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Royal Caribbean Hikes Daily Gratuities By 12.5%

In an email sent to booked guests today, Royal Caribbean revealed that they’ll be increasing the daily gratuity charges on sailings starting 11/11. See how much the new rate is and how to lock in the cheaper rate.

What are daily gratuities?

Daily gratuities are the tips paid to service staff members during the cruise. Royal Caribbean describes it as, “As a way to reward our crew members for their outstanding service, gratuities are shared among dining, bar & culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes to enhance the cruise experience.” That means it goes to your room steward, the person bussing the tables in the Windjammer buffet, the person cleaning all the railings and surfaces throughout the ship, etc. 

Royal Caribbean increasing daily gratuities increasing by 11 – 12.5%

Starting on November 11, the daily gratuity rate will increase as follows:

Current PriceNew PriceIncrease
Non-suite Staterooms $16$1812.5%
Suite staterooms$18.50$20.5011%

This increase does not come with an increase in service. In fact, Royal Caribbean is still offering the reduced once-a-day stateroom service that they enacted in February 2023 even at the newer rate.

Prepay your gratuities to lock in current rates

Guests who have booked sailings after November 11 can choose to prepay their gratuities to lock in the current rates. Guests who want to prepay the gratuities should contact their travel advisor or Royal Caribbean if booked directly through them. 

Royal Caribbean’s last increase was September 2022

Royal Caribbean last increased their daily gratuities in September 2022, when they raised the gratuities for standard cabins from $14.50 to $16.00 per person per day–a 10% increase. That means a guest sailing in 2024 will be paying 28% more than they were in January 2022. 

Our Take: Royal Caribbean is really pushing the limits here

This news leaves a sour taste in our mouth after a 3rd quarter-earning call where leadership boasted about record sales and the highest-level onboard spending ever. Over the past year, Royal Caribbean’s prices have increased dramatically, and it’s making cruising the line more and more expensive. And while it’s a relatively modest increase, $56 per cabin for a family of 4 on a seven-day sailing, the frequency of the increases is problematic. 

2023 cruise line gratuities

These fees are increased so frequently because they’re hidden, and the cruise lines think they can get away with it. They’re not shown in the upfront cruise price and aren’t required to be shown on promotional pricing. For resorts and hotels, the Federal Government has enacted legislation to get rid of fees like these (“resort fees” in that case), and hopefully, they will soon target the cruise lines. While there is no doubt that the hard-working crew onboard deserves to be paid a good wage, it should be built into the cruise price and not some hidden fee charged to guests. 

royal caribbean gratuity email

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Randy Young

Randy Young is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cruise Spotlight. He has been in marketing for 19 years and has been cruising for just as long. Over the years, he's worked with products like TVs, copiers, light bulbs, and EV chargers, but cruising has always been his passion. There's nothing Randy likes more than the first couple of hours on a ship, exploring every nook and cranny and seeing how it's different from everything else out there. He's known for providing detailed and analytical coverage of cruising to help cruisers get a comprehensive picture of a ship's offerings.