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Why do you hate HAL so much?

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Just now, pete_coach said:

Seriously? You give the cruise line a lot of information when you book a cruise.

 

And crew members really go down the list to look for familiar names? I'm not talking about the waiter or cabin steward assigned to me on the cruise. I'm talking about staff from from previous cruises. 

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1 minute ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

And crew members really go down the list to look for familiar names? I'm not talking about the waiter or cabin steward assigned to me on the cruise. I'm talking about staff from from previous cruises. 

Yes, that is because you are special....

No, they don't look for "familiar names", but they do look for names of frequent passengers......makes you keep coming back LOL

Edited by pete_coach

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3 minutes ago, pete_coach said:

Yes, that is because you are special....

No, they don't look for "familiar names", but they do look for names of frequent passengers......makes you keep coming back LOL

 

It isn't about needing to feel special. That is an incredibly condescending thing to say. My point is that some crew take the time to be friendly. NOT to be my new BFF. I may be naive but I believe that some people are genuinely nice people. Sadly, not all...

 

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1 minute ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

It isn't about needing to feel special. That is an incredibly condescending thing to say. My point is that some crew take the time to be friendly. NOT to be my new BFF. I may be naive but I believe that some people are genuinely nice people. Sadly, not all...

 

Yes it was. Sorry.

All I have ever implied is that they are being friendly, for their employments sake and as they are directed to do and be.

Yes, there are genuinely nice people.

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Listen, naysayers -- real life:  NOBODY remembers me. I am not memorable.  But EVERYBODY remembers my DH.  Because he has a great deal of charisma and really engages with the people he meets.

He's not on a list.  Crew members just like him very much and remember him.  This is cruise-enhancing for us.   Obviously there are others on this board that are like him -- people who crew members remember and enjoy.

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I don’t need to become friends, and neither do they, but it sure is great to have crew members be pleasant, greet me, and remember my name. It makes for a good cruise experience.

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On 9/6/2019 at 8:52 AM, Cruzaholic41 said:

 

Oh, I know. People think some crew members are such good friends. Ha!  If only those people knew what those crew members say when they get off the ship. Crew, just like the cruise line, only want one thing. Your money. And in doing so, gullible people fall for the whole loyalty or friendship game. 

Have you personally heard what they say?

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17 hours ago, Cruzaholic41 said:

 

Mutual friendship when one is cleaning the other’s toilet, huh?   Hmm. Ya, go ahead and keep believing that. 

I’m not sure where you’re coming from, and I give you the benefit of the doubt, but my first reaction is that you may need to look at work, and what makes it honorable, in a different way.  Friendship is a possibility when both sides are down-to-earth people.  Would it be rare to find that in both people?  Perhaps, but it would be due to a certain immaturity of one or both, not because of the work.

For me, though, I don’t expect to bond with people that quickly - while realizing that people with personalities different than mine may do so.

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7 hours ago, awhcruiser said:

Can we return to the original topic please?

 

Seems to me that it's all related. The OP is describing the complainers as 'haters'. But, the complainers are really the loyalists who are unhappy with  the direction that HAL is heading.

 

KirkNC was kind enough to quote Donald in post 223 Page 9. If true, it means that HAL is in an active campaign to displace the old timers. Who's the replacements?

 

I have a theory that HAL is trying to upsell CCL passengers, not poach from Princess (Carnival Corp sister company) or Celebrity. It would certainly explain the different expectations of the newcomers.

 

IMHO, HAL will not be able to maintain current standards of serenity and civility with a different lot of passengers. Just look at the cruelty exhibited in this thread. The insults and other disrespect.

 

The 'cheap' passengers are blamed for HAL not earning enough revenues. What a falsehood, when it's the company who sets the price. HAL is unable to charge a higher fare because of company and industry overcapacity. Why blame the passengers when it is a company business decision?

 

Let's not forget the trolls with the defamation of the former owners and managers of the original HAL. CCL bought HAL for 'pennies'. CCL 'subsidized' early HAL passengers! These lies need to be challenged. Over time, lies repeated often enough becomes the truth!

