Who Should You Tip Extra on a Cruise Ship

Embarking on a cruise is an exciting adventure, and understanding the tipping culture on board plays a key role in ensuring you and the crew share mutual appreciation. “Who Should You Tip Extra on a Cruise Ship” is a guide to help you navigate the sometimes tricky waters of gratuity. From the friendly bartenders who mix your favorite cocktails to the dedicated housekeeping staff who keep your cabin tidy, this article outlines who goes above and beyond to make your voyage special and might appreciate a little extra gratitude. Dive in to make sure you’re spreading the love and ensuring top-notch service throughout your journey! Have you ever wondered “Who Should You Tip Extra on a Cruise Ship?” Cruises are such a fantastic way to unwind and explore new places, but figuring out who deserves extra tips can be a bit complicated. No worries, though; I’m here to help you navigate through this process. Let’s embark on this journey together and make sure that you know whom to show a little extra appreciation to during your cruise.

Understanding Tipping Culture on Cruise Ships

Before diving into specific people you should tip extra, it’s essential to understand the common tipping culture onboard a cruise ship. The gratuities can vary depending on the cruise line, but there are some standard practices. Many cruise ships automatically add gratuities to your account, but it’s always appreciated to give extra for exceptional service.

Automatic Gratuities

Most cruise lines will add an automatic gratuity charge to your onboard account. This charge typically covers the basic tipping requirements for your dining room servers, room stewards, and other essential staff.

Cruise Line Automatic Gratuity Price Per Person Per Day (Approx.)
Carnival $13.99 – $15.99
Norwegian $15.50 – $18.50
Royal Caribbean $14.50 – $17.50
Celebrity Cruises $15.50 – $19.00
Holland America $15.50 – $17.00

Customary Tips vs. Extra Tips

While the automatic gratuity covers standard services, giving extra tips is an excellent way to acknowledge exceptional service. Your extraordinary journey is often made even better by the diligent crew who go above and beyond to ensure your comfort.

People You Should Consider Tipping Extra

There are several crew members who you might encounter throughout your cruise experience. Let’s break down the roles of those who often do extra to make your journey memorable and might be worthy of an additional tip.

Cabin Stewards

Your cabin steward keeps your living space clean and comfortable throughout your journey. They make your bed, tidy up your room, and often leave delightful towel animals.

  • Why Tip Extra: If your steward consistently goes above and beyond, such as remembering your preferences or providing you with extra services, a little extra tip can go a long way.

Dining Room Staff

The dining room staff, including your main dining waiter, assistant waiter, and head waiter, play a crucial role in your dining experience. They remember your dietary preferences, serve you at your favorite table, and ensure you have a pleasant dining experience.

  • Why Tip Extra: If your dining room staff have made your meals extra special or were particularly attentive, giving them a bit extra is a thoughtful gesture.

Bartenders and Bar Staff

You’ll often find that bartenders and bar staff are exceptionally friendly and quick to remember your favorite drinks. They can be a wonderful part of your cruise experience.

  • Why Tip Extra: If your bartender remembers your drink order, offers excellent service, or goes out of their way to chat with you and make your experience enjoyable, an extra tip would be appreciated.

Shore Excursion Guides

The guides and coordinators for your shore excursions dedicate their time to ensure you have an unforgettable adventure on land. Their knowledge and enthusiasm can make your shore experiences exceptional.

  • Why Tip Extra: If you had an incredible shore excursion, tipping your guide a little extra is a great way to show appreciation for their hard work and expertise.

Spa Staff

Visiting the spa can be a luxurious part of your cruise. Spa staff, including masseuses and beauticians, help you relax and rejuvenate during your trip.

  • Why Tip Extra: If you had an extraordinary experience, such as an outstanding massage or treatment, consider tipping the spa staff extra for their skilled services.

Children’s Club Staff

If you’re cruising with children, the kids’ club staff play a vital role in ensuring your kids have a great time. These dedicated staff members often plan fun activities and keep track of your little ones.

  • Why Tip Extra: If the children’s club staff have created memorable experiences for your kids or gone above and beyond in their care, an extra tip can be a lovely way to thank them.

Room Service Staff

When you order room service, the staff who deliver your meals are often doing so as part of their many duties. Even though gratuity might be included, an extra tip can be a nice gesture.

  • Why Tip Extra: For quick and efficient service, or if they have to make multiple trips to ensure your needs are met, a little extra goes a long way.

Who Should You Tip Extra on a Cruise Ship

How Much Should You Tip Extra?

While there’s no set rule for how much you should tip extra, here are some guidelines to help you out.

Service/Staff Suggested Extra Tip
Cabin Stewards $2-$5 per day
Dining Room Staff $1-$5 per meal
Bartenders $1-$2 per drink
Shore Excursion Guides $5-$10 per excursion
Spa Staff 15-20% of the bill
Children’s Club Staff $10-$20 per cruise
Room Service Staff $1-$5 per delivery

When and How to Tip

Knowing when and how to tip can ensure your gratuity is appropriately received and appreciated.

Tipping Throughout the Cruise

Giving tips throughout the cruise can help you manage your budget and avoid a large expense at the end. For instance, you can tip bartenders as you go, or leave daily tips for your cabin steward.

Tipping at the End of the Cruise

It is also common to give tips at the end of your cruise. Placing the tip in an envelope with a short thank you note can be a nice personal touch.

Using Cash or Onboard Credit

While cash is often preferred, some cruise lines allow you to add tips through your onboard account. Check with your cruise line for their specific policies.

Who Should You Tip Extra on a Cruise Ship

Dealing with Exceptional Service

Occasionally, you might encounter exceptionally outstanding service from a specific crew member. In these instances, don’t hesitate to express your gratitude more generously.

Recognition Programs

Many cruise lines have recognition programs where you can commend staff members who go above and beyond. Participating in these programs can help exceptional staff gain additional rewards and recognition from the cruise line.


Tipping on a cruise ship can seem daunting at first, but once you break it down, it’s quite manageable. Automatic gratuities cover the basics, but giving extra tips for extraordinary service can make a difference in the lives of the cruise staff.

By understanding whom to tip, how much to tip, and when to tip, you can ensure that your gratitude is adequately expressed. So next time you’re on a cruise, remember these guidelines, and you’ll be prepared to navigate the tipping landscape with ease.

Happy cruising, and may your journey be filled with exceptional service and unforgettable moments!