My husband and I are going on a 7 night curise on the mille, we wanted to each tip $120 for the 7 nights.
That's probably a bit light. Customarily, tips go directly to the individuals who actually provide your service, just like at a hotel ashore, rather than to the line as a lump som. In keeping with accepted custom, the following amounts seem to be the accepted standard across all cruise lines.
>> Spa Treatments and Salon Services: Most cruise lines automatically add a gratuity of 15% to the price of the treatment or service. An additional tip is neither expected nor proper.
>> Room Service: Tip the attendant who delivers the order a couple dollars per person at the time of delivery.
>> Casino: Tips to the dealers are at your discression. It's permitted to place the tip as a bet for the dealer.
>> Beverage Service: Most cruise lines automatically add 15% to the bill. Celebrity provides a line for an additional amount, but this is not proper by standard social etiquette.
>> Waiter in Main Dining Room: $3.50 per passenger per day, given after dinner on the last evening of the cruise. (See Note 1)
>> Assistant Waiter (or "Busboy") in Main Dining Room: $2.00 per passenger per day, given after dinner on the last evening of the cruise. (See Note 1)
>> Head Waiter (or "Assistant Maitre d'Hotel") and Maitre d'Hotel in Main Dining Room: Customarily tipped only for special services beyond normal performance of duties, but $0.75 per passenger per day for the head waiter only now seems to be standard (See Note 1)
>> Specialty Restaurants: The surchage either is or includes the gratuity, so no further tipping is either expected or required.
>> Cabin Steward: $3.50 per passenger per day, given when one vacates one's cabin on the last morning of the cruise. (See Note 2)
>> Butler (if Provided): $4.00 per passenger per day, given when one vacates one's suite on the last morning of the cruise. (See Note 2)
(1) Gratuities for the staff in the main dining room are calculated based on the duration of the cruise, regardless of whether one actually eats in the dining room every evening or not. Passengers who do not dine in the main dining room should give the proper gratuities to the dining room staff on the night before.
(2) If one cannot locate one's butler or cabin steward, it's acceptable to leave the gratuity on the desk with the recipient's name written clearly on the envelope.
If you tally that up, it comes out to $9.75 per passenger per day for a standard cabin (no butler) or $13.75 per passenger per day for a cabin with a butler. Be sure to allow a little extra for round-off....
Now, on Celebrity Cruises...
>> Each cabin has an assistant steward in addition to the steward. I'm not aware of any other line that does this. Celebrity does not suggest a gratuity for this person, but the assistant cabin stewards do work very hard. It seems appropriate to tip the assistant cabin steward the same amount as the assistant waiter in the main dining room -- $2.00 per passenger per day.
>> The line suggests a gratuity of $0.75 per passenger per day for the Assistant Chief Housekeeper, given to the cabin steward, but I am not aware of any other cruise line that suggests a similar gratuity. Most passengers never meet their assistant chief housekeeper at any time during the course of a cruise, either, so the line's suggestion of a gratuity for this individual seems to be completely out of line with standard social etiquette.
>> Celebrity suggests tipping half of the above amounts for children under 12, but the "half" in that suggestion also is not customary in the industry. It also feels wrong intuitively becasue children of that age often make extra work for the staff....
Originally Posted by You
Now, shall we carry that in change or will celebrity take care of it at the end of the cruise, or do we have to fill up envelopes and give them to the staff themselves? Or do each staff member meet with the guest at the end of the cruise for the tips, thanks.
Again, gratuities are customarily paid in cash to the members of the crew who provide the actual service. However, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line stared a trend toward billing gratuities to shipboard accounts in conjunction with the introducitons of their respective "Anytime Dining" and "Freestyle Dining" programs. In these programs, passengers sit at different tables and have a different waitstaff each evening so the customary practice would not work. Thus, these lines began charging dining tips to passengers' shipboard accounts and dividing the receipts among the waitstaff. When some passengers commented that they found this practice to be more convenient that tipping in cash, these lines extended it to include all "per deim" gratuities and other lines also adopted the practice of allowing passengers to charge gratuities to shipboard accounts. I don't know the details on Norwegian Cruise Line, but I know that Princess allows each passenger to go to the purser's desk and adjust the amount of any gratuity either upward or downward based on the service received, and passengers who wish to tip in cash may reduce all of the automatic tips to zero.
Now, on Celebrity, you will receive a form in your cabin that you can fill out and submit to the "Guest Relations" desk if you wish ALL of the gratuities to be billed to your shipboard account. The problem with Celebrity's approach is that it's an "all or nothing" arrangement -- the form allows you to increase any gratuity above Celebrity's "suggested" amount, but you cannot reduce or eliminate any of the "suggested" gratuities if service is substandard or if you wish to tip one or two of the normal recipients in cash. I find that the "suggested" gratuity to the Assistant Chief Housekeeper really grates because it is not customary (and apparently I'm far from alone in this, if the way that the line stretches to justify it during the disembarkation talks is any indication), so I tip everybody else -- including the assistant cabin steward -- in cash instead.
Do as you see fit.