The suggested $10 per day is divided between 4 different service providers: Cabin steward, waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter. The breakdown for each is usually provided to you. These crew members work very hard to ensure that you have a pleasant stay. They work 6 month contracts with no days off and the average workday is 10 to 12 hours. They make no salary from the ship in most cases and rely only on tips. It was thought that with mandatory tipping, service would decline as workers no longer would feel they have to go out of their way to ensure a tip. While this may be true in some cases, I still feel that these crew members still strive to please their guests. if it results in an extra tip, they are grateful. Prior to mandatory tipping, crew members often got stiffed especially on the shorter weekend cruises. Tipping is part of the American culture and it is not going away. Having spent lost of time in Europe where tips are included in the prices, service generally is slow or just plain sucks.
I always tip the recommended amount as I feel that is what they deserve for doing their job. If the service is above average, I adjust the tips up accordingly. This is often the case and I am happy to say I have never had to adjust them down. I've been on about 40 sailings so this is a fairly bold statement. If you do ever receive poor service, most lines with auto tip or mandatory tips will allow you to adjust them.