Yes they are all paid but not very well and really do rely on the tips and as far as i am concerned deserve every penny plus some. We never have automatic gratuities removed from our bill and always tip those who have given us extra service such as our room attendant and waiter a bit extra. If you don't like tipping or can't afford it then perhaps yu shouldn't be cruising. We are not well off we are ordinary working people but think that credit should be given where it is due and the majority of staff work hard and for long hours don't short change them.
Yes you can opt out when you get on board go to the purses office its on deck 2 and tell them no gratuities on your bill.you then fill and sign a form.it will show on your bill till the last day then it will be taken off.if not you will be charged example 2 adults 10 day cruise 220 dollars.you will be charged a service charge anyway when order drinks.then tip as you want or not.
Yes you can opt out. You need to get a special form from the Purser's Office when you get on board.
Recently been on Caribbean cruise on QE2. $11 per person a day were automatically added but the waiters still obviously expected an additional tip. Notice in restaurant explained that the tip was for the "people you do not think of rewarding - e.g. crew on tenders etc...." Funny - I thought that was what we paid for and that these people got wages.