Current Complete List of Cruise Line Gratuity Increases

When it comes to cruising, tipping is one of the most discussed aspects for both first-time passengers and veteran cruisers alike.

If you think about it, there’s good reason why so many people talk about cruise gratuities. First, the costs are not something that’s included in the advertised cruise fare, but everyone pays. Many people — especially first-time cruisers — see the gratuities as a “hidden” fee.

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But more than that, there’s no arguing that cruise tipping can add up to a considerable chunk of money. These days it’s not unusual to find automatic daily gratuity costing about $14 per person, per day. A couple on a week-long cruise will end up spending about $200 in tips alone by the end of their trip.

And one trend we’ve seen in the past few years is that the gratuity amounts have been on the rise. Of six major cruise lines we checked (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Norwegian, Disney, and Celebrity), all but one have announced increases in gratuity amounts within the past two years.

To keep passengers up to date on the latest increases, we’ve detailed the most recent announcements on gratuities from each major cruise line. This should give you an idea of what you’ll be paying compared to the historic daily gratuity amounts.

Carnival Gratuity Increases

Carnival ship whale tail

Carnival recently announced instances of increased gratuities in two different areas.

First, as of December 1, 2018, the cruise line increased its daily automatic gratuity from $12.95 per person, per day to $13.99 per person per day for guests staying in interior, oceanview or balcony rooms. This is an 8.0% increase. Those in suites saw an increase of from $13.95 to $15.99. This is a 14.6% increase.

Carnival previously raised gratuities on September 1, 2016 when rates rose from $12.00 per person, per day.

In addition to the standard daily tip amount, Carnival also increased the standard gratuity on beverages from 15% to 18% in December 2018. This amount is automatically included in the price of a drink on the ship.

Date of Last Increase: December 2018
Current Amount (Non-Suite|Suite): $13.99 | $15.99 per person, per day
Amount of Last Increase (Non-Suite|Suite): $1.04 | $2.04 per person, per day

Holland America Gratuity Increases

As of December 1, 2018, Holland America increased the amount of their daily tip charge by $1. The rate increased from $13.50 to $14.50 per person (7.4% increase), per day for those guests staying in non-suite rooms. Guests staying in suites saw an increase from $15.00 to $16.00 (6.7% increase).

Before this hike in gratuities, the cruise line previously increased rates in May 2017. At that time it bumped tips from $12.50 to $13.50 per day for those staying in balcony cabins or below. Rates for suites rose from $13.50 to $15.00

Date of Last Increase: December 2018
Current Amount (Non-Suite|Suite): $14.50 | $16.00 per person, per day
Amount of Last Increase (Non-Suite|Suite): $1.00 | $1.00 per person, per day

Norwegian Cruise Lines Service Charge Increases

Norwegian last increased service charges (gratuities) in April 2019, after also increasing them in April 2018. As the cruise line with some of the most complex tipping policies, it can be tough to keep track of all the different prices. Here are the recent increases:

Rates from April 2018 to April 2019:

  • Non-suite cabins: Increased from $13.99 to $14.50 per person, per day (3.6% increase)
  • Haven/suite cabins: Increased from $16.99 to $17.50 per person, per day (3.0% increase)
  • Norwegian Sky/Sun non-suite cabins: Increased from $18.99 to $19.99 (5.3% increase)
  • Norwegian Sky/Sun suite cabins: Increased from $21.99 to $22.99 (4.5% increase)

Rates from April 2019 Onward:

  • Non-suite cabins: Increased from $14.50 to $15.00 per person, per day (3.5% increase)
  • Haven/suite cabins: Increased from $17.50 to $18.00 per person, per day (2.9% increase)
  • Norwegian Sky/Sun non-suite cabins: Increased from $19.99 to $20.50 (2.5% increase)
  • Norwegian Sky/Sun suite cabins: Increased from $22.99 to $23.50 (2.2% increase)

In addition, Norwegian bumped up the service charge amount on drinks from 18% to 20% in December 2017.

Date of Last Increase: April 2019
Current Amount (Non-Suite|Suite): $15.00 | $18.00 per person, per day
Amount of Last Increase (Non-Suite|Suite): $0.50 | $0.50 per person, per day

Royal Caribbean Gratuity Increases

Liberty of the Seas in Cozumel

Royal Caribbean last increased their daily tip amounts in early 2018. In January of that year, the cruise line bumped up the per person daily amount from $13.50 to $14.50 (a 7.4% increase) for guests in non-suite cabins.

For those staying in suite-level cabins, the gratuity raised from $16.50 per day to $17.50 per day (a 6.1% increase).

According to our research, the cruise line previously raised tip amounts in May 2016, when rates increased from $12.95 per day to $13.50 for non-suites and from $15.95 to $16.50 for suites.

Date of Last Increase: January 2018
Current Amount (Non-Suite|Suite): $14.50 | $17.50 per person, per day
Amount of Last Increase (Non-Suite|Suite): $1.00 | $1.00 per person, per day

Celebrity Cruises Gratuity Increases

Given that Celebrity Cruises falls under the Royal Caribbean umbrella, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the cruise lines announced increases around the same time. Beginning in January 2018 the cruise line bumped up the automatic gratuity from $13.50 to $14.50 per passenger each day (a 7.4% rise), for most cabins. Those staying in Concierge or AquaClass rooms saw increases from $14.00 to $15.00 (7.1% increase) and passengers with suites saw a bump from $17.00 to $18.00 (5.9% increase).

Date of Last Increase: January 2018
Current Amount (Non-Suite|Suite): $14.50 | $18.00 per person, per day
Amount of Last Increase (Non-Suite|Suite): $1.00 | $1.00 per person, per day

Disney Cruise Line Gratuity Increases

Until 2019, passengers on Disney paid $12 per person, per day, with no difference based on which type of cabin you select. We had seen no increase from Disney in this amount in the past few years.

However, in early 2019 the cruise line bumped up gratuities by $1.50 per person, per day. The new rate is now $13.50 per person each day of your cruise. That’s an increase of 12.5%, marking a substantial bump. Given that Disney had not raised the rate for several years, the total amount paid is reasonable compared to other cruise lines.

Date of Last Increase: January 2019
Current Amount: $13.50 per person, per day
Amount of Last Increase: $1.50 per person, per day

Princess Cruises Gratuity Increases

Princess cruise ship logo

Princess Cruises is owned by the Carnival Corporation, however, they have been slower in recent years in increasing onboard gratuities. Before the most recent increase in May 2019, the last increase occurred in December 2016.

Rates from December 2016 to May 2019:

  • Non-suite cabins: Increased from $12.95 to $13.50 per person, per day (4.2% increase)
  • Mini-suite cabins: Increased from $12.95 to $14.50 per person, per day (12.0% increase)
  • Suite cabins: Increased from $13.95 to $15.50 per person, per day (11.1% increase)

Rates from May 2019 Onward:

  • Non-suite cabins: Increased from $13.50 to $14.50 per person, per day (7.4% increase)
  • Mini-suite cabins: Increased from $14.50 to $15.50 per person, per day (6.9% increase)
  • Suite cabins: Increased from $15.50 to $16.50 per person, per day (6.5% increase)

Date of Last Increase: May 2019
Current Amount (Non-Suite|Suite): $14.50 | $16.50 per person, per day
Amount of Last Increase (Non-Suite|Suite): $1.00 per person, per day

Need help in seeing exactly how much you’ll pay in service charges during your entire cruise? We’ve put together a cruise line gratuity calculator that shows exactly how much you can expect to pay for major cruise lines.

Current Complete List of Cruise Line Gratuity Increases

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