Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Carnival Raises Its Per Day Tipping Minimum

Towel animals don't appear by magic!
Its my knee-jerk reaction to rail against and and all price increases. I want us all to be able to travel more, after all, and for that the affordability of travel is key.

But Carnival Cruise Lines recent per-day, per person tip increase from $10 to $11.50 seems like a justifiable one to me. Cruise passengers get remarkable value for their money, what with the cost of all meals, lodgings and transportation coming, in many cases, to as little as $50 per person per day (especially on Carnival, which is known for its affordable pricing). With the exception of camping, there's no other type of vacation as cheap.

Part of the reason the cruise lines can charge this little is their relatively low staffing costs. A cleaner or a busboy could be making as little as $900 per month. Considering that most of these men and women work 12-hour days, often with no days off for weeks at a time, the hourly rate works out to a pittance.

And if you've ever cruised, you know that the people who work aboard these ships are gems. Tireless, friendly and efficient, these men and women from the Philipines, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, work harder than most in the travel industry. Many are supporting extended families back home with their wages. If anyone deserves good tips, its cruise workers.

Which is why I personally always tip above the required amount when I cruise. And I'm glad, very glad, that that required minimum is going up. The move is the first tip increase for Carnival since 2001. It will bring the fleet in line with what rivals such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Beyond that, it will improve the lives for many, many good people.


  1. Hi Pauline,

    My husband and I own a small hotel on Anna Maria Island called Palm Tree Villas. I always wonder how to handle housekeeper's tips. Although we mention it in our welcoming guest book I don't ask any guest directly. Do you think it is appropriate to ask someone directly? Check us out at

  2. Many hotels now put an envelope in the guest room, printed with a note asking for a tip for the housekeeper. That seems appropriate to me. Better than asking guests verbally when they check in

  3. I also like the envelope idea.That way there is no confusion the tip is for the housekeeper.

    I guess it's good that Carnival is raising the mininum tipping ,but it would be better to raise the employees wages directly.The special on CNBC was showing how much the Cruise industry spends on Entertaiment.I'd rather see that money go to the employees. Travel Rob

  4. How does tipping happen on cruises then? How do they check if you tipped at least the minimum amount?

  5. Tips are automatically charged to your room, unless you ask them not to.