River cruising can be a relaxing way to see the world while waking up in a new place to explore daily. In between, you can enjoy the onboard comforts that your cruise ship provides, enjoy being with family, make new friends, and take in the scenery as the cruises down the river. If you’re planning a Viking River cruise, then this article on tipping on Viking River cruises is a must-read.
The 12 night Viking Paris to the Swiss Alps river cruise vacation is a popular choice that takes passengers through France, Germany, and Switzerland. Or perhaps you will be cruising down the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia on a 15-night voyage? You can even take in the pyramids in Egypt on Viking’s 12 day Pharaohs & Pyramids cruise.
Are Tips/Gratuities Required On Viking River Cruises?
Yes, you’re required to tip on Viking River Cruises, which is no different from most other river cruise companies.
Viking River Cruises have suggested tip amounts per passenger per day. The gratuities, called discretionary hotel and dining charges, can be prepaid or automatically added to your onboard account. The applicable tip amounts depend on which cruise you are taking since they vary by region.
Are Tips Common On River Cruise Lines?
Yes, tipping is common across cruise lines. Tips are either billed as a tip/gratuity or as a service charge. Tipping on cruises can surprising both new cruisers and those coming from countries without a strong tipping culture.
Regardless of your personal feelings about cruise companies forcing their workers to rely on tips, the fact is that they do depend on your tips for a large portion of their income. Your hardworking crew members, cabin steward, waiters in the main dining room, and luggage porters are grateful for your tips.
Who Are The Tips For?
Tips are split among certain onboard staff to reward good service and are not part of the basic cruise price. According to Viking River Cruises, your daily gratuities are shared between the “Program Director, waitstaff, stateroom stewards, galley staff, nautical staff, and others; this charge will also be shared with the Program Director for the land portions of our Elegant Elbe, Cities of Light and Paris to the Swiss Alps itineraries.”
How Do You Pay The Gratuities?
You have two choices when paying your gratuities. First, you can prepay your gratuities to Viking River Cruises or your cruise agent before sailing. Second, if you choose not to prepay your tips, they will be automatically added to your onboard ship account.
You do not need to bring cash for tips, as tips are automatically charged to the card tied to your onboard account.
Can I Change The Amount That I Tip?
If you chose Viking’s prepaid gratuities option, you cannot modify the suggested tip amount. This is the case if you prepay your gratuities through Viking River Cruises or your cruise agent before sailing.
If, however, you have chosen to have the automatic gratuities added to your onboard ship account, you can speak to one of the Guest Services crew members to modify the tip amount. Reasons for changing the tipping rate include rewarding satisfaction with the service or shining a light on poor service. If you receive poor service, make sure also to bring it to the attention of the cruise manager.
How Much Do You Tip On a Viking River Cruise?
If you’re taking a river cruise with Viking, you’ll want to know how much of a tip to budget for each day. Since Viking’s suggested tips vary by region, we created a helpful guide for all of the areas they operate from.
Tipping on Viking River Cruises in Europe
If you choose to prepay gratuities, the gratuity rate for European river cruises is $18 per day, per person.
If you choose to pay on board, tips are charged at 15 euros per day per person to your shipboard account.
Depending on the exchange rate at the time of your cruise and whether your credit card charges foreign transaction fees, it might be less expensive to choose the onboard tipping option. By not prepaying your gratuities, you can modify your tips amount to reflect the actual onboard service you experienced. If you prepay your gratuities, you don’t have this option.
Any additional tipping is up to you. Feel free to do so if you want to tip drivers, guides, the Viking employee who picked you up at the airport, or others that made your cruise memorable. Although tips for guides and coach drivers are at your discretion, they are expected. Consider leaving a tip of 2 euros per person for each day to the guide and 1 euro to the driver.
Tipping on Viking River Cruises In China, Egypt, Russia, and Ukraine
Different tipping amounts apply if you’re taking a Viking river cruise in China, Egypt, Russia, or Ukraine. For cruises in these countries, Viking’s suggested gratuity amount is $25 per day, per person for the time you are on board the river cruise ship and $10 per day, per person while you are on land.
You can choose to prepay the gratuities or to have them automatically added to your shipboard account.
Tipping on Viking’s Mekong River Cruises
Unlike the other regions we have already covered, gratuities on Viking’s Mekong River cruises are paid once you are onboard. There is no prepaid gratuity option.
You should tip $10 per person per day to the hotel staff and another $10 to the program/cruise director. Tips for the program director are only made in cash, so remember to bring $10 in cash for each day for the onboard staff gratuities.
Frequently Asked Viking River Cruises Questions
People often have specific questions about Viking River Cruises. Here are some of the most common questions people ask.
Can you refuse to pay gratuity on a cruise?
Yes, you can refuse to pay a gratuity on a cruise, including on Viking River Cruises. If you don’t want to tip the cruise staff, ensure that you don’t prepay the gratuities before departure as gratuities are non-refundable. Then once you’re onboard the ship, visit the Guest Services desk to remove the automatically added tips. You will need to request to remove the gratuities before the end of your cruise. That’s because, after your disembarkation, you cannot remove the tips.
Keep in mind that the crew will know if you choose to remove your tips while you’re on the ship. While you might think of gratuities as a bonus, the dirty little secret of the cruise industry is that their staff are forced to rely on tips for the majority of their income. Although many cruise lines say that this won’t affect the service you receive, your mileage will vary.
What happens if you don’t tip on a cruise?
If you don’t tip on a cruise, the service that you receive can suffer. This is particularly true if you remove the tips long before your disembarkation.
While most cruise lines say that the service you receive shouldn’t change, the fact is that word travels quickly among the crew about non-tippers. In fact, the crew often circulate a list of cabins that have removed automatic gratuities among themselves.
