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Will HAL be next?


KirkNC
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20 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

There will be others that disagree with me--OK with me.  But, RCI's decision to buy those former Renaissance Cruise ships which were dated in decor and small in size was a poor business decision initially.  Needed "something" to compete with Seabourn of CCL, I suspect, was a "guiding thought".  

 

I have friends who sailed on one of those ships when it was a Renaissance vessel:  never again, and their reaction was based on the physical layout of the ship.  I know another couple who sailed on one when it was an Azamara vessel:  enjoyed it.  

 

Personally, I don't see this transaction to be a threat to HAL.  

The fact RCCL didn’t put money into expanding the line I tend to think they had the same issue. They bought but then didn’t know what to do. 

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2 hours ago, sppunk said:

The fact RCCL didn’t put money into expanding the line I tend to think they had the same issue. They bought but then didn’t know what to do. 


Royal Caribbean Group originally purchased two of the former Renaissance vessels and placed them with Pullmantour. Within a year it was announced that the ships would be transferred to Celebrity.  Shortly before entering service with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean Group announced the creation of a new brand - Azamara - to more clearly position the ships as boutique vessels and compete with Oceania.  The brand has always struggled to find a foothold and identity within the industry. The poor choice of brand name, constantly changing product, poor marketing message, etc all played into this.  It almost would have been better to fold the brand back into Celebrity a few years ago, but they chose not to and well, here we are. 
 

HAL is a different story, but in some ways in a similar position. Long rumored to be the underperformer of the Carnival Corp brands, HAL has struggled to have a clear value proposition, brand image or marketing strategy.  It will be interesting what strategy Jan Schwartz as President of Holland America Group and new HAL President Gus Antorcha formulate, along with their corporate masters, in the coming years. 
 

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16 hours ago, KirkNC said:

If that’s the case, we are in trouble!

 

At this point, I should come clean and be brutally honest. Don't read this if you have a faint heart.

 

It's a year after 40 million people were quarantined in Wuhan's province. Why are we (with all that shiny technology) losing?

 

Its because the pandemic is ultimately a social disease. People spread the virus.

 

In the first wave, infection originated primarily in workplaces and where strangers gathered. These situations could be regulated easily enough.

 

The second wave is much worse because we are now infecting within and between households. Humans are social creatures. We need to press the flesh. In times of trouble, we huddle with people we trust. That's why the disease is so hard to beat.

 

The vaccines will save many lives. But, there will be no herd immunity if only 70% are vaccinated, with an efficacy of only 70%.

 

Moreover, new variants will challenge the effectiveness of the vax. That's why we have to get the disease under control BEFORE we complete vaccinating the population. To stop the process of genetic mutation.

 

Once the efficacy falls to 50%, we have to redo the vaccinations.

 

What is the logical strategy for low risk areas if the high risk areas cannot beat the disease?

 

In 2021, places will sort themselves out; low risk versus high risk. The low risk areas will form bubbles among themselves on the basis of effective strategies, not geographic proximity. For example, Hong Kong and Singapore.

 

Cruising will resume out of low risk areas. But, the cruise industry may be drastically reduced for a long time.

 

CCL has mortgaged all its remaining ships, and borrowed (at junk bond prices) to the max. To raise fresh money, they will have to sell whole businesses and the customer base. That's why I have tried these months to convince you to keep your money in your pocket.

 

So, the survival of HAL (as we know it) depends on what you and your neighbours do The pandemic continues as long as many people are willing to be infected, and infect others. And, governments don't have a winning strategy.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, FlorenceItaly said:

I have to wonder if moving Jan Schwartz over from Princess is an indication that there may be a consolidation of Princess/HAL brand.

I hope not.  Princess has gone theme park in the past decade with their giant ships and constant hawking onboard.  Somewhere in this world there has to be a place for cruisers who enjoy enjoy peace, quiet and travel for enrichment.  

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2 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

 

At this point, I should come clean and be brutally honest. Don't read this if you have a faint heart.

 

It's a year after 40 million people were quarantined in Wuhan's province. Why are we (with all that shiny technology) losing?

 

Its because the pandemic is ultimately a social disease. People spread the virus.

 

In the first wave, infection originated primarily in workplaces and where strangers gathered. These situations could be regulated easily enough.

 

The second wave is much worse because we are now infecting within and between households. Humans are social creatures. We need to press the flesh. In times of trouble, we huddle with people we trust. That's why the disease is so hard to beat.

