; and for suites it’s $18 per day.

The gratuities ranges with Celebrity Cruises , meanwhile, start at $17.50 per day for inside, ocean-view, and veranda units; $18 per day for Concierge Class and Aqua Class rooms; and $21 per day for suites in The Retreat area.

On the higher end of the spectrum, Oceania Cruises charges $18 per day in tips for passengers in regular staterooms, $23 per day for customers in suites.

Cruise lines frequently raise those amounts, too. 

How do I find out how much my ship charges for tips?

You should be able to find that info on the cruise line’s website. Below, we’ve linked to the web pages containing the prices and policies relating to service charges and gratuities for some of the most popular companies. 

• Royal Caribbean

• Norwegian Cruise Line

• Disney Cruise Line

• Princess Cruises

• Celebrity Cruises

• Holland America Line

Do the daily tipping amounts apply to every single passenger? Even kids?

Depends on the cruise line. According to Disney Cruise Line, for instance, tipping applies to everyone—even infants.

But other ships do make exceptions for little ones. Passengers ages 2 and younger are exempt from tipping aboard Carnival cruises, for example, while Norwegian excuses kids ages 3 and younger, and Costa Cruises exempts kids ages 4 and younger.

Consult the cruise company’s online FAQ or your travel agent for more info, but, generally speaking, you shouldn’t expect any youngsters older than toddlerhood to get out of tipping. 

Service charges, gratuities, crew appreciation fees—what’s the difference?

The terminology gets confusing because it doesn’t seem to be consistent across cruise lines. Just know that there are usually two types of fees in this area: 1.) the flat daily fee charged to each passenger and then pooled among crew members (including room attendants and waitstaff at restaurants included in your cruise rate) and 2.) service tips (amounting to 15%–20% of the total) automatically added to your account when you opt for extras such as specialty dining, premium alcoholic beverages, spa or salon services, and so on. Obviously, you’ll only be charged the latter type of gratuity for extras you actually participate in.

How are tips divided among crew members?

If you agree to the automatic gratuities, the people who tend to you the most—your housekeeping and dining teams—get the largest share.

When my family of three (two adults and one 16-month-old baby) sailed with Disney Cruise Line in December 2022, we received the following breakdown of who would get what:

• Dining Room Server: $4.75 per person per day

• Assistant Dining Room Server: $3.75 per person per day

• Dining Room Head Server: $1.25 per person per day

• Stateroom Host: $4.75 per person per day

Note that because we didn’t opt for nonrefundable prepaid gratuities for the trip, we were free to visit guest services to change the amounts if we wanted to.

These amounts were also printed on perforated paper and we were supplied with envelopes in case we wanted to tip in cash or give gratuities to attendants in person as a gesture of appreciation.

What if I don’t want to pay the automatically generated tip amount?

If you'd rather have control over how much you tip, stop by the onboard guest services desk at the beginning of your voyage and inform the agents that you want to opt out of electronic gratuities and dole out tips on a case-by-case, à la carte basis. 

Also, if you find that you’re unsatisfied with the service you’re getting, you can ask guest services to modify the amount you’re being charged each day. Royal Caribbean lets you make changes up to the morning of your departure—but to avoid confusion, you should contact guest services as soon as possible to make these types of changes. 

The exception: passengers who purchased prepaid gratuities as part of a package. You can’t get a refund for tips you pay upfront. 

Can I tip in cash?

Cash tips are certainly still welcomed—especially if that’s what you’re more comfortable with or if you don't want to rely on the cruise line’s predetermined amounts.

It’s just important to remember that if you go this route, it's on you to opt out of the ship’s gratuities program by going to guest services at the beginning of your sailing. 

What if I want to tip some crew members more than the automatically generated amounts?

Cash is also a good option if you want to tip some workers extra for service that warrants it. If you’ve dined in mostly one spot every night of the cruise, you might want to give tips to especially attentive waitstaff on the last evening of the cruise. On a recent voyage with our baby, my family gave an additional in-person tip to our stateroom attendant for above-and-beyond service such as helping us set up the baby monitor—not to mention all the times the attendant whisked away potent diapers without so much as a grimace.

Are gratuities included in all prepaid packages for dining, drinks, and other services?

Not necessarily. 

More and more ships now offer passengers prepaid packages for a bundle of specialty dining, top-shelf drinks, Wi-Fi, and other perks (for an example, take a look at prepaid packages available from Princess Cruises ). The advantage here is that you lock in a discounted overall daily rate that throws in several extras that could otherwise add up—though you should calculate ahead of your trip whether you’ll actually use everything in the bundle to justify buying the package.

But don’t assume that gratuities are part of every prepaid package. Some companies, such as Disney, have stand-alone prepaid gratuities packages intended to make your trip relatively worry-free in the tip department because you’ve already paid for all gratuities in advance.

But with other packages, tips are only covered where specified. Royal Caribbean’s dining-and-drinks package, for instance, only covers tips for restaurant and bar staff, not housekeeping crew—so you’ll still have the automatic service charge added to your stateroom account each day unless you purchase a supplementary gratuities package.

Always make sure to review everything that’s included in the package—and what’s not—so you won’t get any unpleasant surprises. 

