Cunard Gratuities: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking to cruise with Cunard, it’s wise to know about the onboard gratuities – also known as tips – before you set sail.

Cunard Gratuities

Cunard charges gratuities at a daily rate that is automatically added to each passenger’s account throughout the sailing, plus an extra charge for each drink or spa service purchased.

It isn’t always easy to find information about how much Cunard gratuities are, so read on if you wish to avoid a surprise bill at the end of your cruise!

Gratuities (also known as tips) are service charges that are added to your onboard account when sailing with Cunard. When guests pay gratuities, it enables the service staff, including waiters and stateroom stewards, to be rewarded for the work they do, in addition to their wage.

Gratuities are the same price for all four of Cunard’s ships – Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Anne. However, there is a difference in price depending on your accommodation category. This is outlined in more detail below.

There are two types of gratuities on Cunard cruises:

  • Gratuities for hotel and dining services – Calculated daily
  • Gratuities for drinks and spa services – Calculated per purchase

It’s worth noting that casino staff do not receive any automatic gratuities, as not all passengers use their services. The tips are shared amongst the hotel, restaurant, bar and salon staff, including those who work behind the scenes.

Every dollar of the gratuity charges goes directly to the crew in these areas and there is no administrative fee.

Gratuities are typically paid off at the end of your cruise, the night before you disembark. You can check your onboard spend using the Cunard free WiFi to into your account.

Cunard restaurant service gratuities

How Much Are the Gratuities on Cunard?

In 2024, Cunard’s daily gratuities are $16 per person, per night for guests staying in Britannia Staterooms and $18 per person, per night for guests staying in Grill Suites. The charge is the same for adults and children.

On Cunard cruise ships, all bar, wine and salon services have an additional 15% charge for each purchase made too. This is in addition to the daily gratuities.

If you buy a Cunard drinks package, you don’t have to pay the 15% gratuity – it’s included in the price of the package.

The gratuities on Cunard are pretty reasonable, and as fellow travel blogger Karen said in her review of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, the gratuities are “the lowest in the industry”.

Are Gratuities Compulsory on a Cunard Cruise?

On a Cunard cruise, the gratuities added to each drink and spa service are compulsory. The daily gratuities for hotel and dining services are recommended but can be removed. You can also tip above and beyond the recommended amounts if you wish.

Cunard gratuities for bar, wine and spa services are added to your onboard account automatically along with each purchase. The hotel and dining service charge will appear on your onboard account as a daily charge.

Cunard hotel service gratuities

Can I Get My Gratuities Taken Off on a Cunard Cruise?

On a Cunard cruise, you can opt to remove or adjust the daily gratuities (hotel and dining service charge). This can be done at the Guest Services desk once you’re on board the ship.

While some people like to remove daily gratuities and instead tip cash to certain crew members, this isn’t recommended. As well as waiters and staterooms stewards, there are many crew members who offer support behind the scenes, working in the kitchens, laundry rooms and other areas.

If you remove gratuities from your onboard account, the people who work hard that you may never see will lose out financially.

If you have had a bad experience with the service on your cruise and wish to remove the gratuities, you should speak to the staff at Guest Services, who will be able to remove them from your account.

Cunard guest services

Can I Prepay Gratuities on Cunard?

You cannot prepay for your Cunard gratuities before your cruise. However, you can pre-purchase onboard spending money, which can be used against your hotel and dining service charges, as well as bar, wine and salon service charges.

Log onto your My Cunard account to manage your cruise before you sail.

Should I Tip Extra on a Cunard Cruise?

Whether to tip extra on top of the standard gratuities on your Cunard cruise is entirely down to personal preference. If you feel there is a member of the crew who has gone above and beyond what is expected to make your time on board memorable, you are welcome to reward them individually for doing so.

Each Cunard stateroom has its own steward assigned to it – usually, you will see them making up rooms up and down the ship throughout your sailing. The same steward will make up your stateroom and will likely introduce themselves on your first day of embarkation.

Many people tip their cabin stewards personally, leaving money in an envelope for them in their room on the morning of disembarkation or tipping them personally on their last day. The guest services desk will supply envelopes to those who ask for them.

Other members of staff you will see around the ship on a regular basis include your dining team. When visiting the main dining room, in particular, you will notice the same faces seating and serving you. Many people will also be assigned an area or specific table throughout the cruise, so you will see familiar faces as the cruise continues.

These are also members of staff who people like to personally tip due to them being seen regularly and shown to make their cruise experience special.

Cunard waitress

Cunard Cruises With Free Gratuities

For those sailing on Cunard world cruises, promotions are sometimes available, which include complimentary hotel and dining service charges. Look out for these, as they can save you a lot of money.

