How could HAL Improve?

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#1
Arizona
2,263 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
I recently asked why some of you favored HAL as one of your favorite cruise lines, and the answers were very interesting. While still keeping it's unique experience, in what ways could HAL improve?

We haven't sailed on Holland yet, and don't know any criticisms other than devotees of other lines who are looking for a different experience altogether. Though the Dawson and Denali tour may get our vote for our 3rd cruise to Alaska!
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#2
Coastal North Carolina
7,428 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We just got off the Eurodam, and we had not sailed HAL in ten years and have sailed a lot on Princess and a few Royal Caribbean cruises in that time. Our traveling companions mostly sail Celebrity. It was a great cruise with a fine crew and we all enjoyed the food I will definitely do more HAL as they have some wonderful itineraries. She is a lovely ship with a lot to offer!

Recognizing that cruise lines are all different, the area I feel they could use improvement was in the production shows. The quality of the four singers was below par, the shows themselves were dull and the dancers were not featured enough in the shows. The rest of the entertainment was quite good...the comedian, the piano bar, the orchestra on board and especially the BB King Blues Club, who were fantastic!!

We also missed the self service coin-op laundry that Princess ships have. Not a big deal on a 7 night cruise, but on a longer one I like to have the option to do it ourselves (yes, I know it can be sent out).
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Sunsetbeachgal. Princess Elite Member, HAL *** Mariner
From the Sunny North Carolina Coast

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Completed: Regal Princess, Feb 2017, Oasis of the Seas, Nov., 2016, Regal Princess Repo. Oct. 2016, Scenic Cruises Rhine River, June, 2016, Coral Princess Carib., Jan, 2016, HAL Eurodam, N. Europe, June, 2015, Regal Princess Carib., Jan. 2015, HAL Prinsendam, No. Europe, Sept. 2014, Freedom of the Seas, W. Carib, March, 2014, HAL Eurodam, W. Carib. Nov., 2013, Royal Princess Grand Med., July, 2013, Emerald Princess, Carib., Jan. 2013, Sapphire Princess, California Coastal, Oct. 2012, Enchantment of the Seas-Bermuda, Aug. 2012, Freedom of the Seas-Carib., May, 2012, Star Princess, S. Carib. Mar., 2011, Ocean Princess-Greek Isles/Med-Sept., 2010, Crown Princess-W. Carib. March, 2010, Island Princess-Panama Canal, Nov. 2009, Emerald Princess S. Carib., Jan. 2009, Coral Princess-Alaska Cruisetour-June, 2008, Emerald Princess-S. Carib.- Jan., 2008, Mariner of the Seas-E. Carib.-January, 2007, Golden Princess-Med/Greek Isles-October, 2006, Star Princess-W. Carib.-January, 2006, Golden Princess-W. Europe/British Isles-June, 2005, HAL Zuiderdam-E. Carib.-Dec. 2003, HAL Volendam-W. Carib.-Dec. 2002. Silversea-Silver Whisper-Med.-May, 2002, Grand Princess-W. Carib.-Oct. 2001, Sea Princess-W. Carib.-Feb, 2000, Carnival Destiny-Canada/N.E.-June, 2000, HAL Maasdam-Baltic/Russia-July, 2000, Grand Princess-Grand Med.-June, 1999 and others...celebrating 35 years of cruising!
#3
521 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
[quote=Stateroom_Sailor;40728218]I recently asked why some of you favored HAL as one of your favorite cruise lines, and the answers were very interesting. While still keeping it's unique experience, in what ways could HAL improve?

We have five cruises on HAL. Their entertainment is definitely lacking. HAL seems to depend on passengers to provide the entertainment through talent contest, dance contest, etc. The performers are slightly more than your local community theatre. We did find that the HALcats (band) is very good. The entertainment is not that important to us, so we will continue to sail HAL because we love everything else.
#5
Massachusetts
736 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Bump up fares by $25 per person per 1-week segment, and use the money to improve the quality of the MDR food. Restore some level of better wine service in the MDR. Take a page from Princess' book and introduce something like the International Cafe.
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#6
Alberta
20,419 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
They need to improve service for both food and wine in the MDR. Quit charging top dollar for early bookers and giving away the farm at the end. Start with a lower price point and they will have less to give away at the end.
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#7
Central FL
9,712 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I am content with the food, staff, entertainment,wine(don't need much) but I think they need to upgrade the knowledge of the staff in Seattle. This is the first contact for many cruisers. Customers should not get frustrated with answers to their questions. Maybe they can hire part time experienced HAL-CCer cruisers who know the answers.
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Carol
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#8
America's Hometown
17,228 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by catl331
I am content with the food, staff, entertainment,wine(don't need much) but I think they need to upgrade the knowledge of the staff in Seattle. This is the first contact for many cruisers. Customers should not get frustrated with answers to their questions. Maybe they can hire part time experienced HAL-CCer cruisers who know the answers.
Not a bad idea!
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#9
Coastal North Carolina
7,428 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We were very pleasantly surprised at the food in the MDR and thought the buffet was quite nice, especially the breakfast food and selection. Service was for the most part prompt and efficient...we ate in the Anytime Dining Room so we don't expect to develop any relationships with the wait staff since it is a different crew every night. We ate dinner one evening in Tamarind and it was the highlight of the trip both in food and service.

