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No more Travel Guides/EXC Guides on HAL

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Last week I received a HAL brochure that included a section on four EXC "in-depth voyages, on Board Maasdam", one each in  November and December 2019 and two for January 2020.  All involve Australia and New Zealand.  Besides the itineraries the section contains the numerous "special" things available on EXC cruises.  This is followed by as section titled:  "NOT AVAILABLE ON EXC IN-DEPTH VOYAGES":  The MainStage Productions, Club HAL, and Music walk entertainment venues.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Cruiser Bruiser said:

I appreciate the suggestion. The only disincentive thus far has been the relatively higher cost of Celebrity. As I sail solo more often than not, I really resent that Celebrity always charges 200%, whereas HAL typically charges 175%. But, it would appear that there is more to enjoy on Celebrity, so maybe it is a fair value. I love the Solarium on S Class. Perhaps it's time for a change. 

For the best deals on Celebrity pricing, we usually book a cruise as soon as they come out, sometimes up to 2 years in advance, in November and then watch the prices go up. Another idea and I know this may seem like an odd suggestion, but some Crystal cruises only charge solos between 130 - 150%. So, the bottom line might not be so bad and what they offer on their "all inclusive" cruises (except for excursions) is all top notch.

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On 7/3/2019 at 7:44 PM, rkacruiser said:

 

From my experience with an issue that I had with Carnival Cruise Lines, if you decide to "speak up", your Registered Mail  letters need to be sent to the Lead Director of Carnival Corporation, Chairman Arison, CEO Donald, HAL President Ashford, and, if you can determine the specific Executive in charge of the section of the Company about which you wish to discuss, your comments may receive more serious recognition than just a regular mail letter or an e-mail.  I would add to this mailing list Stein Kruise as well.  His tenure as HAL CEO were mostly good years as he followed Mr. Lanterman as a very guest friendly HAL executive.  Mr. Kruise is Princess/HAL/Seabourn Group President for CCL.

 

What did you spend on postage for all of that? Around $30? Must have been an important issue.

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On 7/3/2019 at 3:22 AM, comcox said:

I know many of us are also Carnival stock holders.  Maybe it's time we spoke up as part "owners" and say enough of Orlando Ashford.  It's time he goes!

 

Couldn't agree more.  As long as Mr. Ashford stays more loyal HAL cruisers are going to jump ship.  I just did after 25 years sailing HAL.  I now have a booking on the QM2.

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On 7/2/2019 at 2:11 AM, Btimmer said:

We board the Maasdam next week for a long voyage and I'll be blogging daily and will share my honest impressions of what happens there.  I think I'm pretty level headed, and the EXC program has really been hit and miss.  I miss Dr. Carey and the crew from the FLL to Polynesia cruise last year, really like Kevin and Lance and Ross in their roles that we observed.

 

BTW, my blog address is http:// timmerseattletosydney2019.blogspot.com

 

Tim

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

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8 hours ago, Sue from Canada said:

Couldn't agree more.  As long as Mr. Ashford stays more loyal HAL cruisers are going to jump ship.  I just did after 25 years sailing HAL.  I now have a booking on the QM2.

 

Your money is still going to Carnival.\

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On 7/4/2019 at 4:51 AM, wander said:

 

 

Last week I received a HAL brochure that included a section on four EXC "in-depth voyages, on Board Maasdam", one each in  November and December 2019 and two for January 2020.  All involve Australia and New Zealand.  Besides the itineraries the section contains the numerous "special" things available on EXC cruises.  This is followed by as section titled:  "NOT AVAILABLE ON EXC IN-DEPTH VOYAGES":  The MainStage Productions, Club HAL, and Music walk entertainment venues.

 

 

So is this an "either / or" approach?  If you have the cultural program, you do not have the standard Entertainment venues?

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syesmar,

Folks who have gone on EXC cruises would have to answer your question, but remember that folks have to specifically pick an EXC cruise, so they may prefer their themed activities (including entertainment) to the normal cruise programming.  

