RCI is considering changing their tipping policy because British guests simply don't tip. It doesn't say so in this article by USA Today's Gene Sloan , but I'd assume they mean an automatic tipping policy like most other mainstream lines use.
The British do not tip. I had a friend visiting from the U.K. and she took a taxi and the fare was $12.50. She gave the driver $13. She was surprised that my mother and I were aghast at this. She even mentioned that she usually didn't tip in the U.K.
When we went out to eat, her mother always asked us how much to tip.
Likewise, when I was in the U.K. and before I got word about the tipping policy, I had tipped 20% at a restaurant. I later realized why the server had been so happy.
I do like like the automatic tipping though. For instance, I do not tip the head waiter. A friend who works for RC told me that it wasn't necessary to tip the head waiter unless s/he did something extra for me. Automatic tipping would mean I would have no choice as to whom I tip.
I do tip the prescribed amount for waiter, assistant waiter, and attendant.
I guess the envelopes delivered towards the end of the cruise do not TIP the Brits off to the tipping procedure. Tipping is mentioned on the Web site and should be in the documents delivered to cruisers.
15% is already automatically added on to bar bills.
Why don't they just up the price of the cruise and increase employees' salaries? That might mean other costs to RC go up though.
It is a cultural thing. Many non-Americans do not consider gratuities as part of the overall cruise price, and they don't have a sense of guilt over it and really don't understand why it is so rampant.