When it comes to cruising Celebrity, just like with other lines, gratuity charges are a part of life. If you’ve cruised before, then you’re familiar with these charges, which can add up to hundreds of dollars on your cruise.
If you haven’t cruised — or you haven’t sailed on Celebrity — then there are a number of things you should know about the daily gratuity charges as they add up to a significant expense on your trip.
In This Article...
What are gratuities on a cruise anyway?
First and foremost, before we get to the details of the gratuity charges on Celebrity, it’s helpful to understand just what gratuities are. If you haven’t sailed before, they can be a surprise.
These charges are a pre-set amount that acts as a tip that’s paid by each passenger and then distributed to the crew. In the old days of cruising, these tips were done via cash put in envelopes and handed to the crew by passengers at the end of the trip.
Today, it’s all done automatically through your onboard account. So instead of making sure you’ve tipped everyone who has offered service during this cruise, it’s all wrapped up into one payment.
How much are gratuities on a Celebrity cruise?
As a higher-end cruise line, Celebrity charges slightly more than what’s seen by larger “mass market” lines. Still, the rate is comparable.
As of now, Celebrity charges between $17.50 to $21.00 per person, per day, depending on the room that you book:
- $17.50 USD per person, per day for Inside, Ocean View, and Veranda cabins
- $18.00 USD per person, per day for Concierge Class and AquaClass cabins
- $21.00 USD per person, per day for those staying in The Retreat.
Note that as of July 2022 those staying in Retreat or AquaClass rooms have the gratuity amount included with the cruise fare.
These rates can add up. Consider a couple traveling in a balcony (Veranda) cabin. In this case, they would each pay $17.50 per day. That comes out to the following based on the length of the cruise:
- 3 Days: $105.00
- 4 Days: $140.00
- 5 Days: $175.00
- 6 Days: $210.00
- 7 Days: $245.00
As you can see, the amount paid can be a significant added expense to your cruise.
Who has to pay gratuities on the cruise?
Some (not all) cruise lines offer a break on gratuities for young children. Celebrity does not. All passengers on the cruise — regardless of age — are charged the daily amount. So a family of four taking a cruise will see a charge for each individual, not just the adults.
How do I pay the gratuities?
When it comes to payment, you have several options.
First, you can prepay the gratuity charge when you book your cruise. It’s as simple as checking a box and having the price added on to your cruise fare. Some people prefer this way as it gets the charge out of the way. Others prefer to delay paying the gratuity charges until they are on the ship.
Second, as mentioned you can wait until you are on the ship to pay the gratuity. In that case, they will be charged to your onboard account, and paid with the payment method on file at the end of the cruise.
The third way to pay is with Celebrity’s All Included offer. With this deal, when you book your cruise you have the ability to just buy the base fare or the All Included fare, which is more expensive. But this offer includes a drink package, wi-fi, and gratuities with the price of the cruise, meaning they are taken care of instead of being an additional, separate charge.
Can I change the amount owed? What if I receive bad service?
For some people, the idea of having to pay a gratuity charge before you’ve even stepped on the ship is strange. Others worry about having to pay a charge if they actually receive poor service while on the ship (frankly, this is unlikely to happen). No matter, some people want to know if you can adjust the gratuity amount owed.
According to Celebrity’s website, “automatic daily gratuities may be adjusted at the guest’s discretion onboard at Guest Relations.”
That said, unless there is something genuinely wrong with the service on the ship, it’s generally considered poor taste to lower the gratuity amount. While some may not agree with the charge, it still goes to help compensate the crew.
What staff/crew is covered by the gratuities?
While a detailed breakdown of how the money paid is divided among crew isn’t available, Celebrity says the following regarding the charge:
“Gratuities for stateroom and restaurant services are shared by dining, bar and culinary services staff, stateroom attendants, and other hotel services teams.”
So it will cover most spots around the ship, but not all.
Does Celebrity’s gratuity charge cover everyone on the ship? Are there other places to pay a tip?
In general, the gratuity charge covers most places on the ship such as in the dining rooms and your cabin steward. However, there are some places on the ship where you will see an additional tip charge. This is usually anywhere you pay extra for a service like a bar or the spa.
Celebrity charges and 18% additional gratuity on spa and salon purchases. As well, specialty dining sees an 18% rate as well.
Bar services — like the beverage package — see a 20% gratuity rate on purchases.
Is there anything else to know about Celebrity’s gratuities?
Earlier, the All Included rate was mentioned for trips aboard Celebrity. With this rate, you pay a higher cruise fare, but a drink package, wi-fi, and the gratuity is included in the fare.
For some passengers, this rate will make a lot of sense but you’ll want to do the math. You’ll want to compare the extra amount you’ll pay for the All Included fare, but then back out the cost of the items included, such as the gratuities.
For example, if the base rate for a 7-day cruise is $1,000 per person, and the All Included rate is $1,300, then you can back out $122.50 for gratuities from the $300 difference, meaning you’re paying $177.50 for a drink package and wi-fi.
More on Sailing Celebrity:
- Worth It? Celebrity Cruises Drink Packages Explained (Prices, What Is Included, and More)
- Celebrity’s Always Included Offer: How It Works & What to Know