About automatic gratuities on cruise ships

Cruise question of the day: What do you think about cruise gratuities?

On some cruise lines (like Crystal Cruises featured in the photo above), gratuities are automatically included in the cruise fare. On other cruise lines, passengers will have an opportunity to show their appreciation for exceptional service through an automatic gratuity.

Cruise Tips – love them or leave them?

Thanks for the inspiration #CruiseChat (a weekly Twitter chat)

The topic of gratuities on cruise ships is always exciting. In the old days of cruising, guests who wanted to show their appreciation for outstanding service would give a “tip” to a worker in a sealed envelope (very dignified). Then the practice started where envelopes would be provided and the cruise line provided some guidelines  (and your travel agent told you).

Based on the cruise tip calculator, here is what I would have to budget for a 7-day cruise on Royal Caribbean

cruisetip calculator

So for me sailing with my two kids, I would have to budget an additional $245 dollars for gratuities.


Links to articles about gratuities from Royal Caribbean:

On the other hand, here is what a couple of the luxury cruise lines have to say:

Crystal Cruises 

With Crystal’s all-inclusive cruising, complimentary gratuities for housekeeping (Penthouse Butler, Penthouse Attendant, Stateroom Attendant and Trainee Stateroom Attendants), bar and dining staff (including specialty restaurants and in-room dining service staff) are included.

If you would like to present gratuities for other service personnel, please do so at your discretion, or if you have any questions regarding gratuities, please contact the Reception Desk on board.


Fares include onboard gratuities

Takeaway: Buzz-crush or Buzz-crush?

Buzz-crush.. I am not a big fan of automatic gratuities. I would prefer to have the gratuities automatically included in the cruise fare.


 Here are some more interesting questions from today’s #CruiseChat

Q1: Should gratuities be included as part of the advertised #cruise fare? Why or why not?

Q2: Do you prefer having gratuities automatically added to your account or do you like the “old school” envelope process? Why?

Q3: Have you ever tried to reduce or remove automatic gratuities from your onboard account? Why? What was your experience?

Q4: Do you tip on top of the recommended gratuity amount? What’s the most you’ve ever given a single crew member?

Q5: In what other ways to do you recognize a crew member when you receive outstanding service on a cruise?

Q6: Do you typically tip your tour guides and bus drivers when you take a shore excursion? Why or why not?

Q7: We promise not to judge, so tell the truth: Have you ever left no gratuities on a cruise? Why?

Q8: Do you think service is less attentive on #cruise lines that have automatic or included gratuities? Why or why not?

Q9: Why do you think there is such a cultural divide between Americans and the British when it comes to gratuities on a #cruise?

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