Tipping on cruise ships can be confusing. Depending on which cruise line you’re sailing, you have a variety of tipping issues to consider, such as who should receive a tip, adjusting automatic gratuities, options for prepaid gratuities, and whether you should tip extra. And that only covers when you’re actually on the ship. You should also think about tips you may want to when you leave the ship.
Here are our best suggestions for how much tip on cruise excursions if you want to show your appreciation.
How Much To Tip On Cruise Excursions
Shore excursions are offered in many, if not all, ports of call, depending on the cruise. Since these activities are optional, the daily gratuity charge that may be added to your ship account does not cover excursions. This is true whether or not you book the excursion through the cruise line.
Tipping Tour Guides
A general guideline for a private tour is to tip 10% of the tour cost and up to 20% for exceptional service on independent tours. In this context, a private tour means one that you have arranged and for which you control who participates. So, for instance, if it is a tour that is only for your family and/or your travel companions.
For shore excursions, people will commonly book a group tour through the cruise line or through third-party tour operators. Tours can range in size from small groups of 10-15 or larger groups that fill a big bus. These are tours that are generally open to any cruise passenger who wants to make a reservation. When on a prepackaged group tour, a typical tip for a tour guide is $3-5 per person for a tour of a half-day or less and $5-10 per person for extended tours.
Tipping Bus Drivers
Many people who are generally inclined to tip will also tip the bus driver (if the driver and guide are not the same person). Generally, a typical tip for a driver is $1-2 per person. You should not assume that the tour guide shares tips with the driver. When in doubt, just ask.
Tipping for Beach Service
If you are going to the beach on a cruise excursion, you should plan to have small bills for tips as well. Who are the people you might want to tip at the beach? Someone who sets up a beach umbrella and chairs at your direction. Servers who bring drinks and/or food to you while you are lounging.
Tipping for Meal Service
If the price of your tour includes a meal, it is unlikely that additional gratuity is expected. However, if you are simply taken to a restaurant and you pay out of pocket, then you should leave a tip unless you are in a country where that is frowned upon. When in doubt, ask the tour guide.
When Should You Tip on Cruise Excursions
You typically tip when the service is concluded. So, you only need to tip the guide and driver at the end of the tour when you are returned to the pier or other point of origin.
What Currency Should I Tip on Cruise Excursions
If you are in the Caribbean, U.S. dollars are widely used and are great for tips. If you are in other locations, local currency would be ideal. This is particularly true if it’s someone who would not be collecting large quantities of tips in a given day. It can be challenging, and sometimes expensive, to attempt to change truly small quantities of currency.
Tipping is generally the acceptable way to show your gratitude for a job well done in most countries around the world. Our guide for when and how much to tip tour guides, drivers, and vendors on shore excursions, will hopefully make showing your appreciation a little easier on outings while on your cruise.