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Why do you hate HAL so much?

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4 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

CEO's have a lot of pressure to perform and that performance is generally measured by profit, ROI, etc.  In some sense, if you were to send a low spending customer to a competitor it might be a good strategy in a competitive industry :).

 

 

It should be ROI and to more precise: ROI in the long run. If someone holds shares in CCL and knows that this year there will be tremendous profits because CCL sells all their ships, but next year there is no company left, the shares are worth what the ships are worth. Investors are not that stupid.. One more ship, 1 billion dollar, we expect to earn 5 billion in the next 20 years, that works out to such and such, so that's why we ordered that ship. And the investors go "no, there's a new crisis coming up, you can't fill the ship" or "hurray, more money! Go ahead and order more ships for China!"

 

2 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Having folks who are "profitable enough" are fine as long as you have the excess capacity. 

It's not as if you order a ship and the next week it's sailing, but there's no law either saying that cruise lines can have only so many berths. RC 

 

9 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

it was said best by Gordon Gekko when he claimed that "Greed is good."

 

I never saw the movie, but if that is the gist (and I guess he was depicted as an ***), he was totally right. If there was no greed, there wouldn't be a cruising industry and this site wouldn't exist. (and the norm would not be to have a vacation with cocktails once in a lifetime. The norm would be to hungry all your life and then die from a disease for which you can now get the cure at Wallmart for a few bucks)

 

Also, re "profitable enough", notice that the best performing companies anywhere are not catering to the rich but to the masses. Offering the cheapest supermarket, the cheapest furniture, the cheapest burgers gets you rich sooner than trying to sell the best caviar, wine, art, cars or watches. 

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I did not say that HAL does not analyze customer data.  I said that to do so they would need much better IT skills than those displayed on designing, building, and operating their customer facing applications.

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3 hours ago, Hlitner said:

These are US Corporations where the current bottom line (profits) are given so much emphasis.  Longer range thinking like we see in some Asian cultures do not carry the same weight.   CEO's have a lot of pressure to perform and that performance is generally measured by profit, ROI, etc.  In some sense, if you were to send a low spending customer to a competitor it might be a good strategy in a competitive industry :).    Having folks who are "profitable enough" are fine as long as you have the excess capacity.  But as a CEO I would prefer to fill all my berths with bigger spenders.   or perhaps it was said best by Gordon Gekko when he claimed that "Greed is good."

 

Hank

 

Use of   Common sense is always good.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, slidergirl said:

That would make it kind of a zero sum for HAL - give it out and get it back...  

 

Based on what I read on the HAL site, most veterans (I'll say that instead of old folks), seem to be more likely to take their own private excursions than book the ones through HAL.  That is another revenue stream that is missed. 

 

I agree. I think a lot of new cruisers book ship's tours for security (not missing the ship) or because it doesn't occur to them that there might other tours they could take. Plus, they're excited about the cruise and the website offers all those cruises and other packages to buy, so convenient!  We veterans (thank you!) have learned to shop around. Also, we may be returning to a port we've been to before, so we know the area and feel more confident in our choices for independent tours. 

 

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Data mining combines information about you from multiple sources; the websites you visit, the purchases you make, your questions on google/yahoo search, the information you enter in your HAL profile. It is useful in identifying potential customers for the data miner's clients. 

 

Search for a cruise ship online, and cruising advertisements will pop up on your browser. A brand  pays for access to the data miner, to find the right customers. You may get an email or postal solicitation.

 

BTW, you don't need a lot of IT skills to be a data mining customer.

 

Data mining is a useful tool for the sales department. But, strategic marketeers must choose the 'right' customer. And, all the data mining in the world will be useless unless you have the right product.

 

I'll say it again. The fares on HAL are too low, leading to 'cheap' passengers who do little extra spending. These 'cheap' passengers have accumulated over the years. Nothing would change if you got rid of the old timers and don't raise the fares. 

 

There will still be 'cheap' passengers among the newcomers. And, quality will still be going downhill. The idea that you can be saved by an influx of younger high-spenders is a mirage.

