I have never cruised and we are anxiously awaiting our cruise on the Inspiration Oct 14-21. We are traveling with experienced cruisers, but I would like an approximation on how much money to set aside for tipping for the 7 day cruise. I would greatly appreciate any info or "tips" on how much we will need. Oh yes, there are 3 in my family who I need to tip for. Thanks so much!! We can not wait!
They usually list a guideline for the tipping in your cruise documents, but its basically $3.50 per day, per person for both the cabin stewart and your waiter.
Another $2.00 for the assistant waiter per person, per day. If for some reason the head waiter does something special for you, go ahead and give him $20 or so at the end of the cruise. I find it best to figure out the total and have that cash put aside, all ready to go. They will provide you with envelopes the second to last day, so you can give them at dinner for the last night. Some cruiselines have pre-tipping where they take it out of your sign and sail card, where you have the option to not do that and tip the regular way, or you can even adjust it as you see fit.
Here is a link for "first cruisers", may help answer more questions you have and also feel free to post any questions on the boards as well, hope you love cruising, its addictive:
I have found it easy to prepay tips, when you book your cruise. Or just call your
agent when the final payment is due to add the gratuity.
When you receive your cruise booklet, a coupon for each party is enclosed.
The cost for three people is $208 for a week, which includes the Maitre De, Head Waiter, Waiter, Busboy and Room Steward.
All other tips are added to your bill at a 15% charge.
You have the option of adding to a gratuity if you feel the service was above
It is easy to spend more cash than you anticipate, so another option
is to take cash with you in envelopes marked for each party to be stored in your room safe. You can also get cash from machines using your credit card and
I heard that Carnival now automatically adds $68 per passenger to the "credit card" in order to cover all of the tips. Now, at $3.50 per day to each the waiter and cabin steward, and $2 a day to the busboy, forgetting the matre'd (whom I usually never ever interract with), that seems to add up to about $50, not $68. So, I hear that MANY people are surprised and upset about the surprise "charge" on their bill. What I have heard works best is to go to the pursers office and ask them to reverse that charge. Then (be honest now!) do it YOUR way, and also based on who really earned it. I have (though rarely) seen waiters who had an attitude and deserved an "adjustment", or a cabin steward who was never there when you needed him. Then use the envelopes, and pay appropriately, and directly to that person. This procedure is MUCH more personal, and I'd say they appreciate this much more as Carnival "splits" all the proceeds up to all of these service people. No...give directly to those that deserve the tip!
Yes, in the cruise brochure, your cruise doc's and in the Carnival Capers it will state the suggested gratuity. It is per person, per day (even if you dont use the service). We only used the dining room 3 times during our 7 day stay and still tipped the waiter what was suggested. You tip the cabin steward ($24. pp for entire cruise), the waiter ($24.00 pp for entire cruise), and assistant waiter ($14. pp for entire cruise). The Maitre'D and Headwaiters its up to you. You'd tip them as you enter the dining room.
Also, I was surprised to see that they suggest to "not forget the Youth Councilors who have looked after your children this week". So because my daughter enjoyed her stay w/them so much we did tip them (only the ones who were around on the last night that I picked her up...there were over 7 councilors, so we didnt tip them all!). I have a feeling we were the only ones who tipped them!
If you want everything taken care of before you depart, pre-pay your gratuitites. It can be adjusted afterwards, if you find that the service wasnt as expected or better than expected. Bar services add 15% tip automatically.
I've never heard of the $68.00 that BruceA was referring to. It wasnt added to our sign and sail account!
I think we tipped about $150.00 for a 7 day cruise...there were 6 of us. You have probably already heard that you tip 1 time at the end of your cruise. It is split up among the waitstaff. There was no personal tipping, though we sure wanted to tip a particular busboy. He could not accept an individual tip. This was 3 years ago, so I'm assuming it is still this way. I think we tipped the cabin stewards separately, but don't remember how much.