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Billthekid

No joy in mudville or on HAL cruises

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3 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

 

Sadly the cruise lines are trying to attract the younger generation and really don't care about those who were royal for years to the cruise lines.

 

No disrespect intended, but a business that prioritizes a rapidly shrinking customer loyalty segment, at the expense of the likely and potential growth segment of the consumer base, is a business doomed to fail, not succeed, as the market for that company's product will shrink to nothing.

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HAL has the Lincoln Center Stage on most ships now. If you like classical (and some pop music) the Lincoln Center Stage is really worthwhile.

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14 minutes ago, Jimbo59 said:

HAL has the Lincoln Center Stage on most ships now. If you like classical (and some pop music) the Lincoln Center Stage is really worthwhile.

I found it useful for taking a nap.  And I like classical and classical-style pop music.

 

It's just that, after a long day with an excursion (or other activities), and a good meal, just listening to chamber music is just too soothing.  On the other hand, BB King and Rolling Stone Rock room are just too loud and annoying.   There's got to be a middle ground.

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1 hour ago, Jimbo59 said:

HAL has the Lincoln Center Stage on most ships now. If you like classical (and some pop music) the Lincoln Center Stage is really worthwhile.

 

I enjoyed Lincoln Center Stage on the Eurodam while waiting in the lines that formed nearly every night to get into the Main Dining Room.  Seriously, they were quite good, but I felt kind of sorry for them as the noise from impatient passengers often drowned them out.  They were gone by the time I finished dinner each night (I tended to eat early, finishing between 7:30 and 8:00).

 

I just checked and it doesn’t look like Lincoln Center Stage has been added to the Amsterdam yet, but I’ll pay attention to the Where & When for any classical music offerings.  I like most kinds of music if it’s well done, but my background is in classical music.  I’m definitely looking forward to the Amsterdam this fall (35-day Incan Empires, sailing out of Seattle on Sep 23).  It’s a wonderful itinerary -- an area where HAL excels -- and there’s an active roll call.

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

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5 hours ago, oaktreerb said:

I hope you will enjoy your cruise on the Maasdam.  We sailed the 21 day itinerary to Alaska in June and [...] The weak link was the tendering process and hopefully they will have that under control by the time you sail.

 

To make sure I'm interpreting you correctly @oaktreerb

You sailed the 21 day Alaska itinerary on the Maasdam in June? 

And on that cruise you had tender ports? 

Which ports was that? 

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4 hours ago, ArtsyCraftsy said:

All that aside, I've pretty much switched over to Regent Seven Seas as their fare structure for solo travelers is much better that HALs, and their all-inclusive fares brings the overall price competitive with HAL for longer cruises.  Again, I'm talking about their SOLO traveler pricing -- the supplement is much less than the 100% HAL charges, and with the inclusion of specialty dining, all wine/beer/alcohol/coffees/etc. plus gratuities, excursions, and Internet -- all things you have to pay extra for on HAL, the Regent fare can actually be cheaper.  

 

Can you get Regent's Solo traveler pricing with balcony-class cabins? 

 

What about Oceania didn't you like?  (in general or vs Regent)

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13 hours ago, Billthekid said:

 Our major exception noted is the lack of opportunity to dance.  This has been discussed in this forum, but new to us.  First night no combo in the Ocean Bar before late dinner seating.  

On the smaller, older ships there may still be a dance floor and combo in Ocean.  On the newer, larger ships this seems to be a no.   

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We enjoyed the Lincoln Center Stage if you could find a seat & I agree it's in the wrong location with all the noise from people going into the MDR, also the time that they play. BB King was way to loud, not a fan of the dueling pianos, or all the noise from the casino. I guess we'll have to get used to the changes because you can't go back & things will not stay the same. We love HAL but have not cruised on any of the Pinnacle class of ships.    

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Posted (edited)

I was on the same July 21 Noordam sailing as the OP. I can't say anything about the dancing or lack of dancing venue since that was not our reason for doing this cruise. I do not remember specialty coffee on HAL being less than the current $3.50 but the only time I have ever ordered a specialty coffee has been in the MDR after dinner Espresso.

 

It has been 6 years since our last HAL cruise on the NA and I found many things have improved and some have declined. Here are my impressions:

1)We had a SS and fresh flowers were in our cabin, didn't notice if they were not at our tables in the MDR nor do I care, I am there to enjoy a good meal not to smell the flowers. We did have pen and paper in our cabin.

2) The Lincoln Center stage is in the absolute wrong location. You have to walk past it to get to the Anytime Dinning in the MDR and people would Shush us as we walked past and dared to talk with each other.

3)The show lounge is a joke, only 3 live shows the whole week. Two of them were the same comedian. He was very good but he only did a 30 minute show, spent more time getting there early for a seat than the actual show was.

