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Done with HAL For Now


iceman93
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On 1/10/2020 at 4:31 PM, RAS4331 said:

My husband and I did notice, though, how much the activities were geared to senior citizens.  Here are some items that were on our daily schedule:  "Arthritis Pain Relief through Acupuncture"; "Diminish Swollen Ankles and Fluid Retention"; "Wrinkle Remedies"; "Advanced Facial Rejuvenation" -- we actually cracked up at some of the offerings!  I thought, "what's next -- how to choose adult undergarments wisely?"

One can only wonder how many of these were offered by the SPA?

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1 hour ago, RocketMan275 said:

One can only wonder how many of these were offered by the SPA?

 

They all sound like spa programs. HAL doesn't control those, as the spa is an outside company HAL contracts with.

 

I never go because I know there's a sales pitch hidden in them somewhere.

 

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Okay, I may deserve to be blasted for this but whatever happened to parents wanting to spend time with their children on vacation?  I see too many parents engrossed in their technology, ignoring their children, and relying on other technology or people to entertain them.  What happened to family vacations?

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16 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

They all sound like spa programs. HAL doesn't control those, as the spa is an outside company HAL contracts with.

 

I never go because I know there's a sales pitch hidden in them somewhere.

 

If you take away the spa programs and trivia is there anything left?

 

Hank

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9 minutes ago, Dunelm said:

Okay, I may deserve to be blasted for this but whatever happened to parents wanting to spend time with their children on vacation?  I see too many parents engrossed in their technology, ignoring their children, and relying on other technology or people to entertain them.  What happened to family vacations?

 

I think that's a misconception about kid programs. Looking back on family vacations, we were always going somewhere--museums, etc. But on sea days, there isn't a lot for kids to do. Plus, I think most kids enjoy playing with kids and doing kid-appropriate group activities.

 

I'm sure parents are spending some of the time with the kids. If parents really didn't want to spend time with their kids on vacation, they would put them in summer camp and cruise without them.

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6 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

I think that's a misconception about kid programs. Looking back on family vacations, we were always going somewhere--museums, etc. But on sea days, there isn't a lot for kids to do. Plus, I think most kids enjoy playing with kids and doing kid-appropriate group activities.

 

I'm sure parents are spending some of the time with the kids. If parents really didn't want to spend time with their kids on vacation, they would put them in summer camp and cruise without them.

I get your point. 

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2 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

No, that would be Bingo!

 

I used a ? to indicate that I'm not sure if they still have Bingo on board.

 

They did on our last cruise 😉 

I totally confess - it’s the only time I play Bingo. 😉 😂🤣

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"One can only wonder how many of these were offered by the SPA?"

 

Yes, you're right, I think these were mostly spa offerings.  I guess they know what sells, so if they're offering "wrinkle relief" they must be getting takers. 

 

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2 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

No, that would be Bingo!

 

I used a ? to indicate that I'm not sure if they still have Bingo on board.

Hmmm. That would take some dedicated staff to sell cards and somebody capable of running the machine and reading the numbers.  I assume that still exists because it does generate a profit for HAL.  We are old enough to remember when cruise lines ran BINGO as a para-mutual thing where all the proceeds were kicked back in cash prizes.  Now, it is viewed as a profit center with the internal question being "how much can we skim off before anyone notices."  Like most BINGO games on shore they will generally offer some huge jackpot, at the last game of the cruise, for some kind of blackout situation that is a real longshot. But tell some folks that the BINGO Jackpot is $10,000 (even if the odds are one hundred million to one) and they shall come.  Kind of like slot machines.

 

Hank

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10 hours ago, RAS4331 said:

"One can only wonder how many of these were offered by the SPA?"

 

Yes, you're right, I think these were mostly spa offerings.  I guess they know what sells, so if they're offering "wrinkle relief" they must be getting takers. 

 

Now being wayyyyyyy off topic:   If you watch TV at all or read women's beauty "secrets"  it seems the target audience  is 40 somethings.  Really.  That seems to be the age when women first get all bothered by aging.   

