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Billthekid

No joy in mudville or on HAL cruises

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Being 5 star, we have found the itineraries we are now interested in are always on the mid size ships.  Many times the Vista Suite, which is just a slightly larger verandah cabin, is cost prohibitive. Have started taking more and more on Seabourn.  Sometimes, similar itineraries are less expensive on Seabourn than the Vista suites on the mid size ships with HAL.  

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1 hour ago, wesport said:

Being 5 star, we have found the itineraries we are now interested in are always on the mid size ships.  Many times the Vista Suite, which is just a slightly larger verandah cabin, is cost prohibitive. Have started taking more and more on Seabourn.  Sometimes, similar itineraries are less expensive on Seabourn than the Vista suites on the mid size ships with HAL.  

This is why we booked a Venice to Athens cruise next year on Viking Ocean. When comparing a Vista Suite on a similar itinerary on the Veendam to all that is included on the VO fare there was very little difference in cost. All the nickel and diming by HAL adds up quickly.  

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5 hours ago, PSR said:

 

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.

 

Noise complaints

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4 hours ago, wesport said:

Being 5 star, we have found the itineraries we are now interested in are always on the mid size ships.  Many times the Vista Suite, which is just a slightly larger verandah cabin, is cost prohibitive. Have started taking more and more on Seabourn.  Sometimes, similar itineraries are less expensive on Seabourn than the Vista suites on the mid size ships with HAL.  

That's why we started looking at Oceania (A3 cabin), Crystal (B3 cabin), Princess (mini-suite) and Celebrity (sky suite), besides the fact HAL's entertainment options on sea days have continued to slide over the past 3 years. We're getting ready to give the Maasdam and her In-depth EXC program a try and we're hoping for the best as we sure love that free laundry perk and 50% off wine packages for 4*. But, if we're not wowed, I'm afraid that will be it for HAL when it comes to capturing our cruising $$$.

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We have "upper status" on Celebrity and RCCL, which gets us some perks, the biggest being a very nice cocktail hour each day.  Our last 2 cruises have been on HAL.  We wanted to try one of the newer, larger ships, so we did an 11 night on the K in February instead of our annual week in Puerto Vallarta.  Loved it, especially BB King's and the Rock and Roll. Place was packed every night.  Drinks were reasonable in price.  Service was excellent.  Food is very subjective.  (People who complain about food on a cruise ship must have an amazing home life)😁  Last month, we did a 17 day N Atlantic on the Zuiderdam.  Different experience from the K, but we chose it for the itinerary.  For us, it was a very enjoyable cruise.  

 

Next up, we are doing a 22 night S America and Antarctic cruise on the Zaandam in January.  We chose it for the itinerary.  I realize there will be little entertainment options, but still expect good service and decent food offerings, probably as good or better than we have each day at home. 🤔 Cruises are what you make of them.  All you can do is research the ship and itinerary, make your choice, and hope for the best, which sometimes happens.

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10 hours ago, Silver Sweethearts said:

 

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.

 

On the other hand, I am about to book a 22-day cruise on Oceania Sirena (Dubai to Athens, March 2021) -- least expensive cabin is approximately $182 per person. Even with paying double (as a solo), that doesn't seem unreasonable and it includes $500 OBC.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The wonderful aspect of cruising is that there are so many competing options and cruise lines.  If you do not like one experience then try another.  Plus, the pricing can be all over the map in terms of both mass market cruise lines and premium cruise lines.

We cannot imagine sticking with one cruise line when there is so much choice in the market for consumers to take advantage of or to try.

Edited by iancal

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9 hours ago, SempreMare said:

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

Excellent metaphor because HAL has certainly "struck out" at least in the more recent past.  Interesting that none of the HAL "Cheerleaders" have come to their defense in this thread whereas a few years back you would have read numerous counter-arguments.

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A point of clarification in case needed:  

 

I complimented @Billthekid on his choice of titles because I thought the reference was clever and  because it made me learn something.   Not because I agree or disagree with his opinion. 

 

My first HAL cruise is soon and I'm jumping up and down excited! 

 

@doublebzz, maybe one reason you don't see that is because @Billthekid did a great job of expressing his opinion in an experiential way

vs in a manner that implies "I am speaking the truth for all people in the universe" which always triggers rebuttal.

 

 

 

 

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double zee,

Perhaps the previous "cheerleaders" are not as defensive because they are glad that the constant complainers have left HAL.  Perhaps it makes their cruise experience more pleasant.  As they frequently said - if you don't like it go elsewhere (not their words but message).   

 

Let me say no one ever called me a HAL Cheerleader and I have not been nor am I now, and I can only speak for myself.    We have cruised on over 12 lines over the years and select primarily for the itinerary.   We now also usually stick to cruises of over 30 days, longest 113 days, where the experiences are usually very different than 1-2 week cruises.  Our most frequent cruise line has been HAL, because of their historically more unique itineraries, but some others are catching up.  Which line for our next reservation -  we shall see but as a general rule, what we get for the money paid HAL still meets our needs.  We would have to drink alot more, eat in speciality restaurants more and shop onboard more to have more inclusive fares match what we spend on our whole cruise per day on HAL.  That is just us - not everyone for sure.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Silver Sweethearts said:

 

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.

