Royal Caribbean Gratuities (Price & Policy Explained!)

Gratuities on cruise ships can be a little confusing for first time cruisers (or those unfamiliar with Royal Caribbean’s policies.)

However, it’s actually very straightforward and the policy allows for an easier experience for guests, while proportionally compensating he hardworking staff.

If you’re planning on taking a Royal Caribbean cruise and have some questions about how gratuities work, we’ve got you covered….

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Royal Caribbean Gratuities Explained

Gratuity Costs on Royal Caribbean Cruises

On Royal Caribbean cruises, a standard gratuity fee of $16.00 per person, per day is charged, while guests staying in Grand Suites and higher categories pay $18.50 per person, per day.

Additionally, there is an automatic 18% gratuity added to all beverage, spa, and salon services.

Gratuities for Youngsters and Infants on Royal Caribbean

The gratuity rates on Royal Caribbean cruises apply to guests of all ages, including children and infants.

Although this may seem high for infants, keep in mind that crew members do a lot of extra work for them, such as setting up travel cots, pureeing food, and cleaning up after mealtimes.

Breaking Down Royal Caribbean’s Gratuities

Gratuities on Royal Caribbean are shared among various crew members, such as stateroom attendants, waiters, bar staff, culinary staff, and other hotel services team members.

While there isn’t a precise breakdown of how these gratuities are distributed among the crew members, the covered services include the main dining room, specialty restaurants, and buffet staff, among others.

What Exactly Are The “Service Gratuities” on Royal Caribbean?

Service gratuities are daily charges that you’ll encounter on nearly every cruise line, including Royal Caribbean.

They get distributed among crew members who provide passenger-focused services, such as the dining staff and the room steward.

Do All Guests on Royal Caribbean Need to Pay Gratuities? Are Children Included?

Yes, gratuities apply to all passengers on Royal Caribbean, regardless of age.

Unlike some cruise lines that have age limits for young passengers, everyone pays the daily gratuity amount on Royal Caribbean.

How Much do Gratuities Cost on Royal Caribbean Cruises?

Royal Caribbean charges $16.00 per person, per day for most guest rooms, including interior, oceanview, and balcony cabins. For suites, the charge is $18.50 per person, per day.

Are Gratuities Included In Off-Ship Excursions Organized By Royal Caribbean Cruises?

For off-ship excursions organized through Royal Caribbean, gratuities are not typically included in the excursion price.

It’s customary and appreciated to tip guides and staff, especially if you’ve received exceptional service. A general guideline is $5-10 per person for a full day excursion.

However, tipping is at your discretion and based on the quality of service provided, just keep in mind it may be expected in certain destinations.

Royal Caribbean Staff At Buffet
Source: @ewoz72ca

What is the Payment Process for Gratuities?

Guests can prepay gratuities before their cruise or have them automatically added to their accounts during the cruise.

To avoid potential rate increases and extra charges onboard, it’s recommended to prepay gratuities.

Can I Adjust the Gratuities Paid if I’m Unsatisfied with the Service?

While gratuity amounts are automatically set, you can request adjustments if you feel that the service was unsatisfactory.

To make changes to your gratuities, visit Guest Services onboard before your departure.

Is Additional Tipping Expected after Paying Gratuities?

Additional tipping isn’t expected. he daily gratuities are all your expected to pay, whether that is for drinks or specialty restaurants.

If you want to add a couple of extra cash tips to your waiter or room attendant, you are free to do so, but it is no way expected. Although, I’m sure, highly appreciated.

But rest assured that you’ve already tipped appropriately through the automatic gratuities.

If I Want To Pay Extra, How Can I Do That?

If you’d like to pay extra gratuities or reward specific crew members, you can give them cash directly. This ensures that the staff member gets the tip and doesn’t have to share it with others.

Which Crew Members Receive the Gratuities I Pay?

Gratuities are shared among the staff who provide services to passengers, such as cabin attendants, waiters at various dining venues, and other hotel services staff working behind the scenes.

Royal Caribbean bar - Enchantment of the Seas
Source: @mpoole3

Who Isn’t Covered by Automatic Gratuities?

Some staff members, such as casino dealers, kids’ camp workers, and spa workers, aren’t included in the automatic gratuities. You can tip them separately if they provide exceptional service.

Can I Give Additional Tips In Non-USA Currency?

For additional tips on a Royal Caribbean cruise, U.S. dollars are generally preferred, but other major currencies are often accepted.

