Poll Position: How Much Do You Tip, Anyhow?

July 29, 2011 | By | 33 Comments

Since Monday, we’ve been exploring the ins and outs of tipping on a cruise ship. But we were wondering just how generous our readers are with their funds. Earlier this week, we wanted to know how you pay for your gratuities, but now we’re just being flat-out nosey, and we want more details on your tipping amounts.
What we asked: When you tip, how much do you give?
What they said: Most people — 49 percent — say they give more than the recommended gratuities. Meanwhile, nearly 48 percent say they give the standard amount. Only about 3 percent either give less than what’s recommended or nothing at all.
What it all means: We’re so glad almost all cruisers are generous. Enough said.
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    33 Responses to “Poll Position: How Much Do You Tip, Anyhow?”

    1. Huw
      July 29th, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

      Hmmmm. I went on Grand Princess 2 years ago and to tip the recommended amount for my family of 4, for 7 days, would have been about £400 ($600).
      Most rational people would consider this figure to be excessive, so I am staggered by your results!
      It would be interesting to hear the cruise lines stats on this subject!

    2. Tom Pecena
      July 29th, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

      Not tip?!? Who are these people? I stress the importance of tipping when planning someone’s cruise. Of course I learned TETO from my Mama…..TETO = Tip Early, Tip Often. All my clients tip. When you are spending $100 a day per person + air + drinks/casino/sap…what’s another $10 a day? Could you get this service at home for $10 a day? Even a maid is now $10 an hour cash…and thats if you are a cheapo!
      I’ve only had one person in 17 years who said she would not tip…said if she tipped she couldn’t afford the cruise…I expressed my thoughts on the matter….I assume she booked elsewhere (if at all).

    3. Tom Pecena
      July 29th, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

      I meant spa…not sap…guess I was thinking about the non-tippers. And to the poster with the family of 4…tips are generally $10-$13 per person per night. Your suggested tip of $600 is way to high. Should have been $300 or so total. You quoted in pounds….I know the English have a different pricing scale for the cruise fare. Do the cruise lines have have a different tipping scale for European cruise sales?

    4. Diane
      July 29th, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

      I know the staff do not get paid very well (if at all) and rely on the tips from the passengers. So, if I am getting good service I will always give them some extra cash at the end of the cruise. The cabin steward always gets some extra up front, and more at the end of the cruise if they deserve it.

    5. Norman
      July 29th, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

      On a recent NCL cruise with our two grandchildren, tipping was calculated per person and children in the stateroom were included. That meant we were charged $336.00 for tipping which was a automatically charged to our account but no mention of to whom it was given. We were at a loss what to give our cabin steward who was excellent. Was he included in the general tip or not? Seems to me that this a very pricey way to make sure everyone contributed but were left in the dark as to who were included in the tips.

    6. joni jones
      July 29th, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

      @ Diane – you are misinformed to say the staff do not get paid well, if at all. Those working on board the ship are making a lot of money compared to others from their country who do the same work on land. You make it very difficult for the typical passengers who leave the recommended tipping amount to be automatically added to their account. To give money upfront is to make yourself look like a silly money machine and the stewards see you as ‘easy money’. You have already paid for the cruise and the efficient and pleasant delivery of services. Paying more and above the recommended percentage of tips is not something you should advertise.

    7. Mike
      July 30th, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

      I believe tipping is the way cruise lines are making their guests supplement their employees’ wages,

      Why doesn’t the cruise line pay the staff more?

      Cruise Lines like Regent Seven Seas Cruises don’t require nor expect tips, and is because they are paid fair.
      I have worked as a tour guide, where we were paid handsomely and, if we dared asked for a tip, you would have been fired.

