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June 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Are We Americans Good Tippers or Just Total Suckers?

from the June, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Americans are known worldwide for showing their generosity with tips, and we've written often about how staff at dive resorts and on liveaboards cater to Americans more than other nationalities in the hopes they'll receive that financial generosity.

But the cruise director of the Jardines Aggressor took it too far when Undercurrent subscriber Gail Ling was aboard in March to dive in Cuba's Bay of Pigs. Not only was the non-diving cruise director dictatorial and uncooperative when it came to selecting dive sites, Ling wrote us, "She was at her worst when she told us at dinner that a $500 tip was expected from each of us. It was a real turnoff and totally against Aggressor policy."

The Aggressor Fleet usually puts an envelope on every passenger's bed at the end of the cruise, with the suggestion of a tip amounting to 10 percent of the total amount to split among the crew. Would you put any money in that envelope after what the cruise director said?

You Tell Us: What is your tipping policy when you're on a dive trip these days? We want to do a story on divers' tipping trends, turn-offs and total nono's when it comes to deciding where and when they decide to spend that extra money.

Please send us your comments, opinions and divetrip anecdotes so we can answer these questions:

  • • Do you tip differently in a developing country where wages average $5 per day, versus a place like Grand Cayman, where wages are $15 an hour?

  • • Do you tip a percentage of a whole package?

  • • Do you prefer tipping individuals, or joining a tip pool?

  • • On a day boat, do you tip the whole staff, just the dive guide, per tank, or some other formula?

  • • At a dive hotel, do you leave a tip for the full staff, or tip individually? If the latter, do you consider the people who clean your rooms or schlep your tanks?

  • • Do you think you should tip at all?

Give us your take via an email to and tell us your city and state.

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide

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