NEWS: Norwegian Cruise Line Changes Policy, No Removing Tips Onboard

Cruise Radio reports: Norwegian Cruise Line Changes Policy, No Removing Tips Onboard

"Previously cruisers could have gratuities removed at their request by visiting the Guest Relations desk.

Now guests will be required to pay gratuities upfront and email guest services when they get home to have the gratuities rebated back if unsatisfied."

Tags: Norwegian Cruise Line Gratuities Service Charges

62 Answers

Not sure what BS is, but you are technically incorrect.It depends in which country you booked from. If you booked through the UK, you can adjust the service charges on board.

Argh. Just include them in the fare and bump up the price. Tipping is such a hassle.

I agree, why can't they just add it to the cruise price???
We have never taken the tips off and always pay more at the end because they were worth it.

I book with a travel agent in U.K. How do I get it remove?it will be my first cruise on Ncl star next month,I have read a few forums and most peoples say is very difficult to remove, and if I prepay will I get it remove?


Sorry, but ewoodspark is not longer on the forum.

My advice would be to contact customer service once on board and discuss it with them. If they do not take care of it, contact corporate. The address and/or phone number should be on the website. I believe that prepaying the gratuity charge may make it difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

OTOH, why not wait to see if the staff is truly deserving of the loss of tips, which are a large part of their paycheck. Although it may be against your cultural mores to tip, it is the way the cruise line prefers to do business.

The whole "automatic gratuity" charge is a scam. The money is not a "reward for prompt (or even friendly) service." It is simply a "payroll tax in a reverse." By calling it a "gratuity" - the passenger becomes a "mean-spirited piker" for not paying. The employees never see the money - it just gets mixed with corporate payrolls - the passenger loses, the employees don't win - only the cruise line benefits. And then the cruise line has the unmitigated gall to "require" additional "tipping" for bar drinks, "encourage" additional "tipping" with "tip lines" on every single receipt/bill, and then shame passengers into ADDITIONAL end of cruise tipping for ship staff they come into frequent personal contact with. It is a scam.

No, it is the way that 99% of American businesses operate.Sad

BTW, can you show me where you got the facts that "the employees never see the money"?

I am with NCL now. I went to the desk on the first day to remove these silly 'discretionary' service charges. I do not believe in it as a standard charge, and prefer to tip individuals as per my choosing.

I was given all the delaying and fobbing off tactics, come back tomorrow, come to the desk after 5pm, it has to be the last day, and the absolute classic "it has to be done on a special form which is sent through daily from Miami." Are we to believe a special pile of forms are delivered by carrier pigeon every few days, with a special magic seal on, so they can't be printed off on board. This one especially insulted me.

After standing and holding a queue up the magic form was placed before me and i completed, however the charges were still showing as a pending transaction on my credit card, so I contacted my credit card company and had them cancel the transaction. I do not trust NCL now.

I am an investigstor by profession and can smell the BS a mile away. This is clearly a concerted team effort at robbing people off.

If they want to make the change compulsory then make it so and put it on the headline price. Instead they quote the price without service charges, call it 'discretionary' to get around the regulations, but make it as difficult as possible to actually get it removed.

I think this culture of tips gratuity and service charges is dying off thank god. But the service sector is the last place it remains.

If if I was to accept cash in return for doing my job a little better then I'd be sacked, arrested and probably inprisoned.

I understand the higher end cruise companies have already binned this practice. Good on them, let's hope it trickles down.

Do you eat from the buffet ? Are your dirty plates picked up promptly ? Is the ship clean ? Were you seated at a show ? Did you order room service ? Guess what ? This is where all of those "silly discretionary charges " go. Call it what you will, you're just a cheap tool. I'll bet you barely tip those you claim to tip. Most veteran cruisers tip above and beyond the autograts. Thanks for resurrecting an old thread to show us how cheap some people can be.

* is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. is not responsible for content on external web sites.