Jump to content
Stateroom_Sailor

How could HAL Improve?

Recommended Posts

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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).

Edited by sunsetbeachgal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to see them go back to the days of really good speakers - I don't know if the ones we had were cruisers getting a reduced fare, or if they were hired specifically for the area cruised. We have had some great ones, but more recently the port speakers just seemed to be describing HAL's shore excursions, and shopping possibilities!

 

Evening entertainment could be improved, too. Although I don't think I would want to pay more for that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HAL can improve by going back to the former wine policy.

 

Do we know what the legal liabilities were for HAL allowing an unlimited consumption in-cabin wine policy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would recommend changing the hours for the various balls being held

on the ship. We will be going on the world on Jan. 4th and I suppose the

hours will not change. The early diners get shafted so to speak, because

they are forced to wait until the late diners are finished. These balls should start at 8 P.m. not at 10:30.:eek: The early diners would not have

to wait so long and the late diners would just go in when they are free.

It has been my experience that this hour precludes many of the seniors

(not me) from enjoying a good time. Additionally, I agree with the others

about interactive television. It seems funny that when some ships go

into dry dock, they change carpet or furniture. Why not upgrade their

television systems at the same time, not to mention the internet which as we all know is soooooo slow at times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Did HAL compensate you for the balcony you were unable to use for the entire duration of your cruise? Seems only fair.

 

We reported it to our cabin steward the first time we saw him. Wasn't fixed when we got back from dinner on the first night so we called the front desk. Maintenance didn't fix it until two days into the cruise. Because of the issues we brought up, HAL gave us a future cruise credit (which we are using on this upcoming cruise)

 

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.

 

It wasn't the travel agent's idea. We went seeking HAL as they advertise themselves as a more upscale line. "Signature of Excellence" and all that. The price was quite a bit higher than other similar itineraries on other cruise lines, so we figured we were paying a higher price for a higher standard of quality. Now looking at HALs rate tactics, we see that we just bought the cruise at a high point and that in reality their rates are similar to Carnival and Norwegian rates.

 

How did your cocktail get "made incorrectly"?

 

The cocktail (The Wine Country Collins which I see is still on the menu, she'll be happy about that) was a favorite of my sisters after she discovered it. She had one every night with dinner. On the fifth night of the cruise, it came out bitter and tasting awful (I even had a sip to confirm). We asked our server to send it back and have it re-made, and he said he couldn't do that, he would have to get permission from the beverage manager, so it sat there on the center of our table all the way through the main entree. We all kind of stared at it sitting there in the center of the table, almost a symbol, the straw that broke the camels back so to speak, of the poor service we had been experiencing on the cruise up to that point. This sort of thing should be a no-brainer. If the drink is bad, dump it out and make it again, but for some reason with HAL it was an issue.

 

Again, these things would be expected for a bargain-priced cruise, but at a premium price I don't expect heat when we ask for a drink to be re-made and I expect the cabin to be clean and the balcony door to work!

Edited by wallyboag

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

no way can you get some of these improvements without $$$. I am sure famous entertainers get famous prices. I know Regis was on for a week on a world cruise and got more than a fancy room. I have no idea what his talent is/was. Also they pay good money for designers to add those colors to the rugs and décor. People crabbed when the Eurodam came out with its simplicity in european design. Some didn't get the Nieuw Amsterdam-NY thing. I guess some think all ships should have fancy chandeliers and velvet curtains. Décor, food and entertainment are different for different people. Sail on!!

 

Right now I am having thoughts about all the people on land that service me and seem to have to wear black: hair dressers, waiters, dentists, doctors office. I still think that it is for mortuaries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We reported it to our cabin steward the first time we saw him. Wasn't fixed when we got back from dinner on the first night so we called the front desk. Maintenance didn't fix it until two days into the cruise. Because of the issues we brought up, HAL gave us a future cruise credit (which we are using on this upcoming cruise)

 

 

 

It wasn't the travel agent's idea. We went seeking HAL as they advertise themselves as a more upscale line. "Signature of Excellence" and all that. The price was quite a bit higher than other similar itineraries on other cruise lines, so we figured we were paying a higher price for a higher standard of quality. Now looking at HALs rate tactics, we see that we just bought the cruise at a high point and that in reality their rates are similar to Carnival and Norwegian rates.

