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Gifts Your Cruise Cabin Steward Will Appreciate (In Addition to Cash)

If you are taking a cruise you may be wondering if there are any gifts that the crew would appreciate in addition to cash. There are a number of things to consider before purchasing gifts including the crew’s limited space.

There are some useful gifts that can mean much more to a crew member than souvenirs or other trinkets.

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Before purchasing gifts consider the following:

The Crew’s Personal Space is Very Limited

The majority of crew members on cruise ships share small cabins with others. They have less storage space than regular cruise ship cabins and the crew are in their cabins for long periods of time.

The crew on cruise ships don’t need souvenirs or other small gifts that will take up space and collect dust. Gifts that can be used as much more important.

Cash is Always King

There no denying that cash is king.

Almost all crew members would agree that they would prefer cash over gifts.

If you are considering giving a gift to a crew member on a cruise ship, please consider the gift as something above and beyond the automatic gratuities/cash tips.

To learn more about how gratuities and tipping work on a cruise, check out this post: Cruise Gratuities: A Simple Step by Step Guide For First Time Cruisers.

Given the choice between an expensive present, or an inexpensive present plus the cash, almost all crew members would prefer the cash and inexpensive present.

If you do decide to give the crew of a cruise ship a gift, it is mostly about the gesture.

Cash allows the crew member to buy whatever they need.

Gift Idea #1 – Local Snacks (Ask The Crew First)

The crew don’t always have the chance to get off the ship when the ship docks in port which means that there may be some snacks that you could pick up for a crew member.

If a crew member is allowed to disembark depends on many things such as scheduling and their job role. Some job roles are busier on port days whereas some aren’t. The staff who work in casinos or shops are more likely to be allowed off during the day because the casino and shops are shut when in port.

If you do find yourself chatting with your housekeeper or restaurant staff, it could be a nice idea to ask them if there is anything in port that they would like.

It may be that there is a certain brand of sweets or crisps that they are unable to get on the ship but would love from land. Sometimes these gifts are the best as it shows that you’ve really thought about the crew member’s needs.

Gift Idea #2 – A Positive Review Makes All The Difference

When you take a cruise you’ll often be asked to leave feedback at the end. Mentioning a crew member by name can make a huge difference.

On many cruise lines, there will be comment cards that you can fill out, and these are usually dropped into a box. On some cruise lines, this survey will be emailed to you after the cruise.

Many cruise lines will give extra bonuses or perks to those who are mentioned in the satisfaction surveys so they are very important to the crew.

If you were to ask the crew what they would prefer, it’s usually the comment card recommendation that comes first.

Gift Idea #3 – Snacks From Home

If you are travelling far from home and find that there are crew members onboard who are from the same country as you, they may appreciate snacks from home.

I have met many people who have bought small local snacks from home. When they are on the cruise they will try to find crew members who are from the same country as them, on some cruise lines the staff members home country will be marked on their name tag which makes this much easier.

The contracts of cruise ship crew are often long and they are sometimes unable to get their favourite comfort foods from home. A simple packet of biscuits or sweets can go a long way.

emma cruises with biscuits

The above photo is a photo of me with a plate of biscuits that are very popular in the UK.

Gift Idea #4 – SIM Cards (With Data)

On the majority of cruise lines, the crew do not get free internet access. The internet can often be expensive and as the crew spends many months away from home, this can add up.

Chris Wong who works for Royal Caribbean recently said in an interview with Tony from La Lido Loca that one of the best gifts crew can receive is a SIM card with internet on it.

In most supermarkets, you will be able to buy a sim card with data loaded onto it. This has to be a sim card for an unlocked phone.

You can also buy sims from websites like Amazon, this one includes data that can be used within the US. SIM Card. It’s important you purchase a card that’ll work in the ports that your cruise is visiting.

In the video below Chris explains which gifts he likes to receive:


My daughter brought her favourite waiter a Nasa badge when we visited Cape Canaveral in March this year. He was telling us the morning before our visit how he has always wanted to visit Nasa but he never seemed to be able to get off in that port, so my daughter wanted to bring a little bit of Nasa back to him. He was over the moon with it and showed it to all the other members of staff in the dining room. It made my daughter so happy that she had brought such a smile to his face.


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