Thanks so much for all the replies - very much appreciated. I guess I'm still not sure exactly what I'm going to do - have plenty of time to figure it out though. To be honest the tipping issue is a bit of a touchy one with me - in my mind it should always be 100% voluntary, and never compulsory. When I go to a restaurant, I will only tip if I feel the service warrants it - if I get fairly average/poor service I don't see why I should reward it above and beyond the salary they are being paid.
From what I can gather though, in America things are gradually heading towards compulsory tipping, with huge problems arising if you don't (according to my sister who lives in Boston anyway) In my opinion this is totally wrong and a complete infringement of human rights - whatever happened to the right to choose? I hope to God this rule doesn't ever come over to the UK!! When tipping is voluntary, you reserve the right to reward the worthy and ignore the unworthy - when it is expected, I feel undue pressure.
To give a comparison, I teach in a secondary school (11-18 yr olds) and usually am given a hell of a rough time by the kids, as are most teachers nowadays. Nobody comes up to me at the end of the day with a few pounds as a thankyou for me teaching them. On parents evenings, no parents give me money as a thanks for teaching their delinquent kids. I am not complaining however - I don't expect it - why should other people do my employers' job for them?
Some would respond by saying that I probably get a much better salary than cruise staff, which may well be the case, but surely that is the fault of the cruise liner owners? Don't get me wrong - I will tip this summer, and am not against tipping per se, but if companies paid acceptable wages, there wouldn't be anywhere near as much pressure on people to tip staff in order to bolster their salaries or feed their families. Whilst it is acceptable for the public to want to reward workers for exceptional service, it is not acceptable for us to be expected to do employers' jobs for them, or to reward some employees for doing nothing more than the job they are emplyed to do.
Maybe I just don't get it, or maybe it's because I'm a Yorkshireman, but something about this just doesn't add up.