Saying thanks to those who have helped make your stay while staying on board a cruise ship is greatly appreciated–or for any exchange for goods and services.
We always suggest that pre-paying gratuities before sailing is the best way to go, so that you can enjoy a carefree vacation. That being said, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has just recently announced that they will be increasing their base gratuity amount from $12.95 per guest per day to $13.50 per guest per day. This gratuity includes all services received with the exception of your bar bill, which will remain at a suggested 18% per check.
From Royal Caribbean’s website:
Effective April 14th, 2016 for all sailings departing on-or-after May 1st, 2016, a gratuity increase of $0.55 USD per guest per day will be applied. This will affect all inventory types with Suites (Grand Suite & above) increasing to $16.50 per guest per day and Junior Suite, Balcony, Ocean View, and Interior accommodations adjusting to $13.50 per guest per day.
Leaving a gratuity is at the sole discretion of the traveler, and can be adjusted with your cruise line’s customer service team.
Suggestions on tipping:
The In-port baggage handlers do not partake in the cruise line’s automated gratuity plan, because they are not employed by the cruise line, so $1 – $2 per bag is a customary gratuity, and is greatly appreciated.
Also, if you received impeccable service -where the employees really went above and beyond to help make your cruise an unforgettable one- leaving a little extra at the end of your stay for the Cabin Stewards/Butlers, your dining room servers, etc- $10-$20 at the end of your stay is a nice gesture. However, this is not mandatory, and if it is not within your budget to add more for gratuities, a simple thank you or letter of recommendation is always nice. A positive review at the end of your trip with the cruise’s end of journey questionnaire is also a simple, yet nice way to show how much you appreciated their services. Don’t forget to take down any names of people who helped you (or even hindered you) have the time of your life, so your letter or note is even more personal.
Here are the FAQ from the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line website for your review.