A cruise vacation is a great way to see multiple destinations without packing and unpacking, and checking in and out of hotels. Cruising also is surprisingly affordable when compared to similar land-based vacations. One question, however, plagues even veteran cruisers--the question of how much, and whom, to tip. Note that although most cruise lines leave tipping to the discretion of the passenger, some lines, such as Holland America, forbid employees to accept tips and others, such as Carnival Cruises, add tips to passenger's shipboard account.
Tips for the Room Steward or Stewardess
The room steward (or stewardess) is the person who cleans your cruise cabin and assists you with anything you might need while in your cabin. The industry standard for tipping the room steward is $3.50 per person per day, given on the last day of the cruise.
Tips for the Dining Room Staff
Generally, you have the same waiter and bus person for the length of the cruise. These people get to know your tastes and desires and are some of the most hard-working staff members on the ship. It is customary to tip the dining room staff $5.00 per person per day on the last evening meal of the cruise.
Tips for Other Cruise Ship Staff
Other staff members on the cruise ship are tipped when their services are used. These include bartenders, the maitre d', the wine steward and the concierge. Generally, bartenders receive 15 percent of the bar bill. The other staff members are tipped according to how much of their time you use.