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Why do you hate HAL so much?

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Well, the title that got your attention!

 

I started cruising when I was 17 years old, realizing how fortunate I was to have this wonderful experience.  In 2002 I discovered Holland America on a 7-day Alaska cruise.  Since then, HAL has been my exclusive cruise company (35-cruises, five star mariner). Why? A quality product for a reasonable price. I have always started every cruise with a positive attitude, and realized that not everything can be perfect. Regardless what we do in life, things can go wrong. Gosh darn, they don't want to give me TWO main courses for dinner. The prices on drinks have gone up. They no longer provide this or that. The ships are showing wear, or I hate the larger ships. 

 

Soon after my first HAL cruise I discovered Cruise Critic. It was a place to share information and, meet people prior to the cruise , and on occasion, save some money on private excursions. Roll Calls have been a wonderful resource for me. BUT, it seems that over the past few years, Cruise Critic has turned into a place where many people have become so negative about seemingly everything HAL management does. In my opinion, the enjoyment and benefit of this Forum has declined significantly. Sure, not everything is perfect, but there are a number of Cruise Critic members that seemingly NEVER have anything positive to say. You know who you/they are..... "Orlando is trying to ruin the company"; "HAL is nickel and diming us"; "They are taking away....."; How can I sneak on alcohol or will HAL carry on my cases of waters/soda? At the end of the cruise, why doesn't HAL pay me back in cash the on-board credit that they didn't buy, but that HAL as given to them?  , and so many other things. The irony is that they seem to continue to cruise with HAL (how else would they know what is going on now?). They continue to look for the cheapest fare (nothing wrong there), but still expect all the things they got in the "good old days".  

 

My question is, if it is so bad, why complain so much? Why not just spend your travel dollars elsewhere? Or, is it just fun to complain? 

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Since 1991, we've never had a bad cruise and we've tried all of the mainstream lines except for Carnival and NCL.  But, it's obvious that the quality found in the mainstream cruise lines has dropped over time.  It appears to be a fact that no cruise line gets better; instead they all get worse over time.  We're trying Oceania next month but the complaints of declining quality are there as well.

 

I think that if the quality that we saw in our first cruise in 1991 was here today, we couldn't afford our 2 or 3 cruises per year.  So, I'll accept a certain level of decline in return for a pretty good value for what we pay.  When the price/quality ratio isn't worth it to us, we can look elsewhere both on land and the sea.

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I do not hate HAL, but HAL is declining in quality.  That is the reason for the negative views that were never here before.

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No one "hates" HAL, they just complain about change. It seems the "older generation" is more apt to complain about change than younger folks so, you will read more about change here than on other lines forums.

Other lines get their fair share of complaints too but HAL seems to get more. We have cruised on many lines and are going on our first HAL cruise and I too wondered why so much complaining but come to realize who many of the complainers are.....very long time HAL clients.

We will wait till we finish our first cruise to decide if we will take another HAL cruise but are looking forward to it. The itinerary is the most important to us..

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The people who complain the most, I'm sure don't live that well at home. You can't live in the past for ever, change happens & not always for the best. We're lucky we can cruise & enjoy what ever cruse we're on, even with all the changes. If we didn't like all the changes we'd stop cruising. A bad day cruising is still better then a good day at work.

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1 hour ago, LoveHAL said:

Well, the title that got your attention!

 

I started cruising when I was 17 years old, realizing how fortunate I was to have this wonderful experience.  In 2002 I discovered Holland America on a 7-day Alaska cruise.  Since then, HAL has been my exclusive cruise company (35-cruises, five star mariner). Why? A quality product for a reasonable price. I have always started every cruise with a positive attitude, and realized that not everything can be perfect. Regardless what we do in life, things can go wrong. Gosh darn, they don't want to give me TWO main courses for dinner. The prices on drinks have gone up. They no longer provide this or that. The ships are showing wear, or I hate the larger ships. 

 

Soon after my first HAL cruise I discovered Cruise Critic. It was a place to share information and, meet people prior to the cruise , and on occasion, save some money on private excursions. Roll Calls have been a wonderful resource for me. BUT, it seems that over the past few years, Cruise Critic has turned into a place where many people have become so negative about seemingly everything HAL management does. In my opinion, the enjoyment and benefit of this Forum has declined significantly. Sure, not everything is perfect, but there are a number of Cruise Critic members that seemingly NEVER have anything positive to say. You know who you/they are..... "Orlando is trying to ruin the company"; "HAL is nickel and diming us"; "They are taking away....."; How can I sneak on alcohol or will HAL carry on my cases of waters/soda? At the end of the cruise, why doesn't HAL pay me back in cash the on-board credit that they didn't buy, but that HAL as given to them?  , and so many other things. The irony is that they seem to continue to cruise with HAL (how else would they know what is going on now?). They continue to look for the cheapest fare (nothing wrong there), but still expect all the things they got in the "good old days".  

