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Do you Like the direction..

Right or wrong direction for Holland America Line?  

218 members have voted

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



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All cruise lines have overall become worse over time - it's a fact of life.  Some things, however are actually better such as having more balconies on ships, online check in, and larger cabins.  Plus, there is a much wider range of lines and the ships within those lines than ever before.

 

I guess we have to ask ourselves, how much more are we willing to pay to come close to the standards that we perceive we enjoyed at a certain point in the past.

Edited by ricka47

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5 minutes ago, ricka47 said:

I guess we have to ask ourselves, how much more are we willing to pay to come close to the standards that we perceive we enjoyed at a certain point in the past.

 

That indeed could be the question.

Hard to believe almost 65% of those taking part in the poll, are not happy with the direction.

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1 minute ago, rucrazy said:

 

That indeed could be the question.

Hard to believe almost 65% of those taking part in the poll, are not happy with the direction.

 

Based upon my experience of 28 years ago, I don't like the  overall direction of any of the mainstream lines.  But, I have to believe that, if the quality that we had 30 years ago was still with us today, many of us could not afford to cruise as often as we do,

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22 minutes ago, ricka47 said:

 

Based upon my experience of 28 years ago, I don't like the  overall direction of any of the mainstream lines.  But, I have to believe that, if the quality that we had 30 years ago was still with us today, many of us could not afford to cruise as often as we do,

 

True, but if this same poll was posted on all the major cruise lines' boards, I would not answer "no" to all of them. 

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1 hour ago, ricka47 said:

I have to believe that, if the quality that we had 30 years ago was still with us today, many of us could not afford to cruise as often as we do,

That may be true but it would be nice to just have that option..

I used to be a CSR department head,, and in mho True Guest/Customer service is non existent in 2019. When was the last time when on a cruise "It' would be my pleasure" costs the company nothing but minimal effort but adds so much value.

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15 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

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.

 

My goodness, I had never heard that. How can you effectively run a cruise line when you have never experienced cruising?

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6 minutes ago, fatcat04 said:

How can you effectively run a cruise line when you have never experienced cruising?

 

I wonder?🤔

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14 hours ago, Donald said:

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.

Not defending them, but just looked this up and they went to different colleges. 🤔

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16 minutes ago, newtocruiseinblue said:

Not defending them, but just looked this up and they went to different colleges. 🤔

I had done the same thing, and you're (we're) right.  But it's the Internet and anyone can say anything that they like.  The majority of folks -- lacking critical thinking -- will believe it.

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1 hour ago, fatcat04 said:

My goodness, I had never heard that. How can you effectively run a cruise line when you have never experienced cruising?

Have the managers of all brain surgery hospitals had brain surgery? I have had the surgery (got the scar to prove it) but there is no way that I could manage the hospital.

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1 minute ago, colbe said:

Have the managers of all brain surgery hospitals had brain surgery? I have had the surgery (got the scar to prove it) but there is no way that I could manage the hospital.

 

Brain surgery (and congrats on your successful one) is part of medicinal help.  It’s not an enjoyable experience by any means and comparing it to a cruise is like comparing apples to lemons (forget oranges 😉 ) 

 

Cruising on the other hand is supposed to be enjoyable and if one hasn’t the appreciation for it nor listened to passengers then you don’t “get” it.  I know OA wasn’t happy when he was on the Prinsendam (I forget if it was a whole day, 2 or 3) and heard from the fans who were willing to pay (and did) a lot more than any other HAL cruise.

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25 minutes ago, colbe said:

Have the managers of all brain surgery hospitals had brain surgery? I have had the surgery (got the scar to prove it) but there is no way that I could manage the hospital.

No, but they have, for the most part, studied hospital management which qualifies them.

Putting Orlando Ashford, a renowned and well respected human resources expert, in charge of cruise line operations is quite different.  Someone with hotel management education and experience would have been a much wiser choice. 

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6 minutes ago, taxmantoo said:

No, but they have, for the most part, studied hospital management which qualifies them.

Putting Orlando Ashford, a renowned and well respected human resources expert, in charge of cruise line operations is quite different.  Someone with hotel management education and experience would have been a much wiser choice. 

 

That's what got me.  He had no experience in the hospitality industry.  If he had come to HAL from a resort or hotel management background, it would have made more sense.

