I am with NCL now. I went to the desk on the first day to remove these silly 'discretionary' service charges. I do not believe in it as a standard charge, and prefer to tip individuals as per my choosing.
I was given all the delaying and fobbing off tactics, come back tomorrow, come to the desk after 5pm, it has to be the last day, and the absolute classic "it has to be done on a special form which is sent through daily from Miami." Are we to believe a special pile of forms are delivered by carrier pigeon every few days, with a special magic seal on, so they can't be printed off on board. This one especially insulted me.
After standing and holding a queue up the magic form was placed before me and i completed, however the charges were still showing as a pending transaction on my credit card, so I contacted my credit card company and had them cancel the transaction. I do not trust NCL now.
I am an investigstor by profession and can smell the BS a mile away. This is clearly a concerted team effort at robbing people off.
If they want to make the change compulsory then make it so and put it on the headline price. Instead they quote the price without service charges, call it 'discretionary' to get around the regulations, but make it as difficult as possible to actually get it removed.
I think this culture of tips gratuity and service charges is dying off thank god. But the service sector is the last place it remains.
If if I was to accept cash in return for doing my job a little better then I'd be sacked, arrested and probably inprisoned.
I understand the higher end cruise companies have already binned this practice. Good on them, let's hope it trickles down.