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jaguarstyper

HAL is starting to lose me

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Someone once posted that you're better off upgrading your cruise line rather than upgrading your cabin. Like another poster on this thread, we're at the bottom end of passengers. What we're paying for our cruise--including all the extra charges for tips, shore excursions, and wine--wouldn't get us on one of the finer cruise lines.

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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.

 

As I stated the other day, cruising isn't the only type of luxury travel. There are many types of travel available, many places to stay, including all inclusives, and who knows? Maybe time shares will become popular again.

 

There are also numerous forms of entertainment as well. So if you have travel, all inclusives and entertainment options who really needs cruising? It is a wonderful thing and a historical treasure, but there is more competition for your time and money than ever before.

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Nickel and diming passengers certainly does not make any friends.

 

And it certainly doesn't make for a pleasurable experience, never mind vacation.

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There are also numerous forms of entertainment as well. So if you have travel, all inclusives and entertainment options who really needs cruising? It is a wonderful thing and a historical treasure, but there is more competition for your time and money than ever before.
Yes that is very true, and over the years I have tried just about all of them. And, I've decided that I truly love cruising. Being on a ship in the middle of a sea surrounded by nothing but blue water and going to bed and waking up in a totally new place every morning has a very strong appeal to me.

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Yes that is very true, and over the years I have tried just about all of them. And, I've decided that I truly love cruising. Being on a ship in the middle of a sea surrounded by nothing but blue water and going to bed and waking up in a totally new place every morning has a very strong appeal to me.

 

 

Ditto

AND we love the blue hulled beautiful HAL ships and the Officers/Crew/Staff who bring them to life.

 

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They're not cutting back on the river cruise lines. Everyone should try a river cruise at least once. Sure it's not the ocean, but there are many similarities all the same.

 

Prices are higher, but you get more too.

 

At least on European rivers, 135 to 180 people on the boat, small enough not to overwhelm each port of call, most excursions included, fabulous continental cuisine, wine and beer included with dinner, many include transfers to/from airport, stay in port until midnight at many stops.

 

I think the trend on the larger lines, including HAL, is irreversible as far as cutbacks go. Like so much of our society today, the lowest common denominator is becoming the norm.

 

You can still have the product that you want, but you need to pay the add-on fees for specialty dining, retreat access, etc. if you want what used to be. Otherwise, you'll likely find cutbacks in many areas.

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Yes that is very true, and over the years I have tried just about all of them. And, I've decided that I truly love cruising. Being on a ship in the middle of a sea surrounded by nothing but blue water and going to bed and waking up in a totally new place every morning has a very strong appeal to me.

I've had the opportunity to visit various all inclusives for the day as a "break" from the ship. I've been VERY disappointed with either the food or the kids running around and screaming the whole time. I find myself running back to the ship within hours. I really am a cruise person and I will continue with cruising in the near term with HAL or someone else.

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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?

 

Nickel and diming on HAL ??? :eek:

Could you be more specific?

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We cruise twice a year. We prefer Celebrity or HAL, but sometimes end up booking Carnival or RCL.

 

We book mostly based on price and itinerary. but are wiling to pay a little more for Celebrity or HAL.

 

After itinerary and price, what is most important to us is:

 

#1 Food quality in MDR and buffet.

 

#2 Adult ambiance. (no big screens screaming out loud Carnival commercials at the pool all day long!)

 

#3 Proper use of ship common spaces (back pool decks with live music and tables and chairs at night, loungers by day. It is nice when common areas don't go "dead" at night.)

 

The nickle and diming is not the end of the world, I kind of expect it.

 

If HAL and Celebrity can stay on top of the items above, we will stay, if these drop off, we will move to more land based vacations.

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Well, I am keeping an open mind and look very forward to trying the Westerdam next month. It will be only my second HAL vacation and my first seven day or longer cruise in four years. I am getting a wonderful deal and hope that it is worthwhile.

 

I wasn't happy with RCCL Monarch of the Seas, which was a four day Bahama's run, but I also didn't care for Carnival Sensation when I took a three day cruise there either.

 

I enjoy going to new places and visiting old friends and relatives. I have a timeshare here in Florida. One of the fantastic things about Florida besides the weather and no income tax is the fact that I live in an entertainment capital of the world. I am fortunate that my everyday life would be a fantastic vacation for most people in the world.

 

I'm not giving up on cruising, but rather re-trying it. Just all of the comments on poor maintenance and service are scaring me a bit. I look forward to my cruise next month and I now know the kind of problems to expect. I appreciate the cumulative wisdom of these boards and hope we are makiing mountains out of molehills.