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11 hours ago, RAS4331 said:

"One can only wonder how many of these were offered by the SPA?"

 

Yes, you're right, I think these were mostly spa offerings.  I guess they know what sells, so if they're offering "wrinkle relief" they must be getting takers. 

 

So, what activities would  you suggest the spa should offer that would appeal to the 20-40 year old demographic?

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Spa things I think might appeal to younger people:  spray tans, waxing, specials on mani-pedi's, massages, simple facials, eyebrow grooming (young ladies these days seem obsessed with their eyebrows!).  Simple stuff.  I personally wouldn't go on a cruise to get expensive, exotic treatments, but I might like to splurge on less expensive, fun stuff.  If they had a reduced-price day on shampoo and blow dries, the women would be lined up because it's not that easy to do our hair in those little bathrooms. 

 

However, I realize they're looking to sell "big ticket" items, not to give me a bargain on getting my hair done.  I have no objection -- to each his own -- but I just think that too much of a "wrinkle, swollen ankle, arthritis" emphasis could hurt their brand by making HAL seem overly geriatric.

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5 minutes ago, RAS4331 said:

 I just think that too much of a "wrinkle, swollen ankle, arthritis" emphasis could hurt their brand by making HAL seem overly geriatric.

 

That ship sailed a long time ago.  The reputation has been there for years.

Edited by iancal
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On 1/9/2020 at 1:09 PM, Loreto said:

Last July I took my 10 year old grand daughter on the 7 day Alaska Explorer on the Oosterdam.  We, along with her mom, checked out Club HAL.  Grand daughter looked at everything and said "no thank you" and had a fantastic time with us.  Is Club HAL for parents who don't want to be with their children on a family vacation?

Karen

Ouch. I don't think this OP "doesn't want to be with their children". I think they want to ensure that there is a varied enrichment program that is offers age-appropriate activities that will interest the children. What if the parents want to attend a lecture on the port of Istanbul? Should a 6-year old sit through that? Should the parents be left totally uninformed and miss out on all adult enrichment activities? If they didn't want to be with their children, they would leave them at home. Which, by the way, I think romantic getaways and date nights have saved many marriages. They can all still have fun together while taking advantage of all of the activities available to them. 

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On 1/9/2020 at 12:25 PM, iceman93 said:

Well, I just cancelled next summer's cruise and decided to get our deposits back rather than transfer them to another future booking.  I'm not liking the direction HAL is going regarding children's programming, so we'll just choose other vacation options for now.  Maybe once my youngest is out of the house, my wife and I will start sailing HAL again, but that's at least 12 years away.

 

I'm not trying to get anyone else to change their travel choices or to start a debate about kids on nice cruises, but I am saddened by this.  My wife and I started sailing HAL amost 25 years ago, when we were young and childless.  We fell in love with the elegant experience, and have rolled with the punches as things have changed over time--some for the better and some for the worse.  Then when we started having kids, they also enjoyed the HAL experience, part of which was their enjoyment of Club HAL.

 

On our last cruise we had some issues with the Club HAL staff, particularly the director who was a fairly nasty person (I wrote a letter to HAL about this and got a boilerplate reply).  But our littlest one still looked forward to future Club HAL experiences.  We originally booked a 14-day Alaska cruise on the Maasdam, but then found out that ship was dedicated to "EXC voyages" and so no children's programming would be provided at all.  Okay, kind of disappointing, but we switched to another sailing in Europe.

 

Now there's been all this drama lately regarding the video arcade and whether it will augment or replace Club HAL.  People seem to keep getting different answers from corporate, none of which includes a clear answer.  We got our Cruise Atlas in the mail last week, and it does not mention Club HAL at all.  There was a page with vague language about "a variety of supervised children's activities", which did not fill me with confidence.  What, specifically, would be offered on our sailing?  I wrote an e-mail to HAL a month ago and never got a response.

