Celebrity Cruises and the deal with tips


When you are new to cruising then it might seem strange when you find out about cruise ship gratuities, which some people call cruise tips, and service charges. The first reaction to most new cruisers is complete surprise and things become more confusing when there is a mix of fixed charges, and service charges. Each cruise line has a different policy for cruise tips, officially named gratuities, and you should read the cruise brochure before departing with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, P&O, or whatever cruise line you’re traveling on.

When it comes to Celebrity Cruises a service charge and gratuity are pretty much the same thing, and before you board a lot of charges are already included. You would have already paid for accommodation, transport, port fees and taxes, most meals (not those in speciality dining like Qsine), and for some people the gratuities are prepaid. If you have prepaid your cruise tips then we doubt it is possible for a refund, although on our last cruise with Celebrity the gratuities were charged on your account for the whole cruise and these were flexible, so if you’re not happy with the service you can have these reduced or removed.

Celebrity recommend what you should pay for gratuities – the tips suggested for cruise staff are around $11.50/£7.40 a day, although this might have changed since the time of writing. It’s worth noting that this charge is a little more if you use the Concierge service.

Have you ever asked for gratuities to be removed, and if so let us know what cruise line and your reasons for this? We recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean with P&O Cruises, and considering the crazy water leaks and water pouring out of lights it didn’t seem right to pay more money, so we had the gratuities removed.

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  • Sharonburke

    Why would maintenance issues on the ship move you to cancel your gratuities for the hard working service staff in the dining room and housekeeping areas. How is a leaky ship your room steward or your dining room waiters problem. That is the most ridiculous comment I have read regarding cruise ship gratuities.

    • RickyT

      Obviously you’ve never been on a cruise ship with major problems, I have, it makes you feel like the cruise company should pay the workers more and focus on fixing the ship rather than just making money. If you spend 1000’s on a holiday and it becomes a nightmare, why should you pay more for tips???

  • florencel

    I agree with Sharon.  Why on earth would the condition of the ship change your need to give gratuities?  Did your room steward take care of your room, turn down your bed, keep it clean and clutter free?  Were you served in the dining room with politeness and grace?  Did everyone cater to your every whim?  I would never have not left a gratuity.  If you don’t want to give it to the cruise line because you don’t think they are giving it to those that have earned it, give them cash directly.  It is still appreciated.

  • Frequent_Cruiser

    Having tips removed for reasons that have nothing to do with the service the staff provides you in the restaurant and your stateroom is not right. Water leaks hav nothing to do with that, yet you are removing the crews pay. Most service personnel depends on these tips to make a living.
    Imagine you work as a automobile technician and your employer takes money out of your salary because there was a technical problem on a car that from the manufacturer….how would you feel????

    • Polo7

      Don’t know where you originate from Frequent_Cruiser but I’m guessing US. Please bear in mind that not all people have the same thoughts as you on GRATUITIES. I would rather obviate the problem completely and see the Cruise Lines pay employees a decent salary. If that means upping the Cruise price………so be it. If they want to trade with competitive pricing, then do so (all good stuff for the consumer)lets not have any more Headline Grabbing cruise pricing, and pay a decent salary. Tipping in Europe is the exception rather than the rule, I intend to keep that thought!