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Do you Like the direction..

Right or wrong direction for Holland America Line?  

220 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you like the direction Orlando Ashford seems to be leading Holland America Line?



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I don’t like the direction HAL is going in.  Pathetic promenade decks on new builds, evening noise levels.  I don’t mind cutbacks but an atmosphere that doesn’t obscure the fact that I’m at sea is non-negotiable.

 

However, is the current direction  better than other potential directions?  I don’t know.  Could it be a “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know” situation?

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Just now, SetAnOpenCourse said:

I don’t like the direction HAL is going in.  Pathetic promenade decks on new builds, evening noise levels.  I don’t mind cutbacks but an atmosphere that doesn’t obscure the fact that I’m at sea is non-negotiable.

 

However, is the current direction  better than other potential directions?  I don’t know.  Could it be a “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know” situation?

No, they know they are on the wrong track, they can't fill the 2 new ones that won't fit in the Panama canal, so they are trying everything, lower the prizes, bringing one of them to Alaska, because it can't make any money in the Caribbean, sending them up and down to Mexico, until they run out of ideas, maybe then they realize that we don't need a carnival II.

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I miss Kirk Lanterman's hand on the wheel.  That era of HAL, and the years before he came aboard, are my favorite HAL years.  Mr. Lanterman earned his retirement as did the rest of us so fortunate to be in that status.

 

Stein Kruse was a worthy successor to Mr. Lanterman.  He continued the HAL that I knew for some time.  I was privileged to meet and speak with Mr. Kruse twice when he was President of HAL.  We were both on the same page.  

 

What happened next?   Mr. Kruse earned a corporate promotion which he received.  He could no longer focus solely on HAL.  Why was Mr. Ashford chosen to replace him?  It makes sense to bring into the Company someone who has "no pre-conceived ideas" as to what a 21st Century HAL guest might enjoy.  Perhaps, that was the reason he was chosen.

 

There have been positives in recent years:  

1.  Crews remain a hallmark of the welcoming experience that HAL guests enjoy.

2.  The ships are well maintained, their decor is lovely and provide a pleasant experience with the Pinnacle Class ships showcasing some art that, for this Senior Citizen, I really don't appreciate.

3.  Many itineraries of HAL are interesting.  Most Alaska and Caribbean itineraries, not so much.  

4.  An increasing variety of dining options.  Sel de Mer is clearly a winner whether a stand alone or a pop-up.  Tamarind and Pinnacle Grill seems to depend upon whose in charge in the galley.  (That is particularly true in the MDR.  Many of my MDR dinners on Nieuw Statendam in January were disappointing.  My July MDR dinners on Westerdam were excellent.  I have found that same "variation" on other HAL cruises.)

5.  Lincoln Center Stage, Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard on Board are all good additions to the cruise experience.  

6.  Interactive TVs in the staterooms with a wide variety of video and audio options is something that I enjoy.

7.  The new Marketplace Concept organization in the Lido Restaurants is, for me, far superior to the chaotic Horizon Court/Horizon Bistro concept on the Royal Princess (which I assume is the same as the other ships of the Royal Class).

 

Recent Disappointments:

1.  Main Showroom entertainment that lacks the proper use of the technical ability of the theater reducing the enjoyment of the guest.  (Dear Mr. Ashford:  sail on Coral Princess and attend the On the Bayou program in the ship's Universe Lounge.  The Universe Lounge is NOT the ship's main showroom.)

2.  The decision to convert the Crow's Nest to the EXC concept:  what information is now available that was not available before?  Interactive screens are "interesting".  But, what do they contribute to the guest's cruise experience?   If you want to improve the guests shore experience, then start providing quality, detailed maps of the ports to the guests staterooms.

3.  "Sucking up" to some brand name companies/individuals, i.e. James Suckling, ATK.  that do little to nothing to improve the guest experience.  How many times must the "Salmon program" for ATK be presented?  The new wine list from your wine expert omits excellent wines that were reasonably priced for wines that are inferior, in my opinion, sold at a higher price.

