In case of doubt, I always believe in asking your server first how they prefer to be tipped!
My first cruise was booked through Delta Skymiles and the issue of tipping was not discussed until I received the final boarding documents with suggested dollar amount for tips per passenger, including minors! After complaining to my agent about the surprise assessment, I was informed that I can request to remove or reduce those tips at the end of the cruise. Living at NYC, we tip 20% or more, for F&B services.
So, I thought it is best to ask the workers themselves. I was told that back in the days, cruise workers were paid only tips! But that is not the case anymore. Requesting anonymity, of course, this server prefers to get tips directly as oppose to receiving a share from the common pool collected by the cruise line. Apparently, these workers have not received their fare share of the tips because there is no accountability, they do not know how much was contributed, or how much the management decides to tell them!
At the end of my cruise, my adult daughter reduced the amount she wanted to contribute for the tip, while I made sure I tipped my waiters after every meal ($5-$10 x4 per day) and gave one lumpsum tip for my room keeper ($80 or average of $10/day). I removed the rest of tips assessed on my bill, including the tips pertaining to my minor daughter who shared my room. As I prepare for another cruise, I am inclined to ask my servers the same question.
Can you please share your tipping tips from various cruise liners?