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Storylady

No more Travel Guides/EXC Guides on HAL

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1 hour ago, tkwbear said:

I also left the Maasdam on July 9th and wasn't impressed with Lance as CD.

 

I was on the VOV in 2009 when Susan walked. A lot of people were very upset because she was popular. Personally I didn't miss hearing "Toodeloo".

 

Until Orlando is replaced you can expect further random changes, most of which will be bad.

It wasn’t Susan who was famous for saying “Toodeloo”, it was Linda Minikin. We had her on the Grand South America in 2014. Someone must have said something to her, because we have had her as Cruise Director recently 2018 & 2019) and she didn’t say it at all. Thanks for remembering Susan’s name, I had forgotten it. 

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I'm not familiar with Linda, but Susan said it at the end of every single announcement on the VOV. 

 

The CD isn't that important to me, so I didn't really care when she left. However some people just went crazy. I remember talking to someone on a later voyage who was still very upset that Susan left that cruise.

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Susan Wood was a very polished CD for HAL; full of information; took time out for her guest(s) for a short chat, while passing by. You could find her on the gangway at oh dark thirty in the AM to see off those guests and would be be there again by 9:00 PM at night for their return. Classy lady with or without her haunted castle :classic_wink:, and a great ambassador for HAL

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Definitely remember Susan Wood (Toodle-loo!)

 

CD Michael Headla was another very good CD, very personable and really interacted with guests.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Storylady said:

It wasn’t Susan who was famous for saying “Toodeloo”, it was Linda Minikin.

Both used it as their catch phrase.

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23 hours ago, mcmarya said:

They used to broadcast all kinds of things on TV after the fact (Meet the Captain, Guest Speakers, EXC Guide talks, etc.) but, for some reason, stopped doing that.  I know one of our EXC Guides said that the only things that are allowed on TV now are the Shore excursion talks and possibly the future cruise talk.  He always let everyone know that the only time available to hear the information he presented (very excellent and helpful) was to actually attend in person.  Occasionally there have been disgruntled passengers when there is not room for everyone who wants to attend in the Main Stage.

Last month aboard the Nieuw Statendam, there was no entertainment on the World Stage for the first evening, except for the EXC Guide's "Norway in a Nutshell" talk at 9:30pm.  I called the Front Desk to see if it would be broadcast on tv and was told it would.  It was not.  I am not the only one who politely voiced my displeasure.  After that one, all of the EXC Guide's talks that were in the World Stage were broadcast on tv.  The English talks were standing room only and she followed them with another in Dutch.

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3 hours ago, RuthC said:

Both used it as their catch phrase.

Ruth, you would remember. I guess as we were new to traveling and it wasn’t that long we were onboard with her, 4 days repositioning that it didn’t annoy me as much as Linda’s did. But Linda is no longer doing it. We had a very nice cruise to SA and South Georgia with her this year.

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3 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

Susan Wood was a very polished CD for HAL; full of information; took time out for her guest(s) for a short chat, while passing by. You could find her on the gangway at oh dark thirty in the AM to see off those guests and would be be there again by 9:00 PM at night for their return. Classy lady with or without her haunted castle :classic_wink:, and a great ambassador for HAL

I agree. I was very impressed with her. But I believe Seattle wanted her to add something more to her job and she must have decided that was enough. She must have been very upset to walk off the job like that.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Storylady said:

Ruth, you would remember. I guess as we were new to traveling and it wasn’t that long we were onboard with her, 4 days repositioning that it didn’t annoy me as much as Linda’s did. But Linda is no longer doing it. We had a very nice cruise to SA and South Georgia with her this year.

 

I’m glad I’m not alone with the annoying toodooleedoo.

LInda wasn’t doing it on our cruise in April - May either, thankfully.  I found her much better without it.  JMO though 😉   

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This thread brings back many memories.  It also makes me think my November Niew Amsterdam voyage will be my last with HAL.

 

Interesting names here.  When I was CD on Crown Odyssey and Star Odyssey I had on team, Frank Buckingham as port lecturer, Barbara Haenni was future cruise consultant and Kevin Farwell was Shorex Manager.  Fine people who deliver(ed) a product HAL cannot support nor understand.

 

I sailed the May 28 Maasdam 21 Day Alaska.  I will never tire of Alaska.  The EXC staff did a decent job of lectures and it was better than my Rotterdam cruise last December.  But counting the list of tradition cruise events, activities and personnel that HAL has done away with makes it painful to remember how wonderful cruising can be.  HAL is an oxymoron.  It is the traditional cruise brand that has banished nearly all aspects of traditional cruising.  I am convinced HAL management is not experienced in the cruise experience and would go so far to say is they have contempt for traditional cruising and those (us) who appreciate it.  Only HAL can take a simple activity as daily trivia and turn it into a shell of an experience.  They do not understand that a social staff is important to engage passengers in activities no so much for the activity, but for the relationships built between guests and between crew / staff and guests.  THAT is what makes cruising special.  Those relationships, those memories and the result of a simple trivia game, golf putting event, a poolside mixer, an on deck evening under the stars, a voyage long competition of some silly nature.  THOSE are the experiences people remember...not by the activity itself, but of the people they met, enjoyed and relationships forged.  HAL management cannot comprehend that is the greatest component of an ocean voyage.  We chose a ship - not a hotel where you would never speak to the people in the next room.  The most poignant representation I see of HAL's effort to engage it's guest is a dumbed down, daily program that might as well be an a sales flyer and most of the activities are run by some very busy staff member named 'unhosted'.

