Royal Caribbean is raising the cost of gratuities in standard and guest suites, making it one of the most expensive in Australia.

While the rise is just 55 cents a day, it is just the latest from cruise lines.

It once again opens up the debate about the way payments are extracted from guests and the transparency around the service guests receive.

The line last increased its gratuities rate in June 2015 by eight per cent, putting it on par with Norwegian Cruise Lines, making it highest suggest gratuity in the industry..

Guests in standard accommodation will be now pay US$13.50 from US$12.95 per day, per guest while guest in suites will now pay US$16.50 from $15.95 per person, per day as of May 1, 2016.

It also makes it one of the more expensive gratuity rates – lines like Carnival in America suggest rates of US$12 per day, per person, P&O UK suggest £5 per person, per day while passengers onboard Cunard’s Britannia categories suggest US$11.50 a day. Norwegian Cruise Lines last year increased its gratuities to US$13.50.

But some cruise lines like P&O Australia, Princess Cruises, Scenic Tours and Avalon Waterways include the cost of gratuities when cruises book so there is no more to pay unless you want to.

“Royal Caribbean International is adjusting the cruise line’s recommended gratuities guideline. Taking effect April 14, 2016, for all sailings departing on or after May 1, 2016, the new recommended gratuities guideline will be US$13.50 per day, per guest in standard accommodations, and US$16.50 per day, per guest in suites. For guests’ convenience, Royal Caribbean automatically registers the daily gratuities in guest folios; however guests are free to change the amount at their discretion with the ship’s Guest Services staff,” said a Royal Caribbean spokesperson.
“Guests who prepay their gratuities prior to the effective date can still do so based on the current guideline of US$12.95 per day, per guest in standard accommodations, and US$15.95 per day, per suite guest.”

Readers in the past have told Cruise Passenger that they want more transparency around the price they pay for gratuities.

One like Judith Roberts want more transparency when paying the gratuities.
“On Holland America in 2014 I don’t think we had a choice – $11 or $12 per person per day just added to the account. Not to say that the service wasn’t good – the crew were fabulous, but it would be nice to make the tipping decision for yourself.”

Readers like Helen Pask said the gratuity fees are already too high.
“I will not pay gratuities. I prefer to tip my cabin boy myself. NCL’s gratuities are double that charged by P&O. It is a rip-off. You charge gratuities and then add a tip to all drinks. If you paid your staff a decent salary, there would be no need for tips.”