My parents are going on an 8 day river cruise on the Danube. They noticed that the suggested gratuity was about 13 Euro per person per day. Does anyone have experience with this?
I don't remember the suggested gratuity being quite that high, I'm thinking it was about 10, but not really sure. Was that suggestion per cabin, or per person? My Danube cruise was also 8 days and I tipped 90E - cash.
Elaine - It was per person. I thought it was a little high, too. I told them that I thought 11 Euro might be more reasonable. I figured that when a restaurant adds a tip it's usually 18% and that is a little higher than the traditional 15%, so they would be OK going a little lower than the suggested amount. Anyway, thanks for your help.
I did the Budapest to Prague not too long ago and from my recollection the suggested tip per person was 3 euro per day for the cruise director and 12 euro per day for the crew. You can adjust that up or down based on the quality of service. I'm sure the tip is a significant part of their compensation. Personally, I consider what is billed as an 8 day trip is really 7 since we're on the ship after noon and off before noon at the end. Also, my tipping for the crew ends at the end of the cruise. I'm more inclined to continue the tip for the tour director for any shore extension. For an 8 (7) day cruise that works out for the total tip to be 210 euro; and with the current exchange rate, that's about $300. I asked our travel agent about the tipping and she indicated that people are all over the place. I got the impression that the tipping suggestion was on the "hope" side of what they were really expecting. On the river cruises we've been on, they have all had significant discounts. Our Danube trip was 2 for 1. (I'll only go if there is a significant discount. I think the cruise cost was $2,600.) The crew was wonderful and I couldn't fault them for anything. I don't remember what I did tip but I probably was close to the 200 euro mark. I always do it in cash so the bills I have on hand will have an effect. Tipping is always anonymous for what it's worth.
@Michael - I worked in the service industry for a number of years, too. Believe me I understand the importance of tipping. I was merely asking for guidance based on experience rather than what is listed in the cruise company's brochure. Isn't that what this forum is all about, sharing real world experiences so that trips to Europe can go more smoothly? @Ken - Thanks for sharing your experience. I appreciate it.
All this talk about tips on river cruises has really, really put me off planning for one. We were seriously considering a long Danube cruise in a couple of years but not any more. I don't understand why someone should get such a high tip for doing their job. It doesn't make any sense to me.
Monte, I can't see why this should put you off a river cruise. The tip on mine was a little over 10% of the cruise cost and I had a 2 for 1 deal. If I had paid full price, it would have been 6 or 7%. Also, you don't have to tip if you don't want to. Don't you tip in restaurants in Idaho? River cruises are a lot more enjoyable to me and my wife than the "big ships." However, they are not the "Rick Steves way" since you are insulated from the culture. I'd prefer to self-travel but my wife likes the pampering and not having to pack and move every couple of days. We will arrive a day or so early to the starting point and stay a few days after. We're currently considering a Paris to Prague trip (love Prague). After arrival, I'm working on convincing her to go for a couple of days to Cesky Krumlov and then on to either Vienna or Budapest. That would add about a week to a 12 day cruise.
I do tip in Idaho - what I think they are worth. Same with anywhere else. No one is going to suggest to me what a tip should be. All our travel is self travel. We use an agent to buy the to and from tickets, though. All our other reservations, train tickets, hotels, are taken care of by us. This Sept. we'll be one bagging for 46 days using trains and busses. I do sometimes tip in European cafes if I like the place. American young people working overseas don't get tipped. If we are in a hotel for more than two days we usually leave something for the staff. In Manila a year ago last Feb. we were at a hotel for eight days, of and on, and I left quit a bit. My problem with river cruises, as described in this thread is that besides being expensive, a substantial tip is expected. Also the ship cruises are entirely out of the question, too many people, too much b.s. That's why we were considering a Danube trip.
@Michael - Thanks for your gracious response. You have restored my faith in humanity! ;)
"Don't you tip in restaurants in Idaho?" That has nothing to do with whether and how much you tip elsewhere.
Oh, Kathy, Let people have their fun.
This thread may appear to be hijacked but we're still on river cruise tipping. I think we can all agree we "tip" somewhere in our lives. The US has more of a tipping "culture" than most of the rest of the world and we all know that in the US service industry the base pay is very low. Providing good service is a way for the worker to increase their income. We've migrated to the nominal 15% tip in a restaurant. The cruise companies dealing primarily with US travelers use our willingness to tip in using it to provide an income boost to their mostly Eastern European staff. Tip if you want. Don't tip if you don't want to. Most of the people you will find on river cruises are 60+ but not all. Most have only been to Europe a few times in their lives. Many of the people we've talked with their cruise was their first European trip. In general, the group is not full of savvy travelers. It is a great way to see new sites every day with pleasant scenery and surroundings. My wife and I have been on two. My wife likes them more than I do but I still find them interesting. I was constantly wandering off while on their tours at the different stops. They are not for everyone. They are like any other packaged tour but I imagine they are more pleasant than the bus-type tours which I've never been on.
Monte - You don't sound like a good candidate for a river cruise. You should take your own advice and bypass that Danube cruise.
Elaine, You can bet your bippie on that one!
I've been on a few cruises and, so far, I've tipped according to the recommendation from the line. I hold out the possibility that I might adjust the "automatic" tip if the service was remarkable (good or bad). So far, I've had really good overall service but nothing that stood head and shoulders above (or below) the rest. I tend to agree with a previous poster. Certainly they deserve some tip. If the service is good, why quibble over a few Euro per day? If the service stinks (which I'm sure it won't), that's a different story.