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LAFFNVEGAS "LIVE" from the Nieuw Amsterdam, First HAL Ship to Sail!!


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2 hours ago, ksmaxey said:

The crew seems to be trying very hard and are very gracious.

The elimination of the wine stewards is a dismal failure.  Tonight it took 35 minutes from when I finished my wine before more was delivered.  It took 20 minutes for our waiter to realize and another 15 for it to be served and delivered.  As my wife said, that isn't fine dining.

My wife observed that she thought the wine stewards could be obnoxious but she really misses that they watched and attended to empty glasses.  The waiters are just tasked with too much now.  It isn't that they aren't trying, it just isn't on their radar after 10+ contracts with that being handled by someone else.

We found the menu tonight to lack depth and choice.  She ordered tortellini on a night she always looked forward to lobster.  I ordered duck because the beef option was not optimal.  The three dessert options didn't interest us and we saw lots of ice cream which wasn't on the menu being served. (waiters have caught on!)

 



Our cabin steward has been amazing and really taken care of o us.  

 

Agree with you 100%! The elimination of the wine stewards in the MDR and adding that task to the already big plates of the MDR stewards (this occurred prior to the pandemic) was a not well thought out move by someone sitting behind a desk in the emerald city and needs to be reversed forth with in order to improve overall service in that room

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3 hours ago, ksmaxey said:

The crew seems to be trying very hard and are very gracious.

The elimination of the wine stewards is a dismal failure.  Tonight it took 35 minutes from when I finished my wine before more was delivered.  It took 20 minutes for our waiter to realize and another 15 for it to be served and delivered.  As my wife said, that isn't fine dining.

My wife observed that she thought the wine stewards could be obnoxious but she really misses that they watched and attended to empty glasses.  The waiters are just tasked with too much now.  It isn't that they aren't trying, it just isn't on their radar after 10+ contracts with that being handled by someone else.

We found the menu tonight to lack depth and choice.  She ordered tortellini on a night she always looked forward to lobster.  I ordered duck because the beef option was not optimal.  The three dessert options didn't interest us and we saw lots of ice cream which wasn't on the menu being served. (waiters have caught on!)

 



Our cabin steward has been amazing and really taken care of o us.  

On top of taking over wine service I am assuming the dining room staff now also have to deal with charging the supplement for upsell items also. Not sure how many are opting in to buying these but that is even more work they are now responsible for. 

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Good Evening from the Beautiful MS Nieuw Amsterdam.

yes tonight was second Gala Night , they call it Gold Gala Night, the first was silver. So my question is if we are on a longer cruise is the third Platinum Gala night or does the first one become Bronze😂

yes I agree the menu items have not been exciting although tonight I did get the Club Orange item and it was actually quite good. I cannot remember what they called it but it was Scallops with a hint of lemon, over what I believe was polenta. It was actually good. My previous CO item was equally as good. 
 

Tonight we decided to not be party poopers and go out and about to check out the entertainment on the Music Walk. But after dinner we did go back to our cabin. Guest Relations on board sent us a floral arrangement which was nice. I am still a bit disappointed but life goes on. We also did get out additional 5% discount in the shops and they were sincerely apologetic.. Now just need to get the charges off that would have been covered under the Signature Beverage Package. 
In the Billboard there were a female and male pianist/singers that were both quite good performing “The Classics”. We sat there till their set ended then wanted to see the comedian in the BB King Lounge, since that was packed we act sat out on the walk area where there are chairs. Actually that was quite entertaining just watching the passengers. But the comedian was pretty funny as well. Then we listened to the BB King band for a while. 
 

Sadly tomorrow is our last day, but we actually don’t feel as bad about leaving knowing that 5 weeks from tomorrow we fly back to Seattle to do it all over again 😉😃

 

Tomorrow night we dine in the Pinnacle, we like to save the Best for last.

 

Wifi has been down most of the night again so hopefully this does upload. I will attempt a few pictures as well.

 

Note our towel animal was a whale. 

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7 hours ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:

No lobster, a bit more scaled down second Gala night.

 

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I'm curious if you don't like the menu if they ever do special requests that you submit at lunch like Cunard Queens Grill?  Or are you expected to just go elsewhere?

