Jump to content
AryMay

HAL Passengers Denied Use of Pool at Amber Cove

Recommended Posts

It has been a week since we returned from our first HAL cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Our Eastern Caribbean itinerary was one that was completely changed due to the hurricane damage. And...due to Tropical Storm Phillipe being in our path, we also skipped Nassau which was a replacement port for Grand Turk.

 

St. Croix was to be one of our replacement ports, but just a few days before the cruise it was switched to Amber Cove in the DR. No shore excursions were posted online and knowing that Amber Cove has a nice waterpark area, that became our planned activity for the day.

 

The Carnival Victory was also in port that day...the whole ship had been chartered by a salsa dancing group.

 

When we went on shore and tried to enter the pool, we were stopped and told that Carnival had reserved the whole area for their guests only and we were not allowed to enter. Not having anything else planned, we just returned to the ship...basically losing one of our remaining ports. I know many others also spent the day on the ship. Just prior to leaving Amber Cove, I snapped the following photo. The lines of Carnival passengers waiting to reboard stretched the length of the long dock. The line to get on NA? No one. It was obvious who had the pool to enjoy all day!

 

PnF3wf9bT9iiyPBMM1KgA8tqGTGzFLdCNc6q0DIF5xERCPGCLBzF5HcCuNQiDRttMzCCk7ONtyltDTlrbIMqfmqa5W2qp59GUo0NSQtMbhtDgdxBfm4Cpp9ddk2hsV9ISTynmAcKVojmBH9NDiH_Sx99dm26UAFPf-M8oReni7LhQmCyEQv2tL9iE0_FiY1Q1GWTNVdexSjHu2M2xpHLWkJmsosjwjAygL6ovw3T8SgFx0_sck1E_PHDLCXTqquRhmQQ8re76sShqZbe30a8YjTaUUEwUVXmZf7ubXvFHRshOoRuvJnNVDtR4_nfDj3BJk6CgkHcyryN9u9vo-MaCQJUWD6LKcEqYOFq2sNkFCCbe8-KcNqnGsJZLIHRsH3vBBlSqbB5su7-D2fsFOkiDpzA2HYUW6EoarOl62aVb_-pijEaR4FffjCdrbSJSAflw2wYSk9Pk-pB6VKkMmzIC-ZLeqZCUhpw_GjTiYMU_t7AgASxypnt9ZyLONQcmpiASn9Ppc6S8p_UvNC7Rmpwz99Vu3nfq4eNWcd_mjuCKYh58kKs1rds62Yc4-IeMXc0c1Yycg74iGKF7z903BrWja543ZmTgDorPaWOD6Q6Mh0=w1687-h949-no

 

I am just wondering if this is something that has happened before? I would think that HAL should have been aware of this, but staff at guest services seemed to be just as surprised. Also in the shore excursion presentation, the EXC host had specifically mentioned using the pool while we were in Amber Cove.

 

Anyway...I guess I am still a little frustrated with the whole situation, but even more with HAL's lack of response. Even if no compensation was given, at least a letter or some type of acknowledgement of the issue would have been nice.

 

OK...rant over. Even if the ports were a little disappointing (there were other issues as well) we did love the HAL experience and already have another...much longer...cruise booked!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe because of the late itinerary change they weren't set up to handle things like selling drinks to HAL passengers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unacceptable ! The very least thing HAL could do is at least offer some explanation, however lame it might be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As another post indicated the same issue, unfortunately bad timing and lack of info to HAL and by HAL. Suspect when they switched to Amber Cove, HAL assumed normal policy of pool access, vs having a charted reserved party by Carnival. Lack of attention to detail and communication by HAL with Carnival, and probably an indifferent corporate attitude, resulting in poor passenger relations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is odd that you had no other options. Were there no independent tour operators available at the pier?

 

igraf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve been waiting for the Caribbean reports to trickle in. I’m guessing this will be the first of many people dissapointed with their post-Irma and Maria cruises.

 

Our final payment is due November 28 and I’ll have to decide by then, yay or nay. [emoji849]. We’re booked on the Rotterdam with no Sea View pool so that creates another issue if we choose to just stay on the ship. In the hot Caribbean, perhaps not so pleasant.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by innlady1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is odd that you had no other options. Were there no independent tour operators available at the pier?

 

igraf

 

We had taken a long, and somewhat pricey tour the previous day...at Cap Cana which is ALSO in the DR. The excursions listed in the EXC Tour guide for Amber Cove were either very similar or ones we weren't interested in doing. (And as I mentioned...since the Amber Cove stop was added just days before the cruise there were no tours available to book in advance.)

