Hello cruisingnewbie, and welcome to our chat. Questions about tipping are very common. Some people wonder if/how/when to tip. The easiest way to do this is to pre-pay your gratuities. You can do this BEFORE you cruise (if you booked on line with Royal. Or, when you arrive on the ship, you go directly to the Guest Relations Desk, and say you want to pre-pay the gratuities. You will sign a form, and the tips will be paid to the appropriate folks at the end of the cruise. You will receive tip envelopes in your cabin with pre-paid certificates. You put the certificate in the envelope, give it to head waiter/waiter/assistant/cabin attendaant. They will then know you have pre-paid. This will free up your carry-around cash. Better still: you can pay cash on your account, and then allocate the tips to the folks. There are many ways to do this. Of course, the good old- fashioned-hand-out-the-cash-method is just fine. One way or the other, the staff will get their tips. At the bars, tips are automatic, but you can tip additionally. The soda card is a good deal if you drink alot of soft drinks. Non-alcoholic frozen drinks are extra.
Have I confused you totally? Don't be afraid to ask ANYONE about ANYTHING. The staff is not embarrassed or pushy about these matters. They know the passengers are their bread and butter (so to speak!) and good service equates to good tips. I usually pre-pay, but often give a little extra for making me something extra, or a laugh-and-a-half with a service. Go with your guy feeling, too. Most important, don't let the tipping thing get ya down!!!! Have a great cruise! I'm getting ON 2 November and OFF 5 November......'sea' ya on Monday when I'm leavin.......boohoo..