I saw a post from someone in "loyd's post" about tipping and I wanted to comment and for that comment not to get lost in a sea of "shame on you Lloyd"
The comment was about whether or not service would suffer on board those ships with automatic tipping.
I personally think, based on my own expereinces, that it does suffer somewhat. On my first cruise I swore that I loved freestyle dining (NCL) and that was the only way to go. Then I did RCCL and had the same waiter every night.
I noticed a few things (and you can notice by my counter which line I frequent now) about the differences in auto tipping v. me deciding on who/how much to tip.
1. on NCL we never saw the stateroom attendant after the first day.
2. he didn't come at all on the last full day.
3. we never got ordered drinks from our soda cards in the main dining room
4. there was no 'need to please' from any of the servers, except the one we had in LeBistro.
5. And the servers seemed put out when asked to bring extra milk for my daughter or to get her cold cereal --so we ended up going to windjammer and bringing cereal from there for her to eat while they got the rest of our food ready (she was only 18 months at the time)
Alas, on RCCL
1. We saw our steward every day and he made a point to ask us if we needed extra pillows, blankets, etc.
2. He would take my nightgown and cover up my teddy bear (yes, I'm an adult that travels with a teddy bear)
3. He asked us what time would be convenient for him to clean our room every day.
4. In the dining room, we ordered diet coke from our drink cards on the first night and we never had to ask Harry to bring us a refill or tell him what we drank again.
I think there is a real and significant difference and I do tip and I do it well. As many of the non-lloyds of the world probably do, I took the time to ask Ricaurdo about his family, where he was in his contract, was he going to do another and because I showed an interest in his life, maybe he gave me better service. These are people from very poor countries most of the time and while the don't "buy" their passage on the ship, they certainly aren't living in the type of cabin that Lloyd has paid for. And the majority of their money is sent home to waiting families who miss the Ricaurdo's & Harry's of the cruise industry.
Lloyd, if you are by chance reading this. SHAME ON YOU - YOU CHEAPSKATE!