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jaguarstyper

HAL is starting to lose me

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I have been a huge fan of HAL for the last 10 years and 11 cruises. But, with the recent trend in charging additional for things and diminishing levels of service are starting to make me second guess them. One of the things I always liked about cruising is the all-inclusive nature of it. I realize HAL still represents a good value considering the fares, but I really am not a fan of all the nickel and diming that they are going to.

 

I have 2 more cruises booked on HAL, but I think the one following that, I'm going to seriously start looking at the competition. Something I have not really done much of over the last 10 years since my first HAL cruise. I do not care much for what HAL appears to becoming. These next two cruises will help me decide where I will be spending my future cruising dollars, and it very well might not be with HAL.

 

Any suggestions?

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When we got home from Alaska in July we cancelled some future cruises on HAL.

We are looking at Celebrity.

Right now we are not sure which direction we should go so we are just staying home this fall and winter.

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I did not think I would ever say it but am kind of agreeing with you. The latest thing is the charging for water in the MDR and also for the cappuccino coffee in the MDR. Our next cruise in two weeks on the Maasdam will be our eleventh and with a total of 149 days on Hal. We have a Celebrity cruise booked for next June and are in the market for a future cruise. A lot will depend on how we enjoy this upcoming cruise who we will cruise next. We are hoping that the negative things and comments we have been reading about here on CC will not be seen or happen to us. To date we can say we have enjoyed all our cruises with Hal and are very much looking forward to that continuing to happen.

Edited by boards

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We agree too. DH noted that HAL is starting to look shabby, both in appearance and practices. After cruising almost exclusively with HAL for the past 8 years we have a cruise booked with RCI for next year (our previous cruises with them were perfect, and no plumbing issues!), another with HAL, and then will decide if we will "jump ship" once and for all.

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Count me in. We're cruising in two weeks with HAL and then thinking about coming home and canceling our August 2013 HAL to Alaska. We'll just eat the lost future cruise credits if need be.

 

They have one more cruise to convince us to stay aboard. (Not that they will notice.

 

We've been loyal to HAL for years and I have no idea where to even look. But in January I'll start reading the other boards here at CC. At least I have a good idea which lines NOT to try.

Edited by tangerinebunny

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Nickel and diming passengers certainly does not make any friends.

.........but I have to ask the question, where are you going because the other mid priced cruise lines are doing the same thing. I like to read the other boards just to understand what is going on within the other lines. Unless your willing to upgrade to the more expensive all inclusive lines, I think your walking yourself from one frying pan to another. Just my opinion.

Edited by PathfinderEss

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Same here. After cruising on the Zuiderdam last spring, we've decided it's time to try another cruise line. We're going with Oceania. I've been reading the boards there and Oceania seems like a good fit. What we spent on an SA was not worth the money. The furniture looked like something out of a frat house. Hubby said if it was a hotel, we would have left and went to another. Our toilet worked, but it always took two flushes. The A/C was hit and miss. Sometimes it was cool, but most of the time it wasn't.

 

We love the Neptune Lounge but found it almost impossible to talk with the concierge. In the past, one was almost always at the desk, and many time both were there to help. This past time we encountered a clipboard many times where we had to leave our name. Several times we even went down to the front desk rather than leave our name. Not that the NL is the end of the world, it's not, but it all adds up. Cut backs are apparent. The staff was as wonderful as ever, although we felt way overworked. They looked exhausted.

 

If we're going to spend 8-9k we're going to spend it elsewhere because our cruise was just not worth that amount of money. I'm sure HAL will fill their ships, it's just not going to be with us. We do not like change so we would prefer to not be jumping ships, but it's time.

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.........but I have to ask the question, where are you going because the other mid priced cruise lines are doing the same thing. I like to read the other boards just to understand what is going on within the other lines. Unless your willing to upgrade to the more expensive all inclusive lines, I think your walking yourself from one frying pan to another. Just my opinion.

