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Holland America Prescribed Protocols for Shore Excursions


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Looking at Enhanced Health Protocols and under Guest Experience HAL says:

Only shore excursions that comply with Holland America Line prescribed protocols will be permitted, with strict adherence required of all guests and denial of re-boarding for any guests who do not comply.

They also say:

Final protocols and practices will be provided with final documentation when cruising resumes.  Specifics may change.

Has anyone been able to find what these prescribed protocols are?  I'm particularly as they relate to September in Europe.

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14 minutes ago, woodinville cruisers said:

Final protocols and practices will be provided with final documentation when cruising resumes.

Your answer is included in this statement that you posted.  It will be provided in any final documentation when cruising has  resumed. So no-one has any firm understanding yet, merely speculation. Bubbles, cruise line only tours, etc etc.  Just gotta wait a while!

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All we know is that cruises that did restart in Europe required cruise line tours only in order to get off at ports.  My guess is that will be the case initially with HAL as well but how long it lasts is anybody’s guess.  It will be interesting to see what happens as final payments approach.

Edited by KirkNC
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2 hours ago, woodinville cruisers said:

Looking at Enhanced Health Protocols and under Guest Experience HAL says:

Only shore excursions that comply with Holland America Line prescribed protocols will be permitted, with strict adherence required of all guests and denial of re-boarding for any guests who do not comply.

They also say:

Final protocols and practices will be provided with final documentation when cruising resumes.  Specifics may change.

Has anyone been able to find what these prescribed protocols are?  I'm particularly as they relate to September in Europe.

Interesting wording "final documentation when cruising resumes". I get the feeling that they would like to have a policy of cruise line excursions only, but are afraid that that would turn off many potential passengers, especially those with previous experiences on cruises. JMHO

Edited by ontheweb
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25 minutes ago, ontheweb said:

Interesting wording "final documentation when cruising resumes". I get the feeling that they would like to have a policy of cruise line excursions only, but are afraid that that would turn off many potential passengers, especially those with previous experiences on cruises. JMHO

 

Totally agree.  That would be a big turn off for us.  

HAL’s tours are the “standard first time visits”. When you are returning and have researched you know what you want to see and HAL doesn’t offer any of the choices we’ve made or any in depth exploration of our ports.

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If shore excursions must be taken via the cruise line's offerings, hopefully there will be more choices.  The shore excursions for most ports have always seemed somewhat limited.  Sometimes there are only 4 or 5 offered, including those private vehicle tours with the exorbitant prices.

 

Edited by Taters
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We have three cruises booked for 2021.  Each is over 21 days.  We are not willing to give a final payment until we are assured that we can go ashore on our own. 
It is unacceptable that HAL would not tell you the status of going ashore before final payment.  

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1 hour ago, kazu said:

 

Totally agree.  That would be a big turn off for us.  

HAL’s tours are the “standard first time visits”. When you are returning and have researched you know what you want to see and HAL doesn’t offer any of the choices we’ve made or any in depth exploration of our ports.

 

I understand your thinking.  For those of us who have visited a port, maybe a few times more than once, a "prescribed" tour has little interest.  Unless that tour would include those sites where I would want again to visit.  

 

So, what to do?  Not book a cruise because of such a requirement?  Or, is the cruise experience itself--without the port visitations--worth the expenditure of one's treasure?  

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10 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

Or, is the cruise experience itself--without the port visitations--worth the expenditure of one's treasure?  

 

Nope, not for me.  We don’t just cruise for the cruise experience - we enjoy our ports exploring as we see fit.  It doesn’t always mean no HAL excursion, but many times it does.

We have lots of other ways to spend money on the ships 😉 

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We have so many cruises in our past that part of our joy of cruising is the strolling around familiar spots and enjoying a wonderful lunch at a restaurant we've enjoyed before, and sometimes, many times before. Tough decisions ahead of us. Only one HAL cruise booked, but one on another line a bit further out.

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I suspect that the ‘final protocols and practices’ for shore excursions will be whatever the CDC requires them to be to prevent the cruise from getting shut down. I also suspect that those requirements will be subject to constant and sudden changes during the first few months of operations, and that the cruise lines are as anxious as we are to find out what they will be.

Frankly, I’d much rather be wondering what will or will not be allowed as a future passenger than as a Shore Ex director.

 

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27 minutes ago, tjcox9 said:

We have so many cruises in our past that part of our joy of cruising is the strolling around familiar spots and enjoying a wonderful lunch at a restaurant we've enjoyed before

 

That's the way I feel about some ports.  Not to be able to enjoy the best Halibut and Chips I have had in Juneau in my favorite restaurant there (as long as they are still there!) and not being able to amble around Auckland, Sydney, and Rome, etc--that will require some serious decision making as to priorities.  

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I think the problem is lines, including HAL, don’t know how long restrictions will remain in place.  They can’t predict months in the future right  now.  Because of that, I think they should waive cancellation fees until they can clarify what the rules will be for any particular cruise.  In the early going that may mean no cancellation fees right up to the sail date. 

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12 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

I think the problem is lines, including HAL, don’t know how long restrictions will remain in place.  They can’t predict months in the future right  now.  Because of that, I think they should waive cancellation fees until they can clarify what the rules will be for any particular cruise.  In the early going that may mean no cancellation fees right up to the sail date. 

That makes sense for us as the consumers, but I have a feeling that the "bean counters" who want to fill as many cabins as they can will not at all like cancel with no penalty right up to the sail date.

 

I do agree that they do not know how long restrictions will stay on place and that is a problem for us as cruisers and them.

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30 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

I think the problem is lines, including HAL, don’t know how long restrictions will remain in place.  They can’t predict months in the future right  now.  Because of that, I think they should waive cancellation fees until they can clarify what the rules will be for any particular cruise.  In the early going that may mean no cancellation fees right up to the sail date. 