We didn't order any wine in the MDR but the wine steward came around every evening shortly after we sat down to see if we cared to order any. We carried on our own wine and had happy hour on the balcony. I thought the wines by the bottle on board were way over-priced!
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Sunsetbeachgal. Princess Elite Member, HAL *** Mariner
From the Sunny North Carolina Coast

Next: British Isles, Royal Princess June, 2018

Completed: Regal Princess, Feb 2017, Oasis of the Seas, Nov., 2016, Regal Princess Repo. Oct. 2016, Scenic Cruises Rhine River, June, 2016, Coral Princess Carib., Jan, 2016, HAL Eurodam, N. Europe, June, 2015, Regal Princess Carib., Jan. 2015, HAL Prinsendam, No. Europe, Sept. 2014, Freedom of the Seas, W. Carib, March, 2014, HAL Eurodam, W. Carib. Nov., 2013, Royal Princess Grand Med., July, 2013, Emerald Princess, Carib., Jan. 2013, Sapphire Princess, California Coastal, Oct. 2012, Enchantment of the Seas-Bermuda, Aug. 2012, Freedom of the Seas-Carib., May, 2012, Star Princess, S. Carib. Mar., 2011, Ocean Princess-Greek Isles/Med-Sept., 2010, Crown Princess-W. Carib. March, 2010, Island Princess-Panama Canal, Nov. 2009, Emerald Princess S. Carib., Jan. 2009, Coral Princess-Alaska Cruisetour-June, 2008, Emerald Princess-S. Carib.- Jan., 2008, Mariner of the Seas-E. Carib.-January, 2007, Golden Princess-Med/Greek Isles-October, 2006, Star Princess-W. Carib.-January, 2006, Golden Princess-W. Europe/British Isles-June, 2005, HAL Zuiderdam-E. Carib.-Dec. 2003, HAL Volendam-W. Carib.-Dec. 2002. Silversea-Silver Whisper-Med.-May, 2002, Grand Princess-W. Carib.-Oct. 2001, Sea Princess-W. Carib.-Feb, 2000, Carnival Destiny-Canada/N.E.-June, 2000, HAL Maasdam-Baltic/Russia-July, 2000, Grand Princess-Grand Med.-June, 1999 and others...celebrating 35 years of cruising!
#10
3,943 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I am quite happy to sail on Holland America. But they could:

1. Serve hot food hot and cold food cold.
2. Add interactive TV screens with dining menus, daily program, billing, etc.
3. Add new ports.
4. Have local beer festivals. Bring a few cases of local beer on board and sell them in a bar or two at a profit.
5. Post the daily program in a few more places.
6. Post menus in more places and certainly at both ends of the Lido.
7. Improve internet speed.
8. Improve vegetarian offerings. Do away with the requirement to order vegetarian meals a day in advance.
9. Position the TV so the remote works without lifting your arm.
10. Change the "As You Wish Dining" slogan to something descriptive.
11. Quit calling one room cabins "suites".
12. Bring back trays to the Lido.
13. Have the cadets or junior officers give a few informal seamanship lectures or demonstrations.
14. Forbid any announcement mentioning spa discounts, shopping, bingo, art auctions, or entertainment.
15. Do it all without pricing Holland America out of my range.
#11
6,591 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
The only real complaint I have is I wish they would change their interior space designers and their carpet choices. HAL ship have all the basics we need and then some, so it is shame when they choose color schemes and soft furnishings they often end up with such bilious choices - overall feeling there was a fire sale on the carpets particularly. They are so close to being just about perfect in the basics, then they detract from their strong points in what they add that is superficial.
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#12
6,208 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
More consistency throughout the fleet.

Taking into account the logistical differences between and 7 day cruises and, say, 30 day ones, it would be impossible to be totally consistent. But, HAL is becoming a line of franchise ships that truly all do their own thing.

