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-   -   Gratuity Policy on NCL sucks (

Bobcat 10-17-2004 07:41 AM

We had 2 great cruises with NCL (Alaska and Caribbean) and a great time on board.
Now we wanted to book our next cruise, the panama channel. We got this Saturday the new catalogues and found a cruise, but as mentioned in an earlier topic: they change the rules now for the next season.

The bill a service fee 10 us$ per day, this fee can not be decreased. This is NOT a gratuity and you should honor the special good service with an addtional tip.

this really sucks. This is a hidden price surcharge. So we will go withanother cruise line.

NCL: I hope someone of you guys are reading this topic and think about your policy (that is the reason to open a new topic about this)


tuffy88 10-17-2004 07:54 AM

NCL did that on a cruise we took in Febuary on the Skyn but it was called a gratuity and no other tip was asked for. In fact NCL called it a gratuity. Did you receive anything from them that said you were expected to tip in addition to the $10 per day gratuity added to your ship charge?


Raoul Fiebig 10-17-2004 08:57 AM

Hi Charles,

the new mandatory "service charge" in a way replaces the current gratuity system. At the time you went on "Norwegian Sky", there was still a US$ 10 pppd gratuity added to your account which you were able to change by going to the reception desk. Actually that policy does continue to apply to all NCL vessels with the exception of "Pride of Aloha" (NCL America) until next spring. After that the US$ 10 pppd "service charge" will be added to your anboard account, and it cannot be changed. Additional tipping is not prohibited, but it is not as "virtually compulsory" as it usually is on other lines. Also, I understand that no automatic gratuity will be added to drink orders.

However, I have to agree with Bobcat that this is a hidden surcharge, and I would have prefered it NCL had chosen to include the service charge in the overall cruise fare. It would have been a great opportunity to make a consumer-friendly change to the tipping system most of today's cruise lines have, but NCL failed to make that big step.

tuffy88 10-17-2004 04:16 PM


Thanks for your reply. My wife and I are going to the Southern Carribian in Febuary or March on the Norwegian Spirit. By that time will probly hear more about this policy and exactly what it means. If we have to tip in addition will probably still go on a cruise, but not with Norwegian. If this is not clarified by January when we will book the cruise will probably book with another line.


Raoul Fiebig 10-18-2004 04:42 AM

Hi Charles,

you don't habe to tip in addition to the service charge. According to the NCL web site "there is no required or recommended tipping", but tipping is also not prohibited. I guess it's more or less similar to how tipping is handled in many European countries, where it is not that much "expected" as in America, but truly given for good service only - and it's completely up to the customer whether to tip or not. This might sound "rude" in the ears of somebody used to "American tipping" (if I may say so), but then e.g. in German a restaurant the service is always already included in the meal prices.

susanmaz 10-18-2004 02:35 PM

We sailed the Wind in September - - the $10 pppd was on our statement as a "Service Charge", and there was a 15% gratuity added to bar charges and my massage. We did not do any additional tipping, although I did see some people giving room stewards and dining room staff envelopes on the last morning.

willysgrandma 11-04-2004 03:31 PM

I just sailed the Pride of America and that service fee was not charged - we were told to tip if we had good service. The Cruise Director announced that NCL was not going to charge the service fee until further notice.

Raoul Fiebig 11-05-2004 03:56 AM


I guess you mean "Pride of Aloha". "Pride of America" is still under construction here in Germany.

The "service charge waiver" only applies to that single ship, by the way.

willysgrandma 11-07-2004 11:14 AM

Yes, I indeed did make a mistake , it was the Pride of Aloha. Chalk it up to jet lag.

thor 01-05-2005 03:15 PM

We just got back from the Dawn and it's $10 per person per day. The call it their Tips so you don't have to worry about having a bunch of cash to dish out. I liked that part. What we found out is that you can go to the reception desk and get them to reverse that. We found out that out of that $10 it is pooled and split between head waiters, waiters, stateroom staff etc.

Our son get the flu on the boat and was sick in the room and the stateroom attendants worked their butts off cleaning the room and were fantastic. In our opinion, the only ones that really deserved the money. We removed the service charge and gave by cash directly to the stateroom guys.

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