Carnival Cruise Gratuity & Tips FAQ (2023)

Carnival Cruise Gratuity & Tips FAQ (1)

Carnival Cruise guests typically have many questions prior to cruising about the service gratuities & tips onboard. This post will share some frequently asked questions related to gratuities on a Carnival Cruise and contains info related to the amount of the gratuity, prepaying gratuities, and who is covered.
If you know of some Carnival Cruisers that are going to be first-time guests or people who haven't sailed Carnival in a while, please feel free to share this post with them as there are some guests who go onboard and have no idea that service gratuities exist!

Tipping Your Carnival Ship Crew

What is Carnival's recommended amount for the tipping/service gratuity?
Gratuity Increase Effective With Embarkations April 1, 2023: The service gratuity rate for guests in standard staterooms (non-suites) is $16 per person per day and the service gratuity for suites is $18 per person per day.The gratuity is split between stateroom stewards, dining staff, culinary staff, and other crew behind the scenes that you may not directly interact with. This increase is approximately $1.50 per person per day.

Can I prepay the service gratuity?
Yes, you can pre-pay the service gratuity before your cruise starts in your booking manager. When you pre-pay the service gratuity it will show on your booking confirmation documents. Guests that book with a travel agent should let their travel agent know that they wish to pre-pay the gratuity. If you pre-pay your service gratuities, bring a copy showing pre-payment onboard with you. If your Sail & Sign card onboard billing account accidentally gets charged for this at the end of the cruise, you can show Guest Services that you already pre-paid if you have something printed.

What if I do not prepay the service gratuity before the cruise?
​ Guests that do not pre-pay the service gratuity will have the amount added to their Sail & Sign card (onboard expense account) near the end of the cruise. Typically this is posted on the second to last day of the cruise. but I have seen it posted earlier than this occasionally. Guests can view their Sail & Sign card onboard expense account balance by using one of the onboard Sail & Sign kiosks, by viewing their balance on the Carnival Hub App, or asking Guest Services. The automatic service gratuity is usually not assessed for guests under 2 years old.

Can I remove the service gratuity from being posted to my Sail & Sign onboard expense account if I wish to tip in cash instead?
Guests who wish to adjust the automatic service gratuity onboard either upwards or downwards can visit Guest Services. There are some guests that wish to remove the service gratuity and only tip the crew they directly interact with in cash. Please note part of the automatic gratuity is given to crew that you may not directly interact with, but do essential jobs to help those crew you do see complete their job. Taking away the automatic service gratuity is taking money away from these people that do behind the scenes work that is essential to keeping the housekeeping or food services or other programs onboard running smoothly.Can I tip cash to the crew who I want to have more money than what is covered in the service gratuity?
​ Yes, you can tip crew members more money in cash if you want to. Guest Services usually has small envelopes available near the end of the cruise for guests that wish to put tips in envelopes to hand to the crew members.​​

If I eat in the buffet for dinner each night of the cruise and not visit the main dining room do I still have to pay for the dining portion of the service gratuity?
Carnival's website states that the service gratuity applies regardless of the dining option selected. Keep in mind that there are crew working the buffet, even at night, and these crew members are receiving part of the automatic service gratuity allocated towards the dining teams.

Is there a gratuity for room service?
Room service on Carnival Cruises does not cause guests to automatically be charged a gratuity. However, it is highly recommended that you tip the crew member that brings your order.

How much gratuity does Carnival add for drink purchases from the bar?
Carnival will automatically add an 18% service charge for beverage purchases. When guests are handed the receipt for a bar purchase there will still be an additional line item to add additional gratuity, but please note that the automatic gratuity should be reflected on the receipt when handed over. If you have any questions ask your bartender.

How does the gratuity work for onboard specialtydining?
For specialty dining venues an 18% service charge is added as a service charge. Guests are allowed to tip above & beyond this amount. Carnival assess an 18% service charge on the cover charge for the Chef's Table experience, Bonsai Teppanyaki, and on the ala carte fees at Bonsai Sushi. Carnival also lists Emeril's Bistro 1396, Emeril's Bistro 1397, Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse & Brewhouse, and Seafood Shack as being covered under the specialty dining. but does not specifically mention whether the reservation price includes the service charge or not.

Can I update my gratuity amount after I get off the cruise?
Once your cruise has ended you are not able to go back and make updates to the gratuity amount. Make sure you have your gratuities settled prior to leaving on the last morning of the cruise. I highly recommend checking your entire Sail & Sign Card onboard account balance prior to leaving to make sure all charges ae accurate.