It’s also important to remember that gratuities included in prepaid packages are nonrefundable, so you won’t be able to modify tip amounts even if you get bad service during the cruise.

Should I tip a porter who helps me with my luggage?

Porters are contracted by the port, not the cruise line. They usually work independently of the ship, unless otherwise indicated. So if you solicit a porter for help toting your luggage from a vehicle to the ship’s check-in area, express your appreciation with $1–$3 per bag, depending on its weight.

Should I tip ship bartenders?

These days, you’ll rarely see a tip jar on the bar, and, as noted above, an automatic service charge of 15%–20% is already added to your account for alcoholic and specialty drinks. However, if you had a go-to bartender who learned your drink by heart or gave you stellar service throughout the voyage, consider expressing your gratitude with $1–$2 per drink. 

Should I tip guides for shore excursions?

The tipping advice we solicited from Princess provides some solid guidelines: For half-day tours, budget $3–$5 per person for guides, and for full-day tours plan on $6–$10 per person. Drivers should get $1–$2 per person.

Do I need to tip for onboard spa and salon treatments?

As previously noted, spa and salon staff members get a portion of the automatic service charge added to your stateroom bill for these treatments. You are free, however, to tip staff members extra if you’re especially impressed with their work.

Do I need to tip the ship's daycare workers and kids’ camp counselors?

There is no gratuity required but, again, you can offer a cash tip if staff members went out of their way to make your kiddo’s sailing extra special.

Are there crew members I shouldn’t tip?

It’s considered poor form to tip the ship’s professional sailing members, such as the cruise director, executive chef, and captain. Giving those folks gratuities would be like tipping your doctor or lawyer. 

Are predetermined tipping amounts calculated in U.S. dollars?

In most cases, though some Europe-based lines, such as MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises, charge in euros. Keep that in mind when calculating your budget.

Are there cruises where you’re not expected to tip?

Bundled package deals seem like a precursor to a future of tip-free cruising. As a matter of fact, many luxury and high-end lines such as Seabourn, Celestyal Cruises, Lindblad Expeditions, Paul Gaugin, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, and Virgin Voyages have already implemented gratuity-free cruises with tips built into the total cost of all-inclusive sailings.

That might make the cruise’s base rate higher, but the practice helps eliminate confusion and awkwardness for passengers and ensures that crew members will get a full wage from their employers rather than relying on customers to make up the difference.

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10 Biggest Cruise Tipping Mistakes Every Cruiser Should Avoid

A full guide to cruise ship tipping with some issues to avoid on your voyage.

J. Souza

Tipping on a cruise ship isn’t as straightforward as I’d like it to be.  Often it’s confusing to first-time cruisers.  It can also be a little controversial.

Who do you tip? How much do you tip? And with auto-gratuities do you need to tip on top of what you already prepaid?

Cruise ships in port in Nassau: Disney, Celebrity, and Carnival

I’ve listed 10 common cruise tipping mistakes that are easily avoidable.

I know this can be a touchy subject, but no matter your perspective in regards to tipping I hope you can learn a couple things that will be helpful.

* This article was updated since the date of its first publishing

Even seasoned travelers who cruise often can make a few of these cruise tipping mistakes that are mentioned below.

Remember, you can enjoy an amazing cruise only because of an amazing crew . The people behind the scenes, making sure your vacation is as smooth as possible, work long and hard hours.

Crew members are the unsung heroes of every cruise ship, so make sure you reflect your gratitude by avoiding these cruise tipping oversights.

That being said, tipping is somewhat subjective . I may tip someone you would not tip and vice versa. The interactions with the crew on a daily basis will vary passenger by passenger.

Rather than being iron-cad rules, these are merely some suggestions I would make for most cruisers.

Read more: 5 reasons you should prepay your tips and 1 reason you shouldn’t

Tipping basics on a cruise

On most cruise lines you will be charged a daily gratuity between $15 and $25 per person per day . Suite guests will pay daily rates on the higher end of that spectrum.

This is typically paid ahead of time, but you can wait until your cruise and pay it then if you would like. If you wait to pay for gratuities it will be added to your bill each day, and you can settle it with a credit card at the end of your voyage.

Where does the money go when you prepay gratuities?

The daily gratuities get divided up between several crew positions on your ship. Some of it goes toward your cabin steward, some to the main dining staff, and some to other housekeeping crew members.

The auto-gratuity system that most mainstream lines have implemented was to address the issue of passengers trying to run around with envelopes of money to hand out to different crew members.

The system of automatic gratuities is simpler, but still causes confusion to some who wonder if they need to tip on top of it. I hope we can address that today.

Here are the biggest cruise tipping mistakes I’ve seen people make.

1.  Not bringing cash

I recently wrote about why I always bring cash on a cruise , and a lot of it comes down to tipping. One of the first things you will want to do before you board your ship is tip the luggage porter, the person who takes your large bags and gets them on the ship for you.

You will need cash to do this.  The porters don’t walk around with credit card processing machines or Venmo QR codes. The amount you tip is up to you, but anywhere from $2 – $5 per bag is typical. Porters work hard every day at the cruise terminal and rely heavily on the tips they receive. Bring some cash and make sure you’re prepared.

Luggage porters aren’t the only ones you may want to tip in cash. Some of the points below explain other situations in which a cash tip is best.