 

My question is, if it is so bad, why complain so much? Why not just spend your travel dollars elsewhere? Or, is it just fun to complain? 

 

OP I agree with you.  We have enjoyed every cruise we have done, all on HAL and Princess.  Have they all been perfect?  No, but still enjoyable.   And all have been better than being at work, or cooking, cleaning and doing laundry at home!!

We have only been cruising since 2010, so maybe we don't see the same decline that long time cruisers do.  But what we see is good value for our vacation dollar.  

I think some people have a "Walmart" mentality when it comes to picking a cruise.  They want to pay the very least for the cruise.  I get that.  Everyone loves a bargain.  But then they want all the bells and whistles too.  And that isn't possible. 

All cruise lines are for-profit companies. They have to make a profit or they go out of business.  

I think the cruise lines are all trying to find a balance between low fares and profits.  And that means cutbacks of certain things or charging extra for things that used to be included.

 

I know what you mean as far as the chronic complainers here on CC.  I see their name and right away I know I will be reading something negative.  I swear some people are never happy unless they are complaining about something.   

 

I have to shake my head at the posts on here sometimes.  People worried about what brand of yogurt is on the ship.  Or what brand of teabag or bottled water.  Really??  You're on vacation!!   Travel is all about seeing new places and experiencing new things, trying new foods, stepping outside the box.  

 

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I LOVE HAL but I have observed many changes over the last 23 years and I do not like some of the changes.  However, HAL is not the only line that has cut back. This is happening all over the cruise industry. 

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Posted (edited)

What's to hate?  It is nothing more that a commercial enterprise.  When we dislike a product or find one in the marketplace that offers us more we simply switch products or vendors.  Besides, there is more than one HAL.  It depends on what ship you select.

 

I have no doubt that there are a few misguided souls who hate HAL.  Just as there are some who think HAL is the best cruise line on the seas and that each of their ships and sailings are so perfect as to be immune from complaint or criticism.  The ones that hate should buy on another line.  The ones that love should book another HAL cruise.

Edited by iancal

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I booked my HAL cruise, then came here, then was terrified I'd made a horrible mistake because it seemed like every post was something negative.

 

I've learned it's just the vibe of this site in general, because the negativity is on every board, not just the HAL one.

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38 minutes ago, threebluestars said:

I booked my HAL cruise, then came here, then was terrified I'd made a horrible mistake because it seemed like every post was something negative.

 

I've learned it's just the vibe of this site in general, because the negativity is on every board, not just the HAL one.

 

That's true - it's universal on the forums here.  Maybe it's because the general trend in the quality of cruising is dropping overall in order to keep the prices reasonable and that may be unavoidable.  Most people don't complain about prices as much as they do about quality.

 

We booked our first cruise on Oceania recently and I was quite excited until I started reading the Cruise Critic forum for O.  But, I guess that's why the site is called Cruise "Critic."

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I went on my first cruise just last year. I picked it primarily on itinerary and we sailed on Eurodam to Alaska. Part of why I moved to Seattle a couple years ago was to have easy access to a bucket list item: Alaska cruise. I somehow thought I'd be "one and done." But we had a fantastic time and while we knew nothing about how to play the price drop or upgrade game, we felt we got tremendous value for the average price for an oceanview we paid. I had always thought cruises were financially out of my reach as a regular vacation option but if you added up cost of transportation (even gas/tolls if driving car) + decent hotel + all meals + all activities and excursions, you would be hard pressed to beat the expediency of a cruise. A lovely ship takes you around, you unpack once, you have good food from various venues pretty much any time you want it.

 

This year, when looking at itineraries, I was interested in one of the options sailing out of Vancouver on Celebrity. And I think it's probably a lovely ship. But the one thing that stopped me jumping lines was regular comments (never take 1-2 reviews about something - look for patterns) that the menus in complimentary dining venues were repeating over and over, so not much variety and hard pushes constantly to upsell into specialty dining. HAL spoiled us a bit with that. Yes we dined in Tamarind (so many had recommended it, no regrets, was a wonderful meal) but we didn't encounter repeating menus. And the manned stations in the buffet is a standard I prefer to the self-serve buffets in other lines. People are gross so anything that mitigates that behavior is great in my book. So, for cruise #2 I am again sailing with HAL. I don't have ANY interest in waterslides and go-carts or being on a ship with 5000 passengers - I want open spacious deck areas to be able to sit and breathe in the spectacular scenery. 

