Two major cruise lines have raised their daily gratuities this year, which could be an indicator of what Royal Caribbean may do as well.
CruiseRadio reported Carnival Cruise Line will raise its gratuity beginning on sailings that depart May 1, 2022.
The new gratuity rate for Carnival will be as follows:
- Standard staterooms will pay $14.50 per person, per day
- Suites will pay $16.50 per person, per day
Carnival will allow anyone with a cruise booked right now to lock in the old gratuity rate if they prepay gratuities before May 1, 2022. Cruises booked after May 1 will be subject to the new rate.
According to Carnival, 100% of gratuities are distributed to the crew members, such as stateroom attendants, dining and culinary services staff, as well as others who work behind the scenes.
Carnival's change comes just weeks after Norwegian Cruise Line announced they would increase the daily gratuities.
As of April 1st, NCL increased their gratuity amount as follows:
- Balcony and lower cabins: $16.00 per person, per day
- Haven and Suite guests: $20.00 per person, per day
- Club Balcony Suite guests remains at $18.00 per person, per day
NCL says their gratuities compensate crew members in tandem with a salary for crew members such as complimentary restaurant staff, stateroom stewards and behind-the-scenes support staff.
Will Royal Caribbean do the same?
With two of Royal Caribbean's biggest competitors changing the daily gratuity amounts, Royal Caribbean cruisers may be wondering if a change is coming soon for them as well.
Royal Caribbean hasn't touched their gratuity rate since the end of 2017, when they announced a change to the gratuity to begin in 2018.
The current gratuity for Royal Caribbean is: $14.50 per guest per day in non-suites. For guests in a Grand Suite or above, the amount is $17.50.
Just like the other cruise lines, the daily gratuity is shared among dining, bar & culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes.
Read more: Should you prepay gratuities for a Royal Caribbean cruise?
Royal Caribbean has not announced or said anything about changing the gratuity rates, but it's not unusual from a historical perspective for cruise lines to match each other with changes like this.
When Royal Caribbean announced a change in gratuity in 2017, they mentioned keeping up with other cruise lines, "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".
The good news is Royal Caribbean has in the past done exactly what Carnival is doing now, by offering passengers booked with an existing reservation to lock in the old rate if they pre-pay before the new rate goes into effect.