 

So this family of two adult 4-star mariners, and two kids (3-star and 2-star mariners themselves) are going to take our business elsewhere.  We book PS cabins, so it's not a small chunk of change.  HAL is of course free to do whatever they want, and perhaps they will be more profitable by shifting away from the family market.  But my fear is that the vagueness and uncertainty in this area is like the rest of the line--corporately there seems to be no strong vision for what HAL is or should be.  I used to get it--elegant, traditional cruising with wonderful itineraries, fantastic staff, good food, and enough on-board activities to keep one busy while still allowing plenty of opportunity to relax and enjoy amazing ports of call.

 

What is HAL today, and tomorrow?  I don't know, but not the cruise line for my family, unfortunately.

One of the reasons I have stopped coming to this board is because there is so much misinformation out there that is posted. One man had a bad experience on the Oosterdam and now everyone with children is concerned. Right after that man posted,on December 7th, HAL put a post on their blog clarifying that Club HAL is not going away. I don't think they could have made it more clear than that, but yet others (not referring to you, OP) continue to just keep the rumor mill going that HAL is discontinuing Club HAL and it's just NOT TRUE. Further, they had an entire advertising campaign last fall of "bring your whole crew" targeting families with children. 

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/blog/topics/arts-entertainment/club-hal-and-high-score-update/

 

HAL is NEVER going to be Royal Caribbean or NCL but people on this board are so scared that they are going to move in that direction, that they will literally trash HAL to parents so we don't bring our children. HAL does NOT want to be Royal Caribbean or NCL. Look at their advertising - their entire brand is based on not being NCL- they are about the itineraries, in-depth excursions, foodies and music venues. This is why we love HAL: 

 

 

Of all the things we worry about, more than 90% of those things won't happen and the last 10% depend on your attitude and reaction to the situation.

 

We have an upcoming Mediterranean cruise in May and we are bringing our 14-year old daughter. Now, I feel that I have to state for everyone on this board that she is well behaved and hopefully won't laugh and have fun too loud for the other passengers (insert eye roll here). As we are taking this cruise, I did feel the need to do that same as you and clarify about the Club HAL activities and yes, they are still in place and no, they aren't closing. (insert another eye roll here). 

 

I totally respect your decision to move your business elsewhere considering they did not respond to your email and I hope you find a better fit someplace else. I just want to clarify for the rest of the world what the real story is. I will come back after my cruise and offer a review of my perspective of cruising with a child when I return. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/16/2020 at 5:47 PM, Dunelm said:

Okay, I may deserve to be blasted for this but whatever happened to parents wanting to spend time with their children on vacation?  I see too many parents engrossed in their technology, ignoring their children, and relying on other technology or people to entertain them.  What happened to family vacations?

It's not an all or nothing proposition.  I'm happy all mainstream cruiselines are not the same.  There are those that advertise and promote kid stuff.  We loved cruising with our kids, but now that they are no longer kiddies, we enjoy different lines that don't have a ton of kiddos cannon balling into the clearly marked adult only pools.  

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34 minutes ago, iancal said:

It seems so odd to me that anyone would care what cruise line or what ship a complete stranger would select for a cruise.  Really, does it matter???

 

 

 

 

Should it matter?  No.  Does it matter to some?  Yes.

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On 1/18/2020 at 6:09 AM, newtocruiseinblue said:

One of the reasons I have stopped coming to this board is because there is so much misinformation out there that is posted. One man had a bad experience on the Oosterdam and now everyone with children is concerned. Right after that man posted,on December 7th, HAL put a post on their blog clarifying that Club HAL is not going away. I don't think they could have made it more clear than that, but yet others (not referring to you, OP) continue to just keep the rumor mill going that HAL is discontinuing Club HAL and it's just NOT TRUE. Further, they had an entire advertising campaign last fall of "bring your whole crew" targeting families with children. 

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/blog/topics/arts-entertainment/club-hal-and-high-score-update/

 

The HAL post is misleading - I have had confirmation via 3 emails from HAL that Club HAL will only be for 3-6 years old and 7 to 17 can use High Score - which is NOT Club HAL. Club HAL is not going away for 3-6 years old! This will be rolled out by 2021. 

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