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8 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

As I understand it, Marriott and Hilton has a lot of full fare business travelers.

 

Your understanding is incorrect.

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8 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

I think the point is that HAL needs passengers like me to maintain profitability and quality.

 

There's a myth going around that HAL can make up for lower fares with higher onboard spending. That's not going to happen when the fares are $100 pp per day lower than they should be.

 

If you are not privy to their revenue and expense sheets then you have no idea what their fares “should be”. 

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An excellent analysis, this thread. 

 

My impression is that HAL, Celebrity in particular, are both seeking a younger passenger based on their new physical ship changes. I am waiting to see what Cunard does with their new vessel, will they follow the same path?

 

Nothing wrong with chasing a younger customer, rather necessary - it is how you do it.

 

I do not believe that HAL can compete with Celebrity in catching the 30-50 crowd - Celebrity's ships are more glitzy and Celebrities shorter itineraries appeal to the working crowd on time allotments.

 

Both HAL, Celebrity are busy downgrading the on board product in favour of shiny toys. Celebrity is farther along in abandoning the being on a ship lifestyle (views) and replacing same with being in a shiny hotel; example with incense in the lounge no forward view for the peons, on Edge, no thank you. 

 

What HAL has always had is - itinerary.

 

Emphasize the link to the sea and up the quality a bit - place HAL around the Cunard price point but below Oceania and Azamara. There is a window here - both O and A are receiving more negative reviews for food and service than in the past and you add the premium price over HAL - poorer value. After numerous O, no more, not worth the price point.

 

The advertising for HAL could emphasize 1) Romance of sea travel, relaxation, rejuvenation and 2) Itinerary with truly immersive on board experience with food links.

 

I tried out this idea with my 33 year old niece whose last cruise was on OASIS, which she loved. She is a geographer. She liked the idea of a real ship experience truly tied to the geography. 

One thing she said is she wants a vacation to get away from the stress of work - this is also a criteria that HAL could emphasize.

 

I read nothing on CC which makes me wish to book HAL, or Celebrity or Princess for that matter. 

Have done O and A and they are over rated. Not interested in the luxury levels.

 

But I did like my QM2 in June and the Cunard legacy and tradition and the educational lectures which were first class.

 

Sometimes it is not wise to chase others. I remember when Celebrity was created, it was deliberately situated above the mass line competitors but just below the higher end. Celebrity product justified that position - this position was abandoned around 2015 with the RCL cheapening impact - now Celebrity is just another overpriced mass market line. 

 

HAL could become the former Celebrity.

 

 

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56 minutes ago, ABoatNerd said:

What HAL has always had is - itinerary.

@ABoatNerd makes excellent points in your posts.. my concern is I don't know that I want all that glitz for a 30 night+ cruise...

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From the little information available, does not look like a decisive fix.

 

The main problems have been discussed in this thread...

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2695407-do-you-like-the-direction/

 

In the poll, there were 225 respondents. An amazing majority 66% have a negative view of HAL under Orlando.

 

In the last 4 pages (17-20), we got to the point of comparing profitability and prices. Not good for the Carnival group in general, and not good for HAL in particular.

 

None of the current proposals address the strategic problems. There is an attempt to align responsibilities back to the brands. Presumably, this is to increase revenues from the passengers.

 

However, the problem is the declining interest from $$$ customers. As Copper pointed out, the clock is ticking. I find it amazing that some passengers think that everything is fine, as long as the prices keep going down.

 

IMO, Orlando & associates aren't the solution.

 

 

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2 hours ago, ABoatNerd said:

 

 

 

I read nothing on CC which makes me wish to book HAL, or Celebrity or Princess for that matter. 

Have done O and A and they are over rated. Not interested in the luxury levels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Point to consider...

When I was researching Norway fjord itineraries, I had settled on a Seabourn cruise -- was totally "onboard." Then I had another brainstorm: Yes, it's a small ship, but maybe I should see who else is in port at the same time, as that could really impact the quality of our port stops.  