 

We were looking for a more leisurely and inexpensive day and didn't go ashore right away in the morning thinking that the pool was available all day long. I did talk to some other passengers who said there were very few options due to Carnival having most of the tours already booked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Our final payment is due November 28 and I’ll have to decide by then, yay or nay. [emoji849]. We’re booked on the Rotterdam with no Sea View pool so that creates another issue if we choose to just stay on the ship. In the hot Caribbean, perhaps not so pleasant.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

There has not been a deep Sea View pool on the Rotterdam for quite some time. During one of the drydocks, cabin were built under that deck and the pool was changed to a shallow water area with some lounge chairs and tables permanently placed in the water. It was obviously not a well thought out plan as it was difficult to keep clean and was usually left dry.

 

According to the thread that is on the recent Rotterdam drydock changes, the following has been posted:

 

"There is a flurry of activity on the aft end of the Lido deck. When we left Tampa yesterday, there was supposed to be a Sail Away party and it did no happen because it was not finished. Well, I bet there are 40 workers out there now finishing up the back end with a brand new shallow pool linking two hot tubs. I have never seen so many workers working so hard in one place on a cruise,"

 

 

Someone else on the same thread described the shallow pool as a lazy river where passengers can sit on the side and wet their feet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The Carnival Victory was also in port that day...the whole ship had been chartered by a salsa dancing group.

 

There's your explanation of why HAL passengers weren't allowed in the pool. The salsa dancing group charter included the pool.

 

Anytime there is a large group, including charters, you can expect the large group contract will limit access in some areas to passengers not in the group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an observation, since this was a charter for the Carnival Victory, Carnival Cruise Lines may not have known that the pool area was reserved. The chartering agency may have booked the Amber Cove pool independantly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just an observation, since this was a charter for the Carnival Victory, Carnival Cruise Lines may not have known that the pool area was reserved. The chartering agency may have booked the Amber Cove pool independantly.

 

Good point! since the charter was referenced in the other thread, I am betting this is what happened.

 

I think this port was a last minute change on the itinerary due to the hurricane destruction? It might be that Amber didn't advise HAL that it was reserved? I do know from the other thread that the crew were taken aback that their passengers were not allowed in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just an observation, since this was a charter for the Carnival Victory, Carnival Cruise Lines may not have known that the pool area was reserved. The chartering agency may have booked the Amber Cove pool independantly.

 

This comment doesn't make sense to me. The Carnival Corporation owns Amber Cove and I would expect they would (or should) know what was going on. HAL should have been made aware of the situation. They were obviously caught off guard but refused to acknowledge the problem or even offer a formal apology.

 

Part of what made the situation so frustrating was the events that led up to this day. The majority of the passengers on the NA booked a cruise that was to go to St. Thomas, Grand Turk and San Juan. After final payment was made and it was too late to cancel, the hurricanes came through and changed the whole itinerary (other than Half Moon Cay.) Not HAL's fault...just a fact...but still a disappointment when you are spending hard earned money and vacation time going someplace different than where you wanted to be. (And I realize that this is spelled out in the contract.) IMO, what HAL delivered was not up to par with what we booked.

 

I'm sure it was a nightmare trying to come up with replacement ports and Amber Cove got added in the last few days as a replacement for the replacement port of St. Croix. We were already scheduled to go to Cap Cana, another DR port with very limited, but similar type excursions. Our other replacement port, Nassau, was not one I would have chosen in the first place and then it got cancelled anyway.

 

I was also somewhat frustrated with the excursion we booked in Cap Cana through HAL. When I booked it online in advance (for $99.95/person), the tour description included things that we didn't get to do and was shortened from the 8 hours in the original description to 5.5 hours. What we did experience on the tour was excellent so I didn't complain, but it just felt like we were being short changed. Even our tour guide apologized repeatedly for having to cut the tour short. The tour was late getting started and ended well over an hour before we had to be back on board so I feel it could have been extended to cover what was advertised.

 

So...by the time we encountered the problems at Amber Cove it was like the straw that broke the camel's back. Had HAL made some sort of an effort to acknowledge the issue then my attitude would have probably been different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This comment doesn't make sense to me. The Carnival Corporation owns Amber Cove and I would expect they would (or should) know what was going on. HAL should have been made aware of the situation. They were obviously caught off guard but refused to acknowledge the problem or even offer a formal apology.

