Once again you have misread my initial message on tipping. As I said initially, I am not in favor of tipping the room steward for the reasons given previously. I have been on more than half a dozen cruises and I am familiar with the service they provide. Since I would not normally tip the room steward, if forced to pay the entire $280, to me that would be like giving the entire amount to the wait staff (I am aware of how the funds get divided up with the room steward). Once again, since I would not normally tip the room steward I would not be paying $280 to the wait staff.
And yes, for a family of 4 adults I could justify spending $175/day on food ($1220week) and therefore a weekly tip of $183 would be appropriate. But we are 2 adults and a 5 and 7 year old. Two kids this age don't eat steak and lobster at their meals. They are fine with pizza, chicken fingers etc. Since the kids won't be eating the adult meals why should we be expected to tip based on them eating the same food as the adults. When our family goes to Outback and we eat steaks and the kids eat chicken fingers we don't add another $30 to the bill (if they had both eaten steaks, etc.) to figure out the tip. Do you?
I will plan on tipping the room steward a moderate amount based on the service I get but my whole point is the tipping should be entirely left up to the passenger so situations like ours with the kids would be handled appropriately. How would you feel if you had 4 kids (say 3, 5, 7, &9) and you had to tip $280 for them and another $140 for mom and dad ($420)?
Many of my friends who have cruised Carnival have commented that since the crew knows they will get the pre-paid tip, they don't provide the same level of service as they would if tips were given at the discretion of the passenger at cruise end.
Keep in mind just because Carnival starting doing the mandatory pre-paid on tipping doesn't make it right. I know many of you reading this will feel this way but are afraid to go against the status quo. The higher class cruise lines do not have this policy for a good reason. Cruises are a ton of fun, it's too bad Carnival has to take some of the fun out of it! Sure does help Carnival out though!