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Why do you hate HAL so much?

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5 minutes ago, sail7seas said:

 

 

I can have all  the 'great food'   I may want at home.   I found HAL's food on my recent Zaandam cruises  to be better t han  'fine by me'.  Being a solo, food has become less important to me and that is  true at home as well as on a ship.  I had more than enough variety from which  to choose and more than enough VERY good meals to satisfy me.   Though I've been told by many I sam a very good, I hardly cook at all now

 

I feel safe on HAL ships ( though I am cognizant there is crime in every community)  but that being the case I cannot remember ever in all  the years in dozens and dozens of cruises ever feeling unsafe on a HAL ship.  I cannot say the same for RCI,  "X"   The smiling   familiar crews of HAL create a welcome atmosphere and a feeling of good safe hospitality which I like.

 

 

My recent cruises were the first time in my 70+ year life I ever vacationed alone.  LOTS of vacations to lots of destinations but not ever alone.     Either with my late dh,  girl friends and once or twice (long ago), a family member.

 

I had to dig deep  into my store of gumption  to do it but the crew of  Zaandam (all  ranks and positions) made be so happy I went and I have  booked another  cruise for  2020.

 

 

 

Congratulations on finding your gumption! I'm glad to see you've booked another cruise.

 

When you don't have the familiarity of your long-time travel partner, the familiarity of the cruise line helps a lot. And when that line changes, I think solos feel the loss of familiarity more than those who aren't solo.  LIke you, I eased into solo travel by starting with a cruise with good friends. I remembered your posts about this and that helped. I have traveled alone quite a bit in the past (for work not vacation), and that made traveling solo less daunting than it might have been. I've cruised solo now, but sticking with my standbys, HAL and Cunard, gives a level of comfort that I want.

 

When I do a land trip, I'm not in one place or hotel for many days, so if one hotel isn't great, oh well, I'm moving on in a day or so anyway. But with a cruise, I'm committing to be on that ship for a week, ten days, maybe 2 weeks. I don't want to be unhappy about my choice and unable to change. (I actually have bailed on a horrible hotel once or twice, can't do that with a cruise) To restate something you said earlier, I know what I like and that's what I want.

 

 

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1 hour ago, DougK said:

But, on average, I'm willing to bet that there is a strong and decreasing correlation between on board spending and number of cruises taken.

 

Someone who knows things told me exactly that. Also, fresh cruisers are scared into booking "safe" (the ship will wait) shorexes by the ship, the seasoned cruiser knows CC to find out which company to call for a better and much cheaper excursion.

 

1 hour ago, DougK said:

Obviously, this isn't true across the board; many 5-star mariners to, in fact, spend freely on board.

 

I've asked before, and there seems to be no system to reward guests for their on board spending. (Or the TA sending them to the right ship). The Casino does exactly that, but when the line knows you'll be drinking $200 bottles of wine during dinner, book the most expensive helicopter ride, buy at least three paintings because the color matches the wall, there's no VIP cruise planner calling you that you might like a free suite.

 

1 hour ago, DougK said:

But now they've boxed themselves into a corner with bargain basement fares, and a desperate need to find profit elsewhere. Which leads to the nickel and dime situation that we all hate. But there's no easy way out of this box; whichever mass market line tries to go first and raise cruise fares to actual costs is likely to see a huge loss of passengers.

 

If I understand correctly how the Celebrity Go Big, Go Better, Go Best program works, it does seem to be an attempt to escape from the box. You can pay this fare, so we're still highly ranked when you sorted the cruises based on price, but click here for a higher fare, and we'll stop nickel and diming for drinks, internet, DSC and you get about one excursion for free ($150 OBC). 

Edited by AmazedByCruising

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41 minutes ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

 

Someone who knows things told me exactly that. Also, fresh cruisers are scared into booking "safe" (the ship will wait) shorexes by the ship, the seasoned cruiser knows CC to find out which company to call for a better and much cheaper excursion.

 

 

I've asked before, and there seems to be no system to reward guests for their on board spending. (Or the TA sending them to the right ship). The Casino does exactly that, but when the line knows you'll be drinking $200 bottles of wine during dinner, book the most expensive helicopter ride, buy at least three paintings because the color matches the wall, there's no VIP cruise planner calling you that you might like a free suite.

 

 

If I understand correctly how the Celebrity Go Big, Go Better, Go Best program works, it does seem to be an attempt to escape from the box. You can pay this fare, so we're still highly ranked when you sorted the cruises based on price, but click here for a higher fare, and we'll stop nickel and diming for drinks, internet, DSC and you get about one excursion for free ($150 OBC). 

