Tipping on a cruise, or any vacation, can be confusing. Who do you tip? How much do you tip? And when is the right time to tip? DCL Prep School is here to simplify the gratuity process.
Tipping Made Easy
I like to break tipping down into three easy categories: Automatic, Manual and Cash-Only tips.
Automatic tips are the gratuities you give to your Stateroom Hosts, Dining Server, Assistant Server and your Head Server. Gratuities are expected, as their salary is primarily based on them. Disney has a simple calculation for standard gratuities.
Stateroom Host: $4/per person/per night
Dining Server: $4/per person/per night
Assistant Server: $3/per person/per night
Head Server: $1/per person/per night
DCL Tip Calculator
A family of 4 on a 4-night cruise should plan gratuities for these Crew Members to total $192. Disney will automatically charge the gratuity to your onboard account, or you can prepay before you board. Alternately, you can opt to pay gratuities in cash in envelopes which DCL provides on the day before disembarkation.
If you feel like service was above and beyond, or if you feel like your special requests placed extra demands on a crew member, you can always increase the amount of the standard gratuity with a quick stop at the Guest Services Desk.
DCL Prep School Tip: While you are at Guest Services increasing gratuities, take a moment to write a Crew Member Commendation to let the senior staff know that you received excellent service. It goes on their record and helps with promotions.
Manual tips are much like tips given to servers in restaurants in the U.S. Onboard DCL, gratuities on alcohol and spa services fall into this category. When you order a drink (alcoholic or not) from an onboard bar, you will receive a receipt to sign. The suggested gratuity is on the slip. You sign it, and the bill is charged to your onboard account. The same is true for spa services. You review the bill, approve or change the gratuity and sign.
There are very few times you will need cash onboard a Disney Cruise Ship. However, if you order room service, be sure to tip the Crew Member who delivers the meal. $2 is fine for a meal or snack. If your order meals, drinks and desserts for every member of your family, please add to your gratuity.
DCL Prep School Tip: The difference between a good tip and a great tip is usually two or three dollars. Reward the hard-working Crew Members who make your vacation extra special!
Porters, the fabulous folks who help you with your luggage before and after the cruise, should be tipped in cash also. You will need the service of a porter to check in your luggage prior to the cruise. Once you disembark, it is optional whether or not you utilize a porter when you collect your luggage. With my large family, I highly recommend it. Standard tip is $1-2 per bag or suitcase which is paid at the time of service. Note: Porters are not employed by Disney Cruise Line, and they depend on tips as income.
When tipping in cash onboard, please tip in U.S. Dollars only. When tipping in the port city, please tip in local currency.