Norwegian Cruise Line Increases Daily Service Charge. How to Avoid the Higher Cost

by Janis on March 22, 2017

The Norwegian Pearl cruise ship, Norwegian Cruise LineNorwegian Cruise Line recently announced a “nominal” adjustment to its daily service charges, beginning April 1, 2017.  Raising its “discretionary daily service charges,” as the cruise line calls its auto gratuities, seems to be common annual occurrence, as we reported a similar increase in February, 2015 that took effect on March 1, 2015.  Then there was another increase in 2016 for the cruise line.

Details of the April 1, 2017 Increase to Daily Service Charges on Norwegian Cruise Line

Here are the specifics for the new daily service charge rates.

For all ships except for the Norwegian Sky the new daily service charge rate (in US dollars) is:
• $13.99 per person per day for any category up to a Mini-Suite Stateroom.  (This is increased from the current rate of $13.50, for an additional $0.49 per person per day.)
• $16.99 per person per day for any suite or Haven category. (This is increased from the current rate of $15.50, for an additional $1.49 per person per day.)

The Norwegian Sky cruise ship features an

The Norwegian Sky cruise ship features an “open bar” concept for its 3 and 4 day sailings out of Miami.

For the all-inclusive product aboard Norwegian Sky (this “all-inclusive” label really means that the ship operates an open bar concept with many beverages such as soda and juice, and beer, wine and cocktails are included in the ticket price) the new daily service charge rates are increased substantially:
• $18.99 per person per day for any category up to a Mini-Suite Stateroom. (This is increased from the current rate of $13.50, for an additional $5.49 per person per day.)
• $21.99 per person per day for any suite category. (This is increased from the current rate of $15.50, for an additional $6.49 per person per day.)

There are two ways to avoid the increase if you act by March 31, 2017

1. If you plan to sail on Norwegian Cruise Line, make your booking by March 31, 2017, and then pre-pay your service charges at the current rate anytime up until one week before your cruise departure. (This is especially valuable if you are booking a sailing on the Norwegian Sky.)

WHY? For bookings made prior to April 1st, 2017, regardless of the date of your cruise prepaid service charges will be charged the CURRENT price of:
• $15.50 USD per person per day The Haven and Suites; $13.50 USD per person per day for Mini-Suites and below – FOR ALL SHIPS

2. If you are already booked for sailings on or after April 1, 2017, and you booked on or before March 31, 2017, then pre-pay your service charges at least one week prior to sailing to get the current service charge rates.

WHY? If you wait to pay service charges once on board your sailing, you will be charged the new, higher rates.

Important Notes About Service Charges on Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Guests sailing to Hawaii are charged an additional 4.275 percent GET Tax on their Pre Paid Service Charges.
  • Service charges apply to all guests 3 years or older.
  • You can pre-pay service charges through your travel professional, even if you already made your final payment.
  • If your existing cruise reservation included pre-paid service charges as a booking perk, you are not impacted for the first two guests in a cabin or suite. Third and fourth guests should be pre-paid, or else they will be charged the higher daily rate during your sailing.

Have you sailed on Norwegian Cruise Line? How was your experience?

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