• Michelle Malcolm, centre, with the Quay Cruise team.

Quay Cruise Tip of the Month

Michelle Malcolm of Quay Cruise and her team are Channel’s new resident cruise specialists and will offer some great advice each month to our readers on creating new experiences through the luxury of cruise.  They believe that every holiday and every destination can include a cruise!

Cruising is the easiest way to see the world, but there is one part of the cruise experience that can cause anxiety for otherwise carefree passengers - tipping. Here we discover the who, what, when, how and whys of tipping whilst cruising...

Most cruise lines automatically charge tips to shipboard accounts and divide the total among all dining room personnel, cabin stewards and others who are involved in serving passengers. In most cases, the amount falls in the range of USD12 to USD16 per passenger, per day.

If a passenger feels that the amount automatically charged to his or her account should be adjusted higher or lower based on the service received, some cruise lines will make that adjustment when the bill is settled at the end of the cruise. If you have a shipboard credit on your onboard account, most cruise lines will let you apply it to automatic gratuities. Quay Cruise also frequently negotiates offers for our customers that include free prepaid gratuities.

Some cruise lines follow a more traditional tipping procedure, where guests hand cash gratuities to the service staff on the last full day or evening of the cruise. For longer itineraries, tipping on a weekly basis may be the norm. In some cases, passengers hand the money to the ship's hotel manager or reception desk, to be distributed among the crew later.

Most of the lines we represent will allow you to prepay gratuities before you board the ship. There are a few exceptions to this and they would let you know this at the time of booking.

Whether you're on a ship that automatically charges gratuities to your onboard account or one that follows the more traditional tipping method, it is customary to tip bartenders and wine stewards. Many cruise lines automatically add this gratuity to the bar or beverage bill. Gratuities for special services such as spa treatments are usually left to the discretion of the guest, but 15% is considered typical.

A few cruise lines specifically state that gratuities are included in the cruise fare and that tips are neither expected nor encouraged. Even on these lines, some passengers still tip for outstanding service or special favours.

On many cruise lines, a significant percentage of the crews' compensation comes from gratuities, and most passengers welcome the opportunity to reward their hard-working cabin attendants and dining room wait staff. There are many crew members who never fail to be eager, attentive and smiling as they work long hours each day, and long months away from loved ones’ back home. By knowing the cruise line's tipping policy prior to boarding, the only thing that you will have to worry about at the end of your cruise is returning to reality.


If you are keen to learn more about cruising we would love you to join us at our ‘New to Cruise Information Evening’  on March 7th – we will have an informative speaker and a range of cruise product to inspire you and some lovely door prizes.

Please register your interest by clicking here and make sure you save the date!

Quay Cruise, 2/49 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay – free parking, expert advice and great coffee!

09 477 0212.