Tipping on a cruise explained. What is tipping, who do you tip, how much and how do you tip. It's all answered here.

Tipping On A Cruise

What is tipping on a cruise?

Tipping on a cruise is extending a monetary amount to the service-orientated crew members for their outstanding service.  Most cruise lines now automatically charge a set amount per person per day which can either be prepaid or will be added to your shipboard account.  The cruise tips charged varies per cruise line but expect $13 – $16 USD per person, per day, a little more if you are in a suite.  In addition, a tip is automatically added to each beverage you purchase, spa service rendered or specialty meal purchased, generally 18-20%.


Tipping on a cruise explained.  Understanding tipping on a cruise (cruise gratuities).  What they are, how much to tip and how to pay your cruise ship tips.


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Key Takeaways

– Tipping on a cruise ship (cruise ship gratuities) is a customary way to say thank you to friendly cruise ship crew for their outstanding service. 

– For convenience, most cruise lines suggest an amount to tip per cruise passenger, per day that they charge automatically and then distribute to the staff.

– The amount of the tip will vary by cruise line (check your cruise line’s website for the exact amount), however, you can budget $13-$16 USD per person for you cruise line tips.  The amount is a few dollars higher if you are staying in certain types of cabins such as suites.








Understanding tipping on a cruise


Cruise line staff really do go out of their way to make your cruise vacation the best it can be.  Therefore, tipping on a cruise is a way of saying thank you for their exceptional service.


Most cruise lines have streamlined the tipping process on a cruise.  However, years ago, usually on the second to last night on the ship, your cabin steward would deliver envelopes to your cabin.  You would then put a cash tip in each envelope and personally hand them to your dining room staff, room steward, and anyone else you felt deserving.  This meant you would have to budget your cash throughout your cruise to be sure you had enough tip money left or were able to access additional cash.


Now most cruise lines will automatically collect the service tips and distribute them to your service staff.  Each cruise line suggests a tipping amount. You can check your cruise line’s website for the exact amount.  It is currently in the range of $13-$16 USD per passenger per day.  Therefore, on a 7 day cruise you should budget approximately an additional $112 USD per person for the cruise line service tips.  If you are staying in a suite or specialty type cabin, the cruise tips will be slightly higher per day. 


All passengers are charged the daily tip amount, however, some cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line exempt children aged 2 years old and younger. 


Most cruise lines give you the option to prepay your cruise tips or have them added to your onboard account.  This is far more convenient than the old cash in the envelope system.










Tipping on a cruise, all your questions answered.  What is tipping on a cruise, how to tip, how much to tip on a cruise and who to tip. Cruise gratuities questions answered











Other cruise ship gratuities

These per day cruise tip amounts do not include beverage purchases, room service, spa services, specialty restaurants with an additional charge, porters at the cruise terminal, or tips for the shore excursion staff (bus driver, tour guide, etc.).  Most cruise lines automatically add a tip to all beverage purchases, salon and spa services and additional cost specialty restaurants.  This amount will vary cruise line to cruise line but is generally 18-20%.  This also applies to any beverage packages purchased both pre cruise or during your cruise.  Tipping on your cruise for room service, porters at the cruise terminal or the shore excursion staff is done at your discretion using cash.  Therefore, it is recommended to bring several smaller bills for this purpose. 

Other tips for first time cruisers can be found here.


Tipping on a cruise - Questions answered.  What is tipping on a cruise, how much do you tip on a cruise, who do you tip on a cruise ship and how do you tip  Find all the answers here.  First time cruisers will want to check this out.











Frequently Asked Questions


Do you have to tip on a cruise?

Tipping is customary on cruises and cruise ship staff do provide outstanding service.  You should go into your cruise expecting to pay tips to the cruise staff, however, while onboard if you have an issue that you feel warrants decreasing the tip amount you can talk to guest services.  Removing tips completely is highly discouraged, guest services will work with you to resolve your issue, but in the end will decease the amount if you feel it is necessary. Often passengers are so happy with the service they will tip certain crew members extra.






What happens if you don’t tip on a cruise?

You should never go into a cruise thinking you aren’t going to tip as a way to save money.  The staff work really hard day in and day out.  For those cruise lines that don’t have an automated tipping policy, nothing happens if you don’t tip, other than disappointing the crew. 

For cruise lines that have an automated tipping policy (where they automatically add a set amount to your shipboard account), you would have to go to guest services.  They will ask for a reason and work hard to rectify any complaints you may have and try to dissuade you from not tipping. 






Is it better to prepay your cruise tips?

You can read about prepaid tips here and learn…

The 3 reasons I think it’s better to prepay your cruise gratuities.







How much are tips on a cruise?

Cruise tips on a vary per cruise line but you can expect to pay $13-$16 USD per person per day for service gratuitities plus a few dollar more if you are in a suite or a specialty stateroom. This includes tips to your main dining room staff, your room steward and other service orientated crew members. 


Tips on beverages purchased are added at the time of purchase – usually in the 18-20%. Spa services and specialty restaurants with an extra charge will also have a tip automatically added to the bill in most cases.


As amounts can and do change and vary per cruise line, here are links to some of the major cruise lines. Please double check with the cruise line if this is of concern to you.


Carnival Cruise Line tipping policy

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s tipping policy

Norwegian Cruise Line’s tipping policy

Disney Cruise Line’s tipping policy

Princess Cruise Line’s tipping policy

MSC Cruises’ tipping policy

Holland America Line’s tipping policy

Celebrity Cruises’ tipping policy






Why do kids have to tip on a cruise?

Let’s face it, kids are messy. They may be small but they are still a person that the staff serves and cleans up after.

Some cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Lines don’t charge cruise tips to passengers 2 years old and younger. Click the links above to check your cruise line’s policy.








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