HAL has been adding $10.00 per day per person to your account as a "service charge" for over a year, in fact it could be 2 years. If you remove it, then anything extra you give to the crew must be pooled by them. However, if you leave it on and want to tip your cabin steward, dining room waiters or any other staff member, then they are allowed to keep it.
We always leave the automatic tip on our bill, and just tip a little extra to the cabin and dining room steward or anyone who has gone out of their way to do something special for us.
There is a 15% charge added to all bar bills, whether it is liquor, wine, etc. or sodas, so we don't usually trip the bar people extra.
As you can see by my siggy my first HAL trip was in 2004 and it was an automatic 10 back then,,and still is. You can supposedly have it removed on the last day when the bills are finalized (we traveled with a "frugal" couple that did that). Someone posted on this board that if you do not remove the tip, then any extra given to others they are allowed to keep (like to your cabin steward) but if you remove the 10, the extra has to be put into the tip pool. My question when I read that is how would the cabin steward know, and who would know you tipped him? No one could answer that one.
HAL Volendam 2004
HAL Maasdam 2006
HAL Zuiderdam 2007
HAL Eurodam 2008
CCL Paradise upcoming 2010
It would be easy enough for the front office to print out a list of those cabins who asked the automatic tips be removed from their bill. Their cabin and dining stewards would be asked if there was some reason they knew of for the passengers removing the automatic tips. In the event there was some substantial situation, they would want to try and make it right.
The point being that if something is so bad that you don't want to tip your stewards, why not see the Guest Relations Manager, the Chief Housekeeper, the dining room manager or whoever to have the situation addressed rather than suffer in silence and remove your tips at the end of the cruise.
Afterall......the point is to have the best cruise possible, isn't it?