While this might seem unfair to you, the fact is that cruise line staff receive the majority of their income from gratuities. Most crew members receive far less than minimum wage and work long hours. When you choose to opt out of tipping, you’re cutting into their wages and effectively asking them to provide you with the same level for free.
What is the most popular Viking river cruise?
The most popular Viking river cruise is their Grand European Tour. It’s a 15-day journey through four different countries that begins in Budapest and disembarks in Amsterdam. You will cruise in luxury through the rivers of Hungary, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. Along the way, you’ll be treated to 12 exciting guided tours.
Are Viking River Cruises expensive?
Viking River Cruises are expensive compared to a discount ocean cruise, but they are all-inclusive journeys on their luxurious longships. Fares cost several thousand dollars, although exact rates vary by month and route.
Unlike a discount ocean cruise, you won’t have to pay much more once you’re onboard. Your cruise fare includes all shore excursions, port charges, onboard meals with beverages (including beer and wine), self-service laundry, access to the spa, daily 24-hour room service, and Wi-Fi. Viking claims that if you use all of these amenities, they’re worth $200 per passenger each day. That’s a pretty good value in comparison to discount ocean cruises where it can feel like you’re nickel and dimed.
What is the average cost of a Viking River cruise?
Across all Viking River Cruises, the average cost is around $3,000 per person. There’s a range of prices for every budget with cruises starting at $1,899 per person and going to $9,198. Book in several months in advance or in a less in-demand month to receive the best deals.
Why are Viking River Cruises so expensive?
River cruises are not as expensive as they might seem. That’s because Viking River cruises are all-inclusive, while discount ocean cruises are not. In addition, there are more shore excursions on a river cruise and, unlike an ocean cruise, they’re included in the fare too.
In the end, though, they are still a bit more expensive than a traditional ocean cruise. This is partly because they have to pay their staff more and use smaller ships.
How do I get the best deal on a Viking River cruise?
You can find the best deals by choosing a less popular cruising month or looking at unsold cruises sailing in the next month or two. Both are a great way to save money while enjoying the same cruise that others pay thousands more to take.
What is the single supplement for Viking River Cruises?
The single supplement on a Viking river cruise is 150% to 200% of the standard fare. This means that if you want to travel on their least expensive cruise, which starts at $1,899, you will pay a total of $2,848.50 to $3,798 for a solo fare.
Not all cruise dates offer a single supplement option. In general, less popular dates will have the best solo traveler options and pricing.
What is the deposit for a Viking river cruise?
Viking requires a cruise fare deposit of $500 per person to confirm your reservation. After making a deposit, the balance of your payment must be received at least 180 days before departure.
Are Viking River cruise deposits refundable?
No, Viking’s cruise deposits are not refundable. Should you wish to cancel your trip, you will lose your deposit if you don’t want to re-book for a later date. Viking does offer you the ability to change your cruise date up to 14 days before departure.
Can I cancel my Viking cruise?
Yes, you can cancel your Viking cruise. If your travel dates are more than 70 days away, you’ll only lose your deposit. For dates that are 30 to 69 days away, the cancellation fee is 50% of the fare. Dates that are less than 30 days away incur a 100% cancellation charge.
To avoid cancellation charges, consider changing your cruise to a later date. Viking offers this service up to 14 days before your ship’s departure.
Is Viking River Cruises in financial trouble?
The coronavirus pandemic has had a financial impact across the cruise sector to varying degrees. In general, cruises were canceled, and when they resumed, cruise lines found it more challenging to fill their ships with passengers.
Viking river cruises were one of the cruise lines that were better financially positioned than most and proactively offered cash refunds or travel vouchers. They are still operating and looking forward to putting the covid-19 pandemic behind them.
If you are worried about a cruise line’s financial condition, make sure to purchase a travel insurance policy that will refund you in case a particular line goes bankrupt. Relying on a credit card chargeback instead of travel insurance is risky, particularly since there’s a time limit for making claims. If you book cruises far in advance, you won’t be able to charge back the cruise if the cruise line goes bankrupt.
How can I save money on my Viking cruise?
To save money on your Viking cruise, book a trip during a less popular month or look for cruises departing in the next month that Viking is having difficulty filling. These are the two best ways to cut the cost of your cruise.
Is the beverage package worth it on Viking?
Viking’s Silver Spirits beverage package is only worth it if you will be drinking outside of the mealtime or prefer cocktails instead of beer and wine. The drink package costs $20 per day for each passenger and lets you enjoy all their alcoholic beverages whenever you feel like a drink, except for champagne.
Otherwise, skip the beverage package and enjoy your free beer, wine, soft drinks, and caffeinated beverages during meal times. Viking allows you to bring outside alcohol on board so you can bring some to start the cruise and buy more during shore excursions. They also don’t charge a corkage fee!
What is the dress code for dinner on Viking River Cruises?
The recommended dress code for dinner is “elegant casual,” and there are no “formal nights” that you need to worry about packing for. A tie and jacket are always optional.
Outside of dinnertime, the dress code on Viking is casual. Their casual dress code means you can wear shorts in the winter months and comfortable shoes.
What is included in the price of a Viking river cruise?
Viking river cruises operate on an all-inclusive model, so almost everything is included in the cost of your cruise. Your cruise package includes a shore excursion in every port of call, Wi-Fi internet, lectures, performances, round-the-clock free non-alcoholic drinks, all port taxes and fees, and ground taxes when purchasing a Viking air package. You’ll also receive complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks during lunch and dinner.
Are all Viking longships the same?
Yes, Viking says that all of their longships are the same. Each longship is identical with outside staterooms, modern design, and bright public areas.