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Roz

Less Than Stellar Experience - HAL Transfer to Seatac

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34 minutes ago, frankc98376 said:

Quick Shuttle always has to unload at the border as they make other stops in Vancouver on the way out.  HAL passengers are coming directly from Alaska and have already cleared US Customs before boarding.

 

I too share Roz's frustration as we were in the 10 passenger van for 5  or so hours with her (and we had resoiratory crud that we got on the ship.  At least an hour at the border.

 

HAL passengers are not "cleared" by USCBP before arriving at the border, we answered CBSA customs form questions and then the luggage was sealed.  The 2 agencies "cooperate" with each other for border crossings; the driver said he's had a couple of crossings since driving for the program where everything is unloaded and checked but none this season so far.

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I got a reply from the famous Ms Faris at HAL telling me that I was wrong- all passengers must pick up luggage in Vancouver and carry them through Canada Customs.  I know this is not correct as we have done direct transfers to SEA from Alaska cruises before and our luggage was on the bus from our stateroom.

 

Was one other issue that occurred before our cruise that she dismissed and said was handled internally- hence I received no reply to my emails. 

 

On past cruises we were walked around Canada Customs and directly to our bus.  We were instructed to not leave the bus after we boarded.  We were coming from Alaska and going to Seattle. In the past our driver handed a CBP officer our passports at the border, they brought them back out about 10 minutes later and we were on our way.

 

I really don't think that 5 star will be in our future. Sad, as I do love the people on the ships- Seattle just can't seem to get their act together.  We are getting close to the time that we will be cruising a lot more and I'm not wanting to have to fight to get what we pay for. Time to start looking at options.

 

Again HAL has shown us that the the only thing they seem to be consistant with is inconsistancy. 

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Thanks for the follow up, Frank.  There were several issues with that cruise that left me shaking my head, this being one of them.  I couldn't believe how we wandered around Canada Place with our suitcases and were misdirected as to where we needed to be.  I bought a Future Cruise Credit, but don't plan on booking anything with HAL anytime soon.  Like you, I'm exploring options.  The last few years I've done some European river cruises and am also looking at some land tours.

 

I posted some info in this thread about our experience on turnaround day:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2679106-changing-cabins-on-b-to-b-cruises/

 

Roz

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I suspect some/much of this is port management, not HAL, as well as changes in procedures at different times. HAL has information on how things are supposed to be done, the port/CBP may be more lenient than the rules says at random times.

 

Customs and Border Control (on both sides of the border) like to shake things up once in a while not to cause us inconvenience but to catch those trying to do something they shouldn't.

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1 hour ago, oceanmom said:

I suspect some/much of this is port management, not HAL, as well as changes in procedures at different times. HAL has information on how things are supposed to be done, the port/CBP may be more lenient than the rules says at random times.

 

Customs and Border Control (on both sides of the border) like to shake things up once in a while not to cause us inconvenience but to catch those trying to do something they shouldn't.

Normally I would agree.  I believe that this one was 100% the ship.  Others on our ship said their luggage was going to the bus (according to their disembarkation paperwork) and had the normal process.  We were told that the ship didn't know we had pre booked transfers- evidently others had the same issue. Sounded like they had sold too many Seattle transfers on board and oversold the coach. Since they didn't know we had transfers we never got the early CBP forms to fill out

 

Thankfully I had a printed copy of our confirmation.  We were being told that the coach was full and we were out of luck. I'm sure that this was the reason we ended up in the small van. The last impression 11 people had of HAL was a really bad one.

 

My biggest issue is that it was clear HAL doesn't appear to care.  Their reply was basically "here is a little OBC for your next cruise, now leave us alone".  There was another issue from HAL  before the cruise that I won't go into here that ended up costing us $2000. 

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To add to what Frank just said, I felt like I was penalized for booking the Seattle transfer prior to boarding.

 

Roz

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19 hours ago, frankc98376 said:

Normally I would agree.  I believe that this one was 100% the ship.  Others on our ship said their luggage was going to the bus (according to their disembarkation paperwork) and had the normal process.  We were told that the ship didn't know we had pre booked transfers- evidently others had the same issue. Sounded like they had sold too many Seattle transfers on board and oversold the coach. Since they didn't know we had transfers we never got the early CBP forms to fill out

 

Thankfully I had a printed copy of our confirmation.  We were being told that the coach was full and we were out of luck. I'm sure that this was the reason we ended up in the small van. The last impression 11 people had of HAL was a really bad one.

 

My biggest issue is that it was clear HAL doesn't appear to care.  Their reply was basically "here is a little OBC for your next cruise, now leave us alone".  There was another issue from HAL  before the cruise that I won't go into here that ended up costing us $2000. 

 

Frank, I absolutely agree with you about this; the ship wasn't informed by Seattle that there was an oversold situation and they really dropped the ball.  To add insult to injury, they don't seem to care.

 

The key to getting bags on the bus, or "direct to bus" as the program was identified to us, is the CBSA form.  As you didn't get one, the result was 11 upset guests wandering around Canada Place with their bags.  HAL should have been sensitive to you with this very legitimate complaint.  I would very much hold the same attitude as you under the same circumstances.

 

You mentioned another thing that I agree with; the only thing HAL is becoming more consistent about is inconsistent service.  There seems to be a very noticeable lack of focus on the "paying customer" from HAL.  I wonder if it's CCL wide?

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On 5/15/2019 at 9:18 AM, Roz said:

 

I misled into thinking that HAL provided a seamless transfer, which turned out not to be the case.

 

Roz

You too?  We were promised seamlessness for our sailing last fall, I won't go into the details, it's water under the bridge, but Canada Place stinks for disabled travelers and never again will I fall for a "promise" by HAL.