 

I doubt we'd ever do it, but they used to arrange special menus like Kosher, so there must be some kind of process in place.

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7 hours ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:

The weather here in Ketchikan has cleared up and there is actually some sun shining through those clouds. We walked into town, first stopping in Tongass Trading Post. Always good buys there, excellent prices. Then wen across the street to have lunch at Annebell’s which has been a Ketchikan tradition for lunch for many years. Tom of course had to have his Halibut Fish and Chips.

We then headed back to the ship. 
 

This afternoon I needed to call the Club Orange Concierge to see if they could Assist, we have had several charges on our statement for items covered on the Signature Beverage Package. Stupid things like cans of water, a can of Ginger Ale and my Riesling and a beer for Tom when we had lunch in the Pinnacle. 
Anyway I decided to ask about if there will be a   Mariner Reception or lunch on the last day. She quickly answered they would not be having any Mariner gatherings the whole Alaska season. I then asked about the 4 and 5 reception that was held on Sunday. She then stated “You did not get your invitation?” The answer to that is no. She then said she would have the Beverage department check into the items charged and have her supervisor call me. 
I later got a call from the Guest Relations Manager who was actually immediately a bit rude. She started out saying you were invited to that Mariner party I prepared the invitation myself. Then goes on to say your cabin steward delivered it to you. Again, no we did not receive. It was then a Oh Well that is too bad you did not get it.

I expected hiccups but not to be treated rudely. 
The problems with getting charges you should not have has been going on long before the pause. 
It really is sad that you have to continue to watch this kind of stuff. Tonight I will go back to the shops to get our 5% discount they did not give us. You can call me cheap but that is $6.00 plus with the other charges it’s $22.00 worth of mistake. They do add up.

How terrible getting indignant with you like that was uncalled for.  The flowers look nice, but how will you get them home?

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31 minutes ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:

 

 

Sadly tomorrow is our last day, but we actually don’t feel as bad about leaving knowing that 5 weeks from tomorrow we fly back to Seattle to do it all over again 😉😃

 

 

At least the next time we will be boarding the ship as well and not watching on the darn marina webcam. YES!

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Posted (edited)

A heads up; these "frequent flier" (Mariner) events on HAL, i.e. the Mariners luncheon on the last sea day, used to include all Mariners, meaning anyone who would have had at least one HAL cruise under their belt. That has been changed because the "crowds" got too big. So, instead of all Mariners, the event is now "just" for four and five star Mariners

 

So the way (the route) personal invitations like these follow for these type of events goes in this fashion: the invites are prepared/put together/temp. sealed in the back of the Front Office where the individual desks for the GRM, Asst GRM, GRS (supervisors), Lead and international concierges are located. Since this event was scheduled for the first sea day after leaving Seattle, more than likely the invites were prepared sometime last week prior to the pax embarking. 

 

On Sat afternoon, they would have been picked up, or sent to,  the Housekeeping Dept. Office where someone from HK, either a supv and/or the HK coordinator, would have sorted them by/based on pax decks. They would have then been distributed to the individual stateroom stewards on Sat evening, to be placed by those hard workers on the beds and/or in the mailbox (not sure what the current Covid SOP is) of the individual stateroom(s) that steward is responsible for that same evening

 

It appears Lisa and Tom's invite for the Sunday event went into the ominous black hole somewhere along that route, sorry to say 

Edited by Copper10-8
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I've enjoyed following this thread.  Thanks so much for sharing with us.  I'll be on the NA in Dec.  Has anyone gone to Bingo?  I'm trying to get my budget together and was wondering what the prices were for the different card options.

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1 hour ago, Copper10-8 said:

A heads up; these "frequent flier" (Mariner) events on HAL, i.e. the Mariners luncheon on the last sea day, used to include all Mariners, meaning anyone who would have had at least one HAL cruise under their belt. That has been changed because the "crowds" got too big. So, instead of all Mariners, the event is now "just" for four and five star Mariners

 

So the way (the route) personal invitations like these follow for these type of events goes in this fashion: the invites are prepared/put together/temp. sealed in the back of the Front Office where the individual desks for the GRM, Asst GRM, GRS (supervisors), Lead and international concierges are located. Since this event was scheduled for the first sea day after leaving Seattle, more than likely the invites were prepared sometime last week prior to the pax embarking. 

