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Any suggestions how to improve the World Cruise?


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One thing that surprised me is how HAL treated the Westerdam guests so much better than the WC guests when it became obvious that the ship couldn't proceed and they needed to get back home.  It started a little chaotic when we were headed to Thailand to end the cruise.  We were given free internet and phone use and told to book a flight home from Bangkok.  That wasn't easy, but I finally got it done by about two in the morning.  Then the Thai Navy escorted us away from their country and Cambodia accepted us.  HAL decided to book our flights for us while we were in Sihanoukville and flew us to the Phnom Penh Airport to await our flight.  That didn't work out as the flights thru Malaysia were cancelled.  So HAL put us up in a 5 star hotel and flew in some people, including Orlando Ashford to arrange our passage home.  We were not stuck in our rooms there; we could go into town whenever we wanted.  The hotel had good restaurants and HAL picked up the cost.  They even paid for my laundry there and after five days, booked us business class to Japan and to Seattle.  After I returned home I filled out an expense report and all my expenses including unused air travel from Thailand were reimbursed.  I have been on two WCs and if we were on the Amsterdam in February instead of the Westerdam I would have expected to have been treated similarly.

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On 9/10/2020 at 9:32 PM, cruisemom42 said:

A travel agent may possibly have been able to help with reservations, but not with a resolution for the number who professed they were "unable to fly" home at such distance. 

 

I've expressed several times my surprise that someone -- many someones, from what we heard at the time -- would embark on a World cruise without thinking through scenarios in which one might not be able to continue the voyage to its conclusion...

 

On 9/10/2020 at 9:38 PM, KirkNC said:

As were we, there are many reasons one might have to fly home unexpectedly particularly on a long cruise.  I really didn’t know what to say to those who had not thought that through.

 

I shook my head and rolled my eyes at all the drama surrounding passengers getting home from the aborted WC, much of it of their own making, IMO.  You want to circle the globe but can't navigate an airport?  

 

Makes me wonder if on future WCs HAL will require passengers to sign a statement attesting to the fact that they possess the mental acuity and technological capacity to make plane and hotel reservations, and can handle the physical and psychological demands of flying.  In lieu of this, they would need to provide the name and contact info of a friend or relative who is willing to do this for them, including coming to the debarkation port to assist in bringing them home.  

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I totally disagree.  If a passenger pays HAL tens of thousands of dollars for a cruise around the world and HAL dumps them off half way there, HAL should take the responsibility to get them back to their starting point.  Have you ever tried to get on the internet at sea with a thousand other passengers to try to book a flight home from a foreign airport?  I am fairly computer literate, but not everyone is.  What were the shore excursion people doing at this time?  Since all the WC people were expecting to go to FLL, I feel HAL should have gotten them there, either by booking their air travel or chartering some aircraft to do it.  They shouldn't have had to figure out to get to the airport or to a hotel before the flight.  Just my opinion: If they could do it for the Westerdam in a third world country they should have been able to do it for the Amsterdam in Australia.

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5 minutes ago, USN59-79 said:

I totally disagree.  If a passenger pays HAL tens of thousands of dollars for a cruise around the world and HAL dumps them off half way there, HAL should take the responsibility to get them back to their starting point.  Have you ever tried to get on the internet at sea with a thousand other passengers to try to book a flight home from a foreign airport?  I am fairly computer literate, but not everyone is.  What were the shore excursion people doing at this time?  Since all the WC people were expecting to go to FLL, I feel HAL should have gotten them there, either by booking their air travel or chartering some aircraft to do it.  They shouldn't have had to figure out to get to the airport or to a hotel before the flight.  Just my opinion: If they could do it for the Westerdam in a third world country they should have been able to do it for the Amsterdam in Australia.

 

I totally agree with you.  We were on the aborted Cunard QM2 world cruise that also ended in Perth.  Cunard took care of everything for us. 

 

We didn't get our flight request info into the purser's office until 7PM the night before we had to be off the ship.  By 11:30 AM the next day we had our flight details in our stateroom and we were off the ship by 3PM.  We flew that night from Perth to Sydney and then on from there.  We couldn't believe it when we heard what HAL passengers were going through.

 

As to those who couldn't/wouldn't fly.  I have strong opinions about this because I talked to many of the QM2 passengers who did or tried to stay on the ship past Perth.  (QM2 did allow something like 200-300 people to stay onboard to Southampton).  Some of them were in a panic.  You go on a ship, expecting to stay on a ship. Who could have foreseen this?  Yes, of course there could always be a medical emergency but no one thinks it's going to happen to them.  That's just human nature.