 

Lo and behold, there are many big ships making the same port stops as Seabourn, but if we are onboard the Nieuw Statendam, even though it's a large ship, we will have most ports to ourselves.  Ultimately we selected Nieuw Statendam.

 

There are many considerations when selecting a cruise.

 

 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, HappyInVan said:

The main problems have been discussed in this thread...

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2695407-do-you-like-the-direction/

 

In the poll, there were 225 respondents. An amazing majority 66% have a negative view of HAL under Orlando.

 

 

Is this result really "amazing" for a self-selecting poll on a cruise website forum whose followers are primarily long-time HAL devotees that have long been critical of the direction the line has taken? This survey seems like a largely small-group sample/opinion of "how things are" at HAL as filtered through CC HAL board. Not exactly a mandate for change....

 

Among this highly specific population, you have identified that current management is not popular. This is certainly not unique -- take a look on the Celebrity board at all the comments about Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, current President and CEO.

 

I regularly read the "Ask a Cruise Question" forum here, which includes folks who sail on many different lines. The opinion of HAL among this more heterogenous group seems to revolve around its older demographic and lack of entertainment both during the daytime (e.g., the types of things formerly led by cruise directors and their staff) and at night (particularly late night). There is virtually no discussion of a drop in quality; in fact, HAL is still well regarded as a somewhat higher-end mass market line. A few people still think of HAL as a line that is more smoker-friendly, although the word has mostly gotten out that this has changed...

 

However, if I were to offer two suggestions to HAL powers-that-be, it would be these:

  • HAL needs to somehow standardize its fleet and services so people know what to expect on a "HAL" branded ship. As it is, people often book the smaller older ships and don't understand/are disappointed when they don't have all of the entertainment venues, for example, or no Tamarind or Sel de Mer restaurant. Another consistency-related issue is programming. They keep tinkering with staff titles and roles to the point that it's hard to know who is supposed to be doing what onboard with regard to activities, port talks, enrichment, etc. Does HAL REALLY want to be destination-focused? Then prove it by providing the necessary programming and enrichment. Take a page from Azamara's book and do more overnights in ports. 
  • HAL needs to figure out how to get new cruisers onboard. Many people who might be "HAL-curious" are a bit reluctant to do so given their mature demographic image. But I also suspect that if some of these folks try HAL, they will like it, assuming of course that item #1 above is addressed. And that HAL becomes clearer about what kind of experience they offer.

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I really agree with the above comment on how HAL should standardize more of its offerings, policies, rules, etc. from ship to ship.  Even after 25 cruises with HAL, we never are quite sure how certain things will work on our cruise, so we keep having to ask/inquire to be certain - a waste of everyone's time.

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On 11/7/2019 at 5:23 PM, sppunk said:

Just adding charges, he remains as president.

 

 

 

Hmmm,

What about  Stein Kruse ?

 

 

image.png.5e43d4a71a2c9809a7fd032f380cbee4.png

 

 

sail.noordam@gmail.com

 

Edited by sail7seas

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53 minutes ago, DaveOKC said:

I really agree with the above comment on how HAL should standardize more of its offerings, policies, rules, etc. from ship to ship.  Even after 25 cruises with HAL, we never are quite sure how certain things will work on our cruise, so we keep having to ask/inquire to be certain - a waste of everyone's time.

 

It speaks volumes that HAL now has a "cheat sheet" to compare the offerings on their ships. There's only so much they can do with the variety in ship size. As a random example, Amsterdam will never have Tamarind because there's no place to put it. The smaller ships tick fewer boxes on the chart. Perhaps part of standardizing would be to offer options like Tamarind or Dutch cafe as pop-ups on the ships that don't have them. So you can't go to Tamarind every night, but once a week, Pinnacle becomes Tamarind. No Dutch cafe, but offer the Dutch tea again. Or offer a Dutch pastry as a dessert or breakfast option. Yes, it's sort of a trickle-down from the big ships, but it's better than nothing.

 

 

 

 

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48 minutes ago, sail7seas said:

 

 

 

Hmmm,

What about  Stein Kruse ?