 

Part of what made the situation so frustrating was the events that led up to this day. The majority of the passengers on the NA booked a cruise that was to go to St. Thomas, Grand Turk and San Juan. After final payment was made and it was too late to cancel, the hurricanes came through and changed the whole itinerary (other than Half Moon Cay.) Not HAL's fault...just a fact...but still a disappointment when you are spending hard earned money and vacation time going someplace different than where you wanted to be. (And I realize that this is spelled out in the contract.) IMO, what HAL delivered was not up to par with what we booked.

 

I'm sure it was a nightmare trying to come up with replacement ports and Amber Cove got added in the last few days as a replacement for the replacement port of St. Croix. We were already scheduled to go to Cap Cana, another DR port with very limited, but similar type excursions. Our other replacement port, Nassau, was not one I would have chosen in the first place and then it got cancelled anyway.

 

I was also somewhat frustrated with the excursion we booked in Cap Cana through HAL. When I booked it online in advance (for $99.95/person), the tour description included things that we didn't get to do and was shortened from the 8 hours in the original description to 5.5 hours. What we did experience on the tour was excellent so I didn't complain, but it just felt like we were being short changed. Even our tour guide apologized repeatedly for having to cut the tour short. The tour was late getting started and ended well over an hour before we had to be back on board so I feel it could have been extended to cover what was advertised.

 

So...by the time we encountered the problems at Amber Cove it was like the straw that broke the camel's back. Had HAL made some sort of an effort to acknowledge the issue then my attitude would have probably been different.

 

So very sorry that I didn't know that Carnival Corporation developed Amber Cover and therefore "owns" the water park. Even with that being said, it would be managed by a different division of Carnival Corporation (not Carnival Cruise Lines). Therefore, it is still possible that the group that chartered the ship also arranged separately for the use of the water park and that division didn't notify either Carnival Cruise Lines or Holland America Line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously, there was a mix-up or lack of communication between the different Carnival Corporation entities: Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Cruise Line, Amber Cove, etc.

Regardless, the OP paid his money to Holland America Lines and they didn't even offer an explanation or an excuse. They just washed their hands of the issue and pleaded ignorance. That is unacceptable! Who is the OP supposed to complain to? Oprah?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just an observation, since this was a charter for the Carnival Victory, Carnival Cruise Lines may not have known that the pool area was reserved. The chartering agency may have booked the Amber Cove pool independantly.

 

Whenever there is a large charter group on a cruise, there will be some spaces not available to others. If it happens on a ship, it is also likely on a cruise. Wasn't the rest of Amber Cove available?

 

Sure, it is disappointing any time any anticipated facility is not available, but (especially now in post-hurricane conditions) "stuff happens".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There has not been a deep Sea View pool on the Rotterdam for quite some time. During one of the drydocks, cabin were built under that deck and the pool was changed to a shallow water area with some lounge chairs and tables permanently placed in the water. It was obviously not a well thought out plan as it was difficult to keep clean and was usually left dry.

 

 

 

According to the thread that is on the recent Rotterdam drydock changes, the following has been posted:

 

 

 

"There is a flurry of activity on the aft end of the Lido deck. When we left Tampa yesterday, there was supposed to be a Sail Away party and it did no happen because it was not finished. Well, I bet there are 40 workers out there now finishing up the back end with a brand new shallow pool linking two hot tubs. I have never seen so many workers working so hard in one place on a cruise,"

 

 

 

 

 

Someone else on the same thread described the shallow pool as a lazy river where passengers can sit on the side and wet their feet.

 

 

I’m well aware of that. All of it, thanks. I’ve been around since ‘06 and was here when it happened...to the Rotterdam and Veendam. We’ve cruised on Veendam since - twice to Bermuda. May. Pool not necessary.

 

I like this itinerary and was booked last year february on the Oosterdam out of Tampa. But we had a sick dog at home so had to cancel.

 

I booked the Rotterdam with some trepidation but the itinerary is a good one so forged ahead. But given all the hurricane damage and the thought of being confined to a ship with one pool, I’m having 2nd thoughts.

 

May book the NA or Eurodam instead or just do a land trip in Florida.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is odd that you had no other options. Were there no independent tour operators available at the pier?

 

igraf

 

there was a booth there that had rentals for toys/facilities you could use in the water park (i.e. floaties, zip lining etc) but since we weren't able to get into the park it was of no use to us. There may have been another booth operating tours outside of the port area but i never came across it and i did walk around the area looking at the shops and the nice views.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unacceptable ! The very least thing HAL could do is at least offer some explanation, however lame it might be.

 

I've received some of those lame excuses. Trust me, they weren't worth the oxygen that was wasted.

