Cruise Line to Hike Gratuities for All Passengers Next Month

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Holland America Line has begun notifying passengers and travel agencies that it is increasing its gratuities across staterooms on voyages starting on or after February 14, 2024.

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Guests who booked suites will pay $19 per day, a 9% increase from the previous daily rate of $17.50. Meanwhile, those staying in non-suite cabins will be charged 6% more. From $16, non-suite occupants will soon pay $17 a day.

RoomNew Old% Increase
Standard Room$17$166%

In the same announcement, the cruise line assured passengers that the current 18% service charge on optional purchases will remain the same. This includes cover charges for specialty restaurants, a la carte menu items, spa and salon services, and bar items.

Referred to as a form of “crew appreciation” by Holland America, the US-owned cruise line implemented its last round of gratuity price increases on the same date the previous year, February 1, 2023.

However, the 2023 rates were more modest than this year’s increases since they only required guests to pay $0.50 more.

Introducing higher gratuities was a trend in 2023

Mardi Gras Maiden Voyage view from balcony
A day at sea on Carnival Mardi Gras.

Unfortunately, we may see more similar announcements from other cruise lines in 2024.

Last year alone, major cruise operators like Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess Cruises raised their gratuities. Some even introduced higher gratuity prices twice in a few months.

Royal Caribbean introduced higher gratuities twice in 14 months. During its second round of price hikes, it demanded 12% more.

Celebrity Cruises also raised gratuity rates twice in nine months. In January 2023, Norwegian Cruise Line announced a 20% increase in its gratuities while saying it would start charging more for Wi-Fi. 

The ever-increasing cost of gratuities has been a sensitive subject for cruisers, especially in light of recent and rapid price hikes.

For passengers, particularly those traveling in groups, “forced gratuity” could add hundreds more dollars to their fares.

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