 

 

image.png.5e43d4a71a2c9809a7fd032f380cbee4.png

 

 

sail.noordam@gmail.com

 

 

Stein Kruse remains the head of the Holland America Group (HAL, Seabourn, Princess and P&O Australia), S7S - no changes

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

HAL needs to figure out how to get new cruisers onboard. Many people who might be "HAL-curious" are a bit reluctant to do so given their mature demographic image. But I also suspect that if some of these folks try HAL, they will like it, assuming of course that item #1 above is addressed. And that HAL becomes clearer about what kind of experience they offer.

 

Yes to all of this! Does HAL even advertise? I've said before that I think the Celebrity "Go Ask Alice" commercial is bizarre. I watch that and it doesn't make me want to do whatever they're selling. I don't want to spend my vacation wandering around looking confused. Then, one night the commercial that followed was for Sandals or a similar resort. Couple in a hot tub, people having dinner on lovely china, being served drinks in a nice setting. Ahhh, I thought. Doesn't that look relaxing? And doesn't the service look good!

 

People here keep talking about how good HAL's service is. So show that in an ad. A waiter setting down a lovely dinner plate. People ordering drinks by the pool. A turned-down bed with the When and Where and the chocolates. Cunard often includes pictures of crew in their brochures. Once, it was a full-page picture of a smiling steward, just his face. I looked at it and couldn't believe it! It was Martin, who ran the sun deck on QE2. Maybe it was because I knew him, but that picture said, come sail with us, we'll be happy to take care of you. 

 

Or focus on itineraries. "We go from the Arctic circle to Antarctica and lots of places in between!"

 

Not unique or original, and not likely to get a Clio award. But something that says "this is what a HAL cruise is."

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13 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

 

As I understand it, Marriott and Hilton has a lot of full fare business travelers.

 

I think the point is that HAL needs passengers like me to maintain profitability and quality.

 

There's a myth going around that HAL can make up for lower fares with higher onboard spending. That's not going to happen when the fares are $100 pp per day lower than they should be.

 

 

those "full fare" business travelers are staying at the business-class hotels and lower - Westin, Sheraton, Hilton, Hampton Inn, Courtyard, etc.  BUT, they are using their points and status for those week-long vacations at the aspirational properties - Waldorf Astoria, St. Regis, Ritz Carlton, Autograph Collection, Luxury Collection.   I was the SPG Champion for my St. Regis.  I generated the numbers to send to Corporate and I saw the reports.  Starwood didn't have any blackout periods for using points.  I'd see people booking a week during the height of our season where paying guests were paying $1500/night and above.  We got around $250/night for a points guest (what Starwood paid us).  The hotel was losing money because we had so many people staying in points - we couldn't set a limit on how many point stays we could book - when you have a 165 room hotel and 98 of them are booked with points, it's a losing propositon.   The hotel had to try to make up for that loss by doing with less staff, hiring more seasonal staff (could pay less and no benefits to pay for), cutting butler services down to a more basic level and using J1s and young kids as butlers instead of more experienced staff (we even had an overnight Butler moved from Housekeeping - we had to teach him basic English phrases)...  In 10 years, the hotel had 4 changes of General Manager (2 of them fired), and only the Revenue Director has been there longer then 3 years.  

 

Sounds a little like HAL of today - those 4 & 5 star Mariners getting freebies (not free cruises, of course) - free dinners, free laundry, free whatever else.   HAL has to find ways to get more revenue from other sources than their frequent cruisers.  They can't keep the same model of small, old ships with long-time cruisers because it isn't profitable.  IMHO. 

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2 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Is this result really "amazing" for a self-selecting poll on a cruise website forum whose followers are primarily long-time HAL devotees that have long been critical of the direction the line has taken? This survey seems like a largely small-group sample/opinion of "how things are" at HAL as filtered through CC HAL board. Not exactly a mandate for change....

 

 

 

Excuse me. I've already addressed the issue in the other thread.

 

See Post 458 and 459 (Page 19)...

