It’s no secret that many cruise ship passengers aren’t fans of automatic gratuity charges that they have to pay at the end of the cruise. For some cruise lines like Norwegian and Carnival, it’s pretty hefty at $23 per person, per day. However, there are some pros and cons of automatic gratuity charges. Whether you like it or you don’t, here’s what you should know about automatic gratuity on a cruise ship.
Cruise lines state that they add gratuity to their passenger’s bills so that passengers don’t have to deal with trying to figure out how much to tip each staff member. When you think about all of the individuals that you come across on a cruise that you might have to tip; wait staff and stewards just to name a few, that’s a lot of people that you have to tip each day! Something else to consider is that the money is also shared with some of the crew members that are behind the scenes. While you may not directly interact with them, they are still responsible for making your cruise experience unforgettable and deserve to be tipped for it
Critics of automatic gratuities feel that it doesn’t allow passengers to tip based on whether or not they received good service. While in some instances it can be adjusted or removed if they passenger has a legitimate issue, this isn’t a guarantee. For many people, tipping is something personal to them. They feel that automatic gratuities are just a way for cruise ships to pay their crew members less and the gratuities to supplement it. In fact, on some cruise lines, about 95% of salaries for certain crew members come from those added gratuity fees that you have to pay.
What You Can Do About These Fees
If you aren’t a fan of automatic gratuities then there’s a way around it. Some companies are doing away with them. Tauck, Uniworld and Scenic Cruises include gratuities in their base fares. So while you will still technically be paying for gratuities, it won’t seem like it as you won’t be hit with gratuity charges you have to pay once your cruise is over. Crystal, Regent, Azamara, Seabourn and SeaDream are also eliminating automatic gratuities as well. If you have your heart set on taking a cruise that has automatic gratuities, but are worried about how much they will end up costing you, take a shorter cruise so that both your fare and the automatic gratuity charges will be cheaper.