Originally Posted by Irish Shark
All basic tips are pooled and shared.
If you tip the room steward extra, s/he is supposed to put it into the pool with the other tips. Do they really do it? I don't know.
It's very difficult to tell what the real truth is. I think it depends who you talk to. I've been told by officers and staff alike that if the guests leave their "automatic" tips in place (to be pooled), and are then given additional tips over and above that directly from passengers, they are allowed to keep any amount above the automatic guidelines.
On the other hand if passengers remove their automatic tips, listing bad service in an area, the crew members are called on to explain.
If guests remove the automatic tips, and them tip some crew individually, they are expected to turn those over to the pool.