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Do you Like the direction..

Right or wrong direction for Holland America Line?  

223 members have voted

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



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On 9/12/2019 at 5:06 PM, Krazy Kruizers said:

We do not like the direction HAL is going.  Our last cruise everything was downhill!!

 

HAL certainly isn't trying to keep their loyal customers.

It is the same throughout the industry …. If for example you were to read NCL or RCCL its the same. Sadly its market forces and with so much tonnage to sell it was bound to happen. 

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5 hours ago, bmwman said:

It is the same throughout the industry …. If for example you were to read NCL or RCCL its the same. Sadly its market forces and with so much tonnage to sell it was bound to happen. 

 

It is the same on all lines.  But, it appears that the lamenting about the changes is more pronounced on the HAL board than it is on the others.  Is it because HAL has fallen faster or further than the others?  Or, is it because the formerly loyal base is just more vocal about their disappointment?

 

Our first cruise on HAL was in 2004 and it was not memorable enough to go back until 14 years later.  We booked the Nieuw Amsterdam for Thanksgiving last year mostly because of the pricing and did it this year for the same reason. 

 

The experience on HAL is pretty much the same as on all the mainstream lines which all have mediocre food in the MDR these days.   The entertainment on HAL is not as good in some areas but, for us, better in others.  We enjoyed BB Kings and Lincoln Center Stage very much.

 

So, for us, it comes down getting the most bang for the buck.  While we are Diamond on RCI and Elite on X; we're not loyal to any line at this point.  Give us a good value for what we're paying and we'll go on your ship realizing that it's not 1990 (or earlier) any longer.

Edited by ricka47

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2 hours ago, ricka47 said:

 

It is the same on all lines.  But, it appears that the lamenting about the changes is more pronounced on the HAL board than it is on the others.  Is it because HAL has fallen faster or further than the others?  Or, is it because the formerly loyal base is just more vocal about their disappointment?

 

The way I scale cutbacks is by what replaced them.  For example, on RCI, when I'm annoyed by the room service charge or lack of pillow chocolates, I'm brought back off the ledge when I sit down and see one of the most amazing production shows I've ever seen.  

 

On HAL, I can't seem to find those ulterior upgrades that trade off the cutbacks.  

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41 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

The way I scale cutbacks is by what replaced them.  For example, on RCI, when I'm annoyed by the room service charge or lack of pillow chocolates, I'm brought back off the ledge when I sit down and see one of the most amazing production shows I've ever seen.  

 

On HAL, I can't seem to find those ulterior upgrades that trade off the cutbacks.  

 

That is a good point.  Losing something in exchange for getting something does soften the loss.  The diving shows, the production shows, and the engineering marvel that the Oasis class ships are may make up for the lower quality in the MDR and other cutbacks.

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On 9/12/2019 at 3:08 PM, MISTER 67 said:

My biggest gripe is the quantity and quality of entertainment aboard HAL ships. BB Kings and Lincoln Center are pretty good but the rest is a joke. 

BB King and Lincoln were too small when we sailed on a ship with them. Add that to the loss of other opportunities for entertainment.   What I didn't like was that if we didn't arrive 30 mins early, we could never get seating.  That was our first and last cruise on Zuiderdamm and that class ship.  Like I have said many times, when the S Class ships are gone, Mrs Banjo and I are gone as well. 

 

The good news is we are on Veendam again in about 3 weeks!  Woooooo  Hooooo

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17 hours ago, Aquahound said:

 

When's the last time you cruised a "gargantuan?"  Thinking of the biggest of the big, RCI Oasis Class, many things about them blow HAL out of the water including suite perks, entertainment, activities, and specialty restaurants. You say its the gigantic ships that are cutting costs and need filled, but I argue that's the case with all mass market cruise lines.  Heck, I think HAL's cuts are some of the most egregious.  

 

I think the OP was making reference more to the huge increase in the number of berths to be filled, which results in an intense price competition among all mass market lines -- which leads to equally intense pressure to maintain artificially low pricing for the initial cruise fare and to get folks to pay for more and more "extras" onboard.

 

In other words, it's not about a dislike of the ships themselves but about the increase in capacity to which they have mightily contributed...

 

(Edited to add: Oops, sorry -- just realized the OP already clarified their remarks. But perhaps mine are also food for thought...)

Edited by cruisemom42

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4 hours ago, ricka47 said:

 

It is the same on all lines.  But, it appears that the lamenting about the changes is more pronounced on the HAL board than it is on the others.  Is it because HAL has fallen faster or further than the others?  Or, is it because the formerly loyal base is just more vocal about their disappointment?