Oh your right.....  it varies by cruise time of year and destination   

  A  15 day Miami-Rome on O in a veranda  will run you $250pp/pd  no booze or shore ex 

  A 10 night Canada -NY  fall  will soak you $340pp/pd for the cheapest no booze or shore ex  inside ! A 12 day Regent Alaska will run you about $700PP/pd for their cheapest.

      The Regent is I think with  Business class air. rt. .covers all booze, tips, shore ex too.       

 

    HAL is charging $110 a day for a 30 day Asia ... nothing included.        You just can not put a lot of benefits out for that sort of money... its not realistic in today's world.

 

 

Edited by Hawaiidan

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1 hour ago, wander said:

.. as a general rule, what we get for the money paid HAL still meets our needs.  We would have to drink alot more, eat in speciality restaurants more and shop onboard more to have more inclusive fares match what we spend on our whole cruise per day on HAL.  That is just us - not everyone for sure.

Exactly!  That's why I stay on HAL.  I'd really like to try a higher-tier line but the premium all-inclusives would make me feel like I'm subsidizing someone else's bar tab, shopping tour, etc.

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2 hours ago, SempreMare said:

A point of clarification in case needed:  

 

I complimented @Billthekid on his choice of titles because I thought the reference was clever and  because it made me learn something.   Not because I agree or disagree with his opinion. 

 

My first HAL cruise is soon and I'm jumping up and down excited! 

 

@doublebzz, maybe one reason you don't see that is because @Billthekid did a great job of expressing his opinion in an experiential way

vs in a manner that implies "I am speaking the truth for all people in the universe" which always triggers rebuttal.

 

 

 

 

I appreciate your comment and thanks for the complement.  I just love how a simple thought and subject becomes divergent into various other subject areas such Lincoln Center Music, lack of dancing lessons, the pricing of cruise lines, etc, etc.  It happens all the time.  I just feel that HAL' Symbol of Excellence has become tarnished and in need of attention. 

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On 8/4/2019 at 3:58 PM, RuthC said:

Nothing I can see.


The dinner menus are going further downhill. There are few activities during the day, and they are taking away the opportunity to fill that new-found time with reading materials! Evening entertainment is reduced to the point that some evenings cocktail time is blaring overhead music instead of a combo.

 

On 8/4/2019 at 3:58 PM, RuthC said:

Nothing I can see.


The dinner menus are going further downhill. There are few activities during the day, and they are taking away the opportunity to fill that new-found time with reading materials! Evening entertainment is reduced to the point that some evenings cocktail time is blaring overhead music instead of a combo.

I have noticed a considerable drop on dinner options.  I have been on HAL since 1996 and until very recently there were always three soups offered: abroth, a cream soup and a cold soup.   No more--one and only one and no cold soup.

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Interesting about the no dancing. We just did the final voyage of the Prinsendam and they had dancing in the Ocean Bar with a 3 piece combo fairly often and a DJ for late night but very few people danced late night. You did pay a premium to sail on the Prinsendam so we didn't see a lot of the cost cutting other people are seeing.  One of the officers we had dinner with informed us that P traditionally had the highest budget for food of any of their fleet, per capita of course. And because it was the last voyage, they might have wanted to splurge a bit.  And they also still had the piano bar in the Crow's Nest. 

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26 minutes ago, Himself said:

 

I have noticed a considerable drop on dinner options.  I have been on HAL since 1996 and until very recently there were always three soups offered: abroth, a cream soup and a cold soup.   No more--one and only one and no cold soup.

My wife misses the cold soups. 

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42 minutes ago, Av8rix said:

Exactly!  That's why I stay on HAL.  I'd really like to try a higher-tier line but the premium all-inclusives would make me feel like I'm subsidizing someone else's bar tab, shopping tour, etc.

In fairness.... there is very little shopping at all. Thats a mass market thing..... 1/2 of what HAL ships have, And you can get fares without loquor, Air Fare and Shore ex...    Just a basic fare.    In some cases its amazing that for $50 to $70 a day more your can get so much more value.    Two things you need to consider is the overall variety and quality of the cuisine   and that your on a ship with 1/3 to 1/4 the crowds .

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1 hour ago, Hawaiidan said:

Oh your right.....  it varies by cruise time of year and destination   

  A  15 day Miami-Rome on O in a veranda  will run you $250pp/pd  no booze or shore ex 

  A 10 night Canada -NY  fall  will soak you $340pp/pd for the cheapest no booze or shore ex  inside ! A 12 day Regent Alaska will run you about $700PP/pd for their cheapest.

      The Regent is I think with  Business class air. rt. .covers all booze, tips, shore ex too.       

 

    HAL is charging $110 a day for a 30 day Asia ... nothing included.        You just can not put a lot of benefits out for that sort of money... its not realistic in today's world.

 

 

Great point. You get what you pay for. Would you prefer a month long cruise with no frills or a week long cruise with all the trimmings? Same price. I think we are in the 14-21 day boat ourselves.  (Pun intended)

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2 minutes ago, JeffElizabeth said:

My wife misses the cold soups. 

