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HAL reducing long exotic voyages


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There is a possible simple solution for those in Seattle's itinerary planning department for those ports that can only accommodate one tender at a time during a port call.  Increase the amount of port time for the ship.  Yes, that will affect the itinerary and the length of the cruise if the same number of ports are to be scheduled.  The "new era of cruising" is likely going to require some re-thinking of "what has worked in the past".  

 

There have been complaints by cruisers of many cruise lines of too short port visits for a very long time on CC.

 

Time to address this issue Mr. Donald, Mr. Fain, Mr. Del Rio, etc.?    

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38 minutes ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

 

I've had similar experiences in MANY tender ports on ships of varying sizes from the Paul Gauguin to the Mariner of the Seas, and missed a fair share too (even missed a few "docked" ports due to winds or tidal conditions).  When booking cruises I will not not book an itinerary with a tender port if that port is a make/break to the trip as there is such a higher likelihood of something running amok.

 

Given the wrong conditions even on a 200 passenger vessel it can be a problem, let alone on vessels with multiple thousands!

 

I understand that and I am with you. But there's a difference between wind or weather precluding tendering and a mismatch between number of passengers and port capacity that means people will have a long wait even under ideal conditions. The latter is simply poor planning.

 

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28 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I understand that and I am with you. But there's a difference between wind or weather precluding tendering and a mismatch between number of passengers and port capacity that means people will have a long wait even under ideal conditions. The latter is simply poor planning.

 

Agree 100%

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On 10/12/2020 at 11:56 PM, Stateroom_Sailor said:

 

I believe the important thing to do, is continue to vote with our dollars, on exotic and extended itineraries that are left.  HAL's job is to market to a wider base, including younger, that would pay for such options.


I agree. HAL’s exotic and extended itineraries are it’s main strength. The ships lack the onboard theme park facilities to seriously compete for either the main  family vacation market or the Carnival style spring break party crowd.

The biggest thing they CAN do to draw a wider, adult base looking for exotic itineraries is to SERIOUSLY revamp and market on-board WIFI. The over 50 market is constantly welcoming a flood of new members, but they look for a level of connectivity that HAL just doesn’t provide.

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A topic of conversation on this board for many years has been, '"Who is HAL's market?"  I think the pandemic has given HAL a great opportunity to seriously consider this question and redevelop their marketing strategy. 

 

I no longer want to fly to take a 7 - 10 day cruise.  If I get on a plane, I want the cruise to be at least 14 days.  If I take a 14 day cruise, I want to have sufficient time in a port.  I look for cruises that include an overnight with options for Ship Sponsored Shore Excursions on both days, morning and evening.  (I am a Solo Cruiser,  so do not feel comfortable doing much in the way of Independent Travel in a port.)  If I have an At Sea Day, I want to have something to do onboard, not just eat and drink.  HAL has a golden opportunity in that they have to rethink ALL of their 2021 Cruises due to the sale of so many ships.  I hope the people in Seattle think outside of the box as they plan what the "new normal" for HAL will be.  

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I'm in my late 40's and still working.  I personally consider a "short" cruise to be 10 days, and prefer sailings in the 14-21 day length.  This will not be changing post-covid.  Nor will my interest in sailing to regions like Europe, Alaska, Asia, Australia, South America, etc rather than the Caribbean/Mexico. 

 

I'd like to see HAL pull away from the 7-10 day Caribbean/Mexico markets and focus it's fleet on it's strengths - longer, more worldwide destinations.  Longer port times and more overnights in port are always a plus.  I'd also like to see them beef-up their enrichment offerings with true experts in the areas of History, Local culture, Arts and Wildlife on each sailing to enhance the destinations they are visiting.  While I don't need a lot of silly games/activities on sea days a few more, and varied, live music acts would be good.  HAL needs to focus it's branding and onboard experience around being THE destination leader in the mainstream premium market.  They have the tools in their kit, now they just need to apply and fine tune them!

 

Now a LOT of what I said above is contrary to what Mr Antorcha has stated in the interview that was the start of this thread, which is about HAL moving away from longer sailings.  That said he did not specify what he considers "longer" - does that mean anything over 10 days, or is it rather anything over 21 days?  That is a big difference in terms of itinerary planning and fleet usage.  Time will tell ......

