Cruising with Carnival? How to Avoid New Service Gratuity Fee Increase

by Eric

Carnival Cruise Lines has recently decided to increase the gratuity guidelines. For passengers who plan to travel on cruises departing September 1, 2016 and onward, the suggested daily gratuity will be raised from $12.00 to $12.95 per person per day for standard cabins and $13.95 per person per day for suites.


To avoid the increase in fees, guests who prepay the current amounts by May 9, 2016 will pay the existing daily rates. It is important to remember that Carnival has stated that even though the tip amounts are automatically charged to passengers’ shipboard amounts that they remain optional and can be adjusted before disembarkation. However, as anyone who has cruised before knows, the service fees are often a pittance compared to how much effort goes on behind the scenes to insure you enjoy your time on board.

What are your thoughts on this fee increase?

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Robert Drummer May 3, 2016 - 5:51 pm

I agree that it’s a pittance compared to the amount of work the staff perform.

I read the letter from Carnival and my thought was “how much of a wage increase did Carnival provide to their staff, if any.”

smitty06 May 3, 2016 - 7:46 pm

I wonder if Carnival is obligated to pass the money on to the worker since they label it a gratuity. If so, I am happy to pay it

wise2u May 3, 2016 - 9:44 pm

It is a fee automatically added that helps carnival (which is one line in a multiline company) supliment their pay to employees. The old days of handing an envelope of cash to helpful employees is dead and gone. Just try and have a “tip” reduced, it requires a long argument with the pursers office. Some “tips” are undeserved: A Matri de’ shouldn’t get $2 a day if he never spoke to me or I ate in the buffet the whole trip, or the 15% tip to a bartender to open a beer and hand it to me after I wait in line at the bar…what if I feel it isn’t worth 75 cents on top of $5 for someone to pop a top for me?…on the other hand If I eat in the dining room and have the same waiters the whole trip and want to tip them and my room steward extra, wouldn’t it be more convenient for me to control the tip money? The cruise lines pay contract rates that wouldn’t pass minimum wage laws in our country so they hire all foreign crews (except Norwegian in Hawaii) and pay them crap. The tip money is supposed to be split equally among the workers, but that doesn’t happen, it is a cheap corrupt job environment and an industry that enjoys add-on fees that nickel and dime the customer. The average bargain cost of a cruise has remained about $100 per person per night for the last 30 years despite available cabin space that has grown at a breakneck pace with larger and larger ships in service and being built. The extra profits from all this growth goes to ship’s officers and executives as well as the shareholders of the multi-billion dollar companies. If you think anything extra is passed on to the grunt level indentured slave working a 9 month contract by Carnival, you are truly naïve.


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