 

I will know somewhat more by Christmas.

 

Assuming we aren't in WWIII by then.

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Well, I am keeping an open mind and look very forward to trying the Westerdam next month. It will be only my second HAL vacation and my first seven day or longer cruise in four years. I am getting a wonderful deal and hope that it is worthwhile.

 

I wasn't happy with RCCL Monarch of the Seas, which was a four day Bahama's run, but I also didn't care for Carnival Sensation when I took a three day cruise there either.

 

I enjoy going to new places and visiting old friends and relatives. I have a timeshare here in Florida. One of the fantastic things about Florida besides the weather and no income tax is the fact that I live in an entertainment capital of the world. I am fortunate that my everyday life would be a fantastic vacation for most people in the world.

 

I'm not giving up on cruising, but rather re-trying it. Just all of the comments on poor maintenance and service are scaring me a bit. I look forward to my cruise next month and I now know the kind of problems to expect. I appreciate the cumulative wisdom of these boards and hope we are makiing mountains out of molehills.

 

I will know somewhat more by Christmas.

 

Assuming we aren't in WWIII by then.

Take what you read on here with a grain of salt. You just never know how high maintenance some people are. My last cruise on HAL was in April and I found it to be quite a bit like every other cruise on HAL, some good, some bad. I find it really hard to believe that HAL has gone to he** in a hand basket in that time but maybe it has. Sometimes some folks have unreasonable expectations too.

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I think cruising different lines puts a lot of things in perspective. In 2012, we will have cruised with HAL three times, and once each on NCL, Celebrity, and Princess. In 2013, our plans include 2 -4 cruises on HAL, 1 on RCCL 1 on Princess and 1-3 on Celebrity. All the lines are charging extra for various items. That’s the way cruising is going. All lines charge so little for the cabin that they have to make money somewhere. As many have said, and it is true, cruise lines are a business and need to make a profit. Those of us who have CCL or RCL stock get a benefit from cruise line profits.

HAL is still our favorite as we cruise based on itinerary first. We want to see certain places. We cruise the other lines if their itinerary is good (example HAL does not do 7- 11 day West Coast wine cruises as Princess, Celebrity, and NCL do). We also cruise on the other lines to be with friends who are on them for conferences. But for longer cruises with great itineraries, we keep coming back to HAL. HAL service for us remains outstanding. The nickel and diming is annoying but I tend to ignore . Charging for filtered water actually makes me laugh.

Barbara

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Interesting observations from those looking to leave HAL for greener pastures, yet it seems most cruise lines are having to make cutbacks in many areas. SO unless one is willing to go very upscale, and pay for it, perhaps the pastures aren't as green after all. They are all faced with the same issues yet over and over I read how people hunt out the best bargains they can find.....then complain of cutbacks.

 

We ( 4 of us) were new to HAL last winter. We all had many cruises on Queen Mary 2...we're Platinum on Cunard. Yet we made the decision to leave Cunard for just what others are complaining about on HAL these days....diminishing level of service, food that had definitely gone downhill since our earlier cruises on her, and some basic nickel and dime-ing to squeeze out extra revenue in things we'd taken for granted before. I love QM2....I"m not as enamored with Cunard at this point.

 

We were quite taken with Noordam...her service level was exceptional....she sparkled everywhere....food was really quite excellent almost every night and the Lido food far above what we'd had elsewhere. The crew made her exceptional and we return to her in a couple of short weeks, eager to enjoy what was a very special experience last Dec. Not having known HAL in the past perhaps we missed things that others knew in years gone by. But we sure felt like we got great value for dollars spent. Something we'd not said on QM2 for the last few voyages...and friends who also have left Cunard say the same.

 

We tried 2 Princess cruises....the Alaska one was outstanding because of Alaska, not Princess, altho the organization of the land tour/ cruise was flawless. But they have the worst beds, worst food ( we ate in the Lido 4 of 7 nights it was so bad in the dining room) and a crowded feel to them....we all decided we'd not spend our money with them.

 

There are other options for sure for vacations.....we own a vacation house in a place we like....are looking to buy another elsewhere. We rent houses in special places we like and spend a few weeks there. But I do need to go to sea once a year because I just plain love the ocean. I hope declining standards won't affect this but if they do, I have plenty of other choices to part with my money.

 

Oysterdam, I read with interest your comment on river cruises as a Christmas Markets is on the planning board for next year, an experience I am eager to try and then perhaps Christmas in Europe after with friends and family over there.

