I guess I made that assumption because on our NCL cruise to the Baltics, which was our first alternative dining experience, the $10 p.p. fee was for the express purpose of paying the gratuities that the waiters in "Le Bistro" would not be getting from your dinner tips.
H.A.L.'s "No Tipping Required" policy is very confusing and it makes customers very unsure of what and where to tip. For instance, one evening in the casual dining at the Lido, I tried to add a gratuity to the wine bill and I was told I cannot do that. (Most other lines add the tip for you at about 15%) The waiter said "you must do that at the end of the week and pay by cash." My question is: How can I possibly track down every person who has given us good service in order to give them a tip the last day of the cruise? Do I need to tip every waiter and every bus person that has given good service? And if so, how much? H.A.L. will give you no guidelines, even when you ask, and I asked at least four different people in management on the ship. The answer which seemed to be rehersed was "It is totally up to you!" "We cannot give you any recommendations nor can we solicit tips in any fashion."
This policy implies that the employees are paid somewhat better than their peers on most other cruise lines and that tips are not AS important, as a part of their income. It leaves me very frustrated and confused most of the time because there is also no tip pooling done on board. This leads me to believe that some people, like the man pushing the cart of pastries each morning from table to table, is being left out of the mix when it comes to tips.
I must say that is the one thing I like about N.C.L. and a few others. They just add the tips onto your on-board expense sheet and that is the end of it all, unless you choose to do something for someone special.
I feel like I'm ranting and do not mean to. It would just be easier for me if the tipping guidelines were a bit clearer and then I wouldn't feel like I'm making a faux pas at every turn.