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The "little things" that have disappeared?

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Just now, cruisemom42 said:

 

How are berths assigned?  

 

Given HAL's long history in Alaska, it surprises me that they wouldn't have strong pre-existing relationships (if not contracts) regarding space in port.  Or is that not how it works?  Does HAL lose out if they shuffle dates/ships?  

 

Or, heaven forbid, is it Oprah's fault?  :classic_blink:

 

 

It's Oprah's fault

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11 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I knew it!!!

 

 

If the ship is on a normal day (not a turnaround day) call, then the assigned berth location will depend on the following factors:


1. Length of available dock
2. Number of guests on board
3. Arrival and departure time
4. Frequency of calling. (a 7 day ship takes precedence over a 10 day ship)
5. Draft of the ship and the ships length.
6. Harbor fees (some ports go on tonnage, some on ships length, some on number of guests on board)
7. What does not fit in will have to anchor.

 

Based on the above criteria the harbor master, especially in a busy port, will decide 24 hours before the arrival where the ship will go. If there is only one cruise ship calling during the day, then it will get the prime spot in the harbor/port

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There are cruise lInes that still have those activities that we remember from HAL, back in the day.  We cruised on one last winter, but we're still booking HAL cruises.  It was fun to once again compete in "sports" activities and enjoy their singers & dancers.  They also ran those activities!   

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On our recent Zaandam back to back Montreal/Boston... (the one when we were bussed to Montreal), I really did not like how the dining room staff were made to push the sale of such things as sets of Holland plates for $35, wine tasting events, specialty dining packages,  etc.... you could tell that some staff felt very uncomfortable having to do those hard sales pitches. They work hard enough doing a great job in the dining room without this added burden. I also missed the orchids in the Lido and mentioned it on the survey.  Cutbacks are understandable but not when they diminish what makes the brand stand apart.... Holland is starting to lose its « classy » personality! (In my opinion)

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48 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

If the ship is on a normal day (not a turnaround day) call, then the assigned berth location will depend on the following factors:


1. Length of available dock
2. Number of guests on board
3. Arrival and departure time
4. Frequency of calling. (a 7 day ship takes precedence over a 10 day ship)
5. Draft of the ship and the ships length.
6. Harbor fees (some ports go on tonnage, some on ships length, some on number of guests on board)
7. What does not fit in will have to anchor.

 

Based on the above criteria the harbor master, especially in a busy port, will decide 24 hours before the arrival where the ship will go. If there is only one cruise ship calling during the day, then it will get the prime spot in the harbor/port

 

thanks, I appreciate the actual knowledge!  :classic_biggrin:

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35 minutes ago, FrankieSue said:

On our recent Zaandam back to back Montreal/Boston... (the one when we were bussed to Montreal), I really did not like how the dining room staff were made to push the sale of such things as sets of Holland plates for $35, wine tasting events, specialty dining packages,  etc.... you could tell that some staff felt very uncomfortable having to do those hard sales pitches. They work hard enough doing a great job in the dining room without this added burden. I also missed the orchids in the Lido and mentioned it on the survey.  Cutbacks are understandable but not when they diminish what makes the brand stand apart.... Holland is starting to lose its « classy » personality! (In my opinion)

 

Holland plates? Do you mean the Delft side plates? I like those! Tempting if I have some OBC left, although $35 is a bit pricey, even for real Delft. 

 

I have never experienced dining room staff pushing things like that. I will NOT be happy to be subjected to that on my cruise this winter. I can ignore the spa people out by the pool pushing their "treatments," but I don't want a sales pitch during dinner. 

 

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I've only experienced two HAL cruises after many years of sailing with Celebrity.  It certainly is a different culture from one cruise line to the other and I much prefer HAL over X.

 

HAL's crew seems to be predominately from Indonesia and the Philippines and we benefit from their gentle, patient and generous cultures. IMHO the level of service I've experienced on my two HAL cruises is second to none. If there were any missteps or glitches it seemed due to head office policy or decisions that these poor folks had to then deal with.

