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Time for Holland and Seabourn to be one

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On 5/13/2020 at 4:01 AM, JT1962 said:

I see HAL and Princess as more likely to merge.

That would be a mistake..

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On 5/13/2020 at 7:52 AM, rafinmd said:

How about HAL and Cunard.  I think they have a lot more in common than HAL and Princess.

 

Roy

They are the 2 oldest cruise lines, all the other ones are Johnny come lately's. 

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No, HAL and Seabourn should not be one.  I say this is a person who has cruised on both lines.  They are two, entirely different products aimed at different customers.   Over the past few years HAL has been constantly downgrading the quality of their product and are now simply one more decent mass market line trying to make money by maximizing onboard revenue by marketing everything from booze to photos, to even espresso.  .  At one time HAL was somewhere between mass market and luxury with white glove service, no tipping required, etc. etc.   Seabourn targets a niche market of folks willing and able to spend more money (sometimes a lot more money) for a true luxury line.  Consider that some of the upcoming new Seabourn ships are being marketed at around $1000 per passenger day (primarily for Antarctica) and Seabourn, unlike HAL, does not rely on maximizing onboard revenue to contribute to the bottom line.  In fact, on Seabourn there is very little marketing of add-ons.  On a Seabourn Soujourn cruise I recall ordering a very good scotch one evening and our bar waiter talked me out of that drink explaining that it was not an included brand.  He actually suggested another scotch (from a similar part of Scotland) that was part of the all-inclusive package.  At dinner we never had waiters pushing us to buy more expensive wines then the ones included in the all-inclusive package.  After 14 days our onboard account was essentially zero.  The only money we spent onboard was for some excursions for which we had an adequate OBC.

 

Hank

 

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I agree with Hank. We are 3 star mariners who sailed primarily with HAL up until about 2015. We started looking elsewhere due to the smoking policy at that time that allowed smoking on the verandas. Since then we have sailed with Princess, Silversea and Regent. Silversea and Regent are both luxury lines with Regent being the most all-inclusive including airfare and excursions. They are also probably the most expensive. We have primarily sailed in SA Neptune suites on HAL. On the luxury lines we could only afford a suite that is smaller than the SA on HAL. Also, a number of the fantastic perks included with the SA were not available on the luxury lines. However, the smaller size of the ships and the greater staff to guest ratio provides outstanding guest service and the food is outstanding. We also appreciated the lack of the nickel and dime practices with no need to sign for every thing you want. However, we only like to sail on ships that provide a number of alternative dining choices which are not available on any of the older luxury line ships. Consequently we have recently booked B2B cruises in an SA suite on the Koningsdam next April which include the Signature Beverage Package, gratuities and a specialty dining package which will be significantly less expensive than our luxury line experiences.

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1 hour ago, ernieb said:

Also, a number of the fantastic perks included with the SA were not available on the luxury lines.

What perks were those, please?

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The Neptune Lounge, complementary laundry and dry cleaning, exclusive breakfast venue for a few.

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34 minutes ago, ernieb said:

The Neptune Lounge, complementary laundry and dry cleaning, exclusive breakfast venue for a few.

Thank you. I did not know an SA suite was a Neptune suite.

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12 minutes ago, whogo said:

Thank you. I did not know an SA suite was a Neptune suite.

 

I think SA, SB, and SC are all Neptunes.  If this is wrong, I'm sure some diehard HAL elitist will come along and give me a cyber flogging.

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Will never happen.

more cooperation and joint purchases by HAL and Princess, yes. With both keeping their own branding but with combined training, procedures, crewing, head office, etc etc...

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6 hours ago, Roz said:

I think SA, SB, and SC are all Neptunes. 

 

You got it right, Roz!

