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Who Do You Tip On A Cruise? And Who Don’t You Tip?

Are you planning a cruise and want to know who do you tip on a cruise?

Cruise ship tipping can be confusing. Cruise ships have hundreds of employees, from servers and bartenders to stewards. It’s not obvious who should and should not receive a tip. Fortunately, we’ve got the answers for you! We’ll explain the basics of tipping on a cruise so that you can make sure everyone is taken care of properly.

You don’t need to worry about forgetting anyone. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this topic!

So, Who Do You Tip On A Cruise?

Your servers and cabin stewards expect tips for their hard work. Room service delivery, porters, bartenders, and the drivers for cruise-provided shuttles also appreciate them.

Even if you choose not to opt out of the auto-gratuity program, carry spare cash for these workers. American Dollars are best, but cruise lines do have the ability to convert most major currencies. Don’t be afraid to tip in Euros, Pounds, or Yuan if that’s what you have on hand.

A central dining room server and their assistants would expect tips, mainly if they gave you dedicated service at a fixed seating. That’s an important rule to keep in mind. Excellence should be rewarded. 

Who Do You Tip On A Cruise

Cabin stewards also expect tips, particularly on the first day of the cruise. A clean and comfortable room is essential to a good voyage, and the stewards are responsible for that. Reward them for making convenience available to you.

You don’t need to tip bartenders for every drink, though. Typically, there’s a gratuity included in the charge. This is true whether or not you have a beverage package. Nevertheless, if you’re a heavy drinker or a fan of complicated cocktails, slip the bartender some cash for their dedication.

Porters, shuttle drivers, and room service deliveries also enjoy tips. Because you’ll typically see them less often than other staff, you won’t need to tip as much. A few dollars per bag handled, drive, or tray provided is adequate.

Although tips are always optional, these are the people who we usually plan on tipping on a cruise:

  • Porter who assists with baggage at embarkation
  • Cabin Steward
  • Tour/excursion guides
  • Assigned wait staff for a fixed seating table
  • Porter who assists with baggage at disembarkation

Who Not To Tip On A Cruise

When we discuss who not to tip, we immediately go to anyone who gives us bad service. It isn’t that simple, though – staff like waitpersons and stewards rely on tips to supplement their wages. Not only that, but cruise lines often split the cash between all the staff.

If you undertip poor service, you risk penalizing everyone for one person’s mistake. 

Instead, there are certain workers who you don’t need to tip. The captain, cruise director, and other offices receive generous pay. Even though the captain keeps you safe and comfortable on the high seas, and the cruise director tells hilarious jokes, they don’t need extra money from passengers. 

No amount of tipping will let you steer the ship or earn a shout-out during an announcement.

Moreover, some officers consider tips embarrassing because they associate them with their subordinate staff. Regardless, these staff will politely decline any extra compensation you try to give. Thanking them is enough recognition.

Onboard engineers, like plumbers and electricians, don’t work for tips either. It might be a great relief to have a working toilet or shower again, but resist the urge to tip them for their trouble. 

Cruise ships also factor the cost of the kids club into your bill. It’s undoubtedly a relief to leave the children to somebody else while you relax by the pool or at the bar. But don’t feel obliged to tip the kids club employees for keeping them safe and entertained.

Avoid tipping the entertainment staff, too. Musicians and other performers work on contracts with their entertainment companies. These companies pay their employees well. They’re not buskers who rely on tips for a living.

However, there is an exception for specific performers. If you request a song from a solo singer or piano player, then feel welcome to compensate them for the effort. Depending on the cruise line, you could buy them a drink, too.

Why Opt-Out Of The Automatic Gratuity Program?

For most cruise lines, an automatic gratuity program handles tipping. The cruise line charges an additional cost to your bill daily, which they pay to staff like waitpersons and cabin stewards. 

This system isn’t perfect, however. Many people prefer the traditional approach.

Cruise gratuities can be surprisingly expensive, especially if you don’t pay them beforehand. They typically cost around $15 -$20 per day per passenger (including kids). Those costs can add up to an unpleasant surprise if you cruise with your entire family.

Although you can adjust the auto-gratuities on certain cruise lines, this solution isn’t ideal. Sometimes, you’ll want to tip generously if your service is excellent. 

On the other hand, if you received bad service, you might not want to tip at all, and you have the option to decrease the auto-gratuity at your discretion. However, keep in mind that doing so punishes all the servers and staff, not only the person who let you down.

If you decide to hand out cash tips, you can obtain envelopes from guest services. On the final evening of your voyage, hand these envelopes to the staff you want to tip. Avoid giving these envelopes out the day you disembark since your favorite servers won’t be in their normal positions.

What To Remember About Tipping

Keep in mind that certain services include a gratuity charge already. That service charge isn’t part of the auto-gratuity charges. Typically, all beverage services and services in the spa and salon have additional gratuity automatically applied to every bill. Check your receipt to make sure you don’t double-tip.

The answer to the question of who do you tip on a cruise is much easier if you’re sailing on a luxury cruise. Typically, you will not be expected to pay additional tips. Instead, the robust price of these voyages already includes all service charges. You’ll pay more, but you also receive peace of mind and never worry about tipping while on board. 

Closing Thoughts

If you prefer not to select automatic gratuity to be charged to your room daily, then you can leave cash in designated envelopes for staff. The staff who most commonly receive tips are cabin stewards and wait staff. Remember that automatic gratuity programs are in place for convenience, but if you opt out of them, then cash tips should be given on the last evening of the cruise.

David Chapman


David is a seasoned international traveler with a diverse hospitality background. He loves cruising in Asia and the Mediterranean.

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