2 Major Cruise Lines Increasing Their Daily Gratuity Rates

by SharonKurheg

For better or for worse, the United States has had a tipping culture for eons. Therefore it’s expected that some workers in the U.S., usually those who provide a service – bartenders, restaurant servers, hairdressers, housekeepers, drivers, etc., – receive a tip. In fact, some of those workers are paid a lesser amount than their non-tipped brethren, with the understanding that their tips will make up the difference.

For whatever their reasons, some people don’t believe in our tipping culture, or think that X percent is “too much,” and either under tip, or don’t tip at all. Still others are simply unsure of how much to tip (here is an excellent tipping guide for dozens of workers. It’s international, so it includes the U.S., as well as about 80 other countries).

However when you’re on a cruise ship, it’s a given that you will tip the vast majority of the workers. In fact, cruise lines nowadays automatically add gratuities to your onboard account. This ensures ship workers are tipped fairly, but also takes the questioning out of “how much” to tip these people who have been known to work from 8 to 20 hours per day, 7 days a week, for the duration of their contracts (which can last from about 2 to 11 months).

Each ship has a set amount of how much each person will be required to pay in gratuities each day. It varies by cruise line but generally averages from about $15 to $20 per adult per day, with additional required for people staying in suites (note: some cruise lines charge a lesser amount for children, some don’t).

If you enjoy cruising, get ready to dig a little deeper because two major cruise lines have recently announced they are increasing the rate of their daily gratuities in 2023.

Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Travelers booked in Haven and Suite rooms currently pay $20. That will increase to $25 daily per person, per day.
  • Club Balcony suite and all other passengers will be charged $20 daily per person. That will be a $2 increase for Club Balcony guests and a $4 increase for guests staying in all other cabin categories.

Those prices will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

Princess Cruises

  • The daily “crew appreciation” fee is currently $14.50. That price will increase to $16 per person, per day, for interior, ocean view and balcony staterooms.
  • Travelers in mini-suite and Club Class staterooms will be charged $17 per guest (currently $15.50) and travelers in all other suites will be charged $18 per day, an increase from $16.50.
  • Although not a gratuity, Princess is also planning on increasing what it charges for internet, by a whopping 50% – it’s currently $9.99 per day, but is increasing to $15 per day (although you can keep the same old rate if you have 4 devises – that will cost $40 per day)

These prices will go into effect in February, 2023

How to get out of paying a gratuity on a cruise

Technically, you don’t HAVE to use the cruise line’s “auto tip” feature. You have the right to refuse the automatic gratuity charge and can compensate the cruise staff on your own terms. However, you’ll need to notify the front desk of this ahead of time. Otherwise automatic gratuities will appear on your bill when your cruise ends and it’ll be charged to your credit card on file.

Another way to not worry about tipping on your cruise is to go on a Virgin Voyages cruise. Tips are already included in the price you pay, so no extra tipping is required (although some people do tip select people, if they feel particularly generous, especially when a crew member has gone “above and beyond.” But that’s 100% optional).

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Babblespeak December 12, 2022 - 12:35 pm

I’m paying more than $500 on my next cruise in room and drink package gratuities. As they claw more out of me, I hand out less on my own, and soon will be having them removed at guest services before I disembark. It’s not my mission in life to subsidize these crew members for the decisions they made. They knew the pay was bad on their last contract. They came back. The cruise lines know they pay poorly and try to guilt-shift it to the passengers. There are limits, and $500 is pretty much mine.

patrick December 12, 2022 - 1:00 pm

So the $500 is ALL going towards tipping? Or is part of that you drink package cost? and suppose you feel that way about wait staff at bars and restaurants? “They knew the pay was bad…”

Mike December 14, 2022 - 4:20 pm

On the last couple cruises we have been on anything you get from the bar comes with at least an 18% auto grat added on. With the prices that are charged on board it doesn’t take long to have a hefty tipping bill for the whole trup.

SteveC December 12, 2022 - 3:11 pm

I find if I prepay the gratuity fees when booking (or close to the booking), I can lock in the tips at the current rate. I’ve had several cruises going across multiple years where I’d be hit with increases otherwise. I’ll still tip extra to someone doing something exceptional for me.

StAugustine December 13, 2022 - 12:17 pm

So NCL and Princess gave their people raises that the passengers paid for. But cruise ship workers do work hard. In addition to the prepaid tips, I’ve given our cabin steward an extra tip. Those stewards are always there, even at 5 AM.


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