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Everything You Need to Know About Tipping on Cruises

by Gayle Keck | February 10, 2016

The old days of peeling off bills for various staffers are pretty much a thing of the past. Not sure who you should tip now, and when? 

Many of the largest, most mainstream cruise lines — including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Holland America, Celebrity, Norwegian, and Princess — will automatically add a gratuity to your bill. The charge is typically between $12 and $15 per person, per day. More will be tacked on if you upgrade to a suite or use butler services. Some lines, like Costa, add less for children. The gratuities are then divided between housekeeping and dining room staff. If you're dissatisfied or prefer to tip in cash, in most cases you can ask the purser to reduce or remove the charges. One exception: Costa Cruises does not allow adjustments. 

Many of the top high-end cruise lines — including Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea, Paul Gauguin, and SeaDream Yacht Club — say tips are included or that "tipping is neither required nor expected." Any additional gratuities are at your discretion.

So, if you're not cruising on a luxury line, how do you handle other tipping situations? Read on for our guide.

Gayle Keck

Gayle Keck is a San Francisco-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.

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