Considering the topic of the original post, I guess this is probably the best place for me to ask this as, living in Australia, I am entirely confused about and don't understand about the entire tipping culture. I'm beginning to plan for a trip to the US in a few years that will be centred around cruising. Here in Australia, tipping is something that never happens. To be totally honest, morally I feel that tipping should not be mandatory and is something that should be entirely at the passengers discretion, however I appreciate that it is so ingrained in the culture in the USA that, whether I agree with it or not, it's something that I would have to do.
My questions would mainly be - Who should we give tips to? I understand porters, room attendants, bartenders, waiters etc. all rely on/require tips. How much/how big of a tip should we give them? How much should we budget for per night of a cruise? Regarding which staff get tips, who de we not tip? Room attendants get tipped for servicing your room, waiters and bartenders for serving your food/drinks, however presumably, we don't tip the Cruise Director because we enjoyed the entertainment or the captain because the ship didn't crash, so at which level/seniority of the crew do we stop tipping?