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Ernieb raises a really fascinating issue which has generated hours of discussion in our household.  It is about comparing the higher category mass market categories (such as Neptune Suites on HAL) vs regular suites on luxury lines such as Seabourn or Regent.  Here is my take.  When one does a high end suite on HAL (or most other mass market lines) they are like the family that purchases the most expensive home in the neighborhood of less expenses residences.  You are still living in a cheaper neighborhood!  In the case of the cruise ship, in most of the food venues you are getting the same food as the person paying 1/10 the price...you get the same entertainment,  public spaces etc.   On a luxury line you are living in a better overall neighborhood and for this, you pay the bigger bucks.  Consider that the space ratio (tonnage to number of passengers) on a mass market ship might vary from about 28 to 40!  But on a luxury line that ratio might be 75-90!  This is a simple calculation which gives you an idea of the spaciousness of a ship.  So, on a HAL ship the deck chairs might be within inches of each other while on Seabourn you might have a few feet of separation.  While in my deck chair on Seabourn I could simply signal to a deck steward and ask for a rare burger, fries, a decent IPA, etc.  Within a few minutes that stuff would all appear at my chair.  On HAL, if I could find a steward he/she might not even know what "IPA" means and even if he/she did have that knowledge they would likely tell me there was nothing available but they have Bud and Heineken.  Then again, it was only on Celebrity that I could get Dogfish Head 90!  HAL would have no clue to that kind of beer.

 

DW and I will not throw out our money on a Neptune Suite.  We would rather be in the Yacht Club on MSC (for far less then the cost of a Neptune Suite) or a regular suite on a line like Seabourn.  Since we do not spend a lot of waking time in our cabin (we prefer to be out and about and socializing) the Neptune Suite represents a lot of money for cabin space that mostly goes unused.  We would rather be on a luxury vessel where the service, food, booze, etc. is decent no matter where we go on the ship.  So when we cruise on HAL it is generally in a balcony or Signature Suite.

 

Hank

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Once again, I agree with Hank. However, there are different stokes for different folks. My DW and I do enjoy the extra space provided by the Neptune suites and particularly their magnificent balconies. I am concerned about the quality of the food as compared to the luxury lines, but we tend to dine in the alternative venues much more than the MDR. We also appreciate the convenience of the Neptune lounge and the service of the concierges there. Our experience with cabin attendants has been excellent on HAL and equal to the luxury lines. I’m sure we will probably miss the attention we became accustomed to from other service personnel. Since we will have the SBP on these cruises and I am able to cover the airfare with miles, I do believe we will have a comparative experience to the luxury lines for significantly less cost. Our experience on HAL has always been enjoyable, however it has been a few years since we have sailed with her. I am concerned about the diminution of quality that so many folks complain about on these boards.

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Just wanted to point out a key example of the differences between HAL and Seabourn. The reason HAL took the Prinsendam into their fleet in the first place was because she wasn't the right fit (read: too big) for Seabourn's brand. As someone who sailed the Prinsendam several times and loved her, I'm grateful that HAL took this "misfit" in and the experiment of sailing her as the Elegant Explorer was successful for many years. However - the Prinsendam was likely as close to luxury as HAL could get, and yet she still wasn't right for Seabourn. 

 

I acknowledge that that was many years ago and both lines have changed slightly since, but the example still stands: HAL and Seabourn are two very different cruiselines with clienteles whose expectations differ accordingly with their price points. 

 

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5 hours ago, Infi said:

As someone who sailed the Prinsendam several times and loved her, I'm grateful that HAL took this "misfit" in and the experiment of sailing her as the Elegant Explorer was successful for many years. However - the Prinsendam was likely as close to luxury as HAL could get, and yet she still wasn't right for Seabourn. 

 

Prinsendam was originally Royal Viking Sun.  She didn't quite fit Royal Viking Line either.  She was just enough different from Star, Sky, and Sea to be "different".  She didn't fit well with the Cunard brand when she sailed under that house flag and must not have been quite right for Seabourn.  Like you, I am glad that HAL sailed her for several years and I surely do prize my memories of a Christmas/New Year's Cruise aboard her!

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6 hours ago, ernieb said:

My DW and I do enjoy the extra space provided by the Neptune suites and particularly their magnificent balconies

 

As do I.  Even the HAL Signature Suites provide a balcony that is larger than my condo's.  

