Starting January 2, 2018, passengers sailing with both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises will be required to pay $1 more per person, per day, for gratuities.
The new per person daily amount, added automatically to passengers' bills, for Royal Caribbean will be $14.50 (up from $13.50) for standard accommodations and $17.50 (up from $16.50) for suites. The new daily amount for Celebrity will be $14.50 (up from $13.50) per person, per day, for standard accommodations, $15 (up from $14) for Concierge Class and AquaClass rooms, and $18 (up from $17) for suites.
Passengers with existing bookings or who book before January 2, 2018 can pre-pay their gratuities to lock in the current rate. Those who choose to pay gratuities onboard, regardless of when the cruise was booked, will be subject to the new rates on all sailings departing on or after January 2, 2018.
Royal Caribbean last upped its gratuities by 55 cents in March 2016, while Celebrity last raised its gratuity, also by 55 cents, in May 2016.
According to the line, the gratuity amount is "based on customary industry standards."
As with most lines, passengers have the ability to remove the daily gratuity; however, the daily gratuity is shared among dining, bar and culinary staff, as well as stateroom attendants and other hotel services crewmembers who work behind the scenes.
(Gratuities are not charged on cruise ships based in Australia.)