I disagree with you Melodie. Have you been reading Lisa's "Live From". I will not do Ryndam in 2014 & am really not a fan of the Vista ships. I'm kind of swaying toward NCL for an Alaska cruise. I will certainly see what they have in a coastal for spring 2014 & then tag on an Alaska cruise at the end. The water thing really bugs me about HAL & I have been loyal to them for 18 years. The more I read about free style cruising the more I like it. The dress code on HAL's Alaska cruises has gone down their smelly toilets. If you are going to have a code - enforce it.

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Hi Tim!

 

If you look at my signature, we have been bouncing between HAL and "X." Overall, we like the HAL product a bit better. Service on HAL is much more consistent than on "X," and "X" ships are becoming more crowded in public places.

 

We are "Low end" cruisers - usually in an outside, sometimes an inside and sometimes a balcony. Never buy bottled water on board, DW did enjoy the cappuccino at dinner (when did HAL start charging for this? Not on Ryndam in May). Our "Big spluge" is on larger HAL ships we get the Hydropool package.

 

After 11 cruises you may be ready to try something different. We are eyeing several HAL cruises for 2013 but nothing booked yet.

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Count me in. We're cruising in two weeks with HAL and then thinking about coming home and canceling our August 2013 HAL to Alaska.
I am in almost the exact same situation. I am cruising on HAL in December and have Alaska on HAL in May. If things are as I am anticipating, I may very well cancel the Alaska cruise with HAL and explore the alternatives.

 

.........but I have to ask the question, where are you going because the other mid priced cruise lines are doing the same thing. I like to read the other boards just to understand what is going on within the other lines. Unless your willing to upgrade to the more expensive all inclusive lines, I think your walking yourself from one frying pan to another. Just my opinion.

You make a very good point, hence my quandary, where to go. I have always wanted to try Oceania. Yes, it is more expensive than HAL, but it seems to be much more like what HAL used to be and like what I am looking for. I know when I say I don't like the nickel and diming it sounds like I don't like the cost of it. That's not really the case. Its not the cost so much as the principal and my perceived tackiness of it. Each and everyone of the cutbacks and added charges on their own don't sound like much, but they add up. The more I look at Oceania, the more I like what I see and read. Celebrity also has my attention.

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They have one more cruise to convince us to stay aboard. (Not that they will notice.)

 

Me too. In my case that's one more cruise - maybe. I have friends cruising right now and am awaiting their report. Although I have some OBC from the last "disaster" (which OBC I did not request,) I may let it go if the report is bad. I don't believe in throwing good money after bad.

 

It doesn't work for me if they consistently 1) try to pay me off after the poor service, or 2) nickel/dime me to death instead of simply raising the fare. Both practices are offensive.

 

I, too have several years of happy HAL cruises (including 2 grand voyages) and the stars to prove it. Unfortunately, I am not getting the message that they care. My only complaint ever - about the dramatic downhill trend on my most recent cruise was met with OBC and words to the effect that I must be imagining the decline since no one else was complaining (an outright lie).

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Well, here's a different opinion. I'm doing the same thing many of you are saying, but it's with me and Celebrity. I've done more than 30 cruises on Celebrity and have started looking at HAL because Celebrity has really fallen off a lot, imho, in many areas. We looked at HAL because we thought it would give us a perspective on another cruise line, and we want to see how it compares with Celebrity and we thought it was a line that would compare evenly with that line.

 

Now, I'm beginning to wonder if the saying "familiarity breeds contempt" works with cruise lines? Maybe cruising with only one line causes the negative aspects of that line to become more obvious? Would things look better if one would mix it up, so to speak, and cruise on different lines? I know when we would take an occasional cruise on RCI or Carnival ( OK lines but food and service can in no way compare with Celebrity), the negatives on that line would put things into a better perspective concerning Celebrity.