 

I agree that most experienced cruisers are spending less than newbies, especially on excursions. 

 

HAL does reward spending with Mariner points, which is more than some other lines do. The problem is that what you get for those Mariner points isn't a lot. Considering how low my onboard spending is, no VIP planner is going to call me.  

 

I don't sail Celebrity so I didn't know about that program. That's smart. People may buy the internet package or beverage package online at some point before the cruise, but the convenience of buying "bundled" add-ons during booking is an attractive idea. Are the upclick packages cheaper than buying the same things individually after booking? 

 

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3 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

If I understand correctly how the Celebrity Go Big, Go Better, Go Best program works, it does seem to be an attempt to escape from the box. You can pay this fare, so we're still highly ranked when you sorted the cruises based on price, but click here for a higher fare, and we'll stop nickel and diming for drinks, internet, DSC and you get about one excursion for free ($150 OBC). 

 

NCL has a version of this scheme, too.  And they charge gratuities on the "free" packages, thus getting a higher fare & additional funds from the gratuities.

 

There's a lot still to love on HAL.  At least they haven't started this kind of thing yet.

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2 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

HAL does reward spending with Mariner points, which is more than some other lines do. The problem is that what you get for those Mariner points isn't a lot. Considering how low my onboard spending is, no VIP planner is going to call me. 

 

I believe trinkets, a handshake with the Captain and maybe a discount on laundry, isn't it? But even if you'd spend $500 a day, it appears no VIP planner is calling you. After just one night in the Casino the host asked if I got "the letter" yet. Not a free cruise, but $250 in cash if I would be on another one. When you look at the Casino forum on CC, people get comped more cruises than fit their schedule. Of course, the core business of a casino is to make it seem a good deal to return since dice were invented. Yet I don't understand why there's not a similar program for cruisers who do buy spend a lot on board.

 

2 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

I don't sail Celebrity so I didn't know about that program. That's smart. People may buy the internet package or beverage package online at some point before the cruise, but the convenience of buying "bundled" add-ons during booking is an attractive idea. Are the upclick packages cheaper than buying the same things individually after booking? 

 

I have sailed X, but my (Dutch) TA never mentioned the program, so I don't know the details.

However, if it was expanded to  "Go Big, Go Better, Go Best, Go even better than Best" to include shorex as well, besides getting an expensive haircut there's not much nickel and diming left :)

 

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On ‎9‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 6:25 PM, ChinaShrek said:

 

People are screwed everyday by nameless, faceless corporations.  If someone can get their "revenge" by getting a little compensation then more power to them.  Big businesses only worry only about profit.  They do not care about their workers or the customers.  If a customer manages to "scam" a company every now and then, what's the harm?

Any kind of "scamming" is harmful.  Are you writing with your tongue in cheek, or do you really think that scamming is fine?

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2 minutes ago, Dunelm said:

Are you writing with your tongue in cheek, or do you really think that scamming is fine?

Based on the body of his posts, I would be surprised if poster is writing tongue in cheek. 

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3 minutes ago, RuthC said:

Based on the body of his posts, I would be surprised if poster is writing tongue in cheek. 

Oh, dear!   No wonder our world is in chaos.

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5 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Congratulations on finding your gumption! I'm glad to see you've booked another cruise.

 

When you don't have the familiarity of your long-time travel partner, the familiarity of the cruise line helps a lot. And when that line changes, I think solos feel the loss of familiarity more than those who aren't solo.  LIke you, I eased into solo travel by starting with a cruise with good friends. I remembered your posts about this and that helped. I have traveled alone quite a bit in the past (for work not vacation), and that made traveling solo less daunting than it might have been. I've cruised solo now, but sticking with my standbys, HAL and Cunard, gives a level of comfort that I want.

 

When I do a land trip, I'm not in one place or hotel for many days, so if one hotel isn't great, oh well, I'm moving on in a day or so anyway. But with a cruise, I'm committing to be on that ship for a week, ten days, maybe 2 weeks. I don't want to be unhappy about my choice and unable to change. (I actually have bailed on a horrible hotel once or twice, can't do that with a cruise) To restate something you said earlier, I know what I like and that's what I want.

 

 

GREAT post and I  found it very reassuring.  I know there are a number of women here on CC who have  traveled solo for years  and come back reasonably  happy.  I recalled some of their posts while trying to commit  to

boarding  a ship and sailing all alone.  I am an intelligent competent woman but, this is a whole new adventure for me.   It helps me much when I read of women raveling alone for business and/or vacation, come safely home and go again.   I think because I have no  living family to call upon,  if I have a problem, it makes me  uneasy,  Yes, I have friends   though it is doubtful  I would ask  any  for  help.

