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Any suggestions how to improve the World Cruise?


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We have been lucky enough to do three WC starting in 2017.  We have met dozens of wonderful people, many with whom we have developed friendships.  These developed over dinners, excursions and shared experiences.  There are certainly clicks on the WC as everyone kind of settles into a routine (when you eat, where you sit in the theater, what you do with free time etc).  We have certainly seen a handful of passengers who feel they are entitled to things but generally they are not a problem unless you want to focus on that sort of thing.  The vast majority of passengers are nice and interesting people

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My first and only WC was in 2019. I just want to reiterate Kirk’s statement that the vast majority of passengers are nice and interesting people.  Obviously some repeat passengers did things together, but DW and I also did things together with new found friends, who were also on their first WC cruise.  We thought 2019 would be our only WC, but within a few months of our return, we signed up for the 2021 WC, which has now been transferred to 2022.

 

We made it ashore to Easter Island, but that was the most “adventurous” tendering we’ve ever experienced.  I had initially booked a HAL excursion that was to leave after lunch.  Fortunately I met a previous WC cruiser on our Thanksgiving Cruise who recommended I change to the same excursion that left in the morning.  As it was, we made it to the island a few minutes before noon.  Until we got to the boarding platform, we did not realize how difficult transferring to the tender would be.  For most passengers, it took several minutes to get each individual onto the tender because of all the movement due to the rough sea conditions. HAL’s crew did an outstanding job getting passengers safely to the tender.

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4 hours ago, gadabout60 said:

 

Many posts on that particular blog seemed to suggest entitlement and newbies not being their sort of people that it has put me off a world cruise with HAL

My DW and I were on the first half of the 2018 WC. Despite her developing a problem which hindered her walking ability during the majority of the trip, we had a great time.

We met many great people from all over the US and world.

As with any large group of people, you always have that one set of people who believe they're more entitled than others and often "scheme" to get what they want. This showed up in the process to obtain tender tickets and, surprisingly, with the crafts classes which had poor Henk trying to come up with processes to thwart those efforts. In several instances, we heard the words, "I'm a President's Club member" or "I'm a Five Star member" cards pulled out when those less accommodating passengers wanted to throw their status around to get their way. However, it tended to be the same small number of passengers in those groups who did so and we quickly learned who to stay away from.

That being said, overall, the majority of passengers and especially all of the staff were extremely friendly and helpful which went a long way towards allowing us to enjoy our trip after my DW developed her health issues.

If health issues allow, we would both go on another WC in a heartbeat.

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Really glad to hear that the majority are friendly. It did concern me that there were some who felt “entitled” to special treatment.

I wonder if future world cruisers post pandemic will be a bit younger - mostly still retired of course but younger retirees - and if some who did the WC every year who I suspect were a bit older may stop cruising 

I suspect the mad flight situation from Perth this year would also put many folk off

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1 hour ago, gadabout60 said:
11 hours ago, KirkNC said:

We have met wonderful people, many with whom we have developed friendships.  

 

That is a significant advantage of a long cruise.  Relationships have time to "blossom".  Like you, I have those as well and most appreciative that, after all of these years, we still keep in touch.

 

I have to say that there are also several others where such a relationship began before, during, and usually shortly after a cruise.  E-mails appear to be delivered; mail sent isn't returned.  Whatever happened to these good folks?

 

1 hour ago, gadabout60 said:
11 hours ago, KirkNC said:

Something happened.  Couldn't respond.

I wonder if future world cruisers post pandemic will be a bit younger - mostly still retired of course but younger retirees - and if some who did the WC every year who I suspect were a bit older may stop cruising 

I suspect the mad flight situation from Perth this year would also put many folk off

 

I suspect you are correct.  The "Mariner Star" level and the "President's Club" numbers may well be reduced.  The Hotel Office Staff may be different and have a different perspective as to how guests ought to be treated.  

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11 hours ago, KirkNC said:

There are certainly clicks on the WC as everyone kind of settles into a routine (when you eat, where....you sit in the Crow's Nest, etc.

 

It's the cliques that I found most disturbing during my 2008 World Cruise.  It was so surprising because when I sailed the final segment of the 2007 World Cruise, I noticed none of that sense of entitlement.

 

Our 2007 Hotel Manager was an experienced one who would retire at the end of that cruise.  2008 brought a new world cruise Hotel Manager aboard.  I was glad to see him aboard.  He was an excellent Hotel Manager on the Noordam when I sailed on her.  (I think he was the "take out" Hotel Manager for the ship.)  Could that change in personnel have made the difference that I noticed?  

 

 

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1 hour ago, gadabout60 said:

Really glad to hear that the majority are friendly. It did concern me that there were some who felt “entitled” to special treatment.

