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Carol28

Is HAL listening to Cruise Critic and FB comments?

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I'm booking a new cruise today, not because it's Black Friday (although that is a thought.) It's for next Thanksgiving time.  This is the fourth cruise we will have booked for 2020 -2021 time period.  Now there is a perfectly good cruise on HAL's Neiux Amsterdam at the exact time period we choose to go. And we are 4 star Mariners, so we get lots of perks. We love the Neptune Suites, the service is impeccable, the food is just what we like and I love the promenade deck.  

However, we are NOT BOOKING on HAL. We are so tired of the lousy entertainment.  We just go off of the Zuiderdam last month.  The stage shows are only dancers, no singers. We left the comedian's show as he repeated the same line 10 times before he got to the punch line, "Men, watch what happens when I say these words," or something like that, and didn't even bother with the impersonator as we were told about it prior to the later show.  We are tired of the dueling pianos and B.B. King performances. Both are fun for two evenings each, but they get repetitive. And there is nothing else happening on board all day except for trivia games or purchasing promotions. There are no interesting lectures except about port excursions. There's no dance music before dinner. 

I know others have mentioned the exact same thoughts. Is anybody listening who can change this? If I thought the entertainment would be upgraded this year, I'd jump aboard.

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We were on the Zuiderdam two years ago for a Panama Canal cruise.  I will have to say that the two Piano players (Danny and Ion)  were the hit of the cruise.  They had the piano bar rocking every night. We would leave other shows or activities early just to get a seat and stay until the last number.  My point is that HAL has the capacity to find great entertainment.  However, after our HAL cruise last year it seems like they have dropped the ball.

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I'm sure employees of Holland America surf the Internet and read these boards and FB, they would be silly not to.  Whether they act on what they read probably depends on the subject.  I would agree the weak link on a Holland America cruise is the theater entertainment but I enjoy the lounge acts although I wouldn't refer to the two piano bar as dueling pianos. 

 

What cruise line did you book?

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I have cruised with RCCL the most over the years (been cruising since the 80s), but have recently enjoyed Celebrity.  

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We have a Grandeur of the Seas in March 2020, and in 2021 an Oceania and Princess.  I'm looking at a Princess for the 2020 Thanksgiving cruise.

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On board Noordam now, and this may not be conventional "entertainment", but it was posted that as we left our last port yesterday evening, there would be commentary as we passed a particularly noteworthy (or not!?!?) bird area.  

 

A huge group gathered in the Crow's Nest, such that viewing would have been difficult for all but those in front.  I say "would have been" because... THERE WAS NO COMMENTARY!

 

As we passed the last "edge of land", and headed toward quite clearly more open seas, everyone began mumbling about "WHERE are the birds", etc...

 

And then... AND THEN... AND THEN  -  an announcement from (mumbled name/position not intelligible, or not by us, anyway) stating SO DRATTED CAVALIERLY about how golly gee, we've passed the bird area, I [the speaker] DIDN'T TRACK THE TIME PROPERLY (or words to that effect, also something like we got underway early?? - which we did NOT!), and a totally UNapologetic "non-apology", and blah blah blah...

 

WE ALL KNEW WHAT TIME THE SHIP WAS SUPPOSED TO PASS THE BIRD AREA, AND INDEED THE SHIP *DID* PASS THE BIRD AREA AT THAT TIME, maybe 5 minutes before the printed time in the daily schedule.  FIVE MINUTES?  At that point, the "commentary" should have already started, unless it was going to be a too-quick, "HURRY, LOOK OVER THERE RIGHT NOW!!! or Oooops you missed it!"

 

Grrrrrrrr.

 

We are not birders, but there were plenty of people around us who clearly were (and there were many sets of binoculars and fancy cameras at the ready), although all of us were disappointed, and ASTONISHED at both the "excuse" and the tone of the "non-apology"!

 

Wow.

 

GC

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We booked a Panama Canal cruise form San Diego but after perusing these forums we cancelled. There are  quite number of sea days on that cruise and the lack of entertainment and things to do onboard scared us off.

The main justification for taking a HAL cruise is to relax. While we are all for "relaxing", we do like to dance a bit and see shows and hear music that does not become repetitive.

Sorry HAL, I think we will stay with Celebrity or NCL or Oceania

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I would be surprised if they don't read all forms of online commentary.  I would not be surprised if their attitude in this particular case is that a decision has already been taken and being executed.  If they decide later that they've made a mistake, which they might determine if they find it costing them customers, and customers = money, it still takes time to sign contracts, develop shows and content, rehearse them with those willing to live on cruise ships for a sustained period of time and then, finally, deploy it all.

 

Of course you are justified to do the same thing, take a decision and execute by taking your business elsewhere.  And you are.  Money is often the bottom line, whether we are a business or an individual.  

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52 minutes ago, pete_coach said:

We booked a Panama Canal cruise form San Diego but after perusing these forums we cancelled. There are  quite number of sea days on that cruise and the lack of entertainment and things to do onboard scared us off.

The main justification for taking a HAL cruise is to relax. While we are all for "relaxing", we do like to dance a bit and see shows and hear music that does not become repetitive.

Sorry HAL, I think we will stay with Celebrity or NCL or Oceania

 

I doing a 13-day PC cruise on Carnival for this very reason.  There are only 4 port stops besides the day going thru the Canal, so I want something to do.  Didn't think HAL could deliver.  

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I am sure HAL has someone reading the boards and I hope they try to improve.  However a more positive way of communicating is to bring these matters on the post cruise surveys might be a more effective way of communicating concerns to HAL.

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15 minutes ago, Himself said:

I am sure HAL has someone reading the boards and I hope they try to improve.  However a more positive way of communicating is to bring these matters on the post cruise surveys might be a more effective way of communicating concerns to HAL.

