I'd go with what is the norm on the other cruise lines..
$3.50 per day/per person for each of the Dining Room waiter and Room Steward
$2.50 per day/ per person for the ass't waiter(bus person)
If the Maitre D happens to do something special for you, $10 at the end of the cruise would be a decent thank you.
The tricky part on HAL is the bartenders and servers, since unlike other cruise lines there is no gratuity added to each order. You can approach this one of two ways..
-Carry some $1 bills around with you, and tip during the course of each evening
- at the end of the cruise find the bartenders or servers who's service you enjoyed, and tip them at that time.
Mrs Bill (also known as Gram) makes up her tip envelopes before we leave according to the "recommended" amounts. (get a HAL brochure from any TA office there will be a section on tipping in the back). If service is OK then we tip the recommended amount, good to exceptional, then we add some, really bad, then we take out a buck or two.
Carry singles for the bar service and room service waiters.
Enjoy your cruise.
According to HAL's website: "Exceptional service is part of the Holland America Line cruise experience. Because you are our guest, it is our goal to make sure you receive the finest service possible. Our 'tipping not required' policy ensures that the professional and gracious service you receive on board is truly sincere; that we are dedicated to providing the most relaxed cruise vacation, not simply providing service in return for tips. You are free, however, to extend monetary recognition if you wish-it's entirely up to you."
From reading these boards, however, it seems like even on HAL that tips are expected.
Tipping is not required on any cruise line!!! . HAL just uses that phrase as part of their marketing ploy. Of course you tip, just as you would on any cruise ship People misinterupt the phrase and stiff the staff.
I was just at the travel agency last week and the agent was selling HAL, in part, because you didn't tip. He said that tipping was included in the fare. He also had a HAL brochure which advertised in large letting "No Tipping". So which is it? If the company is advertising that tips are included, I don't see why one would tip unless there was additional service provided over and above the expected. As someone said above this is a marketing ploy. If so I believe it is a poor one because their employees are going to be the ones that pay the price.
While HAL's tipping policy is in my opinion confusing. Your agent sounds as if he has very little idea of the product he is selling.
Tipping is never required.. though it is expected and it is certainly NOT included.