I rec'd my cruise documents today for my upcoming Zuiderdam cruise and included was a letter from Stein Kruse, Pres and COO addressing tipping. I won't type all of it here but will type certain key sections which put to rest musch of the debate, misinformation, etc spread on the old HAL board.
"Exceptional service also means not making our guests search for crewmembers at the end of the cruise to give them a tip, worry about if they are tipping the right amount or have to carry extra cash with them. Accordingly, for your convenience and to enable our crew to receive the recognition we believe they are entitled to, a gratuity of $10 per guest, per day, will be automatically posted to your shipboard account.
Good service starts with crewmembers you may never have the opportunity to meet: the baker who works the night . . . . or the housekeeper who keeps our lounges in meticulous condition. They also benefit from the gratuities included with your bill. To ensure the efforts of these crewmembers are also recognized and to discourage solicitation of guests, dining and cabin stewards are required to turn in any tips they receive directly from those guests who have removed or reduced the gratuities on their onboard bills.
Should you wish to adjust the gratuities, you may do so at the Front Office after you have received the preliminary bill on the last full day of your cruise. Please remember that gratuities are the recognized way to show appreciation for good service. All gratuities are paid to the crew and represent an important part of their compensation."