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TheCruisingAccountant

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About TheCruisingAccountant

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Vancouver,BC
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America - Princess (so far)

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  1. I am not the OP of this thread. That is quite clear. This is a teachable moment, and the only reason I am replying. Your reply to my post starts off the track before you even hit the keyboard, with not first determining whether or not I was the OP. It then opens with what could be considered a pejorative interjection, leading to an incorrect assumption, all of which could have been prevented by a more careful reading of the discussion or asking a question about my meaning or intent with a measure of civility. Example; "I don't understand your post, could you clarify? It doesn't make sense to me that as the OP, that you post something that you would expect would get replies, but don't appear to wish to discuss these issues. Can you explain that, it doesn't really make sense to me?" I won't have anything else to say on this
  2. A website of this format will generally form a small community with a considerable amount of self selection bias and self sorting (and confirmation bias, see below). It is just human nature. You can win a Nobel Prize in Economics studying it. That being said, it is also well within human capacity to understand this and overcome it to some degree. I don't think, for the most part, that anyone who posts a negative or positive experience with HAL does not fundamentally believe that their experience was not as they describe, but there needs to be greater acceptance in this forum, in particular, of that; I find that there seems to be a tendency to dismiss the positive personal experiences of HAL passengers as "cheerleading" while simultaneous embracing the negative personal experiences of others as "gospel". Either you respect and accept individual personal experiences as they are described, equally, good or bad, or you are simply engaging in confirmation bias. As a rule, I stay far away from Internet "forums", "message boards", and such. I only every joined here for hard, factual, information on things such as ships, ports, that sort of thing, as we moved on to more itineraries, longer itineraries, and different lines and types of ships. As a younger (under 45) HAL passenger, who is quite happy with my personal experiences over 7 cruises since 2010, and happy with HAL, and happy with the changes and direction the past 5 years when compared to Princess or RCI, I can't say I have any interest in debating or discussing any of this with a great many of the long term HAL passengers here. I do not believe that opinion is welcome here. I would go so far as to say that I would avoid about 10 regular contributors to this forum if I knew they would be on my trip due to their online behaviour and engagement with others. I have often seen it asked why this forum is less busy, and roll calls are less populated, than they "used to be". Physicians, heal thyself. Its entirely possible for me to board a HAL ship tomorrow, and have a great time, while someone else boards, and has a horrible time. Neither of us are "right", nor "wrong", but you wouldn't likely come to that conclusion on the basis of what you would read here.
  3. I would say that it is quite obvious there is a great degree of "generational divide" on this opinion with regards to HAL. Those past (roughly) 60 with 20-30 years cruising on HAL are going to see things way differently, and have different expectations than a (roughly) 35 year old on their first or second cruise. In many ways, a lot of posts on this subject almost read like they have been pulled from a generational case study in marketing and brand refreshment. My wife and I had our first cruise with HAL in 2010, as young 30 somethings, and since then, I can only say that our opinion on the entertainment options and varieties have only improved over 7 cruises and 9 years. All subjective, or course, but its almost impossible to not see how generational expectations colour our opinion. As follows; The Piano Bar as it used to be? Fun for an evening, but to a couple 30 somethings, it was already a bit of a relic of yesterday, The Great American Songbook is not the music we grew up with, its history. Hang around and sing the hits to the early hours? No, those our not "our" hits, and our parents can go do that for the night. Give me BB Kings, Billboard or the new Rock Room any day of the week. Production shows? Depending on theme and music, they can be entertaining, but they were never an automatic must see for us (in jest, I once asked my wife if we would be getting a vaudeville act the next night, so you can see how to us, these shows are already, mostly "for our parents" and indicative of a different era). How many times do I have to have "Motown", "The Beatles" or "The 60's" as a theme? We had both of those, multiple times, across multiple lines, multiple cruises. If its "your" era, "your" music, and you have great memories of youth and your life associated with it, you can probably go every time and enjoy. For us, that music is Van Halen and Madonna. I play bass, and Motown has some really exquisite players, but please, not cruise after cruise after cruise after cruise of "My Girl" or even "Hey Jude". Live (small) orchestra to a BBC Earth film? Works for us. Violinists that play Led Zeppelin and ABBA? Yup. Comedians? Go for it. All good for us, but I can understand how these experiences do not resemble a production heavy, Broadway style show, and if that is your preference, or expectation, you are likely going to feel disappointed with changing entertainment options. I understand that change is not comfortable. I played video games most of my life, but as of late, looking at how the industry, games, and culture has evolved, I have no interest in new systems, new machines, or "playing with my friends online". So now, in my rec room, I have my older games systems hooked up, and I play away, and I am OK with that because it is where I am happy. The new market, and I, are no longer overlapping. Its not a personal slight. There is simply more money to be made from new consumers, far surpassing what could further earned from me, going forward, catering to my needs, and that is why a profit maximizing public corporation exists (like it or not).