4) MDR food was much better than I remember and no complaints. We arrived for anytime dining every night between 6:30 and 7pm and were immediately seated at a table.

5)Had one meal in the Italian Specialty restaurant and the food was excellent, much improved over the last HAL cruise, well worth the $15 upcharge we paid.

6) Happy hour in the Crows Nest bar at 5pm before dinner had a nice selection of complimentary very good hot and cold appetizers plus buy one drink and the second is $2. This is our favorite bar, but I guess this will go away after the Noordam refurb in October.

7)The lido food is 100% better that any HAL cruise I can remember and the Dive IN is fantastic. The Lido coffee is also much better, I think they now use Melita Coffee. 

 

My only real complaint on this cruise was the Westmark Anchorage hotel for the start of our land tour, it was a total dump. I started another thread on this subject yesterday.

 

Overall, it was a great cruise, service was exceptional and we will continue to use HAL, if the itinerary is one we want. We paid for a future cruise deposit while on the ship and are hopping they have the same itinerary in 2021 as they do next year in Europe.

 

Edited by terrydtx

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9 hours ago, Shmoo here said:

I found it useful for taking a nap.  And I like classical and classical-style pop music.

 

It's just that, after a long day with an excursion (or other activities), and a good meal, just listening to chamber music is just too soothing.  On the other hand, BB King and Rolling Stone Rock room are just too loud and annoying.   There's got to be a middle ground.

 

I didn't find Lincoln Center to be nap-inducing. I thought they were fantastic. But I agree with you about the noise level of BB King and Rock Room. I walked by the Rock Room one night on the K, and between the crowd and the noise level I nearly had a panic attack. I just wanted to GET OUT OF THERE. But the size of the crowd shows that plenty of people do like it, so it isn't going away. I just wish that HAL would offer more than Lincoln Center at 5 and 6 PM for those of us who would like to keep our hearing intact.  Bring back the combo in the Ocean Bar!!!!!!!

 

1 hour ago, ski ww said:

We enjoyed the Lincoln Center Stage if you could find a seat & I agree it's in the wrong location with all the noise from people going into the MDR, also the time that they play. BB King was way to loud, not a fan of the dueling pianos, or all the noise from the casino. I guess we'll have to get used to the changes because you can't go back & things will not stay the same. We love HAL but have not cruised on any of the Pinnacle class of ships.    

 

I sailed K twice and am not likely to do it again for a variety of reasons--just don't like that ship. But one of the few things I did like about the K was Lincoln Center location. In the refit, they moved Lincoln Center to the Queens room, which provided more seating and less background noise. I don't know if this would be feasible on the Sig and Vista class ships. 

 

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9 hours ago, ArtsyCraftsy said:

 

I enjoyed Lincoln Center Stage on the Eurodam while waiting in the lines that formed nearly every night to get into the Main Dining Room.  Seriously, they were quite good, but I felt kind of sorry for them as the noise from impatient passengers often drowned them out.  They were gone by the time I finished dinner each night (I tended to eat early, finishing between 7:30 and 8:00).

 

I just checked and it doesn’t look like Lincoln Center Stage has been added to the Amsterdam yet, but I’ll pay attention to the Where & When for any classical music offerings.  I like most kinds of music if it’s well done, but my background is in classical music.  I’m definitely looking forward to the Amsterdam this fall (35-day Incan Empires, sailing out of Seattle on Sep 23).  It’s a wonderful itinerary -- an area where HAL excels -- and there’s an active roll call.

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

 

On Nieuw Statendam and Konigsdam the Lincoln Center Stage is in a separate area.

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15 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

Sadly the cruise lines are trying to attract the younger generation and really don't care about those who were royal for years to the cruise lines.

 

If you think, or ever thought, a cruise line’s priority is loyalty, then you fell for the gimmick hook, line and sinker. 

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1 hour ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

I didn't find Lincoln Center to be nap-inducing. I thought they were fantastic. But I agree with you about the noise level of BB King and Rock Room. I walked by the Rock Room one night on the K, and between the crowd and the noise level I nearly had a panic attack. I just wanted to GET OUT OF THERE. But the size of the crowd shows that plenty of people do like it, so it isn't going away. I just wish that HAL would offer more than Lincoln Center at 5 and 6 PM for those of us who would like to keep our hearing intact.  Bring back the combo in the Ocean Bar!!!!!!!

Agree on all counts. The chamber music group on all the ships, whether Lincoln Center or Explorers Lounge, end for the night far too early. They are finished by the time second sitting passengers finish dinner.
And the Ocean Bar doesn't have that nice American Songbook dance music with a combo any more.

It's as if HAL wants those of us who don't want to be assaulted with loud noise to go to bed early.

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13 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

 

.... rapidly shrinking customer loyalty segment...

