We remember when Norwegian Cruise Lines' passengers howled at the injustice of Le Bistro’s $5 service charge (you were still expected to tip the main dining room staff) but that’s pocket change these days. In a disturbing new trend, some cruise lines have tripled the fee cruise passengers pay to eat at their alternative restaurants; on Grand Princess, the recently revamped Sabatini’s now bills a $15 -- per person -- service charge. At Portofino, on Royal Caribbean’s new
Explorer of the Seas, there’s also a $15 fee.
For the most part, other cruise ships with fancy alternative restaurants, such as Disney’s Magic and Wonder, and Norwegian Sky’s Ciou-Chow and Le Bistro, continue to charge an entirely reasonable $5 per-person “tip.” One’s even bucking the trend. Eat at Odyssey, the boutique bistro on Holland America’s
Amsterdam, and there’s no extra charge at all.