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HAL website unusable still

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The payback on a well designed, user friendly customer and customer support website is astounding.

 

The very last thing thing you want is a customer signing off a website without booking.  You have lost.  Will that customer book your ship or will they dial into another cruise line website and book with them because that website is so much more user friendly and appealing.

 

Not to mention the the commission that the cruise line does not have to pay.  Then there is the ease of use in order to upsell the customer to onboard offerings and upgrades.  More lost revenue, more lost profit.

 

Then there is the payback on a great FAQ.  The payback?  Customers get their answers quickly and accurately.  Far fewer calls to the call center.  Less staff, happier customers.

 

This is just a taste of what a cruise line gives up when they have a poorly designed, ergonomically unfriendly, and poorly performing web site that is plagued with outages and what appears to be serious DB issues.

 

Not to mention customer loyalty.

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I now work in user experience research (after a decade in online user documentation). HAL's new website is indeed very lacking, IMO. Some of the issue seems to be bugs, other issues more likely a matter of prioritization not matching our interests. However, I would disagree with many here and say it's actually very simple to do a basic purchase... once you're on a cruise you can pick room general type, be assigned a location by HAL, and hand over some money with very little friction. So I assume that's the flow they've prioritized.

 

But the more advanced purchase options are either very difficult to use or entirely missing. For example, you cannot choose your specific room category (VF vs VA, etc.). Choosing a specific room works, but takes a lot of clicks to browse your options and find one you like, and if you accidentally move up in price point during that browsing (as it often forces you to do to check a different location) there's no obvious way to get back to the lower price point. My suspicion is that they made fewer or less profitable sales using these advanced features in the past and would rather people who want them just book via an agent (either HAL's or an outside TA). 

 

The bugs are far more concerning to me. The moving target to get into your account info is particularly strange. Bugs even pop up in the generally superior pre-cruise portal. For example, the itinerary is sometimes blank and the wishlist entirely missing. I had to delay several purchases as a result!  

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A few years ago, HAL assigned me an agent ... one of their staff to make or change reservations, answer questions, etc.  I have no idea why.

I don't really need an agent, as years ago - I went through travel agent training myself (for fun!).  But having an assigned person to call ... who knows me - it's handy.

So don't hesitate to call them and ask for an agent.  HAL's website isn't the best ... but I don't think any are particularly user-friendly (including CC). 

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3 minutes ago, faerievert said:

I now work in user experience research (after a decade in online user documentation). HAL's new website is indeed very lacking, IMO. Some of the issue seems to be bugs, other issues more likely a matter of prioritization not matching our interests. However, I would disagree with many here and say it's actually very simple to do a basic purchase... once you're on a cruise you can pick room general type, be assigned a location by HAL, and hand over some money with very little friction. So I assume that's the flow they've prioritized.

 

But the more advanced purchase options are either very difficult to use or entirely missing. For example, you cannot choose your specific room category (VF vs VA, etc.). Choosing a specific room works, but takes a lot of clicks to browse your options and find one you like, and if you accidentally move up in price point during that browsing (as it often forces you to do to check a different location) there's no obvious way to get back to the lower price point. My suspicion is that they made fewer or less profitable sales using these advanced features in the past and would rather people who want them just book via an agent (either HAL's or an outside TA). 

 

The bugs are far more concerning to me. The moving target to get into your account info is particularly strange. Bugs even pop up in the generally superior pre-cruise portal. For example, the itinerary is sometimes blank and the wishlist entirely missing. I had to delay several purchases as a result!  

 

Well written, thanks.

 

Intentionally skewing inexperienced online passengers into what works best for HAL; not what works easly for the passengers. HAL has their priorities confused. HAL then would be accused of being intentionally alienating and annoying to anyone other than the unwitting. . 

 

 I don't want HAL to ever again put me in a guaranty cabin directly over the Ocean Bar. If that is how they now prefer to get my booking, or else make me jump though endless and arcane hoops, we have some serious long-term "relationship" issues.  

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3 minutes ago, SissyFace said:

A few years ago, HAL assigned me an agent ... one of their staff to make or change reservations, answer questions, etc.  I have no idea why.

I don't really need an agent, as years ago - I went through travel agent training myself (for fun!).  But having an assigned person to call ... who knows me - it's handy.

So don't hesitate to call them and ask for an agent.  HAL's website isn't the best ... but I don't think any are particularly user-friendly (including CC). 

 

The old HAL website was very user friendly, now in retrospect.  A few clumsy issues like a double sign-in etc, but basically quiick and dirty to get you exactly what you needed and wanted to know.  And to sign up for a cruise in the first visit. 

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I was having troubles accessing the dropdowns.

 

Realised it was that the site wasn't working to well with my browser as I had problems with another provider when trying to pay a bill. They suggested switching to Google Chrome.

 

I switched to Google Chrome and the dropdowns worked correctly.

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16 hours ago, GCHAN said:

I was having troubles accessing the dropdowns.

 

Realised it was that the site wasn't working to well with my browser as I had problems with another provider when trying to pay a bill. They suggested switching to Google Chrome.

 

I switched to Google Chrome and the dropdowns worked correctly.