 

The vaccines will save many lives. But, there will be no herd immunity if only 70% are vaccinated, with an efficacy of only 70%.

 

Moreover, new variants will challenge the effectiveness of the vax. That's why we have to get the disease under control BEFORE we complete vaccinating the population. To stop the process of genetic mutation.

 

Once the efficacy falls to 50%, we have to redo the vaccinations.

 

What is the logical strategy for low risk areas if the high risk areas cannot beat the disease?

 

In 2021, places will sort themselves out; low risk versus high risk. The low risk areas will form bubbles among themselves on the basis of effective strategies, not geographic proximity. For example, Hong Kong and Singapore.

 

Cruising will resume out of low risk areas. But, the cruise industry may be drastically reduced for a long time.

 

CCL has mortgaged all its remaining ships, and borrowed (at junk bond prices) to the max. To raise fresh money, they will have to sell whole businesses and the customer base. That's why I have tried these months to convince you to keep your money in your pocket.

 

So, the survival of HAL (as we know it) depends on what you and your neighbours do The pandemic continues as long as many people are willing to be infected, and infect others. And, governments don't have a winning strategy.

 

 

I agree with your speculations. As much fun as I have searching for, and planning future cruises, I haven't put any deposits on anything. The virus has changed the world and I see a bleak future for cruise lines. I live in the USA and I see people everyday who refuse to wear a mask, even though it's required by law,  and refuse to social distance. Many will refuse the vaccination. I think the world watches while Americans reject science, and continue to spread the virus. What country will take a chance on us? I think we (US citizens)will be shunned all over the world. It's a sad situation and I don't see a resolution in the near future. IMO, of course. 

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2 hours ago, Mary229 said:

Somewhere in this world there has to be a place for cruisers who enjoy enjoy peace, quiet and travel for enrichment.

 

I'm beginning to doubt it. Most of the lines about which the above would apply are gone (like Azamara, sold to venture capitalists with no maritime experience, you can't convince me there's a future there) or question marks (like HAL).

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2 hours ago, Mary229 said:

I hope not.  Princess has gone theme park in the past decade with their giant ships and constant hawking onboard.  Somewhere in this world there has to be a place for cruisers who enjoy enjoy peace, quiet and travel for enrichment.  

I think they will always be there - maybe a higher price point.

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35 minutes ago, rodndonna said:

I think they will always be there - maybe a higher price point.

I don't mind a higher price but I do not want a higher formality.  One thing HAL has offered in recent years is a more relaxed style of cruising yielding to a more modern sense of dress and decorum without succumbing to becoming a party barge.

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29 minutes ago, Mary229 said:

I don't mind a higher price but I do not want a higher formality.  One thing HAL has offered in recent years is a more relaxed style of cruising yielding to a more modern sense of dress and decorum without succumbing to becoming a party barge.

This will be our first HAL cruise and we are going with HAL as what you are describing is the impression we have of what the line offers and why we are trying HAL.  😀

 

At the end of the day everybody in the cruise business has to set itself apart one way or another - so I expect there will always be at least one player in that niche. I guess the price will eventually reflect how many of us want that and what we are willing to pay for it. I have no idea how HAL is doing financially, but if they are struggling with what they offer and hit their demise, then I would expect  (or at least hope) something similar would come along with a slightly higher price point. 

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We need to get shots in arms, hundreds of millions of arms! and then maybe by the middle of the summer paying customers can start to get back on cruise ships again.

 

Until Covid is under control there is no future for the Cruise Industry, regardless of the size of the company or the market it caters too.

 

-Paul

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3 minutes ago, kangforpres said:

We need to get shots in arms, hundreds of millions of arms! and then maybe by the middle of the summer paying customers can start to get back on cruise ships again.

 

Until Covid is under control there is no future for the Cruise Industry, regardless of the size of the company or the market it caters too.

 

-Paul

Amen!

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22 hours ago, vicd1969 said:

 Segment-wise, Azamara seems to be in the same tier as Oceania and maybe Viking. Carnival doesn't really have a cruise line between "premium mass-market" like HAL and "luxury" like Seabourn, unless you consider Cunard as such (I don't). 

 

That was my thought as well.  I think Oceania (owned by NCLH) is the line that should take notice. 

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5 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

That was my thought as well.  I think Oceania (owned by NCLH) is the line that should take notice. 

Agh, don’t say that......

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1 hour ago, kangforpres said:

We need to get shots in arms, hundreds of millions of arms! and then maybe by the middle of the summer paying customers can start to get back on cruise ships again.

