March 14, 2019
(5:27 p.m. EDT) -- Beginning on April 1, 2019, Norwegian Cruise Line will raise the automatic gratuities charged to passengers' accounts.
Cruise Critic first heard of the increase on its Norwegian forums, where member Markanddonna shared a letter they received from the cruise line that read:
"Norwegian Cruise Line is making a nominal adjustment to its daily service charges, effective April 1, 2019. Norwegian's discretionary daily service charges make it easy for guests to provide gratuities to the onboard staff dedicated to delivering superior guest service throughout the cruise."
The rate for passengers staying in standard cabins and mini-suites will be $14.99 (up from $14.50), while those staying in The Haven and other suites will be charged $17.99 (up from $17.50). Passengers sailing on Norwegian's Hawaii-based Pride of America ship will continue to be charged an additional General Exercise Tax (GET) of 4.275 percent.
Automatic gratuities on the line's all-inclusive ships -- Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun -- also have increased from $19.99 to $20.49 for passengers staying in standard cabins and mini-suites, and from $22.99 to $23.49 for suite guests.
Cruises booked before April 1 will offer the option to prepay gratuities at the current rate, as long as it's done before the sail date. Those with existing reservations, who already prepaid gratuities, will not be affected.
On the Cruise Critic Boards, some members express their disappointment in the changes, while others don't seem fazed.
"We just paid $14.50 p/p per day this January (Escape - non-Haven,) figured that another increase is coming this Spring," said member mking8288.
Added member newmexicoNita: "I guess we could have figured this would happen. Yes, it is going up once a year it seems. I understand but I sure don't like it. But then I look at it this way: $3.50 for a 7 day cruise isn't going to kill any of us. In fact most of us might not even notice.
"To me, it is more the principal than the actual money. I will add for those of you who say, I am not going to sail NCL anymore because of this, check the gratuities on some of the other lines. There is really very little difference."
Norwegian Cruise Line's new rates come exactly one year after the line's last increase.