To each their own. At the same time an upfront gesture goes a long way. A nice hello and introduction also goes a long way. I bring them gifts upfront to set the tone and let them know I appreciate them. Then it opens up conversation on their end asking if I need any thing special etc. Which I rarely do except for a lot of ice, and sometimes my dinner times vary. So I let them know that.
Actually this topic is not all inclusive about tipping. It is about general tips for cruising.
Boy, giving a tip before they do anything is a big no no for us. So if this goes on, now we know why we do get some bad service during the cruise. This should not happen as they will expect a tip the first day and if they don't, then too bad for the rest of us. I know they work hard and long hours, but they knew that when they sign the contact. We do not tip any extra, we just leave it on the ship bill which is enough.
I wouldn't base my tip on whether the cabin steward is extra friendly. On both of our Celebrity cruises we hardly ever saw the room stewards, but the service was excellent. One of the worst room stewards was also one of the friendliest. I think he spent more time chatting with passengers than actually working.
*Our ship did not have a clock in the room...bring a travel clock for your room.
With regard to that previous quote: Don't depend on your cellphone as a travel clock. I learned the hardway. When I left Tampa on my Western Caribbean cruise, I had my cellphone, and used it as my travel clock and alarm clock. Apparently when we got to Cozumel, the cellphone must have picked-up the cellular signal in Cozumel and reset the time to Cozumel time. I had set my alarm clock (on the cellphone) to go off in the morning early enough so I could get to my shore excursion on time. But I was expecting the cellphone to be set to ship time, but it changed itself to Cozumel time. Lucky for me, I set the alarm time to go off early enough to still have enough time to make it off the ship in time (but not much).
So, make sure the travel clock you take on your cruise, can not recieve cellular or other wireless signals and readjust its time.
By the way, since my cellphone received some sort of signal in Cozumel, I thought I should try to see if I could call home. But I only got some message in Spanish, which I guess said the call could not be made. Now that I think of it, it could have been worse: The call might have gone through and I could have been charged as much as I would using the phone on the ship?