 

My advise to the old timers and 4/5 star cruisers is to make your decisions based on knowledge that management  is not your friend. Don't pay HAL a dime more than necessary.

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The former owners and management team  managed HAL  down to the point where their P&L and their Balance Sheet were so weak that they could net secure financing for new builds.  That is not defamation. It is the harsh reality of business.

 

We judge cruise lines and cruise ships by the here and now.  We are buying today’s product.  Not some foggy memory of what we might have bought and experienced in the past.  HAL is no doubt moving in the direction that they feel the market is headed.  History is littered with firms that failed to change with market direction.

 

We would book some HAL ships in a heartbeat.  There are some HAL ships we would not consider.  Does this make us, or others like us so called HAL haters?  I don’t think  so.  Simply a matter of matching our preferences to specific ships instead of believing that all ships in the fleet deliver a homogeneous experience as we perceive it.

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If history is littered with that, then it’s also littered with businesses that failed under management who steered them in a different direction, or followed in the direction of other firms.

 

Some here presume HAL’s future success based on not reading any bad news this morning.

 

Businesses have ups and downs.  Sometimes due to how they are managed and sometimes due to external forces or economic conditions.

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3 hours ago, iancal said:

The former owners and management team  managed HAL  down to the point where their P&L and their Balance Sheet were so weak that they could net secure financing for new builds.  That is not defamation. It is the harsh reality of business.

 

 

Can that be true?

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland_America_Line#Former_fleet_(after_1989)

 

Facts. HAL acquired 3 ships in the 1980s. In 1988 just before Carnival's purchase, HAL acquired the MS Westerdam. Doesn't sound like a struggling company unable to secure financing.

 

I've blocked npcl for his 'unreliable' assertions. But, he did find a news report about Carnival's 1989 financial report. It added the revenues from HAL into Carnival's reported revenues. Also reported that profits were down slightly after paying for interest expenses (finance of HAL purchase and the new resort/casino). 

 

That means that HAL's profits were enough to pay for the interest expenses (in 1989 prime rate was 11%). That sounds pretty profitable.

 

https://www.hsh.com/indices/prime80s.html

 

Bear in mind that Micky Arison had to be pay $625m (in 1989) in cash. Not for Carnival stock, but in cash! Does not sound like a distress sale.

 

Please, we've already proven that these representatives of the 'new' passengers are not management-trained. Anyone have business experience? Help us out here.

 

BTW, I don't know what the owners did with the cash. But, Treasury 30-bonds were yielding 9% in early 1989. Assuming you stashed the cash in a tax-free haven. What would your account be worth this year on maturity of the bond?

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1 hour ago, HappyInVan said:

BTW, I don't know what the owners did with the cash.

 

They set up an investment company, HAL investments, which invests in a wide range of companies. They are now the second richest family in The Netherlands.

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Given the limited amount of publicly available information on the HAL purchase by Carnival Corp., it is doubtful anyone can find out the "true" story, unless someone publishes a tell-all. 

 

At the time I'm sure both parties were legally constrained in what they could and could not say*, and Carnival, having spent quite a lot of money to gain more berths and entree to what at the time was considered a higher level of cruising is not likely going to turn around and say that their new company was nearly bankrupt, if such were the case...

 

Based on the totality of what HAS been made public, it seems clear to me that Carnival desperately wanted to expand, particularly because Princess had just purchased Sitmar. (And also Carnival had just failed in a bid to acquired Royal Caribbean). It may be that Carnival, in addition to looking for a higher-niche line was also looking at the profitability of operations in Alaska, which both Princess and HAL were doing well with at that time.

 

It also seems possible, based on some reports, that HAL at the time had come to a conclusion that the future was in larger new-build ships. They had ordered a pair of significantly larger ships to be built, but it seems they had some difficulties in financing them. 

 

We can't know their thinking. Perhaps HAL ownership did not have the wallet (or the stomach) for the era of progressively larger ships and the need to cater to a mass market. (Remember Royal Viking, which had vowed not to lower its standards, was also starting to experience the financial issues that led to its demise a few years later....)

