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Friday 6 January 2023

Wifi charges and enforced gratuities soar

If there is a rort that will extract more money from travellers then US "hospitality" businesses will find it.

Think the outrage of "resort fees" - where you have to pay for stuff you don't want and will not use. Or early check-in fees, late check-out fees, or room service charges on top of already excessive menu prices.

Cruise lines are experts at charging for extras: making you pay for gratuities even though the staff might not offer great service, and demanding extortionate fees for internet usage.

Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line has just hit its customers with a new year double whammy: increasing both its internet charges and gratuities.

Beginning with embarkations on January 16, Carnival's premium wifi package will cost $18.70 per day, up from $17. That's US dollars, so $27.70 in Australian dollars, or close to $300 for a 10-day cruise.

Carnival will charge $17 per day, up from $14.45, for its "value" package and its "social" package will cost $12.75 per day - but only includes access to social media and airline websites.

Gratuities for suites will increase on April 1.

Carnival will charge each guest $18 per day, up from $16.60. For standard staterooms, daily gratuities will increase to $16 per person, up from $14.50 per person.

I prefer to reward staff individually for great service, but enforced gratuities are an accepted part of the cruise business.

This is the second time in less than a year that Carnival has increased gratuities.

Norwegian Cruise Line also recently boosted its tip charges, increasing gratuities to between $25-$20 per day.

It is well worth bearing these extra charges in mind when booking a cruise.

Image: Julia Xian,


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