Carnival Cruise Line Increases Gratuities in 2018

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Passengers with trips booked on Carnival Cruise Line might want to pay their daily gratuities before December, when the rate will once again go up.

What’s the new daily rate?

Carnival Magic
Carnival Magic sailing from Port Canaveral.

In a note shared with travel agents, Carnival Cruise Line informed them that beginning December 1, 2018, the onboard gratuity rate would be going up. From that date forward, passengers in standard staterooms will be charged $13.99 per person, per day, while those in suites will be charged $15.99 per person, per day.

Anyone looking to avoid paying the increased gratuity can do so by pre-paying before December 1 at the current rate of $12.95 per person, per day for standard staterooms and $13.95 per person, per day for suites.

Where the Money Goes

When rates are raised, there is an inevitable outcry among the nickel-and-dime crowd, who oftentimes also question where the money is going. This may be why Carnival took the pre-emptive step of including the following statement in a letter they encouraged travel partners to share with their clients. “100% of gratuities go towards our shipboard team members. They work hard to provide exceptional and friendly service, so we hope you will agree that this minor increase is well deserved.”

READ MORE: Ultimate Guide To Cruise Tipping

carnival triumph cozumel
Carnival Triumph docked in Cozumel.

Carnival’s on-line guide to gratuities gets a bit more specific. “The majority of the tipping amount goes to employees such as stateroom stewards, assistant stewards, dining room waiters, and assistant waiters,” it reads. “A small portion goes to a mix of other personnel who are in guest-facing customer service positions within areas such as culinary and hotel services, along with certain key positions in entertainment and guest services.”

They list the current breakdown as follows:

  • Housekeeping Team: $4.35 ($6.35 for suites)
  • Dining Team: $6.89
  • Alternate Services: $2.75

Like other cruise lines, Carnival automatically adds the daily gratuity charge to the Sail & Sign cards of those who do not prepay them. While their online gratuities FAQ says that “how much to tip is a personal matter and completely up to guests,” the designated amount is automatically charged and those who are dissatisfied with the services they receive are given the option of going to the Guest Services Desk.

The last time Carnival raised their rates was in May of 2016.


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