Home » Royal Caribbean Raises Gratuity Charges

Royal Caribbean Raises Gratuity Charges

by John the Wanderer
Sister Ships at Perfect Day at Coco Cay - Freedom of the Seas - Independence of the Seas

This article is Royal Caribbean Raises Gratuity Charges. It is about an increase to the daily gratuity charges on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships.

Sister Ships at Perfect Day at Coco Cay - Freedom of the Seas - Independence of the Seas
Sister Ships at Perfect Day at Coco Cay – Freedom of the Seas – Independence of the Seas


Cruise lines charge a daily fee for the gratuities for housekeeping and dining staff.

Guests can either prepay for the gratuities prior to the stay, or the cruise line will post a daily charge to the guests shipboard account.

The gratuities are shared among housekeeping staff and food and beverage as well as other staff onboard the ship. The crew count on these gratuities as part of their compensation for working on the ship.

The daily cost for gratuities ranges between cruise lines but it is generally between $15-$20 per person per-day which can become a significant expense for families traveling on the cruise.

Royal Caribbean Increase

Freedom of the Seas sign
Freedom of the Seas Viking Crown Lounge and Sign

On Halloween, Royal Caribbean announced that the daily charge for gratuities on all cruises beginning on November 11, 2023.

The current daily gratuity charge for guests in non-suites has been $16 per-day per-person. The rate will be increasing $2 per-day to $18 per day for non-suites.

Guests in suites are currently paying $18.50 per-day per-person for gratuities. This is increasing to $20.50 per-day per-person.

The increase is a 10% increase.

Guests can avoid paying for the increase by adding on prepaid gratuities to their cruise reservations prior to November 11.

Services Reduced

Interestingly as cruise lines continue to raise the daily gratuity cost, they have been at the same time reducing the services guests receive from housekeeping and main dining.

For example, in the past Royal Caribbean used to charge $12 per-day per person for gratuities and it provided daily housekeeping and daily turndown service in all the cabins. The housekeeping service is now reduced to one time per day and many extras such as chocolates on the bed and in some cases towel animals are no longer being provided.

In addition, guest options in Main Dining have continued to decrease which is getting more guests to go to specialty dining where additional gratuities are added to the dinner bills.

It appears that the reduction of service will continue.

Over the past couple of years the cruise lines have increased the gratuity charges several times while cutting service.

Other Cruise Lines Gratuities

To compare the daily gratuity charges on other cruise lines are as follows:

  • Carnival charges $16 per-person per-day in non suites and $18 per-person per-day in suites
  • Disney Cruise line charges between $14,50 and $15.50 per-person per-day
  • Norwegian Cruise Line charges $16 per-person per-day for non suites and between $18-$20 per-person per-day for suites

When one cruise line increases the charges, the other cruise lines generally follow along so it is likely that we will see further increases.

Cruising Soon

Sail away time on Royal Caribbean
Sail away time on Royal Caribbean

Are you cruising soon? If you have not already done so, I would recommend prepaying the gratuity to lock in the current price.

Royal Caribbean Raises Gratuity Charges…. What are your thoughts?


michael November 1, 2023 - 9:31 am

Simple solution …… Cruise lines should pay their staff correctly !!!! Cheapskates

John the Wanderer November 1, 2023 - 9:38 am

Yes I totally agree. Even Royal Caribbean’s sister brand Celebrity used to include gratuities when you paid for All In Pricing; however, they no longer are doing that.

All in is supposed to cover everything but it now leaves out a significant expense!

Babblespeak November 1, 2023 - 11:15 am

The end result when you make passengers pay more for less service such as one room cleaning per day now or like on our 9 night Royal cruise in Europe in September where we NEVER even laid eyes on our steward, is less discretionary tips. A death spiral. But I do not see it my duty to subsidize the cruise line’s poor pay practices above the bare minimum when they cut service to the bare minimum. When I talk to someone who is on their 6th contract, it’s clear they know the pay sucks, but it sucks more back home. Upping gratuities lowers my guilt even further. This only stops when the labor supply dries up.


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