Take the recent thread on Collector's cruises: some small consistencies, a lot of large inconsistencies: parties, lunches or dinners in Pinnacle/Caneletto, chocolates, flowers, chocolate strawberries, fancy tote bags, etc. Each ship does its own thing.

Same goes for how the Mariner parties are held/or not; photos given to some Medallions awardees, some not; invitations for 5 stars for the cooking classes or not; priority tendering for suites/4/5 stars or not.
#13
central illinois
496 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
The entertainment could be improved and an interactive TV screen for shipboard account information would be nice.
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#14
Anaheim, CA
86 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Originally posted by lorekauf
They need to improve service for both food and wine in the MDR. Quit charging top dollar for early bookers and giving away the farm at the end. Start with a lower price point and they will have less to give away at the end.
THIS I think is the most important part of the issue here.

We booked an Alaska cruise well in advance and paid top dollar for it. We were told HAL was top of the line in terms of service and quality. What we got in terms of service and quality was far closer to Carnival. Service was really bad. Cabins were left dirty on arrival. The lock on the balcony door was broken and there was no way to get out on the balcony that we paid a premium price to use. A drink was made incorrectly and when we asked to get it replaced our server told us he couldn't do that. Needless to say, we were very disappointed.

Currently booked on another cruise with them and we're paying 1/4 the price we paid for the Alaska cruise for the exact same category of cabin. Now our expectations are lowered. I don't expect premium service when I don't pay a premium price.

If they want to charge reasonable rates across the board and provide reasonable service, that is fine. But because of fare competition, the quality of the service does not match the price paid when booking in advance. The fire sale prices are going to drag the quality of the line under.
#15
6,591 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by wallyboag

We booked an Alaska cruise well in advance and paid top dollar for it. ….The lock on the balcony door was broken and there was no way to get out on the balcony that we paid a premium price to use. ….
Did HAL compensate you for the balcony you were unable to use for the entire duration of your cruise? Seems only fair.

Sorry your travel agent over-sold your expectation on this mainline cruise line experience that should never have been presented as a premium luxury cruise line. Hope you change your travel agent for that unnecessary blunder.

How did your cocktail get "made incorrectly"?

They once made a mojito order for us incorrectly (new bar tender), when we order the ice blended sail away special Tropa-Mango-Mojito and redid it with no problems at all, and a few good laughs.
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#16
Greater Vancouver
4,935 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by OlsSalt
The only real complaint I have is I wish they would change their interior space designers and their carpet choices. HAL ship have all the basics we need and then some, so it is shame when they choose color schemes and soft furnishings they often end up with such bilious choices - overall feeling there was a fire sale on the carpets particularly. They are so close to being just about perfect in the basics, then they detract from their strong points in what they add that is superficial.
It is all in the eye of the beholder. The newer the ship the more bizzarre the interior design. However that does not bother me.
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#17
Greater Vancouver
4,935 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by Cruiz'nBaers
The entertainment could be improved and an interactive TV screen for shipboard account information would be nice.
I would love to see interactive TV and improved entertainment like more Joel Masons.
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#18
Displaced New Yorker
15,783 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by catl331
I am content with the food, staff, entertainment,wine(don't need much) but I think they need to upgrade the knowledge of the staff in Seattle. This is the first contact for many cruisers. Customers should not get frustrated with answers to their questions. Maybe they can hire part time experienced HAL-CCer cruisers who know the answers.
That would be a great idea. I would also like to see the main shows updated with better singers and dancers. If you cruise even once a year, you see the same shows over and over and over.
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Carol


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#19
6,591 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
I like the way the Rotterdam timed the shows for the late diners to be available at the hour before dinner, instead of having to wait until after late dinner.

Going to the show at 7pm worked for us, and we always made our 8pm dinner
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#20
Little Rock, AR
345 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
I second or third the people who wish HAL would improve their accounting/billing system and make it visible to the guest via the cabin TV. Every hotel I have been in recently does this--how difficult could it be. When I am on a cruise longer than a week I occasionally have the bill printed out for me so I can check it while I remember what I did each day. If the guest could access their info in the cabin you could check things periodically.

The Daily Program could be on the TV also thus eliminating the copious pieces of paper delivered to the cabins and thrown away the next day!

The internet situation has got to be improved! It is crazy slow and because of inaccessibility around the ship my son hates to sail. Sorry, I know you guys are saying we need to be disconnected and relaxed on vacation but the fact is that young people like to communicate with their friends who are thousands of miles away. They want to send pictures of the fabulous things they are experiencing! HAL needs the publicity with the future cruisers and could use it to promote their line.
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