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2695407-do-you-like-the-direction/page/19/?tab=comments#comment-58577475

 

As well as Post 467 …

 

“By comparison, this online poll is political. For comparison, look at the movie ratings at IMDB. Advocates and critics are motivated to defend their position. Most movies have a rating score of 5/10 to 8/10.

 

https://www.imdb.com/

 

Any movie with a rating of 6, demonstrates a lack of enthusiasm among the movie buffs. A score of 5 or less signifies a disaster for a mainstream film.

 

That was my expectation for the poll on this thread. That HAL would get a >60% support. Instead, there is a 66% negative score, and only 20% positive.

 

HAL is able to (mostly) fill its ships. But, at ever lower prices, leading to further cuts in costs and quality. That's a downward spiral.

 

The evidence lies in Carnival's lower profit margins compared to the competitors. And, investors are rating Carnival lower than RCCL (for a loss of $10b in market cap).

 

HAL is filling its ships mainly with lukewarm newcomers from the budget brands. The kind of people who tell us that they have no loyalty. Shop for the best deal. Hurrah for deep discounts.

 

HAL would be on a different trajectory if it were poaching from the luxury brands. It's not. Instead, HAL is losing its $$$ customers to upmarket competitors. That says it all.”

 

Your suggestions will only fix the small problems, but it's the big problem that will kill HAL.

 

I'll say it again. HAL needs to reposition itself higher up. Raise its fares and quality. Trying to squeeze more money from onboard revenues isn't enough when your marginal pricing is competitive with budget ships.

 

Until HAL can address its strategic problem, everything else is just bandage.

 

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44 minutes ago, HappyInVan said:

 

“By comparison, this online poll is political. For comparison, look at the movie ratings at IMDB. Advocates and critics are motivated to defend their position. Most movies have a rating score of 5/10 to 8/10.

 

 

Except that CC and IMDB are not really similar. There are far more critics than defenders here, especially when it comes to these management-type discussions. Also, the poll question was certainly phrased in such a way as to favor a negative vote.

 

The forum boards on CC sometimes remind me more of some family dynamics I've seen. Amongst themselves, cruise line loyalists are perfectly content to criticize the line's direction. But when someone new comes along and posts a negative review, some of the same folks will rip them apart with their defense of their chosen line.  In a sense: "I can talk crap about my own family, but you'd better not say anything bad about them."

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Except that CC and IMDB are not really similar. There are far more critics than defenders here, especially when it comes to these management-type discussions. Also, the poll question was certainly phrased in such a way as to favor a negative vote.

 

 

 Once again, I disagree.

 

CC and IMDB are similar. On this forum, there are now more critics because the defenders have joined the critics. The reasons for that are clear. 

 

The phrasing of the question has nothing to do with it. 

 

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On 11/9/2019 at 11:47 AM, Boatdrill said:

  However the size and other negative attributes (IMHO) of the NS and Koningsdam will keep me from ever considering them.  

 Hate to give you some information but the NS and Koninsdam and the new Ryndam are today's mid-size ships. They are not mega ships as some people have referred to them. They are the new normal.

Unless the Holland America marketing people can re-brand to a line which caters to adventurers, seniors and otherwise, I wouldn't be surprised to see Holland America be consolidated into Princess at some point. And wouldn't that cause an uprising among the faithful Mariners! Stay tuned. And don't say they'll always be a Holland America. Didn't they say that about Royal Viking at one point?

 

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2 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

 Once again, I disagree.

 

CC and IMDB are similar. On this forum, there are now more critics because the defenders have joined the critics. The reasons for that are clear. 

 

You are free to disagree just as we are with you.  And, I for one do.

 

2 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

The phrasing of the question has nothing to do with it. 

 

 

The phrasing of questions on ANY survey has a lot to do with the answers one gets.  That’s pretty basic survey knowledge.   Surveys are often worded to get the answers they are seeking.

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5 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

Also, the poll question was certainly phrased in such a way as to favor a negative vote.