I wonder if future world cruisers post pandemic will be a bit younger - mostly still retired of course but younger retirees - and if some who did the WC every year who I suspect were a bit older may stop cruising 

I suspect the mad flight situation from Perth this year would also put many folk off

I think that may be the case.  Not only will the memory of the pandemic exist as well as possible new health requirements.  Another factor was the chaotic end to the 20 WC where it was every man for themselves in getting back to the states.  I was amazed how many guests seemed incapable of making airline reservations and/or had difficulty flying.

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3 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

I was amazed how many guests seemed incapable of making airline reservations.

 

Maybe another reason for one to use the services of a travel agent and let them "sweat" the details?  

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2 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Maybe another reason for one to use the services of a travel agent and let them "sweat" the details?  

Well we had 48 hours to make arrangements and the Internet was overwhelmed, not sure you could even get through to a TA.  In our case we would book a flight and then the airline would cancel it, that happened three times.  We ended up on one of the last Quantas flights out of Sydney.  Personally I never even thought to contact my TA.

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4 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

Personally I never even thought to contact my TA.

 

Respectfully asking,  why did you not think of this?  In my experience using a travel agent, she has been able to resolve issues that would have been difficult for me to handle on my own.  Particularly, when I was on a trip.  

Edited by rkacruiser
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Well first you had the time difference but mostly I wanted to control the process.  We were at sea so phones did not work, the Internet was incredibly slow so communication would have been difficult.  Funny you ask now but I don’t know of a single person that did use a TA to get home, I am sure someone did but no one I was aware of.  Most people lined up at the front desk to get HAL to make arrangements.  Initially I was sure HAL would arrange charter flights like they did for for the Westerdam in Japan.  Once that was eliminated I made a reservation, it was canceled, made another one, it was canceled and finally the third one worked.

 

 

 

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Geez. Memories, memories.

 

Our story was that we were in theLido having lunch when the El Capitan announced the end of the cruise and you’re 

“on your own” announcement regarding returning to the USA (with the $1250/ pp max for transport, accommodations and such). At the time we were awaiting the  arts and crafts class soon to be presented and hour or so later by our dearest, Nancy.

It just happened that the internet was working and I made arrangements for flights and accommodations to get “home” prior to the Aussie “lock down”.

I believe the CS folks were overwhelmed with folks unfamiliar with making their own arrangements in such a situation.

Me thinks the good CS folks and Captain Mercer did the best they could with the “goal posts” constantly moving at the time.

Regardless, I believe everyone survived & have, yet, another adventure to foretell to others.

 

Otherwise, it was another reflective moment in our life. We’ll soon see items in our long lost luggage that will give us another memory, regardless of condition.

 

Be well.

Bob

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I know, I am hoping we get our luggage soon as we are hoping to go to the beach at the end of the month. The containers were offloaded on the 1st.

Edited by KirkNC
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2 hours ago, KirkNC said:

 I was amazed how many guests seemed incapable of making airline reservations and/or had difficulty flying.

 

2 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Maybe another reason for one to use the services of a travel agent and let them "sweat" the details?  

 

A travel agent may possibly have been able to help with reservations, but not with a resolution for the number who professed they were "unable to fly" home at such distance. 

 

I've expressed several times my surprise that someone -- many someones, from what we heard at the time -- would embark on a World cruise without thinking through scenarios in which one might not be able to continue the voyage to its conclusion...

 

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4 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

 

A travel agent may possibly have been able to help with reservations, but not with a resolution for the number who professed they were "unable to fly" home at such distance. 

 

I've expressed several times my surprise that someone -- many someones, from what we heard at the time -- would embark on a World cruise without thinking through scenarios in which one might not be able to continue the voyage to its conclusion...

 

As were we, there are many reasons one might have to fly home unexpectedly particularly on a long cruise.  I really didn’t know what to say to those who had not thought that through.

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I suppose to be fair no-one considered a pandemic.

If there had been illness or death of an individual passenger I assume that HAL would have offered considerable assistance to get the sick/bereaved home

I am still in my 50s (though only for another 3 months!) and I hate long haul flights and try to avoid them if I can, though clearly do them if I want to get somewhere badly enough. I was planning to go to NZ next spring from the UK - though now don’t believe that will be feasible but the thought of 24 hours in a mask puts me off as well.

Reading various blogs back in March it seemed a nightmare of cancelled flights and changing rules and I did feel for everyone caught up in it.

 

The other ship that interested me at the time was The World which I believe also disembarked passengers in Perth. For many of them that was effectively their home and I wonder where they all are now. I am assuming they all had the financial resources to sort themselves out though!

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Well, we did rely on our wonderful TA to get us home as we had not bought wifi onboard and there were no ports available in which to find some. Until HAL decided to open the wifi to everyone, our only option was to get the onboard hosts to contact our agent to please get us home. They handled it all beautifully and have our everlasting gratitude! Bravo!

In regard to fitting in on the world cruise, I have seen some cliques, but personally have found 99% of passengers to be friendly and helpful. Even before we took #1 world in 2008, some CC posters responded to us and really "adopted," us answering a zillion questions, and introducing us to others on arrival. We have tried to model their caring as we have traveled and have met the nicest people on HAL ships in that time.

