Royal Caribbean is raising its daily recommended gratuities in 2018, a cruise line representative tells Travel Agent.
Starting January 2, the new recommended gratuities guideline will be $14.50 per day, per guest in standard accommodations, and $17.50 per day, per guest in suites. That’s up from $13.50 per day, per guest in standard accommodations and $16.50 per day, per guest, in suites. Royal Caribbean automatically registers the daily gratuities in guest folios, although guests are free to change the amount with the ship’s Guest Services staff.
Guests who booked their cruise prior to the effective date can prepay their gratuities based on the current guidelines.
Royal Caribbean said that the gratuity adjustment will “put the cruise line in line with its competitors in the industry and recognize the exceptional work that Royal Caribbean’s staff and crew does to deliver unforgettable vacations every day.”
2018 will also see the continued rollout of Royal Caribbean’s new Excalibur technology initiative. The device-agnostic technology platform, which also applies to fellow Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brands Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, will allow guests to open their stateroom door, order drinks and more using either their smartphone or the line’s wearable WOW bands. New back-of-house technology enhancements will also include elements like using facial recognition technology to speed the boarding process. The new features are scheduled to be active on half of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s fleet by the end of 2018, and fleetwide by the end of 2019.
Next year will also see the debut of Royal Caribbean’s newest Oasis-class ship, the Symphony of the Seas. When it sets sail in April 2018 in the Mediterranean, it will be the world’s largest cruise ship.