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About AtlantaCruiser72

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    Lawrenceville, GA
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    Reading, Hiking, Museums, Art Galleries
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Princess, HAL
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  1. With regards to newbuilds and size......... let's look at the direction the entire industry has been going. In the last 20 years not a single one of the "Big 6" (Carnival, NCL, Royal, Princess, Celebrity or HAL) has built a ship under 70,000 tonnes or 2.000 passengers. That has become the provence of Ultra Premium and Luxury lines like Oceania, Viking, Azamara, Regent, Silversea, Crystal and Seabourn. Even those lines are continuing to build bigger higher capacity ships than they have in past....... Let's compare Oceania Marina/Riviera to HAL R Class - The Oceania ships are slightly larger at 66K tonnes than the HAL R class at about 63K tonnes. The Oceania ships carry about 1250 guests whilst the HAL ships carry roughly 1350-1400. Now look at the average per-diems on Oceania (without the included air/O-Life amenities) to anything on the HAL R Class - yes Vista suites and higher might compare with Oceania pricing, but I'm willing to bet on similar itineraries you will see Oceania price out significantly higher for Inside and Oceanview rooms than HAL. HAL also has a larger pergentage of these lower price rooms than Oceania does. Sure Oceania includes water/specialty coffee/soft drinks, as well as specialty dining, but gratuities are still extra, excursions, extra, etc. How many here are willing to pay the higher per-diems it would take for HAL to build and operate a fleet of new 40K-60K tonne, 1000-1500 passenger vessels,????? Those that are willing to do so have already moved on to Oceania, Viking and Azamara as well as to Seabourn, Silversea, Regent and Crystal. Carnival Corporation has decided to keep HAL firmly in the upper end of the mass market branding, keep her ship size a step behind her peers (Princess and Celebrity) and keep her pricing structure competetive. With this come cuts to quality and service, much like her peers are doing.
  2. When corporations are chasing market share and revenue those kinds of considerations are not as imperative as they might otherwise be. If it were we would see cruise lines voluntarily capping capacity in markets like Alaska. The very fact that they all keep adding more, larger, newer vessels, with more passengers, tells me that port crowding is less of a deciding factor to cruisers than we on Cruise Critic would make it out to be.
  3. Then Royal, Carnival, NCL, Princess, Celebrity and HAL are ALL in trouble ........ A good example of where HAL is with the Pinnacle Class - HAL is moving Konigsdam to the West Coast, not because they can't make money on her in the Caribbean and Europe, but because they believe the increased capacity on the West Coast for Mexico/Hawaii and Alaska will deliver better yields and ancillary revenues on a full year basis. They need a "new" ship in Alaska to compete with the Royal Princess, Celebrity Solstice/Eclipse, NCL Bliss/Joy/Encore and Royal Ovation of the Seas. They may not be going for Millennial's like Royal and NCL, but there is enough market overlap with the others that they feel they can capture some passengers with Konigsdam that they may have otherwise lost.
  4. I have contended all along that Mr Ashford has been tasked with improving yields for HAL in ways directed by Carnival Corporate. This involves cutting staffing costs (both at a corporate level and at a ship level), cutting F& B costs, cutting supply costs and improving yields. Yields can be improved either by direct fare increases or by incremental add-ons (drink packages, higher bar prices, shore excursion revenue, spa/shop revenue, etc). Everything done under his tenure has fit into the model of decreasing costs whilst chasing increased yields. Which is also happening with almost every other mainstream cruise line. Building larger ships is happening at every level of the cruise industry. HAL is still far behind the curve (in size and passenger density) of peers like Celebrity and Princess in the premium mainstream segment. The ship design/build plan, the ship retirement plan and the Cap-Ex budget for maintenance/renovation is all ultimately decided by Carnival Corp and Mr Ashford's team must work within the parameters they are given. Those budgets/decisions are driven by HAL's revenues/operating costs, which brings us back to lowering costs and increasing yields. HAL has long had an image problem in the cruising world - most consumers think it's "only for old people", or just generally have no awareness of the brand at all. They have trouble attracting a demographic that will spend for the ancillary items and pay premium fares. They are attempting to shed the Greatest Generation and older Boomers but are not chasing Millennial's by any stretch. Rather I see them trying to attract Mid 40's through mid 60's guests (Generation X - younger Boomers). These are cruisers who are used to branded experiences that represent quality, travel with technology, like a variety of dining options, are curious about the world around them, but don't want the floating amusement parks or masses of people you find on lines like RCCL, Carnival and NCL. They also tend to spend more per day in ancillary revenue for alcohol, specialty dining, spa, shops, tours, etc than their older counterparts. They also tend to take short vacations of less than 10 days. This is why lines like Princess, Celebrity, Oceania, Viking, Regent, Seabourn, Azamara,etc have been reducing the number of longer sailings in favor of more 7-10 night offerings worldwide. Sadly HAL seems unable to refine their messaging and product delivery in a meaningful way that is attracting these passengers at a premium yield, hence why we see so much discounting. I often get the impression that many departments at HAL work in relative autonomous isolation and that there is a lot of "little kingdom" mentality among department heads both at corporate and on a ship level as well, hence why they are consistently inconsistent. A corporate leader like Mr. Ashford, with extensive HR experience, may be working behind the scenes to change the corporate culture, but that takes time. Change is not without pain, or mistakes along the way, but if HAL does not experiment and attempt to change they will eventually cease to exist as a brand.
