Hello from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
We are frequent cruisers; we have three booked for 2018 already.
In the past, we learned that the automatic gratuity the cruise line charges us is not actually given to the staff who serve us. We learned that the staff have a "contract" which spells out salary and conditions. The automatic gratuity goes directly to the cruise line.
We have, therefore, opted out of the automatic gratuity by signing the forms on-board the ships and giving gratuities in cash to those who serve us. (we usually end up giving more than the automatic gratuity would have been). We feel that the gratuity should be received by those who actually provide the service.
I am wondering how many others do the same, especially experienced cruisers.
Thanks. I look forward to your replies.