 

Believe me, Celebrity is no cup of tea in many aspects and their decline in many areas has become blatantly obvious. While the food is still good, the upkeep of some of their ships is not at all good and the service is not as good as it once was. To be honest, the decline in many aspects on Celebrity, especially in the food department, has caused us to stop dining in the MDR and we now dine only in their specialty restaurants.

 

But don't switch from HAL thinking it's going to be a panacea for all complaints against that line. Every line has been going down the proverbial commode for a long time now, all in the interest of corporate profits.

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I disagree with you Melodie. Have you been reading Lisa's "Live From". I will not do Ryndam in 2014 & am really not a fan of the Vista ships. I'm kind of swaying toward NCL for an Alaska cruise. I will certainly see what they have in a coastal for spring 2014 & then tag on an Alaska cruise at the end. The water thing really bugs me about HAL & I have been loyal to them for 18 years. The more I read about free style cruising the more I like it. The dress code on HAL's Alaska cruises has gone down their smelly toilets. If you are going to have a code - enforce it.

 

careful Gail - Lisa will be the first person to say she likes NCL suites - but NCL only works with suites - I sailed NCL for years and loved it and then they changed! Haven't been back on to try a suite but if I wasn't doing one based on my friends' latest reports who were huge NCL fans, I wouldn't pick this as my next line - but that's JMO:D

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.........but I have to ask the question, where are you going because the other mid priced cruise lines are doing the same thing. I like to read the other boards just to understand what is going on within the other lines. Unless your willing to upgrade to the more expensive all inclusive lines, I think your walking yourself from one frying pan to another. Just my opinion.

 

 

I've done the mainstream cruise lines and I've done the math. It doesn't cost much more to cruise with a line that has a more "all inclusive" approach (e.g., Voyages to Antiquity, Swan Hellenic) than it does to cruise a mainstream cruise line like HAL or Princess and fork over for all the "extras" you have to pay for.

 

I did a side-by-side comparison of two very similar itineraries in the Eastern Med that I did within a month of each other a couple of years ago (2010). It was HAL's Westerdam vs. Voyages to Antiquity's Aegean Odyssey. In the end, it was a wash, with less than $100 difference between the two lines. Among other things, VTA offers reduced air, most shore excursions are included, and wine/beer/soft drinks are included at dinner.

 

Swan Hellenic offers much of the same (minus the dinner drinks) plus free self laundry (yes, free, including soap). And tipping is already included on both lines.

 

It's a big world of cruise lines out there. For those dissatisfied with HAL's current product, I do suggest trying one -- or a few -- different lines. You might find something better is out there waiting.

Edited by cruisemom42

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Well, here's a different opinion. I'm doing the same thing many of you are saying, but it's with me and Celebrity. I've done more than 30 cruises on Celebrity and have started looking at HAL because Celebrity has really fallen off a lot, imho, in many areas. We looked at HAL because we thought it would give us a perspective on another cruise line, and we want to see how it compares with Celebrity and we thought it was a line that would compare evenly with that line.

 

Now, I'm beginning to wonder if the saying "familiarity breeds contempt" works with cruise lines? Maybe cruising with only one line causes the negative aspects of that line to become more obvious? Would things look better if one would mix it up, so to speak, and cruise on different lines? I know when we would take an occasional cruise on RCI or Carnival ( OK lines but food and service can in no way compare with Celebrity), the negatives on that line would put things into a better perspective concerning Celebrity.

 

Believe me, Celebrity is no cup of tea in many aspects and their decline in many areas has become blatantly obvious. While the food is still good, the upkeep of some of their ships is not at all good and the service is not as good as it once was. To be honest, the decline in many aspects on Celebrity, especially in the food department, has caused us to stop dining in the MDR and we now dine only in their specialty restaurants.

 

But don't switch from HAL thinking it's going to be a panacea for all complaints against that line. Every line has been going down the proverbial commode for a long time now, all in the interest of corporate profits.