 

I think it has more to do with the fact that lines like RCCL, Celebrity, NCL, Princess and Carnival have been more successful at shedding a good portion of their "old-school" clientele and attracting a newer, younger client base that is more adaptive and does not remember the "good-old-days" ... also the cuts at other lines began far earlier and were more gradual.  HAL with smaller, more traditional ships, has retained far more of it's core, long term client base than their peers, and only started the cuts more recently.  The core HAL client base also seems to be far more resistive to change and far less adaptable than the client bases of other lines

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18 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

 

I'm curious how you reconcile valuing "food quality, preparation and presentation" with staying in a time share. Do you eat out every night? Do you go out and pay for entertainment that's better than what's available onboard ships?

 

Personally, I am just the opposite of you. I have no desire to have "2 TVs a washer and dryer" and presumably a kitchen when I travel. I like to take a break from cleaning, making beds, washing, and food prep. And I prefer not to just set up and stay in one place.

 

Cruise lines have already weathered several recessions in quite recent memory -- the travel recession following 9/11 and the recent one that started in 2007/8 and ended sometime around 2010, depending on what indicators you use...

 

 

 

 Here you  go curious .First we do eat diners out  in  excellent restaurants using our restaurant.com coupons & only go to well rated restaurants(restaurant .com rates many of their restaurants ). How to rate any restaurant whether on land or on a cruise ship is this way ,one whether service is attentive ,the quality of food they serve & how the food is presented on the plates .5 Star restaurants are flawless 

 

Time shares for the most part where we stay are 4 & 5 star resorts  with live entertainment  . Princess cruise lines has washers & dryers on their cruise ships .A washer & dryer  in a time share is very convenient .We don;t even have to leave our time share unit to use them . We never make up beds ,we have maid service daily 

 

 We use the kitchen for convenience .We have breakfast in our time share  ,easily prepared .Lunch is a sand which or soup  ie .  We have pools ,work out facilities ,saunas ,steam room ,massages ie  & on site restaurant  &  store on site  

 

 Believe me it is easier to  time share than any other vacation & get all the amenities included .We can also go to all inclusive time shares 

 

  We hope this answers your questions  about land vacations in a time share 

 

  During the 2007 recession cruise ships were  selling cabins &  sailing at cost to get people to book ,so that they would spend money aboard ship  . Worst time to own cruise line stocks is  during a recession 

 

   

Edited by mcrcruiser

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I think the OP was making reference more to the huge increase in the number of berths to be filled, which results in an intense price competition among all mass market lines -- which leads to equally intense pressure to maintain artificially low pricing for the initial cruise fare and to get folks to pay for more and more "extras" onboard.

 

In other words, it's not about a dislike of the ships themselves but about the increase in capacity to which they have mightily contributed...

 

(Edited to add: Oops, sorry -- just realized the OP already clarified their remarks. But perhaps mine are also food for thought...)

 

Thank you.  This is indeed what I was trying to convey in my original post.   But coincidentally, we don't really enjoy the bigger ships!

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19 minutes ago, AncientWanderer said:

 

Thank you.  This is indeed what I was trying to convey in my original post.   But coincidentally, we don't really enjoy the bigger ships!

 

I am not a fan either!  Most of what they offer falls lower on my comparative list. 

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2 hours ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

 

I think it has more to do with the fact that lines like RCCL, Celebrity, NCL, Princess and Carnival have been more successful at shedding a good portion of their "old-school" clientele and attracting a newer, younger client base that is more adaptive and does not remember the "good-old-days" ... also the cuts at other lines began far earlier and were more gradual. 

 

 

Well, I don’t disagree with you I think there is more to it than that.  HAL has done little with the smaller ships to attract a different clientele IMO.  Production shows have been pretty much eliminated.  The one R ship (Rotterdam) that had great entertainment in the Crow’s Nest (BB Kings) had it removed a couple of years ago.  The Crow’s Nest was packed every night when we were on the her.

 

While many of us enjoy Adagio, it’s certainly not for everyone, though - especially younger cruisers in general.

 

HAL really didn’t do anything to try to attract new cruisers to their S & R ships that I can see.

 

 

Quote

 

 

HAL with smaller, more traditional ships, has retained far more of it's core, long term client base than their peers, and only started the cuts more recently.

 

Seriously the smaller more traditional ships wouldn’t appeal to everyone.  Those that like “new and shiny”, rock climbing walls, etc were not about to be attracted to the smaller ships.  Their selling feature for those who like(d) them was the ambience of being on a ship and the itineraries.

 

Quote

 

  The core HAL client base also seems to be far more resistive to change and far less adaptable than the client bases of other lines

 

I don’t think that the HAL base is resistant.  I think it boils down to your previous statements.  The other lines did it gradually and those remaining on the cruise ships are not necessarily the “loyal” customers.

 

HAL has more intricate and longer itineraries than some of the mass market competition (not talking about Caribbean here) and those are only going to attract people who can afford to take the time off or have the time to take off.  Those are not necessarily new cruisers 😉 

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On 9/14/2019 at 8:01 AM, 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. 

