Almost anyone who has cruised before will tout the value of cruising when compared to land vacations. Most cruises include your meals, entertainment, transportation (to various ports of call), and your accommodations. Nevertheless, cruises are a big expense, so it's important to know about any expenses that aren't immediately apparent. While the industry tends to stay pretty obvious and open, if you're looking at your first cruise, there may be some expenses which, while we'd not call them "hidden", may not be clear when shopping around. read more
One of the arguments for getting the drink package on any cruise is the convenience of not having to settle the tab after a drink or two. Once you’ve ordered your drink and your card has been read, there’s nothing left to do. Except maybe one thing… You might have gotten great service from your bartender and you want to reward that.
Handing someone cash would clearly be the most direct way to reward great service, but one of the benefits of cruising is that if you want your trip to be cashless, it can be cashless.
Ask your bartender or server to print you a “zero bill” and you’ll get a regular bill with a zero balance. There will be a line for a tip and you can write in whatever gratuity you’d like there. Sign below the total and give recognition to the great service that so many people in the cruise industry provide.
This also works on any cruise line which swipes your card with each purchase even if you're on a dining or drink package. You can also do this in specialty dining restaurants.
Gratuities, service charges, or tips – no matter what you call them it’s hard to know what is appropriate and how to pay – especially on cruises. Cruise lines have long had crew members who work long and hard hours, thousands of miles from family to make your vacation a great one. Many of these hard working, dedicated people are compensated primarily with gratuities. read more