 

1 hour ago, kazu said:

Surveys are often worded to get the answers they are seeking.

 

You are both correct.  👍 👍

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CC survey or no CC survey, management must not like HAL's current direction, or they wouldn't have changed around their team.  So we shall all see change of some sort.

 

@3rdGenCunarder brought up in her post, #62, "Does HAL even advertise?"

 

 It's so odd -- I read a lot of periodicals and the only time I ever seem to run into HAL ads is when reading "Cruise International" magazine, which is marketing to the U.K.   Maybe I'm just not reading the right magazines, but I always scratch my head at that one.   It seems like I'd bump into ads elsewhere.

 

Edited by AncientWanderer

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3 hours ago, NordicPrince said:

Hate to give you some information but the NS and Koninsdam and the new Ryndam are today's mid-size ships. They are not mega ships as some people have referred to them. They are the new normal.

Unless the Holland America marketing people can re-brand to a line which caters to adventurers, seniors and otherwise, I wouldn't be surprised to see Holland America be consolidated into Princess at some point. 

 

Mega ships in my book include the Oasis, et al. So far, HAL hasn't entered that derby.  

 

Here's what HAL says in its sales materials: "Welcome to Holland America Line, the cruise line dedicated to explorers, foodies and music lovers who want to pursue these passions on all seven seas and continents, on perfectly sized, refreshingly uncrowded ships filled with one-of-a-kind experiences." 

 

Other than all that, I just wish they'd put the fresh flowers back on the dining room tables.

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On 11/10/2019 at 11:18 AM, Copper10-8 said:

 

Here we go again with that old fairy tale! The late show starts at 10 PM in the main show lounge as we all know; the BB Kings are playing around the same time, as are the Rolling Stone band on the new ships, as do the Billboard Onboard musicians. The casino is busy at the same time, so the ships are not "virtually empty or devoid of activity." When is the last time you actually took a HAL cruise to personally verify all this?

Not a fairy tale for us on the Maasdam 21 day Alaska cruise May/June 2019. 

 

No BB Kings was a real downer but known before we booked.

 

I could walk up to the the Ocean Bar 10 minutes into 4:00pm happy hour and get a seat every day - never been able to do this on any of our other 7 cruises. However the Crows Nest was busy at the same time but it seems happy hour types were way down in number.

 

Piano player was lucky to have 6 people every night and by 10:00pm it was regularly a 0-2 person crowd.

 

Yes the late show had a reasonable number but it seemed they all headed straight to their rooms when it finished.

 

The Crows Nest had a DJ (the Cruise Director) from about 10:30pm or a bit later in the Crows Nest. His audience was maybe 4-6 people at the bar and most nights nobody on the dance floor with the exception being a group of 4-6 teenagers who made a brief appearance every 2nd or 3rd night. However I should note that the Orange Party was well attended early in the night.

 

I did not find a bar open once in 21 days beyond midnight (and I did look).

 

I am not suggesting this is the norm for HAL but it was quiet enough for us to decide to steer clear of HALs smaller ships in the future (unless its a bucket list itinerary not available on larger ships). I do understand that HAL are now marketing the Massdam as an exploration type experience and highlight the zodiacs that can be used to explore "remote locales" however as far as I could tell they did not once get wet on our cruise and we were in Alaska?????

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14 hours ago, AncientWanderer said:

Maybe I'm just not reading the right magazines, but I always scratch my head at that one.   It seems like I'd bump into ads elsewhere.

 

I've never seen a copy but I would wager that they advertise in "Oprah Magazine" 😉 Just saying ... And I'd wager even more that this will increase with the new "North American Sales Manager" person being appointed.

Edited by taxmantoo

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20 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

the poll question was certainly phrased in such a way as to favor a negative vote.

 

That is by no means what I  intended... if that is how you read the question I do apologize.

Joseph

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1 hour ago, rucrazy said:

 

That is by no means what I  intended... if that is how you read the question I do apologize.

Joseph

 

Unfortunately, it may not have been what you intended, but I did not participate BECAUSE of the question.  Sorry.

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