Opinion6 Worst Cruise Trends That Need to Stop

6 Worst Cruise Trends That Need to Stop

While many cruise trends are positive and welcomed by cruisers, there are a few trends that are going in the wrong direction.  Here are cruise trends that need to stop.
Wearing a bathrobe around the ship – While there are many appropriate places to wear a bathrobe on a cruise ship (your stateroom, the spa, pool deck etc.), they should not be worn in the buffet (or any dining venues) and in the ship’s public areas.

Not paying gratuities – For the life of me, I can’t figure out how anyone can completely stiff the staff on a cruise. It is one thing to have the daily gratuities removed and get envelopes to personally tip your servers/stateroom steward, but many passengers are having gratuities removed because it makes the cruise “cheaper”.

My friend told me that on a recent cruise, there was a long line of passengers at guest services having their gratuities removed. Most weren’t asking for envelopes, they just didn’t want to pay gratuities. I read about a travel agent who told their clients to have the gratuities removed because the staff really doesn’t do anything and it will make the cruise more affordable for them. Cruising is just like eating out at a restaurant. If you aren’t going to tip the staff, please stay home.

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Wearing hats at dinner (formal night) – While this used to be a no brainer, taking your hat off at dinner is proper etiquette. This trend has started to grow as cruise lines have switched to a more relaxed dress code for dinner.

Complaining to get something free – While cruise lines do everything they can to make sure passengers have a memorable time on board, sometimes things just don’t go as planned. It’s life, things happen. Cruise lines will often offer something complimentary as a way of saying sorry.

Some passengers are starting to take advantage of this, complaining to guest services about every little thing. It’s one thing if something major goes wrong on a shore excursion (not as advertised etc), it’s another to complain simply because you are a cheapskate. I have even read about passengers complaining demanding compensation because the weather was lousy.

Kids Running Wild – I get it, kids are excited to be on a cruise and I can’t blame them one bit for being excited. However, parents should never let them run wild unattended.

Fees – Cruise lines are starting to add more fees for things that used to be included in cruise fares. As a frequent cruiser, I would rather pay one price up front than be nickel and dimed all week. One of the main benefits of cruising is that a lot is included in cruise fares, we prefer to keep it that way.

Cruise Fever would love to hear from you. Are there any cruise trends that you feel need to stop? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Opinion6 Worst Cruise Trends That Need to Stop


  1. Re:Tipping- Going on a long cruise in a couple of days. I will remove the tips from our account and tip the staff that serve us, in cash, in person. Half the first day, half the last day. I have heard all the reasons for including the tip on our tab- They work long hours, away from family, extended contracts, etc. All have my sympathy, BUT, there is no slavery or indentured servants here. People choose their line of work. I do not want to compensate people who do little or nothing to make my cruise enjoyable. You give me good service, you will get a good tip. Two cruises ago, with prepaid tips, I asked our room steward to please have our ice bucket filled each day. Asked 3 times. Finally got the ice about every other day. He got $1 at the end of the cruise. (In addition to the prepaid tips) I don’t stiff crew members but I will not go out of my way to reward crappy service.

  2. I agree about tips however, you tip in advance and then every thing you buy, a soda card what have you is also changed another tip. Then at the end of the cruise they leave envelops in your room for more tips. The waiters on the last night leave more envelops. Then as you’re leaving the room steward comes by expecting another tip. I think I put out more in tips then the cruise cost me.

  3. Come on CruiseFever! REALLY? Regurgitating a post from almost 2 years ago???? Put this in the archives and come up with something new.

  4. I agree with the kids running around, as far as the tip, this should be up to the person to tip for services rendered. I do not tip for the restaurants, I don’t utilize it. I may go one night, I can take that money and use it for something I’m using such as on drinks or shops. Why tip for a service that is not used.

    • Tipping has been a tradition for as long as there has been cruises, whether for transportation or pleasure. Those people working on the ships work very hard, most have multiple duties. It’s is an exercise of poor taste and personal greed to have the auto tipping removed from your account unless you really do use the envelopes.! We never remove them (ever) because yes people do have bad days. In addition we give extra to those who go above and beyond. And that really does happen a lot.

    • Your tips go to housekeeping and buffet and grill staff in addition to the MDR. I’m assuming you eat somewhere, even if you are skipping the MDR?

    • Just for the record, you ARE saying that on the rare occasion you actually DO use the specialty restaurants, you DO actually tip the staff in that venue, correct?

  5. I have been cruiseing a long time the one thing I enjoyed was having the same table and waiters every night that has changed its a different table and waiters every night I don’t like it

    • I agree to a point… We too enjoy the main diningroom and our dinner-guests who share the diningroom table with us. In fact, last year’s fellow dining companions are going to be this year’s extended family for the annual Turkey Day cruise! We enjoyed each-other’s company so much last year, we are all cruising together as an extended group this year! Such would never happen if you were seated with different guests and served by different wait-staff every night. In addition, when you are served by the same wait-staff every night of the cruise, little is left to chance. They know what you like by the end of your first dinner with them, and by the second night, you are never asking for “coke zero please”. It makes the entire cruise experience just that much better.

      There’s nothing wrong with a change of pace i.e. one night at Chops Grill or Sabatini’s, but nothing tops having a personal waiter taking care of you every night of your cruise.

  6. I don’t always have pockets. Sorry it bothers you, but it’s more convenient for me. I don’t have to pull it out if my pocket to unlock my door. And, btw, it’s not your concern if I lose it. Been on 20 cruises and haven’t lost one yet. (It worries me to death that yours could fall out of your pocket ?.