      September 14th, 2011 @ 9:24 pm


    9. Sue
      October 14th, 2011 @ 2:45 am

      I now live in Australia and tipping isn’t the norm. You tip for GOOD service and nothing like 20% as in the US. I find it hard to pay that amount when visiting the US, even though I come from the US. 20%!!! My god, what about the place that hires you..What are they paying you?! As for cruising. They all get paid, not as Diane stated. Think about it,it is called slavery otherwise. I do not pay tips to everyone..I have paid my fares and paid a fair amount for traveling…I pay my tips to whomever I want and not a set amount daily – We still get excellent service and never feel we are doing the wrong thing..We have been told by staff that what they get and the life style they have on the ship is much better than back home, wherever that is…So why feel guilty…

    10. Teresa
      November 23rd, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

      As a Brit tipping is scary. Service in the US is usually better than the UK. But the cruise lines should pay their staff accordingly and not rely on tips to top up salaries – gosh it cost enough to go on a cruise.. I don’t tip the airline staff who do their work as in the job description. Come on cruise lines let us tip for exceptional service not on demand!!

    11. Heather
      November 26th, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

      We have always tiped our wait staff and room tenders aditional $20 each, had it to them personaly the last night. We also give the room staff international calling cards, I had read on CC the cost of calling home was expensive. I believe it shows thought, not just throwing $.

    12. michaela
      February 7th, 2012 @ 8:30 am

      we are going on grand princess july 2012 we were appauled at the recommended daily allowance it meant we would be tipping around £350.00 I dont think so ,like a lot of people said they get there wages and the company should pay them accordingly we shouldnt have to be responsible for them, if you work it out can you imagine how much in tips per cruises there getting ,they say all the tips get shared out no one will know

    13. marianne
      February 23rd, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

      We gave up eating in the MDR several cruises ago due to slowness of service, noise, and a few bad table mates. We tip only our room steward the recommended amount (personally, in cash) and always opt out of the automatic gratuities. We prefer to control where our money goes. It is not our duty to subsidize on board wages-regardless of how guilty the cruise line want you to feel. Whatever happened to doing a job because you signed up for it, knowing what the pay is?

    14. sandra campbell
      February 24th, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

      I always give 20 to 30 dollar for our room stewart and is assistant same amount on a 7 to 10 day cruise and our head waiter 30 to 40 dollars and assistant at the end of each cruise I dont tip the specialty restaurant unless I’m really impress with food and service. Bars and Casino waiter, I do give a 20 dollars to my favorite one who goes out of his way to bring me water and always look for me to clean my spot and so on. I pay the regular expect on each cruise too, the 10 to 12 dollars a day for each cruisers. I believe these special people that give you the special attention to make your vacation amazing deserve that little extra that will make their day and remember you as a good and generous cruiser.

    15. martina comino
      September 30th, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

      I am Australian and we do not believe in tipping for basic service. We have excellent wages in this Country, and if you only get good service because they are waiting for a tip, they don’t deserve to work there.I cruise up to 4 times a year, I am widowed, and can not afford to extra tip these people.I am already paying up to 200% of the cabin in a solo cabin, I am paying enough. I always do a minimum of 28 day cruises, so that comes as an extra cost of $336 a cruise, at 4 times equals at $1,344 a year, I could almost do another cruise for that. I hate paying it, but usually have no choice.I start worrying towards of the cruise, how much more do they feel they deserve? Add the tip on the cost price and I won’t notice it as much!

    16. Fran
      December 28th, 2012 @ 11:15 am

      Did you know that all tips collected by the vessell are shared fleet-wide? That’s right. FLEET – wide. Not ship wide. It is only fair that someone working a 600 passenger ship get a share of the money that is given on a 3600 passenger vessell. We tip what the ship allows and then if someone does something special or helps make our cruise special, then we give extra. If I only see the maitre d’ on the last night he gets nothing more than a handshake. If he handles my food allergies ina special way, he gets something extra, depending on how much he does. Our (steady) server gets extra (that is a hard job, usually 11-13 hours a day depending on the ship), and his ass’t gets a bit less. (like maybe $20 for one and $10 for the other). If we get a different server every night, we do not add anything. Extra for our steward if he keeps the ice fresh in the minibar and keeps the room clean and tidy. Cruising is a cheap way to enjoy 24 hours a day without cares and worries. A bit of special attention on the cruise goes a long way making my cruise a special experience. And it is not going to break my bank!