 

This whole thing will be a wake up call to anyone on a world cruise and hopefully we will all be better prepared if there is a 'next time' but I don't understand all this attitude directed to those who didn't/couldn't fly home.  Let's show a little compassion.

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To improve the World Cruise, I would suggest they hire much better speakers for their lectures.  The speakers on the 2019 cruise were, for the most part, very boring (except for one who was excellent).  

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2 hours ago, PCruzer said:

To improve the World Cruise, I would suggest they hire much better speakers for their lectures.  The speakers on the 2019 cruise were, for the most part, very boring (except for one who was excellent).  

 

Having well informed, interesting, and as personable as possible lecturers are an important part of any cruise that offers such.  My Zaandam's Antarctic/South America cruise had such quality people.  Volendam's 2002 Asia Pacific Cruise had the same, particularly the gentleman who was an expert on China and the Orient.  

 

During my world cruise, most of those who spoke were good to excellent.  The most memorable (and disappointing) of these was a British woman who lived in Hong Kong who was some type of media personality (I recall on HK radio).  The "billing" for her seemed to indicate that we would learn what it is like to be a resident of Hong Kong.  Most of her "presentations" mounted to nothing more than "name dropping" of all the "famous" people she had met and interviewed during her career.  Attending the first program was a waste of time.  I attended the second program and, along with many other guests, soon walked out, never to return.    

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19 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Having well informed, interesting, and as personable as possible lecturers are an important part of any cruise that offers such.  My Zaandam's Antarctic/South America cruise had such quality people.  Volendam's 2002 Asia Pacific Cruise had the same, particularly the gentleman who was an expert on China and the Orient.  

 

During my world cruise, most of those who spoke were good to excellent.  The most memorable (and disappointing) of these was a British woman who lived in Hong Kong who was some type of media personality (I recall on HK radio).  The "billing" for her seemed to indicate that we would learn what it is like to be a resident of Hong Kong.  Most of her "presentations" mounted to nothing more than "name dropping" of all the "famous" people she had met and interviewed during her career.  Attending the first program was a waste of time.  I attended the second program and, along with many other guests, soon walked out, never to return.    

There was an expert on WW II as a lecturer. My husband was really looking forward to his lectures. Unfortunately, this WW II expert was a terrible speaker.  His lectures were real “sleepers.”  He pretty much read his lectures to his audience.  Passengers complained that he read to them from his PowerPoint presentation...they were all able to read what was on the screen and didn’t need the presenter to read it to them!  Some people have the knowledge of a subject but not the ability to present it in an entertaining manner to an audience.  I really would like to see HAL invest more $$ in better speakers, especially for the World Cruise.

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@Cruise NHand @USN59-79 I don't disagree with you that HAL could have done more to assist WC passengers with making travel arrangements to get home, including chartering aircraft to least get them to their home countries so they could take a domestic flight from there to their hometowns.  Shorex and home office personneI could have been pressed into service.  I guess I was amazed at the number of postings stating some of the passengers couldn't/wouldn't fly and/or were physically unable to make the trip home other than by ship.  

Edited by Roz
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Interesting.

 

Several cruisers refused to disembark (or so they said, prior to arrival in Fremantle) due to some sort of perceived / real disability or just plain ‘entitlement attitude’.

 

it appeared to me that those folks were treated quite adequately and several were accompanied by HAL staff not only to the airport but continuing on to their place of residence.

 

Regardless, “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” and review of posts for the ‘Westerdam’ situation and resolutions gives one pause management-wise for the WC crowd at that particular time.

 

More importantly, 

cruisers and staff aboard both ships have been reunited with loved ones & the pleasantries of being ‘home’.
 

No worries...

 

Be well.

Bob
 

 

 

 

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On 9/12/2020 at 10:28 AM, Cruise NH said:

 

I totally agree with you.  We were on the aborted Cunard QM2 world cruise that also ended in Perth.  Cunard took care of everything for us. 

 

We didn't get our flight request info into the purser's office until 7PM the night before we had to be off the ship.  By 11:30 AM the next day we had our flight details in our stateroom and we were off the ship by 3PM.  We flew that night from Perth to Sydney and then on from there.  We couldn't believe it when we heard what HAL passengers were going through.

 

As to those who couldn't/wouldn't fly.  I have strong opinions about this because I talked to many of the QM2 passengers who did or tried to stay on the ship past Perth.  (QM2 did allow something like 200-300 people to stay onboard to Southampton).  Some of them were in a panic.  You go on a ship, expecting to stay on a ship. Who could have foreseen this?  Yes, of course there could always be a medical emergency but no one thinks it's going to happen to them.  That's just human nature.

