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BarbarianPaul

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About BarbarianPaul

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Los Angeles
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Crystal, Regent
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Mediterranean

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  1. Sorry for above blank post! One other point of discussion. A phrase came up in another post referring to the “HAL experience.” At this point I’m not exactly sure what that even is. Nothing of interest happens on the ships. The food isn’t particularly good. The cruise directors and staff are all professional, but the CD’s in general are somewhat humorless and generic, and nowhere near as lively as their competitors. My wife and I enjoy the low key vibe, but that’s more related to a lack of anything happening on the ships, which was really noticeable on our last cruise. The music walk is fun to walk by, but it’s never a destination for us, and personally I don’t think it’s the anywhere near the game changer HA hoped it would be. We enjoy the four star perks, and aren’t ready to abandon the line, but we generally have a better time on Celebrity. We have fond memories of our HA cruises, but now it seems old, stodgy, boring and retro.
  2. If this were the case, then he also lacked the corporate skills necessary to protect his brand. That’s part of the job as well.
  3. I think the sarcasm is misplaced. Celebrity manages at just about the same price point, and HA did too for years, including our two cruises in 2019. The bottom line is that the product suffered under his leadership, and the cutbacks were noticeable and pissed off their best customers. And there’s no excuse for the complete lack of activity onboard. So he got fired. The line clearly needs some new ideas and fresh blood.
  4. Well, my wife and I are four stars, and on our last cruise in January, (1) No production shows, (2) the food was miles below what it had been even last year, (3) the ship was dead as a door nail on sea days, with nothing, I mean nothing, going on (and we like to pass seas days just reading and hanging out, do not need to be entertained, but still...) (4) the Westerdam cabin hadn’t even been refreshed in years, and (5) the lido buffet was at best average. I do believe each of these issues are Orlando’s fault.
  5. Let’s hope they’re upgrading the entire air filtration system now, including the AC and heat. If they don’t, the Amsterdam won’t have many passengers when sailing resumes.
  6. My apologies...I honestly can’t find the article I read this morning to substantiate that estimated number. And I looked! But, whatever it was, it was larger of course than the number 13 released by the government. For those looking to minimize the significance of Hong Kong’s situation in January, when we disembarked the city was under an official state of emergency, with all the government run tourist sites closed. The Westerdam was going to do an overnight in Hong Kong for our final night, but instead we wound up staying an extra day in Halong Bay.
  7. Well you did have an adventure! Don’t think your statistics are quite right. On Jan 21 Hong Kong was estimated to have about 1700 cases. When we got off the Westerdam the day you got on, the city was under a state of emergency and all tourist sites were closed. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but I think HA, and Orlando Ashford, should have cancelled your cruise.
  8. We got off in Hong Kong just as you guys were getting on! Just out of curiosity, did you really enjoy cruising aimlessly for almost two weeks in the South China Sea, without visiting a single port, only to finally end up in Sihanoukville? I don’t mean to be confrontational, I just remember feeling distinctly uncomfortable disembarking in Hong Kong, and wondering why the ship was picking up new passengers. Passengers who were continuing on from our cruise were afraid to get off the ship. Also, the Westerdam had just gone through a dry dock when we boarded in Singapore, and I was totally surprised that they hadn’t touched the cabins, and appeared to have done minimal to nonexistent work on the passenger areas. Yes, the cabins were clean and everything worked, but they also appeared to have been stuck in 25 year old time warp.
  9. I don’t think you’ll see him “accepting a position” at any other cruise line. Do you honestly think any cruise line would hire him?
  10. We’re four star mariners and have cruised all over the world with them. Our last cruise was in Southeast Asia right before the current situation unfolded. Sadly, it’s going to be our last one for a while due to a number of reasons. First, it was boring. Not enough happening on the ship. No interesting lectures, no enrichment, no production shows. Literally nothing was happening. Second, our ship the Westerdam had cabins that were old, small and below average. Third, the food was also below average and the buffet was bad. A shame, because the dining used to be considerably better. The line is definitely in need of some fresh blood to enhance the shipboard experience. There is nothing fresh or unique about sailing with them anymore. We love that the brand is a part of maritime history, but the only new thing they’ve added in years is the whole music walk experience and for us, it’s not really our thing. We do like to find a quiet corner on sea days and read and relax, and I’m certainly not asking for belly flop contests in the pool. But the line needs to do more. To us it just feels old and stodgy and stale.
  11. I’ve had to cancel a veritable cornucopia of cruises on other cruise lines. My Celebrity refund came in two weeks. The one from Royal Caribbean took about three, but Regent’s parent company Norwegian won the sweepstakes and returned my almost fully paid deposit for a suite on a Dubai to Capetown cruise in 6 days. And that was about two weeks ago. Sure, we all know only too well that times are tough, that we’re all going through this, that everyone is human, that inexperienced personnel might have been shifted into customer service positions, that we have to be understanding, etc, etc, etc. Sure, there are a ton of possible excuses. I’ve read them all here. But so what. For a cruise line that aspires to be the gold standard in the cruising world, and arguably comes pretty close, a delay this long in refunding customers’ hard earned money is pretty much inexcusable. I’m not a frequent Regent cruiser, but for those who are, it’s a black mark I wouldn’t soon forget.
  12. For me it’s not such a conundrum. If Carnival execs pay attention to guest satisfaction surveys, which of course they do, the takeaway is that there’s some brand loyalty to HA but escalating dissatisfaction with changes initiated under OA’s leadership. That said, at this point no one knows why he was fired. But it sure wasn’t because they thought he was doing a great job. And, as long time HA cruisers, neither did we.
  13. Of course they took our input. Ok, have no idea if they follow these boards, but surely they pay attention to the passenger surveys given on every cruise, where we voice many of the same concerns expressed here. Who knows if it was a contributing factor or not, but I’d be very surprised if CCL didn’t keep tabs on what their customers are thinking.
  14. How can anyone say OA was unsuccessful? I tell you who: Carnival management..the folks who fired him! I doubt they would have made a change if he were viewed as wildly successful. My wife and I are four star mariners, and have cruised with HA many many times. We like the fact that it’s low key, with interesting itineraries, but it’s also dull, stodgy and really not so much fun. I’m not suggesting bellyflop contests, but the brand really does need new life and a new vision, especially considering the challenges cruise lines are going to be facing soon to bring passengers back on their ships. For me, I wish HA were more like Viking, with interesting and informed lecturers, discussions, star gazing...all sorts of smart unique activities. What did I get with HA? A boring cruise director reading a bland port description from a teleprompter for the places we were going to visit. Also, for what it’s worth, I felt the quality of food in the main dining room plummeted on our January cruise on the Westerdam. That cruise, by the way, was from Singapore to Hong Kong, the one right before the cruise to Tokyo and China that was turned away from every port. Boy did we dodge a bullet!
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