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Old 03-06-2013, 04:34 PM   #1
Tara619
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Tipping on excursions

When researching which excursions we want to book, I see they recommend tipping. We're a family of 3 and plan on doing a dolphin swim (GC) and Atlantis submarine thing (Cozumel). I don't want to be cheap or overtip, as this trip is quite a stretch for our budget. How much is fair/normal? Do I just give the main guide cash?
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:51 PM   #2
wendyoconnor
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We always have small bills and will tip the driver/tour guide a couple of dollars, more if the guide was really engaging or informative.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:03 AM   #3
Tara619
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Bump for daytime DISers
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:16 AM   #4
MNKelly
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On our excursions, (GC & Cozumel), we tipped both places. I did notice, we were one of only 2 families that tipped in GC. There were probably 10-12 different families on our excursion and I was a little disheartened by that fact. There were 3 crew members and they split all tips between the three of them.

On our excursion, the team in GC mentioned tipping once and let it go at that. The team in Cozumel however, mentioned multiple times that tipping was appreciated. It got to the point my DH and I would look at each other and smile. The mentality in Cozumel about asking for a tip is very different than in GC. They are not afraid to outright ask in Cozumel! We did buy a photo package on the Cozumel excursion, even though it was outrageous and along with a smaller cash tip, we figured the two balanced out and the team got some $.

One thing I will mention, is the exchange rate. Keep in mind when doing any tipping in either place, the exchange rate is not 1/1. The US dollar in GC is lower and therefore, if you tip what you think is $10, it's really only like $8. (At least when we were there.) Check the exchange rates before you leave so you have an idea what your US dollars is worth so you don't give what you think is a fair amount, but is actually lower than what you thought. I wish they'd put the exchange rate in the Navigator the night before ports...

I was disappointed by those who didn't tip even a little. We tip for services here in the States, why is it any different when you go on vacation? Our cruise was a stretch on our budget as well but excursions, tip included, was part of how we did budget the $ we brought on-board.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:01 PM   #5
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the problem is that that DCL and the company offering the tour makes some good money. They leave it to us to take care of their staff. Kind of like our CM's on board. I put it into the cost of the experience and enjoy the adventure and share if they are deserving.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:08 PM   #6
Tara619
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justacruiser
the problem is that that DCL and the company offering the tour makes some good money. They leave it to us to take care of their staff. Kind of like our CM's on board. I put it into the cost of the experience and enjoy the adventure and share if they are deserving.
Do you have any ideas on what an acceptable amount is? $10? $20? More?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:25 PM   #7
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It depends. When we were in Hawaii, our Honolulu bus driver/guide who drove us to Pearl Harbor was a wealth of misinformation. On Kauai, the guide at the botanical gardens was the best guide we've had any time, anywhere on any cruise! He was worth $5-$10 per person or more. The Pearl Harbor driver -- meh.

Tipping is optional; DCL doesn't "suggest" that you tip anything.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:39 PM   #8
clten
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Here's what we do (for 2 people): for average, good but nothing special tours, we tip $5 total. For really good tours we'll tip up to $10. For excellent, we'll go up to $20. We usually have the tips in smaller bills, sometimes there is a tip spot for the driver or both the driver and guide will be at the door to say goodbye and we'll split our total tip between them. Some share, some do not. If they share fine, it all works out in the end. If they don't share I don't have to give it any thought because I gave each what I thought they deserved.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:09 PM   #9
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We were on a Disney-sponsored excursion last summer. It was a catamaran with snorkeling. There were approximately 5 or 6 crew members. They came out and said that excursion tipping was expected in the Caribbean and that a tip for good service was 15% to 20% of the price of the excursion.

For any excursion more than $70, that's a lot more than $2 to $10 per person that the suggested tips mentioned above.

Disney specifically states:

•You should never feel that gratuities are expected, but it is customary to leave a tip in recognition of exceptional service in restaurants, taxis and for excursion guides and drivers. It is always up to you to determine the amount.

I just want to be fair and not over/under tip.

Thanks.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSDisneyDad View Post
We were on a Disney-sponsored excursion last summer. It was a catamaran with snorkeling. There were approximately 5 or 6 crew members. They came out and said that excursion tipping was expected in the Caribbean and that a tip for good service was 15% to 20% of the price of the excursion.

Thanks.
Sorry, but if I'm on a tour and they tell me this, I leave without tipping anything. I paid for the excursion which includes their services. I determine how much tip is appropriate. There are certain times when you know the people helping you are making their living off of tips. I have never heard that to be true of tour guides and drivers. Of course if you ask advise of the people receiving the tip, if their are crude enough to answer such a question, they are willing to give you an answer that has maximum benefit for themselves.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:55 PM   #11
Tara619
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I can't imagine tipping $60-$80 for an excursion (20%). I have no problem tipping 20% or more at a restaurant or salon though. Maybe I'm just not experienced enough. If I'm paying almost $400 for the 3 of us to swim with the dolphins for 30-40 minutes plus $100-200 for a picture CD, I'm very reluctant to plop down another $80 in tips. That would be an expensive 40 minutes!
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:02 PM   #12
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Do you tip for the stingray excusion on castaway cay? If so how much?
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSDisneyDad View Post
Disney specifically states:

•You should never feel that gratuities are expected, but it is customary to leave a tip in recognition of exceptional service in restaurants, taxis and for excursion guides and drivers. It is always up to you to determine the amount.

I just want to be fair and not over/under tip.

Thanks.
Just showing up for work is not "exceptional service" in my opinion. I paid hundreds for a dolphin excursion and all of the staff members encountered acted like they'd rather be anywhere but there. If you want me to think about tipping you, you better paste on a smile and pretend to be friendly.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:47 PM   #14
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We generally tip $5 (2 of us) for a normal bus tour excursion with a decent tour guide.

My niece and nephew joined us on the EBPC cruise and we paid for a dolphin encounter in Cabo for them and we did not tip. After the kids left the pool, we never saw their dolphin trainer again or any place to tip. We did end up buying one $25 photo.

We also took my nephew on a zipline excursion, he was the youngest age allowed and he was very nervous and was the only child in our group. The guides were fantastic with him, very reasuring, calm and exteremly patient. They made him feel like he was George of the Jungle, we tipped higher than we normally would as they earned it.

When DH and I dive, we tip higher as the level of skill and certification needed is much higher and there is alot of work setting up our equipment, etc and the group is smaller.

Our guide was horrible in Colombia and we did not tip.

Parasailing on CC, we gave $5, Stingrays in GC, we gave $5. Stingrays at CC, we did not tip. Full day Med excursions, we gave 2 euros a person.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:49 PM   #15
KSDisneyDad
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Thanks for the responses. I asked as I wanted to know what's "customary" as I had no idea. I'd been on 6 cruises and taken several excursions and that was the first time an "expected" amount for excellent service had ever been proffered. It honestly did not come across that bad and was mentioned along with lots of other info before we made it back to shore. We had a great time overall and they simply left a tip jar on the dock as we came off the catamaran. No one held it or asked specifically for a tip.

That said, do others tip 15% or is it just a fixed amount regardless of the cost of excursion?

It sounds like there is a wide interpretation on this issue.

I'll probably continue to leave $10 per person for our typical excursions if we receive exceptional service.
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