A series of several major cruise lines have recently made the decision to increase their gratuities fees over the past few months, making cruises even more expensive for travelers. The cruise industry in particular suffered greatly throughout the pandemic, with the CDC all but making it impossible for cruises to take place in the United States. Just when passengers are starting to board cruise ships once more – and more travelers are permitted to sail again – they are now about to be hit where it hurts the most – in their wallets.
Coming at a time when many are tightening their belts when it comes to travel in light of rising airfare fees and hotel costs, the recent gratuity rises could half the significant progress that the cruise industry has made towards getting back on track following the pandemic. Here’s a look at which of the industry’s biggest names have made gratuity increases, and how much extra will pay on cruises.
Royal Caribbean Raises Gratuity – Information For Travelers
Travelers booked onto Royal Caribbean cruises set to depart in a few weeks’ time should brace themselves for a sizable increase in the cost of their sailings. Effective as of September 7th, travelers in most cabins will face a 10% increase in their automatic gratuity charge, with the cost rising to $16 per person per day. The charge is even more for those fortunate enough to be staying in a suite, who will need to pay $18.50 per person per day. This is up from the present costs of $14.50 and $17.50 for cabins and suites respectively.
The rise in gratuity charges is the cruise line’s first since January 2018. Royal Caribbean also has an 18% gratuity charge automatically added to all beverages, mini bar items, and spa and salon purchases on board. According to the cruise line, gratuities are “shared among dining, bar & culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes to enhance the cruise experience.”
Other Recent Gratuity Raises – Information For Travelers
Carnival Cruise Line also recently made significant changes to its gratuity charges that have saddles guests with rising costs. From May 1st, the gratuity in standard staterooms rose to $14.50 per guest per day from the previous rate of $13.99, whilst the gratuity in suite rooms rose to $16.50 per guest per day. The cruise line also raised the prices of its drink packages, WiFi packages and specialty dining options. Speaking about the rise, Carnival said:
“Our shipboard team members work hard to provide exceptional and friendly service, so we hope you will agree that this slight increase is well deserved.”
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) are another major cruise company that increased its gratuity charges this year. From April 1st, NCL raised the per person per day gratuity in the following ways:
- $20.00 USD per person per day for The Haven and Suites, up from $18.50
- $16.00 USD per person per day for all other stateroom types, up from $15.50
In the event of a situation where guests are not happy with the service they receive, they can alter the amount of gratuity they pay and can also be refunded.
Disney Cruise Line is another big name in the cruise industry that has also made changes to its gratuity policies. The increase was around $1 per day per guest, which saw the gratuity in most staterooms rise to $14.50 and $15.50 for concierge staterooms and suites. The cruise line’s website states gratuities are given in “recognition of exceptional service,” which it claims guests will “receive in abundance aboard the ship.”
However, it’s not all bad news for cruise fans. Whilst cruises may be becoming more expensive, they’re also becoming more open to all passengers, with several changes to testing and vaccination policies being made over the past few weeks as the travel industry slowly sails towards normality once more.
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com