We have been crusing since 1969 and have seen a multitude of changes.
We have also cruised Carnival a couple times in the past several years and NCL with freestyle and auto tipping this year.
12/99 Triumph Cabin steward acceptable, Waiter/asst the worst in 34 years of cruising with tipping by envelope
12/01 Spirit Cat 11 cabin worst steward in 34 years of crusing and best waiter/asst with tipping automatic.
11/02 NCL dream with auto tipping all staff really good and gracious.
I do not believe Auto tipping is the problem. Staff attitude and service is the luck of the draw but if it is poor or unacceptable I will go to the pursar's desk and do whatever I feel is appropriate.