How does tipping work on a cruise?
November 2, 2016 4:09 PM   Subscribe

I am taking a Carnival cruise in a couple of months, and I am trying to figure out protocol. What I am reading about tipping online is confusing. Do people bring money to tip cash? Do tips get applied automatically? Are you supposed to do both? Also, how large of tips is normal? Any insight would be appreciated.
posted by mortaddams to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you seen this? Might be helpful. Have fun!
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:23 PM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

schroedingersgirl's link matches my experience on other cruise lines.

I can't tell from the link whether Carnival just gives the tip to their staff, or if they print vouchers and envelopes which are left in the stateroom towards the end of the cruise to be given to the staff. I prefer the voucher and envelope system, as it allows us to tip the waiter and assistant waiter a bit extra in cash in their envelopes, as I find that they are the staff we interact with the most and really do make the cruise more fun. We usually toss an extra $20-$40 in for a weeklong cruise.
posted by neilbert at 5:34 PM on November 2, 2016

I just got off a carnival cruise the other week. A tip was automatically included on our account. We didn't do anything directly with the staff, there were no envelopes or anything like that and we didn't leave cash for them in our room.

There is a guests services desk. Just check with them if you're not sure what to do. I didn't book this cruise so i don't know if the amount was discussed & added at time of booking or if it's just automatically added. Go see guest services when it's quite, not as soon as you board like 200 other people.
posted by stellathon at 6:25 PM on November 2, 2016

I meant to say I'm pretty sure you can adjust the amount with guest services.
posted by stellathon at 6:25 PM on November 2, 2016

Carnival gives you the option to include gratuities in the purchase price, so first look through your documents to check if they were added. If not, the recommended amount will be added to your onboard account automatically. You can change this with guest services if you want. The tip amount is split up amongst the many service workers that help make your onboard experience awesome, some of whom you may never see, so it's recommended to use this system instead of trying to tip everyone with cash.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:45 PM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

We go with the automatic charges and give $50 cash extra to the room stewards, waiter and assistant waiter (each! Those people work their asses off and need the money more than we do). You can get envelopes from Guest Services.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:15 PM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I always include gratuities in my price. Then I leave a $100 bill in an envelope at the end of my cruise as well.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 7:22 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

You will be automatically charged a base tip for the room stewards and waiters (if you go with assigned seating for dinner). You have the option to log in to your account and have that removed so you can tip cash later on and it's not supposed to be known to anyone that you've done that, but I've heard rumors that the knowledge of that gets around somehow so everyone knows who's not auto-tipping.

Anytime on the cruise you can drop by the Guest Services desk and add extra tip, or have the percentages that go to different people shuffled around. You an also pick up envelopes to leave extra cash tips if you'd like.

If there's another crew member who you'd like to tip, like if a waiter did a really good job and you don't have assigned seating, or there's a barista who remembered your order every time, you'll need to go get an envelope and hand the tip to them personally, as the guest services desk won't do that. Also, get the tip ready and start looking for them a couple of days before the end of the cruise--we learned that the hard way, when we tried to tip a fantastic barista on the last day of a cruise and couldn't, because Guest Services wouldn't do it, and she wasn't working at the coffee shop that day. (We wrote a glowing review and sent it in to the cruise line, in the hopes that it would at least go in her personnel file.)
posted by telophase at 8:03 AM on November 3, 2016

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