 

I figure I got lucky with my first choice - HAL was a good fit for what *I* want in an experience. 

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Our first cruise on Holland America was on the Rotterdam in 2002. We hated it and didn’t go back for 10 years. We have sailed all the lines and in the “old days” we sailed Princess and Celebrity. We tried Crystal last year and Azamara two years ago. Our go to cruise lines are now Holland America and NCL.  We like the Haven and Neptune Suite products. We like most of the changes from 1997.....the lone exception being food. Food across all the lines including Crystal is just OK to us.

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We’ve been cruising since 1990. There have been a lot of changes, but they have not lessened our experiences at all. Unlike many people, I don’t see that we are being nickeled and dimed to death. I see that we are being given choices we never had in the past. Yes, you may have to pay for them, but you have a choice. There was never such a thing as specialty restaurants when I started cruising. Specialty coffees? Forget it. And veranda cabins? Only for those who could afford a suite. When we took our first Mediterranean cruise in 2006 a friend, who worked for British Airlines, got us premium economy seats from Seattle for $2000. Now, we have EZAir and Flightease that has allowed us to fly business class on our last three cruises to Europe for around $2300. And for us, one of the best things that’s occurred is the change in dress code. I remember when a seven day cruise included two formal nights and two semi formal nights. That was a pain. 

 

This board is no no different than the Princess board. Same complaints. I would rather focus on all the positives and the great value we receive for the money we are spending. 

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First, I really like HAL. I've cruised on other lines and, for now, HAL is the best "cookie-cutter" cruise line--we have 4 upcoming cruises with them.  That's my opinion, of course, others might disagree.  

 

I do not have a problem with people who complain and often get tired of people complaining about complainers!  It's okay to complain about something you don't like, to voice your personal opinion-that's what free speech is all about.  Others have the right to ignore or gloss over their comments.  I find that too many people split hairs on these boards, not just HAL.  In deciding on a cruise, one must look at the good and the bad to see if it's the right fit for you.    Just think of the things that might not have changed in our past history is someone didn't complain!

 

As far as HAL goes, it's not unlike the other cruise lines.  Those of us who were able to cruise in the golden days of cruising know how much cruising has changed in the last thirty years or so, just like air travel has drastically changed since 9/11.  If you're too young to remember the good old days of cruising and flying, you won't have much to compare until you too have traveled long enough to see changes.  And sometimes, it's the little things that a cruise line does that make all the difference in the world, whether good or bad. 

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I think there is a large entitlement attitude among some 4*&5* cruisers.  They are so defensive about their perks and privileges.  They see any change as a threat to their entitlements.  For example, Club Orange, one of the most consistent criticism is that CO getting priority access to tenders, then comes the complaint, "I'm 4* and I've taken 40 HAL cruises to get priority tendering and now these people can get the  same perk by spending $$$. It's not fair, I tell you and it's all Orlando's fault." Or, "Orlando doesn't know how to run a cruise line.  He needs to check with us 4* before he makes any more changes."

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3 hours ago, LoveHAL said:

will HAL carry on my cases of waters/soda? A

Hi,

This one really gets me, I think if people want to bring their own water and Soda pop to save money, bring the darn cases on yourself.  Why should the staff do that.  If all 2,000 people did that, wow a lot of extra work for the staff.  These people are not servants.

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3 hours ago, LoveHAL said:

My question is, if it is so bad, why complain so much? Why not just spend your travel dollars elsewhere? Or, is it just fun to complain? 

A plausible explanation is that the relentless posts are made by personas of political action groups. It is completely irrational for a person to continue cruising on a line after all the bad experiences they claim in the stories. Here is hoping that my CC filter settings will ensure that none of their replies appear in my feed. 💦 😀 

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I disagree with much of the above.  It is NOT the changes it is the CUTBACKS. HAL is no longer a "premium" cruise line. Never was a luxury cruise line.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Granny DI said:

Our first cruise on Holland America was on the Rotterdam in 2002. We hated it and didn’t go back for 10 years. We have sailed all the lines and in the “old days” we sailed Princess and Celebrity. We tried Crystal last year and Azamara two years ago. Our go to cruise lines are now Holland America and NCL.  We like the Haven and Neptune Suite products. We like most of the changes from 1997.....the lone exception being food. Food across all the lines including Crystal is just OK to us.

