The crew on the ship work 7 days a week, more hours in each day than we can even imagine, just to make sure you have a great vacation.  From the cabin stewards to the bartenders to the wait staff, there are thousands of crew on the larger ships and as much as they love a “thank you”, the best way to show your gratitude is with a little cold hard cash.  Most cruise lines have transitioned to automatically adding them to the bill at the end of the cruise which makes it so much easier and ensures the crew get the gratuities they all deserve.  

The Amount of Gratitude

Each of the cruise lines offers recommendations for what the gratuities should be. Some lump them all into one total per day and the rest provide them by position on the ship.  The amount of gratuities varies by cruise line but you can see each of the “recommendations” by choosing the link for the cruise line.  

The recommended gratuities only include the wait staff, room stewards and other crew. Drink, specialty dining and spa services all charge their own gratuities.  

All of the cruise lines allow you to adjust the gratuities if you feel the service didn’t live up to your expectations, although a couple don’t allow that if they are prepaid.  

Prepaying Gratuities

All of the cruise lines allow you to prepay your gratuities.  The question is, do you do it?  It’s completely up to you, but our recommendation to all of our clients is to always prepay. The first reason is because no one likes getting that bill at the end of the cruise and this allows you to get all of the payments out of the way up front. The second reason is because it locks in your gratuities amount.  If you don’t prepay and the amount goes up, the amount of yours goes up too.  

The one thing to be aware of. Some cruise lines don’t allow you to adjust the amount of gratuities if they re prepaid so if you tend to adjust them, this may not be a good option.  If you don’t ever adjust them, we say prepay them and make your life easier.  

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