One thing I thing I am unsure about is shore excursions. 

 

When I get on my cruise on the HAL site it doesn't seem to show normal excursions. It only shows exc. tours which seem to be private tours and are really expensive.

 

When do they release normal shore excursions? If they are already released how do I get to them. I am on November 2019 cruise.

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31 minutes ago, GCHAN said:

When I get on my cruise on the HAL site it doesn't seem to show normal excursions. It only shows exc. tours which seem to be private tours and are really expensive.

1

EXC is the HAL excursions. For some reason HAL "rebranded" the excursions at some point in the last couple years. I don't find them any more overpriced than they were before the rebranding (they've always been inflated). In many cases, they are more expensive than similar private tours. You're paying for convenience/security. On my upcoming cruise, I have booked privately for 4 ports and EXC for the other 2. When I can book something privately that I like more for less money with enough buffer time, I do. Your personal equation of logistics/buffer/stress/price will vary.

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34 minutes ago, faerievert said:

EXC is the HAL excursions. For some reason HAL "rebranded" the excursions at some point in the last couple years. I don't find them any more overpriced than they were before the rebranding (they've always been inflated). In many cases, they are more expensive than similar private tours. You're paying for convenience/security. On my upcoming cruise, I have booked privately for 4 ports and EXC for the other 2. When I can book something privately that I like more for less money with enough buffer time, I do. Your personal equation of logistics/buffer/stress/price will vary.

 

And insurance coverage and claims considerations too. 

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5 hours ago, faerievert said:

EXC is the HAL excursions. For some reason HAL "rebranded" the excursions at some point in the last couple years. I don't find them any more overpriced than they were before the rebranding (they've always been inflated). In many cases, they are more expensive than similar private tours. You're paying for convenience/security. On my upcoming cruise, I have booked privately for 4 ports and EXC for the other 2. When I can book something privately that I like more for less money with enough buffer time, I do. Your personal equation of logistics/buffer/stress/price will vary.

Thanks. I am same as you and assess whether the private tour is worthwhile/safe etc. 

 

In this case the only excursions I was seeing on my cruise on the HAL site were the private tours for $1300 a person so I thought I might have been missing something. I thought there was a range of tours for each port but in this case there is only one tour for each port and they are all the private tours.

 

I will keep an eye on it to see if more excursions are released.

Edited by GCHAN

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The HAL website is just like Seabourn's. Impossible on both to book a specific cabin without jumping through hoops. They both need a total revamp.

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1 hour ago, SJSULIBRARIAN said:

The HAL website is just like Seabourn's. Impossible on both to book a specific cabin without jumping through hoops. They both need a total revamp.

👍👍👍 Thanks for sharing this info - although not a solution for HAL's website problems, it is comforting to know that other cruise lines' website are also less than optimal.

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8 hours ago, GCHAN said:

Thanks. I am same as you and assess whether the private tour is worthwhile/safe etc. 

 

In this case the only excursions I was seeing on my cruise on the HAL site were the private tours for $1300 a person so I thought I might have been missing something. I thought there was a range of tours for each port but in this case there is only one tour for each port and they are all the private tours.

 

I will keep an eye on it to see if more excursions are released.

More excursions will appear on the website as you get closer to the sailing date. There will probably be many that cost much less. I have never been on any cruise that didn't have some cheap bus tour type excursions available and many other excursions that were priced in between.

It takes a while for HAL to make their contracts with the tour companies who actually take you on the excursions.

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1 hour ago, avian777 said:

👍👍👍 Thanks for sharing this info - although not a solution for HAL's website problems, it is comforting to know that other cruise lines' website are also less than optimal.

 

Seabourn is part of the CCL corporate family. Might have used the same abysmal tech team to do both websites.  Got a group discount? That means there is a problem at the top of CCL and not just HAL.

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I really do not understand HAL.

 

They have an abysmal web site that certainly must cost them some business.  Their smoking policy has always been a bit of a mystery to me.  Same with their so called 'gala night' suggested dress policy.  It seems to me that they sit solidly on the fence on just about everything.  Concerned about offending long term customers, concerned about attracting new customers.   

 

Not much in terms of a strategic direction if you ask me.  It is almost like they do not know what they want to be when they grow up.   My guess is that unless they pick it up a notch they will fail to attract their desired number of the new generation of cruisers and families.  Other cruise lines with defined/clear marketing and ship strategies will eat their proverbial lunch.  I suspect that the days of customers being loyal to one cruise line are quickly coming to an end.

 

It is not that we do not like HAL but we do not like them better than several other cruise lines.  It is simply that we cannot understand their direction.  It makes us give our heads a shake at times.  The bottom line for us is that we would not pay a dime more to sail on a HAL ship when compared to another cruise line/ship that we regard as comparable based on our personal preferences.

Edited by iancal

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25 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

 

Seabourn is part of the CCL corporate family. Might have used the same abysmal tech team to do both websites.  Got a group discount? That means there is a problem at the top of CCL and not just HAL.