 

I truly believe that until this economy we all are dealing with turns around, the cruise lines will have to adapt to be able to offer cruises we can all afford. And that means cutbacks or extra charges for them. If we don't agree we can go elsewhere.

 

I grew up long ago with crossings to spend summer with my Norwegian Grandparents. Onboard I was used to silver service every meal, a stewardess who ironed my childhood dresses every day, waiters who bent over backwards to please my finicky childhood palate...and we were not in first class, we were in the middle in Cabin class. would I like to see that now? You bet....but I know it will never come again.

 

Cheers, Penny

 

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water” Rabindranath Tagore

 

Penny’s “Affair to Remember” QM2 Review Dec. 2006

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=471053

 

November 10,2007...QM2 to the Caribbean again

October 16,2008...QM2 transatlantic in tandem with the grand QE2 on her final transatlantic voyage.

December 9, 2008...QM2...back to the Caribbean

July 30, 2009....QM2....transatlantic again...

August 7, 2009....QM2... “home” to Norway

Feb. 7, 2010....Emerald Princess to the Caribbean

Aug 14, 2010...QM2... return to Norway, all the way to the top!

Aug 22, 2011...Diamond Princess....North to Alaska!!

Dec 2,2011...Noordam to the Caribbean...outstanding! http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1544173

2012...Assorted land trips in my own stunning country

Oct 2012....OBX

2012...Booked on the lovely Noordam again

 

Several North Atlantic crossings from childhood thru college on ships of the old Norwegian America line and Swedish America Line...RIP to those marvelous old ships

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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?

 

I do not understand why some people just cruise Hal, I have done Hal on last 3 cruises and am ready for something new, booked a AI for next week ( sandalls in Jamaica) , will go back to RCCL or X or Princess or Costa or try another line for my next cruise. Each line has good and bad points, have 55 cruises in total over 35 years. I am sure we will return to Hal sometime in the future.

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have just gotten off the phone with HAL ship services....they DO NOT charge for water in the main dining room....in fact you can get water anytime up in the Lido, along with some other beverages. Water IS for sale - bottled water that is - when you go off the ship, on excursions.....

 

Also, the rep told me, which I already knew, that you can bring on unlimited amounts of pop, OJ, bottled water, wine when boarding.......

 

However, it is true that recently they have discontinued the free espresso/capucchino in the MDR after the evening meal - to go along with dessert. Decaf coffee, reg, coffee, tea is served free of charge.

 

For those wanting specialty coffees, the rep advised that the beverage card includes specialty coffees, along with pop? Never had that card, so am not familiar with what it covers.

 

Recently on Celebrity, I was asked for mycard up in Oceanview (Lido) Cafe at 7 a.m.! I asked why....and was told my husband had said I would like OJ, and fresh squeezed OJ is a pay item! I smiled and told him my husband could bring me the sweet concentrate from the dispenser, for free.....

, thank you very much ( and yuck!)

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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

 

Thanks for your input, Jacqui. Will keep your comments in my mind.:)

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I can understand the frustration at the "nickel & diming" but then again, reading this post I had another thought. It doesn't really effect me as I really have never taken advantage of the "free" services that are now incur a fee.

 

I never drink bottled water, still or sparkling, on the ship, and never prefer not to eat the the alternative restaurants -- so why should my cruise fare subsidize those that do? In a way it always will, the same way my cheaper hotel standard room rates subsidize the rates of those who choose to stay in suites. But why should I pay for someone to gorge themselves on 2 or 3 lobster tails a night, when I only eat one? Why should someone who is a vegan subsidize the steak of of someone who eats in the Pinnacle Grill? I choose not to use the hydrotherapy pool, why should I pay for someone else to do so? Those are choices we all make. I think, in some ways, it's only fair for yo to pay more to get more. Everyone here who chooses to book suites agree that they pay for the privilege of having the Neptune Lounge and breakfast in Pinnacle and no-wait tendering, among other things. Suite-stayers nearly go into fits when anyone dares to suggest that those privileges should be open to anyone -- arguing that they have paid for the perks and steerage passengers did not.

 

I think the same goes for alternative dining venues, bottled or sparkling water (which by the way, is never offered free at land-based restaurants), after-dinner lattes or cappuccinos (also never free at land-based restaurants), or any other of the myraid "nickel & dime" complaints. If you choose to take advantage of them, why should there not be a fee for that?