 

I hope after enough solo cruises I will stop worrying.  It is a post such as your that provides   a bit of  bravado.  Thank you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by sail7seas

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8 hours ago, DougK said:

On a premium/luxury line which is largely or all inclusive, this dilemma doesn't exist. The line makes their profit mainly from their fares, so loyal cruisers are an undoubted benefit, providing profit each cruise--and thus worth rewarding.

 

Decades ago, the mass market lines were similar; although there was some profit from onboard spending, there were many fewer opportunities for that, and the cruise fares themselves better reflected the actual costs of providing the cruise. But now they've boxed themselves into a corner with bargain basement fares, and a desperate need to find profit elsewhere. Which leads to the nickel and dime situation that we all hate. But there's no easy way out of this box; whichever mass market line tries to go first and raise cruise fares to actual costs is likely to see a huge loss of passengers.

 

+1.

 

In my experience, customers recognize value. Companies can charge higher fares with higher quality. The important thing is not to go the downward route. It's a slippery slope.
 

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The challenge lies in attracting new customers who may not have the knowledge to suss out the true value of each competing offer.  They revert to price.  This has to be a challenge for the mass market cruise lines who are trying to attract first time cruisers and families.

 

When we compare cruises value is more important than cost to us.  A great deal of our perception of value comes from the experience of many cruises on different ships and brands.  New cruisers do not have this.  And it is probably compounded by  internet booking  and the seeming decline in the number of knowledgeable TA’s

Edited by iancal

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On 9/22/2019 at 9:11 AM, AncientWanderer said:

 

Baby Boomers, 55 to 75?  That is who I supposed had the most to spend.  I'm surprised to see the charts reflecting that 45 to 55 have so much disposable income.  Perhaps the Boomers weren't savers and are now belt-tightening?  I am 62, and that is what I observe of many of my peers.

 

 

I get your point. 

 

I am confident that the boomers have enough wealth to sustain classic cruising for many years.

 

“... Despite the keen marketing interest in Millennials, the figures show that this group is lagging behind considerably. Even though household wealth for Millennials has grown a stunning 500% from 2010 to 2019, this cohort only captures 4% of total US household wealth – and just 2% of affluent household wealth.

 

Separating out net worth along generational lines, it’s Baby Boomers who possess more than half (54%) of all of US household wealth. Affluent Baby Boomer households also make up 57% of the total household wealth in this category, and those Boomers in high net worth households make up 56% of total household wealth.

 

These Baby Boomers are also spending more than the other generations, with Epsilon reporting that Boomers spend $548.1 billion annually, a figure nearly $200 billion more than the next highest spending generation (Gen X)...”

 

https://www.marketingcharts.com/demographics-and-audiences/household-income-107999
 

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22 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

If I understand correctly how the Celebrity Go Big, Go Better, Go Best program works, it does seem to be an attempt to escape from the box. You can pay this fare, so we're still highly ranked when you sorted the cruises based on price, but click here for a higher fare, and we'll stop nickel and diming for drinks, internet, DSC and you get about one excursion for free ($150 OBC). 

 

I'm not sure this actually works as an escape from the box. Yes, it lets passengers avoid nickel and diming, but I'm not sure it answers the cruise line's dilemma. In fact, it might make it worse. Those passengers who do little onboard spending now will continue to book the cabin at the base fare (and possibly a loss to the cruise line). Those who do a lot of onboard spending will opt for the package if it saves them money (and thus is not as good for the cruise line). The only way this helps the cruise line is if it entices passengers who would not otherwise purchase things on board to sign up for the package, spending more than they otherwise would. Who knows? Maybe there are enough such passengers, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

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1 hour ago, DougK said:

 

I'm not sure this actually works as an escape from the box. Yes, it lets passengers avoid nickel and diming, but I'm not sure it answers the cruise line's dilemma. In fact, it might make it worse. Those passengers who do little onboard spending now will continue to book the cabin at the base fare (and possibly a loss to the cruise line). Those who do a lot of onboard spending will opt for the package if it saves them money (and thus is not as good for the cruise line). The only way this helps the cruise line is if it entices passengers who would not otherwise purchase things on board to sign up for the package, spending more than they otherwise would. Who knows? Maybe there are enough such passengers, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

 

I think the chance to book it all as a package and be done could be very appealing. Not to me, as I would check details to see what the value would be to me, as iancal says above. But for someone who thinks "I want to take a cruise" and doesn't know much about cruising or want to do research, it's quick and easy. 

