It's raining tips! Or so you would think, especially if you've ever sat in the lobby of a grand hotel, watching the bellboy and the doorman collect their rewards; or gone to a fancy restaurant, where seemingly every employee has his or her hand out. Who gets tipped, why, and how much? In some situations you can ask your companions at the dining table in a hotel or on shipboard, or the management. However, it's always best to be armed with the knowledge before you're faced with a sticky situation and want to avoid any awkwardness.
Your cruise line will probably provide you with tipping guidelines, but you should know what you're in for. The room steward cleans your cabin, makes the bed, supplies towels, soap, ice, and room service. Some people like to tip on the first day, “t o i nsure p erfect s ervice” — a slogan said to be the origin of the word tips.
Dining room waiters are generally tipped. The maître d' is the head-waiter in charge of the dining room. No tip is necessary unless he has handled special requests for you. As for bartenders, wine stewards, pool and deck attendants, and so on, check the bar bill. On almost all ships, a service charge is automatically added, making a tip unnecessary. Other service personnel should be tipped when the service is given, at the same rate as for service ashore, usually 15 percent.
At the airport, tip the porter when you check in at the curb or have bags taken to check-in for you. If he goes way out of his way for you — like if you're cutting things close and he points out to you that you don't have to wait in that long line at the ticket counter, which you had every intention of doing — give him a little extra.
Some cruise lines advertise a no-tip policy. People still tip for special service on such ships, but it is not necessary if you do not ask for anything above and beyond. Doing a little research online before you leave is always a must to see what the going rate is for tipping on cruises.
Bellboys get tipped per bag and for hospitable gestures (turning on lights, opening windows). If you send the bellboy on an errand, tip him extra. In most major cities, the doorman gets tipped for hailing a cab, and for helping you out with your incredibly heavy suitcases or shopping bags.
Chambermaids are tipped for each service, and you should try to leave the tip every day. You may not have the same maid for the entire week. Room service is pricey: you'll tip 15 to 20 percent of the bill in addition to a room service charge. But check the bill to make sure that the gratuity hasn't already been added in.
Valets get tipped for retrieving your vehicle. The concierge is tipped if he provides you with special service (for instance, books tickets for a show or makes dinner reservations).
The headwaiter (or maître d') is a tricky little character. While he basically plays the role of host, he's in full control of the dining room. How much you tip him depends on how badly you want to eat in this particular restaurant, where you want to sit, and how long you want to wait. It's not unusual for headwaiters to receive $50–$100 tips at the best restaurants in the biggest cities. For guidance on the norms in the particular area you're staying in, ask your hotel concierge.
Remember, these are only guidelines for good service. Keep in mind that people in the service industry are sometimes paid less than minimum wage and depend on tips. However, if you get lousy service anywhere, you're not obligated to reward the person who provided it.
Wine stewards are tipped 15 to 20 percent of the wine bill. Your waiter or waitress is tipped 15 to 20 percent of the food bill (as long as the gratuity hasn't already been included). Buffet servers are tipped as long as the service (clean plates, drinks, etc.) was decent.
Note that in a foreign country, the amount of the tip should be calculated in the local currency. It may be less or more than you would tip in dollars, depending on the exchange rate. And in many foreign countries, the gratuity is added into the bill.
The more you plan out your honeymoon in advance, the more relaxing it will be. Book a travel agent or do the research ahead of time and avoid stress while honeymooning!