Disney Cruise Line Increases Base Gratuities

Beginning January 19, 2019, Disney Cruise Line will increase their recommended gratuity guidelines for select positions. The keyword here is select. The recommended increase is $.50 per passenger/per day for the Dining Room Service Team (Server & Assistant Server) and Stateroom Host/Hostess. The total recommended gratuity is $13.50 per passenger/per day based. Total gratuity is based on the length of the cruise. Based on the $1.50 increase, this implies the head server is not one of the tipped positions included in this change.

If pre-paid gratuities were added to a reservation prior to January 18, 2019, the rate the Guest is charged will remain $12.00 per Guest, per night. Guests who add pre-paid gratuities to their reservation January 18, 2019, or later will be charged the new rate of $13.50 per Guest, per night.

The timing of price changes varies by ship:

The last time Disney increased the recommended gratuities was in 2008.

Our tip calculator has been updated to reflect the change.

What are your thoughts on the increase? Do you normally add additional gratuity based on overall service or do you stick with the recommended tip amounts?

27 thoughts on “Disney Cruise Line Increases Base Gratuities

  1. Dan

    I have no issue with this whatsoever. The service on DCL has always been impeccable and we always tip more than this amount. These professionals deserve even more in IMHO.

    Reply
  2. Dyann Nielsen Miller

    The service teams work very hard. I’ve always felt the gratuities were too low and have added additional cash to the tip envelopes.

    Reply
  3. Laura Garcia

    Hi Scott, This seem odd. Is it $12.50 or $13.50 PPPD. You mention the .50 increase and that doesn’t calculate to $13.30. Please clarify this increase, thanks.

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Laura, I cleaned up the post. The keyword in DCL’s update was “select positions.” After reading it over, I suspect the head server will remain at $1 per person per day.

      Reply
  4. JF Bordeleau

    Makes sense to me. I always ended up tipping a little bit more anyway. As for the Head Server, other than my 10-nights Norway/Iceland cruise last Summer, and my first cruise on the Dream 5 years ago, they never made much difference anyway – and most times, I even struggled as to why they actually get tips – maybe they do a lot of work being the scenes that doesn’t get noticed…

    Reply
    1. Ralph

      Yes, head servers do a lot of behind the scenes work, stepping in to assist where needed when a serving team is challenged. We have experienced this on a number of cruises. The other factor for cruisers managing food allergies is the role the head server plays in making certain things are handled properly. We have consistently increased gratuities for all of the tipped positions with added cash, and sometimes the head server has received the same added amount as our server or stateroom host, more than doubling the gratuity in such a case.

      Reply
    2. Alice Wysocki

      The head servers do an incredible amount of work behind the scenes, especially (as happened to us on our last cruise) when there is a particularly difficult guest (loud and racist…need I say more?) who needs to be dealt with to protect the experience of other folks.

      Reply
  5. Tina

    I have no complaints about the increase, but it would have been nice to have more of a warning about it. Posting the day it took effect was wrong.

    Reply
  6. Alice Wysocki

    We have always added to the base, feeling quite frankly that the service staff, across the board, are poorly compensated with the tipping recommendations. We have also started identifying folks that are not on the usual tip list (like those wonderful folks near the pool…..or the ones stopping to chat while you are sunning on the upper deck) for an extra thank you. Guest services is really good at tracking down complete names then providing a slip so that we can tip them. We cruise only on the longer trips…so there’s ample opportunity to develop friendly interactions…and we feel quite fortunate to have met folks from a myriad of different countries and cultures…all of whom work their butts off to ensure that WE have a restful trip.

    Reply
  7. Denise S

    I echo the sentiment this modest increase is well deserved. I also never understood the “head server” receiving a gratuity until our family also needed an “intervention” in the dining room due to behaviors of another cruiser. The team made magic happen & the head server was the catalyst for a near unpleasant experience being practically erased from our minds. Our service has always been well deserving of additional gratuity and we bring extra cash to stuff in the envelope, actually after 6 DCL adventures never once have we not felt the need to do so, especially our room stewards! In addition, we make sure to note everyone’s name by keeping the gratuity slip receipt or writing additional names if needed and upon returning home we write an email to DCL mentioning by name the crew members that made our vacation so special. I derive much joy sending those thoughts their way, they worked incredibly hard for our enjoyment. I could not do their job and hope the comments get forwarded so they know how much they meant to us. Hard working is an understatement in our opinion!