 

In the end, what does it matter? If some HAL loyalists want to think HAL has never floundered financially or that it is still a luxury operation that's a notch above its mass market competitors, makes no difference to me. I imagine HAL management knows well enough who they compete against. What's not as clear, perhaps, is what they need to do to differentiate themselves and attract NEW loyalists.

 

 

 

* I do have some knowledge of these practices, having worked in corporate PR for a company that has gone through two major mergers...

 

 

 

Edited by cruisemom42

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Exactly.  The past is past.  It is the present and future that matter to us.

 

We do no long for the old days of cruising any more than we long for those ‘they don’t build them like the used to’ death trap automobiles.

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30 minutes ago, iancal said:

Exactly.  The past is past.  It is the present and future that matter to us.

 

We do no long for the old days of cruising any more than we long for those ‘they don’t build them like the used to’ death trap automobiles.

I guess I am an antique along with some of the old cruise lines :).   I do long for the old days of cruising.  DW and I were just reminiscing about what is was like when we started cruising in the mid-70s.   Ships were generally smaller, there were no balconies in passenger cabins, there were no water slides, bumper cars, etc.  Waiters used silver serving platters (even on RCCL) to bring around all the side dishes, personally dished out salad dressings, etc. On Sitmar (later bought by Princess) fresh pastas were made in the dining room by the Maitre'd s and served to everyone.  Menus had a much larger variety with 4-5 courses (depending on the cruise line).  Most lines had expansive midnight buffets every night (a real waste...but fun).  There was more live entertainment onboard and all the Production Shows were accompanied by a real band (I think on HAL it was 7 pieces).   HAL also had classical quartets (they used the Rosario Strings for a few years).   And it was a time when folks understood etiquette.  There were no backward baseball caps in the MDR, folks really dressed-up on formal nights, 2 top tables were very rare as nearly everyone shared large tables where dinner was a major social event.  And in those days the big demand was for late dining (usually at 8:30) with early sitting not well attended.  To put it simply, folks did not go to dinner at "tea time." And on most of the lines we cruised, the quality/quantity of the food in the MDR was as good or better then today's extra cost alternative restaurants.  In fact, most lines did not even have alternative restaurants as there was no need.:).

 

As an aside, we recently took our first Seabourn cruise and were delighted to see that they did not even open their restaurants for dinner until 7pm (open sitting until 9) and their shows were at 9:45!  My goodness, most of these folks actually stayed awake past 11.  

 

Hank

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34 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

I guess I am an antique along with some of the old cruise lines :).   I do long for the old days of cruising.  DW and I were just reminiscing about what is was like when we started cruising in the mid-70s.   Ships were generally smaller, there were no balconies in passenger cabins, there were no water slides, bumper cars, etc.  Waiters used silver serving platters (even on RCCL) to bring around all the side dishes, personally dished out salad dressings, etc. On Sitmar (later bought by Princess) fresh pastas were made in the dining room by the Maitre'd s and served to everyone.  Menus had a much larger variety with 4-5 courses (depending on the cruise line).  Most lines had expansive midnight buffets every night (a real waste...but fun).  There was more live entertainment onboard and all the Production Shows were accompanied by a real band (I think on HAL it was 7 pieces).   HAL also had classical quartets (they used the Rosario Strings for a few years).   And it was a time when folks understood etiquette.  There were no backward baseball caps in the MDR, folks really dressed-up on formal nights, 2 top tables were very rare as nearly everyone shared large tables where dinner was a major social event.  And in those days the big demand was for late dining (usually at 8:30) with early sitting not well attended.  To put it simply, folks did not go to dinner at "tea time." And on most of the lines we cruised, the quality/quantity of the food in the MDR was as good or better then today's extra cost alternative restaurants.  In fact, most lines did not even have alternative restaurants as there was no need.:).

 

As an aside, we recently took our first Seabourn cruise and were delighted to see that they did not even open their restaurants for dinner until 7pm (open sitting until 9) and their shows were at 9:45!  My goodness, most of these folks actually stayed awake past 11.  

 

Hank

Other than the quality of the food, I'd rather have today's cruise line.  Sharing large tables, dressing for dinner, etc., just aren't what we would enjoy.