 

 

 

The cocktail (The Wine Country Collins which I see is still on the menu, she'll be happy about that) was a favorite of my sisters after she discovered it. She had one every night with dinner. On the fifth night of the cruise, it came out bitter and tasting awful (I even had a sip to confirm). We asked our server to send it back and have it re-made, and he said he couldn't do that, he would have to get permission from the beverage manager, so it sat there on the center of our table all the way through the main entree. We all kind of stared at it sitting there in the center of the table, almost a symbol, the straw that broke the camels back so to speak, of the poor service we had been experiencing on the cruise up to that point. This sort of thing should be a no-brainer. If the drink is bad, dump it out and make it again, but for some reason with HAL it was an issue.

 

Again, these things would be expected for a bargain-priced cruise, but at a premium price I don't expect heat when we ask for a drink to be re-made and I expect the cabin to be clean and the balcony door to work!

 

Thanks for the specifics. This helps the discussion a lot. If you don't mind reporting, what did you pay for this trip and what cabin level that created these higher expectations?

 

All cruise ship marketing we have noticed has major credibility gaps between image and reality. They do themselves no favors creating unrealistic imagery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the specifics. This helps the discussion a lot. If you don't mind reporting, what did you pay for this trip and what cabin level that created these higher expectations?

 

On this 7-day R/T from Seattle we paid $1399 pp plus port fees for VD cabins (we picked the cabins, not GTY cabins)

Edited by wallyboag

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would like to see them go back to the days of really good speakers - I don't know if the ones we had were cruisers getting a reduced fare, or if they were hired specifically for the area cruised. We have had some great ones, but more recently the port speakers just seemed to be describing HAL's shore excursions, and shopping possibilities!

 

>SNIP<

 

We had an OUTSTANDING speaker on one cruise, he was informative, entertaining, and I still remember his name. That was about 5 years ago and I STILL remember his name ;)

 

In fairness, our "port speaker" on our last cruise gave equal time to "do it yourself" explorations of the various ports. I made note on the survey that we really appreciated that. Also sought her out to thank her for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the specifics. This helps the discussion a lot. If you don't mind reporting, what did you pay for this trip and what cabin level that created these higher expectations?

 

All cruise ship marketing we have noticed has major credibility gaps between image and reality. They do themselves no favors creating unrealistic imagery.

Wow, that's a bit much to ask, don't you think? Would you like to tell us what you paid for your last cruise and in which category?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd really like a few more stewards, for the MDR and for the cabins.

 

Ditto. me too, especially in the MDR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 10 HAL cruises, most of which are 3 weeks, we have seen many productions that were very professionally produced. We enjoyed every one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On this 7-day R/T from Seattle we paid $1399 pp plus port fees for VD cabins (we picked the cabins, not GTY cabins)

 

$200 a day each, or for both?

 

This does buy food, lodging, transportation and entertainment per day on a cruise ship. Still a bargain really, when compared to land-based costs for similar amenities. Even Comfort Suites cost over $100 a day just for a room and a lousy breakfast.

Edited by OlsSalt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
$200 a day each, or for both?

 

This does buy food, lodging, transportation and entertainment per day on a cruise ship. Still a bargain really, when compared to land-based costs for similar amenities. Even Comfort Suites cost over $100 a day just for a room and a lousy breakfast.

It's not really a bargain. My friend is at an all inclusive right now for $1800 for 2 weeks. That includes drinks! That's a bargain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many of these would be excellent, but I wonder how many of these things they could put into effect without having to raise fares a great deal? Probably a lot more than $25 per person per day, which I believe someone posted earlier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Many of these would be excellent, but I wonder how many of these things they could put into effect without having to raise fares a great deal? Probably a lot more than $25 per person per day, which I believe someone posted earlier.

It they had more moderate fares I'm fairly certain they could put on a better product. As it is they probably have 30% booking at steep fares and 70% booking at the fire sale prices. That's why they are trying to get people to book early by having programs like the Explore 4.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am quite happy to sail on Holland America. But they could:

 

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.

We had this in Warnemunde Germany, along with an oom-pah-pah band.

7. Improve internet speed.

This is happening with recent equipment upgrades.

 

 

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!

I would not like this at all, as we carry the daily On Location program all day for reference, and bring them home to help answer questions here. Edited by jtl513

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Victory Cruise Lines Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win a free 9-night cruise on Victory II
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2018
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×