It used to be that part of packing for a cruise was making sure you had enough cash with you to give tips to the crew. On the last day of a cruise, passengers would put cash into a series of small envelopes and personally hand them to crew members who provided good service.
That tradition has all but disappeared. Today, most cruise lines automatically add a standard amount for tips – around $12 to $16 per passenger, per day – to your onboard account, which you can settle with a credit card at the end of the cruise. The cruise line takes care of distributing the tips among the crew. It’s a convenient way to handle tipping, and ensures that tips are shared with crew members you probably never see who contribute to your cruise enjoyment, such as kitchen and laundry staff.
Still, you may prefer to make your own decisions about how much and who to tip, and you can still do so.
When you receive exceptional service, you can provide more than the standard automatic gratuity. Either:
- · Tip the crew members who serve you well in cash. You can enclose it in an envelope or card and leave in your cabin when you disembark, but it can be nice to present extra tips in person, along with your thanks.
- · Visit the service desk and ask to adjust your automatic gratuities. If you want specific crew members to be rewarded, be sure to provide their names.
It’s unusual that service on a cruise ship is lacking, but if you feel you have received subpar service, you can reduce your automatic gratuities. (Keep in mind that the crew may not realize that things aren’t the way you want them; consider having a word with someone at the service desk, which may quickly solve the problem.)
If you decide to reduce your gratuities, note that some cruise lines won’t reduce the automatic amount, but will give you a refund for the entire amount. Then, you can tip crew members who provided great service in cash. It’s traditional to tip cabin stewards, butlers, waiters, sommeliers and maître d’s who provided a high level of service to you.
For more information about the specific tipping policies on your next cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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