Another Major Cruise Line to Raise Gratuity Rates

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Holland America Line has quietly added an announcement to the “Crew Appreciation & Service Charge Policy” page of its website noting that as of February 1, 2023, gratuity rates will be increasing. While the increase is relatively minimal, this follows the trend of other cruise lines likewise raising gratuity fees.

Holland America Line Raising Gratuities

Holland America Line, part of Carnival Corporation & plc, has announced a slight increase in gratuity rates to take effect on all sailings from February 1, 2023. The increase will be $.50 (USD) per guest per day in all stateroom categories.

The new rate will then be $17.50 per person per day for guests in suites, and $16.00 per person per day in non-suite stateroom categories such as balcony, oceanview, and interior staterooms.

Holland America Line describes these fees as “a daily amount for each guest that will be automatically added to your onboard account for your convenience, to recognize the efforts of a wide variety of crewmembers who contribute to the experiences of all our guests.”

Holland America Line
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

Guests have the option to adjust crew appreciation and service charges at their discretion, up until disembarkation, at which time the charge becomes final and nonrefundable. Pre-paid gratuities are considered nonrefundable from the time of purchase, and no additional amount will be added to guests’ onboard accounts if the amounts are already paid.

Holland America Line has not clarified whether or not guests booked on sailings after February 1, 2023 can still pre-pay gratuities before that date to take advantage of the lower rate, which remains at $17 per person per day for suites and $15.50 per person per day for non-suites through January 31.

Other Cruise Lines Also Raising Gratuities

The announcement from Holland America Line follows a similar increase from Princess Cruises, which is raising gratuity rates by $1.50 per person, per day for all cabin and suite categories, effective on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.

While the fee change for Princess Cruises is three times as high as that for Holland America Line, Princess Cruises’ daily gratuities were already significantly lower than Holland America Line’s. Now, both lines will have fees of $16 per person per day for all non-suite cabins, though Princess Cruises’ suite gratuities range from $17-18 per day depending on the exact stateroom category.

Princess Cruises Deck
Photo Credit: Vintagepix / Shutterstock

Similarly, Norwegian Cruise Line also recently announced an increase in daily gratuities starting on January 1, 2023. After that date, rates will increase steeply as follows (all rates are per guest, per day):

  • $25 for the Haven and suite guests (up from $20)
  • $20 for club balcony suites (up from $18)
  • An extra $4 daily for all other cabin types

Will Other Cruise Lines Raise Service Charges?

While no other cruise lines have yet indicated a change in gratuity rates or service fees, historically when one line increases the rate, most other major lines follow.

This may be especially true with lines under the same corporate umbrella, which means similar gratuity increases could be coming for Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Cunard Line, or Seabourn, all of which are part of Carnival Corporation & plc.

Similarly, the other cruise lines that are part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings – Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises – may also see gratuity increases.

At the moment, there have been no upcoming gratuity increases announced for any line in the Royal Caribbean Group, which includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises, TUI Cruises, and Pullmantur Cruises.

Royal Caribbean International did increase gratuities in September 2022, however, raising rates by $1.50 per person per day ($16.00 total) for standard staterooms, and $1 per person per day for suites ($18.50 total).

Disney Cruise Line also increased gratuities in July 2022, raising rates by $1 per person per day, for a total of $14.50 daily for most staterooms, and $15.50 daily for concierge staterooms and suites, rates that are now among the lowest in the industry.

Given that Disney theme parks have announced rate hikes for different ticket types and season passes, it is not unreasonable to expect a gratuity increase coming soon for the cruise line. Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for updates.

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