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GlennG

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  1. Thanks to all of you for responding to our questions and concerns. For many years, I just took for granted that we would never have to cope with the mobility problems associated with old age. I have to confess that, in my younger years, I did not demonstrate a lot of empathy for senior citizens and their challenges. The passing years have made us much wiser and much more tolerant. We try not to complain as old age is a privilege. Thank you, again!
  2. My wife and I have booked a Panama Canal Cruise, on the ms Oosterdam, for January 2020. We have cruised with Holland America Line for a number of years. Our personal circumstances have changed since we last cruised. My wife, specifically, finds climbing and descending stairs to be quite painful. Arthritis and the after affects of a previous stroke makes life quite challenging at times. We are concerned about her participation in the guest emergency drill. We understand (and accept) that all passengers must report to the assigned emergency stations which are still located on Deck 3. Our cabin is located on Deck 7. I should also mention that my wife, at this time, does not use a wheel chair, cane, or walker. In short, when she walks on flat, smooth surfaces, she can manage quite well. Can experienced cruisers provide any advice on whether she can use the elevators to descend to Deck 3 so that we can participate in the mandatory emergency drill?
  3. I haven't sailed on the Noordam for several years, but at that time, the Noordam was my favourite cruise ship. Consequently, it has been really disappointing reading negative reviews and reports of this particular ship. Thank you, Cooper, for providing some really detailed information on the upgrades and repairs that are planned for the Noordam. Hopefully, at the end of this process, the Noordam will remain our favourite ship in the HAL fleet.
  4. GlennG

    Pizza

    Hank, What a wonderful and creative comment! Thanks for your continued participation in the Holland America Forum. I appreciate the advice and commentary that you provide for readers.
  5. I cannot comment on the system of taxation "in their home country." However, in the context of where I live, I think that fairness in income taxation is paramount. Fairness, to me, means that all income is subject to taxation. In short, I don't like the HSC because of its inherent lack of transparency. I'm willing to pay more in an "upfront" cruise fare, with the option to provide personal gratuities to those deserving of it.
  6. I can recall a time when Holland America Line did not assign a "Hotel Service Charge." From a personal perspective, I prefer a gratuity system that is based on personal experience and interaction with specific crew members. The HSC is a little bit like a personal surcharge or tax on the cruise fare. Holland America Line, like all business, wants to keep its charges as cheap and reasonable as possible. Therefore, additional charges like the HSC, dining room surcharges, and Club Orange are necessary to offset the cheaper cruise fares. I would personally prefer that cruise fares include costs like HSC so that all employees receive a reasonable wage. Again, if I receive superior service, I have to option to provide a personal gratuity to those people. It's a more honest and upfront system of compensation for employees.
  7. Yes. The special towel folding still happens on Holland America Ships. My wife really appreciates the efforts of our room stewards.
  8. Thank you, Krazy Kruisers, for the up-to-date information. I'm really disappointed to learn that the gyms don't open until 7:00 AM. This change in opening time is going to have a negative impact on my personal schedule. Like your husband, my daily schedule is dictated by medication times. I guess that I will just have to use the promenade for my morning exercise and workouts.
  9. Over the years, we have been assigned three Personal Cruise Consultants. The first PCC was an absolute disaster for us. While not belabouring the point, I found him to be arrogant, incompetent and had "things mixed up." This fellow believed that I should be working for him, not the other way around. We telephoned HAL and gave specific criticism to one of the supervisors in guest services. The result was the assignment of another PCC to our account. Over a period of 10 years, we found Lori to be an outstanding employee. She really became an advocate for our behalf, and the service, done of our behalf, was always exemplary. She was one of the reasons that we decided to remain with HAL, rather than switching to Celebrity. Lori recently retired and we were assigned, yet another PCC. While I cannot make any definitive evaluation of her performance, we are, thus far, very happy with the service that we have received. With respect to Holland America's cruise consultants, I think it's a little bit of a "mixed bag." As a client, you really have to monitor what is going on with your particular accounts.
  10. Let me add to the chorus of concerned people who are unable to make payments on the Holland America Line website. I try to be fair in any criticism that is given to HAL, as I have, generally speaking, been treated quite well by the employees of Holland America Line. This "new and improved website", however, is a complete disaster. I must be a very gullible person, as I still believe that changes in any organization are an attempt to do a better job for its customers and clients. It's unbelievable that an organization like HAL (whose head office is in Seattle) cannot solve its information technology problems. I would be quite concerned when customers, who want to pay money to a business are unable to do so. I'm guessing that these kinds of problems are affecting the "bottom line" of the organization. In my humble opinion, these kinds of problems need to be fixed as soon as possible. Even the most loyal of customers will look at alternatives if their frustrations continue to grow without any credible attempts to solve these organizational problems.
  11. Thank you, denal1 for your reasonable and thoughtful response. I very much admire consumers, like you, who vote with their wallets. It's a reasonable and effective way of responding to poor customer service.
  12. My wife and I traveled on the Koningsdam in January for 21 days. We felt that the ship was crowded, cluttered, and congested; - particularly on the Lido Deck. The Lido Market on sea days was really crowded, and the swimming pools have to accommodate many more people than the similar sized pools on the older ships. Compared to the Vista Class ships, we felt a little uncomfortable on the Koningsdam. We also found our balcony room to be smaller than corresponding rooms on Vista Class ships. Then there is the congested and narrow promanade on Deck 3. Space doesn't permit me to express our disappointment with Deck 3 of the Koningsdam.
  13. I've never owned a tuxedo. To be honest, I look kind of silly in this kind of get-up. On gala nights, I have always worn a dark business suit. It's "formal enough" for Holland America Line.
  14. I'm one-day short of becoming a four-star mariner. With being so close to the four star threshold, I thought it would be prudent to check with the Mariner Society to determine if my status would change during my next planned cruise. Alas, the answer was, "No!" To paraphrase the explanation given, I was told "...that a rule is a rule."
  15. I, too, am appreciative of the information that can be found in this forum. While I cannot describe myself as a seasoned "cruiser", I've been around long enough to value the information and advice that is given on the HAL board. On some occasions, the information provided by CC members is more timely and more accurate than the information that I receive from my PCC. Thank you to all of the long-time contributors to this forum.
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