Royal Caribbean gratuity charge rising

Your next Royal Caribbean voyage just got a little more expensive with the line announcing a sharp rise in automatic gratuities charged to cruisers.

Royal Caribbean collect gratuities on behalf of dining, stateroom and housekeeping staff and from 1 June 2015 the charge per person will rise by almost a dollar (US$0.95) to US$12.95 a day ($15.95 for suites). A family of 5 would now face a gratuities bill at the end of their 7-day cruise in excess of US$453.

Royal Caribbean says the new gratuity amount, “will help recognize the exceptional work that Royal Caribbean’s staff and crew does to deliver unforgettable vacations every day.”

The Royal Caribbean gratuity charge is not the only one on the rise. Earlier this year Norwegian Cruise Line also increased their automatic gratuity charges.

Cruisers should remember that these gratuity charges are not set in stone. They are suggested amounts and can be varied. If you’re not happy paying US$12.95 per person per day in gratuities then simply inform Guest Services during your cruise. According to Royal Caribbean’s gratuities policy ‘guest(s) may request to modify the daily amount at their discretion’.

The gratuities issue is a timely reminder for cruises to be sure about what is, and isn’t including in their cruise fare. Generally, if the ticket price looks cheap you should expect to pay extra fees and for things like gratuities, alcoholic beverages and (in some cases) certain meals.

Increasingly cruise lines are offering all-inclusive fares, meaning the price on the ticket is the price you pay – no gratuities, no nasty surprises. Among the cruise lines offering all-inclusive fares are Seabourn, Silversea and Regent Seven Seas.

If you’re unsure about what might be included in your cruise fare CruiseOyster recommend you ask your travel consultant or the cruise line directly.

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