I'd like to add to my hubby's post above...
In addition to the tip amounts, we always bring phone cards to add in case of exceptional service. We often add extra cash too, but the phone cards are a fun way to say "thanks" and you can get great deals at Costco and Sam's. Just make sure to get the kind that are good for international calling.
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Posted on the Disney Cruise Lines web site (<a href="http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/disneycruiseline/faq/faqgroupingindex?id=RatesAndDatesFAQGrping#RatesTippingFAQ">link</a>)
You should never feel that a reward is automatically expected from you. But it is customary to give gratuities in recognition of service, which you will most likely be treated to in abundance aboard the ship. As a guideline... [Disney Cruise Lines] suggests the following:
[Be aware that...] a 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine, and deck service tabs. [Additional gratuity, should you wish to add it, can be added on the charge slip you will be asked to sign.] All gratuities can be charged to your room charge.
Your stateroom host will put tip envelopes in your stateroom on the afternoon of the second-to-last day of your trip. But since you know about this from reading the boards, you can go to Guest Services early in the week to avoid the lines near the end of the cruise. Guest Services will allow you to put your tips on your stateroom account... they'll give you a voucher with the tip amount... you place the voucher in your tip envelope and your servers receive the cash.
It is customary to present your tip envelopes at dinner on the last night of your cruise or at breakfast on disembarkation morning.
Although all tipping is up to your discretion (except for the automatic 15% gratuity for drinks), there are no "guidelines" or "suggestions" for room service tipping. My personal <i><b>suggestions</b></i> are as follows:
$1 for each additional person receiving service.
$1 if all you're getting is coffee or tea.
So you'll want to start saving single dollar bills prior to your cruise.
The other place where cash tipping is appropriate is the porters for curbside checkin at the beginning of the cruise and hauling your luggage through customs and out to your car or bus at the end of the cruise. These guys work hard and save you a lot of labor. Tip them generously (at least $1/bag).
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