 

On my May B2B trip on the Rotterdam, the Norway portion of the itinerary had 80% Dutch. Most of these passengers came with tour groups. There were a lot of younger passengers with their families. They were active and noisy. Frankly, these tourists were not typical of HAL middle-class passengers.

 

So, you can get rid of the old timers by turning HAL into Fun Central. But, HAL will still have the same problem. Overcapacity leading to a failure to maintain their premium positioning. 

 

I'm told that Celebrity seems to be doing better. Able to charge higher fares as their value/quality eroded less. Well done!

 

Someone said that the MSC Yacht Club has been so successful that they are launching Yacht Club ships. They're following the money. They're not just cutting costs/value.

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HappyinVan, comparing to Celebrity isn't really apples to apples.  Their ships are very stratified.  You get what you pay for.  We just sailed with them -- liked it okay as we dined in their special Blu restaurant that came with our category of cabin.   But we had one lunch in the MDR to get a feel for what that had to offer.  I've never seen tables closer together on any cruise ship.  It was awful.  Loud, crowded.  That was one and done.

 

We've not sailed with MSC, but my understanding is that their formula is much like Celebrity's.

 

Maybe HAL is trying to emulate Celebrity with their Club Orange.  I don't know, but HAL seems to really be in a place of transition.

 

 

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We like some HAL ships.  Would we pay more for a Eurodam verandah cabin than we would for an X Solstice or Princess balcony.   Probably not because although we see differences in all three they have more in common  with each other from our perspective.  We have no emotional tie to any of them hence we do not assign a price based premium.

Edited by iancal

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12 hours ago, AncientWanderer said:

HappyinVan, comparing to Celebrity isn't really apples to apples.  Their ships are very stratified.  You get what you pay for.  We just sailed with them -- liked it okay as we dined in their special Blu restaurant that came with our category of cabin.   But we had one lunch in the MDR to get a feel for what that had to offer.  I've never seen tables closer together on any cruise ship.  It was awful.  Loud, crowded.  That was one and done.

 

We've not sailed with MSC, but my understanding is that their formula is much like Celebrity's.

 

Maybe HAL is trying to emulate Celebrity with their Club Orange.  I don't know, but HAL seems to really be in a place of transition.

 

 

 

Our last few cruises on X have been in Aqua Class and we really enjoy Blu.  The trouble now is that we probably won't sail them unless we can get Aqua Class as the food in the MDR is just OK.  So, I like the "ship within a ship" concept only when I'm in the "special ship."   Otherwise, I would lament what I'm missing.

 

But, in reality, I'm not a fan of what appears to be a trend toward a class system where only certain people get to use certain parts of the ship (even if I am occasionally one of those "certain people").   We have yet to sail MSC but we may as we are already at their highest loyalty level due the fact that accept status on other lines.  But, the most positive reviews are from those in the exclusive "Yacht Club" and not in the regular parts of the ship.

 

We sailing on Oceania for the first time next month and they seem to have little of the class system.  Yes, the more expensive cabins get some extra stuff but everyone can go most everywhere on the ship and the restaurants are for everyone. 

Edited by ricka47

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7 minutes ago, ricka47 said:

 

Our last few cruises on X have been in Aqua Class and we really enjoy Blu.  The trouble now is that we probably won't sail them unless we can get Aqua Class as the food in the MDR is just OK.  So, I like the "ship within a ship" concept only when I'm in the "special ship."   Otherwise, I would lament what I'm missing.

 

But, in reality, I'm not a trend of what appears to be a class system where only certain people get to use certain parts of the ship (even if I am occasionally one of those "certain people").   We have yet to sail MSC but we may as we are already at their highest loyalty level due the fact that accept status on other lines.  But, the most positive reviews are from those in the exclusive "Yacht Club" and not in the regular parts of the ship.

 

We sailing on Oceania for the first time next month and they seem to have little of the class system that appears to be the trend now in many lines.  Yes, the more expensive cabins get some extra stuff but everyone can go most everywhere on the ship and the restaurants are for everyone. 

