Should tips be automatically added to cruise passenger bills?

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Nearly all big cruise lines automatically add a gratuity onto passengers' bills. Some passengers don't like it one bit.

USA Today's Cruise Log reports that P&O; Cruises Australia, a subsidiary of Carnival, has put an end to the practice of automatically tacking on a fee of about $7 a day for tips. The change came about largely because of complaints from customers, most of whom are from Australia, where tipping is not nearly as ingrained in the culture as it is in the United States.

Most cruises that automatically add a charge for tipping the crew allow passengers to remove some or all of the fee from the bill, provided the passenger says why the service was less than stellar.

But should the gratuity be added there in the first place? Should we go back to the old system, in which passengers decided who and how much to tip, rather than having the cruise line direct folks along? As it stands now, if passengers don't agree with the gratuity situation, the burden is on them to do something about it.

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