In some promotions, Cunard offers free on-board spending money. You can use this free spending money to pay for some or all of the gratuities incurred on your cruise, depending on the amount of free credit and the gratuity charge.


Don’t miss the latest Cunard offers…

Final Thoughts

People often have differing opinions towards paying gratuities. While paying tips comes naturally to Americans, Brits and Australians aren’t used to paying a lot for tips. And the daily gratuities on a cruise can certainly add up to a hefty sum.

Some cruisers like to tip on their own terms and will remove all gratuities to award individual members of staff. Others remove them to save on costs as soon as they step aboard. However, most people will be glad to pay the daily gratuity charge to ensure that every member of staff is rewarded fairly for their hard work.

It’s important to know which you prefer, so you can factor in the cost before you set sail and know where your onboard account will end up at the end of your sailing.

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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25 thoughts on “Cunard Gratuities: Everything You Need to Know”

  1. Has anybody done the sums with the gratuities. 2000 people paying approx$15 a day to 800 staff is approx. $37 a day per staff member. This doesn’t take into account the 15% surcharge on drinks etc. which I believe is quite a large sum also.
    At these rates the cruise line could almost do away with paying their staff ( joke ) but maybe the crew deserve a company pay increase to subsidize the passengers haha.

  2. We have always paid recommended daily gratuities when on a cruise – however it would be much more transparent if Cunard ( and every other cruise line that adds gratuities) were a bit more open and honest on which staff get the gratuities – and how they get them. As others have noted, gratuities on a 2 week cruise can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Seems to work on a whole lot of smoke and mirrors – all I would like to see is some guarantee that the money we are giving to stewards and crew is actually getting to them as a reward (and not just included in their pay)

  3. I was a chef on QE2 and don’t recall receiving grats. I’m soon to cruise on QM2 for first time as a passenger. Thoroughly looking forward to it.

  4. 15% service charge which Cunard fleet charge for each drink . This 15% doesn’t go to bar server any more after pandemic. Company have fixed their salary and which is very low .

  5. Lacking where these commenters are from -I conclude: cheap Brits….or cheap wherever theyre from. I have a suspicion that these people wishing staff were paid appropriately, would be leaving alot less than $14 if the tipping was up to them.

  6. My wife and I are very experienced “Frequent Floaters,” and we are just about to embark on our first Cunard Cruise, so I have been reading all the different comments posted here with great interest. We will be cancelling our daily gratuity charge, as that is our normal practice, and that is OUR decision. We tip well all those who look after us face to face on a daily basis, and who put themselves out for us. My own belief is also that the Cruise Companies should pay their staff more money if that’s an issue. However, over many years, I have still yet to find a staff member who has actually received these gratuities, most claim they have never even heard of this scheme!! As MD says, Cruise jobs are highly sought after in the so called “poorer” Countries, and the staff tend to be considered amongst the “elite” in terms of being “high earners,” whether we agree with that or not. They are able to support not just their own family, but also Mum, Dad, and brothers and sisters as well. Do they work hard?? Of course, but the biggest hardship is being away for so long, but they believe they are well rewarded. Just my thoughts.

  7. If you are in a Grills room the gratuities are added to your account, but then there is a credit in the same amount. This makes sure money goes into the crew gratuities rather than just not posting it to your account at all.

    We just came back from a 10 day Alaska trip on the Queen Elizabeth and left a supplemental tip for the wine steward and our room butler for exceptional service and helpfulness.

  8. OK, I’ve read the comments and I’m appalled. Save your nasty rejoinders for your own behavior. I just returned from a trans-Atlantic on QM2. Traveled Queens Grill. The cost of my trip was over fifteen thousand dollars (US). Fourteen dollars a day for all the excellent service I received is a joke. Two waiters, a captain, Maitra ‘d, Assistant Maitre ‘d, two room stewards, and an evening steward breaks down to about $2.00 a day. If you can’t afford a $15 a day tip for these people, you should NOT travel Queens Grill. That’s right! All the excuses that are listed above only reinforce my thoughts that you are just plain cheap. Next time, take a plane in third class.

    • I’m cheap; I fully admit it. (Though I prefer the term “value-conscious.”) But I agree 100% with your comments Robert. I’ve always paid the gratuity charges and will often leave envelopes.

      Seeing how hard these people work; the smiles on their faces; the pleasant greetings; the dedication to my family having a fantastic holiday — day in and day out: I can’t imagine not providing a little extra.

      Sure, we’ve had negative experiences. People sometimes forget, and everyone has a bad day sometimes. But these are isolated and don’t materially affect our time onboard.

      I’m happy to care for the people who work hard to take care of me. And I’m extremely grateful for their hard work!

