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What Are the Gratuities on Carnival Cruises?

A quick guide to understanding gratuities on Carnival Cruises. Know the charges, who gets them, and how to pay for a hassle-free cruise.

By Cruise Booking Team

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If you're planning a cruise, factoring in gratuities is essential. However, for those new to cruising, the concept of gratuity charges also referred to as service charges, can come as a surprise. Although not initially included in the price of a cruise, these charges are an integral part of your vacation expenses, similar to paying for the cabin itself. As an additional fee that catches many people off guard, it raises questions about the nature of gratuities on a cruise and how they function. To ensure you're well-informed for your upcoming vacation, read on to discover everything you need to know about gratuities on Carnival cruises

What are Gratuities?

Gratuity, though it may sound sophisticated, is essentially another term for tips used by cruise lines. Similar to the practice in hotels and restaurants, it's customary for guests on many cruises to leave tips for specific staff members serving them. Major cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean typically include a daily gratuity fee, which is then distributed among the shipboard staff. The income of service crew members largely relies on the generosity of travelers, as tips constitute a significant portion of their earnings.

How Much Are the Gratuities on Carnival Cruises?

Starting from April 1, 2023, Carnival imposes a daily charge of $16 per person for most rooms, including interior, balcony and Oceanview cabins. For those staying in a suite, the daily charge is slightly higher at $18 per person. As an illustration of how these charges apply, consider a couple in an Oceanview cabin for a week, who would incur a daily charge of $32 for seven days, amounting to a total of $224. It's worth noting that, like many cruise lines, Carnival periodically increases gratuity amounts, with the most recent adjustment occurring in May 2022, prior to the April 2023 increase.

Who Receives the Gratuities on Carnival Cruises?

The gratuities you provide cover a diverse range of staff positions. While a portion goes to your cabin attendant, who offers personalized services such as daily room preparation, they are not the sole beneficiaries of your generosity. The dining and culinary staff also receive a share, encompassing those serving in the main dining room as well as other shipboard eateries. For example, staff in the buffet, responsible for clearing dishes and assisting guests, are among those who benefit from a portion of the automatic tips. Additionally, behind-the-scenes personnel contributing to the overall cruise experience receive a portion of these gratuities.

Related: Best Carnival Cruise Deals for Your Cruise Vacation

How are Gratuities Divided on Carnival Cruises?

Here is the approximate breakdown of gratuities in Carnival cruises per day:

In addition, when purchasing beverages, an automatic 18% gratuity is added to the bill, while an automatic gratuity of 15% is added to the Chef’s Table’s cover charge.

How to Pay Gratuities on Carnival Cruises?

There are two ways of paying this daily gratuity:

1. Pre-Pay

Gratuities can be included during the booking process or at any time leading up to the sailing date. Those who made direct bookings with Carnival can conveniently add their pre-paid gratuities on the cruise line’s website. For guests who booked through a travel agent, reaching out to their travel professional enables them to include pre-paid gratuities in their reservation. The pre-paid gratuities will be visible in the 'Miscellaneous Charge' section in the guest's E-Documents and on the confirmation.

2. Sail & Sign

If you haven't prepaid your gratuities, the recommended gratuity charges per person will be charged to your Sail & Sign account on the penultimate day of the cruise. Should you find the service unsatisfactory, you can approach the Guest Services desk while on board. This ensures that the staff can promptly and appropriately address any concerns you may have.

Who Has to Pay Gratuities on Carnival Cruises?

For those embarking on a Carnival cruise, it's important to anticipate gratuity charges. All guests, excluding those aged two and below, are subject to the daily gratuity fee. Even if you request the room steward to service your room every other day or choose not to dine in the main dining rooms, the charge applies to all guests aged two and above while on the ship. As an example, if a couple is on the cruise, each individual will incur the daily gratuity charge. Similarly, for a family of four, whether they stay in one room or two, all four individuals will be charged the daily gratuity amount.

Are There Other Places to Tip?

As a general recommendation, it is advisable not to modify the gratuity amount set by the cruise line. The cruise ship staff exerts considerable effort to enhance your vacation experience, and these gratuities constitute a significant portion of their compensation. Nevertheless, it is possible that there may be occasions when you are dissatisfied with the service received. In such instances, at the guest's discretion, adjustments to gratuities can be made after the charges have been added to the guest's account during the cruise. It's essential to note that gratuities, as reflected on the Sail & Sign account, are considered final once a guest disembarks, and no alterations can be made post-cruise.

Also Read: How Much Does a Vacation with Carnival Cruise Cost?


Understanding and planning for gratuities are crucial aspects of preparing for a Carnival cruise. These charges, integral to the cruise experience, support the hardworking staff. While the suggested amounts may initially surprise, they contribute significantly to the service team's earnings. Whether opting for pre-payment or adjusting gratuities on board, it's vital to be aware of the processes involved. Recognizing who is included in gratuity distribution and the breakdown of charges further enhances your understanding of this customary practice at sea. Ultimately, being informed about gratuities ensures a smoother and more enjoyable cruise experience.

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