Cruising gratuities 101: To tip or not to tip, that is the question!

Apr 12, 2023
Don't let cruise gratuities catch you off guard. Prepare for your cruise with our tips on whether to tip or not tip at sea. Source: Getty

If you’re planning a cruise, the last thing on your mind is tipping! 

You’re far too excited about your holiday and it’s not common practice in Australia, so it’s highly likely you hadn’t even realised it was something to consider for your cruise. 

However, much like when visiting another country, gratuities may be common practice depending on where in the world you’re cruising to and which cruise line you book. 

To help you cruise with confidence, the travel experts at Travel at 60 have shared their top tips for everything you need to know about tipping on your next cruise.

To tip or skip?

  • Some crew members, such as dining room wait staff, cabin stewards and porters in particular, rely on gratuities to top up their salaries.
  • Not all cruise lines charge gratuities – they’re uncommon on luxury cruises – and some lines charge gratuities only on some itineraries.
  • Cruise lines that charge gratuities usually do so by either including gratuities in your fare or adding gratuities to your onboard account as a fixed per-day, per-passenger sum.
  • If gratuities aren’t included in your fare and you don’t notify your cruise line that you intend to tip in cash, you’ll be added to the line’s automatic gratuity system. Passengers are expected to settle their onboard account, including gratuities, with a cash or credit card payment at the end of the cruise.
  • If you wish to tip as you go in cash instead of paying a per-day amount at the end of the cruise, advise the concierge desk soon after boarding the cruise to avoid confusion.
  • You can decline to pay a gratuity charge that has been automatically added to your onboard account, but some cruise lines apply a different charge for this opt-out.
  • If you choose to tip in cash at the end of your cruise instead, some cruise lines publish online tipping guides, set out the appropriate sums and provide envelopes onboard so you can distribute your cash.
  • Most cruise lines publish their gratuity policy online for you to research. You can also ask your Travel at 60 travel consultant about the gratuity policy on your cruise.

Remember, tipping practices vary depending on the cruise line. You can usually find tipping guidelines printed out in your cruise documentation. Be sure to ask your Travel at 60 travel consultant for more information when booking.

Curious to learn more about cruising? 

For more information on everything you need to know about cruising, download your copy of Travel at 60’s FREE Essential Cruise eGuide here and learn more about the types of cruises, the big cruise destinations, the best time to go, handy tips for first-time cruisers, the things you should pack, picking the perfect cabin type, tips for solo cruisers and so much more.

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