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On 7/4/2019 at 2:51 AM, wander said:

 "NOT AVAILABLE ON EXC IN-DEPTH VOYAGES":  The MainStage Productions, Club HAL, and Music walk entertainment venues.

What MainStage Productions?  The same mind-numbing, magicians, comedians, ventriloquists (please, no more) - that's a "Production show"?  

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, MisterBill99 said:

 

What did you spend on postage for all of that? Around $30? Must have been an important issue.

 

I don't recall the postage costs.  And, yes the issue was important to me and was important to other cruisers with whom I know and on CC.

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Shamoo here,

Gosh, My only reasons for the post was to point-out two things in response to questions and comments from others.  1. ECX is still alive and well on HAL at least into early 2020,  2. Pointing out that on some cruises, (for example EXC cruises) the entertainment is announced as decidedly different than what we were used to on HAL. 

 

I was only responding to some other comments and I have no further factual knowledge on the topic.  

 

I do know that "Main Stage Productions" is a term that has been bantered about for certain cruise ship's entertainment space  so I would guess that another poster might be able to answer you question, if any others are still on this item.

     

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Posted (edited)

I think the term "Main Stage Productions" refers to the cast shows performed by a company of singers and dancers who stay on the ship for several months and perform anywhere from 2 to 4 or 5 set shows, depending on the length of the cruise.  The Maasdam has not had these kinds of shows and it looks like they are being phased out on other ships, as well.

Edited by mcmarya

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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, mcmarya said:

I think the term "Main Stage Productions" refers to the cast shows performed by a company of singers and dancers who stay on the ship for several months and perform anywhere from 2 to 4 or 5 set shows, depending on the length of the cruise.  The Maasdam has not had these kinds of shows and it looks like they are being phased out on other ships, as well.

 

They're already gone. On Koningsdam last month there was a traveling dance company who performed to canned music as well as guest entertainers.

 

3 hours ago, Shmoo here said:

What MainStage Productions?  The same mind-numbing, magicians, comedians, ventriloquists (please, no more) - that's a "Production show"?  

 

On Koningsdam we had an excellent magician, OK (sometimes really good) comedian and piano player guest entertainers. The piano guy did an entirely Elton John/Billy Joel show, in fact it was listed on the screen when we got there. Unfortunately it was not mentioned in the daily program so it was not well attended and some people left in the middle. I suspect people were expecting something like the flutist the previous night, who I thought was dreadful. So many did not show up because they didn't know what it actually was, and the ones who were expecting classical piano and did show up weren't happy.

Edited by MisterBill99

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5 hours ago, wander said:

Shamoo here,

Gosh, My only reasons for the post was to point-out two things in response to questions and comments from others.  1. ECX is still alive and well on HAL at least into early 2020,  2. Pointing out that on some cruises, (for example EXC cruises) the entertainment is announced as decidedly different than what we were used to on HAL. 

 

I was only responding to some other comments and I have no further factual knowledge on the topic.  

 

I do know that "Main Stage Productions" is a term that has been bantered about for certain cruise ship's entertainment space  so I would guess that another poster might be able to answer you question, if any others are still on this item.

     

No, EXC is not alive and well. It was nonexistent on our transatlantic cruise to Rome from Ft. Lauderdale on the Koningsdam this April, and equally nonexistent on the following cruise to Croatia that we did back to back.

 

The replacement was a canned 15 minute, generic talk for each port that was read by rote off a written document accompanied by generic slides by someone in the excursion department.

 

 

 

 

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I think that the EXC program is phased out on a ship when there is no replacement for the EXC Guide when that guide's contract runs out--that's why some ships may still have a guide while others have not had one for awhile.  Of course, the Maasdam is different since EXC is supposed to be what sets it apart from the rest.

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This service is still advertised as an activity on HAL ships, no one has been on a cruise where this service was not available,, FAKE NEWS.  You either misunderstood the employee, who by the way was losing his job, and maybe was not very happy with HAL and he gave you bad intelligence on purpose, but your information is false.

