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Cruise Tip: How Not To Over-tip On Cruise Gratuities

Cruising makes you feel like royalty. When you return from breakfast, your room is made for you. When you finish dinner for the evening, your bed is made up again. Much like the reputation of a certain theme park, the word “No” isn’t in the vocabulary. In fact, the service is so good, you’ll likely want to leave a tip. But how can you make sure you don’t over-tip on your cruise gratuities?

How Gratuities Are Distributed

There are a few things you need to remember. The cruise line will charge you for gratuities. And this is fair. The amount you’re charged for gratuities is combined with the other passengers and split among the crew.

Think about it: Not everyone who is making your cruise special is visible. Sure, your stateroom attendant is always in your consciousness because you see that person just about every day. And you can see tangible evidence of what they’re doing.

The stateroom attendant provides you with fresh towels and clean bedsheets. But he doesn’t wash them himself? The delicious meals served to you multiple times per day on clean plates aren’t washed by the waiters and waitresses. The food on those plates isn’t prepared by the wait staff. The sparkling clean hallways and walkways aren’t vacuumed by robots.

So paying gratuities is part of cruising. But for good reason. If you feel your stateroom attendant is doing a better than awesome job, it wouldn’t be considered over-tipping to leave him a few extra dollars. Nor would slipping the waiter a few extra bucks because of his outstanding service.

Where Over-Tipping Sneaks In

Table with three drinks

The area where over-tipping can become an issue is when it comes to alcoholic drinks. It’s hard to see sometimes even though it’s in plain sight. When you get a drink, your receipt has the price of the drink. It also includes a 15 – 18% tip. Your final cost includes the tip and the drip.  The average drink is going to cost between $10 and $15. 18% of 15 dollars is $2.70 bringing that drink to just under $18. 

What’ you’ll also see is a giant blank area inviting you to leave a tip. If you do, you quickly will be separated from your funds. Drink enough on a week-long cruise and you can spend a lot of money. This is especially true with a drink package. Since your drinks have already been paid, it’s easy to just add a number to the tip line not realizing it’s already been paid.

Why You Might Choose To Over-Tip

There are some instances where you might actually want to over-tip. Depending on who you talk to, this may or may not be a good thing. Some feel that since gratuities are included, there’s no need to put out extra money.

On the other hand, providing a generous tip – particularly around the pool bars since they’re so crowded – may ensure your glass doesn’t stay empty too long. Whether you decide to do this or not, just remember, it’s a personal decision. There is no “rule” that is “supposed” to be followed

Pre-Pay Gratuities

Because you don’t want an unexpectedly huge bill on your finial cruise day, you can pay your gratuities before your vacation begins. This is actually a good idea. You can control your costs without any unexpected surprises. 

The next time you go on a cruise, remember, gratuities will be included. When you order alcoholic drinks, your tips will be included, even if you have the drink package. If you want to give a little extra when you’re at the bar, that’s your choice. Just know what you’re getting into before putting out more money.


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