There seems to be a huge myth going on that you are going to be tipping every person that comes into contact with you… The cruise experience is indeed a clever and very well constructed machine for separating you and your money… but it isn’t as bad as one might think.
Think of it this way… When you go to a fancy restaurant like Red Lobster or the Olive Garden, there is that little line on your receipt which allows you to provide a tip to your server. Similar to that, on every receipt you receive there is that little line for a tip. If you bought a drink, feel free to always put a big fat ZERO on that line. Yes put a ZERO because there is already a tip calculated into the price of your drink… just look up. The tip line here is their fancy “separating you and your money” part of the bill.
When on an excursion there is a tipping process but don’t be fooled. Not everyone will push for a tip. We took two excursions and did our “own thing” on the third island. During our “own thing” there was no tipping issues at all. We walked everywhere and enjoyed the shopping experiences. During our excursions, the main tour guide did invite tips but was not at all pushy about it. This may be a different experience depending on the type of excursion you take. Ours was mostly city tours and beach visits.
The moral here is tipping, although helpful in getting better service, it is not necessary. I’m a business man myself and when they calculated the prices of their services… they factored in all that would make them happy. Tipping anybody else other than food waiting staff is not at all necessary.
Lastly, there is one group of individuals that is very important to tip. This would be your cabin attendant, and your waiter/assistant waiter. These people are the ones you will directly feel their level of service from. Our cabin attendant always had a new animal made from starched towels waiting for us on the bed. It was a very cute thing and was that little “extra effort” that made our cruise a fantasy. Our waiter, well she was fantastic!!! On more than one occasion we came in later than our designated sitting time. She happily sat us down for a meal and provided us with the best service… even prompt. Due to our lateness and the fact that the second seating guests would be coming in soon our service was faster than normal which was indeed very enjoyable and just as wonderful.
Well overall we probably spent about $175 in tips for everyone involved. So on your next cruise vacation be sure to factor in at least that much. Bring $25 for the week of tipping and $150 on the last day for your cabin attendant, waiter and assistant waiter.