Miami Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Josh Friedman (Creative Commons)

Cruise Hive is here to give you a quick run down of the latest gratuity rates from 5 major cruise lines. Gratuities are the amount of funds passengers give to the cruise line and then in turn given to crew members. Crew who benefit from gratuity service charges include housekeeping, bar and dinning departments. The funds will usually be automatically charged to a guests onboard money account at the end of the cruise but can be changed if needed.

Whatever happens during your cruise please don’t remove or lower the gratuities on your account at the end of the voyage. Crew members work long hours and deserve as much as possible.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival so far suggests the lowest gratuity service fee but makes sense due to the family friendly target audience. The cruise line is charging $12.00 per guest each day no matter what stateroom a passenger is booked in.

The Miami based cruise line has broken down the fee for certain types of crew members. $6.10 will go towards the dining room services, $3.90 will go towards housekeeping services and $2.00 will go towards other onboard services including kitchen, entertainment and various hotel departments. Gift Shops, Spa and Casino are not usually included in the gratuity program.

Gratuities will also be added automatically to any payments made onboard at 15 percent.


Carnival is increasing gratuities from September 1, 2016. The official site says “Please note, effective for all cruises departing on or after September 1, 2016, the recommended gratuities amount will increase from $12.00 USD to $12.95 USD per person, per day for guests in standard stateroom accommodations and to $13.95 USD per person, per day for guests booked in suites. if gratuities are added to your booking by May 9, 2016 and paid in full by the final payment date, you will not be subject to the increased amount.”

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean decided to increase its daily gratuity rate from May 1 by $0.55 for standard staterooms and suites. So from that date all guests will be charged $13.50 for standard suites per day and $16.50 per day for suites.

Norwegian Cruise Line

For NCL the gratuities or also known as service charge is currently at $13.50 per guest for Studio, Inside, Oceanview, Balcony and Mini-Suite categories. For those guests booked in suites and the Haven categories are charged $15.50 per person. Only guests over 3 years old are charged the service fee.

Princess Cruises

Princess adds the gratuity charge automatically each day to each guests account. At the moment the cruise line is charging $13.95 per day for suites and mini suites and $12.95 per day for all other types of staterooms. All the usualy crew members will reap the benefits of the service charges including housekeeping, dining and bar staff.

The cruise line just like Carnival also charges a 15 percent gratuity when purchasing something at the bar or from a bar waiter.

Holland America Line

The cruise line increased its gratuity rate from December 2015. For interior, ocean-view and verandah staterooms each guest per day is charged $12.50. For all suites Holland America is charging $13.30 per day for each guest.

Holland America also charges 15 percent when a guest buys something from the bar. Several departments will gain the benefits of the gratuity service charge including room steward and dining room staff.