When booking your Disney Cruise, many if not most things are included in the price. All of your food and non-alcoholic drinks, all the kids club activities, and all adult activities and shows are included. The items not included are usually outlined by your travel agent or Disney Cruise, items such as airfare, airport transfers, trip insurance and shore excursions are usually not included, but are an options that are given you with prices, you can take them or leave them, depending on your plans.
One item that is rarely included, and even less understood is gratuities. Guests who travel with Disney on the Disney Cruise Line should expect to be well taken care of. Disney has set the standard for Guest Service that is second to none. On a Disney Cruise Ship it’s no secret that this task falls to four main people who oversee your cruise:
The Stateroom Steward – The person whose job it is to make sure you have everything you need to be comfortable in your stateroom, as well as making sure that when you come back to your room each day it is all put together in true Disney fashion. They are also great people to ask if you have any questions about the ship and ports of call, if anyone is going to know, they are.
Your Head Waiter, Waiter & Assistant Waiter – Given your nightly dinner rotation, it’s very possible to get to know these three very well and they will also make sure that your family is well taken care of while you dine. As long as you eat at your assigned diner location each night, you will have the same waiters each night, and most likely, after a night or two, they will know exactly what you like and don’t like, and will have your table prepared with drinks well before you arrive for dinner.
These four people work really hard to make your cruise perfect, and get paid very little to do so.
In the past, Disney had left the gratuities up to the guest. Guests were reminded before the end of the cruise about the suggested gratuities, but really, it was optional. As of 2012, Disney Cruise has allowed you to pre-pay your Disney Cruise gratuities when you book your cruise. If you decide not to do that, they now adds suggested gratuities to each guest’s account on the day before leaving for home.
Here are the guidelines as set out by Disney Cruise Line (These are listed as per guest per night)
- Dining Room Server: $4.00
- Dining Room Asst. Server: $3.00
- Dining Room Head Server: $1.00
- Stateroom Host/Hostess: $4.00
- Dining Manager: Guest Discretion
- Room Service: Guest Discretion
- Palo Gratuity: Guest Discretion
- Remy Gratuity: Guest Discretion
- Vista Spa & Salon: 18% automatically applied
- Baby Sitting (Nursery): Not Expected but at Guest Discretion
- Port Adventures: Optional, not Included in Overall Price of Port Adventure
I good rule of thumb is that you can count on $12 per night per guest for gratuities. Make sure to include all children and infants into your calculation, as they get taken care of just as much as the adults, maybe even more.
But what about those other roles on the ship? The ones that aren’t covered by the prepaid gratuities? All those poor folks listed above with Guest Discretion after their name? These roles include room service attendants, child care attendants, spa treatment services, and other Cast Members who go out of their way to make sure your cruise is a great one. It should be stressed that you should tip your room service waiter, especially after you order 50 chocolate chip cookies and 20 chocolate milks at 2 AM (don’t judge me). This tip is usually just a few dollars and can be in cash or signed onto your stateroom account. These employees have salaries but they depend on the added gratuities.
One other thing? Many people order drinks up by the pools or in the adult only areas (bars). Please note, a 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs. All gratuities can be charged to your stateroom account.
Of course if you feel that your steward or wait staff have gone above and beyond, there is no reason to not give them more than you have already paid. Same goes for anyone else on board. While in the Disney Parks, except for a few key roles like valets, wait staff and mousekeeping, tipping is frowned upon to the general cast member. On the Disney Cruise Line it is a custom to be embraced.
What are some areas that Disney Cruise Line Cast Members have gone above and beyond for you?