While cash is the most direct way to tip individual staff members, non-cash methods like credit cards usually can’t be used for this purpose.

If I Have Special Room Requests Or Dietary Needs That Require Extra Attention From Staff, Should I Consider Additional Tipping?

If you have special room requests or dietary needs requiring extra attention from staff on a Royal Caribbean cruise, consider offering additional tips for their efforts.

While not obligatory, extra tipping is a thoughtful way to acknowledge the staff’s additional work and care in accommodating your specific needs.

Beyond Cash Tips, How Can I Acknowledge Exceptional Service By Crew Members (e.g., Recommendations, Feedback Forms)?

Beyond cash tips, guests can acknowledge exceptional service by crew members on Royal Caribbean cruises through written commendations or mentioning their service to guest relations.

Such feedback is valued and can positively impact the crew member’s career and recognition on board.

How Do Gratuities Contribute To The Overall Income Or Wages Of The Staff?

Gratuities on Royal Caribbean cruises play a crucial role in supplementing the income of the crew.

While salaries vary, gratuities often constitute a significant portion of the staff’s total earnings, ensuring they are fairly compensated for their dedicated service.

What Happens If The Gratuity Rates Increase After I’ve Pre-Paid? Do I Need To Pay The Difference?

If you pre-pay gratuities and the rates increase afterwards, you typically won’t need to pay the difference.

Pre-paying locks in the rate at the time of payment, protecting you from any future rate hikes during your cruise.

Anything Else I Should Know About Royal Caribbean Gratuities?

Keep in mind that Royal Caribbean’s gratuity amounts might change over time, so it’s wise to prepay gratuities to avoid potential increases.

Moreover, remember that some bills, like bar bills, might already include an automatic tip.

How to Pay Your Royal Caribbean Gratuities

You have two options for gratuity payments: pre-pay before the cruise or receive a bill on the last day. If you prefer the flexible ‘My Time’ dining option instead of a set dining time, remember to pre-pay your gratuities.

How to Prepay Tips on Royal Caribbean

To prepay gratuities on Royal Caribbean, you can:

  • Include them in your booking’s total cost
  • Call Royal Caribbean before your trip
  • Access the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner online
  • Request your travel agent to handle the payment for you

How to Settle Gratuities At The End Of The Cruise

During your cruise check-in, you will establish your onboard SeaPass account, where all purchases and gratuities are tracked since cash is not used on cruise ships.

At check-in, you can either link your account to a credit or debit card or choose to settle the account with a card or cash before disembarking.

If you opt to link your account to a card, Royal Caribbean will automatically charge it at the end of your cruise.

However, if you decide against linking a card, remember to visit the Guest Services desk to finalize your account using a credit/debit card or cash before leaving the ship.

Should You Prepay Your Gratuities?

Deciding whether to prepay gratuities on a cruise is a personal choice, with various factors to consider. Here are some situations when prepaying might be a better option:

  • Free gratuities offered: If your cruise booking includes free gratuities as an incentive, they will be automatically prepaid for you.
  • MyTime dining preference: MyTime dining allows you to dine at any time without a set schedule. With this option, you’ll likely have different servers each night. To request MyTime dining on certain Royal Caribbean cruises, you may be required to prepay your gratuities.
  • Booking well in advance: Royal Caribbean increases their daily gratuity rate every one to two years; the latest increase was in 2018. Prepaying gratuities allows you to lock in a lower rate.
  • Paying for your cruise in installments: If you prefer to make monthly payments for your cruise, adding gratuities to your monthly payment can make the overall cost more manageable.
  • Not using a credit card: If you don’t have a credit card, you can either link a debit card to your onboard account or deposit cash. Prepaying gratuities helps avoid balancing issues or carrying large amounts of cash.

However, there are also situations when you might prefer not to prepay your gratuities:

  • Onboard credit available: If you receive onboard credit as part of your cruise booking, you can use it to pay your gratuities. In this case, it’s better to wait for the onboard credit to be applied before paying gratuities.
  • Limited funds at booking: If you don’t have a lot of money available during your booking, you can wait until the end of your cruise to pay gratuities. This will give you more time to save up.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which option best suits your preferences and financial situation.

In Summary: Royal Caribbean’s Automatic Gratuity

With Royal Caribbean gratuities, you will have a daily charge per person. Just multiply this by the number of nights and passengers in your group to find the total gratuity.

You could pay these gratuities either before or after your cruise, but it’s not advised to remove them. Enjoy your cruise and offer a friendly contribution to the hardworking staff!

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