Royal Caribbean will be raising its automatic daily gratuity amount that guests pay night of their cruise beginning on January 2, 2018.
Beginning January 2, 2018, guests will pay a $14.50 per guest per day service charge to each guest's SeaPass account on a daily basis. For guests in a Grand Suite or above, the amount is $17.50.
Prior to this change, the daily gratuity amount was $13.50 and $16.50. Royal Caribbean last increased their daily gratuity amount in May 2016.
If you have already prepaid your gratuities, you will be grandfathered into the current rates. Should guests opt not to pay gratuities until onboard, they will be subject to the newly suggested gratuity amounts.
Guests currently booked that have not yet prepaid their gratuities will have until the time of sailing to do so at the old rate. After January 2nd, 2018, gratuities paid while onboard are subject to the new, increased rates. If not prepaid prior to sailing, the new gratuity rate will be automatically applied to your account onboard.
The change has already appeared on Royal Caribbean's UK and Japan sites.
Note: we used Google Translate to translate the Japanese site.
December 26 UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has confirmed the change in gratuity. Royal Caribbean described the increase as, "Royal Caribbean is constantly reviewing our competitive environment and this adjustment positions us in-line with our competitors. The additional gratuity collected will be disbursed to our onboard crew".
After January 2nd, 2018, regardless of when the booking was created, gratuities paid while onboard are subject to the new, increased rates. Pre-existing bookings confirmed prior to January 2nd, 2018 will not be subject to the increased guidelines as long as gratuities are paid in advance of sailing.
Should guests opt not to pay gratuities until onboard, they will be subject to the newly suggested gratuity amounts.