Peter - I think you mis-read what I wrote. I said if the cruise lines paid a "living wage" to their staff - then only the rich could afford to cruise. I'm talking minimum wage - like $7.00 an hour instead of the $50 a week they pay now. The OP said they were on a tight budget - if the tip was included in the price ($70 pp per week) they would have spent $140 more per couple per week on the cruise in the first place - and been on a even tighter budget. You Worte " I doubt if anyone would notice the difference" - I believe the OP would notice the difference. It's 6 of one - half a dozen of the other.