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WJBonds

Thoughts of quality and service...

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When I posted by thoughts concerning my recent Zuiderdam cruise, I started off by giving everyone a little bit of information about me.

 

Because we all have different life experiences we all have different ideas of what constitutes fine service and good quality.

 

I am happy that my "review" sparked some interest among the regular cruise critic participants. What bewilders me is there is constant support for the HAL product by people who seem to have no other cruiseline experiences. I wonder if these HAL supporters have ever really had a wonderful meal or had wonderful service.

 

What I am trying to say is this. If the food was good, and the service were as it should be, the HAL product would still be "ordinary". I'm sorry to say that the Zuiderdam experience (IMHO) is no different from RCCL, Princess, NCL, Celebrity, or any other mass market cruise ship. I've been on all of these and they are becoming interchangable.

 

So, I no longer will consider HAL a "premium" line. (Doesn't mean that I won't cruise with HAL anymore). It just means that when I want (and can afford) a premium vacation, I will go elsewhere.

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WJBonds,

 

I've only had two other cruises in my life, and one of them was in 1990. I consider that one too long ago to be a meaningful comparison; partly because of how much the industry has changed in that time, and how little I trust my memory. My only other cruise was last year on Carnival; a cruise line that is considered the opposite of HAL.

 

Although the feel of the two cruises are different I didn't feel the quality was that different. Carnival had better food in the dining room, whereas I would give the nod to HAL in the casual dining category. Without a doubt the service in the dining room was much better on Carnival. It seemed that the stewards on HAL were running full tilt just to keep up. Most of the rest of the differences related to the feel of the cruise. The Maasdam was not nearly as crowded, there was a more relaxed pace, there weren't constant announcements. It had a theater that was missing on Carnival. On the other hand Carnival had more activities going on, more music on deck, late night theme parties. However, there was little about HAL vs. Carnival that would make me call HAL a 'premium' cruise line.

 

Comparing both cruises to my initial cruise on RCCL in 1990 I noticed a number of changes. Soda was included back then. Now most lines charge extra. Each night they had a lavish midnight buffet, with an ice sculpture. Now the late night buffets are not nearly as nice.

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I've wondered the same thing myself. Maybe some people really don't know what they are missing.

 

I also think that the HAL veterans with the many, many, many,many cruises would just have a hard time admitting that now they are experts on a mass market line that isn't so special anymore.

I suppose the hours here and the hundreds of posts provide something for them. Hey whatever floats your boat...........:D

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We have sailed HAL and Princess. Not any difference I can tell in service. It's adequate, to be sure. The best service we ever received was on the Rotterdam about 3 years ago ... before staffing cuts. Since then, service has taken a noticeable dip. Drastic and foreboding? No. There's just a difference. We've seen it on Princess, too. Just a sign of the times as more businesses are having to do more with less to keep the P & L where it should be while not pricing themselves out of the market.

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We have sailed on Princess (many, many times), NCL (many, many times), RCI (once), and Cunard several times. We gave them up a few years ago.

We have booked several cruises with HAL for next year, but have not made any plans for the following year.

One of the reasons we have stayed with HAL is the cabin size.

And so far we have been pleased with their service.

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I am happy that my "review" sparked some interest among the regular cruise critic participants. What bewilders me is there is constant support for the HAL product by people who seem to have no other cruiseline experiences. I wonder if these HAL supporters have ever really had a wonderful meal or had wonderful service.[/Quote]

 

I pulled my response. It may have gotten me tossed off this Board.

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I've wondered the same thing myself. Maybe some people really don't know what they are missing.

 

I also think that the HAL veterans with the many, many, many,many cruises would just have a hard time admitting that now they are experts on a mass market line that isn't so special anymore.

 

I suppose the hours here and the hundreds of posts provide something for them. Hey whatever floats your boat...........:D

 

 

Any chance it is simply relaxing and fun? And that is all it needs to be for some of us.

 

I notice you spend a fair amount of time on at least two boards.....and maybe more? And have for a long time.

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Appears to me that the OP is rephrasing the zilion words posted on his prior review. Same story.... That story would appear to be a dead horse at this point, having been through the cycle..... It had it's run on prime time.....

