Hi pg, it is not possible to compare shipboard dining and all it entails to land based restaurants. They are two completely different enviroments. Like you I would not consider tipping a headwaiter in a land based restaurant (assuming the restaurant even had them) unless something extra was done. Land based restaurants may have a Maitre d' who will get tips if a service is extended whereas the Maitre d' onboard is a ship's officer and will most likely turn down a tip if offered. Onboard the headwaiter is part of my gratuity package because I know what is going on aboard ship. Experienced cruisers don't have a tip,tip mentality- it is the way things have been done on cruise ships for decade after decade etc. It is because of the explosion in cruising the last 10-12 years or so that this problem has surfaced-tens of thousands of new cruisers who don't know and frankly, don't care. The cruise lines themselves have not done a good job of explaining a lot of the nuances of cruising. That is why the extending of gratuities to the service providers will disappear and the cost added to the fare. Also, I have a fairly good idea of when someone is trying to shoot me lines of BS.
For showcat- the Maitre d' gets nothing, the Headwaiter gets .75 cents pp/per night of your cruise == $5.25 for a 7 night cruise per person...$6.00 for an 8 night cruise.