I worked "on board", in various departments, for about 11 years before finding my feet on land. Trust me, it took time to adjust! Anyway, I hope to have some good information to share.
The Cruise Lines take careful efforts in making sure that the crew are not forgotten while at sea. If someone made your cruise an exceptional experience, they would love to hear from you! It's not all about money, I promise. Sometimes, you just need to know your efforts were appreciated. If you remember the name of the staff member, even if it's only the first name, indicate their department and look up the cruise line address. I promise that the person will eventually get the letter if at all possible. It may take a month or two, so be patient. There is a high turnover on ships as it is a very labor intensive venture. Often, we were transferred to other vessels with very short notice. It will reach your purser, bartender, shop employee, even cruise director whenever possible. My suggestion is to briefly jot down a note and send it shortly after your cruise. You can write more back to them at a later time. If the crew-member receives your note, they are usually elated to get mail and will contact you soonafter. If not, forgive them for a busy life and remember the wonderful experience you had with a smile in your heart. Life is hard at sea- we love our passengers and hope to see you all time and time again. Trust me, we're in this business for the experience, and the love of it- money soon fades from our ideals. Money is important, of course, but you showed your gratitude by taking the cruise and tipping when you felt it was appropriate. There is no pool, you take care of those that take care of you.
I hope this has all made sense. I've been "on land" for 7 years now, however my life and cultural experiences on ships can never be replaced. I can tell you this; The true friends I've made in my Thirty-somehting years of life can be counted on two hands. They are mostly "crew" and they will ALWAYS be part of my family. We can never replace our dreams come true. Thanks for letting me share. Feel free to respond.
Sheila from the Ships