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.