Loyal to Royal? Expect to Pay Higher Gratuities! (And the Money's Not for the Crew)

Loyal to Royal Caribbean - Cruise Line GreedLoyal to Royal?

Expect to pay more in gratuities.

Effective June 1st for all sailings departing on or after July 1st, the new gratuities charged by Royal Caribbean to its passengers will be $12.95 per day, per guest in standard accommodations, and $15.95 per day, per guest in suites. 

There seems to be a trend across the cruise industry to nickel & dime the customers. NCL, for example, just started charging a room service fee.  

NCL's CEO Del Rio said this while reporting on last quarter:  "... we have looked across the fleet to identify areas where marginal changes that are commensurate with market conditions can be implemented to improve performance.

A few examples include a 6.7% average increase in beverage prices, the introduction of a nominal room service fee and lower costs from renegotiated shore excursion agreements. To put into perspective how these small changes can add up quickly, ever dollar increase in yield translates to approximately $15 million to the bottom line." 

Royal Caribbean's increased gratuities is designed to increase profits and put more money in the executives pockets. 

What RCCL is not telling you: not all the gratuities go to the hard-working crew members.

Royal Caribbean, like Carnival and NCL, has been diverting tips from the crew into revenue ever since it began the pre-paid gratuities. Remember when you used to hand your cabin steward cash at the end of the cruise? Most cruise lines stopped that practice in order to grab a good chuck of the money intended for the crew for themselves.

Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean do a poor job taking care of their crew members. You see evidence of it everywhere. Carnival canceled the meager retirement plan for its crew a couple of years ago. NCL is Richardd Fain - Royal Caribbeancharging for room service and is charging higher prices for drinks and excursions but there's no indication that it will pass any more money along to the crew. The crew members' benefits have been cut and they are still working insane hours every day.

I have never heard of any cruise line making changes designed to benefit the crew in the last decade.

Some passengers say they are fed up and will no longer be loyal to their favorite cruise line. So the "Loyal to Royals" will switch to NCL, and the "Loyal to Norwegians" will switch to Carnival and so forth and so on. Around and around the guests will spin as the cruise lines suck up their nickels and dimes while the cruise executives pocket millions and millions without a thought of their hard-working crew. 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

May 15, 2015 Update: USA TODAY's Cruise Log says that "with the increase, a family of four will pay more than $350 in service charges on a typical seven-night cruise -- one of the highest levies in the business.

Eleven Months after Costa Concordia, Cruise Lines Still Struggling to Sell Cruises

The major cruise lines have reduced prices for this winter and early 2013 sailings by around 3.5 percent since late September, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.  

Cruise line operators started this year hoping that they could start charging passengers higher prices after offering discounts following the 2007-2009 recession. But then two weeks into the year, disaster struck when the  Costa Concordia capsized and images of panicked cruise passengers dominated the news. 32 people died. The Concordia still lies in the little Italian port of Giglio like a dead whale.

Costa Concordia - Cruise ShipNot surprisingly, cruise bookings slumped even as the cruise lines lowered prices.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean said that they were optimistic about increased demand and higher prices when they reported third-quarter results in the fall. But some analysts consider the price reductions as a sign that the cruise industry is still struggling and will have to wait until the second half of next year to see real improvements. 

Peak cruise season starts next February and that will be key to see whether the cruise lines can get back on the financial track. But before that, the cruise industry has to endure the one-year anniversary of Costa Concordia in mid January. That will be a difficult time for the cruise lines. As the giant beached whale Concordia remains half submerged on her side in Giglio, the cruise line will have to convince you that cruising is a safe vacation for your family. 

 

Image credit: Giglio News Web Cam