Norwegian Cruise Line to Raise Gratuities

March 17, 2017
Norwegian Pearl exterior

(1:48 p.m. EDT) -- For the first time since 2015, Norwegian Cruise Line is raising its gratuities, effective April 1.

Fees for standard cabins and mini-suites will jump from $13.50 to $13.99 per passenger, per day, while cruisers in suites will be charged $16.99 per person, per day, up from $15.50. That amounts to a respective per-person increase of $3.43 or $10.43 per seven-night sailing.

The increases will apply to all vessels, with the exception of beverage-inclusive Norwegian Sky. On that ship, cruisers in standard cabins and mini-suites will now pay $18.99 per person, per day, while those in suites will pay $21.99 per person, per day.

Given that Norwegian Sky currently charges the same auto-gratuities as its fleetmates, the increase in fees on that ship is much bigger, with passengers paying an extra $38.43 or $45.43 per person for a seven-night voyage, depending on cabin type.

In a statement, the line said these significant increases were made "to better address the demands of the enormously successful all-inclusive product aboard Norwegian Sky."

Passengers who book their sailings before March 31 will have the option to avoid the increases by prepaying their gratuities at current rates.

Members on the Cruise Critic message boards are actively discussing the topic.

Not all are outraged: "So for a family of 4 I will now be paying a whopping 14 dollars more for a 7 day cruise. I'm out, will never cruise again with NCL, horrible company, how can they do this," joked pieshops.

But some are skeptical: "They keep raising it, without any indication that the people you hope it goes to are getting a dime of the increase," said member CruisinHarvey.

Norwegian is known for some of the highest gratuities in the cruise industry, having raised them twice within five months in 2015. It also has a notoriously cumbersome policy for passengers to follow if they wish to remove the charges.

--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor