Excursion Tipping

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#1
Omaha, Nebraska
144 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
We debated for quite some time on whether or not to post this in the First Time Cruisers thread or the Alaska thread but Alaska seems to be unique from other cruises so we thought this might be the best area to post this. We are trying to make sure we provide ourselves enough cash on the cruise to provide proper tips to private and ship tour operators during our trip. Most of our tours are going to be independent but we are taking one ship excursion. Can you provided us some advice on what best to prepare for gratuities for these operators?
#2
North Carolina
1,863 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by tigger_ag
We debated for quite some time on whether or not to post this in the First Time Cruisers thread or the Alaska thread but Alaska seems to be unique from other cruises so we thought this might be the best area to post this. We are trying to make sure we provide ourselves enough cash on the cruise to provide proper tips to private and ship tour operators during our trip. Most of our tours are going to be independent but we are taking one ship excursion. Can you provided us some advice on what best to prepare for gratuities for these operators?
Tigger,

This is just how we appraoch it, but we usually tip 10%-15% each based on the cost of the excursion, and a little more if we have a particularly great experience. People will have lots of ideas and ranges but that's ours. Many people don't seem to tip at all, and most of the time, when we tip the guides or captains seem genuinely appreciative and sometimes even surprised. Hope that helps a little.

L.J.
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#3
601 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by tigger_ag
We debated for quite some time on whether or not to post this in the First Time Cruisers thread or the Alaska thread but Alaska seems to be unique from other cruises so we thought this might be the best area to post this. We are trying to make sure we provide ourselves enough cash on the cruise to provide proper tips to private and ship tour operators during our trip. Most of our tours are going to be independent but we are taking one ship excursion. Can you provided us some advice on what best to prepare for gratuities for these operators?
I generally go with this policy anymore, if they don't ask for it and I felt they provided a good service I will give $10. If they ask for a tip I won't give anything...

I had an experience with this on an excursion that really changed my mind about how I tipped, at the very end of the excursion the operators spent a good 10 minutes explaining why we should tip and also the amount that they expected us to tip...They tried to get 20% off of an already overpriced excursion...
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#5
814 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
My husband is a tour guide in NYC and it boggles my mind the number of people who don't tip at all. It's a fine line explaining the process of tipping or not - he doesn't do it - but sometimes regrets it when dealing with folks who aren't used to the idea, have no idea it's accepted practice in a service industry like tour & travel, or aren't from this country - there are times when he's received $1 per person.

We overtip generally but I will restrain him in Alaska because, yes, the cost of excursions is exceedingly high ... I can see 10-15% on a $149 excursion but don't know what to do on a $450 one.
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#6
24,825 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by rachelfran

We overtip generally but I will restrain him in Alaska because, yes, the cost of excursions is exceedingly high ... I can see 10-15% on a $149 excursion but don't know what to do on a $450 one.
I often go by time. A 2 hour $450 excursions gets less of a tip than a 8 hour $450 excursion. Probably wrong......
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#7
Knoxville, TN, USA
1,638 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
My husband usually thanks the guide and tips $10-25.

But I like Coral's idea - the amount of time and effort matter most.

btw, we had a Caribbean guide that really pushed the 'we depend on those tips' button and it was off-putting. We tipped. However, I mentioned it in my review at the cruise line site.
#8
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
I always tip.

I see the whole range of cheapskates- who claim they already paid enough for the excursions- thinking this has anything to do with the guide?? But, it sure sounds like a solid excuse to them.

I often see $5pp for shorter tours, but if a bucket, I think it should be more, due to it going to several people.

There are already many past posts on Alaska Tipping, They might still be informative at present.
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#9
601 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Budget Queen
I always tip.

I see the whole range of cheapskates- who claim they already paid enough for the excursions- thinking this has anything to do with the guide?? But, it sure sounds like a solid excuse to them.

I often see $5pp for shorter tours, but if a bucket, I think it should be more, due to it going to several people.

There are already many past posts on Alaska Tipping, They might still be informative at present.
I don't agree with everyone who doesn't tip being called a cheapskate necessarily... Like I said in an early post if they are saying we deserve a tip and trying to give you a sob story of why you should tip them based on that being their primary wage, I will generally not give it... If they simply say we accept tips or don't say anything at all, then I am more than happy to give a decent tip(I don't go off of percentages, I give usually $10, but if the service was exceptional I give $15-20)
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#10
St. Louis, MO
111 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Tipping isn't the norm at all in many other countries, so you'll have folks that won't do it (simply because they don't realize) unless the guide talks about it. Hopefully that gives people who have heard the tipping spiel some reference.

