The Truth About MSC and Gratuities – Your Guide


Most cruise lines either include gratuities are do not, MSC are slightly different in that they do include gratuities for some people but not for others. In this post we will cover who has included gratuities and what these gratuities are if you do have to pay for them.

Do MSC Cruises Include Gratuities?

MSC Cruises do not include gratuities if booked from the USA. If guests book MSC cruises from the UK gratuities are included. If booking an MSC cruise from other European countries, gratuities are not usually included.

What Are Gratuities?

Gratuities are charges automatically added onto your onboard account during a cruise. These are usually priced per person per day and they will act as tips for the staff onboard. The cost of gratuities does vary by cruise line but as an example  $15 per person per night would be a reasonable charge to expect.

On most cruise lines you are able to remove this charge if you wish but doing so usually requires going to the reception of the cruise ship when onboard and asking to have them removed.

Booking an MSC Cruise From The UK and Ireland

In June 2019 MSC Cruises made the move to include gratuities in the prices of cruises booked from the UK. Any cruise booked since will include gratuities regardless of if the cruise was booked through a travel agent or directly with MSC. Many cruise lines from the UK have adopted a gratuity inclusive price with P&O and Marella also including gratuities.

SERVICE CHARGES / GRATUITIES
Service Charge / Gratuities are included in the cruise fare.

Since adding in the cost of gratuities to the cruise fare it is no longer possible to remove this portion.

Gratuities with MSC previous to this change were around €10 per person per night. This price did vary based on the location of the cruise.

MSC Magnifica
MSC Magnifica

Booking an MSC Cruise From The USA

If you are booking an MSC cruise and are from the USA gratuities will be automatically added onto your onboard account. These can be removed although I wouldn’t recommend doing this. Many staff members work behind the scenes in the laundry, kitchens etc and by tipping only the crew you see these members lose out.

For your convenience, MSC Cruises will automatically add a daily Hotel Service Charge to your shipboard account, based on your chosen itinerary and the number of days for which the services are actually provided.

Pre Paying Gratuities

When booking an MSC cruise from the USA it is possible to prepay the gratuities at the time of booking the cruise. I would recommend you take this option if it is offered to you, it’s horrible having a big bill at the end of your cruise!

If you have booked through a travel agent they should ask you if you want to prepay. If you’ve booked directly you’ll usually be able to prepay online or phone MSC to do so.

Booking a cruise around America, Canada and the Caribbean from the US

The adult gratuity price for cruises in this part of the world is currently $12.50 per night. In 2021 this will be raising to $14.

Booking a cruise around Europe or the Middle East from the US

The adult gratuity price for cruises in this part of the world is €10 per night. There are no current plans to increase this.

Booking a cruise around South Africa from the US

The adult gratuity price for cruises in this part of the world is currently $8 per night.

Booking a cruise around South America from the US

The adult gratuity price for cruises in this part of the world is currently $12.50 per night.

Do Children Have to Pay a Gratuity with MSC?

Children under 2 do not have to pay any gratuities. Children aged 2+ have to pay a gratuity at a reduced rate, this is usually 50% of the adult price but it does vary based on the location of the cruise. This is based on the child’s age on embarkation day so if they turned 2 mid way through the cruise they don’t have to pay gratuities.

MSC Magnifica

Booking an MSC Cruise From The Rest of Europe

When booking an MSC cruise from Europe (excluding the UK/Ireland) gratuities will be automatically added. Many promotions will include gratuities.

MSC often often included gratuities when purchasing certain cabin grades. MSC’s cabins are either Fantastica or Bella grade with Fantastica being the more expensive. MSC will often run promotions where gratuities are automatically included with Fantastica cabins. If this is the case it can sometimes be cheaper to book a Fantastica cabin which includes gratuities than a Bella cabin which does not.

Can You Tip With Cash on an MSC Cruise?

If you do want to you can tip the staff with cash however MSC actively discourages this. On some other cruise lines tipping in cash will be actively encouraged and you’ll find tipping envelopes in your cabin/at dinner on the last night.

Many people do tip in addition to the automatic gratuities for staff members who have gone above and beyond in the service that they have provided. The crew will always be grateful for extra tips and anything is appreciated.

To learn more about gratuities, including how they also affect drinks and spa treatments, check out this post so that you don’t have any nasty surprises on your cruise:

Cruise Gratuities: A Simple Step by Step Guide For First Time Cruisers

Who Are MSC Cruises Good For?

I consistently recommend MSC cruises for families and younger cruisers. MSC have a very high proportion of families on their cruises and the average age is lower than the rest of the industry. To learn more about why I consistently recommend MSC, including my thoughts on the food, check out the recommended cruise lines page here: Best Cruise Lines For Families (Tried & Tested, Pros & Cons!)

I’ve cruised with MSC 3 times, once onboard the MSC Opera and twice onboard the MSC Meraviglia. I recently took three first time cruisers on an MSC cruise and they loved it. We paid just under £400 for a week long cruise which was incredible value.

Where To Next?

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Emma Le Teace

Hey! I'm Emma. A cruise blogger, YouTuber and founder of the 'Cruising Isn't Just For Old People' Facebook community and website. You can learn more here: About Me.

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