4.  An on going complaint of mine:  the post cruise survey.  If one is gone from one's computer longer than the survey is "active", other than writing a letter or sending an e-mail one cannot communicate one's views.

     

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23 hours ago, rucrazy said:

Do you like the direction Orlando Ashford seems to be leading Holland America Line?

Please discuss.

I want to thank everyone who so far have participated in this discussion. Looking at the current poll numbers it does appear that a majority of those that responded feel the changes made and currently underway at Holland America Line, are not viewed as positive.

I feel as though some posts were spot on, and others raised some interesting & thoughtful observations.

Thanks for keeping the discussion civil!!

Joseph

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16 hours ago, awhcruiser said:

I have no idea who that person is.

HAL President. Try Googling things you don't know.

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I actually really like the direction things are going.  The new ships have wonderful additions, such as the Music Walk, the Dutch Cafe and Sel de Mer.  We also enjoyed the modern art work.  While we are in our 60’s we thought it was great seeing more younger families on board.  We prefer the Music Walk in the evenings and feel that experience is far better than any 45 minute production show or other act.  The only time I could see going to a production show would be if there was a 7:00 show and going before dinner.  We also prefer the anytime dining to a set dinner time. Would we like a wider deck to walk on- yes- but this is not significant.  We would like to see a few more lectures and travel talks during sea days.

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Who is Orlando Ashford? Looks like a consultant and management coach. No evidence of management experience in a line company (Radisson, Marriott, cruise company).

 

https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/orlando-ashford

 

What about the old timers?

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/blog/destinations/alaska/kirk-and-janet-lantermans-special-crew-tour-in-juneau/

 

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/stein-kruse-to-become-ceo-of-the-holland-america-group-230519551.html

 

Here's Arnold Donald's bio ...

 

https://www.crunchbase.com/person/arnold-w-donald

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18 hours ago, rucrazy said:

 

Good Luck,

We gave Princess three trys and decided not to proceed further. We felt food and service both fell below where HAL and Celebrity stood at that time.

Trying it just to test the waters and its a unique itinerary (Greenland) that we would have to do the VOV on HAL to hit. 

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20 minutes ago, drowelf said:

Trying it just to test the waters and its a unique itinerary (Greenland) that we would have to do the VOV on HAL to hit. 

I don’t blame you.

Princess just didn’t fit us. That’s all i meant.

 

Joseph

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No. There are almost no shipboard activities any more. They are getting rid of the libraries, which is the stupidest idea ever!  They have elimanted the fruit soups from the menu. And although they have updated the TVs in the stateroom, the movies and shows available to watch on the TV are fairly limited, and they don't change them much from cruise to cruise. They now show a movie a number of nights in the Main Showroom as the main entertainment. The lecturers they book as speakers are many times horrendous!! And although Lincoln Stage is awesome, if you are on a 14-20 day cruise, the programs will repeat a number of times. Worst of all, if you have an issue on your cruise and write to the main office, first, they don't respond. Second, they don't read your letter closely to understand your complaints. Third, the compensation offers for your complaint are ridiculously low balled now and the letters written in reply show that your letter wasn't even read closely. It seems that management has no interest in making up for a bad cruise. For example, on my recent 20 day cruise to Hawaii, we missed 3 ports out of 7, had to return early to San Diego early (there was a 16 day cruise to San Diego), and sail out late. This meant we spent two nights docked at San Diego when we should have been sailing. This was all because the ship had a broken azipod the captain knew about before we sailed. I was offered $150 off a cruise I booked in the next year despite that I already had a cruise booked in 2020 and 2021!!! I've had issues before and have always received fair compensation and letters that showed my complaint was understood. None of these things happened before Mr. Ashford took over. 

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3 hours ago, catl331 said:

HAL President. Try Googling things you don't know.

Thank you for the helpful infornation.....

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9 minutes ago, HappyInVan said:

Has anyone actually Orlando in person? Does he visit the ships?

 

 

 

He had never been on a cruise until he was hired by HAL. I've read that he has been on some cruises since then.

