One of the questions I most frequently get asked from newbie cruisers is whether or not you should prepay your tips. On the surface the answer is as simple as saying, it doesn’t really matter but the reality of it is there are quite a few variables and beliefs that can play into how you want to handle tipping.
Why I Choose to Prepay Cruise Gratuities
I am the type of person who likes to prepay my tips for a couple of reasons. One of my goals when I am cruising is to have as few surprises as possible. Although I won’t necessarily call tipping a surprise I have never been able to shake the feeling of “sticker shock” that occurs when I see the bill at the end of the cruise.
Prepaying for tips allows me to move yet another expense from the post-cruise to the pre-cruise side of the ledger. Normally I pay “cash” for my cruise before embarkation; while my onboard account gets charged to a credit card (I hate even momentary debt). Pre-booking and prepaying for services this way helps me not only lessen the “sticker shock” but also allows me to better manage post-cruise debt.
I rarely if ever receive service that would warrant a reduction or elimination of tips while cruising. Since I have made up my mind that the cruise lines tipping guideline is the minimum amount they will be receiving it only makes sense to prepay my tips. I also bring along extra money to tip those not included in the tip pool or those who provide exceptional service.
- Prefer keeping onboard account to a minimum
- Confident of the service you will receive
- Want to tie up as many loose ends as possible before you embark
Why You Should Wait Until You Board to Pay Cruise Gratuities
The other option for paying your tips is to wait until after you board the ship to do your tipping. If you choose this option instead of adding the cost of tips to the price of your booking it will be charged to your onboard account. Most people who choose this option do so because they want to experience the actual service before committing to an amount.
Just as you wouldn’t tip the waiter in your neighborhood bistro prior to receiving any service, many believe the level of service you receive on a cruise is raised if you wait to tip. Another benefit of waiting to tip is that some people prefer paying as little upfront as possible. Some prefer to move costs from the pre-cruise side of the books to the post-cruise side. This option is especially attractive to cruisers who are in line to receive a large onboard credit to offset your onboard account.
- Like to receive the service before deciding on tip
- Prefer keeping pre-cruise costs to a minimum
- Have a large onboard credit
At the end of the day how you decide to tip is a personal choice neither is right or wrong it’s just a preference.