Cruise Gratuities, Service charges and tipping

In this blog post, I’m going to break my number one rule and talk about something that can be a controversial topic among cruisers – tipping! Or service charges, service rewards or gratuities depending on your cruise line!  Further down the post you will see a table of charges by cruise line.


Cruise lines will normally have a daily charge that is added to your onboard account or it may be added to the price of your cruise – this is usually distributed between the service staff you will be dealing with during your cruise such as your cabin steward, dining room staff and bar stewards. Some cruise lines may also add a service charge to each item you purchase.


To us Brits, this can be a little alien as we are not used to this in our service industry.


The topic is often bought up on Facebook groups, with members being confused how they work and how they are distributed between the crew. Most cruise lines will have a FAQ that covers this (links below) but it seems some have trust issues or conspiracy theories with regards to what happens to this money.


If the cost is not included in your cruise, you will find they are added to your on-board account, I have included a table below with the costs as they are shown online today (June 2018). If you have further questions, Reception or Guest services will be able to assist – they may also be able to increase, decrease or remove the daily charge.



Cruise Line Daily Charge Per Person Official Link
Carnival $12.95

$13.95 (Suites)
Celebrity $14.50

$15.00 (Concierge class)

$18.00 (Suites)
Cruise and Maritime (CMV) £7pppn or £6pppn for cruises over 16 nights

For Astor the charge is $12pppn or $10pppn for cruises over 11 nights
Costa 10euro
Cunard $11.50

$13.50 (Suites)
Fred Olsen £5.00
MSC 10euro
Marella Cruises No Service Charge Marella Cruises
P&O £7 / Free from May 2019 (see link)
Princess $13.50

$14.50 (Mini Suites)

$15.50 (Suites)
Royal Caribbean $14.50

$17.50 (Suites)