Royal Caribbean announced that they will be hiking the automatic gratuity for staff by more than 7%, to $14.50 per person, per day for passengers staying in cabins and $17/50 per person, per day for passengers staying in suites. The automatic gratuity increase will be effective as of January 2, 2018. Currently, the daily gratuity amount is $13.50 per person, per day for guests staying cabins and $16.50 per person, per day, for passengers staying in suites.
This is the third increase in three years for the cruising company, with the last gratuity raise happening in May 2016. Along with other major cruise lines, Royal Caribbean has increased its gratuity charges at a rapid rate in recent years. The gratuity charge increase planned for 2018 has raised the fee by more than 21% since May 2015. That is higher than five times the rate of inflation in the USA over the same amount of time.
Customers that already have existing reservations for 2018 can avoid paying this increase in gratuity fee by completing their payments by January 2. Payments not completed by then will be subject to the increased gratuity rate, according to the Royal Caribbean blog.