When you book a Carnival cruise, and check in, it automatically assigns you the "suggested" amount of gratuities. Despite it being "suggested" and "optional", it is applied automatically by default. And while an in-person opt-out is possible, I couldn't find a way to effectively opt out of them until the last day of the cruise, because:

  • Calling their support after booking and asking to remove them doesn't work because "we can't cancel because you are not charged anything yet". Same during check-in;
  • Calling it during the cruise does not work, because the service desk cannot (or claims so) cancel the future automatic gratuities, only the accrued ones. Thus you would have to do it again, on the last day;
  • Doing this on the last day works, but the line is rather long, as many people try to settle their accounts, pay bills, or ask to change gratuities. The process however is simple and straightforward once you reach the desk - but this could take an hour.

I was told by other passengers that it is possible to opt out of automatic gratuities, but they were either vague about how they did it, or it was one of the above "solutions" which did not work. Does anyone know the solution which works?

PS. Thank you in advance for not starting a discussion about tipping in general.

  • 29
    I am sure it is purely accidental that it is so difficult...
    – Aganju
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 22:17
  • 1
    According to the friends of mine, the only way is to go to the counter at the final day, and force the tipping not from person, but from a suit, saying that you want to provide tips for a concrete person servicing you (even you don't want to tip at all). As it's not my experience, making this a comment
    – VMAtm
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 23:37
  • 2
    @JonathanReez they preauthorize your card for the full amount at checkin, and refund the difference later - this time the refund actually was by a mailed check(!!!). The guest services is also quite busy at dock too, handling people who haven't settled the charges yet or had some last night, and are leaving the ship.
    – George Y.
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 3:07
  • 10
    OK, cross Carnival off my list of possible cruise lines. Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 2:10
  • 1
    @PatriciaShanahan I heard that some other cruise lines are even worse, with some you need to FAX a refund request and wait months. So check their policies too, and google around.
    – George Y.
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 2:33

1 Answer 1


Given that you've tried every reasonable avenue on board, I'd say the answer is: it's impossible. The cruise companies are intentionally trying to make it as difficult as possible for consumers to avoid their sketchy pricing tactics, while making sure not to break European laws about transparent pricing.

I would personally consider waking up 30 minutes before the service desk opens on the last day and getting yourself in line at the time. Might help save some time, at least.

  • Seem to be my opinion as well for now.
    – George Y.
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 20:51
  • I'm Upvoting this answer because, total truth, I'd rather people think it's not possible because that's ultimately better for the crew.
    – DTRT
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 20:54
  • 2
    You still can do it at the last day, as I have always done. It is just more annoying. Next year I'll try to mail Carnival a written statement that I oppose "mandatory gratuities" and will sue them shall they attempt to charge me. Might work.
    – George Y.
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 21:00
  • 3
    @GeorgeY. How did that work out?
    – Mast
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 12:21
  • Haven't cruised with them since that, so don't yet know.
    – George Y.
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 2:17

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