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  #1  
Old December 30th, 2010, 08:26 PM
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Default How Holland American decides who gets upgraded

On a recent cruise on the Westerdam, I found out that a first time cruiser had gotten upgraded from a full obstructed room to a balcony. I, who was sailing on HA for the third time, had also booked a fully obstructed room. I was moved from on fully obstructed room to one just a few cabins from my original room. I sent HA an email and asked how do you determine who gets upgraded. I understand that no one is entitled to be upgraded. But figured that if I was running the cruise line, past loyalty would play a part in the upgrading process. Boy was I wrong! Here is a quote from the email I was sent after they took 8 weeks to research the matter!

"Thank you for the email regarding your ms Westerdam sailing on October 25, 2010. We truly appreciate the valuable feedback you have provided us. First and foremost, we are sorry for the disappointment you experienced.

We understand your concerns regarding stateroom upgrades, and we would be happy to explain our upgrade policy to you. Although most of our ships sail at full capacity, we do occasionally have a few higher-level accommodations available just prior to sailing. In these cases, we are frequently able to offer upgrades at no additional charge. These upgrades are established through an automated system, which takes into account a variety of factors. Unfortunately, it is not possible to offer a complimentary upgrade to each of our cruising guests and they are being extended randomly, based on category need and for sales purposes and are not based on loyalty days with the company. Upgrades are also based on availability. If a sailing is nearly sold out, we are unable to offer as many upgrades as we would on a sailing that has more empty staterooms."


Now I am a retired lawyer and I don't know any lawyer who could have said less than that answer. We base it on a variety of factors. Like what? Why would not a major factor be past loyalty? It really tells me very little except we are at the mercy of a computer program! That is first class customer relations! As one poster said, Holland America has become "carnivalized" Really too bad. Seems that you get more as a first time cruiser than a loyal Mariner Society member.

I think I would have been happier if the said we upgrade those who paid the most for their category-- that would make some sense. But now we know the rest of the story!






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  #2  
Old December 30th, 2010, 08:42 PM
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I feel their answer was sufficient. It's random and automated. That means an algorithm is programmed into the system to do just what they said ... factor in stateroom needs and availability. I'm a loyal HAL customer and have been for a number of years. Never have received an upgrade. That's fine, although I'd love to get one some day. I book the stateroom category I would be happy with and never had less.
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  #3  
Old December 30th, 2010, 08:51 PM
sail7seas sail7seas is offline
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Always book and pay for the category cabin in which you will be happy. To count on something for nothing can all too often result in disappointment. There are actually people who pay for those higher category cabins. They know that is the cabin they want and they pay the asking price. Why would anyone pay more if they could count on getting it for free?

Better luck next time.

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  #4  
Old December 30th, 2010, 08:59 PM
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If I were the King of HAL, I would always give great upgrades to first time HAL cruisers. My reasoning is that they would continue to book HAL expecting another great upgrade. Repeat cruisers are already committed, as long as you offer great service.

I'm sorry that this seems cold, but considering the bottom line, that policy is more likely to maximize profits.
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  #5  
Old December 30th, 2010, 09:34 PM
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Upgrades happen more often when a group booking is on the sailing. They often need to equalize the cabin category of the group and may need to have certain cabins available which necessitates the upgrade. If you're looking for one try to book on a sailing where a group is booked.

As others said, book what you are happy with and if you do get that elusive upgrade, CELEBRATE.

Never expect anything and you'll never be disappointed.
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Old December 30th, 2010, 09:50 PM
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To be honest I thought the HAL response was correct.
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  #7  
Old December 30th, 2010, 10:11 PM
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I also think the HAL answer was reasonable (and actually I'm happy a computer is doing it rather than some individual who is emotionally attached to showing prefence to one or more passnegers). There are those on here (and I don't mean the OP) who book minimal guarantees and then wax eloquent on their roll calls on how they are looking forward to an upgrade, and "oh I can't wait", and "why am I not getting one?" That's OK I guess, but I'm more convinced that all good things will come to those who wait, silently, and patiently. I'm a HAL veteran and you won't see me on here looking for something I didn't pay for. If I get it fine...if you get it, I resign myself to the fact that it just wasn't my day, and I'll kinda be happy for you (LOL).
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  #8  
Old December 30th, 2010, 10:11 PM
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The retired lawyers I know always book the suites.
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  #9  
Old December 30th, 2010, 10:24 PM
Robinsilver Robinsilver is offline
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Good one, mudscraper. My husband is a lawyer, and he does like to be doted on, and the Deluxe Suites or Penthouse Suites do offer that. As far as guarantee cabins, we did that with a great deal on our first HAL cruise, but we booked a Deluxe Suite guarantee, and got a great location right near the Neptune Lounge. It wasn't like we booked a balcony guarantee and ended up with a Deluxe Suite.
Not sure who said it about upgrading first time passengers, but by getting that great deal on the Deluxe Suite guarantee, it did make us slant towards HAL on subsequent cruises. I now have a big debate, do I take the SC Deluxe suite, and hope to get upgraded to an SA?
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  #10  
Old December 30th, 2010, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BudinFla View Post
On a recent cruise on the Westerdam, I found out that a first time cruiser had gotten upgraded from a full obstructed room to a balcony. I, who was sailing on HA for the third time, had also booked a fully obstructed room. I was moved from on fully obstructed room to one just a few cabins from my original room. I sent HA an email and asked how do you determine who gets upgraded. I understand that no one is entitled to be upgraded. But figured that if I was running the cruise line, past loyalty would play a part in the upgrading process. Boy was I wrong! Here is a quote from the email I was sent after they took 8 weeks to research the matter!

