Cruise Ship School Tips for First-Time Cruisers- Part IV

Check out part IV of Miss Cindy’s “Cruise Ship School Tips for First-Time Cruisers”!

♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

Let’s continue with information on tipping. After experiencing the service on a ship, you will definitely want to tip the wonderful staff!

The following people are tipped –

    Cabin steward/stewardess
    Servers
    Assistant servers

The suggested amount for tipping ranges from $12.00 – $13.00 per day for each guest in the cabin/stateroom. This amount will be distributed to the three people listed above. Depending on the cruise line, this amount will be deducted from your on-board account on a daily basis or you have the option to pre-pay your tips before you even get on the ship. There may be an option to adjust your tipping amounts also, depending on the cruise line.

Why do I need to tip when I went through a buffet type restaurant? 

The tips you pay go to many restaurant staff members. It does not matter if you ate at a sit down restaurant where your order was taken by a server and then brought to your table or at a buffet type of restaurant where you picked up your own food. People do not realize that even in a buffet type of restaurant, there are servers and attendants that are there to clear away your dirty plates, pour you more coffee, and keep the buffets full of food for you. These people work hard and deserve to be tipped.

I worked at a Marriott Hotel Sunday Champagne Brunch where we had a buffet for the guests. I worked twice as hard at that brunch clearing away dirty plates 2 and 3 times and refilling coffee, champagne, and juice. If I had taken their order and brought out the food, I would have cleared the plates just one time and the guests would not have stayed as long as they do on a brunch/buffet. I got less tips per table at the brunch and worked harder because people who have never been servers do not understand that even at a brunch/buffet, servers work hard!

So please tip the people on ships! They work 12-hour days, 7 days a week!

    A 15% tip will automatically be added to any bar orders.
    You can certainly tip anyone along the way in cash for providing great service.
    If the Maitre d’ was able to accommodate a special request such as being moved to a different table or dining room, it is customary to tip them $5.00 or so.

Cruise Etiquette

When traveling, please remember some basic etiquette. We are all on vacation and want an enjoyable trip.

    Please don’t save pool chairs by leaving your beach bag on it and then leave for 2 hours.

    Please be courteous when watching the professional shows – no talking.

    Watch your children! Don’t allow them to run rampant on-board. Some people are on vacation to get away from kids. Follow the rules of the ship as far as time frames regarding teens in the disco and at the shows.

    Be quiet in the hallways to your cabin.

    Follow the rules posted by the jogging track. If you aren’t allowed to run until after 8:00 a.m. then please don’t do so before that time. Some cabins could be located below or next to the jogging track.

    Take the lifeboat/safety drill seriously.

    In the fitness area, wipe down machines after use.

    When waiting for elevators, please let handicapped or elderly riders on first. If you are capable of taking the stairs, do so. The elevators can get quite crowded after dinner outside the main dining rooms so let handicapped and elderly on first and then if there is room, get on or walk the stairs.


The last night before your cruise ends, you will need to pack your bags and set them outside your cabin door before you go to bed. There will also be Custom forms to fill out declaring what you have purchased outside of the United States.

    Read your Cruise Newsletter the night before to understand everything. There will also be an Embarkation Talk by the Cruise Director on the last day. Watch for it.

    Your carry-on bag mentioned in an earlier blog is important for this last night. You will obviously need one for your pajamas, toiletries, change of clothes and last minute items in the morning since your bags from last night have long since been taken away by crew members.

    You may have to be out of your cabin by a certain time designated by the cruise line, usually about 8:00 AM.

    Breakfast will be served a little earlier than normal on the last morning in the dining rooms and the buffets will be open as usual.

    Your ship may dock at 8:00 AM, but you may not be getting off until about
10:00 AM after the ship has cleared customs. If there are any problems with customs, it could be later.

    You will be told to wait in the public areas, not on any stairways or in your cabins.

    Bring along your patience, this is not the most enjoyable part of your cruise.

    Exiting the ship is done by deck name or baggage tag colors.

    You will wait until your deck or color is called. There is no sense in trying to get off before your deck or color is called, because your suitcases will not be outside waiting for you.

    There are some cruise lines that allow you off first if you are willing to carry off your own luggage.

    I suggest not booking return flights after a cruise until 1:00p.m. or later just in case the disembarkation process is delayed.

    If you do have an earlier flight, talk with the Purser at the front desk a day or two before. He will give you special colored bag tags, which will allow you to get off the ship earlier. You may have to prove your flight time by showing them your itinerary.

    After passing through customs, you will see rows and rows of baggage, usually separated by colored bag tags. Find yours and head outside to the waiting motor-coaches (transfers) or taxi cabs to head to the airport. There will be orrers there once again to help you.


I hope you found this information helpful!

~Miss Cindy