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Pay gratuity or opt out?

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Wondering if the crew prefers the daily gratuity systems of $15-17 per guests or if they prefer that you opt out and tip them directly with an envelope at the end.

How much of the gratuity do they actually get and is it taxed as income?

I hate to appear cheap, but also figure that if they paid the crew a descent wage, they wouldn't need to have the guests subsidize their pay!.

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