2.  Only bringing large bills

stack of 20 dollar bills in front of a norwegian cruise line cruise ship

So, you’ve passed step number one and have cash for your cruise, but what about smaller bills? If you only have 50 or 100 dollar bills, you might have a hard time getting change. I always try to make sure that I have a nice blend of denominations with my cash.

I recommend bringing along a bunch of one-dollar bills in addition to fives, tens, and a few twenties as well. Don’t expect to get change when you tip, and even asking for change when tipping might be slightly condescending. I have never regretted having smaller bills to show my gratitude on a cruise. It’s always good to have some five-dollar bills on you.

3.  Only tipping for exceptional service

Some have the viewpoint that tipping should only be done when service is surprisingly beyond compare. But this is a mistake. We can debate about whether or not cruise members are paid enough for all they do — this is an entirely different discussion–, but the simply truth is that tips are a large part of their income.

And while you will almost always have fantastic service on a cruise, don’t withhold a tip if you weren’t exactly blown away. Some passengers set expectations so high that it helps them justify not leaving a tip at all. The crew will occasionally make mistakes, but a kind word and a small tip in spite of it can go a long way.

4.  Forgetting about the dining staff or room steward

Main dining room on Norwegian Epic cruise ship

Your prepaid gratuities already go toward your stateroom attendant and dining wait staff, so you might not feel the need to tip any extra. And that’s well within your prerogative.

Maybe it’s just because it’s in my American mindset to tip for services like this, but I always like to leave the cabin steward some extra cash in the room before the cruise is over.

If I did use the main dining room more often than not on a cruise, I will leave them some extra as well. Of course, with my-time dining options it will be harder to do this as you may have a different wait staff each time.

Note : Your automatic gratuities do go towards the wait staff and cabin steward already. If you’re financially strained, don’t’ feel like you have to tip any extra on top of this. But if you do have tips removed from your account (as mentioned in another point below) make sure you at least tip these two crew members.

5.  Forgetting to tip for room service

room service food on a tray on cruise ship balcony

With cruise lines recently making changes in regards to room service fees you might think tipping is optional with room service. And while some of the major cruise lines are adding gratuities automatically to a room service bill, you can still leave few dollars in cash to your delivery person. In some cases you can add it to the receipt, depending on the cruise line.

Room service is still free on a few of the major lines– for the continental breakfast– and almost always complimentary on an all-inclusive cruise . When you receive room service for free you may not even think to tip or know what to tip, and that’s mainly why I’m making this point. Make sure you show your gratitude for having that delicious food brought right to your cabin.

Some cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean still offer a continental breakfast for free on their room service menu. So, it can be easy to forget to tip if you’re used to having the charge already put on your account.

Related: Cruise ship room service and what each cruise line charges

6.  Tipping in the wrong currency

This one is especially true when tipping while in port and off of the ship. Tipping in the wrong currency can cause a few issues while on a cruise or in a cruise port city. First, it can be an inconvenience for the recipient as they may have to exchange the currency, which can result in bad exchange rates and extra fees.

Also, it can be seen as disrespectful to the local culture and currency. So, it’s always best to tip in the local currency to avoid any misunderstandings or offense.

To avoid tipping in the wrong currency, it’s a good idea to do some research before your trip. This way, you can ensure that you’re following the local customs and showing respect to the culture. Remember, respecting local customs is an essential part of traveling, and tipping in the right currency is a simple way to show that respect.

7.  Thinking if you prepay gratuities you will get lower quality service

Some people mistakenly think that if they prepay gratuities through the cruise line ahead of time it will result in poor service. We mentioned this in another article about cruise tipping that leaving a cash tip on day one of your cruise is not necessary to get quality service.

I know some cruisers that like to start their cruise by tipping right out of the gate. This is fine if you just want to pay forward your gratuity, but don’t do this if you’re motivation is to be treated like royalty. In most cases, you will receive excellent service regardless.

8.  Forgetting to tip tour guides and drivers

Viking river cruise tour bus in Portugal

Always bring some of that aforementioned cash with you when you go on a shore excursion. If you do a tour or take a trip on a bus make sure you tip both your tour guide and bus driver. These workers are often overlooked on many cruises I’ve been on.

The same goes for tipping taxi drivers when you’re in port. Again, cash might be the only thing they will take, and in most of the Caribbean you can tip in U.S. currency.

As a side note, it can be nice to have some cash on your cruise so you can also tip people like street performers while in port. A good rule of thumb is that if you stop to take a picture or listen to a musician on the street, you should put a little something in the tip jar.

9.  Removing gratuities

Yes, you are able to have all gratuities removed from your bill. But this is something I would not recommend unless you then proceed to handsomely cash tip the many crew members on your ship that helped make your vacation happen.

If you didn’t receive the service you expected, you should talk to guest services about it and they will make it right, but crew members rely on these tips to make ends-meet. And the last thing you want to do is remove the auto-gratuity and then forget to tip your cabin steward and dining staff in person.

I’ve heard of cases where some cruisers chose not to prepay for tips, but then after seeing the charges added to their account they got a little sticker shock and asked to have them removed. This is why I recommend prepaying for gratuities ahead of time, so you know exactly what you are paying.