 

Similar story here except the difference between out first HAL cruise and our second was 14 years (2004-2018).  The first one wasn't awful but there was nothing there to draw us back and we focused on RCI, X and DCL.  Plus, we noticed that there were a lot of "older" people.  Funny, that 14 years later that doesn't seem to be the case.  Can't figure that out.

 

But, our cruise last Thanksgiving on the Nieuw Amsterdam was quite nice (food just OK as you note is the standard for most lines it appears) and the price was quite good.  So, we're doing it again this year!

Edited by ricka47

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52 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

I think there is a large entitlement attitude among some 4*&5* cruisers.  They are so defensive about their perks and privileges.  They see any change as a threat to their entitlements.  

I am 5*, and don't complain about HAL

2 hours ago, pete_coach said:

No one "hates" HAL, they just complain about change. It seems the "older generation" is more apt to complain about change than younger folks

I am 87 and don't complain about HAL

 

Right on Marty! A thread to complain about the complainers. What will they think of next??

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I see a lot of people in this forum (certainly more than Carnival or Royal Caribbean) refer to cutbacks in HAL and then go on to write about losing the library on the HAL ships or missing formal nights.  These are not cutbacks.  I do not care about libraries and rarely read books.  Formal nights?  I am offended at the idea of dressing up!  A cutback is when you replace something expensive with something cheaper.  Shrinking the size of a cabin but charging the same or more for that cabin is a cutback but more people are cruising than ever before.  So, how do you fit them on a ship?  Missing the Yum Yum Man is a cutback?  How?  It is only a cutback to the person who enjoyed it.  I do not want or need a doorman in the MDR, therefore, it is not a cutback to me.  Now, if they keep the price of wifi the same and reduce the speed that is a cutback!  People should provide empirical evidence that something of lower quality has replaced something of higher quality.  Otherwise, they are talking about changes. 

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13 minutes ago, ChinaShrek said:

 ...  It is only a cutback to the person who enjoyed it.  I do not want or need a doorman in the MDR, therefore, it is not a cutback to me ...

Never thought about it that way, but since you mention it ... They could cut the Lido buffet completely and I would not see it as a cutback as we rarely use it  🙄 While they're at it, why not cut back the life boats, we never use them either.  And who needs all those seats in the theater now that there are no more shows, I'm OK with cutting these back also 😄  

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17 minutes ago, ChinaShrek said:

refer to cutbacks in HAL and then go on to write about losing the library on the HAL ships.  These are not cutbacks. 

 

They certainly ARE cutbacks.  They are reduction in services.  You might want to look up the definition.

 

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/cutback

 

and another one for you - 

cut·back
/ˈkətˌbak/
noun
  1. an act or instance of reducing something, typically expenditures.
    "cutbacks in defense spending"
    synonyms: reductioncutdecreaseretrenchmenttrimmingsalami slicingMo

 

 

 

17 minutes ago, ChinaShrek said:

 

I do not care about libraries and rarely read books

 

 

 

Now, why am I not surprised by this statement?  Just because you don’t care about a library or reading doesn’t mean those that do enjoy it should be chastised since they are losing that amenity.

 

17 minutes ago, ChinaShrek said:

 

 

. A cutback is when you replace something expensive with something cheaper. 

 

No it’s not.  See above.

17 minutes ago, ChinaShrek said:

 

 

Missing the Yum Yum Man is a cutback?  How?  It is only a cutback to the person who enjoyed it.  I do not want or need a doorman in the MDR, therefore, it is not a cutback to me.

 

 

While you are reading the definition of cutback you might want to check out doorman, too.  The Yum Yum man was not a door man.  He added some ambience to the MDR for many.

 

17 minutes ago, ChinaShrek said:

 People should provide empirical evidence that something of lower quality has replaced something of higher quality.  

 

Nope, people just have to state something has been reduced or taken away.  No empirical evidence is necessary.  You are sorely mistaken.

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2 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

Nope, people just have to state something has been reduced or taken away.  No empirical evidence is necessary.  You are sorely mistaken.

 

Why I am not surprised that I would have a vastly different definition of cutback than you?    If it doesn't involve money, it is simply a change and here is my source:

 

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/cutback

 

   

a reduction, esp. one made to save money:

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