We have only been on two cruises in the past. One was with auto-tipping, one without. The service on the one without the auto-tipping was far better in areas of where tips are concerned. On our first cruise, our room steward seemed to be always right outside our door every time we stepped out, ready to see to our every need. On this last cruise, I never even met our room steward. She was just never around.
Our dining room staff was pleasant, very nice to talk to but the service was not comparable at all to our first cruise. The head waiter and the assistant both spoke the same language and it was very apparent, from the tone of voice, that they were having some problems. I may not speak the language but I can tell when two people are arguing. That may have contributed to lack of service also.
Since we are not very experienced cruisers yet, we really weren't sure if this last cruise, while still wonderful, was not as good as the first because of the new tipping policy or because on the first cruise we didn't know what to expect and really had no expectations at all. On this next cruise, hubby wants to have the auto-tipping removed and hand out the tips personally but I wonder if that would really produce better service throughout the cruise or will we be looked at as cheapies, trying to get out of a tipping and not receive good service at all.
I guess we will have to go on many, many more cruises to make comparisons...hey, any excuse to go, huh?