 

So far I've been on the Eurodam for a quick 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise and a 17-night Panama Canal journey from FLL to Vancouver at the tail end of that ship's World Cruise.  My next one will be a Caribbean 14-night B2B on the Nieuw Statendam. So you can probably guess that I'm trying out as many of the types of ships that I can. Each ship and itinerary has its own positives/negatives and like cuisine is a very subjective experience.

 

So far, what I like about HAL is their crew (as stated above) and HAL's embrace of their Dutch traditions and history.  Without that branding then they are just another cruise line company.  

 

Celebrity abandoned their Greek heritage a long time ago and seem to have adopted an eastern European trendy-euro style. Other than their tradition of Greek captains and officers and the "X" on their funnels you will be hard pressed to identify them with Greek maritime history.

 

So the Yum Yum man, the Orange party nights, the Dutch cafe and the use of Royal Delft china are all of the small things that brand HAL, what they embraced and showcased and are what folks notice, cherish and find special. So IMO to start doing away with them piece by piece only dilutes their brand and their product. I can see why long-time customers of HAL would be upset.  And I don't think it has anything to do with age either...I'm mid-60s and with only 2 HAL cruises under my belt I'd be upset if some of what I find special or endearing would be eliminated. HAL should not slip into becoming just another generic cruise line. 

 

A few comments re what's allegedly missing: I tried 3 different cold soups on the Amsterdam on my May cruise...so they still had them on the menu...every table in the Lido had orchids...the library/craft room/cafe were all heavily used on that trip (no library on the Eurodam) and while there was no Yum Yum man in full regalia there was always someone cheerfully attending the cart...the only thing the dining room crew "pushed" was Rudy's Sel de Mer and they seemed uncomfortable doing so.

 

Interestingly, the only real problem that I encountered was with the Pinnacle Grill Maitre'd (extremely awful encounter) who just happened to be new to the ship (embarked in FLL) and came over to HAL from Celebrity! lol 😳

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, GrammieK said:

Do you really think that Oprah is in the kitchen saying, "no more chilled soups"?

or "let's get rid of that library"?

i was on an Oprah cruise last November and I noticed nothing different from other HAL cruises. Cutbacks started long before Oprah was involved. Her politics have nothing to do with it IMHO. 

Love my Oprah mug!😀

 

By now, isn't Oprah just representative of a point in time for HAL cruisers? B.O. and A.O?  I mean, they did do a big splashy ad campaign when they teamed up with her, as if everything was going to be "Wow!" and then immediately started to do cutbacks everywhere.  Poor Oprah!  She never signed on for that!

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Amen!

lets face it, if Oprah was running things, it would be a lot successful and upscale!  Just my opinion....

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6 hours ago, knittinggirl said:

What's with tendering in Juneau and Ketchikan?  They each have four or five ship berths on the piers.

There were 5 ships in port and we were the smallest.  

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I miss the extravagant floral arrangements, the variety of live music in different venues, especially the strings playing in the dining room on formal nights!!!  I miss the extensive menu, the exquisite presentation of desserts, the dining room decorated with seat covers and the banners of the country visited that day. I miss that the concierge in the Neptune Lounge is no longer an officer. 

 

Realistically though, HAL has to compete with the mainstream cruising market because HAL is not a luxury line, and HAL's prices are about half, not withstanding inflation, of what they were when I started cruising this line in 1995.

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4 minutes ago, debsea said:

I miss the extravagant floral arrangements, the variety of live music in different venues, especially the strings playing in the dining room on formal nights!!!  I miss the extensive menu, the exquisite presentation of desserts, the dining room decorated with seat covers and the banners of the country visited that day. I miss that the concierge in the Neptune Lounge is no longer an officer. 

 

Realistically though, HAL has to compete with the mainstream cruising market because HAL is not a luxury line, and HAL's prices are about half, not withstanding inflation, of what they were when I started cruising this line in 1995.

 

How long ago was the Neptune Lounge concierge an officer? I've only seen people from the front office staff on a rotation to the lounge.

 

I don't miss the seat covers. I always felt bad that the hardworking dining room staff had that extra task to do.

