Tipping Etiquette for Kids on a Cruise Ship

by Lori Soard

The majority of cruise lines pay their stewards and wait staff only a small base pay, similar to what waitresses are paid in the restaurant industry. Tipping adds to this pay and allows the serving staff to make a decent income. Knowing how much to tip when you cruise with children is challenging.

Dining Staff

According to Cruise Critic, cruisers have numerous choices for dining, including buffets, the main dining room, cafe style dining, freestyle dining and even room service. Tip the dining staff based on how many nights you eat in the main dining room and per person. If a family of four eats in the main dining room, the waiters should be tipped for every person in the family, even the smallest of children. Small children are often more work than adults, especially when it comes to cleanup. Tipping.org suggests tipping the head waiter $3.00 per person per day and the busboy $1.50 per person per day.

Cabin Steward

The cabin steward is responsible for keeping the stateroom neat and orderly, providing soap and towels and other minor things you might need in the course of a day. Tip the cabin steward for each person in the family, including children, for each day of the cruise. Cruise Diva suggests $3.00 to $3.50 per person, but cruise lines often offer their own guidelines. Tip at full price for each child.

Kids' Club Counselors

If your children participate in the onboard kids' club, tip per day your child is involved in activities. Cruise Critic suggests $15 per child for each day, but factor in partial days or activities where parent involvement is required. If your child has special needs or is particularly challenging, you may want to tip the staff of the children's program slightly higher.


Porters help to get luggage on and off the cruise ship and to and from your stateroom. Frommer's suggests $1 per bag, similar to what you would tip a porter at an airport or a bellhop at a hotel. This applies to each bag the porter transports for you. If you want to keep these costs down, have your children carry backpacks or pull behind a small suitcase of their own.

About the Author

Lori Soard has been a writer since 1995, covering a variety of topics for local newspapers and magazines such as "Woman's World." For five years, she served as a site editor for a large online information portal. Soard is also the author of several published books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Photo Credits

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