 

Until Covid is under control there is no future for the Cruise Industry, regardless of the size of the company or the market it caters too.

 

-Paul

So agree.  This notion that cruising will start up prior to this is nonsense.   There were people on this forum who thought cruising would start up by August, then it was Jan/Feb, now some believe June/July. 

 

It is not simply start up. There are some cruisers who will never return, there are those who will only return based on what the on board environment and actual ports stops will be.

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14 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

 

At this point, I should come clean and be brutally honest. Don't read this if you have a faint heart.

 

It's a year after 40 million people were quarantined in Wuhan's province. Why are we (with all that shiny technology) losing?

 

Its because the pandemic is ultimately a social disease. People spread the virus.

 

In the first wave, infection originated primarily in workplaces and where strangers gathered. These situations could be regulated easily enough.

 

The second wave is much worse because we are now infecting within and between households. Humans are social creatures. We need to press the flesh. In times of trouble, we huddle with people we trust. That's why the disease is so hard to beat.

 

The vaccines will save many lives. But, there will be no herd immunity if only 70% are vaccinated, with an efficacy of only 70%.

 

Moreover, new variants will challenge the effectiveness of the vax. That's why we have to get the disease under control BEFORE we complete vaccinating the population. To stop the process of genetic mutation.

 

Once the efficacy falls to 50%, we have to redo the vaccinations.

 

What is the logical strategy for low risk areas if the high risk areas cannot beat the disease?

 

In 2021, places will sort themselves out; low risk versus high risk. The low risk areas will form bubbles among themselves on the basis of effective strategies, not geographic proximity. For example, Hong Kong and Singapore.

 

Cruising will resume out of low risk areas. But, the cruise industry may be drastically reduced for a long time.

 

CCL has mortgaged all its remaining ships, and borrowed (at junk bond prices) to the max. To raise fresh money, they will have to sell whole businesses and the customer base. That's why I have tried these months to convince you to keep your money in your pocket.

 

So, the survival of HAL (as we know it) depends on what you and your neighbours do The pandemic continues as long as many people are willing to be infected, and infect others. And, governments don't have a winning strategy.

 

 

 

Your thoughts support those of mine since this pandemic began.  

 

Armageddon has begun.  Surely different than what some expected based upon Scripture.  

 

If so, the future of HAL or CCL or any cruise line is irrelevant.  

 

I pray that I am wrong in my thinking.  

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22 hours ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

HAL is a different story, but in some ways in a similar position. Long rumored to be the underperformer of the Carnival Corp brands, HAL has struggled to have a clear value proposition, brand image or marketing strategy. 

Actually, as far as CCL brands go, HAL is near the top in profit per passenger/ship.  The stats were shown in this forum very recently.

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17 hours ago, Mary229 said:

I hope not.  Princess has gone theme park in the past decade with their giant ships and constant hawking onboard.  Somewhere in this world there has to be a place for cruisers who enjoy enjoy peace, quiet and travel for enrichment.  

Yes, and it can be found with some of the really high end ultra luxury lines.  But in the mass market world (which is HAL's world) most business plans depend on maximizing onboard revenue to generate a healthy profit.  The thing with many HAL cruises is most of the passengers dine early, go to the show (if there is a show) and then go to bed.   When we cruise on a line like MSC we can walk through the ship at 11pm and find 3 or 4 live music venues.  While folks are in those venues they are buying drinks (generating revenue).   Go into the Casino at 11:30 on many lines and there are plenty of folks at the tables.  Go into a HAL casino at 11:30 and you might find only dealers and a few slot players.

 

You can get peace and quiet if you are willing to pay more for your cruise.  But if you want mass market pricing (which is what HAL is all about) then how can the cruise line compete (financially).  We posted about 3 years ago that HAL was like a ship without a rudder....it did not seem to know where it was going.  On one hand HAL wanted to attract younger cruisers (who tend to spend more money onboard) but they were not willing to spend money on decent live entertainment which is important to many younger cruisers who stay awake past 10 pm.   HAL put BB King groups (who play everything but BB King music) on about half their ships but what about the other ships?  There was no consistency.  And then they tried that crazy EXP thing on the Maasdam which was like a different cruise line from other vessels.  So what is HAL.....an EXP cruise on the Maasdam or something entirely different on the Koningsdam?  Darned if I know...and I am a 5 Star Mariner.  How do you explain HAL to somebody who has never cruised on the line?

