On-board gratuities

Once you have the price of your cruise and you have seen the port fees and the taxes that are involved you think you have all the expenses covered. Well on a lot of cruise lines there is one more charge you need to remember.

DAILY SERVICES FEES OR DAILY GRATUITIES.

These are charges added by cruise-lines to help pay for all the staff that makes your voyage so wonderful. The charges may seem like they should be up to your discretion after all you are getting the service and you should be able to say great job here is a little something to show how much I appreciate what you do. The reality is in an attempt to make cruise prices as low cost as possible most cruise-lines have gotten to the point where a majority of the staffs pay is funded by these gratuities or daily service charges. In most instances these charges are prepaid or are added automatically to your on-board spending account. You can go to guest services and get them removed, but remember what I said about most of the staffs pay is based on those charges. I have clients who get it partially reduced and then give personal tips at the end of cruise to the staff that make the cruise special for them. They usually end up paying more this way, but feel like they thanked the people who they really felt deserved it.

So as we book cruises together know that this is one of those charges that is similar among all cruise-lines and looks like it is here to stay.

Here is a quick list of some major cruise-lines and how they handle this.

Carnival Cruise Line
Daily gratuity charge: $13.99-$15.99
Additional charges: An 18% gratuity is added to bar charges.

Celebrity Cruises
Daily gratuity charge: $14.50-$18
Additional charges: A 20% gratuity is added to bar charges, minibar purchases and spa services.

Crystal Cruises
Daily gratuity charge: Included
Additional charges: An 18% gratuity is added to charges for spa services.

Cunard Line
Daily gratuity charge: $11.50-$13.50
Additional charges: A 15% gratuity is added to bar charges.

Disney Cruise Line
Daily gratuity charge: The line has suggested gratuity amounts for staff, but guests can choose to add or not to add.
Additional charges: A 15% gratuity is added to bar charges; an 18% charge is added to charges for spa services.

Holland America Line
Daily gratuity charge: $14.50-$16
Additional charges: A 15% gratuity is added to bar charges.

MSC Cruises
Daily gratuity charge: $8-$14.50
Additional charges: None

Norwegian Cruise Line
Daily gratuity charge: $14.50-$18
Additional charges: A 20% gratuity is added to bar charges, upcharge specialty restaurants and for services at ship spas.

Oceania Cruises
Daily gratuity charge: $16-$23
Additional charges: An 18% gratuity is added to bar charges, the bill for upcharge eatery La Reserve and for services at ship spas.

Paul Gauguin Cruises
Daily gratuity charge: None
Additional charges: None

Princess Cruises
Daily gratuity charge: $14.50-$16.50
Additional charges: An 18% gratuity is added to bar charges.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Daily gratuity charge: Included
Additional charges: None

Royal Caribbean
Daily gratuity charge: $14.50-$17.50
Additional charges: An 18% gratuity is added to bar charges as well as services at ship spas and salons.

Seabourn Cruise Line
Daily gratuity charge: None, not expected
Additional charges: None

Star Clippers
Daily gratuity charge: The line recommends about $8.80 per day, but not required.
Additional charges: None

UnCruise Adventures
Daily gratuity charge: UnCruise recommends $35 per day, but not required.
Additional charges: None

Viking Ocean Cruises
Daily gratuity charge: $15
Additional charges: A 15% gratuity is added to bar charges.

Virgin Voyages
Daily gratuity charge: Included
Additional charges: None

Windstar Cruises
Daily gratuity charge: $12
Additional charges: A 15% gratuity is added to bar charges.


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