 

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54 minutes ago, DougK said:

 

I'm not sure this actually works as an escape from the box. Yes, it lets passengers avoid nickel and diming, but I'm not sure it answers the cruise line's dilemma. In fact, it might make it worse. Those passengers who do little onboard spending now will continue to book the cabin at the base fare (and possibly a loss to the cruise line). Those who do a lot of onboard spending will opt for the package if it saves them money (and thus is not as good for the cruise line). The only way this helps the cruise line is if it entices passengers who would not otherwise purchase things on board to sign up for the package, spending more than they otherwise would. Who knows? Maybe there are enough such passengers, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

 

I don't understand how it could make it worse.  

 

Let's look at drinks. (All amounts are guesses). A tax free can of Heineken costs a dollar, maybe less to the ship. The ship sells them at $6, $7, maybe $10. After pondering if it's worth it to order an extra beer, mr X thinks about having to work for 30 minutes for a beer, and decides to go to his cabin. The ship would love to sell another beer for $2 and make a buck if that is what it's worth to mr X (who'd gladly even pay $3). Both parties would be happier if the crew would negotiate, but then everyone would start to act as if they really aren't sure if they want another drink, and the crew is trained to make a show of making martinis, not to sell cars. 

 

A package fixes at least part of the problem. It says: we don't really care about the costs of you drinking another martini because in reality, it costs us $1.50 and you'd really have to try to cost us $20 per day. But, to be on a ship that has a virtual open bar, your fare goes up. You can take it or leave it. 

 

Similar for internet, the shorex, etc. Some people will pay a higher fare, and by fiddling with the prices, that could be such a large percentage that the cruise line gets to a point where they can tell TAs that the base fare is just $800, but the cabin availability for non-package buyers has unfortunately dropped to zero. Escaped from the box. 

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29 minutes ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

I don't understand how it could make it worse.  

 

Let's look at drinks. (All amounts are guesses). A tax free can of Heineken costs a dollar, maybe less to the ship. The ship sells them at $6, $7, maybe $10. After pondering if it's worth it to order an extra beer, mr X thinks about having to work for 30 minutes for a beer, and decides to go to his cabin. The ship would love to sell another beer for $2 and make a buck if that is what it's worth to mr X (who'd gladly even pay $3). Both parties would be happier if the crew would negotiate, but then everyone would start to act as if they really aren't sure if they want another drink, and the crew is trained to make a show of making martinis, not to sell cars. 

 

A package fixes at least part of the problem. It says: we don't really care about the costs of you drinking another martini because in reality, it costs us $1.50 and you'd really have to try to cost us $20 per day. But, to be on a ship that has a virtual open bar, your fare goes up. You can take it or leave it. 

 

Similar for internet, the shorex, etc. Some people will pay a higher fare, and by fiddling with the prices, that could be such a large percentage that the cruise line gets to a point where they can tell TAs that the base fare is just $800, but the cabin availability for non-package buyers has unfortunately dropped to zero. Escaped from the box. 

 

You've made a good argument for how the package will entice low-spending passengers to spend more, making the cruise line more money off them. But you've missed the flip side, which is that the package also entices high-spending passengers to spend less (by buying the package instead of going a la carte), which means the cruise line makes less money off them.

 

Using the same drink example as above, unlike mr X who decides to skip the $6 beer, mr Y is willing to pay $6/beer, and still buys 6 of them a day (for total of $36). How much will mr X pay for the package? My guess is $15 or less, if he's only willing to pay $3/beer. So if the cruise line finds the package price has to be $15 or less in order to get mr X to buy it , then they're making more money than before from mr X ($15 vs. $0), but they're losing money on mr Y ($15 vs. $36). Plus their costs are higher, since both mr X and mr Y are likely to consume more than if they didn't have packages.  So it's a very delicate balance on package pricing, based on estimates of how many passengers are like mr X and how many like mr Y. If they guess wrong, it's easy to see how it loses money for the cruise line.

 

Many passengers, such as 3rdGenCunarder, will do the math, and only opt for the package if it saves them money. Is there any price that will serve to entice enough low-spenders to buy the package but not lose too much income from the high-spenders? I don't know. One indication to me is the current pricing of beverage packages, which is set high enough to IMO discourage all but high-spenders from buying them. Maybe this is seen only though my personal lenses, but I suspect most passengers don't drink enough cocktails a day to make the package worthwhile; it certainly isn't going to entice mr X, who isn't willing to pay $6 for one beer.