Should I remove the gratuity for bad service?
This is highly subjective question and is one that I personally cannot answer for you. My recommendation is to try to work things out with the crew onboard or by working with Guest Services to try to get a problem/issue fixed. The crew may not be aware that something is wrong and by discussing with them or Guest Services you are giving them a chance to fix the issue. If you do feel like the service was so terrible and cannot be rectified, consider removing only the gratuity portion that is related to the specific area with a problem.

Tipping For Embarkation Day

Should I tip my shuttle driver that took me from the parking lot or airport to the cruise terminal? How much?
Yes, it is usually customary to extend a tip to your shuttle driver from the parking lot to the cruise terminal or the driver who gave you a ride from the airport to the cruise terminal. You can do $1 or $2 dollars depending on how many bags and the length of the trip. Of course, feel free to give more if you want to.

Should I tip the porter that took my luggage at the cruise terminal to load it onto the ship? How much?
If you are checking your luggage in at the cruise terminal, it is customary to tip the porter taking your bag $1 or $2 per bag. Of course, please feel free to give more!

Should I tip the team members that work the check-in desk in the cruise terminal?
Generally these individuals working check in are not given tips, but if you wish to extend a tip that is up to you.

Tipping For Ports of Call and Shore Excursions

Should I tip for a shore excursion?
Yes, I highly recommend considering tipping for a shore excursion as it is customary. If your shore excursion has a driver and a tour guide please consider tipping them both.

Click Here For More Carnival Cruise Tips​

Please note: The information contained within this post is subject to change!


What happens if you can't pay gratuities on Carnival Cruise? ›

If a guest has not pre-paid the gratuities, the recommended per person amount will be posted to their Sail & Sign account on the second to last day of the cruise.

Can you ask to remove gratuity on Carnival Cruise? ›

Carnival's gratuities make up a considerable portion of the salary for the crew on the ship. They are added to all guests' accounts but can be removed at Guest Services. If you disembark the ship without asking for them to be removed, you will be charged for them.

Can you decline gratuity on cruise? ›

You have the right to refuse this automatic gratuity charge and may compensate cruise staff on your own terms.

Can cruise lines force you to pay gratuities? ›

Cruise lines generally can't force you to pay gratuities unless you decide to leave it too late to have them removed. Cruise lines will add the gratuities to your cruise account at different times, but it is often only added to your account on the second-to-last day.

What if I don't want to tip on cruise? ›

If you plan to remove tips from your onboard bill, you will need to plan in advance to bring enough cash for personal tipping, then wait in a potentially long line at the guest services desk to remove the auto-gratuities and chase down all the crew members you wish to thank on the last evening.

Is it a good idea to prepay gratuities on Carnival Cruise? ›

Regardless of what way you choose to go about it, having your gratuities prepaid before your vacation begins is a surefire way to ensure that you don't get any hidden surprises at the end and further enjoy the luxury of convenience. Potentially, you could board your cruise and not spend another penny.

Is it cheaper to pay gratuities before cruise? ›

There are no cruise lines which offer cheaper deals on gratuities if you pay them in advance. However, it can be cheaper to do so anyway, as it can mean avoiding any price rises if you're booking at least a few months before you sail.

Are Carnival cruise gratuities mandatory? ›

Who must pay gratuities on a Carnival cruise? If you're taking a Carnival cruise, then you should expect to pay the gratuities. All guests except those under the age of two are charged the daily amount.

What is the truth about cruise gratuities? ›

While the name sounds fancy, gratuities are nothing more than a tip paid to the staff members for service during the cruise. The staff works hard to ensure that your vacation is a great one. As a thanks for their service, it's customary to provide a tip.

How do I change my gratuities on Carnival Cruise? ›

You can just go down to guest services once they are posted on the account and they will adjust the amount that you request accordingly. if you want to remove them completely they are just removed from your room charge.

How do you adjust gratuities on a cruise? ›

If you prefer to pay for tips once you're on board your cruise, you'll generally find that the gratuities automatically appear on your bill. You don't have to do anything. That said, if you want to, you can often adjust the charges (either up or down) while you're on board by visiting the guest relations desk.

Can you opt out of automatic gratuity on Royal Caribbean? ›

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 onboard and will be able to do so until the morning of their departure.

Can you remove pre paid gratuities on Royal Caribbean? ›

Technically speaking, you can remove gratuities on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but you absolutely shouldn't do this. Although Royal Caribbean gives you two options for paying gratuities (prepaying or being charged daily once onboard), some passengers try to opt out of paying any gratuities whatsoever.

Can you refuse to pay automatic gratuity reddit? ›

It depends on the state but it is now illegal in most states.


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