    • Steve, just for the record, we have been cruising for far-more than a decade now, and while I agree with you that NO PASSENGER should EVER stiff the restaurant and domestic staffs, our families (There are three separate families in our group) have seen a NOTICEABLE drop-off in service both with our cabin stewards AND wait-staff when their tips are paid in advance.

      We have tested this observation three separate times and on both Royal Caribbean and their sister-line, Celebrity. Each time we tipped in advance, the service was good, but not up to what we have come to expect from both brands. When we requested envelopes, we were treated like royalty EVERY day. Case in point: The first cruise we paid tips in advance was on RCI’s Independence of the Seas. When we asked our cabin steward on the first day to make sure we had both ice and a pitcher of water in our room, his response to me was: “Mr. Norflus, I cannot fulfill your request, That request can only be handled by Room Service.” (This particular cruise was over two years ago.) Yet our last two most-recent cruises we held back our tips, and when I made the request to our steward each time, on either cruise, the room steward made sure to have our water and ice both in the morning, and when he turned-down our bedding each night. Our service in the main diningroom was similar. In the case where tips were paid in advance, the service was not quite up to RCI standards. (Napkins were never placed on our laps, water glasses were not filled without reminders; the same with soda. The sommelier failed to appear at our table even one night during our cruise to offer his skills at removing the cork on our (own) bottle of wine. Needless to say, he never checked on our table to offer us his suggestion for dining on ANY night of our cruise. The Head Waiter on one of these cruises in question NEVER showed up to introduce himself to our table. On the other cruise in question, the Head Waiter introduced himself to us in the middle of our cruise, and was never seen by our table again. Needless to say, I pointed this out to RCI in my “After your cruise” questionnaire. Yet the opposite was clearly in play on every cruise we held our tips until the last night of the cruise.

      Now in fairness to the staff and like you have already stated, these jobs are HARD, DEMANDING and in too many instances, unappreciated by spoiled passengers. It is also why I like to hand an envelope to each member of these staffs when they go above and beyond, and let them know we have added a little extra to the expected amount to show our gratitude for making us feel like we are ROYAL. Never once have those small signs of gratitude gone un-noticed by these professionals.

  7. Why cant their be n line for disembark for elder people and people without children and a line for people with children. They sometimes had to wait for the paperwork and then the people without had to wait with them instead make n line for people without kids an one with kids and then also one for the easy pass people. That will be a way to keep Avery one happy and the people without to get faster on the cruise ship. The cruise line count this day as day one but after the embark the safety drill and the waiting for the luggage the day is already gone and the waiting in the lines make it no pleasure any more. And also why had the passengers had to wait till 13:00 to get into their cabens and had to walk all the time with their hand luggage.

  8. Stop with the unlimited dining and beverage packages. I don’t like paying for someone else to drink on their cruise! And don’t say I’m not because the prices have risen substantially. You are pricing yourself out of reach for the middle class passenger. There is no such thing as “a free lunch”!

  9. If it bothers you that much that people are not wearing tux or gowns for formal night then YOUR the one who should eat at the buffet, or KC.

    • I agree with you. Why is it that people worry so much about what people wear to have dinner.??
      We are all on vacation and should be able to dress as we like. As long as we don’t have on swim wear, what is the big deal. Wow.

  10. formal nights proper attire should be upheld.if not properly dressed either show them the to the buffett or do not allow them entrance.i know all rules are not followed but at least make the maitre’d earn his money.if this is a problem then do away with formal night,close the mdr and send everyone to the lido deck for burgers hot dogs pizza and whatever else is there.after all it states proper dress required if you can not dress well the rent a row boat and get food from kfc and call that your cruise.

    • I’m with you 100%! In real life I’m a cowgirl & live in jeans & boots & top attire is seasonal. I love the chance to dress up. I don’t want to see people wearing tees, ball caps & thongs!
      To those who eschew formal attire, please dine in the boofay.

  11. When your on Carnival now, and if you purchase any alcohol that was PREVIOUSLY delivered to your room on the last night of your cruise, now you have to stand in line on disembarkation day to get your purchase. WHAT A WASTE and MAJOR INCONVIENENCE to all of those who still purchase.
    Lets all keep telling Carnival. to re-instate the last night delivery of your purchases to allow you more time to pack your items safely for your trip home.
    Thus will result in more sales for the company again.
    Since the policy came in, sales had dropped DRAMATICALLY and Carnival bosses cannot understand why!!
    If you look at the question asked by Carnival blogger John Heald, you will see that the MAJORITY of comments are to put the system back into effect.
    On my cruises, I did purchase alcohol to take home, BUT I will not anymore until this is resolved.

  12. so is the tip required and mandatory and if not how do i take it off my bill dont want to stiff anyone and am willing to pay a approiate tip. but there are 15 people in my party and they are tell me 96 dollers per person. i think that is a little bit out range.

    • Seriously, if you think the tip is too much, please don’t take the cruise. The workers have earned it and, unless service was terrible, the default amount should be the least that you give. We have also given tips directly, in addition to the automatic tip applied to the account.

    • I also pre pay the mandatory amount. I also give tips to room steward, waiters and bartenders. The mandatory amount goes to all the staff that we don’t see that makes our cruise pleasant. If you go to a restaurant, don’t you tip the waiter ?? If you don’t tip, you are cheap !!