    17. Clare
      February 27th, 2013 @ 7:12 am

      We are sailing on Celebrity Solstice on 4 March 2013. We will not be paying the allocated tipping charges and will ensure that these are not added to our sea pass. We are generous people and will personally tip those people who provide the best service. I am very reluctant to have an extra $320 added to our account for tips, when we do not know to whom our hard earned money will be distributed. On what other occasion would a person pay for a an obscure product? I really feel very uncomfortable about these tipping charges.

    18. Terry
      April 17th, 2013 @ 6:46 am

      I agree with Clare, I will be sailing in May 2013 for the first time and this tipping thing really worries me. I am Australian and tipping is not the normal thing to do here, normally it is only in a restaurant that we tip and usually only the coin change and never paper money. Most employees get paid well and when they start to job they know what the pay is. I won’t be randomly tipping anybody they get paid a wage and in most cases much more than employees on land for the same job. More importantly I’m on a pension and stretching the budget further than I feel comfortable with so to pay tip’s on top of the fare is taking it too far. Automatic tipping is a definante no no and won’t be tolarated by me.

    19. Marie
      April 18th, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

      I do not like the automatic gratuities, i always have them remove it from my sign and sail card and i ask for envelopes. I tip the waiters and room steward and any other member of staff i feel deserves a tip. At least i know who my money is going to!

    20. Paul
      May 2nd, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

      We opt out of the regular gratuities the ship charges . Then we pay our cabin steward and assistant separately at the end of the cruise , as well as our regular waiters and their assistant.
      We tip the bar servers and the sommelier $1.00 or $2.00 extra on top of his/her 15% already added to the bill.
      And that’s it .
      If we use room service we will give a small gratuity to who ever brings the ordered goods .
      We feel very uncomfortable with the ships policy tipping guidelines. Give the cash to the people providing service . If we do this , they do real well assuming they receive a wage for doing their job ?

    21. Jeff Matthews
      May 3rd, 2013 @ 11:25 am

      I have been on a few cruises and opt in on my bill. That being said, I will always tip an additional dollar or two a day to my favorite server, two dollars a day for the cabin maid and additional amounts as necessary for wait staff, stewards etc. It is a small price to pay for what appears to always be the excellent service I receive. My position is TETO is good for everyone. Maybe this is why other cruisers wonder how we get served so quickly when the bar is packed.

    22. Dee
      May 16th, 2013 @ 11:11 am

      We always tip the recommended amount and then some. We have never had bad service and appreciate the hard work these folks do to make sure we have a good time.

    23. Dee
      May 16th, 2013 @ 11:15 am

      We always tip the recommended amount and then some at the end of the cruise. We have never had bad service and appreciate how hard these ppl work to make sure that we have a good vacation. When I calculate how much a cruise is going to cost me I figure the tips in as part of the overall cost…..The crew deserves it!

    24. Lorraine duncan
      August 2nd, 2013 @ 11:49 am

      We were given some service by someone on their 29th cruise to take off the auto tipping and tip who we felt gave us good service. Being British this auto tipping is very alien to us. We tip our cabin boy and our waiters at the dining room at the end of our cruise . luggage boys, spa etc would get tipped as and when. I don’t understand tipping the bar staff surely they get 15 per cent anyway don’t they ?
      We have always received excellent service regardless of auto tipping or not.

    25. Sam Willy
      January 9th, 2014 @ 9:27 pm

      It is usual and expected to tip 20 -30 % so don’t be cheap tip big ^&^$ Wait a minute I don’t work on this Boat like most everyone else trying to get you to over tip, a tip is something you give if you want normally for someone doing something above and beyond to make you feel better about your experience, yes I can’t spell. Anyway I’m sure most on this site are just hoping to get a little extra so they try to make it sound like everyone tips big, just not true.

    26. Brian
      May 18th, 2014 @ 5:46 pm

      Lately I have been reading so many reviews by cruisers saying that they are happy with, even impressed with the majority of the staff they meet during their cruise. For those cruisers to remember to mention the staff and even state how those staff helped make their cruise memorable must mean that crew were doing a good job, not just the bare minimum. For us the mandatory $10US – $15US/day supposedly shared is acceptable. There are MANY staff behind the scenes, cleaning kitchens so my food is safe. Washing dishes so I have all the plates I cutlery I could possibly need for one meal. Slugging it out in hot laundry rooms cleaning thousands of sheets, towels and linens daily. Yes, we see and thank front line people constantly but without the support team behind them, they could not do the extras that they appear to do.

