Having sailed with NCL (Jewel) I know that some passengers asked this question on the cruise I was on. Although it was/is frowned on, I know that a passenger did in fact insist on having the right to choose, a different arrangement was made for her. This answer may not fit your question exactly but it does present a precedent.
If you are not willing to pay the gratuities - a meagre $10pp - then you should NOT be cruising. You are insulting the staff who will bend over backwards to do anything for you. Tipping is a traditional part of cruising - the staff do not get paid - the tips ARE their salary. Do you work for $4 per day - that is £2. Think about it and do the decent thing......
You have not even been on the cruise and you are considering lowering the gratuities!!!!!!!!!!! cancel the cruise ,GO BACK TO BUTLINS ... GIVE US A BREA.
I had a wonderful time on the gem and done my OWN TIPPING guests should not be paying wages as has already wrongly stated I know for a fact that the $10 a day goes no where near the staff but to the company.Only the 15% charge on drinks etc.bills go to supplement staff wages.It is not being mean but a matter but being able to tip as YOU feel is proper and not being dictated to. J.Fay Annathill Scotlan.
Why not hire a rowing boat and go self catering,then you would be able to buy some oil for your ar-- save it squeaking when you walk.