Tipping Points: Cruising Single … Tipping Double?

July 26, 2011 | By | 17 Comments

It’s Day 2 of Tipping Week, during which we’re tackling your most pressing concerns about onboard gratuities. Today we’re answering a question about one of the most overlooked demographics in cruising: the solo cruiser. On Cruise Critic’s Facebook page, Rosemary Kennedy Manning asks: “If I travel as a single, do I tip my cabin steward(s) for one person or two?”
Good question. In a mainstream cruising world of double occupancy, the single cruiser is almost always required to pay a single supplement. In other words, 150 to 200 percent of the fare. Tough on the wallet to be sure, but the good news is that when you cruise alone, you don’t have to tip for two. According to reps from Royal Caribbean, Oceania and Norwegian Cruise Line, all passengers are equal when it comes to gratuities. “Of course, if they feel the service is exceptional, they can always tip extra,” said NCL spokeswoman Amanda Graham.
You have questions, we have answers: Check out our Ultimate Guide to Cruise Ship Tipping, which we’ll be adding to all week.
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    17 Responses to “Tipping Points: Cruising Single … Tipping Double?”

    1. MDcourier
      July 26th, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

      One of the many great things about Azamara is, No Gratuities.

    2. Ronda Rose
      July 27th, 2011 @ 8:56 am

      I generally tip my cabin steward double. I don’t ‘double tip’ the resturant staff.

    3. Stacy
      July 27th, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

      I was just wondering about this myself. We have always tipped above and beyond…because there are usually a lot of us(5-6)to deal with…but more and more I am thinking(fantasizing really) about a solo ‘me time’ cruise and I would feel bad for the steward that was counting on double occupancy in my cabin. I know the family of 3 staying in the cabin the following week would average out my week..but I think I would still tip double.

      Now that I have that figured out now I need to figure out a way to get on cruise be myself.

    4. jo crawford
      July 27th, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

      I do not double tip, however I give extra for good service. I have yet to find service that has not been good.

    5. Artrina
      July 27th, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

      I never tipped double when I cruised solo. One person means less stuff in the cabin and I keep those small cabins neat, so, the steward got in and out faster.

    6. Jeff
      July 27th, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

      I agree with jo crawford. I do tip extra for good service. I cant recall a time that I havent received good service. However, I wish that all cruise lines would give a small card to give to the room steward and dining staff to state that their tip is prepaid. So they dont get the feeling that I’m just walking out with out tipping them!

    7. Bruce P
      July 27th, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

      As to Jeff’s comment regarding letting the staff know if your tips are prepaid – I was also concerned, so on a RCL cruise I asked our steward. He said that the cabins which are prepaid are on a list posted in the crew area. I’m not sure about the wait staff however.

    8. JOE M.
      November 20th, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

      last year I cruised solo, I gave my cabin steward $20.00 up front,I asked him to keep my ice bucket full,and he did,I even gave a little extra in his envelope on the last evening,he saw me the next morning, gave me a big hand shake and thanked me for my generosity,and as for the MDR I only ate there twice, but I still gave all the waite staff their tip,They were really surprised and grateful.I will be cruising again this Jan 2012,andI will do the same.

    9. Liz Moten
      November 24th, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

      Being that I always cruise solo I always give extra to my stateroom attendant and to the wait staff. I however, do not use the envelops that the cruise line (RCCL) hands out on the last night of the cruise. I prefer to write each and everyone who has made my cruise holiday special by giving each one a personal handwritten note letting them know how much I appreciated their service. I truly believe it lets the staff know how much you really do appreciate the service they provide.

    10. Janna
      January 27th, 2012 @ 11:42 am

      I’ve cruised NCL solo and I always tip the room steward an additional amount to the auto-gratuities, but I do not tip double. I’m one person it has nothing to do with room size IMO unless I’m making the mess of 2.

    11. i dunno
      April 11th, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

      tips are based on subsidy wage, most workers get paid normally, as dishwasher etc in the states, the cabin boys and waiters are subsidize as in states, but, in the event of bad horrible etc. s ervice the service fees can be rescinded, taken back refuse to pay, as i was on an NCL cruise and i could not get waited on to save my life, as a single traveller, this happens often, in this case i rescinded my service fees, as i was rescinding others asked me and due to their lack of satisfaction, they rescinded also, now NCL has cancelled this cruise, i wonder if the horrible food and service w as due to knowledge of this,,,

    12. Sylvia
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

      I mostly cruise as a solo BUT I would have never even thought of tipping for two! Yes, we’re paying enough as it is to have our own room (yes, the choice I make).
      The service is always good and the cabin stewards/restaurant workers work VERY HARD

    13. Dana
      January 4th, 2013 @ 11:00 am

      I will be going on my third Carnival cruise this year(2013)and I never auto tip!! On the first day of my cruise; I go to the Purser’s desk and have those tips taken off of my account. Tips should be earned and I tip accordingly and in person!!Cruise Law News stated most of the crew don’t even receive their tips!!! If I get good service; I tip; if I don’t; then I DON’T LEAVE A TIP!! SIMPLE!!

    14. Jackie
      January 2nd, 2014 @ 11:40 pm

      Tipping is not an Australian habit as wages should be adequate compensation. However, for exceptional service a monetary reward is appropriate. On a recent cruise we were virtually harassed by our stateroom steward to complete form re tips – he left the form every day. We did eventually fill in the form, but will not travel with that cruise line again because of this. We are not skinflints, but do not feel tips should be decided by the cruise line. The passenger should decide at cruise end if the service was worth something extra.

    15. D. Hopper
      February 10th, 2014 @ 7:12 am

      Obviously, increasing numbers of passengers have been stiffing the service people, even when service was very good. That fact, coupled with efforts by cruise lines to conceal the true price of cruising, have led to the policies being debated here.

    16. Lyle Linville
      September 18th, 2014 @ 5:28 am

      I always travel solo. I tip the room steward extra, up front, to keep extra towels and the shower head low so I don’t have to climb.

    17. Christine Love
      December 11th, 2014 @ 1:21 am

      I always let cruise ship take out tips from my acct beside that sometime I give extra at end of cruise when service is good.
      I travel with friend & see ask me to put give extra tip up front for better service…
      I disagree bc I already paid from my acct so I don’t have to bribe for better service.
      They know they will get the tip for those days of my stay. If service is not your expextaction you can go to service desk to request to take tip out of acct.

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