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1 hour ago, Av8rix said:

I had done the same thing, and you're (we're) right.  But it's the Internet and anyone can say anything that they like.  The majority of folks -- lacking critical thinking -- will believe it.

I agree.  Social Media has been a blessing and a curse.  I am not on Facebook, etc., but can understand why others may need it.  Like you, I just wish they would fact check information before passing it on.

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30 minutes ago, kevingastreich said:

CEO's change often. Just wait it out awhile and somebody new will step in.

I am waiting..

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1 hour ago, taxmantoo said:

No, but they have, for the most part, studied hospital management which qualifies them.

Putting Orlando Ashford, a renowned and well respected human resources expert, in charge of cruise line operations is quite different.  Someone with hotel management education and experience would have been a much wiser choice. 

They have had major personnel changes and cuts in Seattle, I wonder why?..

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From another party whom I trust, Mr. Ashford has sailed on HAL ships.  Mrs. Donald, the wife of the CCL CEO has become a regular on the Grand World Cruise.  I personally saw and passed Mr. Donald in a corridor of the ship's Greenhouse Spa on Nieuw Amsterdam.  Close to the start of our first dinner aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam, Captain and Mrs. van Zaane appeared at the dining room's entrance (our table was in such a position that I saw this).  Based on my experience for the first night at sea:  this was an irregular occurrence.  I asked the Assistant Maitre d' for my area and he said that the Captain and his wife were joining Mr. and Mrs. Donald for dinner.

 

The head honchos of CCL and HAL have sailed on HAL ships.  

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1 minute ago, Sir PMP said:

They have had major personnel changes and cuts in Seattle, I wonder why?..

i assumed it was a group tightening thing.

Seeing  where HAL, Princess, Seabourn, and P &O Australia services may overlap

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4 minutes ago, Sir PMP said:

They have had major personnel changes and cuts in Seattle, I wonder why?..

 

Some of have been due to retirements.  Others are inexplicable.  Just my opinion:  the major changes that need to be made are in the Entertainment Area.  There are some "gurus" who have been there for--a couple of decades or more, I think--that think they are "keeping up with entertainment trends.  Their  thoughts about Lincoln Center Live, Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard on Board are spot on based upon my experience.  Their decision to sacrifice decent main Showroom performances reflect poorly upon their thinking.

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I have contended all along that Mr Ashford has been tasked with improving yields for HAL in ways directed by Carnival Corporate.  This involves cutting staffing costs (both at a corporate level and at a ship level), cutting F& B costs, cutting supply costs and improving yields.  Yields can be improved either by direct fare increases or by incremental add-ons (drink packages, higher bar prices,  shore excursion revenue, spa/shop revenue, etc).  Everything done under his tenure has fit into the model of decreasing costs whilst chasing increased yields.  Which is also happening with almost every other mainstream cruise line.

 

Building larger ships is happening at every level of the cruise industry.   HAL is still far behind the curve (in size and passenger density) of peers like Celebrity and Princess in the premium mainstream segment.  The ship design/build plan, the ship retirement plan and the Cap-Ex budget for maintenance/renovation is all ultimately decided by Carnival Corp and Mr Ashford's team must work within the parameters they are given.  Those budgets/decisions are driven by HAL's revenues/operating costs, which brings us back to lowering costs and increasing yields.

 

HAL has long had an image problem in the cruising world - most consumers think it's "only for old people", or just generally have no awareness of the brand at all.  They have trouble attracting a demographic that will spend for the ancillary items and pay premium fares.  They are attempting to shed the Greatest Generation and older Boomers but are not chasing Millennial's by any stretch.   Rather I see them trying to attract Mid 40's through mid 60's guests  (Generation X - younger Boomers). These are cruisers who are used to branded experiences that represent quality, travel with technology, like a variety of dining options, are curious about the world around them,  but don't want the floating amusement parks or masses of people you find on lines like RCCL, Carnival and NCL.  They also tend to spend more per day in ancillary revenue for alcohol, specialty dining, spa, shops, tours, etc than their older counterparts.  They also tend to take short vacations of less than 10 days.  This is why lines like Princess, Celebrity, Oceania, Viking, Regent, Seabourn, Azamara,etc have been reducing the number of longer sailings in favor of more 7-10 night offerings worldwide.  Sadly HAL seems unable to refine their messaging and product delivery in a meaningful way that is attracting these passengers at a premium yield, hence why we see so much discounting.

