I have quite a few Filipino friends working on H.A. ships. The bartenders make $200.00 a month from H.A. They pool their tips so the ones working in the background still get some extra money. Because $200.00 a month doesn't go very far in ANY country. And confusing people about 'tipping not required' is only hurting the best thing about a H.A. cruise & that is by far their Crew!. I have asked several of them & they all would like to have the tips added on to the bar bills. This would eliminate ANY confusion as to whether people should tip or not. And for those who say it would change their attitudes or their 'friendly' smiles would disappear, well, that is a sure sign that you just don't know them very well! That is the same as saying that they are only being nice because of money. AND THAT IS JUST NOT TRUE!
If everyone would just tip as they do in any restaurant or bar at home, we wouldn't have this problem. Other cruise lines wouldn't be adding it on to the bill if people weren't 'stiffing' the Crew. Tipping is NEVER required, but it is expected in ANY restaurant/bar on land and it is exactly the same on a ship. No one would ever leave a restaurant where they got good service without leaving a tip on land-WHY DO THEY THINK IT IS DIFFERENT ON A SHIP!
I do fault H.A. for confusing the issue-they should DEFINITELY change their words about tipping. They should be taking good care of their BEST assets. Even if they don't want to suggest an amount, they could at least admit that these wonderful people depend on their tips -as does ANY waitress,waiter,or bartender on land.