      Yes, I am OK with a reasonable daily automatic tip and I will continue to add a little directly to those whom I feel went above and beyond, presented with a hand written Thank You card at the end of the trip.

      Sorry but to those that don’t feel they should accept the auto-tip program, I for one accept the terms under which I purchase vacation and understood the expectations BEFORE I booked.
      Cruising is NOT an all-inclusive, No Tipping Allowed experience.

      My thanks to the many crew and staff of all passenger cruise ships! Making our experiences memorable.

    27. Aimee
      September 17th, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

      I plan on doing the pay ahead tipping on NCL but I’m not sure if that includes tips for bartenders?

    28. Vicky
      September 18th, 2014 @ 5:13 pm

      We always give extra tips to our room attendant and waiter & assistant waiter if we get great service. Do they get to keep the extra tip or does it go in the pool of tips?

    29. Angela
      October 25th, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

      i appreciated the clarification given, differentiating gratuities and service charges. I’m relatively new to cruising, yet always tip in addition to the service charges. I work hard for my money, as I did when I myself depended upon tips for my income. If you are fortunate enough to afford a cruise, this should be figured in as a part of the expense. I’m so happy to be able to thank the staff for their excellent service in this manner–and they’ve always made me glad for doing so. The people we meet, passengers and staff alike, have been the best part of our wonderful vacations!

    30. jim fleming
      March 28th, 2015 @ 10:53 am

      On my last cruise,#31 The two waiters had at least 25 guests, I counted 25 for sure. The cabin steward had at least 25-30 cabins and worked hard.DO THE MATH. If 96.89% of the guests are paying the recomended tip amt. The wait staff is makeing excellent pay. Or as i think most of YOU are lieing. That is why on the first day of the cruise the line at the pursers desk is lined up A MILE LONG
      Keep in mind are taxes paid??
      room and board???? or is all the money tax free??? I do not know! I do know that $12.00per day X 2000 guests=$24,000 per day, X 7days in the cruise=$168,000per wk. IF YOU THINK THAT THE CRUISE LINE IS SHELLING OUT THAT KIND OF MONEY TO THE STAFF I HAVE A BRIDGE(or cruise ship)I WANT TO SELL YOU! And now that the class
      sysyem is back (special decks and special dineing rooms, special pools,for special guests
      Remember it is all an act! did you ever run into a crew member OFF the ship MOST are down right RUDE. And most do not like FAT,LAZY,
      AMERICANS. But the cruise line forces them too!
      ABOUT YOUR PROBLEM THAY ARE PAID LIARS.I have been crusing since the early 80’s IT IS GOING DOWN HILL.

    31. Paul
      July 19th, 2015 @ 6:00 am

      A recent ‘insider’ tv programme in the UK revealed that on the large American owned cruise ship under investigation that any tips under $600 received by staff were deducted from their wages and that they only saw any tips that they made above $600. Thus tips were actually being used to pay their salaries. Naturally the cruise line involved refused to comment saying only that it was standard procedure. Whether standard procedure or not, it stinks.
      Unlike our distant cousins on the wrong side of the Atlantic, here in the UK we generally expect people to do the job they are paid to do without expecting a tip. After all you don’t tip your doctor, surgeon, bank manager, teacher, call centre staff or the IT manager at a certain large corporate law firm – that’s me by the way. But do feel free to tip if you want to :)

    32. John
      August 19th, 2015 @ 8:50 am

      Never tip like most Australians, hence cruise ships in Australia pay the proper wages to staff. It amazes me how many ignorant people from the usa there are, saying need to help these people – perhaps a better way to help is to ensure they get paid proberly in the first place.

    33. Danny
      October 2nd, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

      Cruise lines need to just double the price of the fare and pay staff proper wages. Non-tippers would be priced out, and therefore not be a bother to those of us who don’t like hearing them complain about everything the entire cruise. If I never had to listen to some overweight, grumpy little man with the portly and bitter wife complain about every detail of their voyage at a dinner table on a cruise again I’d pay triple!

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