Hi. Bob Levinstein from www.CruiseCompete.com here—where travel agents compete to offer you the best cruise deal. Even seasoned cruise travelers are often lost at sea when it comes to gratuities on cruise ships, so here are some guidelines to make tipping simple. Most mainstream cruise lines have automatic gratuities. A charge equal to $10-$13 per guest per day shows up on your onboard account, and this covers room stewards and wait staff. You can leave the charge there, or ask at the pursers desk to have the charge removed if you want to tip directly. I personally tend to leave these amounts alone, and supplement it by giving cash directly to people who provide exceptional service. I also like to slip the cabin steward an extra $20 on the first day of the cruise to make sure my family gets extra attention. For other services on board—room service, drinks at the bars, salon and spa attendants—make sure you check your charge slip carefully. Sometimes tips are added automatically, so sometimes they arent. If the tip isnt added, 15% is pretty reasonable, or 20%-25% for exceptional service. Tips for the maitre de are discretionary. As maitre des are highly paid executives, I generally dont bother. Ships officers and other exes. like the cruise director or hotel manager arent considered staff, so dont even offer to tip—its considered embarrassing. Many of the luxury cruise lines, including Windstar, Radisson Seven Seas and Seabourn all that state tipping is not required—the

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