 

I often get the impression that many departments at HAL work in relative autonomous isolation and that there is a lot of "little kingdom" mentality among department heads both at corporate and on a ship level as well, hence why they are consistently inconsistent.  A corporate leader like Mr. Ashford, with extensive HR experience, may be working behind the scenes to change the corporate culture, but that takes time.

 

Change is not without pain, or mistakes along the way, but if HAL does not experiment and attempt to change they will eventually cease to exist as a brand.

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6 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

 

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?

Yes, many times. I think human interaction is important but I am only arguing that if HAL wants to attract millennials then they are going to have to do something different on their ships.  Libraries, high tea, and towel folding will not cut it.

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12 minutes ago, Sir PMP said:

They have had major personnel changes

 

Some of these changes have resulted in employing well intentioned individuals whom I sure tried to do their best in their jobs.  Some of their efforts worked; some didn't.

 

The tendency for cruse lines to seek "celebrity chefs, wine experts, etc." has not been much of an improvement for this guest's cruise experience other than Chef Rudy's Sel de Mer.  Pop-up or a permanent venue:  the concept and execution is sound.  The Todd English bally-hood venue on QM2 some time ago missed the mark.  Anyone try the Signature Curtis Strange Pork Belly entree during a Princess Cruise?  If you enjoyed that dish, your digestive system is in better condition than mine!

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8 minutes ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

HAL has long had an image problem in the cruising world - most consumers think it's "only for old people", or just generally have no awareness of the brand at all.  They have trouble attracting a demographic that will spend for the ancillary items and pay premium fares. 

 

Agree.  The demographics are wide ranging on every ship on which I have sailed.  I sailed on a  Carnival Freedom cruise during Spring Break thinking that I would be the "Grand-Father" of the ship.  Well, that was a joke!  I needed to watch out for scooters.

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34 minutes ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

I have contended all along that Mr Ashford has been tasked with improving yields for HAL in ways directed by Carnival Corporate.  This involves cutting staffing costs (both at a corporate level and at a ship level), cutting F& B costs, cutting supply costs and improving yields.  Yields can be improved either by direct fare increases or by incremental add-ons (drink packages, higher bar prices,  shore excursion revenue, spa/shop revenue, etc).  Everything done under his tenure has fit into the model of decreasing costs whilst chasing increased yields.  Which is also happening with almost every other mainstream cruise line.

 

Building larger ships is happening at every level of the cruise industry.   HAL is still far behind the curve (in size and passenger density) of peers like Celebrity and Princess in the premium mainstream segment.  The ship design/build plan, the ship retirement plan and the Cap-Ex budget for maintenance/renovation is all ultimately decided by Carnival Corp and Mr Ashford's team must work within the parameters they are given.  Those budgets/decisions are driven by HAL's revenues/operating costs, which brings us back to lowering costs and increasing yields.

 

HAL has long had an image problem in the cruising world - most consumers think it's "only for old people", or just generally have no awareness of the brand at all.  They have trouble attracting a demographic that will spend for the ancillary items and pay premium fares.  They are attempting to shed the Greatest Generation and older Boomers but are not chasing Millennial's by any stretch.   Rather I see them trying to attract Mid 40's through mid 60's guests  (Generation X - younger Boomers). These are cruisers who are used to branded experiences that represent quality, travel with technology, like a variety of dining options, are curious about the world around them,  but don't want the floating amusement parks or masses of people you find on lines like RCCL, Carnival and NCL.  They also tend to spend more per day in ancillary revenue for alcohol, specialty dining, spa, shops, tours, etc than their older counterparts.  They also tend to take short vacations of less than 10 days.  This is why lines like Princess, Celebrity, Oceania, Viking, Regent, Seabourn, Azamara,etc have been reducing the number of longer sailings in favor of more 7-10 night offerings worldwide.  Sadly HAL seems unable to refine their messaging and product delivery in a meaningful way that is attracting these passengers at a premium yield, hence why we see so much discounting.

 

I often get the impression that many departments at HAL work in relative autonomous isolation and that there is a lot of "little kingdom" mentality among department heads both at corporate and on a ship level as well, hence why they are consistently inconsistent.  A corporate leader like Mr. Ashford, with extensive HR experience, may be working behind the scenes to change the corporate culture, but that takes time.

 

Change is not without pain, or mistakes along the way, but if HAL does not experiment and attempt to change they will eventually cease to exist as a brand.

And if the larger ships don't make any money, what then?

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