10.  Feeling like you have to tip when the gratuity was already added

bar on sky princess cruise ship on the pool deck

After ordering a beverage or service on a cruise ship you may see a service charge added to the actual price. If a gratuity has already been added, don’t feel that you absolutely must tip extra on top of it. You can, of course, tip extra if you feel the crew went above and beyond.

Some first-time cruisers feel pressured to tip extra on top of these gratuity charges, so I want to make sure they know this is optional. A few points below will explain situations in which a tip is not essential.

A few cases when you don’t need to tip

Tipping is voluntary, so you can still tip in these situations if you would like. But there are a few cases where it’s not necessary.

  • After spa service : Cruise lines will typically add an 18% gratuity charge to your bill. You can tip more if you would like, of course.
  • If the crew helped with a special request : You are not expected to tip if a crew member gets you extra hangers for your room or padding for your mattress.
  • Kid’s club workers : This service is offered for free on most cruise ships and you’re not expected to tip, but slipping that worker a twenty for allowing you to have a date night with your special someone is always appreciated.
  • Entertainment : Whether it’s a magic show or comedy show you don’t have to tip these workers. You can always tip the pianist at the piano bar if you enjoyed the performance or have a song request.
  • Maintenance staff : If one of the crew fixes that leaky faucet in your stateroom you don’t need to tip, but hey, it’s up to you.

Below are the current gratuity rates for other mainstream cruise lines.  Prices are per day, per person in the stateroom.

Final thoughts

The concept of tipping is fairly American in a lot of ways. If you’re from another part of the world you might think tipping is unnecessary and strange, and perhaps it is. But it’s a big part of the cruise industry and how these ships are operated.

Some of the crew members on a cruise ship are from very poor countries and spend six months or more away from their families. Even a little tip can go a long way.

I hope you found these pointers helpful.

Got any thoughts on tipping on a cruise ship? Let us know in the comments below, even if you disagree with 100% of what I said. I’m just glad you came by.

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We also feel it’s important to tip for drinks that are free/“perks” based on tier level. Just because we didn’t pay for them at the time, we were still served & the server deserves a tip. In our opinion.

On Oceania we paid for the trip months earlier-including Pre-paid Gratuities.. On the cruise the kept putting the pre-paid on again and other things making it very confusing.. Their accounting summaries needed some work!!

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Pay upfront, but still bring cash: What travelers need to know about tipping on a cruise

cruise ship tipping

  • Some travelers new to cruising may be taken aback by how gratuities can add up.
  • Guests can pre-pay gratuities before their sailing.
  • Passengers can also bring cash to reward exceptional service.

When Chelsy De Avila took a Caribbean cruise in 2019, one part of her bill caught her off guard: gratuities. The cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, had spelled out its automatic gratuity policy , but De Avila had only taken a cruise once before as a teenager and was surprised by the total at the end of her seven-day trip.

While she was pleased with the service, the Utah-based 28-year-old told USA TODAY, “If you don’t expect it, then yeah, it’s going to hurt.”

Some travelers new to cruising may be taken aback by how those charges can add up. "I think people are surprised sometimes by their overall bill at the end," Becky Robinson, a travel adviser with Departure Lounge, told USA TODAY.

Here is what passengers need to know about tipping on a cruise.

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How much do tips cost on cruises?

Robinson said mainstream cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line charge gratuities on a per person, per day basis. Those can range from about $15 to upwards of $20 for each passenger depending on the cruise line and cabin type, she said, which they automatically add to your bill.

Lesley Sawhook, co-owner of the travel agency Exclusive Travel Partners, said passengers can ask their travel agent how much those will cost, if they are working with one, or check with the cruise line. She also noted that if passengers prepay a drinks package on a major mainstream cruise line, the line will also charge upfront for the tips associated with the service of those drinks.

Those tips cover employees including main dining room servers and room stewards.

Be sure to check your cruise line's specific policies. In addition to its daily "crew appreciation" charge, Holland America, for instance, also adds an 18% "service charge" to purchases of drink packages, drinks, dining, private events and "other elected products, services or amenities" that aren't included in the cruise fare, per its website .

Story continues below.

Think about gratuities before you sail

Travelers can start by determining whether or not gratuities are included. Bruce Powell, CEO and lead travel adviser at BWP Travel, said they can do so by looking at the Frequently Asked Questions section of the cruise line's website.

Sawhook said many luxury lines automatically include tips, while other lines such as Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line offer many promotions and packages that bundle gratuities with fares.

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Guests can also prepay gratuities before their trip, Sawhook said, which 75% of her clients prefer to do. Travelers can adjust the gratuity amount they are charged before the end of their trip, though they cannot adjust them down if they prepay, she said.

"These people work so hard, I always encourage my clients, if you're going to adjust it in any way, please adjust it up," she said.

Tipping etiquette on board

While not required, Robinson said many travelers give "a little something extra to their favorite bartender or their favorite waiter or the room steward."

Sawhook said she always tips the employees delivering in-room dining, as well as "a good tour guide" on an excursion. She said it is also customary to tip the porters handling bags when passengers get on and off the ship, who she said are usually contracted through the cruise line and do not get any portion of the tips charged on board.