 

I’ve found the same situation with pricing on other ”luxury” cruise lines -- specifically Regent Seven Seas. I travel solo, so when you add HAL’s 100% single supplement along with the wine packages, specialty dining, etc., HAL ends up costing more than the all-inclusive RSSC, especially on the longer cruises (RSSC’s single supplement varies but it is never 100%; the most I've paid so far is about 45%).  Add the advantage of a smaller ship visiting ports not accessible to the larger HAL ships, and suddenly I find myself with a lot of days booked on RSSC.

 

I board the Amsterdam a week from today for a 35-day trip to South America and I’m definitely looking forward to it.  The Amsterdam was my first ever cruise 2 years ago (2 weeks to Alaska) and it sold me on the idea of cruise travel for someone like me with a few physical challenges.  Big ships simply won’t work for me due to those issues, so the move to ”bigger is better” is making it easier to choose options outside of HAL.  I understand why they're doing it, absolutely, and I’m sure it’s inevitable.  They must have some vision that’s driving this, so they’ll make those business decisions that meets those objectives.

 

And I’ll find cruise on smaller ships with better food and service that actually cost less than HAL.  It’s all good.

 

Lana

 

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On 9/15/2019 at 12:46 AM, HappyInVan said:

 

The problem is similar to the experience of long time flyers after airline deregulation.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_deregulation

 

Currently, I fly Premium Economy because of the mess in the economy section. The price  adjusted for inflation, is similar to what I would pay 40 years ago for long distance economy. 

 

I also fly Business class to Europe when the price is C$4k. The lie flat seats are value. They have an upgrade path.

 

Deregulation (and the fleet expansion of cruise brands) has been great for the budget  passenger. Whilst, affluent travellers have been squeezed upmarket. 

 

Consider this. CCL passengers can upgrade to HAL. Can HAL passengers upgrade, and stay within the Carnival group?

 

Seabourne is far too expensive for too little. What's missing is a HAL+ brand. Carnival Corp is actually forcing its customers to join other companies. So, goodbye Micky!

 

Another sign of corporate disarray at Carnival HQ. That's a lot of money out there for premium/luxury experiences and Carnival is out of the picture.

 

The weird thing is that Micky was willing to buy HAL for $$$$$ when corporate bonds cost 10%. But, in this decade of low low interest rates, its RCL and Ponant who's charging ahead.

 

Most cruisers don't care. They choose their itinerary year by year. 'Loyalist' sail with friends, and are willing to pay more from time to time.
 

 

I  seem to think  Mickey did  not purchase  HAL but rather  it was his father that did.

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, crusinbanjo said:

BB King and Lincoln were too small when we sailed on a ship with them. Add that to the loss of other opportunities for entertainment.   What I didn't like was that if we didn't arrive 30 mins early, we could never get seating.  That was our first and last cruise on Zuiderdamm and that class ship.  Like I have said many times, when the S Class ships are gone, Mrs Banjo and I are gone as well. 

 

The good news is we are on Veendam again in about 3 weeks!  Woooooo  Hooooo

Why didn't you try to go 30 mins early instead of scrapping that class of ship? 

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We have enjoyed sailing on both small & larger ships for different reasons  .  In general we do find that we gravitate to the newer ships with the bells & whistles  like flat TVs in front of our bed with on line new movies to select . We love the outdoor movie under the stars  ,the more places to eat & believe it or not most of the shows  on the new & bigger ships  .

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We only sail on HAL from our local port here in San Diego now & Princess in San Pedro ;which is 1.5 hr drive . After 84 cruises we have decided to never fly again  .Thus ,HAL from SD  &  Princess  from San Pedro . Princess even sails R/T from San Pedro to Alaska  .

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From the POV of the cruise companies (and passengers), mega-ships make good sense. It's not just about cutting costs.

 

It allows the company to run two brands on the same ship. You could have a premium or luxury brand in a segregated part of the ship. A real ship-within-the-ship.

 

$$$$ cruisers could enjoy premium food and quiet areas within their part of the ship, while joining younger family members for entertainment in the mass-market areas.

 

This may seem like a regression to the days of the Titanic. But, it made sense then. A large liner could sell cheap stowage fares to working-class emigrants. The upper classes paid for the enjoyment of the upper decks, which sailing in the comfort of a large ship.

 

On the return voyage eastwards, there were few immigrants. So, the first class passengers were subsidizing the others.

 

Today, it can still make sense.

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No. The move towards sterilizing everything into some generic product and removing everything that doesn't turn a buck is making the Holland America product look not only cheap but bland in an already crowded market.