 

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We were on the WC this year.  Mr Chew attended a Q&A session with Orlando and members of senior management.

 

They made it quite clear that they cannot build any more 1500-passenger class ships and meet their financial objectives at current pricing for their market.  That is why they are building the pinnacle class ships.  They are a different model for cruising.  

 

The focus, as stated by Ashford & his team, is on food, music and itineraries as the core elements for their new construction.  How that all will play out remains to be seen.  Things are going to be different as they replace the older ships with newer ships.  They also need to replace their older demographic with one that has different interests & expectations of cruising.  

 

We are planning to book a cruise on the Nieuw Statendam in the near future and are looking forward to a new, different experience on HAL.  

Edited by Lady Chew

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Arnold Donald is currently the head of the Carnival Corp Board of Directors.

Orlando Ashford was his room-mate in college.

That's all you need to know.

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8 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

Has anyone actually Orlando in person? Does he visit the ships?

 

 

He and his wife sat next table to us most nights on our Alaska cruise in July.  I recognized him from the President's letter in cabin literature and asked our waiter if it was business or pleasure and he said as far as he knew it was strictly vacation.  He said the crew liked them. (Of course, what else would he say when they were 6 feet away).

I realize that says nothing about his management style or decision-making but as a couple they certainly were low-key, easy going and polite to everyone we saw them deal with.

We also happened to meet them again in the Pinnacle Grill one night and stopped to say hello.  I asked if he did indeed personally select the Tomahawk steak they advertize in the menu, ($75 extra charge!).  He laughed and said well, they gave him credit for it. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Lady Chew said:

We were on the WC this year.  Mr Chew attended a Q&A session with Orlando and members of senior management.

 

They made it quite clear that they cannot build any more 1500-passenger class ships and meet their financial objectives at current pricing for their market.  That is why they are building the pinnacle class ships.  They are a different model for cruising.  

 

The focus, as stated by Ashford & his team, is on food, music and itineraries as the core elements for their new construction.  How that all will play out remains to be seen.  Things are going to be different as they replace the older ships with newer ships.  They also need to replace their older demographic with one that has different interests & expectations of cruising.  

 

We are planning to book a cruise on the Nieuw Statendam in the near future and are looking forward to a new, different experience on HAL.  

 

If HAL really wants to attract the younger crowd then they need to invest in technology:  super fast (and cheap) WIFI, game rooms where passengers could pay against each other, and Oculus VR devices.  People in their 20s and 30s expect to be in touch with everyone they have ever met at any moment. They also enjoy communicating more via their phones then in person. Ordering could be done by phone while you are having dinner or while you are waiting in line.   They also need to change the menu to a more modern pallet:  boneless wings, barbecue ribs, and craft beers. 

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15 minutes ago, ChinaShrek said:

 

If HAL really wants to attract the younger crowd then they need to invest in technology:  super fast (and cheap) WIFI, game rooms where passengers could pay against each other, and Oculus VR devices.  People in their 20s and 30s expect to be in touch with everyone they have ever met at any moment. They also enjoy communicating more via their phones then in person. Ordering could be done by phone while you are having dinner or while you are waiting in line.   They also need to change the menu to a more modern pallet:  boneless wings, barbecue ribs, and craft beers. 

 

Dear God, if any cruise line turns into a TGI Fridays I am soooo out of there. I would like to see a better beer selection, but I don't want "bar food" on a cruise.

 

It's bad enough with the phones now that HAL has gone to unlimited internet plans. People sit facing the ocean and all they look at is their phones! Part of a vacation is to unwind and do something different than your everyday life. The game room could attract some passengers no currently cruisers and better internet would be good, but virtual reality??????????? REAL reality on a ship should be good enough!

 

Edited by 3rdGenCunarder

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12 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Dear God, if any cruise line turns into a TGI Fridays I am soooo out of there. I would like to see a better beer selection, but I don't want "bar food" on a cruise.

 

It's bad enough with the phones now that HAL has gone to unlimited internet plans. People sit facing the ocean and all they look at is their phones! Part of a vacation is to unwind and do something different than your everyday life. The game room could attract some passengers no currently cruisers and better internet would be good, but virtual reality??????????? REAL reality on a ship should be good enough!