  5. Just saw this on the other drydock thread: https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/21511-grand-bahama-shipyard-open-for-business-2.html Appears that Volendam and Zuiderdam work at Grand Bahama Shipyard may go on as planned ......
  6. Most likely sometime in November or December of this year, if they remain consistent with the past few years. Alaska is usually released in the same timeframe but was announced unusually early for HAL.
  7. For Volendam they could wait and drydock in Victoria before her next AK cruise season, if it can be delayed by 8-9 months. Not sure how much padding timewise HAL builds into their drydock schedules for required out of water inspections. Zuiderdam could possibly have her work done in Spring in either Cadiz or Rotterdam prior to her European season. Both would of course be subject to the yards having space/time and require some changes to cruises which will be costly and disruptive for HAL and passengers alike. Not sure there is any other option at this point unless a yard somewhere else in the Caribbean (Cuacao perhaps?) can support the planned drydocks this fall.
  8. There simply isn't a good place for the TV's to go anywhere but where they are in the Oceanview and Interior rooms on the S&R Class. Replacing current ones could allow for better picture/sound quality and allow for a slightly larger screen due to improvements in LCD technology. Newer monitors have virtually no frame and larger screens for the same overall space usage than those currently on these ships. The current monitors have a lot of wasted space at the sides that a newer monitor would not have, and you might be able to mount a newer monitor that was 1-2" wider overall which would yield a much larger screen than current. If you go corner to corner and make the entire outlined area screen you can see that they could get a much larger image TV in the rooms without moving them. You could wall mount larger TV's across from the bed in the Vista Suites, but this would require extensive rewiring and I'm not sure HAL want to go that expense on the S&R class ships. Better to replace the current monitors with slightly larger ones at the desk in their current location, which is certainly an option. Then again - NOTHING may happen at this point as HAL will most likely have to reschedule any drydocks scheduled for the next 12-15 months for Freeport to other locations, which will be a major disruption to schedules. And even then HAL may have no intention of replacing TV's en-masse on these ships due to their age.
  9. The S&R Class ships are not going to receive the changes to the Crows Nest like the Vista and Signature class have. Explorations central will remain in it's current location on the Upper Promenade deck portside and the Crows Nest will remain unaltered, except perhaps for some new seating. S&R class vessels will only get the larger flat panel TVS's in Neptune Suite and the Pinnacle Suites. Vista Suites and the Oceanview/Interior rooms will not get larger TV's, though they may get new monitors as needed. Lanai rooms had new wall mounted flat panel TV's installed when converted. There are no plans to upgrade the TV system on S&R class to "video on demand" programming like on the larger vessels.
  10. NCL and Royal often have difficulty filling the 3 ships based from NYC in the dead of winter. HAL/Princess/Celebrity have all decided not to base ships there as they feel they can more profitably fill ships sailing from Florida. Simple as that. If they felt they could command a fare premium and fill a ship they would sail from NYC in the winter. They don't so they wont .......
  11. HAL generally will wait until past final payment date to start lowering prices (if they need to). For bookings made prior to the final payment date they will not refund if there is a lower price. They may however be willing to move to a higher cabin category if prices fall - it's done on a case by case basis. Typically their "Flash Fares" will crop up in the 60-74 day timeframe - well after final is due and early bookings are locked in.
  12. Most tours can be cancelled up to 3 days prior to embarkation without penalty. There are some tours that will however incur a penalty even if cancelled pre cruise. If there is a penalty that varies from the norm it will be listed in the tour description. Onboard cancellation guidelines will listed be in the excursion booklet left in your stateroom on embarkation day - usually 10% up to a certain timeframe then no refund unless they can re-sell the space. Again certain tours may have exceptions to this guideline but will be noted as such in the tour booklet or on the tickets themselves.
  13. The three Cruise Line Private Islands that were affected by Dorian were Disney's Castaway Cay, NCL's Great Stirrup Cay and Royal Caribbeans CoCo Cay. Castaway Cay would have been directly hit while the other two were just far enough south to avoid the brunt of the storm. That said all 3 will have damage and there has been no report as of yet to the extent of the damage. I would expect itineraries from these three lines to be impacted for at least the next 30 days. HAL/CCL's Half Moon Cay and Princess Cay were far enough south so as to have no effect from Dorian.
  14. NCL ended the "all-inclusive" program on the Sky/Sun. They now have the same pricing structure and offers as all other ships in the fleet. SAILAWAY rates do not receive any Free@Sea offers on any ship/itinerary at this time.
  15. for those on the Rotterdam May 16th sailing, or really for any sailing where there is a big event (FLL Boat Show, Superbowl, World Cup, etc) it may be one of the rare occasions when checking the price of a 1-3 night hotel package through HAL is beneficial, especially considering they will include airport to hotel and hotel to pier transfers. For example HAL offer the Movenpick Amsterdam as 1 night pre cruise package for $682 total for 2 people inclusive of tax and transfers. A 2 night stay would be $1164 total for 2, and a 3 night stay $1646 total for 2. Higher than some would like to spend but possibly less hassle, or less expensive, than other options given the Eurovision madness
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