Is Free Room Service on Its Way Out?

One of the long-standing perks of cruising has been the ability to have food magically appear at your cabin, at any hour of the day. I remember the delight my sister and I felt on our first cruise, a Western Caribbean voyage on Carnival Fantasy, when we realized that we could order a cheese plate […]

Is 18 Percent the New Cruise Tipping Norm?

For those who keep track of their cruise bottom line (and isn’t that most of us?), considering automatic gratuities leveled by cruise lines is a necessary part of budgeting. And lately, tipping rates have been creeping upward, from 15 percent to 18 percent. While many cruise line spas have long added an 18 percent gratuity […]

Tips to Cruise By: Packing, Drinking and Cash Handshakes

When a Cruise Critic member takes the time to write a bang-up review, we all benefit. Earlmarie, one of five member reviewers of the week, cruised on Ruby Princess to “de-stress and relax with no schedule.” There was one thing she planned on doing: help future cruisers. Sprinkled throughout her comprehensive write-up are packing tips […]

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

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 […]

Tipping Points: Do I Tip the Head Waiter or Maitre d’?

Mega-ships may have hundreds or even thousands of crewmembers (the Oasis-class duo have almost 2,200), many of whom are mostly invisible to passengers. Some of these shadowy figures may even get a cut of the tips … which prompted Larry to ask the Lido Deck: “Why does the head waiter get tipped if you use […]

Tipping Points: 7 Times When You Shouldn’t Tip

We’re constantly fielding questions about when, whom and how much to tip. But when should you slap away the outstretched hand, figuratively speaking? Many first-timers may be perplexed by what palms need to be greased … and which don’t. Lisa Lubrano e-mailed the Lido Deck asking: “If someone helps me carry my food in the […]

Tipping Points: Cruising Single … Tipping Double?

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) […]

Poll Position: Tipping Tumult

Tipping. It can be one of the most awkward and tricky aspects of cruising. With services like autogratuities (which are automatically added to your onboard tab at the end of each sailing) and the ability to prepay, it’s becoming easier and more mechanical. But, what if you feel like your cabin steward or dining room […]

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  • About the Lido Deck


    The Lido Deck is written by Cruise Critic's editorial staff, reporting from ships and ports around the world. The daily blog covers cruise news, reviews, advice, and hot topics from the Cruise Critic message boards. Please note: When commenting, Cruise Critic's community guidelines apply.

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