 

This whole thing will be a wake up call to anyone on a world cruise and hopefully we will all be better prepared if there is a 'next time' but I don't understand all this attitude directed to those who didn't/couldn't fly home.  Let's show a little compassion.

We too, were on  Cunard’s World Cruise. Yes, we were well taken care of. Our flight home from Australia which was arranged immediately by Cunard went off without a hitch. However we didn’t receive the refund for the ports missed until the end of July. For myself, remaining  onboard would have been a better choice than coming home where we are not allowed to physically contact others. 
 

The onboard speakers were great although as it is a British run ship, many presentations we’re only of interest to the British and Australians. Movies were offered each night in the large theater. Sadly there wasn’t any popcorn 🍿.
 

Lesson learned; Pack light. Many folks left luggage onboard, not receiving them until months later. I’m not sure if a fee was involved. 
 

Regardless our next World Cruise will be on HAL.

Ann

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Oh! Pillow Gift! On the Queen Mary 2 we were given a live 12 “ tall palm plant which lived on our balcony! Sadly it stayed in Perth! Water bottles with Australian critters imprinted were filled with socks then packed. 
 

My favorite pillow gift were cloth luggage straps! Perfect for finding your luggage. I agree, pillow gifts, towel animals and other silly gifts which take up space or are too heavy, need to stop. I’ve given mine away at 3rd world countries ports.

ann

 

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2 hours ago, rtdiva said:

Lesson learned; Pack light. Many folks left luggage onboard, not receiving them until months later. I’m not sure if a fee was involved. 
 

Regardless our next World Cruise will be on HAL.

Ann

We are still awaiting our luggage from the 2020 WC from HAL.  It’s in Florida and has been going through customs for three weeks.  It’s been almost six months since we left the ship......

 

O and there was a fee, $500 for us.  I apparently misunderstood, I thought it was a shipping fee but it turns out it was a storage fee.

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41 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

We are still awaiting our luggage from the 2020 WC from HAL.  It’s in Florida and has been going through customs for three weeks.  It’s been almost six months since we left the ship......

 

O and there was a fee, $500 for us.  I apparently misunderstood, I thought it was a shipping fee but it turns out it was a storage fee.

Storage fee?🧐

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2 hours ago, rtdiva said:

We too, were on  Cunard’s World Cruise. Yes, we were well taken care of. Our flight home from Australia which was arranged immediately by Cunard went off without a hitch. However we didn’t receive the refund for the ports missed until the end of July. For myself, remaining  onboard would have been a better choice than coming home where we are not allowed to physically contact others. 
 

The onboard speakers were great although as it is a British run ship, many presentations we’re only of interest to the British and Australians. Movies were offered each night in the large theater. Sadly there wasn’t any popcorn 🍿.
 

 

Ann

In my opinion, the Cunard speakers are much, much better than the HAL ones.  There are also more speakers on Cunard (on the 2014 World Voyage there were usually five speakers on the ship at any given time).

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42 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

 

 

O and there was a fee, $500 for us.  I apparently misunderstood, I thought it was a shipping fee but it turns out it was a storage fee.

Where did you hear of a storage fee?  

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11 minutes ago, Scrapnana said:

Where did you hear of a storage fee?  

I was kidding since they have held the luggage for half a year instead of returning it as promised.

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My heart goes out to HAL folks still waiting for their luggage!  I know the Amsterdam was supposed to deadhead to Fort Lauderdale but then plans went awry to say the least.

 

We left our luggage on the QM2 and it was delivered to us a couple of weeks after the ship docked in Southampton at the end of April, so not so bad.  There was a shipping fee but I'm SO GLAD we did not haul it home ourselves.  We saw lots of folks changing planes at LAX with a ton of luggage.  The fee is supposed to be refunded but honestly that would just be gravy right now if we got it.

 

I also think the speakers on Cunard are great and didn't feel they were aimed at any nationality.  We had the just retired Governor General of Australia as a speaker this past trip and he was great. 

 

 

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16 hours ago, KirkNC said:

We are still awaiting our luggage from the 2020 WC from HAL.  It’s in Florida and has been going through customs for three weeks.  It’s been almost six months since we left the ship......

 

O and there was a fee, $500 for us.  I apparently misunderstood, I thought it was a shipping fee but it turns out it was a storage fee.

 

Thanks for updating - I wondered how the WC luggage situation was progressing.

