Thanks to everyone for their fast responses. This site really has quite a few outstanding & experienced posters. For that I am very appreciative.
I think I should clarify my original thougths. First of all, I'm not an experienced cruiser(4 on RCL)but my wife & I are very experienced travelers. I personally find "AT" somewhat disconcerting. I always tip & tip well to individuals that offer service. Why would I AUTOMATICALLY have to pay a certain predetermined amount?
Here are the finer points. We'll be traveling with my adult son. All prefer buffets, so formal dining is NOT a consideration. I believe suggested tips to the room attendant would be about $12.00/day or $84.00 for the 7 day cruise. I'd give this individual at least $100.00 & possibly more for a job well done.
Secondly, buffets are essentially "self-service". We always tip the folks that bring water & soft drinks , etc, to the table. Most meals we simply serve ourselves, simply a matter of personal preference. Tips usually are very minimal because service as a rule isn't required. Always add at least $1-$2.00 to any bar order on top of the 15%.
So, basically my question is this. Total tips from "AT" would be $210.00. My preference of individual tipping for services rendered would be about $140.00. Why should I be asked to tip $70.00 extra for no incremental increase in the service I receive?
I'm certain I'm probaly missing a key element that would explain this somewhat arcane transaction. Thanks so much for reading this elongated post & I look forward to learning as much as possible from the insightful folks on this board. Stay Well!