On most cruise lines an automatic gratuity will be added to your onboard account to cover tips for the staff. Increasingly cruise lines are including this in the cruise fare. I’ve cruised with a number of lines who include gratuities and I much prefer it.
In this post we will look at the lines which include gratuities in their cruise fares. The post is based on booking a cruise from the UK.
What Are Cruise Line Gratuities?
A gratuity is an amount automatically added onto your onboard account to cover the tips of the crew. It is usually split between the housekeeping teams, chefs, waiters and staff behind the scenes. Most cruise line gratuities range between $10-$15 per person per day. On most cruise lines it is possible to remove the automatically added gratuities should you wish to.
Note: You cannot remove gratuities on cruises with Costa Cruises.
Which Cruise Lines Include Gratuities?
Gratuities are included on cruises with Azamara, Celestyal, Crystal Cruises, Marella, MSC, P&O, Regent Seven Seas, Saga, Silversea and Virgin Voyages.
In 2019 P&O Cruises made the decision to include gratuities in the cruise fare. Prior to this the charge was around £6 per person per day which was one of the lowest in the industry.
Great service comes as standard.
While tipping isn’t required or expected on board, rest assured good service and good times are all part and parcel of your P&O Cruises holiday. – Source.
If you still wish to leave a tip this is of course always appreciated but isn’t in any way expected. P&O do have an option for fixed dining and many people will choose to tip their waiters on the last night as they have been waited on by the same people for the duration of the cruise.
Marella are a British ‘all inclusive’ cruise line who include gratuities and drinks in their cruise fare.
All tips and service charges are included in the price of your Cruise. You’re not expected to tip any of our crew – unless you want to, of course. – Source.
I came away from my Marella cruise with an incredibly small onboard bill. There are lots of included food options on Marella cruises as well as included alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. To find out more about the ‘all inclusive’ fare from Marella check out this post: Marella Cruises, what does ‘all inclusive’ include?
Celestyal cruises include all tips/gratuities within the cruise fare. I didn’t at any point during my Celestyal cruise feel any pressure to leave an additional tip although this is once again always appreciated.
We call it The Celestyal Inclusive Experience for a reason. All additional costs such as port and service charges as well as gratuities are included in the final fare of your cruise. This means no hidden charges or surprises whatsoever so you can stick to your vacation budget and enjoy your cruise up until the end. – Source.
To learn more about cruising with Celestyal check out this post which details everything we did during our cruise on Celestyal Olympia: Celestyal Cruises: Review and Daily Photo Diary 2019
Saga ocean cruises include all tips/gratuities. Their ‘all inclusive’ cruise fare also includes speciality dining, drinks with meals, transfers, WiFi and shuttle buses. I was lucky enough to spend a few days onboard Spirit of Discovery this year and I cannot recommend the ship enough. It was out of this world.
Saga do have a 50+ age requirement though so it’s going to be a little while before I can cruise with them…
Cruise fares with Virgin Voyages include gratuities and are also referred to as ‘all inclusive’. The cruise fare includes all restaurants onboard, gym classes, basic drinks and WiFi.
In April 2019 MSC decided to include their gratuities in the cruise fare for people booking from the UK and Ireland. Cruisers booking from the USA may still have to pay gratuities.
SERVICE CHARGES / GRATUITIES
Service Charge / Gratuities are included in the cruise fare.
MSC Cruises does not recommend tipping individual members of staff. – Source.
MSC used to charge $12.50 per person per night which was pretty standard within the industry.
Azmara is the luxury sister line to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. Their all inclusive cruise fare includes gratuities, drinks, laundry and shuttles when in port.
It’s worth nothing that a 18% gratuity is added onto spa services.
Crystal Cruises are similar to Azamara when it comes to gratuities. There are no gratuities automatically added but 18% will be added for spa treatments.
Regent Seven Seas
Regent include all gratuities in the cruise fare.
Silversea include all gratuities in the cruise fare.
Why Do Some Cruise Lines Include Gratuities?
Luxury cruise lines tend to include gratuities more frequently than budget or mainstream lines. This is because of the higher initial price. That said, more mainstream cruise lines than ever are including gratuities in the cruise fare. “Gratuities included” is often sold as a perk or a benefit of booking with a certain cruise line.
European Cruise Lines
It tends to be the cruise lines which are based in Europe which include gratuities in the fare. This may be to do with cultural differences in regards to tipping in the majority of Europe and the USA.
In the UK we rarely tip for things. I may tip a waiter in a restaurant or a taxi driver but that is about it. The staff in these situations don’t rely directly on tips to get paid unlike how some staff in the USA do. It is because of this that I believe cruisers from the USA are more accepting of additional tips.
Why Do Some Cruise Lines Not Include Gratuities?
By not including the gratuities in the cruise fare the cruise line can make the base price of the cruise look much lower than it actually is. I often see bargain cruise deals flying into my inbox but when you add on things like gratuities it soon becomes apparent that the deal isn’t as good as it first seemed.
The cruise lines know that the majority of cruisers will leave the automatic gratuities on. I personally always do this as I worry about the ‘behind the scenes’ staff who may be losing out if I remove the gratuities and tip directly the crew members that I see.
When cruising there are often other additional costs, to find out what is included in a typical cruise fare, check out this post: Are Cruises All Inclusive? Your Guide To What Is Included.
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:
Where To Next?
If you’re considering your first cruise, or would just like to learn a little more about cruising, this post is a brilliant place to start: 67 Cruise Tips From 67 Cruisers.
If you have any cruise questions or stories/photos you’d like to share, please join us in our Facebook group!