We will be taking our first cruise next spring but have traveled the Caribbean extensively and own time in St. Maarten. We were told that in most hotels, restaurants, etc. that service workers don't actually get the 15% service charge that is added to the bill...it is kept by the owners. I wonder if this is also true on cruise ships? If so, that could account for the poor service on some ships. We've become accustomed to the slow service on the islands and sort of go with the flow...but since exceptional service is expected on a cruise.. I can see where some object to having tips automatically billed to their card if service was lacking.