Cruise Ships Tips: A Clarification

I recently read an article that whined about tipping on cruise ships–and frankly, I couldn’t disagree more. Dollar for dollar (or pound for pound or euro for euro), there is no better vacation value anywhere. Where else can you be fed so well three or more times a day? Where else do you have a room with an ever-changing view? Shows? Casino? Pool? Hot tubs? And best of all, where else can your vacation take you to so many different places while you unpack only once?

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Cruising is the ultimate vacation–as lazy or as active as you want. Costs are well contained and highly predictable. Sure, cruise lines find a dozen ways to make sure you spend, spend, spend (casino, bars, photos, onboard jewelry stores and gift shops), but if you avoid the obvious traps, taking a cruise is an excellent value.

Tipping is a part of the process. Your tips allow cruise lines to recruit highly trained, personable professional waiters, waitresses and room stewards throughout the world. They come willingly because of your tips, allowing each of them to earn a very good living to support a family back home or build a nice nest egg. I have a friend from Romania, for instance, with a wife and child at home. His dream is to open a sports bar and restaurant in his home town. Working as a waiter on a Royal Caribbean ship is going to make that dream come true. I couldn’t be happier for him and I will willing pay my $3.50 per person per day (and usually a little more) to reward him for the spectacular service I know I’ll get whenever I cruise with him

I’ve made other friends on cruise ships–young people from Indonesia, the Philippines, the Ukraine–all of whom are working on ships to assist families back home or putting money aside for education, to open a business or buy a home. The $50 or so I give him or her at the conclusion of a 7-night cruise is fueling a dream and I am delighted to assist him or her reach that goal.

So cruise. And please accept tipping as part of the cost of your cruise vacation. If you simply can’t stand the idea of extending those gratuities, you can sail on very high-end ships that include tips in your cruise fare (along with alcohol, wine, etc.) but rest assured, you’re paying a huge premium for this luxury.

As for me, with more than 40 cruises under my belt, I like the privilege of extending a generous gratuity to those who’ve made my vacation such a joy.

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