 

 

Do you want HAL to stay in business or cling to the past and get subsumed into Seaborn or Carnival?

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Being a five star mariner, and having done many HAL cruises, I find myself transitioning to Seabourn.  HALs intersting itineraries are on the mid size ships.  Liking a balcony or higher on the mid size ships can be very expensive on HAL. When you price a Vista Suite with HSC, wine, and on board expenses, Seabourn can sometimes be cheaper. The larger ships do give HAL pricing power. Still sail HAL when the itinerary and pricing are good. 

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28 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Part of a vacation is to unwind and do something different than your everyday life. The game room could attract some passengers no currently cruisers and better internet would be good, but virtual reality??????????? REAL reality on a ship should be good enough!

 

 

While the idea of "unwinding" may be your (or sometimes my) idea of a vacation, it's not necessarily universal. Some people prefer more active vacations and other like to do things that they don't have time to do in their busy everyday lives (like VR and gaming for my 27-year-old son -- which is actually HIS version of "unwinding").

 

Whether HAL has to be the line to offer this is certainly debatable. Seems to me that RCCL has already captured that TGI Fridays/Johnny Rockets vibe on their ships. 

 

My preference for HAL would be YES to upgrading food offerings: foodies are universal, young and older. Not downgrading them to wings and meatloaf. (Oh, wait....:classic_dry: )

 

It occurred to me recently that Carnival Corp really doesn't have a line that is the equivalent to an Oceania or Azamara. Seabourn is a true luxury line. But there's no premium one. Of course, many of the "complainers" about entertainment on HAL would not find much different (or at least not much better) on the premium lines. And many others would holler at the prices....

 

 

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26 minutes ago, wesport said:

Being a five star mariner, and having done many HAL cruises, I find myself transitioning to Seabourn.  HALs intersting itineraries are on the mid size ships.  Liking a balcony or higher on the mid size ships can be very expensive on HAL. When you price a Vista Suite with HSC, wine, and on board expenses, Seabourn can sometimes be cheaper. The larger ships do give HAL pricing power. Still sail HAL when the itinerary and pricing are good. 

 

Speaking of this, I feel Carnival does a poor job of trying to entice passengers to try moving up to the next level. 

 

Among the mass market lines, the bulk of my cruises have been with either Princess or HAL, both Carnival lines. But I never receive brochures or emails about Seabourn. Never. My mailbox, however, is filled with gorgeous Oceania and Crystal brochures and my inbox with offers from Azamara. 

 

 

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46 minutes ago, ChinaShrek said:

 

If HAL really wants to attract the younger crowd then they need to invest in technology:  super fast (and cheap) WIFI, game rooms where passengers could pay against each other, and Oculus VR devices.  People in their 20s and 30s expect to be in touch with everyone they have ever met at any moment. They also enjoy communicating more via their phones then in person. Ordering could be done by phone while you are having dinner or while you are waiting in line.   They also need to change the menu to a more modern pallet:  boneless wings, barbecue ribs, and craft beers. 

If HAL invests in technology for passengers’ personal use, I’d hope that the users would be the ones to pay for it.  Offer a faster network, but at a higher price.  How much do you want to pay toward the maintenance and upgrading of VR devices?

 

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People in their 20's and 30's don't use Hal,  they use Yahoo lines like NCL, RCCL and Carnival, that's why we don't need a Carnival II. We shook hands with Orlando on the Prinsendam 2 years ago, nice person, but that doesn't make him competent..

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3 hours ago, ChinaShrek said:

 

If HAL really wants to attract the younger crowd then they need to invest in technology:  super fast (and cheap) WIFI, game rooms where passengers could pay against each other, and Oculus VR devices.  People in their 20s and 30s expect to be in touch with everyone they have ever met at any moment...

 

The saddest thing I have ever seen was a table full of millennials busy with their phones. Ignoring each other. Perhaps, they're playing online game with each other?

 

Ever noticed that?

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