 

To their proposed end, other than price point, why choose HAL? When you finally strip it of it's charm, it's elegance, and everything else that made it unique, it just comes down to bucks and that is what Mr. Ashford seems intent on doing.  Do they really want to be the Aldi of the cruise world? I love Aldi but I often pay more for the better quality, superior customer service, and overall experience of Publix. With vacation bucks, this becomes even more important. 

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4 minutes ago, fatcat04 said:

other than price point, why choose HAL?

 

Itineraries is the big reason  we cruise with HAL and the fact that they still have smaller vessels. 

 

If Celebrity would do world cruises i.e. longer itineraries on a millennium class ship we would be right there!!

Edited by rucrazy

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12 minutes ago, rucrazy said:

 

Itineraries is the big reason  we cruise with HAL and the fact that they still have smaller vessels. 

 

If Celebrity would do world cruises i.e. longer itineraries on a millennium class ship we would be right there!!

I get that. We too love the smaller ships. They are unique. But again HAL will sell them all off eventually and build no more.

Since we are still working age, mid 40's with kids, longer cruises (15+ days) with more varied itineraries are not an option yet.

 

The new build, which is the direction HAL is going, is so undifferentiated from every other cruise ship even close it's size, we are wondering more and more why we should stay loyal to a brand that seems hell bent on getting rid of the very unique and pleasant differences that drew us in over a decade ago? And with 30+ years of cruising left in us (fingers crossed), that reality is setting in. 

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6 minutes ago, fatcat04 said:

I get that. We too love the smaller ships. They are unique. But again HAL will sell them all off eventually and build no more.

And when they do... we will cease cruising with HAL.. that should free up space for the next generation of cruisers..

Edited by rucrazy
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3 minutes ago, fatcat04 said:

 

The new build, which is the direction HAL is going, is so undifferentiated from every other cruise ship even close it's size, we are wondering more and more why we should stay loyal to a brand that seems hell bent on getting rid of the very unique and pleasant differences that drew us in over a decade ago? And with 30+ years of cruising left in us (fingers crossed), that reality is setting in. 

 

So, who would you choose to sail with, if not HAL?

 

I'm genuinely curious. My "line of choice" for the last 9 years is no longer available to me. I'm currently trying out a number of different lines but none of them offer all of the things I am looking for.

 

I also cannot take long trips just yet, but I cruise for destination and HAL still offers some of the better/more unusual itineraries in the neighborhood of 2 weeks.

 

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1 hour ago, rucrazy said:

 

Itineraries is the big reason  we cruise with HAL and the fact that they still have smaller vessels. 

 

If Celebrity would do world cruises i.e. longer itineraries on a millennium class ship we would be right there!!

 

The millennium class ships are great, but they are starting to get older now, too, so probably will be phased out in time.  Celebrity is headed in a different direction, with its Solstice class and now Edge.

 

 I'll never understand why they didn't put aft elevators in those Solstice ships.  As I congregated with so many others to board the mid-ship elevators, I felt as if I were back working in a high-rise office building.  That's not a feeling one wants to have when cruising!  lol

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

So, who would you choose to sail with, if not HAL?

 

I'm genuinely curious. My "line of choice" for the last 9 years is no longer available to me. I'm currently trying out a number of different lines but none of them offer all of the things I am looking for.

 

I also cannot take long trips just yet, but I cruise for destination and HAL still offers some of the better/more unusual itineraries in the neighborhood of 2 weeks.

 

I understand. I am just starting to look around as we have an almost 2 year old so we are limited somewhat at the moment. I am a planner and we have long term goals for both cruises and land trips, Europe in particular again but in a few years time.

 

We have cruised Costa and Carnival in the past and enjoyed both (Costa was a pleasant suprise but it was a midsized ship) but HAL was a cut above in some respects and stood out to us because of that. But everyone, except the considerably more expensive more lux lines, is going to the "cruise with 3000+ of your closest friends" model. The larger ship experience plus the cutbacks is pretty discouraging, especially for family cruisers who don't need constant kidsitting, rock climbing walls, ice rinks, or Mickey Mouse. I guess I'll be looking at midsize ships from all lines and hope. 

 

And there are always land adventures. We are in the initial planning stages of an Austrian family hiking vacation. Littlest has to be 7 so I have plenty of time but its a family bucket list item and I want to make a good two week adventure of it. 

Edited by fatcat04

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1 hour ago, AncientWanderer said:

 

The millennium class ships are great, but they are starting to get older now, too, so probably will be phased out in time.  Celebrity is headed in a different direction, with its Solstice class and now Edge.

 

 I'll never understand why they didn't put aft elevators in those Solstice ships.  As I congregated with so many others to board the mid-ship elevators, I felt as if I were back working in a high-rise office building.  That's not a feeling one wants to have when cruising!  lol

That is a easy answer . By not having aft elevators they save money  when building the ship . 

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