Let’s talk gratuities…
The service on Disney Cruise Line is exceptional. Each and every cast and crew member make you feel like you are the most important person on the ship. They go above and beyond what you could even imagine.
Gratuities (additional monies) are a way to say thank you. It is customary to give gratuities in recognition of exceptional service. All gratuities are technically optional, but all cruisers should know that paying gratuities for four (4) specific crew members is considered customary (more on this below).
As is the case with many service-based jobs, these crew members are paid by the cruise line under the idea that a large portion of their income will come from guest gratuities. But because of this, Disney automatically charges you the gratuities. It’s considered “good form” to reward them for the service they provide.
How is gratuity calculated?
There are four (4) specific crew members where it is considered customary to leave gratuities: Dining Room Server, Dining Room Assistant Server, Dining Room Head Server, and Stateroom Host/Hostess. I will explain each below.
The amount is calculated per person for everyone in your stateroom. If you have 4 people in your stateroom the rate would be x 4 regardless of age (babies included).
Dining Room Server: This person is with you at every dinner service and they follow you to each of your restaurants (in your dining rotation). This person is responsible for your meal. Their gratuity is $4.50 per night per person. So, for a 7-night cruise for 1 person, it calculates to $31.50. For a family of 4, your total would be $126.
Dining Room Assistant Server: This person is with you at every dinner service and they follow you to each of your restaurants (in your dining rotation). This person is responsible for your beverages and assisting the server in anything that supports providing a great experience during dinner for the guests. Their gratuity is $3.50 per night per person. So, for a 7-night cruise for 1 person, it calculates to $24.50. For a family of 4, your total would be $98.
Dining Room Head server: This person is responsible for your entire dining experience. Their gratuity is $1 per night per person. So, for a 7-night cruise for 1 person, it calculates to $7. For a family of 4, your total would be $28.
Stateroom Host/Hostess: This is the person that takes care of your stateroom. They keep it clean and tidy and perform turndown service each night (and make awesome towel art!). They are always around the halls asking how your day is going and what else you may need. Their gratuity is $4.50 per night per person. So, for a 7-night cruise for 1 person, it calculates to $31.50. For a family of 4, your total would be $126.
Total gratuities that are either prepaid or added on to your stateroom bill is $ 13.50 per person, per night. So, for a family of 4 on a 7-night cruise, your total would be $ 378.
How do you pay gratuities for these four (4) crew members?
You can pre-pay the suggested gratuity amount in advance no later than 3 days before your cruise begins. Let your travel agent know if you would like to add these on ahead of time.
If you do not prepay the gratuities, they will automatically be added to your onboard account prior to the end of your cruise.
Of course, you may elect to change the amounts by going to Guest Services on the ship, located on Deck 3, Midship. You can also pay the gratuities in cash at Guest Services.
Other gratuities that are automatically included:
A 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine, and deck service tabs. You can add more if you so choose. Senses Spa & Salon: An 18% gratuity will automatically be applied to all spa services. You can add more if you so choose.
For the following crew members, it is optional to give gratuities: Dining Manager, Room Service, Palo, Remy (you should pay gratuities when settling your bill at the end of the meal in the same manner as you would at any restaurant.), and bartenders. If you are staying Concierge level your team will not be included in the pre-paying service but they will accept tips on board.
Port Adventures: Gratuities are optional and are not included in Port Adventures price. For Babysitting, gratuities are not expected.
What if my service is amazing and I decide that I want to give more?
You can always give in addition to the pre-payed amounts. On the 2nd to last night of your cruise, you will get a print out that shows suggested gratuities that have been added to your account or prepaid. There will also be 4 little envelopes that you can put extra money in and personally deliver to the crew member or leave in your room and it will be given to them. This is just a little extra to brighten their day after the excellent service they provided.
What if I’m unhappy with my service, do I still have to pay gratuities?
Disney is renowned for its Customer Service but if for whatever reason you are unsatisfied, please speak to a Cast Member first who will work hard to correct your concerns. Waiting until the end of the cruise and then withholding gratuities will not improve your service experience.
Nothing is more frustrating for the crew member or the cruise line to find out after the fact (when it’s too late to fix) that there was a problem. You will be happier to have the issue resolved while you are still enjoying your cruise.
However, should you decide that you want to make an adjustment to your pre-paid gratuities, you should speak with the Guest Services Team aboard the ship.
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