I'm lol at the 'poor waiter story' comment.
Most of my cruising was done between 99 and 02. We then resumed cruising this year. I've seen notable differences.
For the most part, I've found staff to really work for their tips, and until my 'poor waiter' I'd never heard ANY discussion of tips from the crew. THey just work really hard. This was the first time any crew member had engaged in a discussion of tipping. My guess - he's been stiffed in the past. Why, because he was a terrible waiter. I was offended by him several times throughout the week, but I chalked it up to a 'personality' thing. He was very abrupt and used to speaking in a certain way. For example, he lectured me EVERY night about how sharp the meat knives are and how the children should not touch them. I know he meant well, but I'm a mom, I know not to let my kids play with knives. IMHO, this guy doesn't have the rigth personality for being in an industry that is tip-dependant and he probably often gets ripped off, and is now asking for tips.
I know many of you have cruised more often than myself, so maybe this is a common 'poor waiter' story.
Personally, we like to ask the wait staff about where they are from, about their families and get to know them and were they have come from. But never before had we come accross a crew member who tried to make us feel guilty for being wealthy enough to travel.