 

On Sat afternoon, they would have been picked up, or sent to,  the Housekeeping Dept. Office where someone from HK, either a supv and/or the HK coordinator, would have sorted them by/based on pax decks. They would have then been distributed to the individual stateroom stewards on Sat evening, to be placed by those hard workers on the beds and/or in the mailbox (not sure what the current Covid SOP is) of the individual stateroom(s) that steward is responsible for that same evening

 

It appears Lisa and Tom's invite for the Sunday event went into the ominous black hole somewhere along that route, sorry to say 

 

Thank you.  I have been in the Neptune Lounge when the Concierge  was preparing invitations to the "Suite Welcome Aboard"  function for the  Neptune/Pinnacle passengers on the next cruise.

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Lisa,

Thank you for taking us all along on the cruise with you.  

Sorry to hear that there have been problems, hope that the incorrect charges for the drinks have been removed. 

Are the "Let us Know" cards still available in the staterooms?

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7 hours ago, oaktreerb said:

I’m so sorry to hear about the response from the Guest Relations Manager.  I was sure that there would be another reception and I’m just as sure that other mariners were also overlooked.  I expected that at least if you notified them of the omission you would be offered a bottle of wine in apology.  I guess those were the old days!  A free drink for someone who already has a drink package isn’t going to pacify anyone.

 

Thanks for speaking up on the ship about the issues that need to be addressed.  Hopefully they will make some changes so that others will not have to deal with the same issues.   The Guest Relations Manager needs some customer service training…..back to HAL University!

Apology?  Well, not really for me.  At one of our last cruises in 2019, we were at the 4/5 star reception where they hand out the days-of-sailing awards and a free drink.  We were in the extra row of chairs that they add across the back of the permanent seating.  Next thing you know, I found myself completely soaking wet with glasses and liquor raining down upon me--a waiter had spilled an entire tray of drinks over my head and all over me--what a shock, and sticky mess!  HA offered only to wash my clothes, which we never have them do because of shrinkage in their dryers.  Never a note saying they were sorry, no bottle of wine, no small flower bouquet or any sort of apology whatsoever. 

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3 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

A heads up; these "frequent flier" (Mariner) events on HAL, i.e. the Mariners luncheon on the last sea day, used to include all Mariners, meaning anyone who would have had at least one HAL cruise under their belt. That has been changed because the "crowds" got too big. So, instead of all Mariners, the event is now "just" for four and five star Mariners

 

So the way (the route) personal invitations like these follow for these type of events goes in this fashion: the invites are prepared/put together/temp. sealed in the back of the Front Office where the individual desks for the GRM, Asst GRM, GRS (supervisors), Lead and international concierges are located. Since this event was scheduled for the first sea day after leaving Seattle, more than likely the invites were prepared sometime last week prior to the pax embarking. 

 

On Sat afternoon, they would have been picked up, or sent to,  the Housekeeping Dept. Office where someone from HK, either a supv and/or the HK coordinator, would have sorted them by/based on pax decks. They would have then been distributed to the individual stateroom stewards on Sat evening, to be placed by those hard workers on the beds and/or in the mailbox (not sure what the current Covid SOP is) of the individual stateroom(s) that steward is responsible for that same evening

 

It appears Lisa and Tom's invite for the Sunday event went into the ominous black hole somewhere along that route, sorry to say 

Any word on your professional Grapevine, if tiles are still awarded on every cruise?

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Lisa--thank you again for sharing your cruise--all about it, the fun, the problems so we know what to expect, all of it.  It's been such a treat.  It takes time and effort and it means a lot to us.