  13. I don’t feel I should HAVE to tip staff for doing their job. They chose that line of work and we’re told the wages before they started. If they go above and beyond then yes they deserve a tip by all means. It may not be great wages but look at the perks that come with the job….. see the world for free, get fed, and when I worked on the ship we had a cabin steward for us that would make our bed and fresh towels everyday just like the passengers….

    • I absolutely agree, tips are for outstanding service and should not be drawn from passengers automatically. I cruise a lot and see a huge decline in service since automatic tipping was invented for the sake of cruise companies to make guests pay salaries to staff. If tips are guarantee, who is going to work hard? On a top of this mandatory tipping, cruises dare to ask for more for excellent service and providing envelopes, this is a double effort to pick from our pockets. I spoke many times with staff and can tell the most of them informed they get $50 per month, plus room and food, cheap spirits and Internet. The rest of their income is sum of our tips divided by number of staff who entitled. Many of the staff complaining how stretched they are, they served twice of guest compare a few years ago. This is why service is very slow and very impersonal, they are so exhausted working up to 14 hours a day. Every evening staff gets schedule for the next day, where to work, what hours and breaks, I saw those schedules, tough to imagine they are doing this for years. However, they continue because they would never be able to get such income in their countries.
      My opinion is staff should get tips only when they provide great customer service, passenger should not be forced to tip! Passengers get charged in the beginning of the cruise when service is not provided at all. Would you go to the restaurant that force you to pay and tip before you order and try your dishes? This is like passengers feel about mandatory tipping.

  14. The worst trend in cruising is the 3-port, 7-day cruise…. especially when one of the three is the line’s private island. It just feels like a sleazy way to keep me on the ship spending money.

  15. You Forgot : Kids in the Jacuzzi like a kiddy pool….. Come on, they have their own space. I like to relax in a Jacuzzi and then, Here they come ! Damn !

  16. What I don’t understand is why people have their sea pass card round their neck dangling, just put it in your pocket, are you trying to make a statement, don’t say I might lose it or nowhere to put it, dangling round the neck why?

  17. This thing about tipping, in the UK when you to a restaraunt the price you see is the price you pay, no hidden charges are added, regarding ships gratuities, shy should I subsidise wages, it’s not being mean, ships should pay proper wages, and I object to be made to feel like a leper because I don’t agree.

    • Well of course cruise ship employees should be paid a real wage and not rely on gratuities. But unfortunately that’s not how it works, and you seem to be fully aware of that. So know that while you take your stand for how things should be, the people who are affected by your “stand” are the employees who don’t get proper wages, not the cruise executives who are in charge of those policies.

  18. I was told the prepaid tips are distributued to all staff. Why should I tip the wine steward, if I don’t drink wine? I think I will have it removed from my bill and tip in person to those that really help me. I am sure the corporation takes some of it for administrative costs. Anyone know how much actually gets to the workers?

    • I worked on cruise ships in 2014. Back then with my cruise line the gratuity was automatically taken and was approx. 20USD/tourist/day. Most of it went to your Stateroom Attendant and to your Waiter, I guess in equal shares. The remainder was going to other the cleaners etc.

  19. One day, every cruise line will be all-inclusive……. no nickels and dimes, lobster night every night, you can bring on water, tips will be included, spa will be included, drinks and specialty meals will be included, free behind the scenes tours, Starbucks on the balcony every morning at no charge, mint on the pillow at night, free excursions, free taxi rides to and from, they might even let you drive the damn ship for a couple minutes, and people would still find something to bitch about. Good God! Will it EVER be good enough ? It’s a vacation. Shit back, shut up, and enjoy yourself. If you just can’t bring yourself to do that, then please please please check roll call and if you see my name, for the love of all things holy, change ships. I hope I wasn’t being too vague. 🙂

    • I agree Rick, you knew all this before you booked the cruise , I have been on Carnival and Norweign, very nice accommodating staff.

  20. You did not spend enough time or comments about the kids on a cruise ship! They can ruin your buffet experience and don’t get me started on the pool deck!!
    Why aren’t there more adult (21+ NOT 60+) cruises? Every time I look for one it’s for seniors or if it’s my age group then it’s more than I want to afford!!
    I love cruising and the kids can completely ruin this experience for me!

    • Viking and Virgin (coming in 2020) are/will be 18+ only that I know of…If you cruise in May or from mid-Sptember to the mid of November there are hardly any children onboard. We have been on 5 different cruise lines. Stay away from summer months when children are out of school! Once on the QM2 there were 12 children and they were impeccably dressed and behaved! Another time there were only a handful of children on HAL so watch your dates!

  21. Smoking in the casinos. I try to stay in the non smoking area,but the smoke does not! We are diamond members with RCI, just got back from a cruise, and now I have bronchitis. Its happened at least 3 times. Talked to some of the people that work the casino and they hate it! Our next cruise will be in April and I will be wearing a mask in the casino!

    • That’s a good idea those people that don’t like the smell of smoke give them all mask. Smokers like to gambling they wouldn’t stay long if they couldn’t smoke. They took almost all smoking away everywhere. I think they should have smoking ships and no smoking ships.There are more smokers than not.Leave people smoke on balcony one side of the ship.Oh no I don’t smoke but its not fair to smokers who are addicted .Its hard to quit.

    • Where did you find the information that there are more smokers than not? I don’t think so. I think the majority of people nowadays do not smoke. On our last cruise, Princess, they had a nonsmoking night in the casino. All ships I’ve been on have a lounge for people to smoke. I don’t want to breathe it. I know it’s hard to quit. I did it years ago and never looked back. You all stink and just go to the casino for that reason. Probably sitting at the penny slots.

