Tipping Points: What Do You Give When a Crewmember Goes Above and Beyond? You Tell Us.

July 29, 2011 | By | 26 Comments

Sometimes you need a drink. And when you’re Lido Deck reader Sabrina, sometimes that drink is tomato-clam juice with vodka. And sometimes the pool bartender may have to dig for the clams to procure the juice. There’s a point here: As we close out Tipping Week, we want to highlight those special requests and above-and-beyond services that call for a bonus.
In Sabrina’s case, it took 30 minutes of searching, but eventually a waiter appeared triumphantly, Bloody Caesar in hand. “I gave [the bartender] an extra $2 and said thank you for ringing someone to bring it up for us,” she writes. “The next morning he recognized us and asked if we wanted a Bloody Caesar. Sure enough – he had the clamato juice! And I tipped extra again for thinking about it.”
Now it’s your turn: Have you ever felt compelled to shell out a bonus to a crewmember who built you the New York skyline out of towels or made you chortle with his talking lobster routine on formal night? Share your stories in the comments section.
Here’s a tip: Check out our Ultimate Guide to Cruise Ship Tipping, in which we answer your gratuity questions and provide tipping guidelines.
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    26 Responses to “Tipping Points: What Do You Give When a Crewmember Goes Above and Beyond? You Tell Us.”

    1. Marc L.
      July 29th, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

      What kind of bar doesn’t have stock to make one of the most basic and common drinks? Now if you’re doing s river cruise in Africa I can understand, but on any major cruise line, if it took me 30 minutes to get a caesar I would definitely not tip.

    2. Mary
      July 30th, 2011 @ 11:16 am

      I tipped our room steward extra on my first cruise because he went to his own cabin to get me a much-needed safety pin!

      Sometimes it’s not about what wasn’t readily available but the effort made to please the passenger…..My adult son was on his first Royal Caribbean cruise and was on a low-carb diet. He asked if there was a chance he could get fresh berries for dessert (not on the menu.) Our head waiter Carla made the extra effort to go to the main galley to get them and had them available each night after. You bet, yes, we tipped our head waiter!

    3. Sue
      July 31st, 2011 @ 10:41 am

      We always carry $2 bills. Every morning the room steward finds one on our pillow… on a 7 day cruise, you’re out an extra $14 and it really makes a difference. It’s not the money, it’s the thought.

    4. Earl
      August 3rd, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

      When we cruise with Royal Caribean or Celebrity we get free drinks before dinner and sometimes after dinner. On the first night we pick a spot where we want to sit for the rest of the cruise we introduce ourselves to the bartenders and we them $5 on the 1st night. After that when we come back into the bar the next time our drinks are sitting in front of the seats we have chosen. Then depending on the length of the cruise we will tip $5-10 halfway through the cruise and then another $5=10 on the last night. Even when we weren’t getting free drinks we would always select a bar for our pre-dinner cocktails and tip the bartender a little extra, and we always had seats waiting.

    5. Paratrooper
      October 27th, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

      On Carnival:
      I tipped a “line chef” who told me about ordering special “Indian Cuisine” for dinner in lieu of ordering from the menu.
      Not only did it show up that night on 7 different plates for ONLY ME, but it was all the special dish I requested!
      The next day he introduced me to the chef who cooked my previous night’s dinner, and of course, I tipped him as well.

    6. Peg
      November 23rd, 2011 @ 9:27 am

      We tipped extra to our room stewards on a 12 night cruise. They went above and beyond for us. In reality we asked for very little, because they always took care of everything before we asked. They took such great care to know us and what we liked. They were such a joy to us. We never felt like they were “schmoozing” for a tip.

    7. Holomoku
      December 30th, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

      We take care of our Room Steward by asking if they are going ashore on Port Days? If they are we give them $20 to spend on a Beer or whatever while in town. Our room service has always been wonderful. Also, we tip them in cash at the end of the Cruise. This is in addition to the Auto Tip amount. Anyone else that has gone above and beyond gets the same treatment.