 

HAL needs a consistent product and a better marketing plan.  Carnival had "Fun Ships."  RCI would WOW folks.  Celebrity is an higher level RCI product with interesting ships.  Princess has a product that is very consistent be it on a Grand Class ship or the newer Royal Class.  "O" promotes a slightly upscale product with an emphasis on cuisine.  What does HAL promote other then old ships for old people (they do now have some younger ships)?

 

Hank

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5 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Yes, and it can be found with some of the really high end ultra luxury lines.  But in the mass market world (which is HAL's world) most business plans depend on maximizing onboard revenue to generate a healthy profit.  The thing with many HAL cruises is most of the passengers dine early, go to the show (if there is a show) and then go to bed.   When we cruise on a line like MSC we can walk through the ship at 11pm and find 3 or 4 live music venues.  While folks are in those venues they are buying drinks (generating revenue).   Go into the Casino at 11:30 on many lines and there are plenty of folks at the tables.  Go into a HAL casino at 11:30 and you might find only dealers and a few slot players.

 

You can get peace and quiet if you are willing to pay more for your cruise.  But if you want mass market pricing (which is what HAL is all about) then how can the cruise line compete (financially).  We posted about 3 years ago that HAL was like a ship without a rudder....it did not seem to know where it was going.  On one hand HAL wanted to attract younger cruisers (who tend to spend more money onboard) but they were not willing to spend money on decent live entertainment which is important to many younger cruisers who stay awake past 10 pm.   HAL put BB King groups (who play everything but BB King music) on about half their ships but what about the other ships?  There was no consistency.  And then they tried that crazy EXP thing on the Maasdam which was like a different cruise line from other vessels.  So what is HAL.....an EXP cruise on the Maasdam or something entirely different on the Koningsdam?  Darned if I know...and I am a 5 Star Mariner.  How do you explain HAL to somebody who has never cruised on the line?

 

HAL needs a consistent product and a better marketing plan.  Carnival had "Fun Ships."  RCI would WOW folks.  Celebrity is an higher level RCI product with interesting ships.  Princess has a product that is very consistent be it on a Grand Class ship or the newer Royal Class.  "O" promotes a slightly upscale product with an emphasis on cuisine.  What does HAL promote other then old ships for old people (they do now have some younger ships)?

 

Hank

I agree completely and have said the same for years as well.  When asked what’s different about HAL the typical response is the crew and itineraries which is what I would say as well.  The problem is that they are trying to compete in the wrong market.  IMO HAL is best suited as a line positioned between Princess and Seabourn.  Leverage those two strengths but in order to be successful they have to be priced appropriately.  Stop trying to out Walmart Walmart and charge a fair price for a unique product.  The result is they would not be the cheapest but they would have good food, decent entertainment and speakers, their great crew and itineraries.  If someone wants the cheapest cruise, HAL would not be for them.  Stop competing on price and compete on product.

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On 1/20/2021 at 3:46 AM, BobbiSox said:

I agree with your speculations. As much fun as I have searching for, and planning future cruises, I haven't put any deposits on anything. The virus has changed the world and I see a bleak future for cruise lines. I live in the USA and I see people everyday who refuse to wear a mask, even though it's required by law,  and refuse to social distance. Many will refuse the vaccination. I think the world watches while Americans reject science, and continue to spread the virus. What country will take a chance on us? I think we (US citizens)will be shunned all over the world. It's a sad situation and I don't see a resolution in the near future. IMO, of course. 

The entire world is still faced with rising covid cases  .The US is one of the many countries with rising cases ,so I truly doubt we will be shunned by the rest of the worlds countries  .Besides  how does any country not do trade with the USA & survive economically  .Imo ,the vaccines will be out in sufficient  quantities by March  /April & the demand is great  to get the vaccines into arms 

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8 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Yes, and it can be found with some of the really high end ultra luxury lines.  But in the mass market world (which is HAL's world) most business plans depend on maximizing onboard revenue to generate a healthy profit.  The thing with many HAL cruises is most of the passengers dine early, go to the show (if there is a show) and then go to bed.   When we cruise on a line like MSC we can walk through the ship at 11pm and find 3 or 4 live music venues.  While folks are in those venues they are buying drinks (generating revenue).   Go into the Casino at 11:30 on many lines and there are plenty of folks at the tables.  Go into a HAL casino at 11:30 and you might find only dealers and a few slot players.

