Raise in Daily Gratuities Upsets Loyal Cruisers

norwegian cruise raises gratuity tipping charge
The raise in charges comes just a year after the last gratuity hike. - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is — yet again — raising the daily “service charge” (gratuities) for passengers.


Starting April 1, 2018, the rates for standard cabins and mini-suites will go from $13.99 to $14.50 per day, and guests staying in other suites or The Haven will pay $17.50, up from $16.99. Those who book a cruise before March 31 will have the option to pay their gratuities at the current rate, as long as it’s done before the departure date. 

The charge applies to every ship fleetwide except for the line’s all-inclusive vessels, Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun. The rates on these two ships is rising by a dollar; those staying in regular cabins will now pay $19.99 per person/day. Suite passengers will now pay $22.99 per person/day.

Some Cruiseline.com members have expressed anger at another hike in the daily charge. User JCOAKML said “I hate this sort of thing. The companies know we'll keep coming back so they take advantage. The airlines do it too. With the billions that the cruise lines and airlines make I know they don't have to raise rates like they do.”

norwegian cruise service staff gratuities tipping
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Member KLBWay noted that although she paid before April 1, she was charged the new rate. “I just booked a cruise with NCL a couple days ago. I received an email stating that they would honor the original rate until April 1. So I went online last night and paid my service fees. However, now that I am thinking about it, they charged me the new rate.”

It was just over a year ago that Norwegian last raised the daily gratuities, which had been the first time in years that it was changed. The announcement comes on the heels of yet another hike in gratuity charges for drinks and specialty dining packages that was implemented in December, when it rose from 18 to 20 percent.

Longtime user akaGrandmaJo voiced what many of us are probably feeling, “We tip extra anyhow, but there's gonna come a point when we'll cut back on the cash.”

For a complete guide on gratuities from all of the major cruise lines, check out How to Tip on a Cruise.

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