I find it offensive that you assume i have pulled the money for this trip off a money tree. I have been saving for a long time to go on this trip, long hours in work, night shifts and overtime!! So please don't assume what my circumstances are, the money means a lot to me as it does to them.
Another point that doesn't sit well with me is- if i provide a good service to a client i never get tipped, ever. However, i have to tip a waiter or a taxi driver?? Someone please tell me why i should, it's not an automatic right to be tipped. If they aren't earning enough, work more. That's what i do. I don't get handouts like many other services..
No doubt the service on this trip will be great and i will tip, i just don't like to be ask for it.
I don't assume anything of the sort about you. I work hard and long to be able to afford a trip too, but I look into what's expected of me and budget for it, not decide that I'm going to make some poor stiff work for free so I can get a 10% "discount" on my vacation.
Re: "Work more." I'm sure it's different where you are (which is the cause of this culture clash) but waiters in the US usually make something like $2/hr and *share* their tips with the bartenders, bus boys, dish washers etc. At $2/hr you can't just work more and make a reasonable salary. I think most taxi drivers rent their taxi and aren't paid a salary at all.
Look, this is all just a difference of how you pay for what you get. I can go out to eat in the US for less overall than I can when I'm in Europe. A lot less, usually, even after I've tipped my expected 15-20% on my meal. Whether its a tip, an 18% service charged added to my bill, or just a high price where the proprietor pays a good wage, in the end its the same amount of money. The same is true of your live aboard staff.
As for the notice you received on suggested tipping amount, wouldn't you rather have them tell you that than to not think of it (because you are from a different culture) and then feel bad when you don't have the $$$$ and realize the boat staff just busted their butts for you for free for the whole week?
FWIW, when tipping on a trip I try to think about who's working for me and how much they "deserve" but in the end 10% total works out pretty close to correct. For instance, for a DM that helps you on the boat, $5/tank is considered in the US to be a minimum for decent service. Obviously their service is worth more if they point out good critters, help you with a big camera rig, etc. Maids a couple of dollars/night/person. I could go on, but on a live aboard or at a resort, there are people taking care of you constantly.
So rail on about what a bunch of jerks us colonists are, :-) especially the bosses, but don't make your dive master take the hit for it.