 

Part of a sensible and diversified strategic plan accounts for this segment as normal and/or  unusual attrition...

 

It could be they are just riding the old gravy train until they can sell off the old smaller vessels.

 

Good whitepaper subject.

 

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Posted (edited)

Agree with CruiserBruce.     HAL's loyalty base is shrinking.  HAL is clearly reaching out to a different generation and segment of cruisers than they have in the past.    This, plus a great deal of apparent cost cutting that is impacting on board customer experience.  Not good.  The next generation will not waste any time voting with their feet and with their wallets if they are not happy with the product based on their latest experience.

Edited by iancal

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1 hour ago, RuthC said:

Agree on all counts. The chamber music group on all the ships, whether Lincoln Center or Explorers Lounge, end for the night far too early. They are finished by the time second sitting passengers finish dinner.
And the Ocean Bar doesn't have that nice American Songbook dance music with a combo any more.

It's as if HAL wants those of us who don't want to be assaulted with loud noise to go to bed early.

 

If I could change one thing on HAL it would be to bring back the Neptunes in Ocean Bar. It made me so sad in the Ocean Bar on the K to see the stage, just the right size for a combo, occupied by a piano and a so-so pianist. And there was an unused dance floor.

 

I didn't go to bed early, but I ended up in my room on many nights. Because of the early end to Lincoln Center, the overbearing noise of "Music Walk," and the difficulty of getting into the showroom, too many of my evenings on the K were spent in my room watching the on-demand movies. HAL didn't make any bar profits off me. On the plus side, I did get a lot of knitting done.

 

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Lincoln Center has been shoehorned into the Explorers Lounge on many ships.  Not a great location and much too small.  And where should/could it be located? 

Afternoon performances on sea days are a good bet for those who feel that dinner gets in the way of the evening performances for them: not a total solution, but worth the effort to go then.

 

Same applies for BBKings: too small a location for the crowds that sometimes show up and for the acoustics of a large band in a smallish room.  Where should/could this band be located?

 

On some recent cruises there was piano entertainment and dancing on the port side of the Ocean bar (Vista/Signature class ships) 5 - 7 pm, I think. Not on the Westerdam in June, so that was disappointing.

 

HAL needs larger ships:   the Pinnacle class seems to works better in many respects.

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17 minutes ago, SilvertoGold said:

Lincoln Center has been shoehorned into the Explorers Lounge on many ships.  Not a great location and much too small.  And where should/could it be located? 

Afternoon performances on sea days are a good bet for those who feel that dinner gets in the way of the evening performances for them: not a total solution, but worth the effort to go then.

 

Same applies for BBKings: too small a location for the crowds that sometimes show up and for the acoustics of a large band in a smallish room.  Where should/could this band be located?

 

On some recent cruises there was piano entertainment and dancing on the port side of the Ocean bar (Vista/Signature class ships) 5 - 7 pm, I think. Not on the Westerdam in June, so that was disappointing.

 

HAL needs larger ships:   the Pinnacle class seems to works better in many respects.

 

Since HAL has all but abandoned the showroom entertainment, put Lincoln Center in there several evenings. Put BBKings in there some of the time. On one of our cruises on a Vista,  BBKings was in the main showroom one night and it was a great show.  More room for their sound to spread out. 

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19 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Since HAL has all but abandoned the showroom entertainment, put Lincoln Center in there several evenings. Put BBKings in there some of the time. On one of our cruises on a Vista,  BBKings was in the main showroom one night and it was a great show.  More room for their sound to spread out. 

 

I like this idea and have wondered why HAL doesn't do this.  BBC programs with live music work well there.  This should be viable!

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Posted (edited)

Reading this thread is starting to give me whiplash!  It appears indeed that HAL has a deeply divided demographic; this may be part of the problem they are struggling with at the moment.

 

Some are complaining that there is too little entertainment; others that there is plenty but it is not what they want or like.

 

I do agree that HAL is trying to shoehorn new entertainment ideas into older ships with venues that don't really fit, to mixed results. Yet HAL cannot maintain a fleet of ships of diverse sizes that all go their own way in terms of what they offer, people expect a certain level of consistency in a brand and the casual cruiser is likely to be confused about what options are available on which ships.

 

What to do?  (I know there is no shortage of ideas on this board, but in reality, management simply cannot continue to cater to one crowd.)  What I wouldn't give to be able to read a summary of the comments HAL receives on their surveys for each ship...

 

Personally, and I know this won't be popular, I think live music for dancing is a done-for. I know very few of my age group in the US who actively enjoy this, and far, far fewer than that in succeeding generations. Same with the 'favorites sing-along' type of piano bar.

 

As for the sponsored music concepts like BB Kings, Billboard, Rolling Stone, I like the idea in theory but much depends on execution -- right venue, good musicians, etc.

