Effective March 1, Royal Caribbean International (www.cruisingpower.com) will automatically add a $12 daily gratuity to each guest's SeaPass account. Those in suites will pay a bit more at $14.25 per person daily.
The line says the new automatic gratuity will simplify "service recognition" for guests. It will cover tips for dining services staff, stateroom attendants and other housekeeping services personnel.
Royal Caribbean says on its website that these daily automatic gratuity amounts are recommended and "are based on customary industry standards." Many other lines already charge such gratuities.
"In the unlikely event that a guest onboard being charged the daily automatic gratuity does not receive satisfactory service, the guest may request to modify the daily amount at their discretion by visiting Guest Services during their cruise," the line said in a question-and-answer section on the Web site.
Previously, the line's policy was to recommend that each guests tip the stateroom attendant $5 per day and the dining room wait staff $6.65 per day for a grand total of $11.65 per person. Suite passengers were advised to pay a bit higher $13.90 per person daily.
However, that wasn't automatically added; guests made their own choices.Now, the automatic gratuity replaces those previously recommended gratuity guidelines.
The new automatic gratuity policy will apply for all cruises sailing on and after March 1, and for all guests who did not pre-pay gratuities before Feb. 28, 2013.