    8. prock
      January 27th, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

      On the Carnival Valor in 2006 out at the pool area, one of the workers who’s job it is to keep all areas clean of plates, cups, etc, (the one’s we stack up under our chairs), was working his butt off in the HEAT !!! At the end of the cruise I sought him out and gave him a $20 tip. He did not want to take it . . . I insisted !!! He definitely earned it !!!!

    9. Cass
      January 28th, 2012 @ 11:31 pm

      I have several times had a room steward who went above and beyond who got an extra $20-$50 for the trip. I love the idea one person posted about asking which was their off day to go ashore and giving them extra cash for that. Will do this on my next cruise in 49 days if I get a good one- wohoo!!! Also have had head waiters and bar tenders deserving of extra at times. I recently returned from a trip to Mexico and was horrified to learn what their minimum wage was and it is probably the same or worse on cruises. Believe me, I will be an even better tipper from now on!

    10. Donna
      January 29th, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

      We tipped a photographer on the Triumph. We were sailing with my MIL and he sought her out every day telling her she looked nice and asked about her day. He made the cruise for her as she felt so special.

    11. Bernice
      February 24th, 2012 @ 9:34 am

      We had a room attendant that went above and beyond the call of duty and was deserving of an additional tip. We were in Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity, June 2011.
      The day we boarded my boyfriend sent his shirt & suit to be laundered and pressed, so it would be ready for the formal the following evening. When it arrived, the shirt was all wrong, three sizes too big, & not his. Our attendant immediately called down for a fitted shirt when they could not find his shirt. When my boyfriend put on the new shirt, he could not use his tie due to the new shirt being a tuxedo shirt, therefore he would have needed a bow tie. Our attendant realized, to send down for a bow tie would have caused us to be late for dinner. With time pressing, our attendant offered his own bow tie. My boyfriend accepted, put the bow tie on allowing us to be on time for dinner. Our room attendant was quick to think outside the box. The service received was above and beyond, therefore deserving of an additional tip. The following day my boyfriend’s shirt was eventually found. Bravo to our attendant for the excellent service.

    12. P Zyla
      March 7th, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

      In December 2011, I was on the Celebrity Silhouette; the cruise disembarked on Christmas Eve. So, in addition to the extra monetary tip, I had brought along speciality candies that were nicely gift wrapped. Put the extra monetary tip in little Christmas stockings. Just tried to give a bit of the spirit of the season to the hard-working folks.

    13. MrsNancyG
      May 11th, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

      Several years ago my family and I did a Christmas/New Year’s cruise to Hawaii. Even before we boarded the ship, I just knew that as always, I was going to enjoy exceptional service and wonderful crew members – all of whom were not going to spending the holidays with their own families because they were tending to mine.

      I therefore spent some time at my local Big Lots and purchased the most lovely silver pictureframes with a recording device in them. I just knew the crew would love to have their families faces and voices with them during their tours. So in addition to the generous tips we gave all the crew members who worked with us personally; from the great room steward, to the exceptional bartender, to the manicurist who fixed a broken nail for me, on Christmas day they also received a beautifully wrapped silver picture frame.

      I know the thought was well appreciated and more importantly, I felt GREAT about the gesture.

    14. Gretchen Armstrong
      September 6th, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

      I require a gluten free diet and know that this is added work for our dining room head waiter as well as our busperson and waiter. We tip them extra (above the normal daily atomatic tips) at the end of a cruise because they have kept me from being sick and have always (with all cruise lines) taken care of my special needs with a smile. Never have i gotten sick on a cruise – I wish I could say the same about land based restaurants!

    15. Exeter Joe
      December 12th, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

      on at sea days I generally have 2 or 3 beers at the pool bar. I know there is an automatic 15% gratuity, but I usually add $1. At the end of a 12 or 14 day cruise I’ve tipped an extra $35 or $40. The bartenders always remember me by name and the service is very quick & accompanied with a smile. I also give the waiter, his assistant and our room attendant extra cash at end of cruise. We are frequent cruisers and it is nice when the ship’s staff remembers you by name from previous cruises. More than one waiter and room attendant shares their family photos with us. Through these photos I have followed the growth of an RCCL MDR waiter’s son from infancy to now about 8 years of age.