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Same here.  But for us this is no longer the reality for mass market cruise lines such as HAL.  So we see little point in complaining about it.  

 

Plus, we very much prefer the casual atmosphere to formal.  If we wanted the latter and a cruise more along the lines of the the past  we would select Cunard or some other more formal cruise line. Or Perhaps Seabourn.

Edited by iancal

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1 hour ago, iancal said:

Same here.  But for us this is no longer the reality for mass market cruise lines such as HAL.  So we see little point in complaining about it.  

 

Plus, we very much prefer the casual atmosphere to formal.  If we wanted the latter and a cruise more along the lines of the the past  we would select Cunard or some other more formal cruise line. Or Perhaps Seabourn.

Seabourn is not very formal.  On our 14 nights they did have two dressy nights where it was a little better then countryclub casual.  A majority of the med did have jackets although the norm was a sports jacket with open collar shirt.  On Seabourn we actually saw some men wearing baseball caps, but they were not backwards :).

 

Hank

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

Seabourn is not very formal.  On our 14 nights they did have two dressy nights where it was a little better then countryclub casual.  A majority of the med did have jackets although the norm was a sports jacket with open collar shirt.  On Seabourn we actually saw some men wearing baseball caps, but they were not backwards :).

 

I haven't cruised them, but I looked at one of their cruises once. Am I correct that their dress code applies in all public areas? That is very different from HAL where formal night only really applies to the MDR.

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On 8/31/2019 at 8:19 PM, sevenseasnomad said:

We have been cruising since 1975 with Sitmar, Carnival, Celebrity, NCCL, and RCCL.  We discovered HAL in 2008 and never looked back.  We enjoy this line for its gracious, efficient service and ships' ambiance.  Yes, we've noticed the cutbacks/reductions (whatever you want to call them), but feel that HAL still delivers a good product for our $$.  I now cruise with my son who is 32 and also prefers HAL.  In fact, he flat out loves it, probably more than me.  

 

When I feel that HAL no longer meets my expectations or value for the money, I won't complain on these boards.  I'll book with another line; however, I don't see that happening any time soon.  Is every cruise perfect?  No.  But I tend to look for the positives and forget the negatives, which IMO are few and far between at present.  I often wonder about Cruise Critic members who post only negative reviews/responses.  Why cruise with a line that offers nothing but dissatisfaction?  With so many choices, it makes no sense to me.  

Sitmar was the best, I really miss them.

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2 hours ago, Wehwalt said:

I haven't cruised them, but I looked at one of their cruises once. Am I correct that their dress code applies in all public areas? That is very different from HAL where formal night only really applies to the MDR.

To be honest, I think most who cruise on Seabourn do not need a dress code to tell them what is proper and correct.   It is essentially a smart casual (in the evening) cruise line.  You will normally not find men in "wife beater" shirts and torn shorts roaming about in the evening.  To be honest, folks on Seabourn dress similar to what you see on HAL.  And it was nice to be on a line where nobody was wearing a 5 Star PIn…..or (heaven forbid) a medallion :).  We found our fellow passengers to be a delight (just like on HAL).  A surprise on Seabourn was that many passengers would dine at the Lido (it is a partial buffet) in the evening where they often had some kind of theme night.  The MDR (dinner from 7-9) was never crowded.  We were driven to try Seabourn because of all the cut-backs on HAL, Princess and Celebrity (our 3 most cruised lines).  While Seabourn is not a perfect solution there was much to like.  In the future we will be back on HAL and Princess (not sure about Celebrity) as well as Seabourn.  We would also like to try both Oceania and Viking but are having trouble finding the time or itinerary.  Our next year's cruising schedule is pretty filled with Princess, MSC (Yacht Club), and HAL.

 

Hank

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9 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

They set up an investment company, HAL investments, which invests in a wide range of companies. They are now the second richest family in The Netherlands.

 Thanks. I didn't know that. They must be pretty sharp to be richer than Micky.

 

"Rich families: this is how the Van der Vorms collected 9 billion euros"

 

https://tech2.org/netherlands/rich-families-this-is-how-the-van-der-vorms-collected-9-billion-euros/

 

Hope this answers their critics.

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