Should I prepay cruise gratuities on a cruise?

Prepaid Cruise Tips (Gratuities)

Most cruise lines now give you the option to prepay your cruise gratuities, this then leads to the common question, should I prepay gratuities on a cruise or wait and pay them onboard.

If you are a first-time cruiser, you might be wondering what the heck cruise gratuities even are. We will cover that too, but first let’s answer the questions. Should I prepay cruise gratuities?

Is it better to prepay your cruise gratuities?  Should I prepay gratuities on a cruise?  This post answers that

5 Reasons to prepay cruise gratuities

1. Budgeting

The number one reason to prepay your cruise gratuities is from a budgeting perspective.

By prepaying your cruise service charges upfront, you can easily factor this expense into your overall cruise budget.

It helps to avoid any last-minute surprises when settling your onboard account at the end of your vacation, allowing you to relax and enjoy your cruise without worrying about those additional costs.

2. Locks in the price

Another benefit to prepaid cruise tips is that it locks in the price. Cruise lines from time to time will increase the suggested daily gratuity rate.

Prepaying ensures that you secure the current rates. So, even if the rates increase later, you won’t be affected, which saves you money.

3. Locks in the foreign exchange rate

This one is an important one for us Canadians. Most cruise lines charge their gratuities in U.S. dollars.

If this also applies to you, keep an eye on the exchange rate, when you feel the rate is decent, choose that time to prepay your cruise tips (gratuities).

Should you prepay your cruise ship gratuities.  Top 3 reasons to prepay your cruise tips.

4. Spreads out the cost

For many, prepaying cruise gratuities can be beneficial from a payment perspective as it allows you to spread out the vacation expenses over time.

Paying for some of your cruise-related costs before your trip even starts, leaves fewer expenses to worry about during your actual vacation.

5. Convenience and simplicity

Taking care of gratuities in advance simplifies the entire process. You won’t need to think about it during your vacation or budget for it while onboard.

Prepaid gratuities are just one less thing to worry about on your well deserved cruise vacation.

Ultimately, the decision to prepay cruise gratuities or not boils down to your personal preference.

Whether you choose to prepay, tip in person, or tip more than the suggested guidelines, what matters most is acknowledging the hard work of the crew members who contribute greatly to making your cruise experience unforgettable.

Frequently asked questions about prepaying cruise gratuities

How do you prepay your cruise gratuities?

Prepaying cruise gratuities is a straightforward process nowadays. Most cruise lines offer these different ways:

1. During the booking process

When you book your cruise, one of the options the booking form will have or your travel agent will ask is whether you want to prepay your cruise gratuities.

You can add this service charge to your total cruise fare at the time of booking.

2. Through the cruise line’s website

Anytime before your cruise you can do it through the cruise line’s website.

Log into the cruise line’s website. Each cruise line is different but under “Manage my booking” or “My account” or “Make a payment” you should be able to find the option to prepay those gratuities.

3. Contact the cruise line directly or your travel agent

If you prefer to speak to someone directly you can call the cruise line or contact you travel agent and I’m sure they will be happy to help you.

What happens to my prepaid cruise tips if I cancel?

If you cancel your cruise after prepaying your cruise tips the cruise line will refund that amount. However, it is always advisable to double check directly with the cruise line before prepaying incase policies have changed.

What if I don’t prepay my cruise tips (gratuities)?

If you choose not to prepay your cruise gratuities, most cruise lines now automatically charge their suggested gratuity amount directly to your onboard account.

This amount will cover the recommended gratuities for the crew members who provided services during your trip.

Basically you pay the cruise tips at the end then instead.

How cruise gratuities are paid at the end:

Onboard account:

Once you board the cruise ship, you will be issued a cruise card that is linked to this onboard spending account.

This account is first set up when you do your online check-in. It is linked to your credit card (best option) or you can fund it with cash.

All your onboard expenses, including gratuities, will be charged to this account.

Daily charges:

Most major cruise lines automatically apply the suggested daily gratuity charges to your on-board account, usually as a lump sum towards the end of your sailing.

The specific gratuity amount per guest will be outlined on the cruise line’s website. Guests staying in suites usually pay a higher daily amount than those staying in standard staterooms.

The daily charge is divided among the crew members who serve you, such as your cabin steward, dining staff, and other service personnel.

End-of-cruise bill:

Throughout your cruise, you can enjoy the services without worrying about tipping each crew member individually or having to budget enough cash to tip at the end.

At the end of your cruise, you will receive a final bill with an itemized list of all the charges incurred, including the total gratuity charges.

Some cruise lines deliver this statement to your cabin on the last night and some will email it to you.

You can also access your onboard cruise account anytime during your cruise on the cruise line’s app. This is such a handy feature.

Adjusting gratuities:

If you feel that the service received was exceptional and wish to provide additional gratuities you can do so by contacting guest services or providing select crew members with a cash tip.

If you have concerns about the quality of service, contact the guest services desk. They will work to resolve any issues.

Removing tips as a way to save money is NEVER EVER advised. The crew works incredible hard all cruise long to provide exceptional service and to make sure your cruise is amazing.

Be sure to factor these daily gratuities into the total price of your cruise before you book your vacation.

Cash tipping:

Alternatively, some cruise lines still allow you to provide gratuities in cash directly to the crew members on the last day of your cruise.

In such cases, you can personally hand out the gratuities to those who served you, either in envelopes left in your cabin or available at guest services.

A thank you card is a nice touch for a staff member that has gone out of their way to provide outstanding service.

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What are cruise gratuities?

Cruise ship gratuities, also knows as service charges or tips, are customary payments given to the crew members who provide services and help make your cruise experience enjoyable.

These gratuities are not only intended to acknowledge the hard work of the crew members but they are an important part of the cruise industry’s compensation system.

Who are cruise ship gratuities paid to?

The cruise line disburses the gratuities they collect. Cruise ship gratuities usually cover the following onboard services and cruise staff:

Room steward: Also referred to as the stateroom attendant. Is the person responsible for cleaning and maintaining your cabin. They ensure the room is tidy, supplies are replenished, and any special requests are fulfilled.

Dining staff: This includes the head server and other waitstaff in the main dining room and select specialty restaurants. They provide excellent service during your meals.

Other service staff: This can include crew members responsible for keeping common areas clean, and those who contribute to your overall cruise experience, such as the entertainment team. It can vary by cruise line who they distribute service gratuities to.

Additional gratuities you pay on a cruise

In addition to these automatic gratuities, you will want to budget for additional tips for services. It is important to note that these service cruise gratuities do NOT include additional services.

Most cruise lines have an automatic gratuity charge (in the 18-20% range) on top of services such as spa treatments, drink package, individual drinks, and some specialty restaurants.

I hope this has answered the question “should I prepay gratuities on a cruise”. Many will find that for them prepaid gratuities are the best option.

Should you prepay gratuities on a cruise ship?  Here are 6 reasons to

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