 

 

AryMay said:

.I guess I am still a little frustrated with the whole situation, but even more with HAL's lack of response. Even if no compensation was given, at least a letter or some type of acknowledgement of the issue would have been nice.

 

I suspect it would have been along the lines of "We regret that you did not enjoy your day at Amber Cove and will provide your comments to (the ship/head office) (pick one depending on circumstances)" ... as I mentioned above, I have heard some of the lame excuses.

 

 

Personally I think what happened to you at Amber Cove was totally unacceptable :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe because of the late itinerary change they weren't set up to handle things like selling drinks to HAL passengers.

 

And LBR..the switch to Amber Cove was last minute, yes? I doubt this will be the first(or last) time we hear about something like this happening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I applaud they were able to offer us almost a full Caribean sailing season affer all the huricanes the islands suffered this summer/fall. There are bound to be a few bumps and hopefully they will all be as comparatrively small as this. We need to be a little understanding, IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I applaud they were able to offer us almost a full Caribean sailing season affer all the huricanes the islands suffered this summer/fall. There are bound to be a few bumps and hopefully they will all be as comparatrively small as this. We need to be a little understanding, IMO.

 

 

 

Agreed. This was a minimal setback, if it can even be called that. I was on the NA this past week and saw the Amber Cove pool and the area around it. Truly, the OP missed nothing—the ship’s atmosphere and pool area were so much nicer by comparison.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Obviously, there was a mix-up or lack of communication between the different Carnival Corporation entities: Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Cruise Line, Amber Cove, etc.

Regardless, the OP paid his money to Holland America Lines and they didn't even offer an explanation or an excuse. They just washed their hands of the issue and pleaded ignorance. That is unacceptable! Who is the OP supposed to complain to? Oprah?

 

I agree. Sometimes HAL displays an arrogance that is very unattractive, albeit the ship captain was responsible and could have made a decision to make an announcement and the usual glass of cheap sparkly at dinner to compensate. Seriously, how hard would an announcement have been?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am kind of chuckling at "applauding HAL" for offering a Caribbean season. There are lots of islands in the Caribbean that were unaffected. Kind of wondering if those who choose to applaud would have the same reaction if they were on that cruise?

 

While I agree there may be bumps, they should be attended to promptly. JMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On our recent Veendam cruise from Montreal to FLL we had an interesting situation at our Boston stop. After docking the CD made the port announcement that we were able to get off the ship and that "All EXC tours were cancelled because of a strike of the tour operators". In the plan of the day HAL was offering a paid shuttle from the pier to the center of town. They quickly changed that to a Free shuttle and added several more buses to make the wait only a few minutes. I thought that was a good "save". Never really did hear any more about the "strike". HAL did refund the tour costs. One problem was that the recent re-branding of ship tours calling them EXC was new for a lot of people and caused some confusion. All and all it think the HAL management did a good job on this one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am kind of chuckling at "applauding HAL" for offering a Caribbean season. There are lots of islands in the Caribbean that were unaffected. Kind of wondering if those who choose to applaud would have the same reaction if they were on that cruise?

 

While I agree there may be bumps, they should be attended to promptly. JMO.

 

There are not so many unaffected islands in the Caribbean as would allow ready accommodation for extra cruise ships on short notice. Some Caribbean islands have virtually no facilities for the thousands of passengers coming on every ship - so when a significant number of popular islands are suddenly unavailable those able to accept extra ships are only able to do so by overtaxing the facilities they do have.

 

The whining on some of these posts would be amusing if it were not so unthinking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I applaud they were able to offer us almost a full Caribean sailing season affer all the huricanes the islands suffered this summer/fall. There are bound to be a few bumps and hopefully they will all be as comparatrively small as this. We need to be a little understanding, IMO.

 

I don't think that we should demean the exasperation of another person regarding their cruise experience. Yes, every passenger is going to have to expect things to be different after the disasters experienced by many islands in the Caribbean but at the end of the day, this is a business arrangement and the passengers have a right to expect a substituted product that is as close to the one they purchased as possible.

 

It appears as if the chartered group wasn't negatively affected at Amber Cove. It seems as if those on the HAL ship were -- not just at Amber Cove either.

 

I think HAL should at least have acknowledged the less than ideal situation at Amber Cove and explained how it came to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are not so many unaffected islands in the Caribbean as would allow ready accommodation for extra cruise ships on short notice. Some Caribbean islands have virtually no facilities for the thousands of passengers coming on every ship - so when a significant number of popular islands are suddenly unavailable those able to accept extra ships are only able to do so by overtaxing the facilities they do have.

