Celebrity Cruises Makes Huge Fare Increases for Passengers

Celebrity Cruises has quietly updated its Gratuity Program page from Frequently Asked Questions with increased rates starting Tuesday, July 11, 2023.

Automatic gratuities for all cabins will be increased, marking the second such increase in less than a year. Prior to the recent increase, gratuities aboard Celebrity Cruises have remained constant since November 2020.

Gratification Rates Rise

Celebrity Cruises will increase the automatic gratuity rate for all cabins for any sailings departing on or after July 11, 2023. All rates are per person, per day, vary depending on cabin type, and are listed in US dollars (USD).

The increased rate will be $18 for interior, ocean view, and verandah cabins; $18.50 for Concierge Class and AquaClass cabins; and $23 for guests at The Retreat.

Celebrity Cruises
Photo Credit: Steve Heap/Shutterstock

Confirmed bookings with cruise line “All Inclusive” or “Always Included” rates that have already paid a tip in the package will not be increased, regardless of the cruise date, but the new tip rate will apply to all new bookings.

Previous fares were $17.50, $18, and $21 for each cabin category. The new upgrades represent approximately a 3% change to the interior, ocean view, verandah, Concierge and AquaClass cabins, but a more significant 9.5% increase to the cabins at The Retreat.

The gratuity is automatically added to the guest’s SeaPass account during the cruise. If travelers experience issues or prefer to pay cash and wish to adjust their gratuity, they can do so at the Guest Relations desk.

Second Increase In Less Than A Year

This new upgrade is the second time Celebrity Cruises has increased the gratuity rate in just nine months. Fares increase in mid-October 2022, at which time they increase from $15.50 for a standard cabin, $16 for Concierge Class and Aqua Class, and $19 for The Retreat.

This means that in less than a year, gratuities have increased by more than 16% for standard rooms, 15% for Concierge and AquaClass, and 21% for The Retreat.

Celebrities Off Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

All cruise lines have raised gratuity rates in the past year, but the frequency of larger increases is alarming and adds a financial burden on travelers who have budgeted carefully for vacations only to find higher than expected onboard costs, including gratuities.

The increase may not seem like much, but when you add to it the other increases associated with cruise vacations – airfare, harbor parking fees, shore excursions, port taxes, etc. – can be significant.

Also Read: Top 8 Cruise Ship Trends Travelers Should Be Worried About

Of course, if guests prepay their tips, they are usually not charged the higher rate, regardless of when the rate was increased compared to the cruise ship’s cruise date.

Celebrity Cruises does have a note at the bottom of their Gratuity Program FAQ that states, “The amount of gratuity is subject to change” – a note that first appeared only after the October 2022 hike.

Related Cruises – Are Upgrades Coming?

Celebrity Cruises is part of the Royal Caribbean Group, which also includes Royal Caribbean International and Silversea Cruises. Currently, none of the relevant cruise lines are indicating an increase in gratuities, but such changes are likely to occur.

Who owns Celebrity Cruises
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Royal Caribbean International last raised gratuity rates in September 2022, while Silversea Cruises has including the gratuity rate in the base rate and no additional fees are added to the guest account during the cruise.

In addition, once one cruise line raises gratuities, other lines usually follow in the next few months, even from different companies.

It’s likely that travelers will see percent rate increases from Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line and others later this year.

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