What should I pack for a cruise? Here are 5 essential items to bring.

cruise ship tipping

  • Cruise passengers may face different considerations as they prepare to set sail.
  • From theme nights on board to varied shore excursions, passengers may face different considerations as they prepare to set sail.
  • Many cruise ships have onboard shops that stock basic items like toothbrushes, deodorant and certain over-the-counter medications.

The way travelers pack can change depending on where they’re going – and how they’re getting there.

For cruise passengers, it’s worth packing as much with the ship in mind as the destination. “Packing for a cruise can be quite different from preparing for a land-based vacation,” said Deborah Banks, a travel adviser and franchise owner at Cruise Planners with her husband Isaiah.

From theme nights on board to varied shore excursions that take guests off the ship for hours at a time, passengers may face different considerations as they prepare to set sail. Here are five items you should pack on your next trip:

1. Cruise-friendly attire

Cruises may seem synonymous with flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts, but guidelines for clothing can vary. 

On formal nights, guests may want to have dressy clothes on hand, though the atmosphere has become increasingly relaxed. Depending on the line and venue, that can mean anything from tuxedos and evening gowns to collared shirts and blouses ( read more about cruise line dress codes here ). Many lines also have themed parties, such as those that call for all-white ensembles or events with a focus on the 1980s.

Pool decks abound on cruise ships, so don’t forget your swimwear either.

Banks also recommended bringing comfortable footwear, particularly for going in port. “When you’re going to do a lot of walking, you know, those sandals are not as good for you to walk on as nice, comfortable tennis shoes,” she said.

Check the weather in the destinations the ship will visit, too. The type of jacket you bring on a New England cruise may be different from the kind needed in the Arctic, for example. Conditions can vary from port to port as well, particularly on longer itineraries that sail through multiple climates.

2. Travel documents

Banks urged travelers to make sure they have the required documentation for their trip. Some types of cruises don’t require guests to have passports – though they’ll need other forms of ID – but many do. The U.S. State Department also recommends bringing one even if it isn't mandated.

“You may need your passport in the event of an unexpected medical evacuation or if the ship docks at an alternate port,” its website reads. Banks also suggested making copies or taking photos to have as backup.

Some destinations also require other documents like visas , and Banks recommends bringing a copy of any travel insurance information.

3. Medication

Many cruise ships onboard medical facilities and personnel who can prescribe medications. But supplies are limited, so it’s important to bring any that you take regularly or may need during the sailing with you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends travelers going abroad bring enough to last the duration of their trip, “plus extra in case of travel delays.”

4. Rechargeable devices

Portable chargers and extra rechargeable batteries can come in handy if guests’ electronics run out of juice, particularly while they’re away from their cabin in port. “If you're going to take a camera or iPhone, have rechargeable (devices) because when you’re on a shore excursion, you may be out for eight hours, for that whole day, and your phone's going to die on you,” said Banks. “So, you want to have that extra backup.”

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5. Sun protection

Sun decks and loungers are a major draw on cruises, so be sure to pack sunscreen. Certain sunscreens are banned by destinations ships visit, so do some research in advance.

Sunglasses are also important. That’s true not only in the balmy Caribbean but in destinations like Antarctica , where glare from the water, snow and ice can be hard on the eyes.

If guests forget something at home, however, they’re not necessarily out of luck. Many cruise ships have onboard shops that stock basic items like toothbrushes, deodorant and certain over-the-counter medications. Banks warned, though, that the selection may be more limited and expensive than what travelers would find on land.

“By understanding these key differences, you can pack more effectively for your cruise, ensuring a more enjoyable and stress-free experience,” she said.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at [email protected].

The Key Points at the top of this article were created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and reviewed by a journalist before publication. No other parts of the article were generated using AI. Learn more .

My family's been on over 30 cruises. I hate upcharges, but these 6 things are actually worth paying extra for.

  • As a frequent cruiser , I'm selective about how much I spend on onboard extras.
  • But some things, like comfort, cute coffees, and crafted cocktails, warrant a splurge.
  • As a parent, I'm also willing to pay up for some "me time" while at sea.

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Cruises are so back , and they're only predicted to get more popular.

The global cruise market , valued at $7.25 billion in 2021, is expected to grow about 11% from 2022 to 2028, according to Forbes.

One huge perk of this travel style is that it's pretty all-inclusive. Things like Broadway-style shows, multicourse meals, buffets, pool access, and onboard activities are built into the price of a typical sailing.

But ships also upsell and charge extra add-ons, upgrades, and perks. As a frequent cruiser who's sailed alone over 50 times and with family more than 30, I've increasingly become less likely to pay for these upcharges.

Instead, I save my hard-earned money for the upgrades that are actually worth it. Here are upcharges my family thinks are worth the splurge.

I tend to book a cheaper cabin category, but I'm willing to pay a premium to choose a quiet stateroom location

I rarely pay extra for a balcony room as I find that I don't use this feature enough to warrant the added cost. Instead, I opt for porthole-view rooms, which are generally less expensive.

But when selecting a room category during the booking process, I will pay more for a cabin located in an ideal spot on the ship.

Modern cruise vessels are huge, and I like a room that's centrally located on the ship , giving me easy access to everything I want to see and do. I'm also willing to pay a little more to select a cabin far away from elevators and loud entertainment venues.

