I am so tired of hearing people say the reason for bad service is because the tips are on your shipboard account and the crew has an attitude that they don't have to earn it! THE CREW IS WELL AWARE THAT IT ONLY TAKES A TRIP TO THE PURSERS DESK TO HAVE THE AUTOMATIC TIPS REMOVED!!
Service is an individual thing, some in the industry should not be in it and some are wonderful at it. I don't think it has to do with which cruise line especially between mainstream, RCL, CCL and NCL!
I am happy to say that with or without "auto tipping", I've never experienced bad service on a cruise ship.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
As more and more ships go to some form of open dining, freestyle, personal choice, alternative dining rooms, or whatever they are called. we no longer have a "regular" waiter, assistant waiter, and busboy at dinner each night. So the old "tip envelope at the last night" just won't work for these service people anymore. Only the room steward is a "regular." left to tip in the traditional way. So it would seem that "auto tipping" is a must. I've seen no decrease in service. In fact, the best service I've had at sea was on a ship that had a true "tips included in fare, no tipping" policy.
I honestly don't know why there is a fuss about this issue. I've seen many threads pertaining to this. I'm in no way an old time experienced cruiser compared to most on these boards. I'm pretty new to cruising. I rarely find things to complain about. Weather I eat traditional or personal choice, have fantastic cabin stewards or mediocre.... it's all hit or miss basically, and a matter of personalities meshing, or not. (my opinion)
When dining personal choice we always cash tip our wait staff. We cash tip our bar service people too in the lounges or at the pool. We cash tip casino table dealers. We cash tip our cabin steward. The amount that is automatically added seems so small compared to the long hours and hard work these people do. If I can show my appreciation with extra cash in hand - well it's the least I can do. I usually don't let things bother me and if I enjoy my cruise experience I think the people that made that possible deserve to be rewarded. To me, this goes a long way to possibly insure that my next experience will be equal or better.
On our first cruise, we had tip envelopes. The service was outstanding. On our second cruise, tips were added to our daily account. We supplemented those with additional tips because the service was outstanding. And it's been the same story since, no reduction in service at all. If anything, it has improved.