Saturday, May 16, 2015

What Royal Caribbean's increased tipping means for you

This week Royal Caribbean announced a change in their tipping rates. Starting June 1, the daily rate per guest will rise to $12.95 in standard accommodations, and $15.95 per guest in suites. If you prepay before June 1, you can still use the current rates of $12 and $14.25 per day (respectively).

The company explained this was to reward their excellent staff and that all tips are pooled. While this seems noble on the Royal Caribbean's part, Cruise Law News isn't buying it. Jim Walker explains that a portion of all pre-paid gratuities bypasses the crew altogether and goes directly into Royal Caribbean's bottom line.

All of this is part of the changing cruise industry and experience. As the customer base becomes more global and diverse, more passengers hail from countries where tipping is not common. Also people carry less cash and want to "charge" more, so offering pre-paid gratuities or gratuities that are added to the overall bill is a convenience factor for many. Our suggestion is that if you think a automatic gratuity is unfair (either in cost or how it is pooled), then opt out and pay directly. This can be done through most purser's offices and the crew members can then decide how they want to pool the cash you gave them directly. Regardless of how you handle Royal Caribbean's and other cruise company policies, just remember to take care of the people who take care of you.

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