      • Thank you for your reply. I thought you would get a kick out of my asking at the Purser’s office for tip envelopes:
        Me: “Hi, may I please have 10 tip envelopes?”
        Female Clerk: “The tip is added to your room charges every day.” (Patronizing smile.)
        Me: (Look lift, look right, look behind me.) “Yes, may I please have ten tip envelopes?”
        Clerk: “Sir, all tips are added to room charges.”
        Now another clerk is watching.
        Me: (Cupping ear as if deaf.) “Who, exactly, are you talking to?”
        Other clerk, reaching for tip envelopes and nudging aside original female clerk. “Sorry, Sir, we’re all burdened by interns.”

    • Well said sir.

  9. It’s a real problem planning a cruise with these tipping cost’s ! P&O finally have removed tipping, it’s no wonder they give you spending money “its the tips”. Plus you get nothing for free these days. But you do have to ask why do these cruise lines not pay the staff the correct level of wages ?
    12 night = $200 each really is the service experience that good ?

    • Hi , just back from Queen Victoria and all service charges have been increased by $3 per day per person, ie $ 14.5 Britannia and $16.5 Grill about time it was scraped and pay the crew the correct wages, lots of people cancelling at pursuers desk.

  10. The lowest gratuity these days is now provided by P&O cruises in the U.K. with both cruise lines being part of the Carnival and they’re a big fat ‘0’ with gratuities supposedly built into fares!

  11. I feel the same as the majority above. I paid a lot for the cruise, I shouldn’t have to fork out anymore unless somebody goes out of their way for me. If Cunard need to raise their prices to pay their staff a fair rate so be it. I was quoted a total price, I didn’t get a break down so if the price had been too high I wouldn’t have booked the cruise.
    Note: Before retiring I drove trains for a living, usually carrying over 1,000 passengers a day. I don’t recall ever receiving a tip!

  12. We’re sailing on the Qe around Japan and Alaska soon. Total number of nights exceeds 35. At $11.50 pppd this is going to add a hefty bill to our already expensive cruise! But I’ll feel guilty removing this sum!!

    • I wouldn’t feel guilty. The crew go home to their own countries millionaires, owing to the exchange dollar/sterling rate to their home currency. For example the exchange rate is 99 Indian rupees to the pound sterling. Philippines works out at 66 Philippine peso to the pound. If you have ever been to these countries you will know that the cost of living there is half of what it is in USA.

  13. We are about to go on the QM2 and I strongly object to subsidising the pay of any staff. If Cunard are so concerned that the hard work of staff is recognised, then why don’t they pay them appropriately?
    Every passenger is required to pay this money, to the same people for the same job!
    Someone, somewhere is getting very rich!!

  14. It was the Victorian British who invented tipping a brown envelope was given to crew members who went out of their way to make one’s cruise memorable, then along came Yanky doodle Dandy and splashed the cash in all directions .
    If the cruise lines paid their staff a living wage, there would be no problem with tipping.

  15. DRINKS package looked at it worked out over £1,000 for the wife and I FOR 14 DAYS SOME ONES GETTING RICH QUICK. BUT NOT US !!1

  16. We started Cunard Cruising in 1996, And after our first cruise we have Never paid the Daily charge. IF we are to believe that ALL the money goes to The staff then I will come out of retirement and get a job with Cunard. Do your sums, the amount of money collected if we all paid the daily charge is HUGE. We have NO intention of lining the pockets of the gready Cunard elite.
    We are more than happy to reward ALL levels of the staff, as we know that in the main their wages are Very Very poor

  17. I believe a gratuity is a bonus for good service provided by the crew member to me . In which case it’s down to me to decide how much I appreciated their attention. I don’t need Cunard to tell me how much I should pay daily and to whom.

  18. The argument that people won’t pay the gratuities, even though they represent part of the salary make up, on the basis that crew members should be “paid appropriately” is a fallacy. If they paid the crew “appropriately” the cost of the cruise would go up , appropriately! The way it is now, is offering people a chance to auto pay and ensure all staff get the appropriate cut of the funds, and reduce them in rare cases where service was a disappointment. So, to those who think they are making a moral choice (while simultaneously saving themselves money ahem ahem) , just pay the gratuities and ensure you don’t stiff the crew, cos that is what you are doing to all the crew behind the scenes.

  19. I would prefer to pay gratuities to individuals that earn them . Cruise staff should be paid an appropriate wage for their job , not expecting their wages to be topped up by passengers who are already paying good moneyed for their holiday .

  20. I find these hidden charges unacceptable and would much prefer that all crew members were paid appropriately and that this was then reflected in the cruise purchase price

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