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Tipping on a Disney Cruise Wasn’t What I Expected – (Here’s How it Works)

When I disembarked my first Disney cruise, I’d had a brilliant time, but something happened with the tipping and automatic gratuities which I didn’t expect.

I’ve cruised with many cruise lines and haven’t ever come across the situation I encountered on my Disney cruise.

Disney funnel, Emma cruises

In this post, we will look at how tipping works on a Disney cruise, how the gratuities are split between the crew, and how they can be removed if required.

Disney are a big American cruise line and they add automatic gratuities.

The idea behind automatic gratuities is that you don’t have to give physical tips to the crew because they’ve automatically been added to your account. They’ll automatically come off your card – you don’t have to see them – you don’t have to do anything with them.

That’s kind of the selling point of automatic gratuities.

I’m from the UK, and we don’t have the same tipping culture as Americans do.

Most of the cruise lines here tend to add in the cost of gratuities to the cruise fare.

I personally prefer that, but if there are gratuities, I just pay them, then they’re done.

Normally, on every other cruise, I’ve ever been on, I never have to think about the gratuities again, because I have just paid them.

Some people will tip extra in cash above that, which is totally fine, and always appreciated I’m sure – but you don’t have to.

I feel like if you’ve done the automatic gratuities, you can rest easy, you can enjoy your cruise, you’ve given everybody your tips and the idea is that you don’t have to do anything with it again.

How Does Tipping Work on a Disney Cruise?

Disney Cruise Line charges each guest an automatic gratuity to cover the tips for the crew, this is usually $14.50 per person per night.

This amount is split between the crew members automatically and can be removed if requested. Guests are welcome to tip above and beyond this amount.

On Disney, they have automatic gratuities, so I was a bit confused when I came back to my room and I saw a letter and it said:

You’ve paid automatic gratuities and what we want you to do now is to take this piece of paper, to rip it up into everybody’s names and how much money you’re giving them and then put it in the little envelopes and go and give them to the people.

I just found that really strange…
disney cruise line tipping letter in cabin

I just thought that the selling point of automatic gratuities was that I didn’t have to do that really awkward thing of handing over cash, or handing over envelopes at dinner.

It may be to do with the fact that I’m from the UK and we don’t really do the tipping thing that I find that so awkward. We pretty much just said “Thank you, Bye,” – and left the little pieces of paper on the table at dinner on the last night and then we left.

“As a convenience, we have added gratuities of $14.50 per day for each member of your party to your onboard account. Your gratuity tickets are located on the reverse side of this form.
Please separate them into the gratuity envelopes provided so that you can personally present them to your service team”

Disney Cruise Line

I found it really strange and awkward. I just didn’t really know how to act.

I don’t know if it’s designed like that, maybe so that you’ll slip in an extra $20 here – or maybe some people actually like giving the envelope and giving the tip to the person and saying “thank you.

For me, that’s why I pay the automatic gratuities so that I don’t have to go through that. It did say in the letter that if you don’t give them to them, they’ll still get the money.

The pieces of paper are pretty much just a symbol, but I kind of felt like I had to, or otherwise, they would feel like I didn’t appreciate them and I want to say thank you.

How Are Disney Cruise Tips Split Amongst The Crew?

The below shows the automatic gratuity costs split among the crew. The automatic gratuities are given only to these four positions and crew members in behind-the-scenes roles, such as the onboard laundry, don’t receive a part of this.

Per Guest per cruise3-Night4-Night7-Night
Dining Room Server       $13.50$18.00$31.50
Dining Room Asst.
Dining Room Head
Stateroom Host/
 $13.50 $18.00 $31.50
disney cruise line automatic gratuity breakdown graph

I just don’t know where I stand on this.

If you came into your cabin after paying your automatic gratuities and had to give these pieces of paper to the crew, would you find that weird?

To learn more about how automatic gratuities work, check out this post:

Cruise Gratuities: A Simple Step by Step Guide For First Time Cruisers

Can You Remove The Automatic Gratuities on a Disney Cruise?

It is possible to remove the automatic gratuities on a Disney cruise by visiting Reception. The automatic gratuities can also be reduced.

If you do want to remove automatic gratuities expect to be asked why, it’s generally assumed that this will only be removed in the case of bad service.

Additional Gratuities

There are a couple of other places where gratuities are added:

  • In the speciality restaurants Palo/Remy – a18% gratuity is added at dinner time. Gratuities aren’t automatically added for brunch.
  • In the spa and salon – 18% gratuity is added to all treatments.
  • All drinks have 18% added on as an automatic gratuity.
Automatically Added Gratuity
All Drinks/Bar Charges18%
Spa/Salon Services18%
Speciality Restaurants (dinner)18%

To find out what I loved (and hated) about my first Disney cruise, check out this video next:

I thought I knew what to expect from a Disney cruise but this cruise was the biggest culture shock ever! Find out how I got on onboard Disney Magic here:

Before You Go

Find out about the nine things you won’t find on a Disney cruise here:

You Won’t Find These 9 Things on a Disney Cruise

Disney cruises can be expensive! Research ways to get the best deal on Disney cruise below:

Cut The Cost of Your Disney Cruise – 6 Budget Booking Tips

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