Are Gratuities Included on Royal Caribbean Cruises?

This is a common question that many travelers ask before embarking on their journey. Royal Caribbean is one of the most popular cruise lines in the world, known for it’s luxurious amenities, top-notch service, and outstanding hospitality. As you prepare for your adventure at sea, it's important to understand what’s included in the cost of your cruise – including gratuities. Gratuities, also known as service charges or tips, are often a significant aspect of any vacation experience, as they help support the hardworking staff who go above and beyond to make your trip memorable.

Can You Avoid Paying Gratuities on a Cruise?

Can you avoid paying gratuities on a cruise? In theory, no, but you should have a good reason not to pay them. Gratuities on cruises are a customary way to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the cruise staff. These hardworking individuals often rely on gratuities as a significant part of their income. If you experience poor service on a cruise, it’s essential to address this issue while on board so that the staff has an opportunity to rectify the situation and provide a better experience for you.

These gratuities are typically distributed among the entire crew, including waitstaff, housekeeping, and other service personnel.

It’s worth noting that some cruise lines have introduced all-inclusive or gratuity-inclusive pricing, where the gratuities are included in the upfront cost of the cruise. Royal Caribbean Cruises, for example, has a recommended gratuity amount that’s automatically added to your onboard account, but this can be adjusted at your discretion.

If you do have a legitimate reason for withholding gratuities, it’s crucial to communicate your concerns to the appropriate personnel on the ship. Whether it’s unsatisfactory service or a genuine issue that affects your experience, addressing it in a constructive manner allows the crew to address the problem and potentially offer a resolution. Ultimately, the goal is to create a positive and enjoyable cruise experience for everyone involved.

These gratuities help support the staff financially and ensure that exceptional service can be maintained. If you encounter any issues with the service, it’s essential to address them on board so that the crew has an opportunity to resolve the problem and improve your experience.

The Different Approaches to Gratuities on Various Cruise Lines

  • Automatic gratuity charges added to your onboard account
  • Optional gratuities that you can choose to add or remove
  • Prepaid gratuities included in the cost of your cruise fare
  • Gratuities included in package deals or promotions
  • Suggested gratuity amounts that guests are encouraged to follow
  • Gratuity envelopes provided for cash tips
  • Service charge included in specialty dining or spa services
  • No gratuity charges or tipping allowed

When it comes to prepaid gratuities on Royal Caribbean, many travelers wonder if they’re refundable. The good news is that prepaid gratuities are indeed refundable. Your client’s Future Cruise Credit will cover 100% of the cruise fare paid to Royal Caribbean, including any prepaid gratuities. Additionally, any taxes and fees, as well as refundable airfare, pre/post hotels, transfers, and taxes/fees, will be refunded to the original form of payment.

Are Prepaid Gratuities Refundable on Royal Caribbean?

On Royal Caribbean cruises, prepaid gratuities aren’t refundable. When you book a cruise with Royal Caribbean, you’ve the option to prepay gratuities, which cover the tips for your onboard service staff. It’s important to consider this when deciding whether or not to prepay gratuities.

If you cancel your cruise and have prepaid gratuities, they’ll not be included in your Future Cruise Credit. The Future Cruise Credit you receive will only be equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid. This includes any commissionable and non-commissionable cruise fare, but doesn’t include prepaid gratuities.

However, any taxes and fees, refundable airfare, pre/post hotel accommodations, transfers, and other prepaid expenses will be refunded to the original form of payment. It’s worth noting that these refundable items will be deducted from your Future Cruise Credit, so you may receive a lower credit amount if you’ve prepaid gratuities or other expenses.

It’s always a good idea to carefully review the terms and conditions of your booking, including the refund policies, before making any prepaid gratuity or other payment decisions. If you’ve any questions or concerns, it’s best to reach out to your travel agent or Royal Caribbean directly to get clarification.



While gratuities are typically not included in the initial price of a cruise, they’re automatically added to the onboard account of guests as a daily service charge. However, this charge can be adjusted or removed at the guest's discretion. It’s important for travelers to carefully read the terms and conditions of their cruise booking, as well as to familiarize themselves with the cruise line's gratuity policy, to ensure a clear understanding of what’s included and what’s not. Ultimately, whether gratuities are included or not, it’s customary to acknowledge exceptional service by offering additional tips to crew members who’ve gone above and beyond.

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