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Guilt trip by HAL to promote ships tours?

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I haven't seen this before on HAL's online ship excursion page.

 

"Although much of Hammerfest is readily accessible on foot, Holland America Line has partnered with a tour operator here to offer a local perspective and commentary that would not be present when exploring on your own. Sources of outside revenue are scarce in small villages such as Hammerfest and the local population benefits from tour participation."

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I haven't seen this before on HAL's online ship excursion page.

 

"Although much of Hammerfest is readily accessible on foot, Holland America Line has partnered with a tour operator here to offer a local perspective and commentary that would not be present when exploring on your own. Sources of outside revenue are scarce in small villages such as Hammerfest and the local population benefits from tour participation."

 

HAL is giving you the full picture. This isn't St Thomas where you'll have swarms of tour providers all trying to undercut one another.

 

You've been given all the information to make your own decision, and you still retain the free will you were born with.

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I haven't seen this before on HAL's online ship excursion page.

 

"Although much of Hammerfest is readily accessible on foot, Holland America Line has partnered with a tour operator here to offer a local perspective and commentary that would not be present when exploring on your own. Sources of outside revenue are scarce in small villages such as Hammerfest and the local population benefits from tour participation."

 

I would think that "a small village such as Hammerfest" would benefit more by passengers going out and about on their own and contributing directly to the economy!

 

I am not familiar with Hammerfest, but just reading that it is a "small village" I am wondering why HAL is using it as a Port of call!

Edited by Hflors

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If I saw something like that, I would be inclined to do something on my own.

I am getting the impression that what tours HAL is offering aren't being booked. JMO

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Book an excursion through HAL OR

don't! Your choice.

 

I agree. HAL has given you information that perhaps one would not see as much or get as much out of a tour on your own. You decide what works for you. Hammerfest is apparently a small island in Finland.

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Hammerfast is a small community in Northern Norway. Companies which offer tours would be, I think, few in number.

 

I have been there. It is a charming place to visit with many sites to see. Having someone who knows the area and can relate its story adds to the shore excursion experience.

 

Could one see the small city on their own? Yes, if one has two legs and can walk. But. why not avail oneself of the knowledge of a local that could enrich the touring experience?

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Hammerfast is a small community in Northern Norway. Companies which offer tours would be, I think, few in number.

 

I have been there. It is a charming place to visit with many sites to see. Having someone who knows the area and can relate its story adds to the shore excursion experience.

 

Could one see the small city on their own? Yes, if one has two legs and can walk. But. why not avail oneself of the knowledge of a local that could enrich the touring experience?

 

Good, helpful post.

Hopefully it assists some CC'ers in deciding.

 

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Guilt trip?

 

They're selling a product. Do you consider every marketing event/commercial a guilt trip? If so there aren't enough confessions on earth to relieve all that guilt!

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Obviously HAL would like to sell shore excursions. it's part of their business.

 

But RKA explains the situation quite well for this port.

 

Why must everyone try so hard to find something insidious, sneaky, or just plain negative in everything HAL says or does?

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Hammerfest was one place where we did just walk around on our own. It is a pretty place. Easy to walk around. Print out a good map beforehand, the maps the ship gives out are not very good. I think Hammerfest was a place with a "zik-zak" road, and some of the ship's tours walked it, or at least went to the top for the views, so we didn't get that, but the town itself was level - I think there was a bridge to get from one side to the other. Gee, it was only 3 years ago, but my memories are fading.:(

 

I suppose taking a tour would give you more local perspective, and HAL does, I think, usually get good guides.

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Oh my goodness! So the OP is surprised that HAL uses subtle pressure to sell their excursions? One should consider that excursions are a profit center and cruise lines do not profit from those who go off on their own. And the arm twisting is much worse then the OPs posted description. How about the Port Lecturers (who usually work for the same company that runs the show excursion desk) who promote overpriced tours. We have heard some of these lectures where they toss out subtle warnings (strikes, crime, missing the ship, etc). And even worse is when HAL (and some other lines) do not disclose that there are much less costly options such as a free shuttle bus from the port to a city center or a local bus line that cost 2€ as opposed to a $20 HAL transfer.

 

And the local area might benefit even more from independent travelers (such as moi) who will use their transportation, rent their cars, take the time to dine in their restaurants/cafes, etc. In small villages the cruise lines often contract with tour providers who come from outside the port town!

 

Hank

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I do find it a little amusing considering that Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Having said that, the tourist industry everywhere benefits from people buying its products.

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Norway's wealth comes from oil. One more country now severely impacted by low oil prices.

 

We have always thought we have gotten good value from out HAL excursions. And yes, often you can arrange something cheaper on your own. Your choice. HAL has added many new layers to their offerings - more active ones, more community engagement ones, guaranteed smaller groups.

 

Best part is how few HAL excursions have forced shopping experiences. Often those cheaper non-HAL tours end up in some "uncles" souvenir shop.

Edited by OlsSalt

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It's nice when you book an excursion and get a look at something that others can't.