We have sailed Celebrity several times and enjoyed each of the ships and cruises. There is sufficient to do or not to do to be pleasant.  We chose primarily for itinerary.

We also went on Rivieria on Oceania and loved every aspect of the ship and its services.

We have been on Norwegian twice. Once to try them and the second time to confirm that we won't be doing that again LOL

One thing about the 3 lines is that they were all pretty close in price and HAL is in that bracket as well and we booked HAL this time because of the itinerary.

We know nothing abut the past or what was offered back then but we do have concerns about the complaints (as opposed to the hates) that so much is no longer there. We truly hope that we are not getting on a boat that is just transportation from port to port.

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Regarding the trend towards a "class system" I will admit to not being a big fan of the concept until we finally gave it a try on MSC were we booked their Yacht Club.  It blew us away.  In fact, we liked it so much that we immediately booked two more Yacht Club cruises in place of what would have been Celebrity cruises.  As to Celebrity, we do not consider Aqua a "class" as one is primarily paying for an alternative dining venue (Blu).  The other amenities that come with Aqua are really a big nothing.  Princess has their Club Class which gets you a well located mini-suite with a special dining area in the MDR.  But the Club Class dining is pretty much the same menu as everyone else with the exception of 1 or 2 extra things added at each meal.  

 

But this class thing really has its routes in the basic idea that folks who pay more (sometimes a lot more) should get more.  On HAL you have the Neptune suites which come with access to a private lounge and a few other benefits.  So HAL also has had a class system for a few years.  

 

What MSC (and also NCL) have done is more then a class system.  They have created a "ship within a ship."  There is nothing new about this as Cunard has done it forever with their "grill" suites.  But MSC has taken it to a new level since you do not need to book a large suite to get access to the YC.  In fact, on some of their newest ships they even have a few inside cabins that get you YC access.  The YC gets you a separate section of the ship including its own dining room, sun deck, expansive lounge, pool buffet area, 24 hr Butler and Concierge service. etc.  This special section of the ship is separated from the rest of the ship by electronically operated doors (only opened with a YC card).  Keep in mind that those in the YC are paying for these perks in the cruise fare.  Inside the YC one feels like they are on an ultra luxury ship.  Go through the doors into the regular part of the ship and it is like something between RCI and Carnival.    The YC has been so popular (you often need to book it 18 months in advance) that MSC is spinning off a new Yacht Club division (nobody know what they will call it) which will have 4 new ships (in the 65000 ton range) where everything is supposed to be Yacht Club quality.  My guess is that these new ships (the first to come around 2022 or 23) will be comparable to what one expects on Viking Ocean Cruises.  

 

Hank

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5 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Regarding the trend towards a "class system" I will admit to not being a big fan of the concept until we finally gave it a try on MSC were we booked their Yacht Club.  It blew us away.  In fact, we liked it so much that we immediately booked two more Yacht Club cruises in place of what would have been Celebrity cruises.  As to Celebrity, we do not consider Aqua a "class" as one is primarily paying for an alternative dining venue (Blu).  The other amenities that come with Aqua are really a big nothing.  Princess has their Club Class which gets you a well located mini-suite with a special dining area in the MDR.  But the Club Class dining is pretty much the same menu as everyone else with the exception of 1 or 2 extra things added at each meal.  

 

 

 

Hank

 

Good point about Aqua Class on X; Blu is 95% of the reason for booking it.

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2 hours ago, ricka47 said:

 

Good point about Aqua Class on X; Blu is 95% of the reason for booking it.

 

The problem is that these special accommodations sell out early.  I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a Celebrity cruise and then just moved on because I couldn't book at the level I want.  It makes me wonder how many higher spending customers they lose this way.  (Same goes for the Club Class mini suites on Princess.)

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Let's see, this thread started with "I've been cruising since I was 17." Well, Ive been cruising since 1969 when I was 7.

 

I have given much thought about not replying to this thread. But here goes.

 

Haven't sailed on HAL in years, mainly because of the changes that started long ago when Carnival transplanted the Princess model on HAL. Seabourn is more expensive folks, but you get so much more for your dollar (like we once did on HAL).