Edited by AtlantaCruiser72
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2 hours ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

Longer port times and more overnights in port are always a plus.  I'd also like to see them beef-up their enrichment offerings with true experts in the areas of History, Local culture, Arts and Wildlife on each sailing to enhance the destinations they are visiting. 

 

"True Experts"  YES!  Those folks are out there.  Those aboard the Zaandam during my South America/Antarctica cruise were experts and they added much to the enjoyment of my cruise as to what I was seeing and experiencing.  An increase in the budget for that Department probably needs to be made in order to attract such people.

 

2 hours ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

Now a LOT of what I said above is contrary to what Mr Antorcha has stated in the interview that was the start of this thread, which is about HAL moving away from longer sailings

 

What does he know?  He just "embarked" HAL not so long ago.  Is he "parroting" what others are thinking or have decided?  

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15 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

What does he know?  He just "embarked" HAL not so long ago.  Is he "parroting" what others are thinking or have decided?  

 

My guess is that the decision to change the itinerary strategy is being made at a corporate level.  Longer itineraries are harder to fill on the remaining fleet with a larger average fleet size.  Longer itineraries can also be difficult to manage in a crisis situation as it can be difficult to land ships and repatriate guests.  I think that short term this is where the Carnival Corp BOD thoughts are at.

 

Now interestingly we have seen changes (post announcement of the fleet reduction) that have multiple longer itineraries preserved through Spring 2022 - Voyage of the Vikings, Grand Africa, Grand South America, Grand World, longer Hawaii/Tahiti sailings, Circle Australia, etc.  Some longer sailings like the dedicated Amazon River Cruise R/T FLL and the Inca Discovery R/T SAN are not on the schedule for 2021/2022, but of course could be added if they wished (doubtful however).  There are still plenty of 12-14+ day sailings in the schedule, many of which can be combined into longer "collectors" cruises with minimal port overlap.  It will be interesting to see if some of the aforementioned longer sailings "stick" or get modified/eliminated down the line, and also what the itineraries look like once they start releasing for summer 2022 and beyond.  So far the damage isn't as bad as it could be for those who like longer cruises, but time will tell ......

Edited by AtlantaCruiser72
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2 hours ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

So far the damage isn't as bad as it could be for those who like longer cruises, but time will tell ......

 

An excellent post AtlantaCruiser72.   Are these longer cruise "announcements" teasers to keep HAL's current cruisers "interested" so that they don't begin looking elsewhere for such itineraries?  

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On 10/15/2020 at 7:09 PM, rkacruiser said:

There is a possible simple solution for those in Seattle's itinerary planning department for those ports that can only accommodate one tender at a time during a port call.  Increase the amount of port time for the ship.  Yes, that will affect the itinerary and the length of the cruise if the same number of ports are to be scheduled.  The "new era of cruising" is likely going to require some re-thinking of "what has worked in the past".  

 

There have been complaints by cruisers of many cruise lines of too short port visits for a very long time on CC.

 

Time to address this issue Mr. Donald, Mr. Fain, Mr. Del Rio, etc.?    

Yeah, well we saw a good example of your theory at two small ports in Greenland (1 year ago) while on the a large Princess ship with over 3000 souls.  In one port the docking facility could only handle 1 tender at a time and even that was mitigated because that same small pier was also used for some local boat tours (booked by the cruisers).  The result was that some folks waited onboard for over 6 hours to get ashore and hundreds of others simply gave up and stayed aboard.   Your solution is not practical when you consider that it can take about 15 minutes for 1 tender to offload and reload passengers.  If you figure only 4 tenders per hour (at one pier) and about 100 per tender on a ship with 3000 souls it takes over 7 hours to simply get everyone ashore (when things run well).   We had pretty long days in both small Greenland ports but getting ashore at 3pm (after waiting since 8am) does not make for a happy.  And by the way, you would not want to listen to those who sat in tenders bobbing in the water for nearly an hour while waiting for their turn to dock!

 

Hank

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

In one port the docking facility could only handle 1 tender at a time 

 

No question that the ability of the port to properly handle a cruise ship--whether it is at a dock or if it must tender--must be taken into consideration.  

