I did a quick calculation and for a 10 day cruise (actually 7 nights on the boat), the cruise director would get a tip of roughly $12,000 for a 12 night cruise (7 nights on the boat). That's figuring a 160 passenger boat (AMA). And then they recommend that you give the tour guides and drivers for tours off the boat an additional gratuity.
I don't' know about you, but assuming the cruise director can work at least 1/2 a year, that's over $200,000 per year in tips....and some just turn around and work more cruises.
That seems beyond excessive....especially since I think it's reasonable to assume that the cruise lines actually pay their cruise directors.
I have no problem with the $12-16 a day for the crew....or tipping guides off the boat...but the tip to the "tour guide" seems way overboard.
We may just skip river cruising and stick to ocean cruises....perhaps sailing on Regent, Crystal, etc.