Royal Caribbean International Raises Gratuities
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Royal Caribbean International is raising its cruise gratuity rates. The per diem for standard staterooms will be $13.50 per person and for suites, $16.50 per person, making the totals comparable to its competitors, according to the line’s website.
The increase amounts to only 55 cents more per day versus the previous rates of $12.95 and $15.95 suggested previously. For sailings departing on or after May 1, 2016, the new tip quantities will be charged automatically to guests’ onboard accounts. The charges will apply to all guests who have not yet prepaid their gratuities prior to April 14, 2016.
Tipping onboard has certainly changed over the years, as it was once more common to bring cash and personally reward one’s cabin stewards and dining wait staff at the end of the cruise with an envelope of gratuities for a job well done. As the frequency of attending a singular main dining room has been replaced in favor of multiple restaurants, the prepaid approach better spreads the tips for servers evenly across the ship and more conveniently for guests.
In fact, Royal Caribbean publishes the exact daily distribution of the above amount as follows:
• Dining & Culinary Services: $8.30
• Stateroom Attendant: $3.85 or Suite Attendant: $6.85
• Other Housekeeping Services: $1.35 or Housekeeping and Suite Services: $1.35
Guests are certainly welcome to recognize crew members individually as well.
The increase again brings into question whether or not gratuities should simply be rolled in with the base cruise fare to begin with. But even though they are charged automatically, they can still be removed at the discretion of guests, and so they remain separate. All-inclusive cruise lines like Crystal Cruises understandably group gratuities in the total package, but mainstream cruise lines seemingly remain more attractive to guests when the bottom line is not padded. Of course, if every cruise line opted for this approach, there would be more pricing uniformity across the industry.
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