 

Well said Darcie - I sailed Celebrity a few years ago and honestly preferred HAL - unles you want to go upscale - you are going to find charges on board. c'est la vie:D

 

I've done lines that no longer exist, Celebrity, Princess, NCL - I think the only one I have missed is Carnival - HAL is still my fave so far - when I leave HAL I think we may have to move upscale or try NCL suites (but then you need to pay for specialty restaurants from what I have heard just about every night).

 

We found things up a notch on the Prinsendam and are hoping it will be that way again - if it is - it is worth the higher price:D

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NCL is the only other cruise line I have been on besides HAL in the last 10 years. They fall short of HAL in a lot of ways, but they were significantly cheaper than HAL and the NCL suite (Royal Suite, if my memory serves me) was far better than a deluxe verandah suite on HAL.

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Everything indicates that all Cruise lines are starting to add fees for stuff that use to be included not just HAL. I remember seeing a story in USA Today not to long ago about this practice. The Cruise Industry has noticed the billions additional dollars the airlines are making with fees and want to apply the model to cruising.

 

It is very said but I'm not sure what can be done to counter it except a large scale boycott, and good luck trying to organize that. I think they will start charging extra for cabin location since most airlines charge extra for seat location.

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Life is sweet in a suite, on almost any line. Concierge class and special amenities abound. And yes, when you're spending 8K-9K you should rightfully expect (demand?) certain luxuries. But most of us are not spending anywhere near that amount. In fact my cruise next month on the NA is costing over $100 less than a similar HAL cruise SIX YEARS AGO. So, if they're charging less (but most likely paying their suppliers more) you know there are going to be cuts. Frankly I'd rather pay less and be charged for what I want and use than pay more and have unnecessary items included. But that's JMHO. With the exception of Europe/Hawaii/Alaska, we cruise exclusively out of South Florida as we can drive to the port(s). We switched to other lines when my work schedule only permitted us to get away in the summer and HAL had no ships in the Caribbean then. After 7 years away from HAL (1 Costa, 1 Celebrity, 1 Princess, 1 Royal and 2 Carnival, not in any particular order) we'll be back on HAL next month (different job :-) . I'll report back and let you know if HAL has won us back or not.

Edited by mkam2821
grammar

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I think they will start charging extra for cabin location since most airlines charge extra for seat location.

They already do that now and have been for a long time. SA, SB, SC...VA, VB, VC, VD, VF, VH, etc. All are the same class of cabin, priced differently based on location.

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Everybody has there own expectations and wants from a cruise so you'll get all kinds of replies, and they're all right. We used to be huge HAL fans. Seven of our first ten cruises were on HAL, and we have a modest 101 days sailing with them. Because of cutbacks and many other reasons, only three of the last fourteen have been with them. We've now are in the Celebrity camp. We have our twenty-fourth cruise coming up this Sunday, on Celebrity, and will see if things have changed since this past May. Our two all time favorite cruises have been the last two, both on Celebrity Solstice.

Our three least favorite cruises, starting with the worst is (1) Ryndam, last November. By a long ways. (2) NCL Sun, several years ago. and (3) Amsterdam this past August.

I'm not so against HAL, but it would have to be the right itenerary at the right price to offset the cutbacks and changes.

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Our last cruise was a TA on HAL; the one before that was a TA on =X=. We prefered =X=, but decided to put cruising as a last resort for vacations or trips in the future.

There are many places in the U.S. and Canada that we have not been and would like to see, some DW has not seen and I have, but many years ago and would like to see again.

I/we are not wanting to try an all-inclusive, but prefer to be able to go or stop on a whim!:) A few years ago we went to Wis. and I had names and phone #s of places in Green Bay and the Peninsula, but we liked the Dells area and stayed there a few days before starting home. Had we not liked it there we would have gone North until we found some cooler weather!

We have been on 5 TAs and about 5 other cruises, but there was no option to stay even an extra hour! :( I think we'll be happy looking for the small luxury cruising USED to offer. The experience now is more like an overnight ferry!:rolleyes: (Yes I have done that too!)

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