This is a review of RCI-Royal Caribbean International's gratuities (paid for the crew services), tipping policy and tips (per day/reduced/removed). The article also reviews major changes in the RCI's gratuities policy implemented fleetwide/on all liners.
(NEW) Royal Caribbean gratuities 2023 tipping policy
IMPORTANT: Since November 11th, 2023, RCI's gratuities (per person per day) are US$18 (service charge for staterooms Junior Suites and below categories) and US$20.50 (Grand Suite and above categories).
On September 7th, 2022, RCI's cruise gratuities were increased to US$16 (Junior Suites and below) while Grand Suite and above categories were charged US$18,50 pp per day.
Tips are added automatically to the onboard account (SeaPass) on a daily basis.
Between January 2, 2018, and Sept 7, 2022, RCI's daily (per passenger) gratuities were US$14,50 (standard staterooms) and US$17,50 (Grand Suites+).
Between May 1, 2016, and January 2, 2018, RCI's gratuities were US$13,50 (increased from US$12,95/standard cabins) and US$16,50 (increased from US$15.95/upper-tier suites).
Before that, in 2015 RCI upped its gratuities from US$12 to USD 12,95 (standard cabins) and from US$14,25 to US$15,95 (suites). According to Royal Caribbean, the 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 shipping companies, RCI tourists can remove the daily gratuity but know that these tips are for all the housekeeping and dining staff. According to RCI's website, of the 2016-updated gratuities (US$13.50), nearly US$8.30 goes to dining / culinary services; suite attendants receive US$6,85; stateroom attendants get US$3,85, and housekeeping service staff - US$1.35.
Daily tips are added to each guest's SeaPass card (shipboard account) automatically. The only exception is for passengers with prepaid gratuities (they won't be charged daily). The bar service personnel still gets their 15% tips from each bar sale.
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.