Is It Better to Prepay Cruise Gratuities?

Even though tipping has gotten out of hand in some areas, it is standard protocol on cruises. Passengers reward hardworking staff with cash, especially when they do more than the usual. But should you pay tips upfront on a cruise?

Tipping is a hot potato for some people. For this reason, we’re going to hold back, but tell the truth.

So come on board and let us answer this important question!

What are gratuities on cruises?

Gratuities are what passengers pay to the staff who serve them. It’s a way of recognizing their hard work and efforts to provide passengers with a positive experience. As with most professions in the service industry, these “tips” make up a large portion of their income.

Contrary to popular belief, the money doesn’t just go to the room and food servers. This money is divided among a large number of people who are responsible for looking after the passengers.

Some members of the kitchen staff and other departments working behind the scenes are also rewarded for their efforts.

Do you have to pay tips in advance?

Many cruise lines offer their passengers the option of paying gratuities in advance. This is usually a fee per day, payable for each person in your party. Royal Caribbean, for example, currently charges $16.00 per person per day for most cabins.

So for a seven-night cruise, you’ll pay an additional $112 per passenger. However, suites are charged more.

Prepayment of gratuities is not mandatory, just an option that most cruise lines offer. Pre-paying these fees has its pros and cons. Ultimately, it’s up to you how you want to reward those who help make your trip memorable.

What happens if you don’t pay the tips in advance?

As we have already mentioned, paying tips in advance is not a requirement on a cruise. If you don’t want to tip in advance, you don’t have to. Instead, cruise lines calculate the tip at the end of the cruise.

This is important so that you are not surprised when you receive your bill at the end of your vacation.

Your statement will list the tips and any expenses you have charged to your account. This could be drinks at the bar, a visit to the casino or purchases in the gift store. Most ships are almost entirely cashless and purchases are charged to your room.

Before you leave the ship, you must settle the bill. Normally the credit card on file will be charged the amount shown on your bank statement. However, check your account carefully to ensure that the correct amount is charged for your tip and other purchases.

Can you refuse to pay tips?

As we’ve already mentioned, gratuities are usually charged at the end of the cruise if you don’t pay in advance. Although most cruise lines do not indicate this, many cruise lines allow passengers to opt out of this automatic charge.

This allows cruisers to decide for themselves who and how much they want to tip. However, this usually leaves the staff behind the scenes empty-handed.

Contact the guest services desk when you board to waive this fee. Tell them that you would like to remove the tips from your account and that you would like to give the tip in cash. They will usually give you a handful of envelopes to show your appreciation.

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Benefits of prepaying gratuities on a cruise

There are some instances where you pay the tip for services in advance. Sometimes it feels like the motivation of the staff to provide a first-class experience is no longer there. However, there are several benefits that make paying tips in advance worthwhile.


The benefits of paying tips in advance are incredibly convenient. It’s one less thing to worry about during your trip.

You don’t have to remember to reward every employee or overlook anyone. The cruise company distributes the money to each employee based on a percentage.

The purpose of a cruise is usually to relax or unwind on vacation. Advance gratuities are a convenient service that can make it easier for passengers to relax. Cruise lines often do everything they can to make the entire experience as comfortable as possible.

Budgeting and financial planning

Prepayment is not only convenient, but also allows you to budget and financially plan your cruise.

You can consider gratuities as part of the cruise cost and include them in the total cost. If you plan for these expenses, there will be no surprises.

Most cruise lines offer you the option of paying the entire amount over a longer period of time. This way, you can make the payment in smaller, manageable portions. As I said, the cruise lines do everything they can to make it easier for passengers to get on board.

Consistency in service

Another benefit of pre-paying gratuities on your cruise is that it can ensure consistency in service. Pre-paying gives staff the reassurance that cruisers appreciate their hard work.

While passengers are on vacation, it’s a job for the staff that pays their bills. Naturally, most employees will pay attention to those who reward them financially.

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How to carry less cash

One of the main reasons passengers opt to prepay gratuities on their cruise is to reduce the amount of cash they carry. Most travelers try to carry as little cash as possible to avoid potential problems.

Instead of carrying hundreds of dollars in cash, pre-paying gratuities can be a single transaction on your credit card.

However, you will still need cash for some gratuities. You may want to give a small token of appreciation to your cabin crew, waiter or others. The easiest way to do this is to give them cash directly.

This ensures that 100% of the money goes directly into the pocket of the person concerned and is not divided up among the other crew members.

Should you pay tips in advance on a cruise?

While paying gratuities in advance on a cruise is more convenient and has many other benefits, it is a difficult decision. For many passengers, it is an excellent option that saves them from a situation that could become a major problem.

However, many choose not to in order to be able to adjust the charge at the end of the trip to reflect the services rendered.

Do you pay gratuities in advance on cruises?

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