We were told -- I don't know if this is true. That HAL pays their dining room stewards and cabin stewards $120 a week-- this info came from one of the Dutch employees. We asked our dining room steward about tipping in the Marco Polo as that would probably be a one time dining experience. He said HAL is aware that the Marco Polo stewards may not receive as much in tips, so they are given an "incentive". The word incentive was his word. He likes the main dining room better as he has a chance to get to know the people.
According to our dining room steward -- the stewards are given 3 month training --7 days a week with hours similar to that on the ship. They are given English langauge training and skill training. Our dining room steward is 23 and has been with HAL for 4 years. He proudly told us that he has been on all the continents! He was delightful!
We felt the service on the Volendam was impeccable and we tipped accordingly.