 

Carnival often gets a bad rap, but face it. Carnival kept HAL alive and helped it expand. Unfortunately, expansion comes at a price. No way HAL could compete in its markets with its smaller ships. It needed larger ships to lower the price and that meant something had to be traded off: service, staffing, food.

 

The travel market has changed drastically. I see it at the hotels I stay in. Millennials are more worried about where their meat came from and saving the planet by not washing their towels and sheets. If I check into one more hotel and have to call the desk to reattach my TV because a prior guest hooked up his computer to the jack I will scream.

 

They don't know there was a time when the extra restaurant on HAL was included in the fare. They don't care the shore ex lectures (and much of that was a huge advert for merchants who paid for it) was helpful. They just look at their phones. They like the idea of paying more for something that once was included in the price. Wine? Jack the price. Drinks? Jack the price.  I recall a post several months ago where someone stated they had disembarked from a very long and exclusive voyage and actually had a credit to their bill. How the hell is that even possible other than gaming the system and not spending a dime. Their call, but everyone suffers when that happens. And it happens a lot these days on HAL.

 

They're used to marketing ship services in their lives (BB King etc).

 

I really hate that the perks I once enjoyed in a suite have been diluted with 4 and 5 star status. And Club Orange? Spare me.

 

HAL must survive and all those changes address a new marketplace. What once had the makings of a 5- star line is now very mass market. Compete they must. 

 

There are alternatives. They come at a price. Vote with your wallet. But there is no turning back to the Golden Age of transatlantic travel (the newly wed and nearly dead as it was once described).

 

 

 

 

Edited by mariner

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5 hours ago, AncientWanderer said:

 

The problem is that these special accommodations sell out early.  I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a Celebrity cruise and then just moved on because I couldn't book at the level I want.  It makes me wonder how many higher spending customers they lose this way.  (Same goes for the Club Class mini suites on Princess.)

 

Losing customers by being sold out?  Wouldn't that be a good thing? :classic_huh:

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1 hour ago, Aquahound said:

 

Losing customers by being sold out?  Wouldn't that be a good thing? :classic_huh:

 

Not really.  I imagine it's a constant analytical dilemma trying to figure out how much of a ship should be allocated to this or that special group in order to make the most money.  If I have to go to a different cruise line because, say, Princess has marketed a mini-suite with special dining as the latest greatest thing, but they can't sell me one, that doesn't seem like a good thing.  The mini-suites may be sold out and the whole rest of the ship is available.  That can't be a good thing for anybody.

 

But really the point I'd like to make is that I prefer the Oceania or HAL model of doing business.  Sure there are different categories of staterooms, but the basic cruise experience is the same to be enjoyed by all passengers.  On HAL, if my signature suite isn't available, I'll still be onboard in a regular verandah.

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5 hours ago, mariner said:

Let's see, this thread started with "I've been cruising since I was 17." Well, Ive been cruising since 1969 when I was 7.

 

I have given much thought about not replying to this thread. But here goes.

 

Haven't sailed on HAL in years, mainly because of the changes that started long ago when Carnival transplanted the Princess model on HAL. Seabourn is more expensive folks, but you get so much more for your dollar (like we once did on HAL).

 

Carnival often gets a bad rap, but face it. Carnival kept HAL alive and helped it expand...

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier in this thread, we had discussed the urban myth that Carnival rescued HAL from bankruptcy. Fact is that the van der Vorm family and associates rescued HAL in 1930s AND the 1970s. 

 

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

 

In the 1970s, HAL divested its cargo and liner services. Focusing on cruising and Alaska. Acquiring Westours etc. 

 

In 1989, the family happily sold HAL and its Alaskan operations to Micky for 1.2 billion guilders ($625m). At a time when corporate bonds cost 10%. That family moved on to new startups and today is said to be worth $9b. Twice as much as Micky.

 

BTW, HAL could have been a 4-star brand. But Micky chose to expand HAL dramatically in competition to Princess. After Carnival's merger with P&O Princess, Carnival Corp now owned both HAL and Princess. Both going down-market.
 