 

18 hours ago, Hlitner said:

We would rather be in the Yacht Club on MSC (for far less then the cost of a Neptune Suite) 

 

Having sailed in YC, I agree with your thinking.  My suite on Meraviglia did not have a balcony size as large as a Neptune Suite or even a Signature Suite.  The suite itself was huge with a nice sized bathroom with a walk-in shower.  (An arm chair would have been appreciated by this guest.)  Access to the YC Pool Area/Grill, Restaurant, and Top Sail Lounge as well as having "run of the ship" opportunities:  I enjoyed.  Plus, outside of YC, I noticed a more attentive level of service when the Steward/Bartender saw my MSC Voyager's Club Diamond Status Room Card that got better when they saw I was a YC guest.  As a 5 Star Mariner with HAL or Elite with Princess, rarely, do I realize such a recognition on Princess or HAL.

 

Maybe,  if I am able to cruise again, it is time to "up my game" even though I love the HAL as well as the Princess cruise product.  

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19 hours ago, Infi said:

As someone who sailed the Prinsendam several times and loved her, I'm grateful that HAL took this "misfit" in and the experiment of sailing her as the Elegant Explorer was successful for many years.

 

I feel the same.  We miss her and her fabulous itineraries 😞❤️ 

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12 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

I feel the same.  We miss her and her fabulous itineraries 😞❤️ 

Absolutely.  I also don't think I would be interested in long Seabourn itineraries due to the lack of a decent place to walk.

 

Roy

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19 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

As do I.  Even the HAL Signature Suites provide a balcony that is larger than my condo's.  

 

 

Having sailed in YC, I agree with your thinking.  My suite on Meraviglia did not have a balcony size as large as a Neptune Suite or even a Signature Suite.  The suite itself was huge with a nice sized bathroom with a walk-in shower.  (An arm chair would have been appreciated by this guest.)  Access to the YC Pool Area/Grill, Restaurant, and Top Sail Lounge as well as having "run of the ship" opportunities:  I enjoyed.  Plus, outside of YC, I noticed a more attentive level of service when the Steward/Bartender saw my MSC Voyager's Club Diamond Status Room Card that got better when they saw I was a YC guest.  As a 5 Star Mariner with HAL or Elite with Princess, rarely, do I realize such a recognition on Princess or HAL.

 

Maybe,  if I am able to cruise again, it is time to "up my game" even though I love the HAL as well as the Princess cruise product.  

We've looked at the YC but the small balconies are too much of a turnoff.  We spend a lot of time in our room and we love big balconies.

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I suspect what some HAL loyalists want is a Seabourn quality  product refitted to a HAL ship and at a HAL price.  It won't happen...at least the price part won't.

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42 minutes ago, iancal said:

I suspect what some HAL loyalists want is a Seabourn quality  product refitted to a HAL ship and at a HAL price.  It won't happen...at least the price part won't.

 

 

You're probably right.  None of it will happen.  Seabourn will continue to be its own brand and cater to the luxury market.  That isn't changing, as much as some HAL regulars would like it to.  The two brands are night and day.    

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1 hour ago, iancal said:

I suspect what some HAL loyalists want is a Seabourn quality  product refitted to a HAL ship and at a HAL price.  It won't happen...at least the price part won't.

I suspect that is partially true.   But, I think there is more at work.  More like a bunch of 4*&5* Mariners thinking that a Seabourn/HAL merger is to bring back the good ole days.

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On 5/13/2020 at 6:22 AM, doone said:

I totally agree!!!!

Oh god. Please NO!

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2 hours ago, RocketMan275 said:

I suspect that is partially true.   But, I think there is more at work.  More like a bunch of 4*&5* Mariners thinking that a Seabourn/HAL merger is to bring back the good ole days.

How could you think that!!  I just want the automatic doors to the Lido replaced with the person who both greeted and opened the door. Not much to ask. 

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This is HALs time to figure out what they want to be to be profitable.  Looking upthread I see scary requests that revolve around "free", "spend a lot of time in the room" and the non-profit events on board .  Not going to happen and quite frankly HAL would prefer that you don't come onto the ship - they just can't tell you that out loud.

 

airlines figured this out recently.  Status doesn't come from mileage only.  It comes from "fuller" priced tickets that are longer distances.  Low price flights are given discounted status accrual.  Travel a lot at low price?- back of the bus.

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3 hours ago, shrimp56 said:

Oh god. Please NO!

Hope not either but it maybe possible!!!

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