“What should I tip?”
It’s a common enough question, but one that has many answers, depending on the cruise line you choose, the region you sail in, and your own personal preferences. These days, a “tip” is more of a gratuity, one that is typically charged on a daily, per person basis.
But much like our piece on inclusive beverages, each cruise line has its own standards for tipping, which can sometimes vary depending on your destination. Currencies can also vary wildly and may not necessarily be what you are expecting; for example, most European-based river cruises require tips to be made in Euros, while the US Dollar is acceptable for tips in Russia and Asia.
Because tipping is, at its core, a personal decision, this article is based solely off the recommended gratuity guidelines put forth by each river cruise line and deals only with the expected onboard tips; gratuities for drivers, tour guides and so on are not included in our chart.
Important: See our 2015 update on tipping guidelines.
|LINE||DAILY, PER PERSON AMOUNT||EXCEPTIONS||PAY BY CREDIT CARD?|
|AmaWaterways||€3 per pax, per day for Cruise Manager|
€ 12 per pax, per day for Crew
US $4 pp/pd, for Cruise Manager; US $15 pp/pd crew.
VIETNAM & CAMBODIA:
Cruise Director - US $2 pp/pd.
Crew: US $10pp/pd.
Cruise Guide: US $2-3 per day in Cambodia and Vietnam
AFRICA: US $65-80 per cabin for 4-day cruise.
|Most vessels; bring cash just in case.|
|Avalon Waterways||At passenger discretion; using AmaWaterways guidelines above is a good idea.||EGYPT: Gratuities cannot be paid in advance and must be paid in cash.||Gratuities can be pre-paid (except in Egypt). Tips are recommended in CASH.|
|Scenic Tours||Tips are included in the price of your cruise fare.|
|Tauck||All tips, including those to local guides, are included in your cruise fare.|
|Uniworld Boutique River Cruises||€3 pp, pd for Cruise Manager; € 10 pp/pd for Crew.||RUSSIA: Varies; consult booklet that accompanies your cruise documentation.|
EGYPT: US $4 pp/pd for Tour Manager; $6 pp/pd for Crew
CHINA: US $5 pp/pd for Tour Manager; $10 pp/pd.
|EUROPE: Credit Card or Cash.|
ALL OTHERS: Cash Only
|Viking River Cruises||€ 12 per person, per day.||RUSSIA, CHINA, EGYPT, SOUTHEAST ASIA:|
Crew: US $15 pp/pd.
Tour Escort: $10 pp/pd.
|EUROPE, RUSSIA, CHINA: Cash or credit card.|
EGYPT, SOUTHEAST ASIA: Cash Only.
Still have more questions? Check out these helpful links outlining each river cruise line’s tipping policies in detail, including guidelines for tips ashore to guides, coach operators, and other individuals you’re likely to encounter during your journey.