One of the most frequently asked cruise questions is “Should I prepay gratuities on a cruise?”. People wonder if it’s a better deal to pay ahead of time or worry that they might not receive the same level of service if they tip ahead of time.
Prepaying your cruise gratuities makes your life easier and lets you focus on enjoying your cruise while onboard. If you don’t plan on removing or adjusting the gratuities on a cruise, it’s better to prepay your gratuities before you go. On the other hand, you shouldn’t tip in advance if you want to reward excellent service while adjusting for poor service.
But does paying ahead of time affect the service you’ll receive onboard? No, prepaying gratuities doesn’t negatively affect the service onboard. Cruise ship personnel are professionals and recognize that most cruisers don’t remove the recommended gratuities. You can be confident that you’ll receive excellent service on board when tipping ahead of time, whether you prepay or tip onboard.
Introduction to Prepaid Cruise Tipping
Pre-paid gratuities are an option offered by most cruise lines that have automatic gratuities. These tips are a daily charge that goes to the crew members on the cruise ship who make your stay on board a memorable occasion. For example, Disney Cruise Line automatically charges tips at $13.50 per person per day with tips going to the stateroom host/hostess, dining room head server, dining room server, and dining room assistant server. To learn more, check out our Disney Cruise Line tip calculator.
First, if you want to take care of everything ahead of time, prepaying the gratuities allows you to do so. Your cruise agent might offer to let you take care of everything with one payment now. That avoids having to pay for the cruise now and for the tips later. If the trip is a gift to a loved one or you want to pay for your whole party, that’s often the case.
Secondly, if you take a cruise where the tips are in a different currency from your own, you will lock in the current exchange rate. For example, if you receive your income in dollars but the cruise is in euros, you will be able to lock in today’s exchange rate. You won’t have to worry about future currency fluctuations increasing the amount you end up paying. However, this exchange rate issue can work in reverse: if the exchange rate moves in your favor, you would have been better off not prepaying.
If you choose to prepay your gratuities, you will be paying the cruise line’s recommended daily gratuity rate. You can’t decide to tip how you want to, according to the actual service you receive. Remember, you haven’t yet received the service which you are tipping for now! You might want to reward one cruise member extra. Or perhaps you’ll receive poor service and want to adjust for that. You can’t do that with prepaid gratuities.
Our Take: Is it better to do prepaid gratuities on a cruise?
If the cruise is a gift for a loved one or you have an exchange rate worry, prepay your tips. Otherwise, it’s better to pay onboard.
If you don’t tip in advance, your gratuities are added to your onboard account. You can generally change these by visiting the guest services desk to reward excellent service or to let your displeasure known for unsatisfactory service.