(7:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) — Recent increases in gratuities were implemented by both Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line, respectively. It remains to be seen whether or not other cruise lines will follow suit.
The cruise lines are dealing with the consequences of higher fuel prices, the costs of COVID-19 tests (for crew and some passengers), shipping delays for supplies caused by both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, and other issues that can cause cash flow to be disrupted and cause cash flow to be disrupted.
None of these factors are stated by the cruise companies as a justification for the higher gratuities.
According to a statement from Norwegian Cruise Line, the company is devoted to providing excellent passenger experiences at every stage of the cruise voyage. “Thanks to the devotion of our onboard personnel, we are able to bring your holiday ideas into reality,” the cruise line added. We make it simple for visitors to express their gratitude to these holiday heroes by implementing discretionary daily services charges, which fund gratuities for important onboard team members, including as room stewards, restaurant waiters, and behind-the-scenes support personnel.
According to a statement from Carnival, “Carnival shipboard crew members work very hard to deliver outstanding service, and we think our passengers will agree that this minor rise is well-deserved.”
New Increased Gratuity Amounts for Carnival and Norwegian Norwegian Cruise Line, effective April 1, increased its per person daily onboard service charge for standard cabins by 50 cents to $16 for those in standard cabins and by $1.50 to $20 for those in The Haven and other suites (Club Balcony Suites remain at $18) for those in standard cabins and for those in The Haven and other suites. Norwegian’s gratuities are applicable to children aged 3 and above.
It was April 2020, one month after the COVID-19 epidemic started, when Norwegian raised its service fees for the first time in years. Previously, the line had announced that it will be increasing gratuities in 2019.
As of May 1, 2022, the gratuity policy for Carnival Cruise Line will be $14.50 per person, per day for cabins and $16.50 per person, per day for suites, with the exception of suites. It is possible to avoid the rise by prepaying your gratuities in advance for a forthcoming cruise. The increase is 51 cents per person for both classes of accommodation. Carnival raised gratuities for the first time in 2018 and the second time in 2019.
In both circumstances, as is now normal practice with cruise companies, gratuities may be pre-paid — a practice that many cruisers prefer since it allows them to pay for their holiday expenses up front. Early payment, on the other hand, does not result in a savings.
If you do not prepay, the gratuities will be automatically deducted from your daily shipboard account balance. You have the ability to raise or decrease them at your choice.
Several cruise lines are on a watch list for increased gratuities.
It is Royal Caribbean International that is most likely to be the next cruise company to increase gratuities in the wake of Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Royal Caribbean International has not revised its gratuities since 2018. There’s also the historical truth that when one line begins to see this kind of rise, other lines are more likely to follow.
For Royal’s gratuities, the current rate is $14.50 per person, per day, for rooms up to and including the Junior Suites category, and $17.50 for suites beginning with the Grand Suite category and above.
MSC Cruises is another cruise service worth keeping an eye on for any potential price rises. Customers and travel agencies were informed in 2019 of a policy that would make the automatic daily service charge obligatory, with no room for exceptions. No adjustments were permitted. There was a clamor for change, and the line eventually altered its mind.
In the Caribbean, MSC’s service price has maintained at $14 per passenger, per day for those aged 12 and up, and $7 for those aged 2 and up, according to the company (with no charge for under age 2). In the Mediterranean, it costs 10 euros (about $10.88) for those above the age of 12 and 5 euros (about $5.44) for those under the age of 12.
On its website, MSC states that the Hotel Service Charge “serves to guarantee that we continue to provide the highest quality levels of service to our customers.”
Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, both Carnival-affiliated lines, significantly raised gratuities for passengers in 2019.
Princess presently costs $14.50 per person for ordinary lodgings, $15.50 per person for mini-suites and Club Class, and $16.50 per person for suite accommodations.
A daily sum for each passenger will be immediately credited to your onboard account for your convenience, according to the cruise line’s website, in recognition of the work of a diverse group of crewmembers who contribute to the overall experience for all our guests.” Many of the crew members who are eligible to receive these monies work in a variety of areas throughout our fleet of ships, with many of them rotating between different ships on a regular basis.
Gratuities on Holland America Line are now $15.50 per person, per day for non-suite rooms and $17 per person, per day for luxury accommodations.