That's another thing that needs improvement, the post cruise survey.  When I get home from a cruise or any vacation, I have a mountain of laundry, email, snail mail, voice mail, etc. to deal with.  HAL only gives you a few days to respond and then the survey goes away.  I preferred the onboard survey.  By the time I get home I may have forgotten the names of crew members I would like to see recognized. 

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I rather doubt HAL pays much attention to cruise critic.  Posters here are only representative of a very small segment of the cruising public.  The end of cruise surveys are much more important.  BTW, the travel professionals I've spoken with are fairly dismissive of cruise critic.  We have a large number of posters here who imagine they know how to run a cruise line better than those who are paid to do so.  One wonders if any of them have even owned a boat.

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4 hours ago, Carol28 said:

 I know others have mentioned the exact same thoughts. Is anybody listening who can change this? If I thought the entertainment would be upgraded this year, I'd jump aboard.

 

I'm sure they see it both on social media and in post cruise surveys.  I don't think they care.  Entertainment seems to be the most consistent gripe on HAL and they continue to only make it worse.  They think that by adding branded entertainment on the newer ships, it makes up for eliminating good stage shows, along with live music in the Crows Nest and Ocean Bar.  

 

Give Celebrity a try.  They are much, much better.

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16 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

I'm sure they see it both on social media and in post cruise surveys.  I don't think they care.  Entertainment seems to be the most consistent gripe on HAL and they continue to only make it worse.  They think that by adding branded entertainment on the newer ships, it makes up for eliminating good stage shows, along with live music in the Crows Nest and Ocean Bar.  

 

Give Celebrity a try.  They are much, much better.

I have to agree about Celebrity.  We traveled RCCL back when we were raising our daughter and exploring the Caribbean, but now we are finding Celebrity is for us.  We just traveled on the Constellation in the Med. and it was outstanding.  

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4 hours ago, Oakman58 said:

although I wouldn't refer to the two piano bar as dueling pianos. 

Correct.  They are not dueling pianos, it is a "dual" piano show.  They switch off playing, not try to outdo each other.

 

I wish they'd bring back the music in the Ocean Bar, also.  Small jazz-style trio/quartet with singer was perfect for there.

Edited by Shmoo here

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We select a cruise based on the itinerary.   We find that HAL seems to offer some of the more interesting voyages.  We have done many cruises on several different lines and do not find the entertainment that much different.  There are only so many types of things that can be done on a ship.  I sometimes feel the lines cater more to the newer passengers as they are the ones "in awe" of the entire experience, and more inclined to buy the photos, take shore excursions, etc.

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7 minutes ago, teacherman said:

do not find the entertainment that much different.

In my experience with HAL, the "entertainment" is certainly different now than it used to be.

 

Now, I do find the entertainment on Carnival, Princess, and now HAL has all changed.  So they are no different from each other.  

 

 

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I think it depends on what a person is looking for. 

We feel Celebrity does not offer much in the evenings and love the piano bar and BB King on HAL.

I think the dancing venues on HAL that are disappearing are a result of a younger demographic that did not show up for it so maybe not worthwhile.   We have passed and only saw one or two couples in there. We usually do 7 night Caribbean, so I'm guessing longer cruises were better attended.

I'm disappointed with the loss of production shows but on our X cruises we read such bad reviews we went to one and agreed and did not see the rest.   Sadly people were walking out within the first 10-15 minutes.  

I've heard NCL and RCL have great entertainment but I'm not interested in a huge ship.  

There is something for everyone.

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9 minutes ago, lvz2cruz said:

I think it depends on what a person is looking for. 

We feel Celebrity does not offer much in the evenings and love the piano bar and BB King on HAL.

I think the dancing venues on HAL that are disappearing are a result of a younger demographic that did not show up for it so maybe not worthwhile.   We have passed and only saw one or two couples in there. We usually do 7 night Caribbean, so I'm guessing longer cruises were better attended.

I'm disappointed with the loss of production shows but on our X cruises we read such bad reviews we went to one and agreed and did not see the rest.   Sadly people were walking out within the first 10-15 minutes.  

I've heard NCL and RCL have great entertainment but I'm not interested in a huge ship.  

There is something for everyone.

We had just the opposite.  People were walking out on the HAL shows but really enjoying the Celebrity shows.  

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We choose our cruises for the places we want to visit. We are perfectly happy reading a book, visiting with other passengers, playing a game in the Crow’s nest or watching a movie in our room. If I can’t find something to do I just walk around the ship. We do not have to be entertained. If the show is something that interests us we will go. Totally enjoy having someone to do the cleaning, cooking and laundry. I hope I never get to the point where I complain about a lack of entertainment. I am just thankful I am able to cruise...many people are not.

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1 hour ago, Shmoo here said:

Correct.  They are not dueling pianos, it is a "dual" piano show.  They switch off playing, not try to outdo each other.

 

I wish they'd bring back the music in the Ocean Bar, also.  Small jazz-style trio/quartet with singer was perfect for there.

 

YES! I miss the Ocean Bar combos. Some of the best musicians I've encountered at sea, especially when they played jazz sets. On Amsterdam 2 years ago, people were dancing when the combo played dance music. It's a small dance floor, but it was pretty full. 

 

Ocean Bar on the K has a nice stage, just perfect for a combo. But there's just a piano, and when I was on, a mediocre piano player.

 

Edited by 3rdGenCunarder

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36 minutes ago, wyobean said:

We do not have to be entertained.

Spot on! We load up our tablet with Netflix titles we want to see, and have that to fall back on if the beauty of the sea isn't enough in the evening.

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We all cruise for different reasons, but sitting around reading a book or watching in-room movies isn't my cup of tea.  I live by myself and usually cruise solo, so I look forward to interacting with other passengers and being entertained.  

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