If you look at the sites that do the hiring for cruise lines you will see that $50.00 per MONTH is a not uncommon "salary" for waiters and room stewards. Yes, they contract knowing this fact, but I'm sure they are induced by the cruise lines to expect that the tips will be excellent for the demanding, 24/7 jobs they do.
I remember our second cruise when the dirt ball at our table told our waiter he "forgot" his tip on the last evening but would bring it at breakfast. Of course,he never went to breakfast. Many people treat the service personell poorly expecting them to jump threw hoops etc. in order to earn their tips.
Yes, the cruise lines need to treat their help better. I think we should all take advantage of the option to tip personally as I have read where certain cruise lines are keeping a large portion of the automatic tips. I suppose they can charge the help fees etc.this way. I want my hardworking room steward and waiters to actually get the tip in their hands.
If all the cruise lines included a decent salary for their service personnel in their cruise pricing and let us add tips for exceptional service, we'd probably be surprised at the cruise fares.