Royal Caribbean suggests $3.50 per person, per day for the room steward and waiter, and $2.00 per person, per day for the assistant waiter. Gratuities are usually extended in cash, the last evening of the cruise. Some cruise lines let you put the tips on your onboard account.
The usual gratuities are $3.50 per person/per day for the waiter and the same amount for your cabin attendant. The busboy (assistant waiter) is $2.00 per person/per day. The headwaiter also expects a tip of 75 cents per person/per day, and this one is the source of much debate among many cruisers. Usually the headwaiter doesn't do much, other than make his rounds and glad hand the passengers, and often will suddenly show up to "help" the waiter serve you even though he doesn't need any help. However, considering the headwaiter is in charge of the waiter and assistant waiter - and could make things tough on them - I have come to accept this and pay him his tip. After all, it isn't that much.
On Royal Caribbean the default tipping method is still the old-fashioned way - with cash in envelopes that are handed out on the last evening. However, you can also go to the desk and have the tips charged to your account. In this case, they give you a card to put in the envelope which has the amount you gave.
They give you a form and it gives you the suggested rate to tip. However, if you have a non-existent waiter as we did on our last cruise, you may want to omit that tip. Add that missed tip to your cabin steward, bartender, Cruise Director etc.,
Don't sweat the tips, they do the math for you.
This past cruise our waiter was above and beyond. Even the Head waiter was at the table nightly to help with the meals..On lobster night our waiter made so many trips to the kitchen oh my goodness. We had lobsters waiting to be eaten.
And we always had a drink in front of us at dinner. That would be the assistant waiter. On deck I always tend to track down a few waiters the first day and tip them cash for the drinks. That way during the week they remember you and your name and your favorite drinks. Its always nice to get a double for no extra charge. Same with a couple bartenders. A $2 tip goes along way during the week. Cash is better than a tip on your sea pass card. As the sea pass tips are in a pot and then split up.
Service was great until it came to my Cabin Attendant.
I believe she made our bed like 4 days. Turned it down maybe 3 nights. We actually had to go looking for a Compass early in the morning as she missed our room often.
See I believe the problem was we had 9690 and it is in the corner of the ship on Navigator of the Seas. So she kept thinking did I or didn't I do that room. Oh I think I did. But the sad part was that the cleaning room was right across from our room.
Needless to say she got no tip. I even gave her $5 one night to keep my ice bucket full. She did for one night and after that I would go to the bar and get a bucket of ice.
Tips are for exceptional service.
I realize these people live off the tips but they should really at least make an effort then.