Review Royal Caribbean gratuities, tipping policy and tips (per day/reduced/removed). There are major changes in the Royal Caribbean gratuities policy to be implemented on all RCI ships.
(NEW) Royal Caribbean gratuities 2018-2019 tipping policy
NEW: Since January 2, 2018. Royal Caribbean International (RCI) cruise ship passengers pay USD 14,50 pp per day in tips (service charge) which is added automatically to his / her onboard account (SeaPass) on a daily basis. Grand Suite and above cabin category customers pay USD 17,50 pp per day gratuities.
OLD: Since May 1, 2016, passengers on Royal Caribbean ships pay 55 cents more per day, per person for gratuities. The RCI daily tip was USD 13,50 (up from USD 12,95) for standard cabin guests and USD 16,50 (up from USD 15.95) for guests in suites.
Before that, in 2015 RCI upped its gratuities from USD 12 to USD 12,95 (standard cabins) and from USD 14,25 to USD 15,95 (suites). According to Royal Caribbean, the last increase put the company "in line with its competitors in the industry and recognize the exceptional work that Royal Caribbean's staff and crew does to deliver unforgettable vacations every day."
As it is with most cruise lines, travelers can remove daily gratuity but it does pay for tips for all crew members in the housekeeping and dining rooms. According to the RCI website, of the 2016-updated gratuities (USD 13.50), nearly USD 8.30 goes to dining / culinary services; suite attendants receive USD 6,85; stateroom attendants get USD 3,85, and housekeeping services - USD 1.35.
The new RCI tips per day are added to each guest's SeaPass card (shipboard account) automatically, the only exclusion being for passengers with prepaid gratuities - they won't be charged daily. The bar service personnel still gets their 15% tips from bar sales.
Just for comparison, by the old RCCL tipping guidelines, the Royal Caribbean suggested tips/gratuities were a total of USD 11,65 per day per passenger (respectively USD 13,90 for suite passengers) and also guests could pay onboard either in cash or via their shipboard account.
Royal Caribbean tips - reduced or removed?
Just like with the Carnival's tipping policy, under the new Royal Caribbean tipping policy guests who believe they've been serviced poorly while onboard their "Of The Seas" ship has the right to ask Guest Services personnel to reduce or even to remove their automatic gratuities. And just like with the Carnival case, this will reflect directly on the ship's serving staff (cabin stewards, Room Service, and Main Dining Room wait staff, as well as kitchen, entertainment, passenger services and other hotel personnel).
It's always up to you to adjust the number of gratuities at any time while onboard the ship and your tips will be deemed undisputed. But you should know, that the ship's service staff don't make a salary - your tips are their wages. In their case "tipping" doesn't mean "extra" - it means "salary". So our "big tip" on this subject is this - if you guys have a service staff problem, speak first with your cabin attendant. Then (if your problem continues to bother you) contact the hotel manager. And if the problem still remains unsolved - then adjust the tips.