Royal Caribbean Is Raising Onboard Gratuities Next Month — Here’s Why

Royal Caribbean Ship

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Royal Caribbean is increasing its automatic daily gratuities by more than 10% next month for passengers in staterooms.

Starting Sept. 7, Royal Caribbean will charge guests in non-suite staterooms $16 per person, per day, according to the company. That is more than the current charge of $14.50 per person, per day that is automatically added to a passenger’s SeaPass account. 

Guests in suites will also see a more than 5% increase from $17.50 per day to $18.50 per day.

“The gratuity applies to individual guests of all ages and stateroom categories,” Royal Caribbean wrote in its guidance. “As a way to reward our crew members for their outstanding service, 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.”

The cruise line said the gratuity is “based on customary industry standards,” but passengers may always request to modify the amount. An additional 18% gratuity is also automatically added to all beverages, mini bar items, as well as spa and salon purchases.

The new tip structure exceeds some other major cruise lines. Carnival Cruise Line, for example, charges less, recommending $14.50 per person for standard staterooms and $16.50 for suites, according to the company. Holland America recommends $15.50 for those in standard staterooms and $17.00 for those in suites, and Celebrity Cruises adds $15.50 per person for passengers in standard staterooms, $16.00 per person for passengers in Concierge Class and AquaClass staterooms, and $19.00 per person for passengers in The Retreat.

Norwegian Cruise Line, however, charges a bit more for bookings made on or after April 1 with $16.00 per person added for passengers in its staterooms, $18.00 per person for passengers in its Club Balcony Suites, and $20.00 per person for passengers in The Haven and Suites.

Other luxury lines, like Regent Seven Seas Cruises, include onboard gratuities in the cost of the cruise fare.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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