Royal Caribbean International is to charge passengers an automatic daily gratuity for crew members in the dining room and housekeeping staff who are traditionally tipped.
The line will join others in including automatic gratuities in bills from March 1. The company confirmed that the new policy will apply fleet-wide.
Royal Caribbean will add an automatic daily gratuity of $12 or $14.25 for passengers in suites to onboard accounts of each guest to be shared by waiters, stateroom attendants and other housekeeping services personnel. This new gratuity replaces the previously optional tipping guidelines.
The line previously recommended a total of $11.65 per passenger, per day or $13.90 for suite guests and they could pay via their onboard account or in cash.
The change brings the company into line with a policy adopted by rivals Carnival Cruise Lines, P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise Line.
All of the competitor cruise lines allow passengers to go to the guest relations desk onboard and ask to change the automatic gratuity charges if they feel service is not up to the expected levels.
Staff on a number of lines have suffered from a reduction in voluntary tips, with British passengers known to be among the most reluctant to pay gratuities.
Royal Caribbean passengers who have previously pre-paid their gratuities for forthcoming cruises will not be affected by the change.
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