Just got back from a seven day cruise via vision of the seas... I was following this topic because my husband and I are pretty heavy drinkers, so we were torn about getting the package or not, we opted not too and it worked out heavily in our favor.
The first day, we went to the bar and made friends with the bartenders working, they said they work the same bar everyday, so we started talking and tipped them generously the first few rounds, even though there is a 15% tip included. We were also told from our uncle To bring 2 dollar bills to tip, This way they remember you, and apparently so many people still collect them, they loved it. We just went to the bank and got a hundred in 2s. After the first day, we would leave our card out so they could charge the drinks,but most times, they never did! Even when we asked for glasses of water,they just gave us bottles instead..it rocked! So we would leave 15-20 bucks and move on. There were two bars we did this with and it worked out great! We had four stops so most of those days we didn't start drinking until 2-3 o'clock but when we did, we only paid for one, if that, and continued to tip. Our total bill came out to less than the 800 something it would have been if we both did the package...and that's including tips and excursions. So if you're comfortable making friends, it's totally worth tipping them handsomely and they will definitely take care of you :-)