Q: We have just booked our Disney Cruise. Can we pre-pay our gratuities so that they are taken care of before we sail?
A: Yes. Disney Cruise Line does have a system in place that allows you to pay for the majority of your gratuities in advance. I find that there is a lot of information online about pre-paying that makes this process look much more complicated than it actually is. For the sake of keeping things simple, here’s what you need to know:
For those wishing to pay for gratuities in advance, the amount designated by Disney to do this is $12 per person for each night of your cruise. So, If you are on a 3-night cruise, the rate would be $36 per person. If you are on a 7-night cruise the rate would be $84.00. These are the numbers that are the most important to know but, I’ll break this up further for you below.
It’s just the adults, right? Children (including toddlers and infants) don’t have to pay gratuities, do they? Yes. The amount would be per person for everyone in your stateroom. I spoke to a Cast Member once who when asked said “Yes. Babies pay gratuities as well- as a matter of fact they’re some of our biggest mess makers!”. So if you have 4 in your stateroom the rate would be x 4 regardless of age.
How far in advance do I need to decide whether or not I want to pre-pay? Disney Cruise Line is pretty flexible. They give you from the time of booking up until 3 days before your cruise departs to organize pre-payment.
If I am pre-paying, what Cast Members are including in the tipping and how much are each of them getting? This is roughly how the gratuities are broken down by night.
- Server: If you pre-pay, $4 per person per night will be set aside for them.
- Assistant Server: They will receive $3 per night.
- Head Server: This cast member receives about $1 per person per night.
- Stateroom Host/Hostess: They will receive the same as your server, $4 per person per night.
I’m going on a 14-night cruise. Will my daily gratuity cost go up? No. As of now, this is the per person daily rate across all of the Disney Cruise sailings.
Are there any Cast Members that should be receiving a tip that aren’t included in the pre-paying service? Yes. Here are a couple of exceptions.
- Spa Treatments- When you book in a treatment at one of Disney Cruise Lines luxurious Spas, an 18% gratuity is automatically included.
- Dining Manager – He or she is not included in the pre-paying option, tipping for them is at your discretion
- Concierge Team – Again, they won’t be included in the pre-paying service but they will accept tips on board.
- Palo or Remy Servers – Since these dining options are not included in your rotational dining, tips are not included and should be given to your server on the day.
- Bartenders – If you are visiting one of DCL’s amazing night spots and are ordering drinks at the bar, then you should leave your server a tip as their services are not included in pre-payed gratuities.
- Babysitters – Gratuities are not expected.
- Port Adventures – Gratuities for Port Adventure guides are not included in the price and are at the discretion of the guest.
What if my service is amazing and I decide that I want to tip more? Then you certainly have the ability to do that. You can always pay Cast Members gratuities in addition to the pre-payed ones that you have arranged. Just let them know on the day or let Guest Services know during your cruise.
What if I pre-payed but I’m unhappy with my service. Can I get a refund? Disney is world-renowned for its Customer Service but if for whatever reason you are unsatisfied, please speak to a Cast Member first who will work hard to rectify your concerns. However, should you decide that you want to make an adjustment to you pre-payment, you should speak with the Guest Services Team aboard your ship.
I’ve decided I do want to pre-pay for gratuities. How do I set this up? This can be done by contacting Disney Cruise Line directly at 1.800.951.3532 or by getting in touch with your travel agent.
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