Now that pandemic-related restrictions are mostly a thing of the past and cruisegoers are heading back to the high seas in record numbers, they’re likely to notice that the overall cost of cruising has gone up a bit—well, just like everything else right now.
Holland America Line’s (HAL) latest pricing announcement reveals it to be the latest of multiple major cruise lines to raise its gratuity fees in early 2023.
In fairness, HAL’s newly announced price hike is only an increase of 50 cents for both suite and non-suite staterooms, bringing the charge up to $17.50 and $16.00, respectively. The change in its ‘Crew Appreciation’ charge amount is set to take effect on February 1, 2023.
Crew appreciation charges are automatically applied to each guest’s onboard account at a fixed daily rate through the end of their voyage. In one sense, it’s certainly convenient for customers, taking the time and confusion out of tipping the various staff members who serve them throughout their stay.
Crew appreciation—as well as service charges applied to the products, services and amenities not included in a guest’s cruise fare—are collected from all guests aboard every cruise, and pooled funds are distributed to both customer-facing crew members and those who work behind the scenes, “to recognize the efforts of a wide variety of crewmembers who contribute to the experiences of all our guests,” HAL explained in its notice.
However, if you’ve really got a problem with paying a combined flat-fee gratuity amount, you do have a say in the matter. “In the unlikely event you remain dissatisfied for any reason, the Crew Appreciation is subject to adjustment, at your discretion, at any time during the cruise up to the time you settle your onboard account prior to disembarkation,” HAL wrote.
Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) made similar announcements regarding an increase in their existing crew appreciation fees earlier this month. Princess’ price increase will apply on sailing departing from February 20, 2023, onward. Norwegian’s increased gratuities rate will apply on all sailings booked from January 1, 2023, onward.
USA Today reported that the adjustment to cruise lines’ daily gratuity charges isn’t the only recent increase in cruise costs, and that price hikes are also being applied to other onboard items, such as Wi-Fi and beverage packages, as well as at non-inclusive dining options.
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