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Well I guess I do spend a fair amount of time here, 140 posts .

What would 4,000 posts be, excessive? I like to read about cruising and discuss all the varied topics here. This is just a diversion, not something important enough to devote my life to. I can't understand having to spend so much time here. But I guess there is a need..................................

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Gee, John....you must have forgotten that lots of us lost tons of posts when we got the new Board here. I lost count but I think it may have been as many as 3,000 or even more I lost. ;) I learned a long time ago, there are only two people in the world I really need to please.....DH and myself.

I like to please others and it's nice to do so.....BUT----

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Uh oh! Shouldn't have dropped by here!!!

 

First, WJB, your original premise (I believe) is incorrect. From what I've read on these boards most of these people have cruised many, many lines and have said so many, many times! So for whatever reason they choose HAL as their favorite, not having experience on other cruiselines is not one of them.

 

Second, I'm not sure why you wanted to hash over this again when, as JDee said, you've already gone over it once.

 

Third, JohnR49er, it's not how many posts you have ... it's how much time you spend reading the boards that obviously led you to the knowledge you seem to enjoy. I continue to be totally confused by people who spend time here on the HAL boards yet continually complain about what they're reading.

 

And if some people enjoy having "conversations" with others who love cruising, why is that wrong? Do some of us "talk" too much? Maybe. But at least we express our opinions and don't just "eavesdrop".

 

For the record, I have sailed on Cunard, Regency, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Windstar, Celebrity, HAL and Royal Viking Line. There may be another, but I can't recall right this second.

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Well I guess I do spend a fair amount of time here, 140 posts .

 

What would 4,000 posts be, excessive? I like to read about cruising and discuss all the varied topics here. This is just a diversion, not something important enough to devote my life to. I can't understand having to spend so much time here. But I guess there is a need..................................

 

You do not need to understand, do you?

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Glad you express your opinions and dont just eavesdrop.

Here are mine.......

High post counts don't mean Jack, just shows how much free time you have.

Converse and discuss all you want, never said it was wrong.

I come here for HAL info, but the bragging sure gets old.

Anyone has the right to post what they want, even if its been beaten to death.

Total confusion can be overcome;)

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I would agree that in terms of service and such HAL is closer to a mass market line than a "premium" line.

 

However, I disagree that all the mass market lines are "interchangable". They all have their own "personalities". I suspect that the reason that HAL attracts a loyal following is that the cruise experience on HAL fits well with the passenger demographics and expectations.

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....High post counts don't mean Jack, just shows how much free time you have.

Maybe I missed a post somewhere on this thread, but was someone bragging about having a lot of posts? Did anyone ask CC to put the number here? Personally, I couldn't care less about it and I would guess that most people don't bother with noticing one way or another. It certainly has nothing to do with each person's opinion about their cruise.

I don't think it's necessary to have anything to compare a cruise to. I don't care if it's a person's first cruise and first post ... how they felt about the cruise is meaningful to me depending on how it is expressed.

But I still don't see where anyone was talking about how many posts they have being a barometer for how valuable their opinion is of their cruise.

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One of the reasons we have stayed with HAL is the cabin size.

Not to mention the reasonableness of their single supplements, or the existence of their "guaranteed share" program.

 

I'm certainly not a cruise line expert. I've only been on three cruises, and all of them have been HAL. However, next month I will be going on the Sun Princess, and I am very anxious to see how it compares. I'll be sure organize my opinions and report on them when I return.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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Not to mention the reasonableness of their single supplements, or the existence of their "guaranteed share" program.

 

I'm certainly not a cruise line expert. I've only been on three cruises, and all of them have been HAL. However, next month I will be going on the Sun Princess, and I am very anxious to see how it compares. I'll be sure organize my opinions and report on them when I return.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

 

Let me know as to the condition and service levels of the Sun when you return, Rita. I have a large group on the Sun in Alaska next year and are quite interested in your honest appraisal.

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I'm sorry to say that the Zuiderdam experience (IMHO) is no different from RCCL, Princess, NCL, Celebrity, or any other mass market cruise ship. I've been on all of these and they are becoming interchangable.