After all, I need a good night's sleep to make the most of my days at sea.

Room service offers a level of convenience that makes the delivery fee palatable

One of the best things about cruising is the food, and thankfully, most ships have tons of eateries onboard that don't cost extra. However, room service often comes with an additional fee.

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Although I wish all cruise lines offered complimentary room service, it's so convenient I'm willing to pay extra for it — especially for an early breakfast or a snack after a long day of adventures.

I love bringing my son along, and paying for childcare allows me to make the most of my vacation

Cruise-ship kids' clubs are a great selling point for families, and access to them is almost always included in the cost of the trip.

However, the complimentary clubs are typically only open to potty-trained children. For younger kids, many cruise lines offer onboard nurseries for an added cost.

For my family, the nursery fees have proved well worth the investment. My son sailed on dozens of cruises as an infant and toddler, and these vacations produced some of my fondest travel memories.

By paying to use the onboard nursery, my husband and I were able to enjoy date nights and connect during our getaways.

I'm frugal when it comes to food, but I can't resist splurging on unique beverages

I'm not a fan of overpriced "all-inclusive" cruise drink packages , and I try to take advantage of included beverages like tea, juices, and enhanced water as much as possible.

Nonetheless, I'm happy to spend extra on premium cocktails, wine-tasting sessions with the onboard sommelier, and other unique drink experiences.

I'm a sucker for a concoction mixed up by a robot at Royal Caribbean's Bionic Bar or a latte with my favorite cartoon pal etched on top as served in Disney Cruise Line 's Cove Café, and these liquid indulgencies often show up on my onboard cruise tab.

Onboard spa treatments get pricey, but the lush thermal suites are worth the added cost

Spa treatments can be far pricier at sea, so I'm particular about what I book.

I save basic treatments like massages and facials for when I'm back on land, where prices are more favorable, but I do try to book at least one day pass to the onboard thermal suite per cruise.

On many ships, these blissful retreats — which can have everything from heated loungers to aromatherapy showers — are a worthy investment for those seeking a quiet atmosphere.

They're the ideal spot to soak up some "me time."

As thrifty as I am, I never feel guilty blowing my budget on experiences in the cruise ports of call

By saving money at sea and not paying for unneeded extras, I can better allocate my vacation budget where it truly counts — in the cruise ports of call.

There's no shortage of memorable adventures to be found back on land: hiking in the Norwegian fjords, helicoptering to a glacier in Alaska, exploring Mayan ruins , and strolling through cobblestone streets in Italy

For my family, savoring authentic land-based experiences is our main priority, and I'm not afraid to spend a lot on these excursions.

Watch: Why it costs $1 million a day to run one of the world's biggest cruise ships

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  • Main content

Disney's biggest cruise ship will carry 9,000 people on cruises in Asia

Kristy Tolley

Would you travel around the world to sail on Disney Cruise Line 's biggest ship yet?

On Wednesday, Disney Cruise Line announced new details about Disney Adventure , which will become the line's biggest vessel when it debuts in Singapore in 2025. At 208,000 tons, Disney Adventure will be about 44% larger than the line's current biggest cruise ship, Disney Wish .

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Disney Adventure will also look a little different from the Disney ships you know and love. The vessel was originally ordered for Asia-based Dream Cruises, which collapsed in early 2022. Disney bought it from liquidators for the brand and plans to debut it in 2025.

As a result, the line must work with a preexisting ship layout, a whole new ballgame for Disney. The company has historically controlled the design and construction process of its resorts, both on land and sea, from ideation to completion. The 208,000-ton ship was originally designed to accommodate a whopping 9,000 passengers, plus thousands of crew members. However, Disney plans to reconfigure it to hold 6,700 guests and 2,500 crew members. Still, that could mean more than 9,000 people on board when the ship sails at full capacity.

Cruisers on Disney Adventure will be sharing the ship with far more people than on the line's previous vessels. The five ships in Disney's fleet range from 83,969 tons to 144,000 tons and hold a maximum of about 4,000 passengers. (Disney's oldest and smallest ship, Disney Magic , can accommodate, at most, 2,500 guests.) Another way to put it into perspective — the world's current largest ship, Royal Caribbean's 250,800-ton Icon of the Seas , holds 7,600 passengers.

Related: The ultimate guide to Disney Cruise Line ships and itineraries

Despite the differences in size and layout, Disney Adventure will still immerse passengers in the brand's signature style of lively, magical spaces.

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The ship will feature new themed areas that showcase Disney's core pillars of storytelling — imagination, discovery, fantasy and adventure.

An open-air performance venue will feature a lush garden and elements reminiscent of an enchanted valley. Dubbed Disney Imagination Garden, the space will draw on the adventures of Disney characters like Mowgli and Moana.

Shopping and dining opportunities within the ship's Disney Discovery Reef area will feature popular aquatic and nautical characters from movies like "The Little Mermaid," "Finding Nemo" and "Lilo & Stitch."

San Fransokyo Street, a family entertainment area and street market, will offer interactive games and activities, shops and cinemas themed around the world of "Big Hero 6."