 

Also, a question -- wasn't there some agreement that was made about the show lounge saying that it could not be used for other types of shows when they started with the BBC Live programming-- did that go by the wayside?

Edited by cruisemom42

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1 hour ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Since HAL has all but abandoned the showroom entertainment, put Lincoln Center in there several evenings. Put BBKings in there some of the time. On one of our cruises on a Vista,  BBKings was in the main showroom one night and it was a great show.  More room for their sound to spread out. 

 

The BB King band, when first started on HAL in March 2013, used to perform once a week in the main show lounge which started off with a "Beale Street jam-type session" It drew pretty good crowds. After doing this for a couple of years or so, it stopped and they would then only perform in their own venue. Believe it had something to do with their contract

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26 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

The BB King band, when first started on HAL in March 2013, used to perform once a week in the main show lounge which started off with a "Beale Street jam-type session" It drew pretty good crowds. ...

 

They need to try this again.....with the Rolling Stone Rock Room thing...

 

 

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13 hours ago, SempreMare said:

 

To make sure I'm interpreting you correctly @oaktreerb

You sailed the 21 day Alaska itinerary on the Maasdam in June? 

And on that cruise you had tender ports? 

Which ports was that? 

 

Juneau and Ketchikan were tendered.  The Maasdam was  the smallest cruise ship in port.  HAL has some priority for longevity in the Alaska market but the really big ships need the AJ dock in Juneau that NCL (and Disney) use morning and afternoon.  Princess uses mostly  the Franklin dock.  The larger HAL ships share the CT and AS docks with other lines in Juneau.  Ketchikan has four docks (I think) and all ships seem to stop there. It is also possible that the dock assignments were made before the itinerary was established.

 

 We also tendered in Port Alberni.  They did not keep the tenders running consistently ...one inbound one outbound ...so it caused people to have to wait for the tenders.

 

 In Valdez we docked but the busses to town were not adequate and many people stood in line for a seat on the bus and gave up and returned to the ship.  I felt like tender tickets might have been a good solution there.  We had an excursion so we were first off.

 

We had so many 4 and 5 star mariners that tender tickets were a joke....numbers in the single digits wouldn’t be called for several hours after tendering began.  Also, people with HAL excursions were first off.

 

Overall it was a good cruise even though the weather was mostly clouds and rain.

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1 hour ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

The BB King band, when first started on HAL in March 2013, used to perform once a week in the main show lounge which started off with a "Beale Street jam-type session" It drew pretty good crowds. After doing this for a couple of years or so, it stopped and they would then only perform in their own venue. Believe it had something to do with their contract

 

Yes, that was the show!  Real blues, we loved it!! Didn't need earplugs, either. 

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2 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

Reading this thread is starting to give me whiplash!  It appears indeed that HAL has a deeply divided demographic; this may be part of the problem they are struggling with at the moment.

 

Some are complaining that there is too little entertainment; others that there is plenty but it is not what they want or like.

 

I do agree that HAL is trying to shoehorn new entertainment ideas into older ships with venues that don't really fit, to mixed results. Yet HAL cannot maintain a fleet of ships of diverse sizes that all go their own way in terms of what they offer, people expect a certain level of consistency in a brand and the casual cruiser is likely to be confused about what options are available on which ships.

 

What to do?  (I know there is no shortage of ideas on this board, but in reality, management simply cannot continue to cater to one crowd.)  What I wouldn't give to be able to read a summary of the comments HAL receives on their surveys for each ship...

 

Personally, and I know this won't be popular, I think live music for dancing is a done-for. I know very few of my age group in the US who actively enjoy this, and far, far fewer than that in succeeding generations. Same with the 'favorites sing-along' type of piano bar.

 

As for the sponsored music concepts like BB Kings, Billboard, Rolling Stone, I like the idea in theory but much depends on execution -- right venue, good musicians, etc.

 

Also, a question -- wasn't there some agreement that was made about the show lounge saying that it could not be used for other types of shows when they started with the BBC Live programming-- did that go by the wayside?

 

You're right about consistency. Have you seen the comparison chart on the website? So many features are on some ships but not others. 

 

As for dancing, no it isn't widely popular. But there are people who want it. Taking dance lessons has become popular since "Dancing With the Stars." (the TV show, not necessarily the HAL tie-in) Back in the days of the Neptunes and the Ocean Bar bands that followed them, some sets would be dance music, and people would dance to it. Other sets would be jazz or American songbook. So one band served a variety of functions. Just 3 or 4 musicians, and HAL didn't have to pay any "use of name" fees, which I bet they're paying for BBKing and Rolling Stone. I remember one evening they did a salute to Cole Porter. It drew a good audience and the music was wonderful. Some people got up and danced, even though it wasn't a "strict" dance set.

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