Champagne on the high seas.
Photo ©2009 Aaron Saunders 

In the “Old Days” – meaning not that long ago – gratuities were distributed in cash.  You received a series of envelopes on the second last evening, and had to fill each one with the required amount depending on the staff member: your room steward got one amount, your head waiter another, assistant waiter yet another, and so on.

Now, with the advent of gratuities charged directly to your onboard account, a lot of the frustration and confusion is taken out of this process; no longer do you have to worry about hitting up an ATM in your last port to ensure you have enough cash.

Where the frustration comes in now, particularly for cruisers not married to one line, is the myriad of tipping requirements for each cruise line, which can vary wildly, even changing depending on your stateroom category.

Which is why we’ve come up with this handy list.  You may find some of the results surprising – we know we did.

Azamara Club Cruises
In keeping with Azamara’s move into more upscale territory, gratuities are now included in your cruise price.  The only exception to this is gratuities for spa staff, which will be added at 18% to your spa bill.

Carnival Cruises
$10 per guest, per day.

Celebrity Cruises
$11.50 per person, per day, for guests in regular staterooms (inside, outside, most balcony).
$12.00 per person, per day, for guests in Concierge or Aqua-class staterooms.
$15.00 per person, per day for guests in Suites.

Costa Cruises
This was easily the most difficult to find out of all the lines listed here.  So for those interested, I’ve provided the link here – and you’ll need it to decipher the mind-boggling myriad of gratuities onboard.  Costa’s gratuities are broken down depending on the geographical region of their ships:

For Caribbean sailings departing from US Ports:
$11.00 per person, per day for cruises 7 nights and under.
$7.50 per person, per day for cruises over 7 nights.
For guests 18 and under, $7.50 per person, per day for cruises 7 nights and under; $3.75 per person, per day for cruises over 7 nights.

For Caribbean sailings departing from Non-US Ports:
Euro 6.00 per person, per day for sailings under 8 nights.
Euro 5.00 per person per day for sailings over 8 nights.
For guests between the ages of 14 and 17, half the above amounts will apply.  Guests under 14 pay no service charge.

For Europe, Dubai, and Costa Marina Sailings:
Euro 6.50 per person, per day for sailings under 8 nights.
Euro 5.00 per person, per day on longer sailings.
For guests between the ages of 14 and 17, half the above amounts will apply.  Guests under 14 pay no service charge.

For Transatlantic Sailings:
Euro 5.00 per person, per day.
For guests between the ages of 14 and 17, half the above amounts will apply. Guests under 14 pay no service charge.

For South America Sailings:
$ 8.00 US per person, per day.
For guests between the ages of 14 and 17, half the above amounts will apply. Guests under 14 pay no service charge.

For Far East and Costa Allegra Sailings:
$6.00 US per person, per day.
For guests between the ages of 14 and 17, half the above amounts will apply. Guests under 14 pay no service charge.

Cunard Line
 In comparison with Costa, Cunard is positively straightforward, and can be found on page 33 of the Cunard Voyage Guide

$13.00 per person, per day for guests in Grills staterooms (Categories Q1 to Q7; P1 to P3)
$11.00 per person, per day for guests in Britannia Club staterooms (Category AA)
$11.00 per person, per day for guests in Britannia staterooms (includes most inside, oceanview, and balcony staterooms)

Crystal Cruises
$13.00 per guest, per day.
$18.00 per guest, per day for guests with staterooms featuring butler service.

Disney Cruise Line
$12.00 per person, per day.

Holland America Line
$11.00 per person, per day. 

Norwegian Cruise Line
$12.00 per person, per day.

Oceania Cruises
$12.50 per person, per day for guests in standard inside, oceanview, or balcony stateroom.
$16.50 per person, per day for guests in suites with butler service.

Princess Cruises
$10.50 per person, per day for guests in standard inside, oceanview, or balcony staterooms.
$11.00 per person, per day for guests in mini-suites or suites.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Gratuities are included in the cruise fare for guests sailing with Regent.

Royal Caribbean
$9.75 per person, per day for guests in standard inside, oceanview, or balcony staterooms.
$15.50 per person, per day for guests staying in suites.

The Yachts of Seabourn
Gratuities are included in the cruise fare for guests sailing with The Yachts of Seabourn.

Silversea Cruises
Gratuities are included in the cruise fare for guests sailing with Silversea.

Surprised by some of the results?  We know we were.  Royal Caribbean, for instance, has one of the least expensive daily gratuity rate for standard staterooms, but this comes on the backs of one of the highest daily rates for suites – even more than Cunard.  NCL also outdoes most of the competition by $1 per day – despite the fact many ‘premium’ lines like Holland America still have theirs set at $11 per guest per day. 

In short – the staff onboard each and every ship work damn hard to ensure you have the experience of a lifetime – but forewarned is forearmed. 

Stay tuned for more insightful articles in our new “Focus On…” series – only on From the Deck Chair.

 

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