 

As best I can understand your earlier Posts (See especially Posts # 36, 40 & 49 above), you posited a theory that CCL intentionally degraded the HAL website in order to drive customers away from HAL, thereby making it easier for CCL to eliminate competition among its various subsidiary cruise lines (with similar customer demographics) by consolidating (merging) them  into fewer "partners".  So does this Post mean that CCL has also included Seabourn in that same plan?  Just curious.

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On 1/13/2019 at 1:50 PM, Rowsby said:

It's horrible.....

 

When I find a cruise on HAL.....I look for it on other cruise sites....one that will list the itinerary in a usable fashion....

 

And.....not identifying and listing the tender ports is a huge disservice.....!! 

 

Sorry....I am quoting my own post....

 

Azamara has a "VIEW AT-A-GLANCE ITINERARY" which is easy to use, lists the port information showing docked and tendered....I copy and paste....including the map....then I can compare cruises....or you can print and/or email....

 

HAL needs this option.....!!!!

 

 

At-a-glance Voyage Itinerary
DATE PORT/CITY ACTIVITY ARRIVAL DEPART
TUE 18-AUG 2020 Amsterdam, Netherlands Embark - 6:00 pm
WED 19-AUG 2020 At Sea Cruising - -
THU 20-AUG TO FRI 21-AUG 2020 Leith, (Edinburgh), Scotland Docked 4:00 am (Aug 20) 10:00 pm (Aug 21)
SAT 22-AUG 2020 Aberdeen, Scotland Docked 8:00 am 8:00 pm
SUN 23-AUG 2020 Invergordon, Scotland Docked 8:00 am 10:00 pm
MON 24-AUG 2020 Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland Docked 1:00 pm 10:00 pm
TUE 25-AUG 2020 Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland Docked 8:00 am 8:00 pm
WED 26-AUG 2020 Stornoway, Isle Of Lewis, Scotland Tendered 8:00 am 8:00 pm
THU 27-AUG 2020 Oban, Scotland Tendered 8:00 am 5:00 pm
FRI 28-AUG 2020 Glasgow, Scotland Docked 8:00 am 5:00 pm
SAT 29-AUG 2020 Dublin, Ireland Debark 7:00 am

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5 minutes ago, avian777 said:

 

As best I can understand your earlier Posts (See especially Posts # 36, 40 & 49 above), you posited a theory that CCL intentionally degraded the HAL website in order to drive customers away from HAL, thereby making it easier for CCL to eliminate competition among its various subsidiary cruise lines (with similar customer demographics) by consolidating (merging) them  into fewer "partners".  So does this Post mean that CCL has also included Seabourn in that same plan?  Just curious.

 

The mysterious and mischeivious machinations of current CCL and HAL management are beyond me. What is your theory that supports their self-destructive or perhaps deconstructive  incompetence?

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14 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

 

The mysterious and mischeivious machinations of current CCL and HAL management are beyond me. What is your theory that supports their self-destructive or perhaps deconstructive  incompetence?

 

My theory is that CCL engaged incompetent contractor(s) to design/re-design the HAL and Seabourn websites and compounded those mistakes by placing less than competent individuals in several key executive/managerial positions at both HAL and Seabourn. The end result is that HAL's and Seabourn's websites are a mess and no current CCL, HAL or Seabourn executive is either aware of the extent of the problem or, if aware, has a clue as to how to solve it.  JMO  YMMV

Edited by avian777

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1 minute ago, avian777 said:

 

My theory is that CCL has engaged incompetent contractor(s) to design/re-design the HAL and Seabourn websites and has compounded that mistake by placing less than competent individuals in several key executive/managerial positions at both HAL and Seabourn. The end result is that HAL's and Seabourn's websites are a mess and no current CCL, HAL or Seabourn executive is either aware of the extent of the problem or, if aware, has a clue as to how to solve it.  JMO  YMMV

 

ITA.

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24 minutes ago, avian777 said:

 

My theory is that CCL engaged incompetent contractor(s) to design/re-design the HAL and Seabourn websites and compounded those mistakes by placing less than competent individuals in several key executive/managerial positions at both HAL and Seabourn. The end result is that HAL's and Seabourn's websites are a mess and no current CCL, HAL or Seabourn executive is either aware of the extent of the problem or, if aware, has a clue as to how to solve it.  JMO  YMMV

Never thought I'd say this, but, well said and we do agree on some things 😉

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The reason does not really matter.  All that matters is that the website is an underpowed dog that is not doubt costing HAL a considerable amount of money in lost opportunity costs and higher call center costs.

 

It truly beggers the imagination as to why it has gone on for so long.  It is a reflection of years of inattention from senior management.

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7 minutes ago, iancal said:

The reason does not really matter.  All that matters is that the website is an underpowed dog that is not doubt costing HAL a considerable amount of money in lost opportunity costs and higher call center costs.

 

It truly beggers the imagination as to why it has gone on for so long.  It is a reflection of years of inattention from senior management.

 

With all due respect, I disagree - if one is not aware of the reason for a problem, a search for the solution will be futile.  JMO.

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1 hour ago, taxmantoo said:

Never thought I'd say this, but, well said and we do agree on some things 😉

Thanks - I also agree with your "agree on some things" comment. 👌👍😎

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