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Billthekid

No joy in mudville or on HAL cruises

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3 hours 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. 

 

Great idea!

 

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15 hours ago, SempreMare said:

 

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

 

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

 

With the exception of the smaller/older Seven Seas Navigator which has some ocean-view cabins, all cabins on all other Regent ships are balcony cabins, the smallest of which is sized about the same as HAL's Vista Suites on the Rotterdam (Regent at 301sq ft vs HAL's 294-337sq ft) or a Signature Suite (273 sq ft + on the Eurodam).  As far as I can tell, the solo pricing structure applies regardless of cabin category (I've been booking a Concierge Suite on Regent -- it's the smallest size cabin but it includes a few extra perks:  1-night hotel stay pre-embarkation, laundry/pressing, earlier booking window for excursion and dinner reservations,  concierge service, etc.  Also, remember -- I take longer cruises -- 28+ days usually -- and that makes a big difference in comparative pricing.

 

Oceania -- As I said before, the food on Oceania is amazing, spectacular, wonderful.  And I think for families and couples, it's probably a perfectly fine cruise line/experience.  

 

For me, though, there were two major issues, one of which I hope would most likely be rectified via a refurb later this year:  the ship - the Regatta - looked worn and "shabby" in all areas -- and in a Penthouse Suite, there was only a single US-standard electrical outlet in the entire cabin on the opposite side of the room from the bed/nightstand.  I needed an outlet by the bed, and the butler assisted in getting one of the large heavy "transformer" gizmos with a single plug (running an extension cord from the provided outlet was not permitted).  Had I know ahead of time that this would be an issue, I could have requested this before boarding.

 

The other issue -- which may be of no consequence to anyone else, but it's a big deal for me --  was their policy of not allowing "random table sharing" in the Grand Dining Room.  If a solo shows up for dinner alone, they're seated alone, no exceptions.  I was told that if I wanted to share a table with other passengers, I needed to make those arrangements prior to coming to dinner and request a table for the appropriate number.  I pursued this all the way to the Cruise Director level (I was told that's where such decisions are made).  The only time random table sharing is allowed is in the specialty restaurants (Polo Grill and Toscana) -- due to the smaller size, they want to maximize the number of guests served at a time, so sharing tables makes sense there -- but not in the main dining room.  The thing is, if I wanted to eat alone, I'd eat in my cabin.  There was a "solo meet and greet" the first night, but no one else showed up for it and it was never listed again in the daily bulletin.  I don't "do" bars/lounges, and my attempts to make small talk before the shows and enrichment lectures were met with stony silence -- not the friendliest folk I've encountered on my previous 4 cruises.  I don't expect to be "entertained," but I also don't expect to be marginalized.

 

Other issues were more related to the fact that it was a shorter cruise (7 days) in the summer with a lot of multi-generational families onboard.  There were issues with under-supervised kids running amok creating havoc, sometimes cheered on by the various older family members who really should know better.

 

Given the price (Oceania's not-as-generous single supplement puts them at or above Regent's price for a similar cruise), plus the fact that Oceania is "a la carte" as opposed to Regent where everything is included in the fare, I'll stick with Regent -- and Holland America, when the itinerary/pricing works out.

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

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It seems a pity that the  new high tech show theaters in the Pinnacle Class are being so underutilized and with shows that don't take advantage of what they have to offer.  We are on N. Statendam in the fall and wonder if any changes in entertainment will have been made since our three week Koningsdam cruise  this past spring.  Many people we talked to were most disappointed in the canned music shows.  

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Hi Lana,

 

im sorry you had that experience in the GDR, but, as far as I know, sharing has been allowed as long as we've been sailing on O.  It's been my experience that when we approached the podium we were asked if we wanted to dine alone or join others at a larger table. We've done both. I get how you feel....if you wanted to eat alone, room service would be the answer. 

 

Glad you found a better fit than O on regent. 