 

 

I agree that some islands were devastated (so sad) and their absence from itineraries can put a strain on others for visitors but...

 

The Caribbean is immense with many islands. Of those many islands, there are 100 port stops that are geared for cruise ships. 85% of them are fully operational and unaffected. (At my last reading).

 

A bit of creativity by the cruise lines in itineraries and co-ordination could help over taxing certain facilities, I would think ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree that some islands were devastated (so sad) and their absence from itineraries can put a strain on others for visitors but...

 

The Caribbean is immense with many islands. Of those many islands, there are 100 port stops that are geared for cruise ships. 85% of them are fully operational and unaffected. (At my last reading).

 

A bit of creativity by the cruise lines in itineraries and co-ordination could help over taxing certain facilities, I would think ;)

 

I would not have thought that there were 100 (attractive) port stops in the Caribbean that are geared for cruising - but, even so: the fact that perhaps a dozen or so of the most attractive have been seriously impacted does add to the load at the others - and, from my experience, in normal times most of the popular stops are operating at peak capacity. Adding one or two more ships, on short notice, with five thousand or more passengers is bound to create problems and grumbling by the less-than-patient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

 

bound to create problems and grumbling by the less-than-patient.

 

I need some clarification on your comment.

 

Are you saying the problems the cruisers experienced were caused by the cruisers' bad attitude?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was on the same cruise as the OP. It was frustrating not to be able to go into the pool area; although I was impressed with the rest of the facilities at Amber Cove. I inquired about the Carnival private event. There was a charge for the Carnival guests to enter the pool area. It cost $95 pp or $35 pp without alcohol. So, I imagine some folks on the Victory were a bit unhappy also about their day in AC.

 

By the way, we did receive credits of $16.49 pp for missing Nassau.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was on the same cruise as the OP. It was frustrating not to be able to go into the pool area; although I was impressed with the rest of the facilities at Amber Cove. I inquired about the Carnival private event. There was a charge for the Carnival guests to enter the pool area. It cost $95 pp or $35 pp without alcohol. So, I imagine some folks on the Victory were a bit unhappy also about their day in AC.

 

By the way, we did receive credits of $16.49 pp for missing Nassau.

Anyone know if there is normally a charge, and how much? And that $60 Delta for alcohol- how many of those who chose that option would want to have their money’s worth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think that we should demean the exasperation of another person regarding their cruise experience. Yes, every passenger is going to have to expect things to be different after the disasters experienced by many islands in the Caribbean but at the end of the day, this is a business arrangement and the passengers have a right to expect a substituted product that is as close to the one they purchased as possible.

 

It appears as if the chartered group wasn't negatively affected at Amber Cove. It seems as if those on the HAL ship were -- not just at Amber Cove either.

 

I think HAL should at least have acknowledged the less than ideal situation at Amber Cove and explained how it came to be.

I didn't see the comment as demeaning. I would not want to be in Hal's shoes given what has happened in the Caribbean. Playing Monday morning quarterback seems easy. That said going to the front desk for sympathy or an explanation seems to be an exercise in frustration. I think the op might be better off to contact Hal directly. I've been to this port and did not use the pool and still had a lovely day. That not to say the op should not have had access to the pool. That is not right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Of those many islands, there are 100 port stops that are geared for cruise ships. 85% of them are fully operational and unaffected. (At my last reading). ;)

 

It has been said 73.8% of statistics are made up on the spot to support arguments devoid of facts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anyone know if there is normally a charge, and how much? And that $60 Delta for alcohol- how many of those who chose that option would want to have their money’s worth.

 

The sign at the facility stated that pool access is free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It has been said 73.8% of statistics are made up on the spot to support arguments devoid of facts.

 

Sorry to have to point out that you are mistaken: recent statistical compilations have shown that it is now said that it is closer to 74.2%.

 

You should check your facts before posting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HAL should have checked into the situation and given the passengers an explanation about what happened at Amber Cove.

 

 

 

I was also on this cruise and totally understand that it was an unprecedented hurricane season. But as with anything in life, communication is key. If HAL really did not know about the situation at Amber Cove ahead of time, we would have appreciated some type of announcement or explanation on board. I also think if the original itinerary hadn’t changed so drastically and we hadn’t missed Nassau on top of that, Amber Cove wouldn’t have seemed so frustrating. Thank goodness for beautiful Half Moon Cay and the terrific food, service and surroundings on the Nieuw Amsterdam!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×