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Everything posted by iancal

  1. We do carry on only. We very much prefer soft sided. Carry on is a little different inasmuch as it does not take the abuse that hard sided take. I really do not think there is a perfect answer. It comes down to personal preference.
  2. It is a math question for each cruiser. Just like all of the offerings and sales from the industry. Simply determine your break even price, or your net bottom line price. No magic to it. We pass on the drink and the soft drink packages. No cheese for us in these offers. Others jump at them.
  3. The challenge lies in attracting new customers who may not have the knowledge to suss out the true value of each competing offer. They revert to price. This has to be a challenge for the mass market cruise lines who are trying to attract first time cruisers and families. When we compare cruises value is more important than cost to us. A great deal of our perception of value comes from the experience of many cruises on different ships and brands. New cruisers do not have this. And it is probably compounded by internet booking and the seeming decline in the number of knowledgeable TA’s
  4. Probably residents of a country with lower levels of taxation.
  5. The writing was on the wall for Thomas Cook a year or so ago after the last financial crisis. It will be interesting to see if Germany bails out their Condor subsidiary.
  6. Does it really matter? The HAL of the past no longer exists. Whether HAl decided to sell, wanted to sell, or were in a bidding war with RCI really has no material impact on the HAL of today. The reality is that Carnival now controls HAL.
  7. Some of the larger merchants in Florida have been doing this for years. Our first exposure was a large store that added four percent to the then current exchange rate...then sent the transaction off to their bank. It is a rip off. We had had numerous trips to Greece. This is the first time that we have been given a choice prior to tapping or inputting our pin. Before doing so it comes up with two options. Option one is your home currency. Option two is Euros. It almost looks like it is there for information purposes. You have to select option 2, then tap or pin. If you do not, you will be billed in your home currency.
  8. Many credit cards add a service fee of 2.5-3 percent on each foreign transaction, We use a credit card for out of country purchases that does not do this. Foreign transactions come across at the fx rate. Even then you do need to be careful. We have been traveling in Greece for the past several weeks. For the first time we notice that some credit card transactions give us a choice of being billed in our home currency or in Euros. We always select Euros. If not, the local bank that processes the merchant transaction will add this fee to the conversion.
  9. IF we have a bad experience a cheap bottle of plonk, a few chocolate covered strawberries, or least of all a ‘shut up and go away’ future cruise credit does nothing for us. Why on earth reward poor customer service with a re-book? If the situation cannot be made right whilst we are on board there seems to be little value in doing it again. Fool me once...fool me twice.
  10. We have cruised a fair amount on X and on Princess. We found that the service and servers in all areas were on a par with HAL. Never really came across a ‘sullen’ server on any of the three lines. We might feel differently if we confined our cruising to one line and were thus more familiar with some of the crew. Such is not the case for us. From our perspective the crews on all three lines are wonderful. The only real issue we ever had was on a Princess cruise. We believe the staff at the excursion desk purposely gave us misleading data in an attempt to sell us a tour. Fortunately, as it turned out, we did not fall victim to their gross exaggerations. We are looking at trying Azamara for our next cruise
  11. We do not pay any attention to the taxes and fees. We compare ships/cruise lines/itineraries by the bottom line inclusive of fare, taxes, etc, gratuities, and net of TA OBC’s. We only care care about the bottom line.
  12. I This is an easy one. if you do not feel that there is a benefit, financial or otherwise, to book through a TA then simply book direct. Really, why would anyone care how someone else books a cruise. I certainly do not. Book direct and stop all the fuss.
  13. Voting with your feet and with your wallet is, IMHO,the most effective way to send a message to management. If folks moan and complain constantly about HAL’s change in direction and cuts but continue to sail on their ships what do you think management will do? How has it worked so far? I thought so.
  14. HAL’s IT could use a lot more of the Grace Hopper and a lot less of the Dilbert!
  15. From our perspective it is all about moving forward. We are in our late sixties and have cruised on numerous lines. We do not have enough good years in front of us to spend them pining away about the past, wishing for things that will never be again or things over which we have zero control. When we were younger we decided not to be like some of those older people when we reached that age. This has served us well in our business lives and in our personal lives. Besides, all businesses have the right to change their model or offerings. Just as customer have the right to buy elsewhere.
  16. Since retiring we do far less cruising and considerably more land travel. Two months in the winter, two months in the fall. Occasionally we will add a last minute cruise to our land trip.
  17. There were four, possibly five ships in port when we passed by yesterday morning after disembarking the ferry from Igoumenitsa. No black Merck’s in sight. The town was a zoo...we left in the mid afternoon. If if there are lots of ships in port I suspect that you need to get out early. Besides...it gets hot quite early. Today was 32C.
  18. I believe that there are some people on the forum who believe that if one does not have a place in their heart for HAL ( or any other cruise line for that matter) by definition is a So called HAL hater. Ditto for some who believe that anyone who criticizes their precious HAL is a hater. Just not so. Perhaps they view a cruise line like any other travel vendor and expect to get what they paid for including the expectations set by the cruise line without the silly excuses or accusations that they have an axe to grind. No more, no less.
  19. Why have a dog and then do the barking yourself? We keep our cabin tidy, but no we do not rush about wiping down every surface. I mean really, if one does not propose to wipe down every surface on the ship that they come in contact with what is the point. Besides, we do not have room in our carry on fo that stuff. We leave it to HAL or whatever line we happen to be on.
  20. Bottom line for us and many other cruiser we have met in our travels is that we only see and have only experienced minor differences between Princess, HAL, and Celebrity. They are all working towards the lowest common denominator. We do not feel that any one is outstanding when compared to the other two. It comes down to ship, itinerary, and crew.
  21. We like some HAL ships. Would we pay more for a Eurodam verandah cabin than we would for an X Solstice or Princess balcony. Probably not because although we see differences in all three they have more in common with each other from our perspective. We have no emotional tie to any of them hence we do not assign a price based premium.
  22. I did not say that HAL does not analyze customer data. I said that to do so they would need much better IT skills than those displayed on designing, building, and operating their customer facing applications.
  23. You are correct. We are not interested in anything less than a balcony cabin. I do not think that this is unusual. Simply look at the percentage of cabins on new builds that are balcony or better. Then compare that ratio, and associated pricing, with some of the older ships. It tells the story in spades about how cruise lines are responding to customer demands. Balcony trumps small ships for us.
  24. It is basic data mining. The can pull, cut, and relate customer data in many ways. Many on this forum seem to know what demographic spends what and how much they contribute to profit. In my experience across many businesses a guess is not good enough, nor is supposed intuition. The numbers will tell the story. They will help chart future direction. Besides, their bankers will be doing the same independently and comparing them with Carnival subsidiary and consolidated actuals. Hard numbers do not lie. I very much doubt whether any ‘experts’ on this forum know what the numbers are...before or after taxes, depreciation, etc.
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