Royal Caribbean raises tips
Onboard gratuities — daily gratuities per person to your room attendant, main dining room waiters, and other onboard staff — can be paid before your cruise or added to your daily bill each day of your trip.
These gratuities are in addition to the 18% added to a la carte drinks, spa and salon purchases on board.
Paying in advance not only saves you costs, you also get a lower rate if Royal Caribbean increases the gratuities before your cruise.
An important tip: If you have a significant amount of credit on board, it may make sense to choose not to prepay.
Cruise passengers can get credit on board in several ways. Some get it when the price of their cruise drops after their final payment was made (you have to ask about this, so be vigilant) and others get it as a thank you from their travel agent.
If you have credit and don’t plan on buying a lot on board, it makes sense to use this to pay for your tips.
Royal Caribbean sent an email to passengers about upcoming sailings on Aug. 23, stating that the gratuities were going up.
As you prepare to set sail, we would like to give you an update on our daily gratuities. Effective September 7, 2022, the automatic daily gratuity will increase from $14.50 to $16 per guest, per day for non-suite staterooms and from $17.50 to $18.50 per guest, per day for suites. The daily gratuity is shared by the restaurant, bar and culinary staff, cabin crew and other hotel service teams.
The cruise line did note that passengers can avoid the raises.
“If you would like to prepay your tips at the current rate before you leave, we are happy to offer you this option,” said RCL. “If you prefer to pay on board, your tip will be charged to your on board account at the new rate.”
Carnival and Norwegian tips already increased
Both Carnival and Norwegian increased tips earlier this summer.
Carnival changed fares in May:
Standard staterooms: $14.50, per person, per day (from $13.99)
Suites: $16.50, per person, per day (an increase of $15.99)
Norwegian increased tips in April, Cruzely reported.
$20 per person, per day for The Haven and Suites (previously $18.50)
$18 per person, per day for Club Balcony Suites (no change)
$16 per person, per day for all other cabins. (previously $15.50)
Many passengers on all three cruise lines also choose to tip directly to crew members who provide excellent service. This could be your room attendant, waiters, bartenders and all crew members whose efforts go beyond that.
Extra gratuities are optional, of course, but crew members generally work very long hours, which have been made longer due to staff shortages related to the pandemic.