I always tip.
#11
601 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Kirasha
Tipping isn't the norm at all in many other countries, so you'll have folks that won't do it (simply because they don't realize) unless the guide talks about it. Hopefully that gives people who have heard the tipping spiel some reference.

I always tip.
I understand this, but the tipping spiel can be very poorly done... I know this is a tough subject and everyone has their own opinion on it, but I think that a simple sign saying tips accepted and appreciated is more than enough! In the Caribbean I seriously had one excursion actually hold the tip bucket in front of you prior to getting off of the boat... They kind of made it as a toll to get off of the boat...
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#12
St. Louis, MO
111 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Oh hey, don't get me wrong, there's a classy way to do it and then there are the ones that can be a step removed from turning you upside down and shaking you for change - I agree, this is irritating. Despite this, if the service I wanted was rendered, I tip. Might be a little less if the spiel is poorly done.
#13
601 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Kirasha
Oh hey, don't get me wrong, there's a classy way to do it and then there are the ones that can be a step removed from turning you upside down and shaking you for change - I agree, this is irritating. Despite this, if the service I wanted was rendered, I tip. Might be a little less if the spiel is poorly done.
I have done that as well, just tipped less with the bad pitch...

I just hate feeling pressured to do it, a tip is an optional payment that should be done only when you feel service went above and beyond to make your experience exceptional (most tour guides do this, or they do not last too long as guides)... The best solution to this issue would be if tour operators and the cruise line would just take a portion of the tour cost and give it to the guides.
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#14
Omaha, Nebraska
144 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Thank you everyone for the lively discussion in regards to tipping. Providing gratuities is always a very personal item as can be seen on the numerous discussions on whether or not to pre-pay gratuities on the ships. My husband works in the service industry and is a big proponent of tipping but as was already mentioned we were having a very hard time deciding what to tip on a $450 per person excursion, especially if you figure for the two of us that is almost another full excursion if we tip 10% to 15%. The discussion has definitely helped us figure out what is a little more common among different guests on these excursions.

Kelly
#15
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Jeffbhhs
I don't agree with everyone who doesn't tip being called a cheapskate necessarily... Like I said in an early post if they are saying we deserve a tip and trying to give you a sob story of why you should tip them based on that being their primary wage, I will generally not give it... If they simply say we accept tips or don't say anything at all, then I am more than happy to give a decent tip(I don't go off of percentages, I give usually $10, but if the service was exceptional I give $15-20)

That is not what I said, I am just specifically talking about "cheapskates"- I am NOT making comments on anyone else. These people, have no intention of tipping anyone, and skip out.
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#16
601 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Budget Queen
That is not what I said, I am just specifically talking about "cheapskates"- I am NOT making comments on anyone else. These people, have no intention of tipping anyone, and skip out.
Alright I misunderstood you are correct that there are many people that really never have any intention of tipping. Unfortunately there will always be people like this that will leave nothing, probably the same people that remove the prepaid tips on the ships and then never individually tip ...
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#17
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Jeffbhhs
Alright I misunderstood you are correct that there are many people that really never have any intention of tipping. Unfortunately there will always be people like this that will leave nothing, probably the same people that remove the prepaid tips on the ships and then never individually tip ...
I wasn't clear either. Traveling is a big expense for a lot of people, and there is over extending some times.

Yep there sure- always will be "cheapskates".

Yep the prepaid "service charges", I'm certain are a direct result of people not or under tipping.
Overall, I think it is pitifully (a word??? ) low to begin with, then not to do it?? I don't get it.
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#18
94 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
I was interested to see the answer to the tipping amount on a $450 or $500 excursion...is it 10-15 percent? What about helicopter or flight seeing? Do you just give the pilot $20? More? Less?
#19
601 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by tellubob
I was interested to see the answer to the tipping amount on a $450 or $500 excursion...is it 10-15 percent? What about helicopter or flight seeing? Do you just give the pilot $20? More? Less?
On a $450 excursion I would just give a $20... Tipping $45 to $50, just seems a bit much to me... But it is personal preference, the guide should be happy with anything extra .
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#20
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by tellubob
I What about helicopter or flight seeing? Do you just give the pilot $20? More? Less?
I tip this per person, and if there is a guide- a separate tip. My flightseeing is important to me, and I expect and get wonderful trips.
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