Edited by HappyInVan

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Bottom line for us and many other cruiser we have met in our travels is that we only see and have only experienced minor differences between Princess, HAL, and Celebrity.  They are all working towards the lowest common denominator.  We do not feel that any one is outstanding when compared to the other two.  It comes down to ship, itinerary, and crew.

 

 

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21 hours ago, pete_coach said:

 

We know nothing abut the past or what was offered back then but we do have concerns about the complaints (as opposed to the hates) that so much is no longer there. We truly hope that we are not getting on a boat that is just transportation from port to port.

 

 

I hope you are are happy with HAL.  We just got off from our cruise and it was exactly as you are afraid it might be....just a means of transportation from port to port. 

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12 minutes ago, Riversedge said:

 

 

I hope you are are happy with HAL.  We just got off from our cruise and it was exactly as you are afraid it might be....just a means of transportation from port to port. 

Do not allay my fears to hear that 😞

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I am curious about several things.  With all the data mining, surveys, research, has it concluded what cruisers want factually in a cruise?  Did a friend, relative, neighbor tell them to take a cruise you will love it?  What does Gen x, gen y, veterans want.  I assume a great cruise for their money.  Which is undefined and subject to personal taste.  How many will return to the same cruise line or return to cruising at all.  How many will get to be 4* or 5*?   So what data points are the cruise lines looking to?  And how long will the cruiser maintain that personal taste level.  I am sure it changes over time and what their desires will be tomorrow.  Cruise lines have to change with the times, make a profit, and provide what the cruiser wants.  

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On 9/13/2019 at 8:31 PM, AncientWanderer said:

We've not sailed with MSC, but my understanding is that their formula is much like Celebrity's.

 

Maybe HAL is trying to emulate Celebrity with their Club Orange.  I don't know, but HAL seems to really be in a place of transition.

 

 

Thanks for the insight. I agree with your assessment about HAL. As someone said, HAL has no direction.

 

If you don't like HAL today, you'll hate HAL in 5 years time.

 

The question is where we're migrating to. Personally, I prefer separate ships (like MSC Yacht Club) for a HAL+premium brand.

In the meantime, I'm off to Ponant (and not Seabourne)...

 

https://us.ponant.com/le-champlain-ec-4
 

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On 9/15/2019 at 8:26 AM, Riversedge said:

 

 

I hope you are are happy with HAL.  We just got off from our cruise and it was exactly as you are afraid it might be....just a means of transportation from port to port. 

Msybe cruising is not your thing?

 

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10 minutes ago, awhcruiser said:

Msybe cruising is not your thing?

 

 

 

Seriously???  That is funny.  You have no idea how many cruises I have done.

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On 9/15/2019 at 1:06 PM, Billthekid said:

 Cruise lines have to change with the times, make a profit, and provide what the cruiser wants.  

 

You might not want to abandon old customers, but you must grow your business in the direction of where it is profitable. This is different from merely following the demographics. 

 

You must be able to create a significant differentiation with your competitors to charge a higher price (or hold on to existing customers). That competitive advantage must be sustainable.

 

RCL has launched a floating Disneyland concept and only mega-ships can accommodate the rides. In return, RCL received the industry's best gross margin. Even after paying for depreciation and interest on the giant ships (Oasis-class $1.4b), RCL has the best net margin among the conglomerates.

 

By comparison, Carnival is abandoning the high-margin premium segments. It believes that it can only reduce costs in a significant way with bigger ships. It's making feeble attempts to squeeze more income from Club Orange, internet fees, photographs and massages. 

 

While HAL's demographics is getting younger, the median income of its passengers is probably getting lower. There are reasons why they abandoned the art auctions.

 

That is a tale of two cities. The difference in the self-confidence of the organizations. RCL would not be able to sustain its margins if CCL and NCL matched their products. But, do the competitors have the confidence for a  toe-to-toe fight?

 

Ten years after the first Oasis-class ship (2009), RCL has 8 Oasis and Quantum ships. Another 6 mega-ships on order. NCL has 4 160k GT ships. CCL has only two 185k GT ships under construction. 
 

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