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  • Writer's pictureAnna Wildish

How to Reward Exceptional Cast Members on Disney Cruise Line

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Followers of this blog know how much I LOVE Disney Cruise Line.

We have two Disney cruises under our belt with another one planned for next year. Each one has been on our top 10 list of best family vacations of all time and I’m sure the next one will make the list as well.

One of the things that sets Disney Cruise Line apart from the rest is their level of service and the Cast Members that work on the ship. They go above and beyond to ensure your trip is a magical one and they are a joy to be around.

Typically, the Cast Members you get to know most are your stateroom attendant and dining room wait staff. Those people stay the same your entire trip and you will see them every day, especially the dining room wait staff.

They take the time to get to know you, your likes and dislikes, will have your favorite drink waiting for you when you sit down for dinner each night, and may even bust out their special talents to entertain your kids so you can eat in peace.

I look forward to seeing them every night at dinner and get sad when the trip is coming to an end and we have to say goodbye. They feel like family by the end of the trip!

Judging by all the people who have family pictures taken with their wait staff at the end of their trips and try and request them on future sailings, I can’t be alone in this sentiment.

They will tell you they are just doing their jobs. But I say they have a true gift and deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.

So, what can you do to make sure they are?

Here are three easy ways you can show your appreciation to those wonderful Cast Members that go above and beyond for you.

Write them a Thank You Note

Simple and easy but a lost art and often overlooked. Especially in today’s digital age where everything is online, and email is king.

We make sure to pack some nice Thank You cards in our luggage to use once the trip is coming to an end. On the last day we hand write a personalized Thank You note for each Cast Member we wish to show our appreciation for.

I write one or two examples of exactly how they enhanced our trip, something that is unique only to them. And make sure the entire family signs them, not just me. (Yes, even the baby’s name goes on the card.) Then we hand them out at dinner that night or leave them on the bed for the stateroom attendant to find if we don’t see him/her first.

Make sure to bring enough cards to give at least 4 Cast Members a personalized Thank You note, maybe more if you end up getting to know more than just the usual suspects.

Give More than Just the Suggested Gratuity Amount

Money talks and is especially effective in showing your appreciation. Give a little – or a lot – more to the people you think deserve it.

Disney Cruise Line has the option of adding pre-paid gratuities to the total cost of your trip before you board for certain cast members. Or you can just have them added to your stateroom account once onboard. The cast members this is for include the Dining Room Server, Dining Room Assistant Server, Dining Room Head Server, and Stateroom Host/Hostess.

The suggested gratuity amount ranges from $7 - $31.50 per guest for each cast member depending on the cast member’s role and how many nights you are sailing. (All other staff members, such as room service, the servers at Palo and Remy, and the Spa employees you will tip as you use their services and charge to your stateroom account.)

On the last day of your cruise you will receive a set of labeled envelopes and perforated paper showing the amounts of prepaid gratuities for your dining servers and stateroom host. You can put these in your Thank You notes, or just hand them out as a standalone.

Either way the amount listed on those pieces of paper is up to your discretion. You can adjust the amounts by heading to the guest services desk onboard and ask them to be adjusted.

Or better yet, bring some cash with you, packed in a safe place, to hand out to those you see fit. We like to put some extra cash into the Thank You cards we hand out at the end of the trip, along with the perforated paper.

Make Sure to Fill Out the Comment Cards

On the last day of your cruise you will be given a comment card to fill out about your trip. Their managers do read those, so make sure to fill them out and mention those special cast members by name when you praise them for their work.

And make sure to turn them in! You will be given instructions on how to do so. But your praise won’t mean anything if you don’t make sure the right people see it.

Final Thoughts

These people have a unique and special job that has tons of opportunities and rewards. But I’m sure it’s hard too. They are away from their families for months at a time. Anything we can do to show them extra love and support for all they do for us could go a long way.

You can’t give a Thank You note or extra gratuities to everyone you encounter on the ship. But you can give them friendly conversation and ask them how they are doing.

There are so many different countries represented on the ship. I love asking them questions about their home, their families, and the things they’ve seen on their job. They are literally sailing all over the world in the course of their careers and have some fascinating stories about what they’ve experienced. Take the time to talk to them and get to know them more on your next cruise, you won’t regret it.

I am a travel agent with Magical Vacation Planner and can help you plan an unforgettable vacation with your family. Click here to schedule a Magical Vacation Discovery Call to learn more and get your free, no-obligation quote.

Or head here to download your copy of my free Disney Vacation planning worksheets, or here for a free Disney Stroller Checklist.



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