I took my 11 year-old daughter on her first cruise last summer. I have to admit, I went into the sailing with the same impression so many of you have........Why should I pay the full tipping amount for a child? I resented the fact that the tipping policy was dictated to us on how much we should tip. I had no intention of paying anything for my daughter.
Boy how my attitude changed once we were onboard. Not only does the staff go out of their way to make you feel like royalty but they shower children with extra attention, making them special desserts and dinner items that's weren't on the menu, etc. Plus the Caribbean Princess had a kids camp that did everything from art classes to ice cream eating contests. They won all sorts of prizes and souvenirs to take home. It was absolutely wonderful! Not only did we tip the requested $10 pp per day but we also tipped extra to the wait staff in the formal dining rooms and our room steward. Keep in mind, the $10 pp is divided among several staff members so not just one person is getting this money.
I could not walk away without tipping, especially knowing that the crew had gone above and beyond their jobs. I personally prefer to pay the gratuities up front. This way, I can concentrate on shopping and not worry about the tips being charged to my credit card. Carnival and RCCL allows you to prepay gratuities when booking the cruise. I hope this helps.