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As someone 5 star yet absent from HAL lately (SB, Regent), I am really sorry to read this. What is especially disconcerting is the misinformation and deflection received by the impacted passengers.

 

While time-consuming, hopefully those brushed off by HAL will follow up using other avenues: the Mariners society or directly emailing HAL executives ( the email formula is easily discerned).

 

i have a cruise booked on HAL, final payment is due January. Will monitor these boards to see if things improve.

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Just a PS: on the “luggage fail” thread, another poster has posted a link with all relevant e-addresses of key HAL executives, including the SVP for port operations.

 

Good luck and I hope those who experienced poor service get satisfaction.

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17 hours ago, ON cruiser said:

...i have a cruise booked on HAL, final payment is due January. Will monitor these boards to see if things improve.

 

Are you seriously suggesting that you will cancel your HAL cruise if Posts to CC indicate that "things" have not improved?

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Well, yes, it is one factor to weigh amongst others. I value the opinions of most posters. If I did not, why would I be on these boards, after all.

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On 7/15/2019 at 2:27 PM, ON cruiser said:

As someone 5 star yet absent from HAL lately (SB, Regent), I am really sorry to read this. What is especially disconcerting is the misinformation and deflection received by the impacted passengers.

 

While time-consuming, hopefully those brushed off by HAL will follow up using other avenues: the Mariners society or directly emailing HAL executives ( the email formula is easily discerned).

 

i have a cruise booked on HAL, final payment is due January. Will monitor these boards to see if things improve.

A letter to the President will be responded to by someone in Guest Services with a polite but uncaring form letter.

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33 minutes ago, frankc98376 said:

@Roz did you report the poor treatment to Seattle?  If so, any response?

 

No I didn't.

 

Roz

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Hi Frank (and Roz); I agree that a letter via postal mail will in many organizations go to "Customer Relations" with nothing much of substance by way of response. Yet what I was suggesting was using email to directly reach the executives, avoiding the corporate filters. In my past experience, HAL executives have been responsive.  

 

Conveniently, the other thread I noted, "luggage fail", which is now likely on page 3 or 4 or even more, had all relevant executive e-addresses noted.

 

Finally, nowadays in many organizations, the executives delegates to his or her EA to be a proxy for and to read email addressed to the executive. That is not a bad thing as, often, the EA is empowered to resolve the problem, far more so than customer service. Yet I have learned that sending the email off-hours, on the weekend or evening (when the EA is usually off duty) makes it more likely that the executive will see the email personally--even if he/she has a more private e-address.

 

Finally, "nothing ventured, nothing gained". Making a reasoned complaint, in my experience (not only with HAL but generally), directed to the right people, has often led to improvement for all, as well as acknowledgment of and recompense (if warranted) for the problem/poor experience. Call it "enlightened self-interest".

 

Good luck, if you choose to take the matter further. In any event, happy cruising!

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Interesting to read this thread about Vancouver to Seattle transfers.

 

In May we sailed the Noordam from Honolulu to Vancouver.  Must admit that the cost of the trip (we booked a fairly last minute Signature Suite guarantee) was unbelievably more than reasonable.  The cruise was wonderful - just what we wanted.  We were headed to Seattle to visit family for a couple of days before flying home.

 

After booking and paying for the cruise as well as air to Honolulu and hotel as well as air home from Seattle we looked on line for the HAL Vancouver to Seattle transfer.  It was not there so we called our TA who was told that HAL was not offering that service for this cruise only.

 

We looked at Amtrak and the times were all wrong - we really wanted to get to Seattle quickly to maximize our visit there.

 

So we booked a private town car.  A bit more expensive than the expected HAL transfer but we assumed it would be fast and comfortable.  They said they would not bill our credit card until we actually took the transfer.  Our card was billed the next day.

 

When we got on board the Noordam, second day out we got a flyer from HAL wanting to know if we wished to book their Vancouver to Seattle transfer.  Much less cost than what we had paid, but our credit card had already been charged by the Town Car company so we were stuck.  

 

To make a long story short it took us almost two hours in Vancouver to connect with our driver.  No one in Canada Place could tell us where to go and the Car Service was equally clueless. In the end, after many phone calls to the car service (including the many times they hung up on us after promising the driver would be right there)  we did meet up with our driver — but only after lugging our bags through Canada Place and across the street and down the block. The car was clean, very nice, and quite comfortable ... but the two hours of hassle to get there hardly seemed worthwhile.

 

It appears that HAL is a trifle inconsistent on what they promise - and it also appears that connections at Canada Place are very difficult to make.  After reading your tale of woe - not sure who gets more blame here — HAL or the transportation services, or maybe even Canada Place.

Edited by arzz

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I didn't pursue this with HAL, as my most pressing issue was getting them to give me Mariner credits for my onboard spending.  I had lots of issues with these 2 back to back cruises, the worst being the Alaskan leg.  It started with the messy turnaround day in Vancouver and having to fight to get a new key card, coupled with the Mariner credit fiasco, the inconsistent food and service in the MDR, the lousy entertainment, the large groups onboard that took over aspects of the ship, and the very uncomfortable ride from Vancouver to Seattle.  

 

Roz

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Hi Roz, thanks for your response, and for elaborating on the "issues" you had with your recent b-to-b cruises. My wife and I are five star with HAL, but our last cruise with them was in 2017, if memory serves. Since then we have cruised twice with Seabourn and once with Regent--and enjoyed them both (albeit our first SB cruise had some inconsistencies).

 

It's comments like yours that make me wonder, "can we go home again?" (misquoting I think it was Thomas Wolf??). We have fond memories of our many HAL cruises. Yet I would not be happy to experience all those issues that you experienced. That is why, while we have a HAL cruise booked for next Spring, as we are within cancellation we are keeping all options open.

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