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Tipping on board

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Australians don't tip. We pay our bar staff, waiters, etc a full living wage, extra at night and on weekends. To pay someone a tip is highly unusual. To expect a tip is frowned upon. To leave change on a bar is to invite bar staff to exclaim "hey, you left your change".
We know Americans tip everybody within sight. How much, how often, we have no idea. We know Europeans tip less often. How much, how often, we have no idea. When don't we tip? We have no idea.
So here we are going on a cruise where we are being charged up front $12.50 a day each. That's about $800 to cover tipping? Cover who? We don't know.
An acquaintance tells me to get $50 in singles to use buying drinks. So a beer for me and a glass of wine for my wife is what? Per drink, per round, per session (say about 3 drinks each). What about other ship staff?
So I read the blogs and you say "you must tip". but that's no real help.
Advise would be welcome.

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