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Posted (edited)

I  wanted to eat alone on my recent  cruiises. For me, eating alone does not mean shutting myself away.   Though I may want  a  table  to myself,  I like to  see  and hear   others, enjoy the amorphere of MDR.  For me, it iis insulting  to  say   get   room service   if you don't want to   share  a table. :eek:     I like to see people having  fun,  laughing  a  nd enjoying... jutst because my DH passed and  I am no long part of a  couple.  does not mean that I do  not    I wish to dine in MDR or , now and then perhaps,  Lido

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by sail7seas

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1 minute ago, GrammieK said:

Hi Lana,

 

im sorry you had that experience in the GDR, but, as far as I know, sharing has been allowed as long as we've been sailing on O.  It's been my experience that when we approached the podium we were asked if we wanted to dine alone or join others at a larger table. We've done both. I get how you feel....if you wanted to eat alone, room service would be the answer. 

 

Glad you found a better fit than O on regent. 

 

Not a solo traveler but in almost 200 days on board Oceania, we have always been asked at the GDR podium “ do you wish to dine alone or share a table.?”   All open dining in the GDR, there is no reservation system.  I don’t recall seeing anyone sitting alone.  

We have been at GDR four tops many times and have had solo travelers seated with us, for a threesome. 

 

in contrast, access to the specialty restaurants is controlled by reservations.  Every cruiser is guaranteed a certain number of specialty reservations.  How many you get depends on the length of the cruise and your level of accommodations.  Two tops are hard to get unless you are in the early group to reserve. 

 

I am scratching my head on this report.

 

Regent is good for solo travelers. 

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On 8/4/2019 at 3:55 PM, MISTER 67 said:

Exactly especially on your last point. We were on the Celebrity Equinox last month which is a line that has always catered to an older crowd. The cruise was very good but what just about ruined it for us was the constant ear shattering Electric Dance Music played everywhere from morning until early dinner. EDM is just horrible but I guess the Millennials love it so Celebrity has decided to go after that generation and forget what has been their bread and butter generations for over 3 decades.

We do like the ambient music that plays on the HAL ships. EMD would be a deal breaker for me.

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, sammiedawg said:

 

Not a solo traveler but in almost 200 days on board Oceania, we have always been asked at the GDR podium “ do you wish to dine alone or share a table.?”   All open dining in the GDR, there is no reservation system.  I don’t recall seeing anyone sitting alone.  

 

DEAL   Breaker  !!

 

 

 

Quote

We have been at GDR four tops many times and have had solo travelers seated with us, for a threesome. 

 

in contrast, access to the specialty restaurants is controlled by reservations.  Every cruiser is guaranteed a certain number of specialty reservations.  How many you get depends on the length of the cruise and your level of accommodations.  Two tops are hard to get unless you are in the early group to reserve. 

 

I am scratching my head on this report.

 

Regent is good for solo travelers. 

 

 

 

On Oceania, they  insist  one must   share a table.?  

So much for  hospitality !

 

If a solo  cruiser said they did no wish to share a table,  they would be told to leave and not be seated?

 

Do they make that clearly known on their  website  and  in  their a HUGE number of  brochures ... dozens of  which  I have tossed out unread ?

 

sail.noordam@gmail.com

 

 

 

Edited by sail7seas

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34 minutes ago, sail7seas said:

 

DEAL   Breaker  !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Oceania, they  insist  one must   share a table.?  

So much for  hospitality !

 

If a solo  cruiser said they did no wish to share a table,  they would be told to leave and not be seated?

 

Do they make that clearly known on their  website  and  in  their a HUGE number of  brochures ... dozens of  which  I have tossed out unread ?

 

sail.noordam@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

No and no. 

 

GDR is open dining,  no reservation system and no fixed times.   At the podium, you are asked if you wish to dine alone or share a larger table.   We often say we would like a four top, knowing one or two people will join us.   We’ve had solo travelers seated with us to make a threesome.  

 

Specialty restaurants are by reservation. 

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38 minutes ago, sail7seas said:

On Oceania, they  insist  one must   share a table.?  

So much for  hospitality !

 

If a solo  cruiser said they did no wish to share a table,  they would be told to leave and not be seated?

 

Do they make that clearly known on their  website  and  in  their a HUGE number of  brochures ... dozens of  which  I have tossed out unread ?

 

sail.noordam@gmail.com

 

 

 

No they don't. However, depending on when you show up at the GDR, you may have to wait awhile to get seated as the 2 tops usually go pretty fast once they open up. 

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In March/April, we were on Zaandam from BA around the Cape, through the canal and into FLL (34 days).

