This thread is now over 3 years old from the original post. But I'd like to weigh in on the inaccuracy of the subject line.
First, tipping is not mandatory! You do not have to tip. It is being applied to your account now because it's more convenient for the passengers and it helps the crew member's wages. If the service is unacceptable, one should remove all or part of the tips from their account.
Second, cantw82cruz makes good points about tipping. We are pressured to tip even when there was bad service. We are also pressured to tip people in certain occupations but not others.
Oh, gosh. I didn't realize this thread was that old. Not paying attention, I guess.
I'll be sailing on HAL Maasdam the end of this month -- a first cruise. We splurged for our anniversary with an "S" category suite. I know that HAL doesn't *require* tipping, but I also understand that you're supposed to, anyway. And that's fine. No problem.
But I also want to make sure that I have the general guidelines for tipping correct.
Waiter/Room Attendant $3.50 per person per day (so $70 for a 10 day cruise)
Assist Waiter $2 per person per day (so $40 for a 10 day cruise)
I know alot of you won;t like this, but I don;t think we should have to tip for lunches since most days we are out at a port eating in a restaurant and tipping them for service received. Why should I tip the ship waiters for these meals when not eaten on board? That's where the cruiseline comes in. As others have said they recieve free room and board AND get paid with NO bills! I agree we should tip if we're eating at the Windjammer (pool area) because those are the same waiters as in the dinning rooms and we don;t tip them there, but I'll be darned if I'm gonna tipfor lunches while not onboard!