Never Leave a Cruise Before Doing This, Experts Say
Before disembarking on a cruise ship, make sure you haven't forgotten to do this.
Cruises are an excellent way to travel internationally, especially if it's your first time abroad. They allow you to cover a lot of ground, waking up in a new city or country each day. You can expect delicious food, nightly events, lots of sunshine, and all of your excursions planned out with a guide. But each cruise line is different, and that means that it's important to check the liner's requirements before you grab your bags and head out to sea. And to have the best time on your getaway, you'll want to be as prepared as possible. Read on to discover what you should never leave a cruise without doing.
Never leave a cruise without tipping.
There are so many people working to make your experience on a cruise great, and it's important to thank them—not just with a smile—but with a tip. Gratuity, however, can be confusing if you don't do your research beforehand. "With respect to tipping, I would check to confirm if the cruise line hasn't already added a gratuity to the cruise fare because some do that," says Tim White, founder of travel site MilePro.com. In that case, you could easily square everything away before you wind down.
A general rule of thumb is about $14 to $15 per person, per day.
While each line has different policies when it comes to tipping, a general rule of thumb for U.S.-based lines is about $14 to $15 per person per day, according to Cruise Critic. "This policy varies from cruise to cruise: some include the gratuity for all services while some only include it for spa staff and not dining and room staff and others have yet different policies, so the best thing here would be to ask the cruise company," says White. Of course, if you happen to dine less, that will impact gratuity.
Usually, the tips are pooled and divided by the dining and housekeeping staff. Should you be in a suite or using a butler service, gratuity might differ. But generally, if you're extremely satisfied with the service, you can feel free to give them a little extra. Do keep in mind it's not necessary to tip the captain, cruise director, or entertainment crew. In any case, having a baseline is always ideal. That way, undertipping is never a concern when you're trying to thank your favorite bartender.
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There are some exceptions when it comes to tipping on cruises.
According to Cruise Critic, there are some luxury cruise lines and river lines, as well as British and Australian lines, where gratuity isn't required. But that doesn't necessarily mean you can't do it at your discretion. However, some crewmembers may not be able to accept gratuity, so make sure to do your research on tipping before you leave for your getaway.
Always have some cash on hand.
Since gratuity is required on certain cruise lines, we can't stress preparation enough. That also means making sure you have various forms of payment on hand. While certain liners will just add gratuities to your overall bill, meaning you'll get a charge after disembarking, cash tips are often preferred as an option. According to Cruise Critic, many cruise lines ensure that passengers have envelopes so that they can give cash to the crew when they depart. It's important to note that "river lines give passengers the option to pay by cash or credit card at the end of their trip."