|Towel animals don't appear by magic!|
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.