In places like the United States and Canada, leaving a gratuity is the norm. But you might be surprised to learn that in some countries, tipping is not only not customary, but might even be considered offensive. Don’t wait until you’ve already polished off that jerk chicken in Jamaica or finished your café au lait in Paris. Read our breakdown of tipping customs around the world before you depart for your next cruise vacation and you’ll be all set.
United States and Canada
It’s customary to leave a 15 to 20 percent tip in restaurants in the U.S. (The one exception being fast-food restaurants.) Keep in mind that your server is depending on a gratuity as a big part of his or her income since most restaurants pay their waitstaffs a low hourly wage with the assumption that it will be supplemented by tips. Canadians generally follow the same guidelines for tipping as in the U.S., so about 15 to 20 percent is standard.
If you’re visiting a port on one of Celebrity’s European cruises, you’ll quickly learn that a tip, or propina, as it’s called in Spain (or pourboire in Paris) is for the most part unnecessary. You may want to round up your bill or leave the change, which will be appreciated, but is by no means expected. In France, the practice of adding a cover charge is becoming fairly common. The cover charge, or coperto in Italian, can also be found in some areas of Italy, though it’s important to note that the practice has been banned in Rome. When in Greece, 5 to 10 percent is customary. In Russia, a 10 percent tip is becoming fairly standard, though tipping in bars is only required for table service. In Amsterdam, Netherlands, restaurants are required by law to include a service charge in the price of the meal, which takes the guesswork out of tipping for diners. For exemplary service, it’s not uncommon to leave an additional 5 to 10 percent tip (or fooi in Dutch). In Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland, a service charge is typical at restaurants and bars. However, it’s common practice to round up the bill, and at more upscale restaurants, add an additional 10 percent gratuity.
England and Ireland
Tipping in England is more on par with the customs in the United States, and as such, a gratuity of 10 to 15 percent is expected for good service. The one exception? The pub. So if you want to save a little cash, have your lunch or dinner there! In Ireland, tipping hasn’t caught on as much, but leaving 10 percent in restaurants isn’t unheard of.
If you find yourself in a port on one of our Caribbean cruises, a 15 to 20 percent gratuity will be the norm at restaurants and bars.
Tipping in Mexico hasn’t always been the norm, but the country has taken a page from its North American neighbors and a gratuity of between 10 and 15 percent is now considered customary. Servers in Buenos Aires can typically expect a gratuity between 10 and 15 percent, and in cash whenever possible. In Brazil, a 10 percent gratuity is the norm, unless a service charge has been added to the bill.
In Peru’s touristy areas such as Cuzco and Lima, tipping is catching on. It’s customary to add an extra 10 to 15 percent to a bill at an upscale restaurant, or leave a few soles for a meal at a hole-in-the-wall.
You might be surprised to learn that tipping in China can be considered rude. The concept of adding a 10 to 15 percent service charge is gaining some ground, so you may see that with some businesses, but for the most part, tipping is not necessary in China. The one big exception is Hong Kong, where a 10 to 15 percent gratuity is customary. In South Korea, it can be considered offensive to leave a gratuity as well. Servers in South Korea are paid a fair wage and it is therefore considered an insult to tip. Gratuities are rarely given in Japan. In fact, tipping can be considered rude. There have been stories of waiters running after their customers to return a tip! If you really feel compelled to leave a gratuity, use an envelope.
Tipping in restaurants in Thailand is unnecessary, though it’s not uncommon to leave a few baht on the table. Unlike other parts of Asia, in Thailand, tips are appreciated and happily accepted.
While tipping isn’t required in India, it’s often expected in the more touristy areas. To be on the safe side, plan on leaving 10 percent in restaurants and bars (unless a service charge is included).
In Turkey, a 10 percent gratuity or baksheesh is customary in tourist areas unless a service charge, or servis dahil is included. Be sure to have some Turkish lira on hand, since you won’t be able to tip with a credit card. In Israel, a 10 to 15 percent gratuity is the norm unless a service charge has been added. A 10 percent service charge is often added, along with a six percent tourism tax, in United Arab Emirates (UAE), which includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Tipping and additional 10 to 15 percent on top of this for good service is not uncommon. If a service charge hasn’t been added, tip 10 to 15 percent. In Egypt, you’ll often see a 10 percent service charge on your bill, but adding an additional 10 percent is common since the service charge goes only to the restaurant, not your server.
In Moorea in French Polynesia and most of the Pacific Islands, tipping has for the most part not caught on. In fact, it’s counter to the indigenous culture, which dictates that visitors be treated like honored guests. Having said that, some restaurants have begun to add 10 percent service charges. Beyond that, if you receive what you feel is outstanding service, feel free to tip up to 10, but it’s certainly not in any way expected.
Australia and New Zealand
For the most part, tipping is not customary in Australia, though leaving 10 percent at an upscale restaurant is not unheard of. The same goes for New Zealand.
When in Morocco, tip 10 percent, unless a service charge has already been added. In South Africa, tip 10 to 15 percent. In both countries, rounding up the bill at the bar is common practice.
And Finally, When in Doubt…
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re just not sure how about how much to tip, a good rule of thumb is to leave 10 percent in countries where tipping is the norm.