 

You can get peace and quiet if you are willing to pay more for your cruise.  But if you want mass market pricing (which is what HAL is all about) then how can the cruise line compete (financially).  We posted about 3 years ago that HAL was like a ship without a rudder....it did not seem to know where it was going.  On one hand HAL wanted to attract younger cruisers (who tend to spend more money onboard) but they were not willing to spend money on decent live entertainment which is important to many younger cruisers who stay awake past 10 pm.   HAL put BB King groups (who play everything but BB King music) on about half their ships but what about the other ships?  There was no consistency.  And then they tried that crazy EXP thing on the Maasdam which was like a different cruise line from other vessels.  So what is HAL.....an EXP cruise on the Maasdam or something entirely different on the Koningsdam?  Darned if I know...and I am a 5 Star Mariner.  How do you explain HAL to somebody who has never cruised on the line?

 

HAL needs a consistent product and a better marketing plan.  Carnival had "Fun Ships."  RCI would WOW folks.  Celebrity is an higher level RCI product with interesting ships.  Princess has a product that is very consistent be it on a Grand Class ship or the newer Royal Class.  "O" promotes a slightly upscale product with an emphasis on cuisine.  What does HAL promote other then old ships for old people (they do now have some younger ships)?

 

Hank

Of our cruises, only two have been on HAL. But I have to agree that they were totally different experiences. One was to an extent lively; the other was dead. Part may have been totally different itineraries, the first having been in the Eastern Mediterranean mostly Greek Isles and the second Boston to Montreal. Part may have been that the second was a much smaller ship. But I do have to say if we booked another HAL cruise, I really would not know what to expect.

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53 minutes ago, ontheweb said:

Of our cruises, only two have been on HAL. But I have to agree that they were totally different experiences. One was to an extent lively; the other was dead. Part may have been totally different itineraries, the first having been in the Eastern Mediterranean mostly Greek Isles and the second Boston to Montreal. Part may have been that the second was a much smaller ship. But I do have to say if we booked another HAL cruise, I really would not know what to expect.

My experience is somewhat similar, even when sailing on the same ship. One was a 12-day Med cruise, the other the typical 7-day Western Carib cruise less than a year later. Both on the Eurodam, but the European one was more enjoyable. I suspect that HAL is still able to command a premium for its European customers as its European itineraries tend to be more expensive on a per diem basis than its North American offerings. Thus, it can budget better food and activities. 

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I think the "eye opener" for us was when we booked our first Grand Cruise which was a 62 day Med cruise (round trip from FLL) on our beloved Prinsendam.  The itinerary was fantastic, the price was reasonable, and it could have also been booked as a much shorter segment.  And yet, we never had more then 585 on that cruise (and that was the most crowded segment) which had some of us scratching our heads.  The ship held nearly 800 and should have been full.  But the marketing was not very good.  Nearly 80% of the passengers on that voyage were 4 or 5 Star Mariners.   The youngest person on the entire 62 day voyage (including much shorter segments) was a lovely 27 year old lady (Hi Jennifer) who was the companion of her Grandmother!   There is no way that cruise should have averaged over 200 empty berths.  That is the kind of thing that destroys the profitability of a cruise line.  I doubt if you would find "O" or Viking cruises with 200 empty berths....EVER!

 

Hank

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5 hours ago, KirkNC said:

I agree completely and have said the same for years as well.  When asked what’s different about HAL the typical response is the crew and itineraries which is what I would say as well.  The problem is that they are trying to compete in the wrong market.  IMO HAL is best suited as a line positioned between Princess and Seabourn.  Leverage those two strengths but in order to be successful they have to be priced appropriately.  Stop trying to out Walmart Walmart and charge a fair price for a unique product.  The result is they would not be the cheapest but they would have good food, decent entertainment and speakers, their great crew and itineraries.  If someone wants the cheapest cruise, HAL would not be for them.  Stop competing on price and compete on product.

I feel the same way.  From a business point of view, HAL should be doing a better job marketing what they are selling.  The very people who in most cases would enjoy HAL are the people that are a large portion of the "baby boomer" generation who has retired or getting ready to in the next few years.  Honestly, I get very tired of the cliché that HAL only caters to older people. What is wrong with that? I know a large portion of this group would enjoy HAL.  From a business and marketing point of view, that market will always exist. Yes, the numbers may decrease in the next 20 - 30 years as we sadly disappear (myself included), but worry about that then.  For right now, as said above, HAL needs to be positioned above Princess and below Seabourn and priced accordingly.    

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