    • This is the very reason that we don’t go to the casino AT ALL on the ship. We won’t even walk thru it. A few years ago some of the RCI ships had non smoking nights in casino and we made sure to go, to show support for this trend. Obviously they didn’t make enough money because they stopped doing it. Switch to Celebrity, their casinos are all non smoking!

    • On MSC Magnifica recently. Casino was smoking area but somehow they managed to keep it very “un-smokey”. We drank in the lounge with open stairwell to the casino and were never bothered once. ( On RCI even walking by the stairs to the casino left you with smoke taste/ coughing) They also had a cigar room- the only place on the ship cigars were allowed in addition to being a smoking room. Again no pollution from it as there were doors. Even on pool deck the smoking area didn’t seem as bad. No idea how they did it but was least intrusive ship I have been on regarding second hand smoke.

  22. I recently discoverd cruising. We pay our grat and more at end of cruise. I’m a,server in real life. So gratuities are very important to me. Speaking to our room steward and servers. They don’t see much in wages plus on the ship 6 – 9 months without seeing family.
    What annoys us is the wild children, running loose and in places children don’t belong. Like bars and serenity areas.
    The total room charges per person for drink packages. I’m diabetic and no way will it be possible for me to drink $75 a day. No can my husband. I assume some can. Our first cruise. I saw a young man wasted and we hadn’t left port. Carnival has a reputation as a party line.

    • I can’t for the life of me understand that so many people on different sites says children are running wild and misbehaving in general–How come NOBODY shouts out to them, “Hey! Stop that behavior now or I’m telling your parents/Captain?” Most times kids adjust their anti-social behavior when they are made aware of it mainly because they do nt want to get “in trouble”. Look at their wristbands to find out where they are staying and place a note under their cabin door so the parents are aware of the problem.

  23. We have been fortunate to have cruised many times and enjoy our Elite status with Princess Cruises.
    Reading all the comments, I’m concerned about a lot of misinformation being posted like “I don’t like the cruise line TELLING me how much to tip” when the reality is that cruise lines will only suggest an amount to tip as there are many people who may be taking their first cruise and have no idea what the suggested amount should be.
    Another comment mentioned that the gratuity charged to your folio is not being given to the staff or very little is given, suggests that the company is somehow committing fraud. If this was true, don’t you think that auditing would catch this practice? What is most probably done with these charges is that they go into a holding account or “pool” where it then gets distributed evenly amongst the service staff.
    Call it subsidizing their salary or the fact that this is a practice that is used in land based restaurants and hotels, this is the way that is traditionally done in the US and Canada for the most part. Other countries that may not have this “tipping system”, usually include some type of service fee on the bill.
    So the way I handle this tipping issue is simple – I keep the gratuity charge in my folio and towards the end of the cruise (usually the day before the last day) I personally give a cash tip to any crew member that made my vacation special, be it the DJ at the disco who made every night seem like a party and not a funeral, a bartender who always knew what I wanted depending on the time of the day or the guy who prepared my cappuccino as soon as he saw me coming down the stairs in the atrium in the morning.
    We are fortunate to be able to cruise a few times a year, the crew members are there to make your vacation a time that you won’t forget, they are more than just “service” people, to us some are just like family. It blows my mind when a bartender not only remembers my name after not seeing me for 5 or 6 years but they also remember my son or daughter and ask me how they are doing and if they are cruising with me – do you think he/she is not going to get a big tip from me? You bet they will!

    • I agree! We have been on many cruises and have always made sure gratuities were added to our folio. Many times have added more for a specific person and in the case of a very helpful crew member I write a comment card to thank them. Cruise lines love to see complimentary comment cards.

    • Agree i also get the gratuities removed speaking to our room steward on our last cruise he had not received any extra cruise money from cruise line just what passengers were giving him in the envelopes which we gave generously

  24. In every route I’ve driven, not one passenger has ever tipped me.
    Why should cruise lines be able to short-pay staff, and expect the passengers to make up the difference?
    And why do the staff, in such allegedly low paying positions never ever ‘jump ship’ and make their way home to a proper job tilling the family rice fields?
    Last boat ride I was on, the cabin boy was a ‘ten-year’ guy. Rice cropping must be terrible.

  25. We all have our complaints and concerns. I would never not tip on a cruise but I don’t like the just having an amount added on. I think part of the problem is when people get their statement under the door. They are surprised how much money they have spent. Personally I don’t care if someone wears a robe or a hat. But drunks aggravate me. Kids don’t bother me. I hate to have to listen to people complain when they have paid out a lot of money for their vacation. BUT..I make the best of my vacation and accept or situations I can’t control. Everyone enjoys their vacation differently so don’t make a big deal about a bath robe or hate. Cruising is a learning process.

  26. Wearing a hat at dinner is an earmark of trailer trash. No hint of having a clue about how not to be crude

  27. Anyone who actually cares about the underpaid/overworked servers and cabin stewards onboard should have their gratuities removed from their account and give the cash directly to the staff. I can promise you the cruise lines take a cut out of those charged gtatuities, I would bet as much as 50%, they give them cute names like admin fees. Remove the grats, and give cash!

