I was under the impression that this $10 per person/per day tip or "service charge" has been in effect already with NCL -- for how long, I do not know but I am booked for a Sept. 26, 2004, cruise with NCL and have my brochure right here in front of me and it states very clearly that all service personnel on board receive gratuities from this $10 per person/per day "service charge" and there is no need to think about additional tipping (don't worry -- I won't). Separately a 15% gratuity is added to bar tabs and spa services. Jameee says this "service charge" is to be instituted some time in 2005 but looks to me as though it is already in effect as of right now.
I thought that I have read some posts here where you can add to or take away from this fee as befits the actual service provided. Wonder if there are any NCL cruisers out there who can confirm this?
All I can say is that I'm almost to a point where I'm sorry my husband and I even thought about taking a cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversay. Being that this is our first cruise, we simply did not know any better and freestyle appealed to each of us, thus the decision to go with NCL. The TA I chose has been less than helpful but that's altogether another subject probably best suited for the gripe board. In hindsight, I should have visited the cruise boards *before* plopping money down on any cruise-- live and learn. At this point, I'm going to hope and pray that I can report back here to tell you that our cruise was a smooth and happy event. In the meantime, I shall remain on the edge of my seat.