After four years, Royal Caribbean is increasing the gratuity rate cruise ship passengers will pay for the service they receive from crew members onboard its ships.
Each passenger pays a daily gratuity that covers the services of the crew members they interact with the most, and this daily rate is charged automatically unless the guest pre-pays it prior to the cruise.
As of September 7, 2022, the automatic daily gratuity charge will increase:
- Standard cabin (Junior Suites and below) going from $14.50 to $16.00 per day, per person
- Suite gratuity rate will change from $17.50 to $18.50 per day per person
Royal Caribbean last raised gratuities January 2, 2018.
The daily gratuities are shared among dining, bar & culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes.
Royal Caribbean stipulates in the unlikely event that a guest onboard being charged the daily automatic gratuity does not receive satisfactory service, the guest may request to modify the daily amount at their discretion by visiting Guest Services onboard up until the morning of their departure.
For new reservations, the adjusted gratuity amounts are effective as of September 7, 2022.
Guests who booked prior to September 7, 2022 can opt to prepay gratuities prior to sailing to take advantage of the current rates. On or after September 7, 2022, regardless of when the booking was created, gratuities paid while onboard are subject to the new, increased rates.
Pre-existing bookings confirmed prior to September 7th , 2022 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.
This automatic gratuity does not cover other onboard purchases. A 18% gratuity is automatically added to all beverages, mini bar items, and spa & salon purchases.
Other cruise lines already made similar changes
Other major cruise lines already increased their gratuities this year.
In April 2022, Carnival Cruise Line raised their gratuities to $14.50 per person, per day for standard staterooms and $16.50 per person, per day for suites.
Norwegian Cruise Line also raised their gratuities in April, when they changed their rates:
- 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
In July, Disney Cruise Line increased their gratuities to $14.50 per night, per person for standard rooms and $15.50 per night, per person for suite guests.
How gratuities work on a cruise
If you do absolutely nothing, then you can expect an automatic charge on your SeaPass account each day of the cruise.
The exception is in certain markets where tipping is not as ingrained as part of their culture, so Royal Caribbean includes daily gratuities as part of the price of the cruise. This occurs in the Australian cruise market.
Each guest, regardless of age, will be assessed the daily gratuity as recognition for the hard work crew members do each day.
An alternative is to pre-pay the gratuity before the cruise begins. When this opted into by the guest, then you'll pay the full gratuity amount before the cruise begins at final payment date. It will show up as a line item on your final payment.
Pre-paid gratuities can be added to an individual reservation at any time outside of 48 hours of the sail date.
Guests that booked directly with Royal Caribbean can pre-pay gratuities by calling 866-562-7625 or logging into www.royalcaribbean.com before their sailing.
Guests that booked through a travel agent can request their agent add pre-paid gratuities to the guests' booking prior to sailing.