  28. Will: I wish there was a like button!! I would like your comment 1 thousand times!! Well said! I feel the exact same way and when I posted something similar to you; I was called every name but my name! Of course; I couldn’t care less what strangers think about me. I believe then and now that tips are earned. I worked as a waitress making $2 an hour + tips and I earned every single tip I made. On one of my Carnival cruises; my sister’s cabin steward let us know that they don’t receive all of their tips owed them. We told him that we will remove our tips and tip him in person. He was thrilled and we weren’t called cheapskates. Don’t tell me how much to tip! I am not stupid! Based on your level of services to me; I will tip in person accordingly! Cruises are billion dollar businesses and they need to pay their workers a decent wage and tips would be an added bonus!

  29. I am a Platinum cruiser on Carnival, and I’ve sailed other cruise lines as well; Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian…

    The issue of gratuities is a major sore point with me, and not just on cruise lines. First of all, I am not socially or fiscally responsible for employees who choose to work on a cruise ship. If the cruise lines aren’t paying them enough, well, maybe it’s time to look for a new line of work. Everyone knows – but like the rhinoceros in the living room – few really want to discuss it – we the customers are supplementing the low wages paid by cruise lines to on-board workers. If this were such a wonderful and great thing to do, such as some here have suggested – then why is it that cruise lines automatically add these gratuities to your on board expense account? Because when they didn’t do that, guess what…??…some people chose not to participate. It’s like going into a restaurant that declares even before you order anything that a “mandatory service charge” will be added to your bill. Can there be any doubt then that these charges have absolutely nothing to do with service, but everything to do with supplementing cheap wages? I’m not an ogre who hates servers, I’m just a guy who doesn’t like being told that I will tip whether I like it or not. In spite of what has been discussed here, it’s not always so easy to get those gratuities removed from your account. Specifically Norwegian’s recent changes (two gratuity increases in 5 months), and now, passengers can no longer have them removed while on board, you must contact the cruise line after your cruise is over. Spare me the bleeding heart mentality about how these poor people are barely making it, supporting families back home, and all the other tear-jerking reasons why I should part with my hard-earning cash to support them. Just give me the opportunity to make the decision whether or not to tip…based on service, not on mandatory tipping rules. I’m sure I’ll get flak for this position, but it’s okay, I’m used to it. If you want to tip, then tip. But don’t tell me I have to just because it’s what you think is right. I’ll make my decisions and you make yours, and sometimes they won’t agree. But don’t tell me not to cruise or to stay home simply because I choose to do things differently than you. That having been said, I’ve only removed gratuities a few times because of poor service. But then I did tip (in cash) for superior service which I can assure you, was much more than those individuals would have ever received through the ship system. But, in those cases, the decisions were made by me, not by some shipboard bean counters.

    • Amen brother. I will tell you with NCL that if you REALLY push including pulling the contract out, they will remove the gratuities on the spot on the ship. They HATE it but they will do it. Their point is; they want to make it as inconvenient as they can to have them removed or they hope you go home and forget. But like you, I tip the room Stuart and bartenders or anyone else who has provided outstanding service – Just like you do in a restaurant. Also I have provided a tip right up front. I will tell you what… they will absolutely bend over backwards for you to do anything within their power to make your cruise more comfortable. I typically have the gratuities removed but I have never, ever stiffed the staff for outstanding service.

    • NCL has gone back to removing the gratuities at the end of the cruise while still on board. Guests can tip the staff directly as they see fit. It was a living nightmare on the phones when they moved the refund process shoreside. I work for NCL at the phone center in Arizona. I agree with you about tipping for services rendered but what irks me are the cruisers so cheap that they feel entitled to basically a free cruise. Example: NCL Jewel Mexical Riviera early Oct 2016- long story short: because of maintanence issues on the Aizpods, the ship stayed over night in PV and had to skip Mazatlan and Cabo. Guests were screaming at the top of their lungs for discounts, refunds, etc. they even wanted the service fees back. Wow. Miss a port, but stiff the staff that still took care of their sorry asses every day. It’s this entitlement mentality in the industry. I don’t think it happens at hotels or on airlines to the overwhelming level that it does in the cruise industry. Thanks for your insight.

    • Hi Will I am taking a cruise on Celebrity Cruise and I would like to remove automatic tips and tip staff directly. Do you know if I can opt out of automatic tips and do I have to go the first day to Guest services or can i go the last day? because I have read that they tell the staff who has removed the automatic tips.

  30. We are frequent cruisers on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Our biggest issue is how people bring their water bottles or personal cups to the drink station to refill them. It is so nasty to think that their mouth has been on this bottle/cup and then they put it right up to the spout that hundreds of other people are using! I think that needs to stop!

  31. My complaint are bathrobes that don’t fit. You would need to be a size 2. When I asked about it, I was told the bathrobes shrink do to excessive washing. So get better quality robes – why is that so hard. I am sure the robes available for the suites fit.

    • I put one magnet on our door so I can find the door. I have health issue’s and my short term memory is really bad. I am sorry y’all don’t like it , but to me it is a help. And NO I don’t drink any alcohol !!!

  32. One of the biggies for my husband and I is the trend of people saving deck chairs on the pool decks. They do it in various ways by placing belongings on their chairs, sometimes just a pair of sun glasses or a book or their towels … they leave to do various things for long periods of time and meanwhile we, and other cruisers, are wandering around looking for a spot to sit for a while to enjoy the sun and pools. The cruise lines need to have the attendants walking around serving drinks and cleaning up be in charge of a certain area to watch the chairs that are unattended for 30-45 mins. and remove their “stuff” to let others have a chance to sit. They can put the “chair holder stuff” over in a corner or by the clean towel carts so they can get them back if they every return. This has been a continual and big problem for us. We have been on 9 cruises and all of them have been that way. Very frustrating. We even had a women start an argument with us over the fact that we took her chair when we had asked an attendant to bring us a couple more and moved hers over to accomodate our chair. Never should happen on a cruise!