The ship's pool area, Wayfinder Bay, will feature an open-air poolside retreat with panoramic sea views amid Pacific Islands-themed environs.

Town Square will be the hub for lounges, cafes, restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. Here, passengers can immerse themselves in the world of Disney princesses, such as Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel.

Marvel Landing will host new immersive attractions that celebrate the Marvel superheroes. Passengers can also enjoy watery fun in Toy Story Place, a whimsical interactive space featuring water play areas and themed food venues.

Additionally, guests can expect Disney-level service, engaging dining options and top-notch entertainment, all hallmarks of the brand.

Disney also shared that the ship's exterior will reflect the fleet's iconic Mickey Mouse-inspired colors, complete with the line's signature red funnels.

North Americans will have to travel far to set sail on Disney Adventure. Disney's new ship will sail three- and four-night cruises departing from Singapore's Marina Bay Cruise Centre for at least the next five years in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board. The line has yet to reveal specific details of the itineraries. Short cruises out of Singapore will likely draw an international crowd, with many passengers hailing from Asia.

When Disney Adventure begins service, it will be the seventh ship in the Disney fleet. The line currently operates five ships; a sixth, Disney Treasure , is due to debut in December.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • Top ways cruisers waste money
  • The ultimate guide to choosing a cruise ship cabin

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  2. Cruise Ship Tipping 4K

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  3. A Guide to Cruise Ship Tipping: Everything You Need to Know About

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  4. Tipping on a Cruise Ship

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  5. First-Timer's Guide To Cruise Ship Tipping

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  6. 10 Biggest Cruise Tipping Mistakes You Can Make

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VIDEO

  1. All You EVER Need to Know About Tipping On & Off the Cruise Ship!! 🍹

  2. #Cruise Tips: Gratuities

  3. Tipping on Carnival Cruise Lines. How much should you tip?!

  4. 5 Big Tipping Mistakes NOT to MAKE on Your Cruise

  5. Most EXPENSIVE Cruise Ship Disasters EVER EXCIST

  6. Tipping on a Cruise Ship ~ Groucho Marx

COMMENTS

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Tipping on a Cruise

    Should you choose to, for a seven-night cruise, consider tipping about $2 to $3 per person, per day. If you are in a suite or aboard a luxury cruise, you may have a butler assigned to your room ...

  2. Tipping on a cruise: What to know about cruise ship gratuities

    Additional cruise ship tipping. Daily service charges are not the only cruise tips you will pay on board. Many cruise lines will tack an automatic gratuity charge onto the bill for extra-fee drinks, restaurant meals and spa treatments. The included tip amount varies by cruise line but is typically 15% to 20% of the bill.

  3. The Ultimate Guide to Cruise Ship Tipping

    Cruise Line Tipping Policies. Big-Ship Lines. Luxury Lines. Soft-Adventure Lines. River and Barge Lines. A Closer Look at Cruise Gratuities. Tip for Drinks at the Bar (Photo: luckyraccoon ...

  4. Complete Guide to Cruise Line Gratuities

    Average Daily Cruise Line Gratuity. Roughly speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $11.50 - $20.00 per passenger per day for onboard gratuities. As mentioned, cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your onboard account. Luxury lines like Azamara, Ponant, Regent, Silversea, Seabourn, Sea Dream, Virgin Voyages include gratuities in ...

  5. A Guide for Tipping on a Cruise for Each Cruise Line

    Learn how to tip on a cruise ship depending on the line you choose. Find out what's included, how much to pay, and how to adjust or pre-pay your gratuities.

  6. Tipping on a Cruise: Your Complete Big-Ship Tip Guide

    On Cunard, daily gratuities vary depending on the cabin category and date of sailing.. For voyages departing up until April 25, 2024, on Queen Elizabeth, and April 27, 2024, on Queen Mary 2 and ...

  7. Full Guide to Cruise Ship Gratuities for 2024 (Amounts, Etiquette, and

    A couple traveling together will see about $30-$40 per day in gratuities, or about $200+ over the course of a week-long cruise. Below, we've listed the current tip amounts charged by major cruise lines as of the time of this writing: Carnival: $16.00 per person, per day. $18.00 per person, per day for guests in suites.

  8. Tipping on a Cruise Ship

    The average daily gratuity on a cruise is $14-15 USD per person - approximately $30 per day, per couple in a cabin. A couple should budget about $200 in gratuities for a 7 day cruise. Most cruise lines charge for children as well, although there are some exceptions for very young children on select cruise lines.

  9. Tipping on a Cruise Ship: What You Need to Know About Cruise Gratuities

    In the main dining room, buffet, specialty restaurants, and other dining venues, your tip is included in the automatic gratuities. Some cruise lines employ a sommelier or wine steward in the main dining rooms, who isn't included in the tipping pool. $10-20 at the end of the cruise is a nice gratuity for their service.

  10. Tipping on a cruise ship: Guide and what to do

    Understanding MSC Cruises' daily gratuities is a little more complicated than other cruise lines, as they not only by passenger age and where the ship is sailing to. For cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Asia (China, Japan, and Korea), and South America, the rate for passengers 12 and older is $14.50 per person, per night.