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1 minute ago, SJSULIBRARIAN said:

 

Thanks for updating - I wondered how the WC luggage situation was progressing.

Hopefully we are two to three weeks from receiving the luggage.  Of course after 6.5 months, no telling what shape it will be in.

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On 9/12/2020 at 11:37 PM, prescottbob said:

Interesting.

 

Several cruisers refused to disembark (or so they said, prior to arrival in Fremantle) due to some sort of perceived / real disability or just plain ‘entitlement attitude’.

 

it appeared to me that those folks were treated quite adequately and several were accompanied by HAL staff not only to the airport but continuing on to their place of residence.

 

Regardless, “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” and review of posts for the ‘Westerdam’ situation and resolutions gives one pause management-wise for the WC crowd at that particular time.

 

More importantly, 

cruisers and staff aboard both ships have been reunited with loved ones & the pleasantries of being ‘home’.
 

No worries...

 

Be well.

Bob
 

 

 

 

What I found interesting while everyone was complaining how well the Westerdam passengers were treated: As I waited over an hour for the transport bus to take us to the hotel in Perth, I watched Orlando's wife and son (who were already waiting when we got out of the terminal) still not having their ride pick them up before we left for the hotel. That told me our situation was different yes, but even the President's family suffered the same treatment as the passengers. It was chaos equally spread among the WC passengers.  

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On 9/10/2020 at 9:45 AM, bay guy said:

If health issues allow, we would both go on another WC in a heartbeat

How is your DW doing? We sat at the back of the lounge with you in 2018. 

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REOVA, thanks for asking. It’s been a very slow process. It turns out she developed Guillain Barre while on board which has damaged the nerves in her legs and diaphragm which cause some walking difficulty and breathing issues if she exerts herself.

shes improving but I don’t believe she’ll get to the point where either of us would feel comfortable leaving the country for a trip.

We hope you’re doing well. We remember how kind you were to us.

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22 hours ago, REOVA said:

As I waited over an hour for the transport bus to take us to the hotel in Perth, I watched Orlando's wife and son (who were already waiting when we got out of the terminal) still not having their ride pick them up before we left for the hotel. That told me our situation was different yes, but even the President's family suffered the same treatment as the passengers. It was chaos equally spread among the WC passengers.  

 

I think your observation is significant.  If the President of HAL could not "shake some trees" to assist his wife and son to improve their situation, what "power/influence" did Mr. Ashford really have in the operation of HAL?  With his family being aboard Amsterdam, why could they as well as the rest of the guests of the Amsterdam not received the same assistance that the guests of the Westerdam did?  

 

This is another example, as far as I am concerned, of another "back story" that has yet to be told if anyone would ever choose to do so.  

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One thing that wasn't mentioned was the amount of help provided the stranded Westerdam passengers by the U.S. Embassy personnel in Cambodia.  They set up a desk in the hotel lobby and were there every day to provide assistance.  For example, there was a major incident at the airport where we and a large number of people went thru customs and immigration prior to boarding our plane to Malaysia.  We had a single entry Cambodian visa and our passports were stamped as having left Cambodia.  Of course the plane never showed up and we were now in kind of a limbo; in the country with no valid visa.  Our Embassy staff worked it out with the Cambodian officials so we could leave the airport and go back to our hotel with no valid visa and no hassle.  They wore ball caps with the U.S. flag and U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh on them so they could be easily recognized.  One of them was kind enough to give me her hat as a souvenir when I thanked her for her help as we left.

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14 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I think your observation is significant.  If the President of HAL could not "shake some trees" to assist his wife and son to improve their situation, what "power/influence" did Mr. Ashford really have in the operation of HAL?  With his family being aboard Amsterdam, why could they as well as the rest of the guests of the Amsterdam not received the same assistance that the guests of the Westerdam did?  

 

This is another example, as far as I am concerned, of another "back story" that has yet to be told if anyone would ever choose to do so.  
 

 

 

Very good points. It’s likely Orlando greeting the passengers of the Westerdam stranded in Cambodia instead of his own wife and son stranded in Perth was not his personal choice.

At the time, we were all very aware that those of us on the Amsterdam were not getting the same level of help that the Westerdam passengers were.

However, I’ve been on a cruise to Cambodia, and it’s a far different scene than Australia. In fact, a number of passengers refused to even get off the shuttle bus when we reached the market and just stayed on to return to the ship.

In retrospect, there are far worse things in a global crisis than being set ashore in a safe, affluent, English speaking country where you look like the local population. As much as we would have liked the assistance, the passengers dropped off in Cambodia needed it much more than we did!

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