  33. It’s not about tipping or not tipping, real tax or inflated tax numbers, real or inflated port fees, currency surcharges, fuel service changes, or like NCL just a plane old service charge added to everyone. These things should not be extra’s, they are a cost of doing business and should be in the price of the cruise, it’s like a bunch of greedy executives get together and scheme up new ideas how they can pick your pocket. It’s about truth in advertising, the last cruise I looked at for my family had $2500 in add-ons before I took a single excursion or bought a single drink. All inclusive resorts seem to moving the other direction, more and more is being included in the price. When I don’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of every time I take out my wallet, I become a lot freer with my tipping.
    So I guess what I’m trying to say, if your pricing is unscrupulous, it may be the poor service staff who gets screwed in the end. I should be the executives who are made to feel bad for not being up front with what the real prices are, not the average family who saves up of a vacation once every two years.

  34. “Cruising is just like eating out at a restaurant. If you aren’t going to tip the staff, please stay home” In Europe it’s not usual to tip (never, nerver, never mandatory )…we only tip when we have one service better than the regular service. Personally we (husband & me) are used to tip at home and we always tip during the cruises, but it’s not normal here in Europe.

    • Yes you’re right, but in Europe a servicecharge of 10% is already included in your bill. In the US it’s not included.

  35. Just thinking, hmmmm, If we are paying someone a weeks salary (tipping) to maintain a residence (cabin) and serve our food (wait staff) wouldn’t that make us employers and we would also have to pay taxes on their income?

    • I was a cruise staff and I can tell you that tips that passengers pay are not going to waiters and stewards. Those tips go to pursers, cashiers and guest customer ladies.

  36. Amen to all points! I really feel the same way about prior included items becoming additional charge items. Just raise my cruise rate. Carnival recently announced there soon will be 5 items that will carry a charge on the room service menu. I’ll be paying for the dining room soon (BTW: Carnival already has additional charges for items once included on the dining room menu). As for the increase in my gratuity fees, all I can say is, “Thank you” to the cheapskates and “I am so very sorry they stiffed you” to the wonderful staff.

    • Agreed on the charge for room service items. Royal started doing this on Anthem. Now, I very rarely do room service (although I have for breakfast on Celebrity when I’ve been in Concierge class) but I’m certainly not going to pay for food. But I gather that some people do, since they haven’t changed the policy.

  37. When oil prices where very high they said they needed to increase there prices of cruises but now with oil at a all time low you do not see rates declining but still going up? Why does everybody in cabin have to buy the drink packages when only one person drinks?

  38. I am surprised at the strong comments about tipping. The room steward and the server make very little, working incredibly long shifts each day for months on end, and depend on the tips for their income…YOU know this! Yes, from a corporate level there should be changes in compensation policies, but don’t penalize the hard working people that work all week to support and serve you because you don’t agree with the cruise line corporate pricing policy.

    Even if tipping is not a part of your cultural practices…to knowingly stiff these people who rely upon these tips, through no fault of their own, seems rather crass, cruel, and flippant.

    Why would you knowingly go on a cruise to stiff these cruise line employees??

    • Excellent points! And many people don’t even realize that these crew members not only work in one area. Your waiter or bar attendant in the diningroom may also be assigned to the buffet area during off hours when the diningroom is closed. I get a kick from all the posters saying things like “if they don’t like the pay and long hours, find another line of work”. In the 13 cruises I have been on, I have ALWAYS interacted with crew members and we talked about their home lives. I am guessing that these people that make these remarks have not! Many live in Countries or even villages where “rice fields” are all they can hope for. What the heck is wrong for someone trying to better the lives of their family? And for all of you people posting about the crew telling you that they don’t get their tips so you remove the auto-tippiing and give them cash….REALLY? They KNOW they are going to get more money from you than from the auto-tipping and probably use this same approach on every cruise. Wanna buy a bridge in the desert? I’m selling one real cheap!!

    • @VEGASSLACKER: I totally agree with you. I worked on cruise ships in the Accommodation department. I can tell you that Room Stewards and Waiters always worked 14 hours a day. And that they did it while constantly having the stress that one or more families would remove their gratuities cuz then their salary would sink.
      My working hours were only 11 per day and my knees were soooo sore even after a month of work. I can’t even imagine what their 14 hours a day felt like.
      So ya, your Room Steward and your Waiter do deserve to be tipped. And many other crew members who make 4 times less than the Room Steward. For instance the cleaners. I’m sure passengers think cleaners’ salary is comparable to that of the Room Steward. Well I’ll tell you, it’s not. Cleaners make approx 4 times less than the Room Steward. You always see them cleaning the interior public spaces. Next time I’ll cruise I’ll definitely cancel automatic tips and tip out-of-pocket, especially the cleaners.

    • My family and I went on vacation during the Thanksgiving holiday in 09′ and while we were watching the movie under the stars some small kids got in the hot tub next to us eating ice cream cones and one of them got diarea in the tub and the water was completely brown and they continued sitting in it until my wife told them they should get out of the water, so guess what they did? they came and jumped in our tub, crappy clothes, ice cream and all. We immediately exited the pool, toweled off. My wife told a staff member what happened and they closed the pool. We had to leave the area and shower and change in our cabin. What gets me is while all of this was taking place we never seen their parents.

