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What is the tipping / gratuity policy on a cruise ship?

A hot topic with seasoned and new cruisers alike… How to tip, When to tip and Who to tip? This is because tipping is very different on a cruise than you would expect in a restaurant or hotel.

The gratuities (tips) and how these are paid vary greatly by cruise line but as an average you will pay around £4-£8 per person per day. Ultra-luxury cruise lines mostly have no tipping policies as the gratuity is already included in the fare.

How Do I Tip?

All mainstream cruise lines will automatically add your gratuity/tips to your on board account. The main reason for this is that the dining options on board have changed so much in recent years with the introduction of more flexible, speciality dining options meaning over the course of a week, you may encounter various waiting staff. The other reason is that most ships now operate a cashless system on board which is why it is added to your on board account. 

The positives of pre-paying

Pre-paying your tips is more convenient and means that you know what you are paying before you travel and you don’t have to use your “spending money”. You also don’t have to worry about who to tip and how much as the cruise line will share the gratuity between the cabin stewards, butlers, head waiters, waiters and bar tenders.

Tipping is voluntary

Whilst 75% of our clients choose to pre-pay their gratuities, we understand that it is not for everyone- tipping on board is voluntary. If you would prefer to tip the staff that you feel have given you good service on board then you can do so by choosing not to pre-pay or by asking at the pursers office/information desk to have the automatic gratuity removed from your on board account.

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