The best gift would be an extra tip. Not sure about calling cards, but no trinkets for sure. The personal space in their cabins is very limited. They can buy everything they need on the ship, and at a good price; that's why cash is best.
We always tip, our kids are in the "service" industry and we know its hard to make ends meet. Cash sounds like the best idea. I hesitate to give cash instead of a personal gift most of the time, but in this case I'm sure its the correct thing to do. thanks! ...and I'M still EXCITED about going on the Glory on the 12th. ... and theres nothing anyone can do about it...he!he!ha!ha!ho!ho! off sailing on the Glory we gooooooo.....
On our last cruise, our stateroom attendant was a middle age lady from Romania. After talking with her a few times, we learned that she was single and had to send money home. She didn`t have a husband and from we could gather, no prospect of having one. My wife and I gave her some extra cash and a hug. She had tears in her eyes.
I`ll never forget that moment. These attendants are often on ships for months at the time with no time to socialized.
Yes Lizzy, then can, but remember some people DON'T TIP. I know, I know - seems hard to believe, but with a base salary of around $50/month they depend on tips for most of their income.
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We always give an extra tip and a personal note. The money is what they need and the note doesn't take up much space, if they keep it. We wrote our address on the bottom of our thank you notes and a few months later we got a postcard in the mail. It was nice, and it showed, they really appreciated it. The coments on the coment card probably helped too. If they give great service, make sure you mention it, this helps them get promotions.
Cash. It is all about the cash folks. They for some reason get a lot of calling cards and most don't work and they toss them or trade them to others. Space is limited so handcrafts which very nice are also not a good idea as they have no place to put it nor the ability to take it home. Like I said, Cash is the one gift that is wanted and appreciated more than anything along with a nice card or thank you note.
I have noticed that many people like to be unusual and give the coin dollars or two dollar bills and while that is really a nice thing there are sometimes problems cashing them for the crew. Other nations know well the dollar and 5, 10, 20, 50, and $100's they don't all believe in the coins or $2 bills and some think it 'funny money' so it is actually better to stick to the common bills.
There have been some people that have used three and four dollar bills to tip the crew with thinking it is funny, it isn't and because of this many are now wary of things like this.
As others have said, CASH is king. Crews have access to phone cards from the cruiselines that are much cheaper than what passengers could provide. Gifts or presents, while nice, are not practical. Their families are NOT with them, storage space is a premium in their rooms and trying to drag an assortment of gifts from passengers onto a plane after a six month contract is not realistic. Cold, hard cash is MOST appreciated.
I pre-paid my gratutides and then leave extra cash to those who earned it. On our cruise our waiter & ass't server happened to be a husband/wife team so I also gave them a bottle of champange on the last night for their quite time together.