Gratuities And Tipping Policy On A River Cruise
If you’ve cruised before (on the oceans), you’ll be familiar with paying gratuities whether it be before departure or at the end of your cruise. It has become standard procedure with many ocean cruise lines to provide guests with the opportunity to pre-pay gratuities, charge them to your onboard account or many even allow you to remove the suggested amount from your account (for the latter, guests usually give cash to their chosen staff members onboard). And on occasions, gratuities are included in the price you pay upon booking, usually as a special offer.
River cruising is similar in the way that guests are given the opportunity to pay gratuities and in many cases, gratuities are already included in the upfront price of your river cruise.
General rule for tipping on a river cruise
We're often faced with the questions 'are gratuities included on a river cruise' or 'do I need to tip staff on my river cruise'. And it's a fair question - there are different rules for different cruise lines. And where some ocean cruise lines will automatically add a gratuity/service charge to your onboard account (for you to pay), this will not happen onboard a river cruise.
With some river cruise lines, you will not have to worry about tipping anybody, as all gratuities for onboard staff, onshore tour guides and bus drivers is included in the upfront price of your cruise.
However, this is not always the case. A selection of river cruise lines will include gratuities for onboard staff, but NOT onshore tour guides and bus drivers. In this case, you are given the opportunity to tip tour guides and drivers at your own discretion (in cash). And some river cruise lines do NOT include ANY gratuities in the upfront price. In the case where gratuities are not included, there is a recommended daily amount (varies by cruise line) which is distributed to the Cruise Manager and other staff onboard. You are also able to tip tour guides and bus drivers at your own discretion daily (in cash).
River cruise lines that include ALL gratuities (during the cruise)*
*Gratuities are not included during hotel stays.
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours – On a Scenic cruise all gratuities for drivers, local guides, porters, waiting staff and other onboard staff are included in the price of your cruise, so there is no need to worry about tipping anybody.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection – With Uniworld, ALL gratuities are taken care of, for both onboard and onshore staff. You do not need to tip at the end of your cruise, nor at the end of daily tours ashore.
Tauck – On a Tauck river cruise, every little detail is taken care of; there are no extras to pay and no hidden costs. All gratuities and tipping is included for onboard and onshore staff!
River cruise lines that include ONBOARD gratuities only
Avalon Waterways – On an Avalon Waterways cruise, all gratuities for your Cruise Director and onboard crew are taken care of, as they’re included in the price of your cruise. Should you wish, you can tip local tour guides in cash at the end of each tour (at your own discretion)
Emerald Waterways – With Emerald Waterways, all onboard tipping is taken care of, so you’ve no need to worry about budgeting for this at the end of your cruise. However, tipping local tour guides is at your own discretion and given in cash at the end of tours.
River cruise lines that DO NOT include any gratuities
Viking River Cruises – With Viking, gratuities are paid at your own discretion to both onboard staff and onshore local tour guides. The recommended amount is €2 per guest, per day for the Cruise Director and €12 per guest, per day which is shared amongst onboard staff (in cash or with credit/debit card). And should you choose to tip local tour guides, you can do so at the end of each tour in cash.
Amadeus River Cruises – Amadeus does not include gratuities in the upfront price of your river cruise. They leave tipping to your discretion, to reward for good service where you see suitable. As a guideline, Amadeus suggests $10 per guest, per day which is distributed to onboard staff.
Riviera Travel River Cruises – On a Riviera Travel river cruise, gratuities are not pre-paid, nor automatically charged at a set amount. Riviera Travel leaves tipping to the guest’s discretion but do give a recommended amount of €5-10 per person, per day (should you feel it is appropriate). There will be an envelope in your stateroom to hand to reception on the final day of your cruise.
Saga River Cruises – With Saga, your gratuities are not included in the price of your river cruise. You can pay gratuities at your own discretion at the end of your cruise to onboard staff and daily to onshore local guides and bus drivers (in cash).
Call our team for further information and to book your river cruise: 0800 810 8220