Do You Tip on Cruises with Included Gratuity? Find Out Here!

Written by Jim Belt in Cruise

When planning your cruise vacation, understanding the tipping policies is essential. Many cruise lines include a daily gratuity fee in your bill, which is meant to cover the service you receive from the staff. This article explains tipping etiquette on cruises with pre-paid gratuities.

When a cruise includes gratuities, additional tipping is not required but may be offered for exceptional service. Guests may give extra to staff who exceed expectations, with any amount being at the guest's discretion.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary


  • Cruise lines often include gratuities in the fare, but extra tipping is at your discretion.
  • Familiarize yourself with specific cruise line policies on additional tipping.
  • Cash tips are commonly used to reward exceptional service on cruises.

Service Charges and Tipping Etiquette

When cruising, your fare typically includes a set service charge, but you might wonder about additional tipping. This section will guide you through navigating service charges and when to consider extra gratuities for crew members.

Tipping Beyond Service Charges

Situation Suggested Tip or Gratuity
Exceptional Personal Service Additional tip at guest's discretion
Specialized Staff Service Extra tip for outstanding service
Personal Services (Spa, Room Service) 15% - 18% customary gratuity
End of Cruise Tips for crew members who enhanced experience

Service charges on a cruise are not the end-all when it comes to gratuities. They're often distributed among many crew members who ensure a seamless travel experience for you. Here are specific situations when you might consider offering extra tips:

Etiquette for Tipping Crew Members

Understanding tipping etiquette on cruises is essential for showing your gratitude without awkwardness or social faux pas. Here's a concise guide:

Understanding Cruise Gratuity Policies

When embarking on a cruise, understanding the gratuity policies is key to managing your vacation budget and ensuring service staff are properly rewarded for their hard work. Gratuities on cruise ships are typically either a service charge added to your account or a discretionary tip you can give based on your satisfaction level.

Mandatory vs. Discretionary Gratuities

Prepaid Gratuities Options

Some luxury cruise lines include gratuities in their fares, with no additional tipping expected. Others offer the option to pre-pay gratuities before your cruise, which may suit travelers wanting to have a clear picture of their vacation costs upfront. Not all lines follow the same policy, so checking with your chosen line or reading through their terms can help you budget accurately for your next getaway.

Managing Onboard Expenses

When embarking on a cruise, it's essential to understand your onboard account and how to control additional costs, such as tips and special packages.

Understanding Onboard Accounts

Your onboard account is essentially a tab that accumulates expenses over the course of your cruise. This includes automatic gratuities for staff, which are typically charged daily per person. For Princess Cruises, these charges are distributed among the crew. Apart from tips, other expenses like beverages or spa and salon purchases are also linked here.

Controlling Additional Costs

Managing your budget on a cruise is about being conscious of the extra expenses. Be aware that once initial gratuities are covered, anything extra is at your discretion.

Remember, while gratuities are often included, any additional tips you choose to give based on the level of service you feel you have received should be accounted for in your budget planning.

Exploring Tipping on Different Cruise Lines

When you're sailing the high seas, understanding tipping policies can enhance your cruise experience. Different cruise lines have distinct guidelines regarding gratuities, and it's important to know these before you embark.

Luxury vs. Mainstream Lines

Luxury Cruises: In general, luxury cruise lines such as Azamara, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Silversea Cruises often include gratuities in your fare. This means you don't have to worry about tipping staff members directly, as it's all taken care of.

Mainstream Cruises: On the other hand, mainstream lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian typically have a set gratuity fee added to your account daily, which you can adjust at the ship's customer service desk if necessary.

Cruise Lines and Their Gratuity Guidelines

In cases where cruise lines set a daily gratuity charge, it's always up to you if you'd like to give additional tips for exceptional service. Just remember, your gratuities go a long way in showing appreciation to the crew that makes your voyage memorable.

Tipping for Specific Services and Amenities

When gratuity is included, you might wonder if additional tipping is necessary for the services you particularly enjoy on a cruise. Here's a detailed look at how to handle tipping for specific services and amenities aboard.

Dining and Bar Service

Spa and Specialty Services

Room Service and Stateroom Care

Regional Tipping Practices and Considerations

When sailing the seas on a cruise vacation, understanding regional tipping customs can make a significant difference in how you approach gratuities, particularly if they're included in your cruise fare.

Tipping Customs in Different Destinations

Caribbean & Bahamas:



Cultural Expectations for Tipping on Shore Excursions

Shore Excursions:

Cruise Lines:

Remember to check your cruise line’s tipping policies and consider these regional practices as you embark on your voyage.

Handling Tips with Cash and Additional Gratuity

When cruising, you have the opportunity to acknowledge great service with cash tips and decide whether to give more than the predetermined gratuities included in your cruise package.

Cash Tips for Individual Services

Deciding to Give Additional Gratuities

By considering these points, you can help ensure that those who make your cruise special feel appreciated.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cruise Tipping

Navigating the world of cruise tipping can be complex, especially with varying policies and expectations. Here we address your top concerns and equip you for a gratuity-inclusive voyage.

Clarifying Common Misconceptions

Practical Tips for First-Time Cruisers

Published: 19-12-2023

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