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Any idea how much to tip on cruise excursions?

I know there aren't too many cruisers here, and I would say myself included, but, since I'm going with dear old 92 year old dad, I won't complain :-)

Anyone have any idea how much you tip the bus driver and tour guide on cruise excursions? Some of our excursions are up to $300 per person for a day off the ship! Others are for only 3 hours and maybe $65.

Also, we have booked two private tours, one in Barcelona and one in Athens one each end of our cruise. These are mostly drivers not official tour guides, but I'm sure we will get some info from them. Any idea on what to tip them? They will be transporting us to and from the ship as well as a day tour.

Any suggestions are appreciated!

Posted by
7199 posts

This website is watched by a bunch of very experienced cruisers.
We have found that the excursions offered by cruise lines are often very overpriced.
You can go on or Google and look for independent operated tours in specific ports and get so much more for your money. We've never paid $300 in any city for a guided tour.
We prefer tours with 8-12 others in minivans vs. 45 others in a full size bus. The smaller vehicles can navigate through back streets and alleys and get you to the biggest tourist sights before a large bus can get out of the port. You'll see much more.

Posted by
1865 posts

Thanks- Nancy, that was exactly what I was looking for!

I did look on cruise critic but it seems the tipping is varied. And, you all are my go to people :-)

I personally would never spend $300 on an excursion, but for my dad, he likes the ease and knowing that the cruise ship is responsible for getting us back. I agree David, I'd rather take smaller tours, too. I did convince my dad to take an Overlord tour when we went to Normandy a few years ago, but he really likes to stick with the cruise line. So, whatever makes him happy...

Posted by
5995 posts

You will find far more information on the cruise critic website on this issue.

In fact, you can find a roll call for your booked cruise and people on the roll call organize cheaper private tours all the time.

We only occasionally take a ship's excursion. Most of the time they are overpriced.

Regarding tipping. In countries like Japan and Australia, tipping is not customary. In fact, in Japan it can be an insult.

In Europe, tipping is customary.

For private tours, say you are spending $80 pp for a full day private tour. If the guide was over the top excellent, I would give $10-15 for a couple. For good, I would give $5 and $2 for the bus driver, unless the bus route was a challenge, then $5 for bus driver.

Some people like to give 10% of the cost of the tour. I don't agree and most would not agree with you. For ship's excursions, that are more expensive, I still tip the same as above. Yea, some dive 10%, but some never tip at all.

Posted by
1865 posts

Thanks- the tip you suggest is what Nancy's info said too. That is helpful!

We did roll call on our last cruise with my dad. He reluctantly agreed to share and do an 8 person van with Overlord to Normandy, Since he is a WWII vet and it was on the top of his bucket list I basically made him take this tour instead of with the ship. He was happy with it, but this time he really prefers to be with the ship excursions. I know, it doesn't make sense when you can get a better tour cheaper and with a small group. Oh well, it's his trip not mine....

Thanks for the help!