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Everything posted by iancal

  1. Agreed, but no doubt HAL knows that by disposing of some or all of it's smaller ships that it will loose a portion of that that loyal following. The question that HAL has to consider is how many of those loyal customers will cruise again, how many will move to different cruise lines that offer smaller ships, and how many may actually shy away from world cruises based on some pre covid experiences of others on world cruises-HAL and other cruise lines. Selling four (plus one) smaller ships is hardly moving seamlessly. The market and the financials have forced their hand. I would say the Princess and Celebrity have been doing it seamlessly in the past. HAL...not so much.
  2. Who knows, post covid HAL could come out with a new look and a new feel along with a 'this is not your father's Buick" style marketing campaign.
  3. I would certainly not make that assumption that HAL wants to position itself post covid the same way it did pre covid. Or appeal to and/or market to the same demographic. I believe that there will be substantial changes across all lines. Selling off four ships may only be the start. HAL probably has other tentative plans depending on how long the covid stoppage and subsequent start up takes. It is still early days...anything can happen.
  4. Our problem where we live in Canada is that we have a proportion of the population who are not listening to anyone-politicians or health care professionals. As a result we are seeing a concerning increase in covid cases during our soft openings.
  5. I have to wonder whether that whack a mole game of booking/FCC/booking/FCC is still going strong of if more people are moving toward a refund. There is a huge difference between having a vaccine, doing the appropriate controlled testing, manufacture in quantity, and general availability to the public. It is one thing to be doom and gloom, another to set completely unrealistic expectations.
  6. IF you decide to go to Nicosia.....do not forget your passport. You will need it if you want to cross into the Turkish part of the city.
  7. Absolutely no idea. How can we when neither an effective, safe vaccine or script is available? Pick date. Maybe late 21, perhaps some time in 22. Two things for certain...there must be a vaccine AND we definitely will not be among the first post vaccine or post covid cruisers. We will wait.
  8. I think HAL's demographic will work against them. I suspect that older persons will be less inclined to cruise and I believe that generally fewer people will be much less inclined towards world cruises. People not in the best the best of health or those who could not or would not fly had issues in returning home from stranded ships. This will not be lost on some otherwise potential customers. It will be interesting to see that the fate of Zaandam and Volendam. Will they remain in the fleet, be sold, be scrapped? Early days yet. Covid has a long way to go and cruise lines do not have an infinite amount of resources to ride this out and to finance a start up that will probably be punctuated with attractively low fares to get the punters back on board. We have absolutely no intention of sailing unless a vaccine or effective script is available. The notion of sailing on an MS Covid does not turn our gears. Three days, five days, or fourteen days.
  9. We are optimistic. We travel frequently. But we have no pending reservations and we have no plans to do so until we feel it is safe to travel. We have no issue booking last minute. We strongly suspect that we will be flying and doing independent land tours long before we take our next cruise. This is what we are planning for. When the threat subsides we will push the buy button and travel. Until then...safe at home and environs.
  10. Where we live in Canada we are seeing an uptick in covid. People not wearing masks, crowded bars, crowded beaches, and at least one large (more than 10 people) family gathering. We could care less if the cruise ship was filling with Americans, Canadians, Australians etc. We have no plans to get on a cruise ship until there is a vaccine or solution to this. As others have said....it only takes one person on board to spread the virus. Plus, we have absolutely zero confidence that the cruise line would place our personal health and safety ahead of their profit.
  11. Fortunately O is not the only game in town. There are others to choose from in the future if this is not your preference. Hardly an either or choice.
  12. Not me. I want to be a customer of a profitable cruise line. Much less chance of deferred mtce, soft goods, furniture, fittings past their sell by date, and cutbacks in food, service and entertainment.
  13. Over the years our experience at booking inside the final payment window on like for like cruises is that Celebrity and Princess were most often lower at our time of booking. On multiple Med and Caribbean cruises. More often it was Celebrity that was the lower of the two. But on our SA cruise it was Infinity as the top price , followed by Zaandam (I think) with Crown Princess being considerably lower. HAL was lowest a few times in the Caribbean. HAL have most definitely been among the lowest priced on their late booking Alaska routes for several seasons, followed by Princess, then Celebrity at the top. The proviso being at time of booking. Once we booked, paid in full, we had no further interest in the pricing of the other two cruise lines we shopped. Don't know about pricing 12-18 month out since we never did/do that.
