I will take responsibility for the automatic charging of the gratuities (I call them service surcharges) to the Sail and Sign cards.
For years, I campaigned on my Comment Cards to implement this method. Since we are a family of four, I was tired of making sure I had almost $300.00 in cash...in the correct demoninations...in the correct envelopes...tracking down the right people to give it to.....
it was exhausting!
And while no method is going to make everyone happy, it is the best system for the crew.
The standing joke used to be that you got the best service in the Formal Dining Room on the last night.....because of the small number of passengers in attendance....the rest were avoiding their wait staff to stiff them on their tips.
And while it was not the majority stiffing the wait staff....it was enough to be obvious enough to make a joke about it.
We prepay ours (unless we have enough OBC to cover them) and consider it just a part of the cost of cruising.
Then I do "tip" (in the true sense of the word) those people who go above and beyond.
Those of us you have cruised enough to know the ropes....know this is the way the cruise lines pay their wait staff and stewards...and until that changes....we should go along with it or do not cruise.