Supposedly RCI is notifying agents of this and it is part of the daily Q&A reading for their reservations agents. Effective today and this is per order, and includes the gratuity.
There are several ways to look at this. Since it includes the tip it is an even break for those of us who tip for room service. I suspect many people don't tip and this will correct that issue. It also will cut down on waste; how many trays with half-eaten or untouched food have we all seen lining the passageways in early morning? It might also allow RCI to reduce their overnight staffing.
On the other hand, it is another sign of the creeping ala carte mentality. I've never ordered room service during those hours so it won't affect me. But it still leaves me thinking "what next"? And how much of the $3.95 will the staff actually see in their tip pool?
Along with this announcement I also heard that RCI will expand the room service menu for regular meal times, to include "egg dishes" from 7am-10am and full lunch and dinner menus for in-cabin service during dining room hours. Not much detail about this yet.
The thought just hit me - will this cause a run on room service before midnight? People ordering early and just leaving the sandwiches in the room for later? Surely RCI thought of this? Could the service charge eventually get expanded to all the time?