P&O Cruises announced last week that it is ending the mandatory daily service charges effective May 2019, according to the Express newspaper in London.

Cruise passengers seem to have welcomed the news, thinking that the change will make cruises cheaper for them.

The majority of cruise passengers in the British market seem to have resented the mandatory charges, stating that they always remove the charges and, allegedly, decide who and how much to tip.  Many correctly view the mandatory charges as an effort by the cruise line to require passengers subsidize the meager wages paid to crew members or, worse, to divert the tips as profits for the company.

Many crew members state that passengers who stand in line to remove the service charges rarely tip at the end of the cruise.

Several years ago I posted photographs of pages and pages of documents showing that passengers routinely remove automatic gratuities from their sail and sign accounts. A crew member sent me the photos of the removed gratuities. Read: Carnival Hikes Pre-Paid Gratuties But Will Passengers Secretly Remove Tips?

There appears to be a significant difference between British based cruise lines and U.S. based cruise lines like Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean. These cruise line routinely gouge their customers with high auto-gratuities which many believe are pocketed by the companies to increase profits.

Cruise passengers may like the news of no more auto-tips on P&O Cruises because they can keep money in their pockets (and out of the pockets of the cruise lines), but what about the hard-working crew members?

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


  • Larry

    Cruise industry profits are soaring so why do passengers have to subsidize gratuities? I don’t have a problem giving tips for individuals who go above and beyond but let this be my choice… The cruise industry shoukd pay employees a fare wage and not rely on gratuities to compensate. With that being said we will pay gratuities one way or the other either with an increased fare or same made up tax but pay employees a fare wage so they don’t have to depend on gratuities…

  • C Thompson

    The big question we all want to know is whether the money charged as automatic gratuity actually goes to the workers, and what percentage goes to them.

    • Dylan Thomas

      yes and no, it’s devided between hundreds of staff members in the hotel department. In the end those crew are seeing a small gratuity bones once a month. I’ve worked land and sea, business on land do something similar. Servers have to tip out at the end of a shift, that tip out goes to help compensate kitchen staff instead of paying them more. I could go on more, in sum, tips show you appreciate the service doesn’t have to be big but they’ll remember.

  • whiskey5jda

    they will just jack up the price of the cruises is all.

  • Moira Wilde

    Price of Britannia med cruise June 15/19 has increased by £700 pp sinCecon board price this June – for a standard balcony cabin ? Thats £1, 400 pc -a lot more than the tips which most of us take off anyway !! cannot book more than six months ahead as have family/work commitments to sort first ? Now we face increased fares! I can show them quote for o/b price that friends have paid, hoping we could join them! But even by cancelling our October cruise cannot justify this hike in prices!