    Reply
    1. Rose

      The crew members you mention in comments do get copies. Our head server was incredible. He always went above and beyond for us. I agree with the others, they deserve far more than what they get. We usually, at least, double the tips.

      Reply
      1. Denise S

        Thanks so much Rose, great to know. I always wondered if the crew were aware of our emails. Money is great but I can’t help think that when they read the positive thoughts it puts a smile on their face.

        Reply
  8. Miss D

    Head server is the one coordinating service team (server and ass. server), challenges in the kitchen with food, special requests, special dietary requirements, allergies. Special celebrations. Issues with other guests, seating arrangements… and a lot more… as well supervised Cabanas during breakfast and lunch, and whole food service operation on the island… and its tipping position without increasing. 1$ per guest.

    Reply
  9. frank

    After reading some of the comments i might be the only one that has a problem with this. Let me explain why. I live on a budget and i been saving and struggling to take my first cruise for 3 and a half years now and i am finally going on my first this February. I have everything all planned and all the money i would need for tips, etc etc. Now out of no where with 3 weeks away from my cruise Disney wants to raise prices on tips and they already recently raised the price for their bus transportation and tickets to Disney land Sorry But i don’t agree with this. Disney cruise line is already to expensive as it is and most people who go on Disney cruises over and over again “Like most of you that read this and comment here” good for you but remember not all people out there get to go on Disney cruises every year because they don’t have the money to go and maybe will never go again, i am one of those people. this will be my first and last cruise simply because its way to expensive and the whole planning thing as been nothing but a headache for me. times are tough for a lot of people out there Look at this government shutdown that is hurting a lot of people including me What a great time to raise prices when people are hurting the most come on Disney stop being so greedy for money. Disney is a billion dollar company there is no need to keep rises prices for so many things. I’m sorry i know this is going to sound like i am a very bad person but i will not be giving more then i plan to for tips i will be sticking to my budget and will be deceasing the amount even if i do get great service. is one thing if i have the money but if i don’t then i don’t, this is way to much of a short notice. I read in one comment that they should have at lease have more of a warning about it. that’s is so true or at lease let it take effect for people who about to plan a cruise and not for people who already have a cruse booked. I also just want to say i don’t mean to be so negative about this issue and sound like a horrible person but you have to understand where i am coming from, don’t get me wrong i’m sure that all the crew on this ship do an amazing job and they do deserve to be treated right and get paid for all their hard work they do to make every one have a wonderful experience and have a great vacation and go above and beyond but come on they get good money think about it add up all the tips they get from every one on that cruise we are talking about a ship that holds about 4,000 passengers.do the math folks they get paid good i know they get more then i do. i have minimum wage job and what i get paid a year they get triple that or more being on a one week cruise. and one more thing to add i read and heard to that they get more then what they ask for when people add more to the tips so they are all ready getting more then enough to make up for people who cant afford to give them more and under the amount. Their my rant is over and i know people are not going to like me for it but its my opinion and it’s the way i feel.

    Reply
    1. Kate

      Frank, I think you make a well reasoned statement about budgeting and hope you have a great cruise! Many people cruise intermittently because of budgetary guidelines, so don’t think you are solo in that. While I don’t have a problem with the new tipping rates, it’s always nice to hear a well stated opposing view.

      Reply
      1. frank

        Thank you Kate i appreciate you understanding my statement, and thank you i hope i do have a great cruise because this is a one in a life time chance for me and as much i would love to go on more cruises i know i’m not going to be able to. at least not Disney, unless i win the lottery, lol. One other thing i forget to mention in my statement was something else Disney just raised the price for and that’s the Palo dinner from $30 to $40 now is that ridiculous or what. makes me think what else is going to be raised in the next 3 weeks. enough is enough already. Disney is hurting some people’s pockets. Makes some people feel they can’t never do a Disney cruise. and i feel sorry for the people that can’t experience it at lease one time in life.