 

EXC would have had a chance if it did not try to replace traditional cruising activities.  It would have been successful if the guides were out and about to socialize more than the 20 minute hit and run meetings they were programmed to do.  But not even the ships musicians even behave as ships crew....aside from their music sets they were more relaxed, chilled out and using ships resources more than the paying passengers.  There is no decorum there anymore.

 

So HAL will indeed replace EXC with one day denture vendors and the like.  Mr Prince has been on a mission to kill off cruise staff, Hostesses and CDs for years (who knows what his beef is with traditional cruises and more puzzling is how HAL management permits him to do so).  Personally I do not miss the cast shows as the cast was often too young with too much time on their hands so they engaged in attention getting prima donna stunts onboard.  The best casts were those who share cruise staff activities and socializing which was their best product and it brought people to the shows to see the friends they made who hosted shuffleboard.  I fear with HAL, the passenger is not their focus anymore. Only your wallet is.  

 

So I will see what happens on Niew Amsterdam this fall.  But each voyage for the last few years has been more a memory of what has been lost and less of a memory to relive in the future.

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We just boarded the Nieuw Statendam for three weeks to Norway, Scotland and Iceland. To my surprise, there is an embedded EXC guide, not just a shore excursion person giving a few cursory lectures. There’s also a dance troupe on board, Post Modern Jukebox, who will do several shows.

 

They’re still pushing the whole music walk experience of which my wife and I could care less, but whatever...

 

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4 hours ago, TampaMike said:

They do not understand that a social staff is important to engage passengers in activities no so much for the activity, but for the relationships built between guests and between crew / staff and guests.  THAT is what makes cruising special.  Those relationships, those memories and the result of a simple trivia game, golf putting event, a poolside mixer, an on deck evening under the stars, a voyage long competition of some silly nature.  THOSE are the experiences people remember...not by the activity itself, but of the people they met, enjoyed and relationships forged.  HAL management cannot comprehend that is the greatest component of an ocean voyage.  We chose a ship - not a hotel where you would never speak to the people in the next room.  

 

Awesome post @TampaMike.  

 

Maybe they don't believe what you wrote above is connected with revenue increases.

 

I wish you could make that connection (in 1-2 more sentences) and mail (in a physical letter) it to the CEO.

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We’re currently on the Nieuw  Statendam heading to Oslo. Contrary to my lowered expectations, we do indeed have an EXC guide, who has given all sorts of informative, non excursion related talks.

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If I may ask, what is an EXC Guide? We are 4 star and know what a cruise director is as well as folks that work behind the EXC excursion desk. We've been to port lectures provided by an EXC employee, but the term EXC Guide is new to us. We're getting ready to go on a long HAL cruise, so I'm sure we'll find out what one is soon enough, but thought I'd ask.

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We were on the June 18-July 9 Maasdam cruise. The EXC presenters were excellent. On our cruise they were out and about quite a bit. I spent time talking with almost all of them outside of the EXC desk.

 

Lance, however, was a different story. Not once in 21 days did he say hello, good bye, how are you, when he would encounter you in the public areas. I found him to be most unsocial and a bit arrogant. As a rule, I never even know who the cruise director is but since he announced the EXC programs and gave the port lectures he was recognizable. 

 

I have heard that they won’t show the lectures on TV due to copyright infringement. Whether that is true or not, I have no idea. 

 

Cheers, Denise 

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8 hours ago, dchip said:

We were on the June 18-July 9 Maasdam cruise. The EXC presenters were excellent. On our cruise they were out and about quite a bit. I spent time talking with almost all of them outside of the EXC desk.

 

Lance, however, was a different story. Not once in 21 days did he say hello, good bye, how are you, when he would encounter you in the public areas. I found him to be most unsocial and a bit arrogant. As a rule, I never even know who the cruise director is but since he announced the EXC programs and gave the port lectures he was recognizable. 

 

I have heard that they won’t show the lectures on TV due to copyright infringement. Whether that is true or not, I have no idea. 

 

Cheers, Denise 

We were on the cruise before you, underwrite fully your insight on Lance, however, he is a former EXC guide and now switched to Cruise and Travel Director. Your EXC program director was Kay, who we found to be excellent and always approachable, a warm and friendly Kiwi.

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6 hours ago, Alphen said:

We were on the cruise before you, underwrite fully your insight on Lance, however, he is a former EXC guide and now switched to Cruise and Travel Director. Your EXC program director was Kay, who we found to be excellent and always approachable, a warm and friendly Kiwi.

I agree, Kay was a very personable and lovely woman. 

 

Cheers, Denise 

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