Norwegian Cruise Line has increased its gratuities – while a Cruise Passenger survey has found that the average a cruiser pays is US$13.50 (AU$19).
Norwegian, which sails Norwegian Jewel around Australia, has increased the daily service charge by US$0.49c.
Gratuities have always been a hot topic amongst cruise passengers. While some have gratuities itemised on your bill at the end of a holiday, luxury lines include it in the price of your cruise.
Australians are lucky. Most homeported ships don’t have tipping on board.
Lines like P&O Cruises Australia, Carnival Cruise Line Australia and Princess Cruises in Australia don’t expect guests to tip, but say they are welcome to give cash to crew or amend their bill to include gratuities at the end of their holiday.
Australians sailing abroad often face the charges, which generally rise each year. But some lines, like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises don’t charge itemised gratuities for Australians and New Zealanders, as it is included in the fare.
Norwegian Cruise Lines has joined the ranks of other lines outside Australia, like Royal Caribbean (America), Holland America Line and Carnival Cruises (America) in increasing the service charge.
NCL says on its website: “Staff members including complimentary restaurant staff, stateroom stewards and behind the scenes support staff are compensated by a combination of salary and incentive programs that your service charge supports.”
The NCL additional charge, which came into effect on April 1, is the second time in two years that NCL has increased its gratuities. But NCL said it would still honour the previous rates for guests who booked voyages before April 1.
Guests sailing in any stateroom category up to a mini-suite will be charged US$15 per day per person and those sailing in any suite, Concierge or a Haven stateroom will be charged US$18 per person per day.
Those guests sailing on Norwegian Sky and Sun, two ships in the fleet that sail with an all-inclusive price will be charged US$20.50 per person per day and suite guests will be charged US$23.50 per person per day.
Norwegian’s previous charges were US$14.50 per person per day for standard cabins and US$17.50 per person per day for suite and Haven guests on ships besides from the Sky and Sun. Guests on the Sky and Sun previously had to pay US$19.99 for standard staterooms and those in suites had to pay US$22.99 per person per day.
Here are how the other lines stack up in price (*note, prices are all in US dollars except for P&O Cruise Australia, Carnival Cruise Line Australia and Princess Cruises homeported in Australia).