NCL to rise daily services charges - Will this reflect the distribution of the crew salaries?

Mar 03, 2022

Norwegian Cruise Line announced an increase of the daily services charges of crew gratuities. In a letter sent to guests and travel agents the company said that starting April 1, 2022, will be making a nominal adjustment to the daily service charges. 

The new daily service charges per person will be $20.00 – for guests in The Haven & Suite, $18.00 for Club Balcony Suite, and $16.00 for Balcony and below.

“At Norwegian Cruise Line, we are committed to delivering exceptional guest experiences at every step of the cruise journey, and with the dedication of our shipboard team, we are able to turn your vacation dreams into reality. As such, we make it easy for guests to show their appreciation for these vacation heroes with discretionary daily services charges, which provide gratuities to key onboard team members, including room stewards, restaurant servers and behind-the-scenes support staff.” NCL letter send to travel partners reads.

The company noted that guests who book a cruise on or before March 31, 2022, will have the option of pre-paying gratuities at the current rate. Guests with existing reservations who already pre-paid their service charges at the current rate are not affected.

When it comes to cruising, gratuities are one of the most discussed topics for both cruise passengers and crew members.

No doubt the hard-working crew deserves a rise, especially in these difficult times. During the restart, NCL faced many challenges and some bumps along the way with the surge of Covid cases on several ships due to the Omicron variant. Adding on this the cruise ships have not sailed in full guest capacity which reflected the crew monthly salary.

The main questions about the daily service charges are: Is NCL practicing what they preach? Does this money goes only for the crew?

We are no corporate experts on this subject and most probably all cruise lines have increased operational expenses. No doubt the survival of the cruise line after the long pause without any profits is remarkable. However, the fact is that all cruise lines increased daily gratuities almost every year, on average by 50 cents. But there's no concrete answer if this actually reflected in the increase of the crew salaries.

Norwegian Cruise Line Increased daily service charges back in April 2020 by 3.3% Non-suite cabins to $15.50 per person, and 2.8% increase for guest Haven/suite cabins to $18.50 per person.

The criticism among the cruise community was even more evident with the record-breaking compensations for the top cruise lines' executives. The latest report released by Cruise Industry News is that Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald received over $15,000,000 in compensation in 2021. The Carnival CEO’s income increased from $13,306,097 in 2020 and $11,149,514 million in 2019.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio who compensation in 2020 was a record-breaking $36,400,000.

These are people who navigated the cruise industry during unprecedented times caused by the covid pandemic, however, the driving force of each ship, the crew, needs to receive their fair share as well.