 

I'll grant this. The "Zuiderdam expereince" is no different from the other lines. Fine.

 

Now, coordinate that observation with the fact that, based upon what I've read and what I've been told, the Zuiderdam is the least-HALish ship in the HAL fleet. With this point in mind, is it -- just perhaps -- possible that to judge an entire cruise line by the least-representative ship in its fleet is somewhat questionable?

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I'll grant this. The "Zuiderdam expereince" is no different from the other lines. Fine.

 

Now, coordinate that observation with the fact that, based upon what I've read and what I've been told, the Zuiderdam is the least-HALish ship in the HAL fleet. With this point in mind, is it -- just perhaps -- possible that to judge an entire cruise line by the least-representative ship in its fleet is somewhat questionable?

 

Greetings RevNeal!

 

I think the bothersome element of the Zuiderdam is that many of the changes and attributes of the ship were designed as a pilot project of "the new HAL". My honest and truthful hope is that they will jettison their ill-conceived plans for changes on the rest of the fleet and restore staffing and food quality levels to where they were pre - 9/11.

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I'll grant this. The "Zuiderdam expereince" is no different from the other lines. Fine.

 

Now, coordinate that observation with the fact that, based upon what I've read and what I've been told, the Zuiderdam is the least-HALish ship in the HAL fleet. With this point in mind, is it -- just perhaps -- possible that to judge an entire cruise line by the least-representative ship in its fleet is somewhat questionable?

Hi, Greg! Where have you been? I was just wondering why I hadn't seen any posts from you lately.

Anyway, you always put a valuable perspective on things and this is no exception.

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I will be sailing on the BigDam on Feb.26,2005..Every one is free to give their opinion,(imho) Now don't try to make me believe that YOU are the best judge of what is expectation..If you are going to say something bad about a cruise or a line,say it lets go on....Folks have big money investment on their cruise ,let them make their own opinion.....enough said..

 

 

George from NC :cool:

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I will be sailing on the BigDam on Feb.26,2005..Every one is free to give their opinion,(imho) Now don't try to make me believe that YOU are the best judge of what is expectation..If you are going to say something bad about a cruise or a line,say it lets go on....Folks have big money investment on their cruise ,let them make their own opinion.....enough said..

 

 

George from NC :cool:

 

You are completely entitled to your own opinion, George.

 

However, as an agent who reccomends cruises, it does affect my bias if I am in the position of reccomending a ship to a large group whose happiness I am truly concerned about. Also realize that this board is my refuge from my business and is populated by others that know an awful lot and care an awful lot about the HAL product. I think most of us enjoy the banter (even when we don't agree) and learn what other's expectations in a cruise experience are over the course of our many conversations.

 

The cruise board becomes a family, and we tend to talk around the dinner table. :D

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Well Heather, you didn't miss anything. But thanks for agreeing with me that post counts don't mean much. I also value the first time cruisers opinion as well. It seems my opinions while general in nature are taken way too personally. This thread went from general comments to personal debates. I believe it was noted how much time I spend on cruise boards, and I brought up that there were people who spend alot more time than I do.

It's interesting to see that the "Cult" is still alive , well, and defensive as ever. Its a tradition here on this board. :D

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John, this is risky for me but I'll do it anyway:o .

WJBonds had already posted a rather thorough review. He even seemed upset that Part 1 of his review hadn't drawn much response. But Part 2 definitely did and there was quite a long discussion that evolved. When that died down, he started this thread which seems to try to rev everyone up again.

Now there's nothing stopping him from doing that, but on the other hand he has to expect that some people will say "enough is enough ... you said your piece". There's no judgement that I can see against his original review, but why beat the poor horse again?

Personally I enjoy these boards and I think for the most part everyone gets along great. Sometimes people annoy each other as can happen in any community, but we get over it and go on.

It's pretty clear who you're annoyed with, but reading this thread indicates that you really pulled the first punch. A lot of people on the HAL boards are very loyal to the line and it's kind of like you're insulting their child.

Take it for what it's worth ... JMHO.:)

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