Tips On Board Ship

First of all, fee no one until the end of the run. While tips are not compulsory, wages of those accustomed to receive them are so adjusted that failure to receive moderate gratuities would result in low reward for usually efficient and cheerful services. On the other hand, passengers, especially Americans, should avoid generosity so great as to be unfair to stokers, sailors, and those other members of the ship’s company whose duties are more arduous than those of stewards and others who come into direct contact with passengers. On an average liner, in an average stateroom, the fees for an Atlantic crossing should be somewhat in this ratio :


Table steward $5-7 $3-5

Cabin steward 5-7 3-5

Bath steward 1.50-2 1-1.50 (Tourist Third Cabin 2/3 the 2nd class

Deck steward 1-1.50 1

Social Hall 1-1.50 .50-1

Library steward 1-1.50 .50-1

Smoking Room 1-1.50 .50-1

“Boots” 1 .50

Yet it all depends. You may never have entered the smoking room, and you may have pestered the social hall or library steward daily, even hourly. Your room steward may have brought most of your meals to your cabin. Obviously in that case he is entitled to most of what the table steward would otherwise have received. The deck steward may have been careless in attending to your chair, cushions, rugs and books; “boots” may have neglected your shoes. Tips should be, though they frequently are not, rewards for duties well performed, not obligatory charities. The faster the boat and the finer your suite, the more will be expected of you. A journey across the Pacific calls for very similar fees to those on the Atlantic. The stewards there are commonly Orientals, to whom a dollar is more than to their Atlantic confreres.

Further hints on ship-board tipping might include the following :

If you have taken a dog or other pet along, a small fee to the ship’s butcher for the care of it is customary. If you have often been to the baggageroom to get into your trunks there, particularly at unlisted hours, or if you have had to ask to have other baggage handled in order to get at your own, a small fee to the baggage attendant is expected. Ladies who do not use the smoking room and gentlemen who spend no time in the lounge or social hall, or any who do not use books from the library, obviously need not remember the respective attendants. Ladies who have called upon the stewardess for more than casual services should reward her accordingly; she will gladly accept it even though she may have succeeded in making you feel that she is a “decayed gentlewoman.” The second steward, who is virtually the head waiter in the dining-room, will not be hurt if he is remembered. Even the chief steward on most liners will accept any-thing above $2 or so, particularly if he has arranged a special menu for a party of your friends during the voyage. The captain, chief engineer and purser do not expect and probably would refuse, gratuities, though they may have done more for you than those with whom you come into more direct contact.

Do not tip your room steward until he has placed or seen to the placing of all your stateroom baggage on the pier, under its proper initial. This is an accepted part of his duties. Besides the deck steward there is sometimes an assistant on deck, often a sailor, who helps at chalking the deck for shuffleboard and in like matters pertaining to deck games. He may be surprised, but will not be hurt, if tendered a small remembrance. Sometimes the stewardess or other members of the steward’s staff assist mothers or stand guard over small children, and should of course be rewarded accordingly. A man and wife traveling in the same stateroom may gracefully tip a little less than twice what either of them would alone. American or foreign money is usually equally acceptable in similar amounts. A pound sterling is the equal of a $5 bill and a shilling is on a par with a quarter in shipboard tipping matters.

In second class, to some extent on “mono-class” ships, and particularly in tourist third class, this matter of tipping is simplified, by the smaller number of servants and their satisfaction with modest fees. The general rule in tipping is to consider two factors—how much personal service you have had from a given servant, and how many other persons he has been able to serve and can expect tips from.