One of the first things we do when settling in on board is to go to the Pursers Desk and inform them that we would rather tip personally than have gratuities added on to our final bill. And in doing so that will be cancelled for you. They actually supply you with specific envelopes if you so wish in order for you to do this pesonally; and we do this generally on the last evening. I prefer to do this as then you know that your particular cabin steward or waiting staff actually receive what they so deserve. Hope this helps. Jill.
We never pay our tips up front and pay at the end of the cruise, and we are normally guided by the ships rates. We usually ask the waiter or cabin steward what currency they would like their tips, as at present most of them want the pound as it is strong against the dollar. My philosphy is yu pay for the service after not befor.
Tipping depends on which cruiseline you go with. Some of the luxury cruiselines include all tips with the price eg Silversea. Ocean Village includes some basic tip. I reccommend you decide which ship you would like to go on and then speak to the agent about tippin.
In our experience we tip the very last evening of our cruise in an envelope and give it to them discreetly. Usually we tip cabin steward/ess, waiters and bar staff.