"Thank you for the email regarding your ms Westerdam sailing on October 25, 2010. We truly appreciate the valuable feedback you have provided us. First and foremost, we are sorry for the disappointment you experienced.

We understand your concerns regarding stateroom upgrades, and we would be happy to explain our upgrade policy to you. Although most of our ships sail at full capacity, we do occasionally have a few higher-level accommodations available just prior to sailing. In these cases, we are frequently able to offer upgrades at no additional charge. These upgrades are established through an automated system, which takes into account a variety of factors. Unfortunately, it is not possible to offer a complimentary upgrade to each of our cruising guests and they are being extended randomly, based on category need and for sales purposes and are not based on loyalty days with the company. Upgrades are also based on availability. If a sailing is nearly sold out, we are unable to offer as many upgrades as we would on a sailing that has more empty staterooms."


Now I am a retired lawyer and I don't know any lawyer who could have said less than that answer. We base it on a variety of factors. Like what? Why would not a major factor be past loyalty? It really tells me very little except we are at the mercy of a computer program! That is first class customer relations! As one poster said, Holland America has become "carnivalized" Really too bad. Seems that you get more as a first time cruiser than a loyal Mariner Society member.

I think I would have been happier if the said we upgrade those who paid the most for their category-- that would make some sense. But now we know the rest of the story!





I don't think they will reveal anything more than this "random" selection reponse, as it is proprietary information, and they don't want to 'open up a can of worms' and get inundated with complaints from those who feel that they were not treated fairly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcrandle View Post
If I were the King of HAL, I would always give great upgrades to first time HAL cruisers. My reasoning is that they would continue to book HAL expecting another great upgrade. Repeat cruisers are already committed, as long as you offer great service.

I'm sorry that this seems cold, but considering the bottom line, that policy is more likely to maximize profits.
There may very well be truth to this speculation.


For those that think the OP is out of line with his complaint, that he should accept what is and pay for what he wants, well okay, that's your opinion.
On the other hand, companies like American Airlines, which has some of the most sophisticated computer programming in the world, makes sure that their most frequent and loyal passengers are recognized and treated accordingly. They have priority for the best seats, upgrades, and many other perks to reward their status.
I don't see why the cruiselines, not just HAL, but all of them, can't do likewise.
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  #11  
Old December 30th, 2010, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spender Nui View Post
Upgrades happen more often when a group booking is on the sailing. They often need to equalize the cabin category of the group and may need to have certain cabins available which necessitates the upgrade. If you're looking for one try to book on a sailing where a group is booked.

As others said, book what you are happy with and if you do get that elusive upgrade, CELEBRATE.

Never expect anything and you'll never be disappointed.
Where have you received this information??? What you have said definitely makes no sense is not the way it happens. First off Group no matter the size if it is 10 cabins or 100 cabins is normally closed or pulled from the agency at about the time of Final payment In some cases Ttravel agents can still book into groups as long as they have not used up their allotment but HAL will never offer upgrades or move people for any group I am aware of. I think this is just a myth or rumor that some how got started that is totally wrong.

As for what HAL answers I have to agree it makes total sense and it is pretty much the same as what other cruise lines do not just Carnival, which frankly Carnival has nothing do to with this

The big factor not mentioned that is the real reason is What one person paid for the cabin/category. One person may have paid full rate not checking back to see if there had been any reductions on what they paid, another may have gotten a Flash Rate that was drastically reduced. The person who made the most gets put at the top of the list in the computer system and gets a far better chance of getting an upgrade but yet this also is not a guarantee.

Then again it is sometimes just the UpGrade Fairy I have seen some amazing Upgrades to faithful Mariners and first time cruisers. As well as some faithful Mariners that got exactly what they purchased.

I look at it this way.... Ya Win some and you Lose Some, maybe the Upgrade Fairy will appear next time
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  #12  
Old December 30th, 2010, 10:45 PM
Jemima Jemima is offline
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On cruises I avoid any conversations that involve cabin upgrades or amount paid.
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  #13  
Old December 30th, 2010, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
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On cruises I avoid any conversations that involve cabin upgrades or amount paid.
That's a very wise policy. Spares peoples feelings.
On the other hand, this venue is the place to live and learn all the ins and outs of getting good deals and making smart choices.
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Old December 30th, 2010, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
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On cruises I avoid any conversations that involve cabin upgrades or amount paid.
Wise woman!

