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Welcome to our Disney Cruise tipping guide! With 30+ cruises, we get many questions about tipping on Disney Cruise Line. For example . . .
What’s the protocol for Disney Cruise tipping? How much do you tip? Who do you tip?
We know it can all get so confusing.
Disney Cruise Tipping Guide
We are going to break down Disney Cruise tipping for your next vacation. Our Disney Cruise tipping guide will help you understand all the tipping recommendations, including some that may surprise you.
On a cruise, you will not use your credit/debit cards or cash. You will have a room account called an onboard account. You will use your room key to pay for anything during your cruise. This can be souvenirs, Bibbibi Bobbidi Boutique, spa treatment, drink during your dinner, etc. All of these charges are added to your onboard account.
During your check in process, you will leave a credit or debit card on file for all of these incidentials during your cruise. Throughout your cruise, Disney Cruise Line (DCL) will charge this card for your purchases. This also includes Disney Cruise tipping.
At the end of the cruise, you will receive a breakdown with all of your charges. If you have any questions, you can always pop over to Guest Services Desk during your cruise.
Most Disney Cruise guests use the pre-paid gratuity option. This eliminates one more worry on your Disney Cruise vacation. But, what does pre-paid gratuities cover?
The pre-paid gratuities on Disney Cruise cover tipping for 4 primary positions; Stateroom Host, Head Server, Server, and Assistant Server. These positions rely heavily on gratuities for their wages. Disney also has these gratuity amounts set, so you do not have to worry about the amount you should tip.
Current Disney Cruise gratuities for each position:
- Dining Room Head Server: $1/night/person of the cruise, so $3 for a 3 night cruise or $12 for a family of 4
- Stateroom Host/Hostess: $4/night/person of the cruise
- Dining Room Server: $4/night/person of the cruise
- Dining Room Assistant Server: $3/night/person of the cruise
You will receive envelopes and tear-away strips for each of these tips on the last night of your cruise. The tear-away strips will show the suggested gratuity amounts for each position for your stateroom. As an example, a stateroom with a family of 4 will show $12 for the Head Server on the tear-away.
Of course, you can always increase the amount you tip each of these positions by chatting with Guest Services before the last night of the cruise or with additional cash added to the envelopes. Out of 21 Disney Cruises, we’ve only increased the amount, once for a Stateroom Host that provided EXCEPTIONAL service. Keep in mind, Disney Cruise already provides exceptional service, so he was well above and beyond the standard.
Your pre-paid gratuities, although sounding all-inclusive, only includes these 4 positions. Continue with our Disney Cruise tipping guide to see how much more you might need in cash or added to your stateroom bill for gratuities.
Cash for Tipping
You will need to bring along some cash for tips during your Disney Cruise.
The first time you may need cash for tips occurs right as you arrive at the port. Porters that take your luggage from the car to put on the ship generally receive $1-2 per bag. You will likely need some help with your luggage when you arrive back at the port after your cruise has finished, so be prepared with cash for both porters.
Depending on what excursions (Port Adventures) you book for the various ports of call, you may also need cash for those excursions. Bus drivers, guides, boat drivers, etc. will likely expect gratuity. Most ports of call for Disney Cruise accept US Dollars, so you shouldn’t need to convert to the local currency (unless you’re cruising from somewhere outside the US, in which case, you may just want to convert some of your currency to US Dollars).
“Excursions” does include Castaway Cay excursions and hair braiding. Even though you’re on Disney’s private island, these are all independent contractors not employed by Disney Cruise and will expect a tip.
As noted above, you may want some cash to add to the pre-paid gratuities, as well. For our family, this would be a rare occurrence, but wanted to make you aware of it.
Palo and Remy Gratuities
This one can get pretty heated on the Disney forums and groups on Facebook. Do we tip the servers at Palo and Remy?
Disney Cruise informs guests that tipping the staff in Remy and Palo is “at your discretion.” What does that mean?
The service fee you paid to dine at Remy and Palo does go directly to your server. This has been confirmed by Disney Cruise managers and severs at both Remy and Palo.
Basically, Disney Cruise pays the wait staff the sitting (service) fee that you pay to eat at these signature restaurants.
That being said, we’ve provided an additional tip to the servers every time we’ve eaten at Palo or Remy. We are Castaway Club members (repeat Disney Cruises) so our service fees are complimentary. Since our service fees are free, we do always tip a little extra.
The service is simply outstanding and we feel the need to provide just a little extra.
When you’re ready to leave Palo or Remy, you will receive a “bill” just like you would at any restaurant. It will show the additional charge for the dining experience and the option to add an additional gratuity. Both charges will be added to your room account.
Kids Club Gratuities
Children’s programming staff are not “allowed” to receive tips. Disney Cruise says “not expected.” However, if you try to tip the babysitters or children’s programming staff, they will refuse.
If you somehow manage to get them to take the tip, they will turn it over to their manager.
Room Service Gratuities
One of the great perks of a Disney Cruise is that 24 hour room service is free! Well, except for the tip.
Tipping guidelines for Disney Cruise room service varies, greatly. Some say $1-2 per item ordered, some estimate the cost of the food and beverage delivered and tip 10-20% of that estimate, some tip $5-10 per delivery.
The amount really is “at your discretion,” as Disney Cruise says, but a tip is expected for these crew members. Again, this gratuity will be added to your Stateroom account.
You may find some gratuities on a bill or your stateroom account that shock you!
Any bar order (alcoholic or not), whether from a bartender or deck staff will incur an automatic 15% gratuity. This includes soda and water! Of course, you can always add more, but be aware that a 15% tip has already been included.
Any spa services from Senses Spa will incur an automatic 18% gratuity. This one tends to catch many guests off-guard, as there’s already an additional charge for the spa services.
If you order any drink during dinner (outside the included beverages — soda, water, tea, coffee), you will be charged an automatic 15% gratuity. Shakes, specialty coffees, and alcoholic beverages fall under this category.
Disney Cruise Tipping Guide: Who Not To Tip
There are a few crew members that you are not expected to tip.
You may have the temptation to tip the buffet staff. They bus your table when eating in any of the buffets. These are your normal dining room staff, though, so their gratuities are covered by the pre-paid gratuities.
As mentioned above, children’s programming staff do not expect a tip.
Also, in some ports-of-call, you will need to take a tender to shore. The tender drivers do not expect a tip.
We hope this helps you plan your Disney Cruise vacation.