The subject of gratuities can and often does provide much angst among travelers. How much should I give? To whom should I give to? Do I give to one and not the other? How should tips be given? Many cruise lines provide travelers with the option of pre-paying their gratuities when booking, some do not. If you feel this amount needs to be adjusted, whether increased or decreased, arrangements can be made onboard the ship, generally at the end of your cruise. Tipping guidelines vary slightly between the individual cruise lines, and are usually detailed fairly well once onboard.
On most ships, plan on tipping your room steward about $3.50 - $4.00 per person per day, and an equal amount for your dining room waiter, with half of that amount for the busboy; tip the maitre d' or dining room captain only if you ask for special favors or table-side service - $5 to $10 is normal; tip bartenders and wine stewards approximately 10 to 15% of your bill, however many cruise lines will automatically add the amount directly to your bar or beverage bill. Be sure to check your bill to see how it is handled.
Tips for special services such as salon & spa treatments and room service are left to the discretion of the guest, depending on services rendered.
Gratuities are generally placed in envelopes from your cabin's stationery supply, and passengers on cruises of 10 days or less will tip at the end of the cruise. On longer voyages, you might find that tipping weekly is the norm.
Please note that most luxury cruise lines discourage tipping, including Azamara, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, and Swan Hellenic. Crew members on these lines are paid at a higher rate than other cruise lines, and therefore are not as tip dependent; therefore many will outright refuse the gesture when offered by travelers.