Hi Cruisemates! Our first cruise was on the Carnival Triumph Apr. 5th. We had pre-arranged tips with our group, and service was still outstanding. Ice 2-3 times a day (in both the ice bucket and a white pail holding the complimentary wine). Cabin steward didn't speak too much English, but was always smiling, polite and efficient--Yanie was her name.
Our waiter (Frederick) and asst. (Bui) were always johnny-on-the-spot and very attentive. When we ran into Frederick outside the dining room he called us by our first names and asked how we were enjoying things. That was quite impressive.
The nightly dancing may have been a bit contrived, but added to the general "Fun Ship" atmosphere. None of the audience or performers (wait staff) seemed depressed about being involved!
Our original package indicated we would put our "tip vouchers" into envelopes on Thursday night, but when we called the purser's desk to confirm this, they said it was really up to us whether we physically handed them out. Apparently, the staff automatically get their tips with their weekly paycheques. We did supplement our Cabin Stewards, Waiter and Assistant Waiter's tips, as they had earned it.
Maybe it is because we are Canadians and tend not to be too critical in general, but everything about the Carnival cruise was great and we did not run into any negative situations such as I had read about in some of the Message Boards. Tim T.