    • I would have politely asked the kids what cabin they were in and there last name and then have the Guest Services staff send the parents a bill for draining and cleaning and refilling both hot tubs!

  39. I think the trend is for less stops per cruise. Makes sense that the cruise line saves Port charges and can make more money when passengers are kept aboard but severally cuts back on one of the reasons people cruise and that is to visit different places and enjoy the different cultures.

    • Port charges are passed directly onto the customer, so there’s no savings there. And while they can make more money keeping people on board, it also costs them fuel to be out at sea. Also, less stops makes the cruise less attractive = lower fares. Also, I haven’t seen any evidence of this happening.

    • Bryan, I hope you have a big wallet. ALL the mass lines have gone to nickel and diming and lessening perks for frequent cruisers. The only lines that are still about customer service and offer decent perks to their frequent guests are the luxury lines (e.g. Crystal, Regent, Oceania, etc). A typical week long Caribbean cruise in a balcony stateroom would run you about $7000 for 2 (albeit all inclusive) vs. about $1700 or so on a mass line. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you how to spend your money, but as a travel agent and frequent cruiser myself, I can assure you, unless you are willing to step up your cost, you are going to find similar issues with all the mass lines sailing today.

    • Don’t forget that if you own 100 shares of Carnival stock you get on board credit on Princess. Also you get on board credit for being a US Veteran.

  40. After 22 cruises on Princess,we are Elite passengers. I intead of rewarding this loyalty,we have noticed that they are gradually removing some perks that we have enjoyed for years.

    Complaining to management did nothing, no excuses, just a shrug off. Now looking at other cruise lines.

    • Beyan, I too am Elite in Princess. I am wondering what perks they have taken away from us? I ask because I have a cruise with them in May.

    • We were just on a cruise. As Elite, one of the things you get was upgraded bathroom imenities. Now they are called stateroom imenities but we got nothing. When I questioned this, I was told you needed to ask your cabin Steward for them. What is the point if you need to ask for them? It just seems that now that we are there, they have started to cut back.

  41. In Britain we don’t tip in restaurants, because we are not expected to, the price we see is the price we pay, in America you expect to be tipped for the slightest thing, well it’s your culture not mine, if I don’t tip on cruises and take them off, it’s my choice, if you want to tip it’s up to you, but don’t vilify us if we choose not to tip, it’s not in our culture to tip, and that is normal.

    • Geoffrey, I guess you’ve never heard the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”? Turning the tables a bit, I want to correctly understand your thinking; if Britain used a similar system to pay certain employees (typically in the service industries) and we Americans showed up over there and said, “I’m not British so therefore I am not humoring this arcane way of paying people, so there.” Nevermind that in doing so an entire populous of British citizens would not be getting a fare wage due to my entitlement issues. Just want to be sure I understand your thinking on this.

    • My point is, why should I subsidise employers when they should pay a proper living wage, this tipping thing should be in with the cruise fare, and only tip if needed for good service, if you want to, we in Britain don’t tip the price you see is the price you pay quite right to.

    • What if your not cruising in Rome.

      These ships aren’t even registered in the USA, so what has American custom got to do with it?

    • I find your comment Geoffrey very insulting and think you must walk into restaurants blind folded. How can you say that we in Britain do not tip in restaurants? You must be in one of the very few minorities. You are saying that we all do not tip. Well Geoffrey I do and so do all my relatives and friends. On cruises I prepay my gratuities and also give my cabin attendant more plus I also give the bar staff a good tip half way through my cruise. Don’t go tarring all British people with the same brush. It’s the likes of you who give us a very very bad reputation.

    • It’s not your culture, it’s a cruise. Try parking your car in a fee-based parking garage, then telling the attendant you refuse to pay – you will not get your car!

      Then there is the matter of sales tax. If you do not have sales tax, many states in the US have a sales tax. If you tell the merchant you do not want to pay the tax, you will not get the item you wish to purchase. I’m just wondering, do you refuse to pay a VAT? How do you handle that?

      In the end, since the servers and staterooms hosts are taking care of you, why not consider the gratuity as a sales tax, and just pay it. Better yet, get a massage at the spa, and refuse to pay the mandatory service charge (on some lines).

    • Well why not do the same on the cruise as in your parking garage and make it compulsory, or even charge it in the fare.

  42. I would prefer not to be nickled and dimed. The people who don’t want to pay tips, especially of they have a 3rd or 4th in the cabin, look for other ways to save – letting the kids have the run of the ship rather than supervising them or having them in the children’s center. It is sad when a child is injured, or worse drowns, and the parents want to blame the cruise line. I go on a cruise to enjoy myself and relax. If I wanted to be run over by ill mannered kids, I would take a trip to Waalmart.

  43. Me my wife and son just got back on the 13th of January from a cruise we had not crushed since the year 2000 and I can tell you that our first cruise was way better, for starts we did get nicked and dime for every little extra like better restaurants, better room service food and even soda. As far as gratuity we do tip for better service but we were already charged 15% for everything 1 drink 15% added and so on. It has now become more affordable to go to an all inclusive destination than a cruise, my family will not be cruising again.

    • Correction: My Wife, Son and I,, ,

      Oh how I wish “ETIQUETTE was taught in School??”
      Also: the word CASUAL <<<< doesn't mean dress like a SLOB ?❓❗️

  44. I agree with kids running free and taking up all the pools. We took our grandsons on a cruise and there were so many activities for them in the childrens area, we hardly even saw them! And we wanted to be with them. They just loved the ships youth staff more that week, 🙂 Kids should go enjoy those areas.

