Not all of us are used to it, but tipping is common when you take a liveaboard trip. The guides and crew are of course paid, but a significant part of their income comes from tips. We may find that strange, but practice shows that everyone takes that extra step to give you a super holiday and that should of course be appreciated. You can end up on a beautiful ship in the best diving area in the world, but it is the crew and guides who give your holiday an extra dimension.
Tipping is usually organized. That is, they have a tip jar or an envelope at the end of the week. That way, not only the guide gets a good tip, but also the assistant chef who does the dishes in the kitchen. Traditionally, the tips are divided equally, although some ships have a separate tip for the crew and guides. In that case you can ask how many guides there are and how many crew and the self divide equally. Ultimately, everyone is needed to give you a fantastic holiday and sharing is fair.
But how much tip should you leave now? You don’t want to appear cheap, but you don’t want to spend too much either. The general rule is 10% of the sum you paid for the boat trip. It sounds like a lot, but when you consider that there are 15 to 18 staff members who are ready for you day and night, it is not that bad in the end.
You have to pay the tips in cash and in a currency that they can actually exchange. So if you have some money left over from your trip to Korea, unfortunately you can’t give them that money because it is often worth nothing locally. They also often cannot exchange coins, so stick to paper money in a common currency. Calculate the 10% of your boat fare before you leave and take that money with you in cash in euros or dollars, so that you always have enough money and you can always use it for something else later if you don’t spend it on a tip.