 

When I was on one cruise that called at a Greenland port, tender service had to be suspended because of weather conditions.  Dense fog settled in making the tender operations difficult.  The ship's whistle sounded repeatedly calling those of us on shore to return to the dock so that we could return to the ship.  

 

As I said in part of the post that you quoted, there is the need for some re-thinking of the cruise experience, in my opinion.  

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19 hours ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

I'm in my late 40's and still working.  I personally consider a "short" cruise to be 10 days, and prefer sailings in the 14-21 day length.  This will not be changing post-covid.  Nor will my interest in sailing to regions like Europe, Alaska, Asia, Australia, South America, etc rather than the Caribbean/Mexico. 

 

I'd like to see HAL pull away from the 7-10 day Caribbean/Mexico markets and focus it's fleet on it's strengths - longer, more worldwide destinations.  Longer port times and more overnights in port are always a plus.  I'd also like to see them beef-up their enrichment offerings with true experts in the areas of History, Local culture, Arts and Wildlife on each sailing to enhance the destinations they are visiting.  While I don't need a lot of silly games/activities on sea days a few more, and varied, live music acts would be good.  HAL needs to focus it's branding and onboard experience around being THE destination leader in the mainstream premium market.  They have the tools in their kit, now they just need to apply and fine tune them!

 

Now a LOT of what I said above is contrary to what Mr Antorcha has stated in the interview that was the start of this thread, which is about HAL moving away from longer sailings.  That said he did not specify what he considers "longer" - does that mean anything over 10 days, or is it rather anything over 21 days?  That is a big difference in terms of itinerary planning and fleet usage.  Time will tell ......

The problem with moving away from the short itineraries is that you need a large customer base familiar with the cruise line in order to attract the smaller percentage that has the time, money, desire to fill the ships on the long exotic routes.

 

Most people are not going to go, I have never sailed that line but let's sign up for a 30 day cruise on it.  In most cases people get comfortable on a cruise line with shorter cruises before being willing to take long exotic ones. HAL needs the shorter cruises to expand its customer base, from which a subset will take the long exotic cruises.

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1 hour ago, nocl said:

The problem with moving away from the short itineraries is that you need a large customer base familiar with the cruise line in order to attract the smaller percentage that has the time, money, desire to fill the ships on the long exotic routes.

 

Most people are not going to go, I have never sailed that line but let's sign up for a 30 day cruise on it.  In most cases people get comfortable on a cruise line with shorter cruises before being willing to take long exotic ones. HAL needs the shorter cruises to expand its customer base, from which a subset will take the long exotic cruises.

With the S class and R class ships going away, expanding the base with people that have the desire and dollars to go on longer exotic cruises may not be possible.  Mrs Banjo and I have always cruised on the Prinsendam and S class ships, all the others we felt were too big for our taste. The big boats are beautiful, (don't get me wrong), but the experience of the big vs small ships is very different, so unless HAL is thinking of using the larger ships to do long exotics......  And, having done almost all of the Exotic IT's,  I'm not sure the exotic IT's  can be anything close to exotic on a big ship with 2000+ pax.  just MHO.

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5 hours ago, crusinbanjo said:

Mrs Banjo and I have always cruised on the Prinsendam and S class ships, all the others we felt were too big for our taste. The big boats are beautiful, (don't get me wrong), but the experience of the big vs small ships is very different,

 

Not attempting to be argumentative by this post, so please don't read it as such.  I'm curious as to why and what your wife and you felt that was different from the HAL experience on the different Classes of ships.

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15 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Not attempting to be argumentative by this post, so please don't read it as such.  I'm curious as to why and what your wife and you felt that was different from the HAL experience on the different Classes of ships.

No problem, I have no ego to bruise here.  we like that the s class and Prinsendam were smaller, classic styled cruise ships, and we miss them already.  We started cruising on the original Island and Pacific  Princess Ships, (590 pax), that I think spoiled us.  We like Getting into smaller ports, (like St George in Bermuda), the no long lines, ease of boarding or getting off the ship in ports, ease of getting on or off when tendering.  In Alaska, we watched a line of hundreds of pax waiting to board at the end of the day, (not for me thanks).  We like that when we go to an on board event, test kitchen, port talks, whatever, we don’t arrive to find no available seating.  No requirement to make a dinner reservation, The ability to get from end to end On the ship without  the need for hiking equipment, (just kidding here, but I think you get the drift), etc, etc.  we have been on 3 total ships with 2000 =/- passengers and we found these to be the least enjoyable In our 30 years of cruising.  IMHO, you cannot have an exotic IT with 2000 other people, it overwhelms small ports and takes away the ability to actually experience an “exotic” port or the Culture and people that live there.  Hope that helps.