As for the OP's post: I thought the letter was reasonable. As the information is proprietary, and probably quite complicated, I don't see any significant upside for any cruise line disclosing precisely how they go about making those decisions. It is not quite as easy as selling 2 or 3 classes of seats on a plane without much regard to actual location therein.

Those who hold out the airline loyalty programs as good examples might want to review the long history of repeated revisions to those programs. Gaming of those programs began not long after they were first introduced and continue to this day, thus the need for repeated revisions. At the same time, what was originally viewed as an inexpensive method of securing brand loyalty while providing minor perks has turned into an increasingly expensive program employing thousands attempting to mollify large numbers of self-important repeat customers with massive senses of entitlement with decreasing success as time goes by, expectations rise, and benefits change to reflect the economic reality of the airline business. I could be wrong (not the first time!) but I do believe that there is ample evidence that, had they known what it would become, American Airlines would never have started the first program.

If I get what I paid for, I'm happy. If someone somehow gets a better deal, that's good for them. I refuse to worry about it.

Last edited by ironin; December 30th, 2010 at 11:38 PM.
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Old December 30th, 2010, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
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On cruises I avoid any conversations that involve cabin upgrades or amount paid.
Smart.
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  #16  
Old December 31st, 2010, 12:05 AM
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On this thread no one has mentioned the common "upsells." You get an email a few days or weeks before the cruise offering to move you to a higher category for $X. The amount might be a bargain, but jump on it as it might be sold to the first px to accept. We did it most recently on a Regent cruise this year, but CC postings say it happens on HAL too. First the upsells, then what's left gets the free upgrades, by the computer algorithms sure but I bet they factor in the Mariner status.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
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I could be wrong (not the first time!) but I do believe that there is ample evidence that, had they known what it would become, American Airlines would never have started the first program.
The American Airlines AAdvantage program is very much valued by the company, as it is a great weapon in the fiercely competitive battle with cut-rate, low budget airlines that have much lower labor costs.
Frequent business flyers can use their miles earned in short domestic flights to take vacations around the world.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 01:34 AM
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Quote:
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The American Airlines AAdvantage program is very much valued by the company, as it is a great weapon in the fiercely competitive battle with cut-rate, low budget airlines that have much lower labor costs.
Frequent business flyers can use their miles earned in short domestic flights to take vacations around the world.
At one point, United's Mileage Plus was the most profitable part of the business. As car rental companies and hotels purchased the miles as incentives it became quite lucrative.

I too live with a lawyer (who will now only cruise with a butler...hence Mom and I are sailing HAL ALONE ).

With three cruises, that's really not THAT much loyalty in my opinion. Although we have some status after sailing Celebrity only four times, 3 times were in a suite so we got double credits...did that keep us loyal to them, nope. We moved on to try others and when we found that NCL's Suite product was equal if not better...so be it.

If you get an upgrade, great. If not, as long as you get what you paid for, then you should be happy. I find it a little on the side of bad taste to inquire as to why someone else got something you felt more entitled to (i.e. how the loyalty program works...frankly, it's their business, and it's none of yours) at least that was my interpretation.

I also think it wise to take care of first time cruisers...doing this may give you an edge to gain the repeat business...giving it to someone who has already experienced a great product and will likely come back doesn't encourage repeat patronage.

Off the soapbox...just thinking out loud...curiously, if your loyalty was so embedded with HAL, then why the Princess cruise in your signature?
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8 Carnival Glory '13 [Inside] (W. Caribbean)
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9 Carnival Breeze '13 [ext balcony] (W. Caribbean)
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Old December 31st, 2010, 01:45 AM
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Default Our First Upgrade Ever... And First Time on Cunard!

Over the past 10 years, we've cruised about 14 times... Princess, HAL, Celebrity... and have NEVER received an upgrade.

On our very FIRST time on Cunard this February, we have received a two category upgrade! Both are a mid ship balcony cabins, but we were upgraded two decks up. Of course we always dream of the ultimate upgrade from "obstructed view to balcony", we are always very happy to get what we booked!!
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Old December 31st, 2010, 08:52 AM
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Bob, frequent flyer programs require annual qualification for elite status, cruise lines don't. American Airlines doesn't much care if you or I flew 50,000 or 100,000 miles aboard their planes 5 years ago or even two years ago. By-and-large, they only cater to those who frequently darkened their doors the prior year. Other than the lifetime million-miler plateau, there aren't any milestones that I know of that gain any benefits like preferred boarding or upgrade preferences. (Even then, the million-milers I know personally say the benefits aren't as good as they once were.)

Are you suggesting the cruise lines follow suit? I'd suggest being careful what you wish for - you might get it. Along with $150 change fees for changing a booking. Or $100 fees to redeposit a future cruise credit after someone decides not to use it for a specific cruise after all.
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