Following similar moves by other major cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Line is set to raise gratuity rates as well as Wi-Fi rates in the coming weeks. Guests who pre-pay for these charges can still take advantage of lower rates for these significant increases.
Carnival Gratuity Rates Increasing
Gratuities, the service charges that go to reward hard-working crew members, including dining staff and stateroom attendants, are being increased for all stateroom categories effective from April 1, 2023
For all embarkations on or after that date, the rate for standard staterooms – interior cabins, ocean views, and balconies – will be $16 per guest, per day, up from $14.50, an increase of roughly 10% per day.
Suite guests will begin paying $18 per guest, per day, instead of the current rate of $16.50, an increase of 9%. Carnival Cruise Line last raised gratuity rates in May 2022, making this adjustment the second increase in less than one year.
While many cruise travelers agree that crew members deserve gratuities for their hard work and the special efforts they make to ensure guests have a great cruise, two increases in just 11 months is significant, especially when this second increase is much larger.
Prior to May 2022, the gratuity rates were $13.99 per person, per day for standard staterooms, and $15.99 for suites. The 2022 increase amounted to just a 4% increase for standard staterooms and a 3% increase for suites.
Put another way, for a family of four enjoying a 7-night cruise, gratuities in early 2022 would have equaled $391.72 for a standard stateroom, and $447.72 in a suite. After the coming increase on April 1, the same family of four on a 7-night sailing will be paying $462 in a standard stateroom, and $504 in a suite.
This can be a significant increase for family travel, especially in a troubled economy when inflation rates are a concern. While it is true that crew members deserve the appreciation shown by a gratuity, travelers will need to budget carefully for the additional expense.
These rates, however, are in line with recent gratuity increases announced by other lines. Norwegian Cruise Line implemented a gratuity increase as of January 1, 2023, while Holland America Line is increasing gratuity rates as of February 1. Princess Cruises raised gratuity rates in mid-December.
Both Royal Caribbean International and Disney Cruise Line raised gratuity rates earlier in 2022, in September and July respectively, and it is possible that additional increases may be coming for those cruise lines later in 2023.
Carnival Wi-Fi Rates Also Increasing
In addition to raising gratuity rates, the prices for Carnival Cruise Line’s internet Wi-Fi packages are also being increased at an even faster rate, with new prices effective from all embarkations as of Monday, January 16, 2023.
Carnival offers three different internet packages – the social, value, and premium plans. The social plan includes only social media and airline website access.
The value plan also includes email and a variety of news, entertainment, sports, weather, banking, and finance websites. The premium plan has faster access speeds and supports apps like Zoom, Skype, and video calling, where coverage permits.
The social plan will be increased to $12.75 per day, up from $10.20 (+25%), while the value plan is increasing from $14.45 to $17 per day (+17%). The premium plan, already the most expensive option, is also increasing, but at a slightly lower percentage. As of January 16, the price will be $18.70 per day, up from $17 (+10%).
In an era where many travelers enjoy staying connected to share their vacation adventures on social media or with family and friends back home, Wi-Fi access is critical, and these price increases are relatively steep, especially for a family with multiple devices to connect. Furthermore, trouble with connectivity and internet speeds can make such high costs even less appealing.
On its Wi-Fi connectivity page, Carnival Cruise Line recommends turning off background app data services and updates to improve connection speeds when using its internet plans, but notes that “internet speed may vary depending on location and time of day.” Once an internet plan is purchased and activated onboard, no refunds will be given.
Still Time to Save
Guests who opt to pre-pay for either gratuities or internet packages prior to the effective dates can still take advantage of the lower rates, but after January 16 for internet packages and April 1 for gratuities, the higher rates will automatically apply.