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4 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

A heads up; these "frequent flier" (Mariner) events on HAL, i.e. the Mariners luncheon on the last sea day, used to include all Mariners, meaning anyone who would have had at least one HAL cruise under their belt. That has been changed because the "crowds" got too big. So, instead of all Mariners, the event is now "just" for four and five star Mariners

 

So the way (the route) personal invitations like these follow for these type of events goes in this fashion: the invites are prepared/put together/temp. sealed in the back of the Front Office where the individual desks for the GRM, Asst GRM, GRS (supervisors), Lead and international concierges are located. Since this event was scheduled for the first sea day after leaving Seattle, more than likely the invites were prepared sometime last week prior to the pax embarking. 

 

On Sat afternoon, they would have been picked up, or sent to,  the Housekeeping Dept. Office where someone from HK, either a supv and/or the HK coordinator, would have sorted them by/based on pax decks. They would have then been distributed to the individual stateroom stewards on Sat evening, to be placed by those hard workers on the beds and/or in the mailbox (not sure what the current Covid SOP is) of the individual stateroom(s) that steward is responsible for that same evening

 

It appears Lisa and Tom's invite for the Sunday event went into the ominous black hole somewhere along that route, sorry to say 

Mariner Society FAQ still lists this luncheon as a benefit for all from 1 star up. Feeling less and less appreciated all the time 😢

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:

Guest Relations on board sent us a floral arrangement which was nice. I am still a bit disappointed but life goes on. We also did get out additional 5% discount in the shops and they were sincerely apologetic..

 

Good to hear that there was at least some gesture, Lisa and great that you got your discount in the ships 👍 

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11 hours ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:

Oh I forgot to mention what they offered for not getting invited to the Mariner Party, they offered to give us another card for the DAM drink. So I said what good does that do when one already has the Signature Beverage Package. She then stated that is a Special Drink for Mariner. I have no idea what it is who knows maybe it’s a Wang Wang with an extra Wang in it 😂 at this point one just has to laugh.

 

Good thing you have a sense of humour 😉 

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9 hours ago, jhoice said:

We have found the same thing, a weak link when all the other levels of service are excellent. Must be the training for new employees.  Lets give them grace.  Big big changes this year.

Possibly.  I could understand if this was just a new situation.  It’s been going on for years.  I can’t think of one business that hasn’t suffered terribly from this pandemic.  I personally don’t feel that should excuse bad behaviour.

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8 hours ago, Laminator said:

There are food shortages all over the country for numerous reasons. Hopefully this is the reason and the options will increase for the next cruises. 

Hopefully.  I wonder though.  I’m pretty sure I saw an option to purchase steak and lobster for $35 so I suspect that option may be gone.

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Your “treatment”. Y the so-called Guest Relations Manager was appalling!  I spent 30 years in customer service, and would have been fired for such actions.  
 

Big deal on the flowers on your next to last day.  At least you should have received a comped dinner in the Pinnacle or Tamarind!

 

I thought 2nd gala dinner looked awful.  At least I wouldn’t have been craving lobster since I have a shellfish allergy.  Guess I will opt for somewhere else that evening.

 

I wonder when the wine stewards were gone.  Still had a wine steward in October, 2019 on both segments I was on?

 

Guess my 08/21 cruise will be a whole new adventure.  Some bean counter is taking away some of what made HAL what it once was.

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5 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

A heads up; these "frequent flier" (Mariner) events on HAL, i.e. the Mariners luncheon on the last sea day, used to include all Mariners, meaning anyone who would have had at least one HAL cruise under their belt. That has been changed because the "crowds" got too big. So, instead of all Mariners, the event is now "just" for four and five star Mariners.

To me that sounds like a big mistake, although it seems to be spreading around cruise lines.  It seems to me the people who have had one or more cruises and may still be looking at multiple cruise lines are the ones you really want to bring in.

 

Roy

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5 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

A heads up; these "frequent flier" (Mariner) events on HAL, i.e. the Mariners luncheon on the last sea day, used to include all Mariners, meaning anyone who would have had at least one HAL cruise under their belt. That has been changed because the "crowds" got too big. So, instead of all Mariners, the event is now "just" for four and five star Mariners

 

I think they could cut this back to perhaps 2 or even 3 stars?  Right now these levels do not get much anyway.

 

OR, if they are going to make it 4/5 Star only, make it a much nicer event.  We have been skipping this anyway the last couple of cruises due to the crowds and so so menu.

 

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