We look forward to old and new friends and hope we make it all the way around in 2022!

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2 hours ago, KirkNC said:

Well first you had the time difference but mostly I wanted to control the process.  We were at sea so phones did not work, the Internet was incredibly slow so communication would have been difficult.  Funny you ask now but I don’t know of a single person that did use a TA to get home, I am sure someone did but no one I was aware of.  Most people lined up at the front desk to get HAL to make arrangements.  Initially I was sure HAL would arrange charter flights like they did for for the Westerdam in Japan.  Once that was eliminated I made a reservation, it was canceled, made another one, it was canceled and finally the third one worked.

 

 

 

 

I boarded the Westerdam in Singapore on January 16, and I disembarked in Sihanoukville on February 15.  When the disembarkation port was changed from Shanghai to Yokohama, HAL put through a call for me at no cost to my TA who rearranged my return flight.  The same was true for the proposed disembarkation at Laem Chabang where the first leg of the flights was to have been from Bangkok to Dubai. 

 

When the Westerdam was turned away by the Royal Thai Navy (nothing like seeing a destroyer from the aft), the HAL guest services department took over getting me from Phnom Penh to Kuala Lumpur for the first leg of the journey home; the onward flight was to have been to Inchon.  I had, and still have, no complaint at all with HAL, and I am a stickler for customer service.

 

The airport in Phnom Penh to which we were flown by a HAL chartered plane from Sihanoukville could best be described as chaotic.  All the flights to Kuala Lumpur were later cancelled, but Canadian friends suggested that perhaps the six of us from the Westerdam remaining in the airport after HAL arranged for transfer to four- and five-star hotels in Phnom Penh--we simply didn't allow ourselves to be herded to the waiting coaches--could book a flight from Phnom Penh to Inchon to make the final flight to the U.S. and Canada.  One of our group got on the laptop while two of us went to a "corporate guest services manager" in the airport.  This wonderful woman arranged all of our flights out that day, and we thus saved ourselves from a five-night hotel stay in Phnom Penh where we would not have been allowed to leave our rooms.  I have written to both Orlando Ashford and Gus Antorcha singing the praises of this gem of a guest services manager. 

 

Lest anyone reading this thinks I am a five-star Mariner with a verandah or suite accomodation, please know I am working on my fifth star, and I pay the single supplement for an inside cabin which I usually try reserve in "the high rent district" on the deck where the Neptune Lounge is located. 

 

Incidentally, HAL has paid me in full for all the expenses I incurred as a result of all the changes I have outlined above.

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6 hours ago, Donald said:

If HAL wants to improve the World Cruise, they need a nice small ship to have the cruise on.

Sadly, they no longer have any of those ships in their fleet.

While we agree that small ships are our preference, the Zaandam is the same class as the Amsterdam, only 60 additional passengers.

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29 minutes ago, Sea42 said:

How about scholarships for poor but deserving cruisers?😁


we can but dream .... I have often wondered if they would consider a ‘Writer in Residence’. I wrote a large part of my second book whilst sailing on the Nieuw Statendam and ended up giving numerous tips to aspiring writers. I even did a bit of proof reading too 🤓

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20 hours ago, Charleston Lady said:

we did rely on our wonderful TA to get us home

 

An excellent travel agent makes a difference when issues arise.  How many times have I posted this on CC?

 

20 hours ago, Charleston Lady said:

In regard to fitting in on the world cruise, I have seen some cliques, but personally have found 99% of passengers to be friendly and helpful. Even before we took #1 world in 2008, some CC posters responded to us and really "adopted," us answering a zillion questions, and introducing us to others on arrival. We have tried to model their caring as we have traveled and have met the nicest people on HAL ships in that time.

 

As a fellow 2008 guest on that cruise, I agree with your comments.  Our CC group was special.  Our own trivia group was even more special!  For me, unfortunately I suppose, the one negative that I kept experiencing was the clique that commandeered the Crow's Nest Bar during HH.  Certain seats were "their seats".  Interaction with other Bar guests:  "go away, you bother us."  And, demanding of attention by the bartenders.  

 

One evening, somehow I "beat" this group to the Crow's Nest and dared to sit in one of the "preferred" seats.  The group arrived and if one could die from the "evil eye", I would have been in the ship's morgue with the flowers that evening.  The bartenders did a good job suppressing their reaction to this "confrontation".

 

This group did manage to find a table behind the Bar that met their needs for that evening.       

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No biggie really in so far as the “always reserved” conditions presented

 

First, being “first on the dime”, an adequate “who cares “ attitude, and an abundance of stored flatulence has always worked for us regardless of venue for the “always reserved” crowd.

 

Seriously, most folks are civilized and friendly. No problems here.


However, being / pretending to be obnoxious to thwart such activities is always fun. Me bad.

 

Be well.

Bob

 

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