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37 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Not attempting to be argumentative by this post, so please don't read it as such.  I'm curious as to why and what your wife and you felt that was different from the HAL experience on the different Classes of ships.

 

I’m not cruisinbanjo but speaking for us, the Prinsendam was a class all unto herself.  There is not ship that could compare to her in the HAL fleet.

I’ve seen a number of tender ports become docking ports on that ship because of her size.  The crew to passenger ratio was higher on that ship and service excelled IMO.

 

S & R ships had a lot of experienced crew and again, although they might have had to tender, they had an easier time getting into the small ports and less people to tender off.

 

The Vista ships are ok IMO if you don’t have a lot of tender ports.  With tender ports, it’s an absolute zoo.  

We’re not keen to get back on a Signature ship (although we do like the Tamarind) if tender ports are involved.

Everyone has different tastes.  There used to be a choice for all but sadly, it’s much more limited now.  A sign of the sad times 😞 

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I think there are a lot of good -- and fairly doable -- suggestions in this thread for a future HAL that wants to attract the well-traveled (or wanna be well-traveled) 50-70 year old demographic. Perhaps cut the shortest cruises, minimize (or offer on an infrequent basis) the longest cruises, but continue to offer some unique medium-short to medium long itineraries. Bonus points for combinable options.  Good wifi, good lectures that complement the itineraries, and longer port stays -- all positives. They don't have to go "all out" like a Maasdam adventure cruise, but keeping some of those elements would be great.

 

I would also add that many in that target demographic will also expect better-than-mass-market food, decent wine options, and cabins with good linens and a more top-of-line mattress.

 

 

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2 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Not attempting to be argumentative by this post, so please don't read it as such.  I'm curious as to why and what your wife and you felt that was different from the HAL experience on the different Classes of ships.

 

One way that I describe the difference between sailing on a smaller ship versus sailing on a large one:

 

On a small ship you are sailing WITH other passengers. On a large large you are sailing SURROUNDED BY other passengers. 

 

Somehow on a smaller ship there is a camaraderie -- you feel like you are on a journey together.  I'm not sure at what point that feeling dissipates, but I'm guessing it doesn't survive much beyond the size of a Prinsendam.

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2 hours ago, crusinbanjo said:

No problem, I have no ego to bruise here.  we like that the s class and Prinsendam were smaller, classic styled cruise ships, and we miss them already.  We started cruising on the original Island and Pacific  Princess Ships, (590 pax), that I think spoiled us.  We like Getting into smaller ports, (like St George in Bermuda), the no long lines, ease of boarding or getting off the ship in ports, ease of getting on or off when tendering.  In Alaska, we watched a line of hundreds of pax waiting to board at the end of the day, (not for me thanks).  We like that when we go to an on board event, test kitchen, port talks, whatever, we don’t arrive to find no available seating.  No requirement to make a dinner reservation, The ability to get from end to end On the ship without  the need for hiking equipment, (just kidding here, but I think you get the drift), etc, etc.  we have been on 3 total ships with 2000 =/- passengers and we found these to be the least enjoyable In our 30 years of cruising.  IMHO, you cannot have an exotic IT with 2000 other people, it overwhelms small ports and takes away the ability to actually experience an “exotic” port or the Culture and people that live there.  Hope that helps.

Problem is those size ships are never coming back at HALs price point.  Even with the lines those ships were sold to the price point is higher and the level of service is lower.

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17 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

Somehow on a smaller ship there is a camaraderie --

 

Yes, such can develop.  It depends upon the mix of guests.  

 

20 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

I would also add that many in that target demographic will also expect better-than-mass-market food, decent wine options, and cabins with good linens and a more top-of-line mattress.

