> I don't like that extra dollar going to the Maitre'd or head
> waiter. They are in management positions and should be
> compensated by the cruise line.
Normally, I'd agree with that but on our recent Alaskan cruise on the Regal, the head waiter was fantastic. We had our kids and grandkids along and he instructed the waiter and assistant waiter to take care of the kids first. He was constantly overseeing the grandkids and even cut the meat for the 3 and 6 year old, nudging my son-in-law away and telling him to just enjoy himself and not to bother with the children. I let the cabin charge stay but gave additional cash to him and the wait staff. At that time, I thought he'd have been able to keep it.
On other cruises, the head waiter would just walk around smiling and glad handing while making an occassional pasta appetizer. As you mentioned, for those, I don't feel they've done anything to merit a tip.