I think I mistakenly posted my response in the wrong place a moment ago. Sorry.
1) I, too, object to automatic tipping. If it is automatic, then it isn't a tip at all; it is part of the price. Rather than call it a tip, I'd prefer that the cruiseline simply add it in up front and show it in their price listings. (Same with other businesses that use automatic tipping.)
2) Learning that all tips are pooled actually makes me much less inclined to tip at all in the future. It was my understanding that when I tipped, I was tipping the person I gave the money to. If that isn't the case, then tipping becomes meaningless to me.
3) I understand that cruiseline staff is paid very little. But that is neither my fault nor my responsibility. That is between employees and their employer. I work in a different industry but do not make much money, either...so I'm job-hunting!
4) For those who object to either the pressure to tip or to pooling of tips, here's a suggestion: Instead of money, put a nice thank-you note in the tip envelope and explain why you're not tipping with money.