 

Makes sense to differentiate oneself.

 

Keith

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Our experience is that HAL sells excursions with fear mongering.

We did Norway on the Ryndam, we did no ship excursions and most people we talked to Explored on their own. We rented cars and booked our own train rides, scenic bus tours, boat rides, train and visits to all the sites the ship excursions take you too.

Ports of call sections and roll calls are jam packed with info on how to DIY.

We have learned travel experiences are more rewarding when we have researched and planned on our own.

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We usually do private tours.

 

I do not see anything wrong with HAL's sales pitch. It seems reasonable to me.

Cannot understand the fear mongering claim nor do I read any implied fear mongering into the wording. To describe it this way is, IMHO, a little over the top.

 

Give HAL a break on this.

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Doing the HAL tour brings income to the tour guide(s), and the merchants to whom they steer the tourists' business. Perhaps they have been complaining to HAL that independent tourists are bringing income to their competitors instead.

 

The idea that the local economy depends on specific HAL-approved guided tours, rather than independent tourists doing business with other tour guides and businesses, is absurd.

Edited by Blue Mudshark

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As someone who has visited Hammerfest on my first cruise back in the 70s I wish I could say I remembered something other than it's really far north. 2013 population is about 7,500.

 

The one thing to wonder is whether the guides and buses are local or whether they are brought in from further south, thus not benefiting the locals as much. I've run into this issue at several ports. A possible source might be Tromso. (about 8 hrs away)

 

In any case a North Cape cruise is an amazing experience. If you are on Prinsendam, she is the younger sister of my first cruise which was on the Royal Viking Sea. Have a wonderful time!

Edited by shrimp56

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Why must everyone try so hard to find something insidious, sneaky, or just plain negative in everything HAL says or does?

 

This question could be asked of many of the responders in this thread--just change "HAL" to "OP."

 

I agree with the OP that the wording is a bit much; the second sentence is wholly unnecessary. (Can they put whatever they want in their own descriptions? Of course.) I have not seen similar wording for ports in the Caribbean, say, where the locals are also dependent on the spending of cruisers.

Edited by hrhdhd

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Book an excursion through HAL OR

don't! Your choice.

 

Hammerfast is a small community in Northern Norway. Companies which offer tours would be, I think, few in number.

 

I have been there. It is a charming place to visit with many sites to see. Having someone who knows the area and can relate its story adds to the shore excursion experience.

 

Could one see the small city on their own? Yes, if one has two legs and can walk. But. why not avail oneself of the knowledge of a local that could enrich the touring experience?

 

Obviously HAL would like to sell shore excursions. it's part of their business... Why must everyone try so hard to find something insidious, sneaky, or just plain negative in everything HAL says or does?

 

Lots of really good responses, but IMO the ones above say it best!

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OP, take a good look at a map and see how remote Hammerfest is. It's likely that if you do not take a HAL tour you won't be able to get a private tour guided by a local; you will truly be walking around on your own.

If that's all right with you, then it's a plan. If you want the kind of information only possible when using a guide, then the HAL tours are likely to be your only option.

 

I do agree that HAL's phrasing is, at best, unusual for them. I have to wonder if including such phrasing was part of the contract agreeing to the town as a port stop. For all the times I've sailed up and down the coast of Norway, I have never had Hammerfest as a port stop.

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Living in a West Coast city that only recently became a cruise port, there is a decidedly mixed feeling among the locals about absorbing the immediate crush a cruise ship brings in. The original intent was naturally to boost local businesses.

 

I can appreciate local sentiments against having this expected income boost being taken over by "outside" business operations. So I don't think this is "guilt" generated by HAL as much as a plaintive request from those whose towns are impacted to be at least able to generate revenues for themselves from these high impact cruise ship arrivals.

 

The new dining trend is "locovore" - eat foods produced with a short radius that supports local businesses, keeps income locally and reduces transportation impacts.. Good guideline to follow when visiting these small ports - go local when planning your excursions, both with Hal (a given) or when independently arranged.

Edited by OlsSalt

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Living in a West Coast city that only recently became a cruise port, there is a decidedly mixed feeling among the locals about absorbing the immediate crush a cruise ship brings in. The original intent was naturally to boost local businesses.

 

I can appreciate local sentiments against having this expected income boost being taken over by "outside" business operations. So I don't think this is "guilt" generated by HAL as much as a plaintive request from those whose towns are impacted to be at least able to generate revenues for themselves from these high impact cruise ship arrivals.

 

The new dining trend is "locovore" - eat foods produced with a short radius that supports local businesses, keeps income locally and reduces transportation impacts.. Good guideline to follow when visiting these small ports - go local when planning your excursions, both with Hal (a given) or when independently arranged.

 

I agree, going local is good.

 

I do research in advance and we decide if we're going to take a ship tour or sightsee on our own. Even if we do a ship tour, I like to have time to explore shops and galleries, especially if they're selling locally produced items. We also look for locally owned cafes or bakeries for coffee and a snack. (Or a bar to try a local brew if the sun is over the yardarm)

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