I have only been on Princess, where tips were included with your total, which you paid at the end of the trip.
On Celebrity, I understand tips aren't automatic and should therefore be paid at the time of service (except for alcohol drinks, where a 15% tip is automatically applied).
I'm wondering how much cash I realistically need to withdraw for tips (leaving Thursday). I read elsewhere on another page at this site that Celebrity recommends tipping: the waiter $3.50 pp per meal, assistant waiter $2.00 pp per meal and maitre d' .75 pp. So tipping $12.50 per meal is it (for two people)? Certainly far under what you'd pay for a nice dinner at home for satisfactory service. Also, what about breakfast and lunch--even at the buffet? What should you do then?
However, Celebrity suggested $3.50 pp per day for the stateroom attendant (for an economical, inside stateroom). I'm afraid I haven't been leaving a $7 tip per day when I stay at hotel rooms when traveling. Do you agree with $7 a day for a cabin attendance? I must admit on Princess I never saw my cabin attendant and never asked any other services of him (never even had room service trays in the room), but our cabin was always tidy.
Also, for tipping staff members such as the maitre d' and chief housekeeper, are envelopes provided in your cabin to leave these tips, or do you have to ensure you get the tip to "less visible" staff yourself?
Finally, is there a "room/debit card" you can use to charge onboard purchases (including drinks) to, as was on Princess? Or must you always carry cash?
Yes, also include the room attendant with people you should tip, they will provide envelopes in your cabin for all these people.
Everything else will go on your sign/sail card and then charged to your credit card at the end of the cruise, only other place you may need cash is for the casino if you are into that,, other than tipping excursion personel and porters, you really don't need a ton of cash.
So, when I put my waitstaff's total tip in the envelope at the end of the trip, should it be for breakfast and lunch too (we always ate at the buffets for breakfast and lunch--don't know if that makes a difference)--which means we should give for two people, $7 for waiter, $4 for waiter attendant, and $1.50 for maitre d' = $12.50 x 3---so $37.50 per day for dining altogether (if service, of course, was average)?
I just want to be sure breakfast and lunch are to be included in that, even though it is buffet service, or what would you suggest for those two meals?
Also, I didn't see mentioned in the Celebrity guide book anything about the envelope system. Just curious, when and where do you turn in those envelopes?
Yes, you should include the wait staff even though you use the buffett. You will just take the envelopes to dinner the last nite out and give them out then. The envelope for your cabin attendant, just leave in the cabin, he/she will find it :-)