 

The upshot is that as long as the package is an option, I don't think it solves the problem.

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So glad you call cocktails, cocktails. I had to learn that "a martini" means "a cocktail". :)

 

 

 

42 minutes ago, DougK said:

One indication to me is the current pricing of beverage packages, which is set high enough to IMO discourage all but high-spenders from buying them.

 

I've asked before how many people paid for (or had their TA pay for) a package. 

 

The only actual answer was 700 out of 2600.  ( I don't know how many were kids on that cruise). I think that's a lot.

 

53 minutes ago, DougK said:

How much will mr X pay for the package? My guess is $15 or less, if he's only willing to pay $3/beer.

 

Even mr X would pay (much) more. If he promised himself 1 cocktail a day, and one beer, it's more than 15. Only teetotallers drinking 2 coffees shouldn't pay $15. The $3 limit is when he's deciding to have one last beer or call it a night. During dinner he didn't worry about a $9 wine, but at 11 PM, his wife went to the cabin already, he doesn't think it's $6 worth to buy another beer.  

 

Mr Y is perfectly fine with the ease of mind (and that's repeatedly a thing on CC, even if it's a loss people like not to think about the cost  of another drink), and is drinking $150 according to the price list, paying just $65 for it. He's making a nice profit and so does the ship. (The ships makes $30 extra. That's a lot of T-shirts, Bingo and shorex)

 

49 minutes ago, DougK said:

But you've missed the flip side, which is that the package also entices high-spending passengers to spend less (by buying the package instead of going a la carte), which means the cruise line makes less money off them.

 

You must be talking about mr Z, one of a rare species. Mr Z doesn't care in the least and would be worse off buying a package because even a $500/day card doesn't cover the wine he and his girlfriend enjoyed so much when they first met in Paris. Then again, mr Z probably sails on a different line. 

 

1 hour ago, DougK said:

The upshot is that as long as the package is an option, I don't think it solves the problem.

 

 

That's unless the line can simply disallow people to get a cabin when they don't have a package. I believe I paid a ridiculous $65/d for a package, not including gratuity, then of course tried every cocktail available in every bar and organized my own daily wine tasting event in MDR (total cost to the ship: still maybe $20/day). And even$65 is apparently low enough for 700 out of 2600 pax. What if it's just $35? 2000/2600? Without kids 2000/2200? At some point the ship can simply say that you must have a package to book a cabin. Which is exactly the same as raising the fare, but without raising the fare.

 

Mutatis mutandis, the same for shorex, internet, etc.

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It is a math question for each cruiser.  Just like all of the offerings and sales from the industry.  Simply determine your break even price, or your net bottom line price.  No magic to it.  We pass on the drink and the soft drink packages.  No cheese for us in these offers.  Others jump at them.

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On 8/31/2019 at 8:55 AM, LoveHAL said:

Well, the title that got your attention!

 

My question is, if it is so bad, why complain so much? Why not just spend your travel dollars elsewhere? Or, is it just fun to complain? 

 

Well, you sound like me. RedneckBob hear.

 

I admit that I am a little late to this thread and did not read all the posts but hear is my take. A successful cruise for me and the Misses is if the boat return to port afloat. Don't ask to much, just get me home. Since my first cruise years ago, can't remember which ship, either the Ninadam, Pintodam or Santa Mariadam, there has been lots of changes, both good and bad, but never to date had a disappointing cruise. Sure I might like the way the Captain is driving the boat but we always make it to our destinations, maybe sometimes an hour late or a day late or never. SO what. I am on a boat at sea and that's all that matters to me. Maybe I should get a t shirt with that printed on it.

 

"That's all I have to say about that" (quoted Forrest Gump) 

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Love your post Mr Bob. I do feel that I wish for more when I pay a large amount of money.  Thanks again for your post...

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Agree with Mosaic . Bob,  your expectations are too modest .

Is the idea that if they are low enough, you can never be disappointed ? 😁

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8 hours ago, RedneckBob said:

 

"That's all I have to say about that" (quoted Forrest Gump) 

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Myself, I approach an upcoming trip with a balance of  anticipation and acceptance. Anticipation of the good things. Acceptance that there will be disappointments. 

 

I do complain when something is serious wrong. It's my duty as a consumer to warn the company when it is something they can/should correct. It's my duty as a passenger to warn others when the company fails to deliver on its promises.

 

Ultimately, we (individuals) are better off as part of a community (collectively). 

 

Here's a message to LoveHAL. Yes, there are some issues where I complain loudly. That is not hate of HAL. That's a love of better things that could have been. And, I'm not forcing you to read what I say?

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