Holland America, one of the last "big ship" lines to offer a "tipping not required" policy has, at last, formalized a gratuity plan that was actually proposed last year by its president, Stein Kruse.
These first-ever-for-HAL guidelines apply fleet-wide, and won't shock travelers who've cruised on other lines. Holland America has pretty much adopted the industry standard: charging a gratuity of $10 per guest per day for dining and stateroom service. The charge is applied directly to passengers' onboard accounts though they can alter the amount (higher or lower) via an in-person request.
Holland America also has added a 15 percent service charge to all beverage purchases.
In truth, however, the change in policy will actually not mean much to most cruise travelers. "Tipping not required" may have confused some passengers into believing that gratuities were folded into the actual cruise fare -- but in fact, most folks sailing onboard Holland America's ships left remuneration for service staff that conformed to other cruise line policies.
Holland America -- At Last! -- Formalizes A Gratuity Policy
May 7, 2004