MIAMI — The 2018 cruise season will be a bit more costly for passengers, with another major cruise line set to increase its automatic gratuities.
On Jan. 2, Royal Caribbean will be hiking its gratuities for the third time in three years.
According to its website, the daily gratuity amount – the recommended amount passengers pay in service fees per person, per day – will increase by $1.00 per guest. Gratuities will go up from the current US$13.50 to $14.50, a 7% hike, and from $14.50 to $17.50 for guests in suites. This amounts to about $203 per couple on a seven-day cruise, reports the Miami Herald.
The Herald also reports that sister line Celebrity Cruise Lines will also implement a 7% increase, to $14.50 for standard cabins. Passengers in Concierge Class and AquaClass will see an increase to $15, while those booked in suites will now pay $18.
Guests who book before Jan. 2, 2018 can pre-pay gratuities before their sailing at the current rate. Those who choose to pay gratuities onboard, regardless of when they book, will be subject to the new rates for sailings departing on or after Jan. 2.
Royal Caribbean says that the automatic gratuity is a way to “reward our crew members for their outstanding service”, and that it’s shared among dining, bar and culinary staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams. It goes on to say that the daily gratuity is based on customary industry standards.
The move follows similar increases made by other cruise lines earlier this year. On May 1, 2017, Holland America Line announced that it will start charging an additional dollar per person, per day, for service charges on standard cabin bookings, and an additional $1.50 per person, per day, to those in suites. Earlier this month, Norwegian Cruise Lines also announced a gratuity hike on its drinks and specialty dining packages.