Although you may be lucky to find a cruise bargain, don’t forget that the vast majority include one big, hidden cost that is never discounted… tipping!The current ‘norm’ is to cater for about £8 a day to cover your cabin steward, waiter etc which on a fortnight cuise can add about £150 per couple! Children aren’t exempt although some lines, like P&O, reduce the ’suggested’ rates for under-12s.
Some people are still uncomfortable with tipping and this has been recognised by many of the bigger cruise companies. Royal Caribbean and Carnival, for example, have a system where passengers can opt to have tips automatically added to their on-board account.
This is then settled at the end of the cruise, when totals can be adjusted to reflect the passenger’s feeling of the service experienced on board. If you are not comfortable with the principle of tipping choose a ship where there is a definate ban on gratuities (those run by Seabourn, Silversea and Windstar).. however, as you might expect you are likelt to pay more for these cruises to start with!
Avoid nasty surprises and check out the cruise tip calculator. Here you can enter the name of the cruise line, the number of passengers and the length of your cruise and it gives you an estimate of the tips total you should budget for.