I also miss the cold soups.  I never had one in my life until I had one on HAL.  I fell in love with them. They also offer The HAL President's cut of a steak for $75.00.  Now you can get nickel and dimed to death in the main dining room.

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3 minutes ago, JeffElizabeth said:

Great point. You get what you pay for. Would you prefer a month long cruise with no frills or a week long cruise with all the trimmings? Same price. I think we are in the 14-21 day boat ourselves.  (Pun intended)

Well that  personal... some love 180 day  some love 14 ,     Many think too much of a good thing is too much.    I  like the 18-24 day window   more than that and the "new" exciting experiences begins to become routine and mundane. ones.     I would rather take 5..... 24 day cruises   than 1 ..120 day

A month long with no frills..... I have done that   ...( see attached)  

  I would opt for the better experience all around  than to  go for the cheap....  There are options also of getting many trimmings but not all.... Ala carte.       

  As an option, instead of sailing in a Penthouse or Veranda    on say  Oceania   for 1/3 the price book an inside on the same ship as when your out of the cabin...  Whether Owners suite or Inside... there is no class system...   Yes a butler and upper cabins can get some privilege...  But on a 20 day cruise  you can do just about as well  your self....getting just about everything the expensive cabin folks   get.... 

 

 

0664423.jpg

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9 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

Noise complaints

 

Thanks...I thought about that as a reason, too, but didn't know who would do the complaining. I did not think there were cabins under the CN.

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On 8/4/2019 at 5:58 PM, iancal said:

In my prior business life we used to say that we could not cut our way out of a profit challenge    Cutting expenses helped in the short term but hurt long term revenue and profit. 

 

We could only grow our way out, ie attract more customers, sell more product, grow our revenue and our profit.

 

 

YES and attracting new customers is only growth when you ALSO retain your present customers. (My example would be to look at direct tv, they ONLY treated their NEW customers well and NOW are struggling , of the 2 dozen customers i knew; they now have ZERO.)  I love to interact on the boards but, I'm putting my money wear my mouth is and have my next 2 vacations planned ON LAND

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Interesting (and enlightening) posts.  We are 5 Star Mariners but only have one future cruise (30 days on the Westy) booked with HAL.  With all the changes on HAL (and Celebrity) we started looking elsewhere about a year ago.  The result has been excellent and really has us scratching our heads about HAL.  This is around the time when we would normally be looking to book a few more future HAL cruises but DW and I just discussed not even considering anymore HAL until after our next HAL cruise in March of 2020.  The reason is that as we have tried other lines we have found that HAL is simply not competing.  We just returned from a 14 day Seabourn cruise which actually cost us less then a comparable cabin on HAL cruises.  Without boring anyone with the details, Seabourn blew away HAL when it came to staff, food, entertainment, space, etc.  Imagine a cruise line with no announcements (expect a 2 min update from the Captain at noon), no marketing of sales, no photographers, etc.  For pre-dinner music we always had our choice of a live band or a piano bar player.  Both live bands and the piano bar operated to nearly midnight and the live bands played plenty of dance music.  There were shows (every night) in the main theater (one of the best singers previously worked on HAL) and there was a 5 piece band accompanying those shows.  And all this was on a ship that only had a capacity of 450 passengers (we had about 410 on our voyage).  I should mention that Seabourn also provides unlimited excellent caviar, French Champagne (included in the cruise price), all drinks and has tipping included (for real).

 

By the way, why would an entertainer leave HAL (even if they did still have shows) to go to Seabourn?  Seabourn pays more money and does not ask their entertainers to do anything but entertain.  And on the smaller Seabourn ships the entertainers (singers and dancers) need to only perform one show (on their working nights).

 

One other interesting tidbit about Seabourn vs HAL.  On Seabourn the dinner hours are 7-9 (this would keep many HAL passengers far away) and the evening show is at 9:45.  Most of our fellow passengers were in the normal age range for HAL, but we never heard a complaint about the dining venues not being opened until 7.  Go figure.

 

We continue to wonder how HAL will attract new loyal cruisers (and hang onto the existing ones) with all their cut-backs.  Yes, we will likely keep our plans to cruise on the Westy because we love the itinerary and still have some faith (quickly shrinking) that HAL will reverse course (and make improvements) before our next voyage.  Meanwhile, we have upcoming cruises on Princess (2) and MSC...both of which would have been HAL cruises if they had simply maintained their prior quality.

 

Hank 

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4 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

 And you can get fares without loquor, Air Fare and Shore ex...    Just a basic fare.    In some cases its amazing that for $50 to $70 a day more your can get so much more value.  

Seriously?  Which line(s) give you the option of no liquor, shorex, air, etc?  I would DEFINITELY be interested.  IMO HAL is becoming indistinguishable from Celebrity or Princess.

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4 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

A month long with no frills..... I have done that   ...( see attached)  

 

Great pic of your month long with no frills!  

 

@Hawaiidan thanks for your detailed comparison post.  Please post more as you enjoy your travel adventures.

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