 

Yes, that would be my expectation and I think of others in that demographic.  If we wanted cuisine where Guy's Burgers were a highlight by some, we would have booked such a cruise.

 

2 hours ago, kazu said:

The Vista ships are ok IMO if you don’t have a lot of tender ports.  With tender ports, it’s an absolute zoo.  

 

Surely can be, but even with my experience aboard the Prinsendam at St. Bart's, the sea was OK just enough to allow for tender operations.  Even then, there was a guest who was injured trying to enter a tender.  Tender operations in both directions were slow and somewhat frustrating.  Magnify the size of the guest load, such ports probably are inappropriate for the larger vessels.  Does this mean "bye-bye" Moorea,  Bora Bora, Bay of Islands, Maui, Petrovovlask, Sitka, and how many others as ports?  Maybe in this "new era of cruising" that seems to be coming, some ports need to make some adaptations if they still wish to have cruises visit their wonderful communities.  \

2 hours ago, kazu said:

The crew to passenger ratio was higher on that ship and service excelled IMO.

 

Regardless of whatever Class/size of HAL ship on which I have sailed, the service has mostly met my expectations.  Only once during a 21 day Caribbean cruise aboard the Noordam, something was not "right".  I was not the only Mariner Society member who sensed this.  The Captain and the Hotel Manager were invisible except when "they had to be" for "Mariner Society functions".  I had one "brief" encounter with the Captain.  "Go away, you bother me" was the attitude that I perceived.  

 

It is not the size of the ship that determines whether the HAL service expectations that a guest experiences is what is expected or not.  It is the personnel.  And, particularly, the personnel who are in leadership positions.  On the Noordam, the "sour" attitude towards guests filtered down to some--not all--but, to some of the crew.  

 

2 hours ago, crusinbanjo said:

The ability to get from end to end On the ship without  the need for hiking equipment, (just kidding here, but I think you get the drift), etc, etc.

 

No disagreement with your thought.  May I add the "hiking equipment" that may be needed to embarking and disembarking these ships at the Port of Miami and Port Everglades?  Why is it needed to make those "jetways" so long?  When I board, particularly, I rather feel like a "rat in a maze" in a Department of Psychology experiment.  Guest friendly?  Not in my opinion!

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

On a small ship you are sailing WITH other passengers. On a large large you are sailing SURROUNDED BY other passengers. 

Excellent way to put it. Spot on. 

1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

Somehow on a smaller ship there is a camaraderie -- you feel like you are on a journey together.  I'm not sure at what point that feeling dissipates, but I'm guessing it doesn't survive much beyond the size of a Prinsendam.

I couldn't agree more, although I do believe that type of atmosphere can extend to ships the size of the S-class. It also becomes a function of the length of the cruise. A longer time together increases the camaraderie. 

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1 hour ago, rkacruiser said:

 

 

 

 

Surely can be, but even with my experience aboard the Prinsendam at St. Bart's, the sea was OK just enough to allow for tender operations.  Even then, there was a guest who was injured trying to enter a tender.  Tender operations in both directions were slow and somewhat frustrating.  Magnify the size of the guest load, such ports probably are inappropriate for the larger vessels.  Does this mean "bye-bye" Moorea,  Bora Bora, Bay of Islands, Maui, Petrovovlask, Sitka, and how many others as ports?  Maybe in this "new era of cruising" that seems to be coming, some ports need to make some adaptations if they still wish to have cruises visit their wonderful communities.  

 

 

 

My fear going to Hawaii/ Tahiti on Zuiderdam is that in the 7 tender ports it will take so long to get the 2000 passengers off that it won't be worth us standing in line for tickets!  In most of the ports the ship leaves at 5 pm.   

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1 hour ago, nocl said:

Problem is those size ships are never coming back at HALs price point.  Even with the lines those ships were sold to the price point is higher and the level of service is lower.

I am keenly aware of that.......   and we will adjust where and how we spend our travel budget accordingly 

 

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7 minutes ago, Hflors said:

My fear going to Hawaii/ Tahiti on Zuiderdam is that in the 7 tender ports it will take so long to get the 2000 passengers off that it won't be worth us standing in line for tickets!  In most of the ports the ship leaves at 5 pm.   

My point exactly

 

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