 

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23 hours ago, FrankieSue said:

On our recent Zaandam back to back Montreal/Boston... (the one when we were bussed to Montreal), I really did not like how the dining room staff were made to push the sale of such things as sets of Holland plates for $35, wine tasting events, specialty dining packages,  etc.... you could tell that some staff felt very uncomfortable having to do those hard sales pitches. They work hard enough doing a great job in the dining room without this added burden. I also missed the orchids in the Lido and mentioned it on the survey.  Cutbacks are understandable but not when they diminish what makes the brand stand apart.... Holland is starting to lose its « classy » personality! (In my opinion)

  I sailed b-to-b Zaandam Boston/Montreal/Boston,  shortly   after you.  I never once was bothered to buy anything by anyone and certainly not by dining room stewards,   Of  course  I  know know that just because I did not experience something is no  indication if someone  else did.    I do think it worth mentioning   that not everyone was  bothered by sales pitches;   I would  not have liked it

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We, and our travelling companions, were solicited for specialty dinners on several occasions, by our wine waiter, we were solicited for wine tasting and by dining front desk we were offered those plates several times and we saw many other diners waiting for their tables also being solicited.  I was even offered «  a deal » for the plates, they would add the cooking book as a bonus....it did happen to us and from what we observed, also to many others on our cruises.  If you sailed just after me, then you just got off the ship this morning. my first itinerary was Sept. 07/ Sept. 14, and my second itinerary was Sept. 14/Sept 21. I am happy that not everybody experienced this.

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I miss receiving lovely brochures in the mail.  This comes to mind as I'm sitting perusing a very fat and beautiful Princess catalog of their "Destination Collection."  And there are indeed many new destinations and interesting itineraries.

 

I don't know what CCL has in mind for the future of HAL, but with all the deferred maintenance and apparent lack of interest, it really does make one wonder.  🤷‍♀️

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On 9/26/2019 at 6:41 PM, oaktreerb said:

We were on the May-June itinerary.  Good cruise, poor weather...., and I hated tendering in Juneau and Ketchikan.

 

Each of these 21 day itineraries was unique it seems.

We did not have to tender at those places two weeks ago on the Nieuw Amsterdam.  We had very good weather except for a little drizzle one day.

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We're four-star with HAL and we almost always try to choose HAL if a particular itinerary is right for us. But we're not blind to HAL's shortcomings, especially when those shortcomings are in areas that used to be HAL's strengths. Case in point: the Ocean Bar. From our very first HAL cruise we've had martinis there every night around 7:00PM (we always do assigned late dining). Until fairly recently, the Ocean Bar was always a lively place at that hour, no matter what ship we were on. But then they pulled the plug on the dance combo on the bigger ships. Then they started using a portion of the Ocean Bar for early-evening trivia (!). By the time we took our most recent HAL cruise (a 30-night San Diego-to-Lima round-trip on the Volendam early this year) the bar was virtually dead every night.

 

By contrast, our recent 21-night cruise on the Cunard Queen Mary 2 had the liveliest entertainment and liveliest overall atmosphere of any cruise ship we've ever been on, for a per-day price pretty much comparable to most Northern European HAL voyages. And the average age of the guests---excluding the family groups on our summer cruise---wasn't that much younger.

 

We're about to book a 19-night Vancouver-to-Tokyo Cunard cruise for next September on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth. HAL has a similar (though a bit shorter) cruise on the Noordam at almost exactly the same time, and we could save a lot of money by doing it (e.g., a Signature Suite on the Noordam would be over $100/day pp LESS than a regular balcony cabin on the QE). But we felt we just couldn't endure another dismal HAL experience on a long and---for us---"special" cruise.

 

Sad but true.

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6 minutes ago, jimdee3636 said:

We're four-star with HAL and we almost always try to choose HAL if a particular itinerary is right for us. But we're not blind to HAL's shortcomings, especially when those shortcomings are in areas that used to be HAL's strengths. Case in point: the Ocean Bar. From our very first HAL cruise we've had martinis there every night around 7:00PM (we always do assigned late dining). Until fairly recently, the Ocean Bar was always a lively place at that hour, no matter what ship we were on. But then they pulled the plug on the dance combo on the bigger ships. Then they started using a portion of the Ocean Bar for early-evening trivia (!). By the time we took our most recent HAL cruise (a 30-night San Diego-to-Lima round-trip on the Volendam early this year) the bar was virtually dead every night.

