The $10 or $12 collected by NCL and charged to you account is POOLED, most members of the service staff are allotted a share of this LARGE POOL OF MONEY! Bar people and Spa staff add 15% to your bill. This is a sufficient amount of gratuity for good service. Butlers and Coinserge must be tipped by the passengers for whom they are providing services, yes this is extra,
In the Specilaty restaurents if you leave cash on the table or hand it to any service person (which I think you should) this money is pooled among the staff in that restaurent that night. Individuals CAN NOT keep these tips for themselves.
On MOST main stream cruise lines, If any passenger gives a cash tip to a regular waiter, asst waiter, or steward asst steward etc. this cash MUST be pooled among the team in which they work. If you want to provide an extra gratuity for any waiter who went "above and beyound" good service they can keep gifts of a "personal" nature. Pre paid phone cards are much appreciated as is a positive remark on the comment cards.
Many people feel that this "new" system of charging a flat rate for gratuites has caused service to suffer on NCL in particular. I have NOT found this to be the case. Most cruiseline employees are hard working and polite. If they are otherwise thier contracts are not renewed. Cruise line employees work long and hard hours and are satisfied with the compensation they receive. They are doing much better then they might back home.