    16. Susan
      April 1st, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

      I give a few dollars a day to our room steward simply because they are so nice. I know, gratuity is already included but the few dollars makes no different in my life and they work so darn hard! There is no comparison when I evaluate these folks’ work ethic compared to, for example, Vegas staff.

    17. Oliver
      April 17th, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

      My wife needs a scooter to get around. On a RCCL Panama Canal(10-19-12), the excursion manager, Styan, emailed the land tour co’s to be sure the scooter would fit on the bus, stops were accessible…. He MADE the cruise enjoyable. I was sure to tip him!!!

    18. Fran
      June 2nd, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

      I always tip my room steward, waiter, and his assistant extra when I cruise. On a Princess TA last November, I also tipped the barista at the specialty coffee bar on the last day. Claudia was always bright-eyed and cheery early in the morning, even after working from 5 PM to 12:30 AM in the wine bar, then from 12:30 AM to 7:30 AM at the coffee bar. She was a lot more pleasant than some of the passengers!

    19. Roberta
      August 1st, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

      May 2013 Alaska cruise my hard sided luggage was cracked by the airlines and my room attendant took my suitcase glued the cracks and covered very neatly with duck tape. I was able to get home with my belongings intact even after several changes of planes. Needless to say I gave him a very large tip, he litterely saved my trip home.

    20. Andre Robitaille
      September 7th, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

      I always give a $20 to my room stewart when he present himself at the beginning of the cruise. The service for my last 3 cruise was beyond and I always leave an extra at the end same for the server.

    21. Jill
      January 3rd, 2014 @ 10:42 pm

      Why can’t the ship workers be paid a decent wage by the shipping lines and then the ridiculous idea of built in tipping would be unnecessary.
      Tipping seems like begging or blackmail. …I be nice, you tip, otherwise I not be nice. Surely doing a good job should be every worker’s priority.

    22. Dan
      May 22nd, 2014 @ 1:22 am

      We had the premium drink package, so the various waiters did not get their normal gratuity added for each drink. I tipped $1.00 for every drink at a bar or on Lido. I tipped the bar waiter and wine steward on the first night and again on the last night. They both bent over backwards to make sure everything was right, even when the wine I ordered had run out on the last night.

    23. Frank
      March 23rd, 2015 @ 8:34 am

      Well it all started the night before our 2nd port, on a 3 port cruise. We had been to a few of the bars, and happened to stop at one near the cigar lounge. We order a few drinks from different bartenders, and we tipped a few dollars each time. The next day we get to Great Stirrup Cay, and order a drink, again nothing out of the ordinary. Then we go to a different bar on the island and order more, and the bartender says “Hello Mr. Frank” Mind you we only order 1 drink from THIS bartender the night before,with no other conversations between us and the bartenders. And of the 100+ people that were at the bar, he remembered my name. So at that point he automatically gets a $5 tip. Later that night we go back to said bar he was at the night before and he swiftly comes over to us and asks if we wanted what we had the night before….. all i am thinking is this guy must have an eidetic memory… so we say sure.. darned if he didnt get us 1 redbull and Ciroc, and 1 Whiskey sour. So this was our bartender for the duration…We ALWAYS tipped him $2 for each order, where everone else was only $1 for each order. On our last night he not only got a $10 tip on the receipt, but a nice $20 while I handed him my card. (did I mention he also didnt charge for 2 of our beers.) So, did he go above and beyond ? You bet you butt he did.

    24. bandit's wife
      May 23rd, 2015 @ 8:50 am

      Sure, we tip extra when a server goes above and beyond. We like the idea of auto gratuity & have never reduced it for any reason. But if our cabin steward does an exemplary job, we show our appreciation in cash. Same thing goes in the dining room, if we get really great service we tip extra. On our last few cruises, service in the MDR has not been nearly as good as it used to be.

    25. Paul
      July 19th, 2015 @ 5:49 pm

      bandit’s wife – You pay a tip and then if the person does their job you pay another tip. Are you mad or just American?

    26. OBX Ron
      July 26th, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

      We ALWAYS tip extra for our waiter and assistant if we have a fixed table and for our room steward. These people work their tails off for 14-16 hrs/day and send most of the money home to their families.

      If you can afford to cruise, you can afford to be generous when these crewmembers are kind and generous in their care for you.

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