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Cruising Kangaroo

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  1. I don't fully agree with lasvegaswinner1 regarding the CDC regulations massively boosting cruise fares and thereby reducing the value of Future Cruise Credits. Here are my reasons: Yes the new CDC regulations will require some (but not extensive) expanded medical accommodation on most cruise ships, more rigorous disposal procedures for contaminated waste and additional medical PPE. This will certainly need some capital investment. Additional staff and training are also likely to be needed to operate these facilities if they are required to be activated. If you add $10 per person per day to current cruise fares, on a 700 passenger ship, for example, that generates an extra $7,000 per day. It is not possible that the operation of the additional facilities, staff, etc could come anywhere near this number per day. The $ number increases proportionately with larger ships. Remember that medical treatment on cruise ships is not free. It is very expensive compared with on shore medical treatment (in Australia at least). That is not going to change so the user will continue to pay. Cruise lines are in a dilemma. They need to attract new bookings urgently and restore confidence for their loyal passengers. Yes, they could take advantage of the large number of Future Cruise Credits to be redeemed and increase prices to gouge people who need to spend their FCCs. This would undoubtedly lead to a furore on forums and a loss of the repeat bookings that cruise lines need to survive. On the other hand, cruise lines could offer discounts to get new bookings flowing. There is clearly no need to discount extensively while so many FCCs are in circulation. However, people who opted for a refund will likely rebel if they attempt to rebook and find prices have increased substantially. These people can choose to book or not, and with any cruise line. Better to get them to rebook with the line that refunded their fare, so the offers need to be attractive. No doubt, cruise lines are working through scenarios to try to find a way through so that they remain viable and don't alienate loyal customers. On a more cynical note, I am sure that cruise lines are in it for the money and not for the financial benefit of passengers. It was ever thus. PS. We are also waiting for two Azamara refunds. We will take them at their word and wait the 30 days promised for refunds. After that we would be much less understanding.
  2. Thank you for highlighting your similar problems. We have also cruised on several of the S and R class ships and have experienced significant problems on most of them, including air con not working, toilet breakdowns (extensive), power failures and hot/cold water issues. As you have pointed out, HAL seems reluctant to spend anything on maintenance and we saw neglected items everywhere. In one case, the veranda door was loose and rattling, caused by there being NO door seal. I requested a repair, to be informed that they carried no spare seals or anything that could seal the door.(This was not the Maasdam cabin with the non-functioning AC). We are HAL five star mariners with well over 200 cruising days, and have also enjoyed many of those cruises, mostly on the larger ships. I despair that HAL does not seem to take any of the complaints seriously, but what is worse, the crew and technical staff tell you that the problem has been fixed when it has not been, and they know it full well. That is dishonest and we have experienced just that on several occasions. It appear to be a stalling tactic to get you to give up. I know this because on more than one occasion, they have eventually admitted that the problem was unfixable because it was (and remains) inherent in either the design or construction of the ship. Unfortunately, we will no longer cruise on the S or R class ships because it is clear that HAS simply doesn't care and no other cruise line would be silly enough to buy one with the associated problems. One can only hope for better things.
  3. Having just returned from an EXC In Depth cruise on the Maasdam from Singapore through the Indian Ocean, I would urge caution for anyone considering travelling on this ship in hot or tropical areas. Our booked cabin 788 on A deck lacked adequate air conditioning from day 1. We complained on days 2 and 3 and were ignored. The next day, we requested more firmly that the problem be addressed and adjustments made. Front desk staff visited the cabin and agreed that it was too hot due to inadequate air flow. A technician then removed a ceiling panel and appeared to make some adjustments. That caused the problem to worsen and the temperature to rise further, leading to very unpleasant nights trying to sleep in hot conditions with limited air flow. The cabin temperatures ranged from around 26 to 28 degrees C, even with curtains drawn to limit heat transfer through the window. We advised the front desk what had happened and were told at that time, that the Facilities Manager had stated that nothing further could be done. We requested a cabin change and were told that the ship was fully booked and no other cabins were available apart from one that "had a leak and was blocked out for this trip", and that this problem couldn't be fixed. After further complaint and an email to HAL head office, the next day the unfixable cabin was magically fixed and offered to us. This cabin 202, was a verandah cabin on deck 9. The cabin showed minor evidence of previous water damage to some woodwork but had functioning air conditioning, and was fully operational in every way. We did not request or seek an upgrade, and had this cabin been offered earlier, we would have been prepared to pay for an upgrade. Unfortunately, it took over 7 days to reach this point, possibly suggesting that stalling might make the complaints go away. During conversations with other passengers, we asked how comfortable their cabins were, and in several instances, the answer was that the cabins were unacceptably hot. Our cabin stewards also confirmed that a number of other cabins on A deck were very hot. That means of course, that many cabins were OK, temperature-wise, and if you had one of these cabins, you wouldn't know that any air conditioning problems existed in other cabins. Surprisingly, a number of other passengers told us that their cabins were so cold that they had to wear pullovers at all times in their cabins. I have now read posts that show that these same air conditioning problems have existed since 2003/2004 and have never been rectified. My conclusion is that this ship has a fundamental problem with the air conditioning system that is unfixable or too expensive to fix, and that HAL continues to operate this ship in hot or tropical areas in the full knowledge that a significant number of cabins will be either unacceptably hot or much too cold. Surely 16 years of similar complaints should be taken more seriously and rectified. Or the ship should be sold. I realise that I have few Cruise Critic posts so the first observation could be that I have little cruising experience, or am just a "newbie" to Cruise Critic. However, I post only when I believe that something needs to be said, not just to lift my rating. As a matter of interest, I am a HAL 5 star mariner and have been for several years. I have cruised widely on 5 other lines as well.
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