  14. The few times that we have flown home to Canada from Venice on an AC routing we have always been routed through Frankfurt with a Lufthansa connection. That meant a 6:30 AM flight from Venice to Frankfurt to make our flight connection home.
  15. Downsizing HAL's fleet is no doubt a very good move on their part. Especially in these challenging times, and post covid. It may even be good those those who prefer smaller ships. Those four (plus one) ships will now be operated by cruise lines that specialize in that market. More competition in that space. For some cruisers, it will of course mean that they will have to venture out and try something different. I would expect that HAL is zeroing in on the remaining two. Zaandam and Volendam. Both older, smaller. I would not be counting on using my FCC's on either of these two ships!
  16. We have not found any noticeable difference between the standard seat pitch on AC vs. Transat. There is an alternative to flying in and out of Venice. One of our cruises ended in Venice. Our next destination was South Africa. It was considerably less expensive to fly one way from Milan than it was from Venice or from Rome. Short train ride to Milan....stop in Verona or Como, etc on the way as an added bonus. Flight prices can vary on Transat. Moving your departure day by a few days can not only reduce your fare but pay for those added two or three days. Last year we saved $250 each on our Athens and London by moving our dates slightly. The $500 saving we enjoyed more than covered the costs of our extra touring days. Transat's web site is really well laid out for this. You can move the curser back and forward to see fares and scheds on either side of you inputted dates.
  17. HAL did not cut these four ships (and Prinsendam) loose because they were making lots of money. The ships may have been making money at an operational level but perhaps not on a fully loaded basis when all costs were accounted for. Or, they may been profitable but were not hitting the minimum profit targets of other HAL ships and/or those targets set by Carnival Corp. No business wants to carry underperforming assets. Does not mean that smaller ships can not profitable. It may mean that HAL could not realize the fares to support those ships. It was probably just a matter of time.
  18. We only want to know when a safe, widely available vaccine is ready for us. There will be many rumours, machinations, etc in the interim. All geared, no doubt, at hyping stock prices. So we tend to ignore the noise level and wait for the finished product.
  19. I believe that the cruise lines are doing the right thing to survive. Get rid of ships that are not profitable or may require large capital investment over the next few years. Why pay to lay up these ships when cash flow is a huge issue? No doubt pre covid many of them were slated for disposal . Covid and cash flow challenges moved the timeframes forward.
  20. Frankly I do not know why there is a booking problem. We routinely book with UK travel agencies despite living in Canada. And other agencies, in different countries, in different currencies. There is really no big deal about being charged in GBP. It is simply a math issue...not a difficult one either. This winter on our winter trip in a Mexico we booked three properties through TUI, a UK vendor. All priced in GBP which we compared to US and MEX pricing. It was no more difficult or challenging than using Expedia or dealing with a cruise line web site....especially HAL’s which is challenging at the best of times. i believe that HAL loyalists will find the same level of service and friendliness On other cruise lines. This is hardly unique in our experience despite those who go to great lengths to imply that it is. The challenge is that it requires an open mind, a willingness to try something else, and to live in the present rather than dwell on the past.
  21. We need to learn from the US. In our area the numbers were excellent. Since opening up a little the are starting to go the wrong way. Overconfidence.
  22. My sympathies are with those employees, direct or indirect, who have been or will be impacted. Certainly there will still be positions available on those ships that have simply changed hands. Not so of course on those that will be scrapped. I believe what we are seeing is a recognition that smaller (and older) ships are no longer compatible or financially viable in the competitive mass market cruise line environment. Those smaller ships will probably exist in smaller cruise lines who focus on the market segment. HAL did not get rid of these ships because they were big money makers.
  23. I would not assume that Volendam and Zaandam will stay. It could be that a buyer has not yet been found or that a sell/scrap decision has not been reached. Or they may well stay in the fleet. Who really knows other than those privy to the financials? HAL and others are in a fight for their financial survival. I would expect to see cruise lines dispose of ships that are not particularly profitable, that will require significant capital investment over the next few years, or that do not fit into a cruise line's post covid strategy.
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