    One thing I would like to see changed and its ALL THE SHIPS in port on the same day. Spread it out! I line up for buffets and drinks on the ship. Dont want to do it in port as well!

    AND speaking of drinks…. I dont drink much in the line of alcohol, so I purchase the unlimited pop and more cards that allow me to drink Mocktails. Once a crew member finds thats all I am drinking, its harder to get served. That bothers me!
    Rant over!

    • so true if its not alcohol you are totally ignored. I actually stood there for 21 minutes before I finally said loudly can I please get a soda its only 9:30 a.m. and I really don’t want alcohol when I wake up. Five minutes later I was given my soda. They all get to know the customers and clearly go to the other side when they see you coming. I don’t drink until after 3 p.m. this truly is my only complaint. my gratuities are paid up front and I also give tips daily to my steward and waiters at dinner. I feel they earn the extra. and my final tip in the dining room is quite good. Pretty much I am double or more my gratuities. I will only sail on Carnival

  45. I would rather not have gratuities at all. Build it into the cruise fare. Don’t make it optional. It’s just part of the price. I don’t like to feel like the staff is “performing” for me so I’ll tip them big. The whole point of cruising is that it is all inclusive except for those that want to purchase alcohol or eat in a specialty restaurant.

  46. On Carnival, gratuities are included in what you pay. They calculate it for you based on a daily average and you have the option to pre-pay the amount when you book or it is charged at the end. If you feel the service you received was inadequate, you can ask to lessen or remove the amount.

    • It’s not only in carnival…We had this sistem in every company that we saied (4 or 5 diferent companies) 🙂

    • I only cruise Carnival and I always have my tips taken off. I like to tip in person and on my last cruise; my sister’s cabin steward told us that they don’t receive all of the tips they are supposed too!! So we told him we would have our tips removed and tip him in person. He was very happy when we did this and NOT one time were we called cheapskates!! I always tip!! I always tip in person!!

  47. Because of all the extra fees and the high price of drinks ($8 for a bottle of beer/ $13.50 – $15.50 for a martini) onboard, that’s why people don’t want to pay gratuity. Now you are charged for room service between certain hours, when it used to be included in the price. Now there are specialty restaurants that they want to charge for where the better food is served, while they are beginning to use less than high-quality food in the MDR, in hopes that you’re choose to use the fee-based restaurant (Norwegian Breakaway food was HORRIBLE – even the fee-based). If that wasn’t enough, now they want to place for-fee items in the Main Dining Room. Yep, I understand why peopole don’t want to tip and also, they realize that they are now getting less and being charged more.

    • Agree about the food on the Breakaway! As for the tipping I still tip my waiters and cabin steward so the automatic tipping by the cruise line is actually considered an increase in the price of the fare to me! And I would never not personally tip the waiters and steward! And the drink prices are way too high!

  48. Make that Eight !

    Advertising over the Public Address System – there are enough ship announcements made during the day without having to be constantly bombarded with advertising for shop sales, art autions and even activities which are already advertised in the Daily Newspaper, Morning TV show and Ships App (where available)

    Harassing Photographers on the Gangway – Disembarking in port for the day including tender ports is made even slower now by the ships photographers blocking the Gangway exits to take photos. This should be optional in a queue to the side allowing all passengers to get ashore more efficiently.

    • We just returned from 14 nights on the Navigator of the Seas. It felt like we were on a public street in Mexico!! At breakfast or lunch in the dining room, the servers from the specialty restaurants would come try to convince you to come to their restaurant, also if we were relaxing in a lounge in the afternoon or evening and don’t get me started on trying to walk across the promenade deck with all the sales and spa people trying to sell you stuff!! There’s a post on Cruise Critic titled “Quit Bothering Me” about this and it sounds like all the RCI ships are doing this now! Cuz the art auctions and photographers weren’t already bad enough!!

  49. On the gratuity aspect of your post cruise lines could pay their employees on the ship more and this wouldn’t be an issue. Look at the profit that the companies make every year, take some of the profit and pay better wages instead of making rude comments of how some should stay home if they can’t afford to tip.. It’s not your money so don’t worry about it either way

    • Thank you for your comment and thoughts Mike. I never said that if someone can’t afford to tip, they should stay home. I said if someone is not going to tip, they should stay home, big difference between the two.

    • If they cant afford to tip they don’t need to be cruising. It is part of the cost and you know going in. Still is optional though but for bad service

    • No it is not . You are punishing everyone If you are irritated by one person? Really. People who work 7 days a week sometimes for 50 dollars a month?

    • Gratuities are generally for good service, not part of remuneration. Only Americans see it as normal.

      One should not be advised how much to tip either, it should be a matter for your own descression based on the quality of service received.

    • @Trevor Morris: Apparently, the service staff in Britain are paid a sufficient wage that they can survive with it alone. In America (and on cruise ships) the service staff are usually paid less than 3 dollars per hour, so they depend on tips in order to make ends meet. I have only been on one ocean cruise, but, in general, the staff worked their butts off for about 16 hours a day, and I left extra money on top of the prepaid gratuities. If you go on an ocean cruise and don’t leave a dime as tip money…I am at a loss for words to describe how cheap you are.

  50. I absolutely agree about the kids running free. I was recently on a new years cruise and the disrespect by the kids was atrocious… From running people over to trying purposely to break things to ignoring the bar tenders when told to leave the bar area due to age.
    I can’t understand how parents even on vacation can allow their kids to behave so poorly.

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