        Reply
    2. Denise S

      Frank- I like to think on this Disney blog we are free to voice our thoughts with respect for each other’s different scenario’s. I agree with you there should have been a bit more notice. I applaud your budgeting & taking your family to experience the Magic, we plan for years just as it seems you do. There is nothing more vacation crushing then arriving home to an astronomical credit card bill, it just takes away from the whole experience. We actually book using a TA and/or while on board & utilize our OBC for the auto gratuity portion, that is why I never pre-pay. You neither sound horrible or negative, and surely not the only one who feels like this, just the bravest for articulating your thoughts! I wish for you a most wonderful magical cruise. Your family is blessed to have you !!!

      Reply
      1. frank

        Thank you Denise that was really nice of you to say, People on this Disney blog sound like nice and respectful people and its nice to know there is folks out there that can understand my opinion. i also did use a TA to get OBC but even with that its still so expensive but it does help. i plan to use my OBC on souvenirs so i can have things to remember one of my dreams coming true. thank you again for your kind words.

        Reply
  10. Heidi Stewart

    We have always added a generous amount to the tips for the crew. However, I am taking my entire family of 15 on the Fantasy this year and some of them are better off financially than others. It would have been nice to have been contacted by DCL in advance of the increase in the base tip rate so that those who needed to save some money would have had the option to do so. Hearing about it after the fact was unfortunate.

    Reply
  11. MaryJo Salerno

    I have been on 11 Disney cruises and always pre-pay my tips but I still give extra tips in cash to stateroom attendant, dining room servers and bartender. I have no problem with the increased gratuity amounts. The service on Disney ships is impeccable and the crew members are hard working. Kudos to Disney for the increase.

    Reply
  12. Drew

    Please keep in mind that these are suggested tip amounts for excellent services, per DCL’s website. The site also states that “If you wish to change the amount of a gratuity or pay the gratuity in cash, stop by the Guest Services desk, located on Deck 3, Midship.”

    Personally, I either a) add to the suggested tip amounts, or b) opt out of the onboard charge and tip in cash the amount I prefer. I certainly understand budget constraints, having used them myself often.

    Reply
  13. Pixie

    This extra couple of dollars to be paid for the hardworking servers is completely reasonable. They should be paid more.

    Someone commented about servers getting paid their tips by all 4,000 passengers, but that is ridiculous. Each server works with a limited subset of passengers. There are hundreds of servers per ship.

    Anyone who pays thousands of dollars for a single Disney cruise, but can’t afford the extra $10 – $20 dollars this increase will cost them, needs to reconsider whether they should be even be taking such an out of reach vacation. I might get flamed for saying that, but it’s the truth.

    Reply
    1. frank

      Well pixie that is your opinion and you have the right to it. As for the 4,000 passengers comment i may be wrong about that since i don’t know how that part works yet but it’s good to know and learn that each server works with limited passengers thanks for pointing that out. Maybe i want to far on my rant because quite frankly I’m getting tired of hearing about increases about so many other things. Yes maybe the increase does not add up that much just by $10 or $20 and i had a feeling someone was going to say that But its not about the extra 10 or 20 dollars it’s the principle of the thing, sure its only 10 – 20 now but what if in 3 years its goes up again and again when is enough going to be enough. and is not just about the tip increase it about all the increases that goes on with Disney from the Palo dinner from $30 to $40 the Disney Bus transportation from $70 to $78 per person and all this happen with in a month and with no warning or notice whats so ever. all this adds up. they threw out too many increases at once. The point is there should be a good one month notice and when things go up in price it should not effect people who already booked a cruise before the increase.some people have budgets. and it takes a log time to save for things like this. Also you saying that people who can’t afford the extra 10 or 20 but spends thousands on the cruise it self should reconsider a cruise you have a point but to a certain extent. everyone should be able to experience a Disney cruise if they want to at lease one time in their life and if everything keeps going up there are people out there that will never get a chance to go on a Disney cruise and that is ridiculous.

      Reply
  14. Ty

    I have a problem with the increase in the since that they did not notify those who are booked in advance. They have all our contact information and send e-mails almost every 2 weeks but could not send one to notify of the increase for those of use with large parties it made a big difference and the rate for Palo and Remy increased which is frustrating for those who could not book online as all the reservations booked up for club members. I do not disagree with the increase for the service providers what I do not agree with is that there was no pre-notification and the expenses are all so astronomical already. I have a party of 19 traveling and all the increases has made a large impact. Can I still afford the cruise yes however my expenses in increased fees are not what I hoped to spend my vacation money on 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.