 

By contrast, our recent 21-night cruise on the Cunard Queen Mary 2 had the liveliest entertainment and liveliest overall atmosphere of any cruise ship we've ever been on, for a per-day price pretty much comparable to most Northern European HAL voyages. And the average age of the guests---excluding the family groups on our summer cruise---wasn't that much younger.

 

We're about to book a 19-night Vancouver-to-Tokyo Cunard cruise for next September on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth. HAL has a similar (though a bit shorter) cruise on the Noordam at almost exactly the same time, and we could save a lot of money by doing it (e.g., a Signature Suite on the Noordam would be over $100/day pp LESS than a regular balcony cabin on the QE). But we felt we just couldn't endure another dismal HAL experience on a long and---for us---"special" cruise.

 

Sad but true.

 

I agree about the Ocean Bar. It used to be my favorite bar. 

 

QM2 is grand and special and I've sailed on her quite a few times. This June I tried QE and absolutely fell in love with her. My first thought was that everything was smaller than on QM2. But not cramped or crowded, just a more human scale. And somehow, it's never noisy, even in the Lido. If you like HAL's spas, definitely get the pass for QE. They get the thermal suite right. One door gets you into the two areas. You enter the hydropool area and the thermal loungers are in a room off that. No need to exit the pool and walk down a hall to the loungers. 

 

Cunard is more expensive, but you can see where at least some of the money goes, with so much entertainment, including a good variety of live music and a strong program of speakers for the sea days. And a proper afternoon tea, with tea poured from a teapot. No cup of tepid water and teabag on the side on Cunard.

 

Speaking of tea reminds me about a little thing I miss on HAL--that lovely "house brand"  Darjeeling tea. 

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1 hour ago, Tennessee Titan said:

"Little things that have disappeared". I was just reminded:

$ 10 charge for the second entree......

That was a 1-month test, in two formats, spread across four ships out of the entire fleet. Hardly a 'little thing that disappeared', since it never really was a HAL thing at all. 

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6 hours ago, FrankieSue said:

We, and our travelling companions, were solicited for specialty dinners on several occasions, by our wine waiter, we were solicited for wine tasting and by dining front desk we were offered those plates several times and we saw many other diners waiting for their tables also being solicited.  I was even offered «  a deal » for the plates, they would add the cooking book as a bonus....it did happen to us and from what we observed, also to many others on our cruises.  If you sailed just after me, then you just got off the ship this morning. my first itinerary was Sept. 07/ Sept. 14, and my second itinerary was Sept. 14/Sept 21. I am happy that not everybody experienced this.

 

I boarded Eurodam on Sep 21 and was solicited NUMEROUS times pushing specialty dining, wine tastings, martini tastings, and the bar hop.  In the main dining room, they kept pushing the $29 seafood dish.  It got quite annoying after a while.  

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On 9/26/2019 at 10:04 PM, dockman said:

spare me the kindle promo.....there is certainly something  still special in reading a paper book selected from an unpredictable library...i spend quite enough of my life looking at screens and enjoy the break a good paper library can provide...  

All we were offering is a alternative where HAL has removed or diminished the once nice book library section  .For us who love reading it is a alternate way   when books no longer exist  .

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1 hour ago, Aquahound said:

 

I boarded Eurodam on Sep 21 and was solicited NUMEROUS times pushing specialty dining, wine tastings, martini tastings, and the bar hop.  In the main dining room, they kept pushing the $29 seafood dish.  It got quite annoying after a while.  

Unfortunately ,it is thrown  on the backs of non manager personnel to solicit   these items . A throw back to Carnival  . It intensifies when the Corporate head quarters for Carnival  corporation needs to make their numbers for the quarter  ,rather than rely upon better marketing solutions  .

 The stock price is getting hit  because of  a poor projected earnings going forward for  the balance of 2019 . When this happens the pressure build up   from the top down  for greater sales numbers .Really not any different than other American corporations  .Got to keep their share holders   & lenders  happy

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