Once in a lifetime

Tipping on Royal Caribbean Cruises

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by Margaret Levine:

When taking a Royal Caribbean cruise, you may want to consider how much you will tip ahead of time. Cruise lines differ in their tipping policies: some have built-in service fees and others leave envelopes at the end of the cruise to be filled at your discretion.

Royal Caribbean in particular has no requirement for tipping--only suggested guidelines that you pay before you disembark. However, many of the people that work on cruise lines rely on gratuities for a decent salary. If you are unsure of whom and how much to tip, you can follow their guidelines and pay in cash before you leave or simply pay in advance by adding the amount to your account on the ship or to your booking payment.

The advantage to paying ahead is that if you run over budget on things like spa visits or port purchases, you are already covered. If, on the other hand, you want to have discretion over whom and how much to tip, setting aside about $20.00 a day per guest will give you enough to cover everyone that you need to.

The suggestions for tipping on Royal Caribbean cruises may change, of course. Some cruise lines have converted to standard service fees because of the influx of non-English speaking tourists. Many of these tourists are not used to tipping in their own countries, but the cruise employees are underpaid without their gratuities. So, keep an eye out for changes in the industry--the initial fees may go up, but if you don't have to pay for tips at the end of your trip when you've all but run out of money, so much the better


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