Before I start, I know this topic will no doubt have been discussed to death many times over on this board, to the extent that seasoned users on here will be sick to death of reading about it, so I apologise in advance.
However, I am pretty new to this board, and will be going on my first cruise later this summer, and I could really do with a bit of help from people who are more experienced.
The basic dilemma I have is how exactly to go about tipping. From whatI can gather, there is a charge of $10 per person per day which is billed automatically. I know that this can be cancelled - I will come to that in a minute. My main issue with this charge is that there will be 4 of us (including an 18 month old, who will be getting virtually all of his "service" from us). This would mean a total of around $560-$600 over the 2 week period, which seems a little bit steep to me, especially given the cost of the cruise in the first place.
Now, I am aware that some people choose to cancel this automatic billing and tip manually. In such a case, are you expected to tip every time someone does something for you (e.g. room service) or can you wait until the end of the trip and tip various people for their service over the cruise as a whole? The latter would definitely seem more preferable to me, however if I was to take such an option, how much would be a reasonable amount to give in a one off payment?
As much as I don't want to come across as cheap and miserable, and as much as I do intend to reward the staff who treat us well, the trip itself is costing us quite a bit, and we don't have an everlasting supply of finances, so any help anyone can give with regards to getting the balance right would be hugely appreciated!