Katherine Knowlton offers a tutorial on cruise line economics in response to my post about tipping, confirming my observations about the cruise industry's exploitative labour practices but missing the point entirely on the original issue.
The entire purpose of a gratuity is to recognize and reward someone for the personal service they have already given. It is not a bribe to ensure that service is given in the first place.
In our case, the ONLY person who provided direct service to us was our cabin steward. He did a good job and we recognized his efforts appropriately. Anyone else who provided a direct service (bar stewards, for example) included a "tip" or service charge of 15% on whatever transaction they were involved with. No additional tip should be expected or given.
The various people Katherine suggests were "busting their asses" for me behind the scenes aren't my problem. Even if the assertion about how hard they work were true (which certainly wasn't the case on "Galaxy") their compensation package is nothing to do with me.
My objection is to the practice of arbitrarily and automatically charging "tips" to passenger accounts (which some lines now do) and "recommending" tipping guidelines for a variety of personnel who do not provide personal service.
On the basis of Mx. Knowlton's comments, perhaps we should tip the Captain and the little man who steers the ship...