to tip

To Tip or Not to Tip?

To tip or not to tip?

to tip

On Saturday I am going on a 10-night cruise on The Queen Victoria with Cunard. So I have been reading up a lot on auto gratuities and how tipping on cruise ships works. As there are 2 of us going for 10 nights there is an automatic service charge of $11.50 per day, per person, added to the bill for tips. This works out at $230 for the entire holiday. This is the longest cruise I will have been on. So the tipping will obviously add a huge amount to our bill at the end of the holiday. So I was wondering whether or not to have this taken off my bill. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those people that don’t believe in tipping. I make an effort to always tip good service. I do however prefer to able to tip how I choose and where I see fit. So this got me thinking and I have been doing some research into it before I go away on my next cruise.


One of the things that grate on me slightly is that tips are generally added on to your bill in the first couple of days of your holiday. This just doesn’t quite sit right with me. If you have experienced some bad service or things that you aren’t happy with then I certainly wouldn’t feel happy about the assumption from the cruise line that everything is fine and just charging the gratuities to your account.

Also from reading, there are a lot of people on the comments pages that point out that the tips are used to top up what is a very low income of the staff on the ship. Should it really be the responsibility if the customers to decide staffs wages? Why are they not getting paid a standard amount by the cruise lines in the first place?

Where do the tips go?

There are also a lot of people that have commented that the tips don’t even go to the staff.  They just go straight to the cruise lines. They claim that they have been told this by people that work on the ships or have previously worked on the ships themselves.

What is right to Tip?

Whatever your views it’s an extremely contentious issue. It’s one that my friends ask me about a lot, what they should do? How do different cruise lines operate their tipping system? Most cruise lines operate auto gratuity now. You can decide that you really don’t want to pay it or want to adjust or reduce it then you can do this quite easily by just asking at reception. Don’t be afraid to change it if you aren’t happy with the service you have received. But do let the reception staff know as there may be something they can do to resolve it for you. If you are travelling with Norweigan Cruise Lines, they won’t remove the gratuities from the bill for you. You have to wait until you have returned from your cruise and then contact them and they can then arrange a refund.

You decide what to Tip

There is an interesting article in here in the Telegraph about tipping on cruise ships.

There is also more information here on Cruise Critic. The comments and discussions are really helpful if you take a look.

Read more about my cruises here.

It’s a discussion that definitely isn’t going to go away. Everyone that cruises seem to have an opinion on it. So I think just do what you feel comfortable with. Tip if you want to or leave the auto gratuities on your bill. But don’t feel pressured if you feel like you want to remove them before the end of your cruise. Let me know how you feel about tipping in the comments below.

Let me know how you feel about tipping in the comments below.

to tip

One Comments

  • Sanna Vegancruiser

    July 23, 2017

    I’m a firm believer is paying the gratuity as it is not a tip as such. We may call it that but the cabin attendants and waiters are working for pennies..I found an article from few years ago that said basic salary was 50usd per month and the remaining money came from the tips. Most ships sail under the flag of a country that allows them to pay a pittance and then staff can earn the difference in tips. There is no minimum pay for these guys and tips get docked – ie pay gets docked if the post-cruise survey comes back with not great mark. It’s a bit like waitressing in the US too. Low pay but the income comes from the tips.

    My view always is – if you can affort to cruise, you can afford your ‘gratuity/service charge’. And if you don’t want to pay that – sail with Thomson, NCL or one of the ultra luxury lines who charge none. But the ‘tip’ is included in the bill anyway – suppose only fairer as that way everyone will pay for the waves of the hardworking crew and no-one can be a cheapskate and skip tips.


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