Most evenings, there was a young man playing solo piano in the Ocean Bar. Quite good and occasionally someone would get up and dance. It was nice having music during happy hour.

Then, about 8:30 (ish) a vocalist would join three instrumentalists on stage in Ocean Bar and they were received warmly.

Not all ships on all itineraries have devolved to nothingness in the Ocean Bar in the evening.

Jim

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8 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?

Cruisemon:

 

I disagree with you about the dancing. My wife and I just got off a 21-night cruise on the Cunard Queen Mary 2 (our first time on Cunard, although we're 4-star mariners on HAL), and every night the dance floors were jammed. The QM2 has two dance venues: the ballroom-dance Queen's Room and the disco/R&B G-32 Lounge. The Queen's Room boasts "the largest dance floor at sea," and I believe it. At least thirty couples could comfortably be accommodated on the floor at any one time. The G-32's floor was smaller, about the size of the typical HAL Ocean Bar floor, but still pretty big. As I said, both venues were packed every night until midnight or later.

 

And the average age of the dancers was younger than on most HAL ships. I'm 71 and my wife is 66, and we were among the oldest dancers out there. Most were in their forties, fifties, and early sixties, but there were quite a few in their twenties and thirties.

 

So, dancing on cruise ships isn't dead yet. However, I agree with you about sing-along piano bars. I hate them and if I ruled the world they would be banned!

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15 minutes ago, jimdee3636 said:

Cruisemon:

 

I disagree with you about the dancing. My wife and I just got off a 21-night cruise on the Cunard Queen Mary 2 (our first time on Cunard, although we're 4-star mariners on HAL), and every night the dance floors were jammed. The QM2 has two dance venues: the ballroom-dance Queen's Room and the disco/R&B G-32 Lounge. The Queen's Room boasts "the largest dance floor at sea," and I believe it. At least thirty couples could comfortably be accommodated on the floor at any one time. The G-32's floor was smaller, about the size of the typical HAL Ocean Bar floor, but still pretty big. As I said, both venues were packed every night until midnight or later.

 

And the average age of the dancers was younger than on most HAL ships. I'm 71 and my wife is 66, and we were among the oldest dancers out there. Most were in their forties, fifties, and early sixties, but there were quite a few in their twenties and thirties.

 

So, dancing on cruise ships isn't dead yet. However, I agree with you about sing-along piano bars. I hate them and if I ruled the world they would be banned!

 

I'm curious though -- did you get the sense that there were more Americans or British among the dancers?  I suspect the latter but have no real proof. Just seems to me on cruises I've been on with a higher percentage of British passengers, there are more who take to the dance floor.

 

Still, I could be wrong. 

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4 hours ago, GrammieK said:

Hi Lana,

 

im sorry you had that experience in the GDR, but, as far as I know, sharing has been allowed as long as we've been sailing on O.  It's been my experience that when we approached the podium we were asked if we wanted to dine alone or join others at a larger table. We've done both. I get how you feel....if you wanted to eat alone, room service would be the answer. 

 

Glad you found a better fit than O on regent. 

Thanks, GrammieK --

 

It could be that it was the policy on this particular cruise -- short 7-day Alaska r/t out of Seattle -- with mostly families and couples -- but I did ask specifically if there was a policy that restricted solo travelers to dining solo and was told that there was.  This was after 4 requests to share a table (3 dinners, 1 breakfast).  

 

I'm encouraged to read that this is NOT the norm on Oceania in general -- and if I decide to give them another try I'll be sure to book something during the normal school term and longer than 7 days. 🙂  I'm not sorry I tried them -- several friends had encouraged me to do so as I'm a bit of a "foodie" and wine enthusiast (not an expert by any means - just an avid student).  And the food was indeed spectacular.  It appears I may have encountered a non-normal situation due to the timing.

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

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On 8/4/2019 at 1:58 PM, RuthC said:

entertainment is reduced to the point that some evenings cocktail time is blaring overhead music instead of a combo.

 

This may be the key.. use of the term 'combo' from a bygone era (read Titanic) is simply that..

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9 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I'm curious though -- did you get the sense that there were more Americans or British among the dancers?  I suspect the latter but have no real proof. Just seems to me on cruises I've been on with a higher percentage of British passengers, there are more who take to the dance floor.