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13 hours ago, BarbarianPaul said:

No, EXC is not alive and well. It was nonexistent on our transatlantic cruise to Rome from Ft. Lauderdale on the Koningsdam this April, and equally nonexistent on the following cruise to Croatia that we did back to back.

 

The replacement was a canned 15 minute, generic talk for each port that was read by rote off a written document accompanied by generic slides by someone in the excursion department.

 

We had an EXC guide on Koningsdam in June so maybe she was on vacation and they did not have a replacement.

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1 hour ago, MisterBill99 said:

 

We had an EXC guide on Koningsdam in June so maybe she was on vacation and they did not have a replacement.

I wonder if we’re talking about the same person. Our “EXC” guide on the Koningsdam was a young Portuguese woman who started every talk with an unprofessional, unfunny 5-10 minute monologue about her single life, followed by a bland slide show during which she read from a document she clearly had not written. Such a far cry from past EXC guides we’ve had, all of whom were considerably more polished and informative.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, BarbarianPaul said:

I wonder if we’re talking about the same person. Our “EXC” guide on the Koningsdam was a young Portuguese woman who started every talk with an unprofessional, unfunny 5-10 minute monologue about her single life, followed by a bland slide show during which she read from a document she clearly had not written. Such a far cry from past EXC guides we’ve had, all of whom were considerably more polished and informative.

 

Ours was Andreia and did not do a monologue and was very passionate about the destinations. I forget where she was from.

 

My only complaint about her was that she only mentioned the cost of the shuttle to town at the end of the talk (after repeatedly saying that you'd need to take it to get out of the industrial area).

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I am going to be very, shall we say extremely, interested in comparing the HAL EXC experience during my soon-to-sail Westerdam cruise to Alaska with my Coral Princess cruise from Alaska and their "EXC-type" offerings.

 

A kind poster on the Princess Message Board has posted their Patters for the same itinerary as I will sail.  Reading those, particularly as to the Alaska destination-oriented events (including dining),  I like what I have read.  

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4 hours ago, MisterBill99 said:

 

Ours was Andreia and did not do a monologue and was very passionate about the destinations. I forget where she was from.

 

My only complaint about her was that she only mentioned the cost of the shuttle to town at the end of the talk (after repeatedly saying that you'd need to take it to get out of the industrial area).

Yes, our was Andrea as well. She talked about being single for the first five minutes of every port talk, and then complained jokingly that she was basically the entire excursion department. Then she’d get to the short, written speech that she’d read. 

She was not an embedded EXC guide.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Please report back on your Westerdam cruise experience regarding the EXC program/Guides.   If we get reports back from quite a few ships, it should become apparent whether or not the demise of the EXC program on ships other than the Maasdam is Fake News.  I personally hope it is but that may be wishful thinking.

 

I think some of us would also love to know if there is any other destination relevant EXC program enrichment currently being offered---guest speakers, local experts or entertainers, etc.  Knowing if they have also gone the way of the Dodo bird could influence our choice of cruise line.

 

 

Edited by mcmarya

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3 minutes ago, mcmarya said:

Please report back on your Westerdam cruise experience regarding the EXC program. 

Not sure if you’re asking me, but my wife and I were on the Westerdam last fall for a 28 day Japan and China cruise, and though I forget his name our EXC guide was sensational. He’d talk for about 45 minutes on each port, and had an incredible, detailed knowledge of what to see, exactly how to get there, the best time to visit, and everything you would conceivably need to plan your time in port should you not be on an excursion.

 

Though we do book many excursions, we also like to wander about and explore on our own whenever possible. I felt like our guide was giving us a true insider’s view of some of these locations.

 

The talks we got on the Koningsdam lasted about 15 minutes, and I learned nothing I hadn’t already researched on the internet. The big push, and much longer talks, were reserved for the excursions. 

 

 

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Sorry, I thought you said you would be sailing soon on the Westerdam and could give some feedback from that experience.

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