  4. Weather in Alaska is more or less gambling; you can increase the odds a touch in your favour, but ultimately, you get what you get, and what you get is usually a lot of variety. We have been there in May (2010) and had mostly sun and warmth. Back in June (2014) and had more wet and cold days than another go around in late September (2014). We had two nice days leaving Vancouver in July last year, including a scorcher in Juneau, followed by two wet and cold days leading to Glacier Bay, before ending our trip with sun and warmth all the way back from Glacier Bay to Vancouver. As far as tours, stores, etc; yes, its fair to say that some operators and stores are winding things down, but again, I am not sure the difference between September 15th and 22nd would be all that noticeable. We did the "final week of the season" in 2014, and while it was noticeable when compared to a June or July trip, but I can't say it affected our trip in any material way. Shore excursion providers and stores had what we wanted at that time, but again, if they did not have what we wanted, the experience may have been different.
  5. On a same/similar trip this September/October, excursions became active for booking around the 180 days before sail date.
  6. It can be a 20 minute cab ride; it can also just as easily be a 45 minute cab ride, unfortunately. Self disembarking early probably tilts the odds closer to being a 20 minute ride, but my advice as a long time resident, never assume your travel times in the city are a guarantee, and if you do not have a contingency plan for a delay, best to consider one if you don't like pushing up against tight timelines.
  7. Other than yes, the Lido pool is covered when weather is not sunny and warm, there is not an easy answer given the subjectivity of individual's temperature tolerances We have been to Alaska 5 times, between May and September, and have always used the pools, and been happy with the temperature of the water and the air when getting out/lounging around. However, its Alaska, and weather changes constantly. On warm days, the Lido roof is often open, and the Sea View pool is easily warm enough to use. Cooler and middling days, Sea View is a bit of a ghost town if not in port, but Lido is generally well used. Only on the coldest, wettest, dampest days have I ever seen the pool empty. Think mid May, raining all day, lots of fog, temp barely cracking 10 degrees C. Honestly, you are going in June, and if you even think you might want to use the pool, I would say pack the suits and call it cheap insurance.
  8. Two quick points; The Vancouver-Seattle/Seattle-Vancouver Amtrak is an often overlooked route that I can't recommend enough. We have used it a number of times to catch a cruise out of Seattle from Vancouver, and to return home. I'd recommend paying the extra $20 (its around that) per seat to business class upgrade; priority disembarkation, its a relatively cheap upgrade, and its immaterial if you can afford the cruise As to the Port of Vancouver, I understand our experience is our experience alone, and others have had far worse days at that terminal, but in eight sailings from Canada Place, various times of year and numbers of ships in port, we have never not been on board by noon, and (as we live about a ten minute cab ride away) we generally arrive at about 10:30, are processed through security customs and HAL, and are seated and waiting to board by 11:15. Vancouver can be a breeze, to be honest, but again, our own experience, and a non representative sample of all experiences.
  9. Holland America clearly did not "charge for dead person" Living person purchases cruise under certain agree upon terms. Unfortunately, person is no longer living when the time comes to execute the action contained within said terms. Terms do not allow for refund under given circumstances that prevent execution of the action. Suggesting that HAL "charges for dead people" only adds a classic appeal to emotion to attempt to influence the opinions of readers when the facts of the terms are not consistent to what an observer feels the outcome "should" be.
  10. They had their luggage; four people, multiple large suitcases. They had a later assigned time (1.5 hrs later) per security. They had their luggage in tow as tried to walk off. They (apparently) wanted to get off early as they joined those of us with assigned self disembarkation. I say "apparently" because I am obviously not privy to their motivations, but joining a line leaving a ship generally suggests that was the intent. Security didnt even scan them; they looked at the luggage tags, were promptly told "this is your time, this is your staging area, we will take you there" and they were escorted away, with their luggage.