 

Still, I could be wrong. 

Yes, most were British. On the QM2 sailing we were on, I'd estimate (based on the accents I heard all over the ship for 21 days) that only 20% or so of the guests were Americans or Canadians. U.K. guests were the biggest group onboard, but there were also a fair number of Germans, french, and Dutch. You're probably right that ballroom dancing is dying out among Americans, but it certainly seemed alive and well among the British and Europeans.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/4/2019 at 3:29 PM, Krazy Kruizers said:

Our last cruise on HAL was in 2016 and we saw a lot of changes on our 21 day on the Westerdam.

 

No band any time in the Ocean -- with no music -- no dancing.  Had to ask for hot appetizers -- some times we got them -- most times we did not.

 

We have been getting the cheap, plastic tote bags for several years.

 

There weren't any nuts or liquors for the ice cream in the Lido on our 2015 and 2016 cruises.

 

No fresh squeezed orange juice on those cruises.

 

We are not fans of the BB King groups or the new Rock and Roll groups.  Way too loud for us.

 

We loved the good old fashioned Piano Bar where we could sing along -- they are disappearing quickly.

 

Change has been happening for quite a few years now.  OP -- you were luckily you only experienced on your recent cruise.

 

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.

 

The  reality is you get what you pay for.....  you can not have cheap fares and all the bells and whistles of yesterday.......   You can still get all the special services and features but you will need to shell out a lot more, and pick another line that offers them.......OR.... lower your expectations and be happy.

Looking at the lines that offer all those "eliminated" options like Viking, Oceania, Regent , Crystal.....     your wants of the past will  today cost you , for a basic cabin,  $350-$500 per person per day......    

Edited by Hawaiidan

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58 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

 

The  reality is you get what you pay for.....  you can not have cheap fares and all the bells and whistles of yesterday.......   You can still get all the special services and features but you will need to shell out a lot more, and pick another line that offers them.......OR.... lower your expectations and be happy.

Looking at the lines that offer all those "eliminated" options like Viking, Oceania, Regent , Crystal.....     your wants of the past will  today cost you , for a basic cabin,  $350-$500 per person per day......    

True. And the standard retort is "we would gladly pay more for" the way it used to be. But those that say that are a small minority, and as I mentioned earlier, the cruise line can't focus on a small minority, and expect to survive. If you want something that resembles the "old days", you are going to have to step up to a more exclusive (and expensive) cruise line.

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On 8/5/2019 at 9:44 AM, 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.

The Crows Nest would be an ideal location for Lincoln Center Stage as it is a destination venue, not a pass through. Crows Nest could also accommodate BB King's, although I don't know if it would provide more space than Queen's Lounge does.

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4 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

Looking at the lines that offer all those "eliminated" options like Viking, Oceania, Regent , Crystal.....     your wants of the past will  today cost you , for a basic cabin,  $350-$500 per person per day......    

 

Guess again.  For a 12-day cruise, for instance, round-trip Hong Kong on Regent, their least expensive cabin is $1,125 per person per day.

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3 hours ago, Cruiser Bruiser said:

The Crows Nest would be an ideal location for Lincoln Center Stage as it is a destination venue, not a pass through. Crows Nest could also accommodate BB King's, although I don't know if it would provide more space than Queen's Lounge does.

 

 

HAL tried the BB Kings in the Crow's Nest on Rotterdam a couple of years ago. It was the only non-Vista, non-Signature, and non-Pinnacle class ship that had the BB's. It didn't work and the experiment was stopped

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2 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

 

HAL tried the BB Kings in the Crow's Nest on Rotterdam a couple of years ago. It was the only non-Vista, non-Signature, and non-Pinnacle class ship that had the BB's. It didn't work and the experiment was stopped

 

It didn't work because? No one came...the sound was not right....not enough seating...too far...? Wonder what the reason was. It used to be a good musical venue.

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Curiosity got the best of me and I finally googled "No Joy in Mudville" 

 

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/no+joy+in+Mudville

A phrase used to describe an overall sense of sadness and/or disappointment. 

 

and the original poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45398/casey-at-the-bat

 

Great reference.    Well done, @Billthekid

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Thank you SempreMare for finding and posting the explanation for No Joy in Mudville. I loved the poem. 

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