We were on the Grand in May - had a wonderful cruise. We had an outside room on the Caribe deck and really enjoyed the extra size of the balcony on that deck. I was not pleased with the fact that the gratuity envelopes were NOT placed in our cabin by the steward. They had them in 2 large wooden boxes - appropriately indexed and marked at the Purser's Desk but I think that method does a dis-service to the very personnel who rely on their gratuities. I stumbled on it by accident and picked them up thinking I would be getting them in our cabin prior to the final day but wanted to get them lined up early as I had the gratuity money already set aside (squirrelled away as my husband calls it...lol)
I think having it the passenger's responsibility to pick up the envelopes can make people forget, inadvertantly overlook or conveniently overlook in some cases to follow through with the gratuity process. Bad enough on the final night there was a noticeable difference of some empty seats here and there in the dining room which is really too bad for the waitstaff who worked hard all week. We always go by the set standard and will always round up and most times put in $5-$10 extra as we have been fortunate to have had personnel who were very deserving and accomodating. We are also people who are not hard to please. I am sometimes embarrased at the attitude and demands of some passengers who think their stewards are their personal slaves. (A couple on our floor expected the steward to break down the twin beds every day to provide a sitting area and then put them together at night for a king size bed for sleeping! They were quite miffed that this was not going to be done by the steward who I heard explain it in a very diplomatic way) As far as adding tips to your shipboard process - I prefer not letting the Cruise Line know how much the waiter, steward or whomever is being tipped. I think by using this convenience in the long run it might have an adverse affect on the crew. Maybe I'm wrong - but that's just my honest opinion.