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Cruise Gratuities

20 Feb 2020 | by Bea Spencer

Cruise Gratuities

Cruise gratuities are a hot topic when it comes to heading out on your holiday and sometimes it can be a little tricky to find the exact information you're looking for. To help you out, we've written this cruise ship gratuities guide which should help make things a little easier to understand. Read on and you'll find out more about:

  • Cruise lines with no cruise gratuities
  • Cruise lines with discretionary gratuities
  • Cruise lines with compulsory gratuities

What are cruise gratuities?

Cruise gratuities, otherwise known as cruise ship tips or a service charge, is the extra money you pay for the service you receive throughout your voyage which is then shared amongst the crew. On some cruise lines these are obligatory, while on others you can choose whether you want to add them on or not, as well as being able to opt for prepaid gratuities. Some cruise lines, especially luxury and river lines, take service into account within the fare so no tipping is expected, but you can if you wish.

No cruise gratuities

No gratuities are when guests won't have any tips added onto their bills or account for the duration of their cruise. In many cases, this means that the service has already been taken into account within the cruise fare. These cruise lines are:

  • Celebrity Cruises- thanks to Celebrity's Always Included program, tips are included in your cruise fare.
  • Marella- the entire Marella fleet is all-inclusive, which means that you won't find gratuities added onto your account during your cruise.
  • Azamara- taking cruising to the next level, Azamara likes to make things stress free for guests, which is why excellent service comes without gratuities.
  • P&O- this British cruise line pride themselves in offering world-class service as standard, so no gratuities will be added, although guests can choose to tip if they wish.
  • MSC Cruises- service is included in your fare so it's not recommended that guests tip crew individually.
  • Hurtigruten- gratuities are not expected on a Hurtigruten cruise, although there are tip boxes and envelopes provided for guests who want to thank the crew.
  • Luxury cruise lines- on lines such as Regent Seven Seas, SeaDream Yacht Club and Saga Ocean Cruises, the luxury experience means that impeccable service comes as standard without gratuities being expected.

It is also worth pointing out that there are often no gratuities on a river cruise as most of the ships are all inclusive, although some do recommend tipping around 10 euros a day.

Discretionary cruise gratuities

Discretionary gratuities on cruise ships are when tips are added onto the end of your bill or your onboard account for the services you receive. These are the most common kind amongst cruise lines. However, these aren't compulsory and you can remove them during your cruise, while there is also often the chance to opt for prepaid gratuities before you leave.

Cruise Line Automatic Gratuities Option for prepaid gratuities? How to adjust gratuities Bar and other facilities
Royal Caribbean $16.00 per person per day for those staying in a Junior Suite or below and $18.50 for those staying in Grand Suites or above. Yes Go to Guest Services. 18% is added automatically onto any bill.
Cunard $11.50 per person per day apart from those in Grill Class who pay $13.50. No Go to the Purser's Office. 15% is added to all bar bills and spa treatments and services.
Princess $16.50 per guest per day for suites, $15.50 for mini suites and $14.50 other staterooms. Yes Request to change them before your cruise ship departs. 18% is added to all bar and spa bills.
Holland America Line $14.50 per person per day for non-suite guests and $16.00 for suite room guests. No Request to adjust at the end of your voyage. 15% is added to all bar bills and Dining Room wine purchases.
Oceania $16.00 per day per person for stateroom guests and $23.00 for any other suites. No Speak to the help desk. 18% is added to all bar bills, spa services and dining at La Reserve.
Carnival $13.99 per person per day for standard staterooms, $15.99 for suite guests. Yes (on cruises departing from Barbados this is done automatically) Contact Guest Services. 18% added to bar bills.
Fred. Olsen Cruises £8.00 per person per day. Yes Speak to the crew at reception. No extra gratuities.
Disney Cruise Line Gratuities can vary, but it's recommended to tip between $10-$13 per person per 3 nights. Yes Go to the Guest Services Desk. 15% added to bar bills and 18% to all spa services.
Norwegian Cruise Line $14.99 per person per night in standard staterooms and $17.99 for those staying in a suite. Yes Go to the reception desk. 18% is added to bar bills, speciality dining and spa services.

Compulsory cruise gratuities

Compulsory gratuities are cruise ship tips that are added automatically and which guests must pay. While this is not very common, this is the policy for a couple of cruise lines.

Cruise Line Automatic Gratuities Bar and other facilities
Costa Cruises Depending on where you cruise and your type of room, gratuities range from $12.50 to $17.50 per person per day. These are compulsory and cannot be adjusted. 15% is added to the bill for all drinks purchases.
Pullmantur They are paid at the end of your cruise and cost $100 per person per 7 day sailing. No extra charges.

Now you've read our guide to what cruise ship gratuities are, and what the different types are you'll find depending on the cruise line, you'll be confident with tipping etiquette as soon as you step onboard.

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