 

It does come down to you get what you pay for, and choosing to vote with your feet will require you to either pay more up front or be incrementally charged for services on other lines. Nothing is ever free. You end up paying for it at some point.

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Just to clarify my point regarding the water issue, I was referring to the jugs or containers of water being brought to the table and offered to us. I was not talking about bottled water. Bottled water to my knowledge has never been free, we have paid for it when we wanted it. Also so far I have not been on a cruise yet where this has happened. This issued was brought here on CC today.

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If you choose to take advantage of them, why should there not be a fee for that?
Because you never used to have to pay a fee for them. That is the crux of the issue for me. And yes, I know its all being done to keep fares low. Its not the fees or the extra money that bothers me. Its that they keep taking things away that have always been there, thereby reducing the overall experience, at least to me. I totally understand your point.

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I can understand the frustration at the "nickel & diming" but then again, reading this post I had another thought. It doesn't really effect me as I really have never taken advantage of the "free" services that are now incur a fee.

 

.

 

I agree. I'm not ready to give up on HAL yet. We sail HAL and Celebrity, and prefer HAL slightly over X. We love HAL's itineraries, wrap-around teak decks for walking, and their generous wine policy (of bringing unlimited wine for consumption in your cabin). Until we find another line who can give us that, we'll stay with HAL unless things go downhill fast in other ways.

 

So far none of these changes affects us. We don't care for capuccino or espresso anyway, and don't mind paying extra for specialty coffees we do like in the Explorer's Cafe as we always have.

 

I do plan to be careful that we aren't charged for water when we haven't asked for bottled water! ;)

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Evidently some water is free and some not. I am a bit suprised that since they are now doing the filtered water gig, why it isn't shown on the menu like the coffee is. And nobody has yet answered to my knowledge about whether they were asked for their card for the water.

 

Very strange....

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<SNIP> ... I look forward to my cruise next month and I now know the kind of problems to expect. I appreciate the cumulative wisdom of these boards and hope we are makiing mountains out of molehills. I will know somewhat more by Christmas. Assuming we aren't in WWIII by then.

It makes me sad that someone is going on a cruise with this kind of uncertainty is the back of their mind. Vicocala - I'm hoping you have a great cruise. Please report back to us how it went.

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Because you never used to have to pay a fee for them. That is the crux of the issue for me. And yes, I know its all being done to keep fares low. Its not the fees or the extra money that bothers me. Its that they keep taking things away that have always been there, thereby reducing the overall experience, at least to me. I totally understand your point.

 

Actually, you did have to pay a fee for them, it was just included in your overall cruise fare. It's not free if you already pay for it; it's pre-paid.

 

I'm paying less for my 15-day Canada/New England cruise next October than I did for my first 10-day Canada/New England cruise in 1998. Even without a Mariner Discount, it would still be less than that first cruise. Yes, service has changed in the intervening years, but no one would expect the same level of quality or service for 1/3 cost 15 years later at a land-based facility.

 

The nickel & dime trend has been around a lot longer in the air -- look at being forced to pay extra for meals or checked baggage, or even carry-on bags! Those were never actually "free" they were just figured into the base fare. It's the same with cruiselines. They are now breaking down what was the base fare, so you can opt out of the services you do not need or want.

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Oysterdam, I read with interest your comment on river cruises as a Christmas Markets is on the planning board for next year, an experience I am eager to try and then perhaps Christmas in Europe after with friends and family over there.

 

 

Patwell, you have several excellent choices. Tauck and Scenic are the premium river cruise lines (with great attention to detail, fantastic excursions and experiences, suites and balconies available) , Uniworld and AMA are next (going on my third Uniworld Christmas cruise this December), and many other excellent lines. Combining a pre and/or post stay with your river cruise makes for a wonderful trip. However, due to much smaller ships, you should be looking to deposit very soon in order to get the date you are interested in.

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Most cruiselines are basically alike. If you switch to Celebrity, you could take one cruise where the food was great, then the next one--- you could have so so food. Same thing with service---depends on the staff at the time. In the grand scheme of things, I don't think any of the cruiselines deliberately want to give a worse cruising experience than the competition.

 

We found at one point in our lives, we were "cruised out". At that point, we did a bunch of land tours, until we decided those exhausted us. Now, at 60+, cruising is desirable again. The difference now is we are inclined to take more luxury cruises unless a great itinerary calls to us.

 

I know I am in the minority, but I wish all cruiselines would raise their prices simultaneously so we could enjoy the same level of food and service we experienced 25 years ago!

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