This nonsense seems to go on forever. What you newbies do not ever seem to realize is that tip shave been pooled - and thereby guaranteed - for the past 100 years on nearly every cruise ship in the world.
The envelopes you used to give the waiter - and still do on some of the more traditional lines - were NEVER kept by him. As soon as the last guest went down the gangway,
all the waiters went to the diningroom and handed in their envelopes to the Maitre d'.
The Maitre d' and his assistants counted up all the money, placed it in a pool, and then divided it up according to how many "points" each waiter had earned in the Maitre d's book.
It was ALWAYS pooled, the waiter ALWAYS knew he would get tipped even if you did not tip him. There was the same incentive 20 years ago that there is today. Why didn't the waiters tell you they pooled the tips? Because they learned early on that Americans tip better if they think that the money is going to one person. As soon as you find out that others are sharing in the pool, you tend to tip less. Most waiters are not stupid.
There are four changes today:
1.The pooled tips come from the Purser instead of opening all the envelopes.
2. The really cheap passengers who disappeared on the last night to avoid tipping are now embarrassed to remove the tips through the Reception Desk. This means the pool is larger and the waiters earn more tip money.
3. The quality of passenger has gone down dramatically over the past 20 years. They tip far less and are not nearly as sophisticated as before. Their expectations of service and quality are far lower than they were 20 years ago. Some waiters get lazy because they know that many of their guests do not really understand real service anyway.
4. With all the extra restaurants on many ships these days, you rarely see the same waiter twice. He rarely has the chance to get to know the guests as he did 20 years ago. This results in you having to explain to him your wants and needs every time you dine - rather than just once like you did 20 years ago. The service you receive under these circumstances does not seem nearly as personal as it did before.