  11. Cruise Tips And Gratuities

    Cruise Gratuities Are A Dollar Well Spent. Overall, tipping on a cruise is an important part of showing appreciation for the hardworking crew members who make your vacation possible. By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure that you're tipping appropriately and supporting the crew. I hope you enjoyed this guide to cruise ship gratuities.

  12. Should You Tip Extra for Cruise Staff / Crew Members 2024

    For your average cruise, expect to spend $15 per passenger per DAY. For a family of 4 on a seven-day vacation, this adds up to an extra $420 to the vacation cost. Each cruise line distributes these gratuities differently among front-of-house and back-of-house staff, so it's impossible to really know how much of this mandatory service fee goes ...

  13. Cruise Gratuities

    Download the app or check on your cabin's TV for up-to-date charges. The third option for tipping is to pay the old-fashioned way - cash. (See below about removing automatic cruise gratuities ...

  14. Tips on Ships: Everything You Need to Know About Cruise Gratuities

    The gratuities ranges with Celebrity Cruises, meanwhile, start at $17.50 per day for inside, ocean-view, and veranda units; $18 per day for Concierge Class and Aqua Class rooms; and $21 per day for suites in The Retreat area. On the higher end of the spectrum, Oceania Cruises charges $18 per day in tips for passengers in regular staterooms, $23 ...

  15. 10 Biggest Cruise Tipping Mistakes Every Cruiser Should Avoid

    Related: Cruise ship room service and what each cruise line charges. 6. Tipping in the wrong currency. This one is especially true when tipping while in port and off of the ship. Tipping in the ...

  16. Tipping on a cruise ship: What you should and shouldn't do

    Most passengers tip their guides between $5-10, but there is no right or wrong amount to tip on a shore excursion. Aside from tipping, you should bring cash on shore excursions to purchase extras like souvenirs, drinks, and snacks. We recommend bringing around $100-200 USD with you in port each day.

  17. How much do you tip on a cruise ship? Insight on gratuities when sailing

    Robinson said mainstream cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line charge gratuities on a per person, per day basis. Those can range from about $15 to upwards of $20 for each ...

  18. Gratuities on a Cruise: How Much to Tip? (18 Cruise Lines)

    On average, onboard gratuities amount to about $210 USD per couple per cabin for a one-week cruise; more for a suite. As well, a tip of 15% to 18% is typically added onto drinks purchases. This is in addition to the $15 to $20 p.p. a day gratuity that's usually added to your bill.

  19. What to Expect on a Cruise: Tipping Crewmembers on a Cruise

    Tipping policies vary by line, so be sure to check your cruise line's tipping policy before setting sail. Generally speaking, mainstream, U.S.-based cruise lines automatically add gratuities of ...

  20. 10 do's and don'ts of cruise ship tipping

    MSC Cruises on a sailing that goes to South Africa: $10 for passengers 12 and older and $5 for guests between the ages of 2 and 11. Norwegian Cruise Line: $20.00 for standard cabins and $25.00 for The Haven. Princess Cruises: $16.00 for standard cabins, $17.00 for mini-suites and the reserve collection, and $18.00 for suites is $18.00.

  21. Cruise Ship Gratuities: A Complete Guide for 2024

    1.4K. Ahoy there! Set sail on your next cruise adventure armed with the ultimate guide to cruise ship gratuities for 2024. This comprehensive guide offers you a treasure trove of valuable information, including the appropriate amounts to tip, etiquette guidelines, and insightful tips to ensure your gratuity experience is smooth sailing.

  22. Carnival Pride Cruise Review by jbjjscruise

    Verified Review. 7 Night Bahamas (Baltimore Roundtrip) Sail date: June 16, 2024. Ship: Carnival Pride. Cabin type: Balcony. Cabin number: 7121. Traveled as: Family (young children) Reviewed: few seconds ago. There's a lot that can be improved; but in general it is a fun experience and will do it again.

  23. Cruise packing guide: What to bring on your next sailing

    Cruise booking tips: There's more to it than picking your travel dates. 5. Sun protection. Sun decks and loungers are a major draw on cruises, so be sure to pack sunscreen. Certain sunscreens are ...

  24. Gratuities -- What's the Point?

    Again, this is inclusive of passenger tips. On the housekeeping side, a cabin steward salary can range between $650 and $1,150 per month, including gratuities, though on a luxury line the salary ...

  25. Norwegian Cruise Line Ship to Host Rock Cruise in 2025

    The full-ship charter of Norwegian Joy will depart the Port of Miami on March 10, 2025, and make two port calls, one at Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line's private island destination in ...

  26. Only Things You Should Pay Extra for on Cruise, From Frequent Cruiser

    Watch: Why it costs $1 million a day to run one of the world's biggest cruise ships. Travel Cruise Cruises. Advertisement. Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an ...

  27. Disney's biggest cruise ship will carry 9,000 people on cruises in Asia

    On Wednesday, Disney Cruise Line announced new details about Disney Adventure, which will become the line's biggest vessel when it debuts in Singapore in 2025. At 208,000 tons, Disney Adventure will be about 44% larger than the line's current biggest cruise ship, Disney Wish. For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise ...

  28. Cruise Line Tipping Policies

    The cruise experience has changed over time, and most cruise lines have adjusted their tipping policies to match. In part due to the advent of alternative restaurants and flexible dining plans ...