  11. If you want it, be sure to request on your disembarkation paperwork provided Leaving Volendam this summer, a number of passengers that wanted to self disembark, but had not requested it and had been assigned later times in groups, were shut down quite hard by security and actually escorted back to their designated waiting areas; they were in front of us in the security line to walk off, and were turned back on the spot. I am quite happy with it, but Volendam did seem to be running things a bit "tighter" or "by the book" our last trip, compared to previous trips.
  12. I appreciate the good intentions on display by some posters, but the utility or value of an item you wish to donate is not determined by the person making the donation (you), it is determined by the recipient. If you do not know - that is, have asked first and determined need and ability to manage physical items - that what you are leaving is useful to the person or organization you are leaving it for, do not leave it. Period. All you are potentially achieving is the shifting of costs of disposal and mitigation of your unwanted items to another individual or organization. My local animal rescue thrift store literally begs - has signs in the front window - asking people to not donate outside normal hours without staff reviewing the items first. Their biggest montly cost in sky high cost of living Vancouver? Not rent. Not staff. Garbage disposal. Garbage disposal of unwanted items, donated outside normal hours, and not reviewed by staff, useless for resale, and nothing more than garbage people did not dispose of on their own, wasting the resources of a charitable status organization. It is the same effect with donated items that cruise lines and crew do not want and must dispose of, the waste of resources. Please, donate items in a responsible manner, not a convenient manner. Its not too hard to ask first unless you are concerend that you wont get the answer you want.
  13. You can change the time, depending on availability. Our last trip, we were not even assigned a time, just supplied the card in our room advising we had a reservation, visit Pinnacle to book time. Previous time, we had an assigned time, and were able to change to a later date with no issue. Time before, that, we took the assigned time as it suited us, and the PG was about 2/3 full for a 7PM dinner, second night of voyage, sea day. I suggest board, go to Pinnacle ASAP and request to change your time; if they can accomodate your request, in my experience, they likely will.
  14. Probably not, given its a major US network broadcast and HAL has not, in my experience, carried those broadcasts. The only football I have seen live on HAL cruises in the past ten years are the ESPN featured NFL games, CFL on ESPN2 and NCAA on ESPN
  15. As a token HAL "youngster" (44 now, 35 when we started, 9 cruises, #10 booked) I would say from my point of view, a recalibrating of the brand demographic is well under way and has been happening for a few years now with regards to music and entertainment. This past summer on Volendam, we had stage shows that were not either Motown, British Invasion or The Beatles. Mercifully. Not that I minded those themes the first few times, but seeing those same themes across multiple ships and lines over the past 8 years was getting a bit much. Granted, I could have done without the country themed show we had and hence did by skipping it, but the Legends of Rock show (late 60's to mid 90's music) was a welcome change. Background ship music was also bumped up about a decade in terms of overall age; hearing Tom Petty, Madonna and Third Eye Blind. We also had a younger piano player with considerable contemporary music knowledge that was a contrast to the normal piano bar player that we also had. TV and movie themes by request in the Ocean Bar, old standard sing alongs in the Mix/Piano Bar area Katei, the rock themed violinist was probaby the highlight of the show for us; for a small group of people, visibly older than us, it was "too loud for the evening". Subjective opinion isnt worth debating. It likely was for us as we thought, and was for them as they thought. Personally, add in BB Kings, Billboard, and the Rolling Stone themed classic rock room/show, I see a line that is more likely to continue to appeal to me than it would if these changes had not occurred. None of this prevented us from finding the quiet, tucked away spaces on board that HAL has a bit of a reputation for, nor did any of these changes prevent us from enjoying the Adagio duo or BBC Earth Live orchestral experience; we still experienced and enjoyed the more quiet, reserved, sophisticated aspects of the trip. HAL is marketed and designed to appeal to a certain segment and demographic of cruise ship passengers; periodically, they will have to adjust their practices and branding to reflect what new customers entering that demographic want and expect, and to less reflect those that are leaving that demographic. It feels exciting and interesting when you "age in" to a demographic, but when you "age out", its more a sense of loss and dislocation. If I'm still sailing the next time HAL does this, I will probably be less enthused than I am now.
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