If one must make final payment, without knowing how private tours will be treated and if a cancellation fee would be applied once HAL (or the CDC) announces if private tours are allowed at the time of your scheduled cruise, I believe that there would be many cruisers canceling at the time of final payment to avoid the possibility that one may only leave the ship in port if on a HAL tour.

 

I agree the acceptable solution is to waive cancellation fees until there is a clear understanding that the virus is or soon will be under control and that a policy exists addressing private tours. I understand that even after that date there may be unforeseen setbacks.

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3 minutes ago, walnut99 said:

If one must make final payment, without knowing how private tours will be treated and if a cancellation fee would be applied once HAL (or the CDC) announces if private tours are allowed at the time of your scheduled cruise, I believe that there would be many cruisers canceling at the time of final payment to avoid the possibility that one may only leave the ship in port if on a HAL tour.

 

I agree the acceptable solution is to waive cancellation fees until there is a clear understanding that the virus is or soon will be under control and that a policy exists addressing private tours. I understand that even after that date there may be unforeseen setbacks.

IIRC, HAL has never had a cancelation fee for excursions, unless you cancel in the last 24 hours prior to the excursion departing. So, there is no real danger in booking a ship's excursion, then canceling.

 

Some private vendors have cancelation fees...know before you book.

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9 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

IIRC, HAL has never had a cancelation fee for excursions, unless you cancel in the last 24 hours prior to the excursion departing. So, there is no real danger in booking a ship's excursion, then canceling.

 

Some private vendors have cancelation fees...know before you book.

 

I don’t believe @walnut99 was referring to shore excursion cancellation fees but rather, to the ship’s cancellation fee for the fare for sailing.

 

The rules have to be clear before final payment or there should be an “out” if ports are going to be limited to the tacky 40 person bus tours.

If you can’t leave the ship unless you are on a ship excursion, I believe many would not want to cruise.  I don’t think all of us are that desperate.  I have a land tour planned before my cruise, but if I can’t enjoy some favourite spots, do intimate touring then, we will definitely have to re-think the cruise portion.  JMHO

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7 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

I don’t believe @walnut99 was referring to shore excursion cancellation fees but rather, to the ship’s cancellation fee for the fare for sailing.

 

The rules have to be clear before final payment or there should be an “out” if ports are going to be limited to the tacky 40 person bus tours.

If you can’t leave the ship unless you are on a ship excursion, I believe many would not want to cruise.  I don’t think all of us are that desperate.  I have a land tour planned before my cruise, but if I can’t enjoy some favourite spots, do intimate touring then, we will definitely have to re-think the cruise portion.  JMHO

Yes, ship tours are not part of the reason many of us cruise.  If we are limited to ship tours,  many would rather wait to cruise without restrictions,

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11 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

 

The rules have to be clear before final payment or there should be an “out” if ports are going to be limited to the tacky 40 person bus tours.

If you can’t leave the ship unless you are on a ship excursion, I believe many would not want to cruise.  I don’t think all of us are that desperate.  I have a land tour planned before my cruise, but if I can’t enjoy some favourite spots, do intimate touring then, we will definitely have to re-think the cruise portion.  JMHO

We cannot wait for vaccines so we can travel again - well and just gain something that resembles ‘normal’ again. ’  We keep talking about when to book another cruise. However, as Kazu said, if that means cruising looks like this we will stick with land vacations until/if protocols relax. We echo your thoughts completely. 

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Lets try to put some logic to the issue.  What percentage of HAL passengers take HAL cruise excursions?  We have been told (by a shore excursion office manager) it traditionally was (pre covid) in the 50% range but varied depending on itinerary.  So, for example, in the Caribbean it is generally a lower percentage while on more exotic itineraries it is somewhat higher.  But lets assume that half the passengers do not like cruise line excursions.  What percentage of those folks will book cruises when their only option is a cruise line excursion?  I will take a leap of faith and say perhaps half of those folks which would mean that HAL (and other cruise lines) might lose 25% of their traditional bookings.  Now add to this the fact that many families have taken a huge economic hit due to COVID.  Those folks will be putting off cruises/vacations or looking for much lower cost vacations.  Meanwhile, the cruise lines have incredible economic problems that require them to increase prices/revenue.  What does this all mean?  How about a cruise line (HAL) now pushing a sale where you buy one cabin and you get another free?  

 

DW and I are among the group that does not take cruise line excursions.  In fact, we do not even like tours and simply want to do our own thing.  While we have future cruises booked, the next one that might have a tour problem is an Oceania cruise in December 2021.  Our next HAL booking is not until April 2022 and, if we knew that we had to take excursions on that cruise we would cancel it in a heartbeat!  That cruise is a month primarily in Japan where I am not going to get roped into large group excursions.  If we can't do our own thing we would likely replace the cruise by simply flying to Japan (assuming it is open) and doing our own thing for 1-2 months.  

 

As another poster said, the rules must be clear before final payment (or we would cancel).  I would offer this to those who take lots of excursions and only like to travel with excursions/tours.  We respect and understand this point of view.  But there are plenty of folks like us who do not like being led around like cattle and prefer to have the freedom to do what we want, when we want, with who we want.  There is no right or wrong...it is just a matter of personal preference.  But we are almost passionate in our dislike of cruise line excursions and, in most cases, would give up cruising before we agreed to that kind of restriction.

 

Hank

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I am with Hank on this.  I am not going to worry about whether or not I can cancel a cruise if HAL or the CDC imposes those restrictions on my freedom to go where I want in a port.  I will not book a cruise until those restrictions are no longer an issue.

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