This is a run through of the most unpleasant experience I am having with HAL at this moment.
In January 2001 I sailed on the Zaandam on a 10 day Carib cruise. I have sailed on HAL since 1977 & am a Mariner. I am single & have always paid the single supplement without reservation. Upon boarding the Zaandam there was a mixup in cabins( HAL admits it was their mistake) & I was moved from my outside cabin to an inside cabin that was filthy(sand, garment tags on floor, unmade bed, dirty bath & no towels). I had to do all the running around & arranging to get things corrected. The Guest Relations Mgr onboard was reprimanded for her behavior toward me in dealing with this by the Hotel Manager. My dining reservations were lost & I spent 3 days trying to sort it out, only to be treated as if all this was my own doing. I ate in the dining room only twice because I grew disgusted at the treatment I was receiving.
I spent 4 nights sleeping on the sofa due to the poor construction of the cabin - no soundproofing betwwen the cabin next door. I could hear the neighbors talking , laughing , & snoring! On the fifth or sixth day a cabin was found for me to move to( after people had missed the ship in Bonnaire).
I wrote HAL upon my return(I had E-mailed my travel agent while onboard) & made a follow up call. They assured me they would contact me after looking into the situation. Well After months of waiting I finally called back & after 30 minutes got through to a manager in Customer Service. Her reply came last ight via e-mail stating HAL would issue an $ 150 credit towards a future cruise. I thought shewas joking or testing me.
Please note also they lost my luggage last year(Volendam) between the ship & pier during disembarkation. Believe me you don't want to deal with that either - I ended up tracking the luggage down myself & arranging delivery after HAL & their reps in Ft lauderdale couldn't find the bag after a week.
I have never complained or asked compenation from HAL in the past.But after being treated as I have I feel it is time to let people know how they handle past passengers & the Mariners such as myself. I am 43 years old & do 2-3 criuises a year now. I don't think in the future I will be aboard HAL. Yes I am deeply disappointed but there are plenty of other lines to enjoy. I will remember HAL as the the old Rotterdam & a time when occurrences like I went throuh were unheard of.
Anybody have suggestions or comments. Maybe something constructive can come of this.
Sounds almost like our experience...I have been boycotting HAL for about 3 years after I received a very COLD letter from office of the president that my complaint was unfounded and the next time reserve the room I wanted...thats real PR for you!!! I had reserved a minimum cabin as we have ALWAYS been upgraded, instead they not only left us on deck we reserved, which is their perogative, but put us into an end room with PORTHOLE!!!! and that was not acceptable...have you ever tried to look out a porthole!!! Unfortunately, the cruise we are taking next month, no one else had that itinerary except, guess who, HAL, so we are trying them again against my own advice....hopefully, will have better report to make...Max
Well it is reassuring to hear that others have also been treated indifferently. Let me stress that I have cruised many times with HAL & it seems this treatment is becoming more the norm. I do travel as a single & pay the supplement without hesitation. So it isn't the case where I am getting a discount of any kind. If HAL has changed their brand & service then market it as such.
I know the good old days of cruising are gone and accept that. But there are plenty of options out there & I plan on exercising those options. Funny thing is that HAL instead of nurturing younger passengers like myself(I am 43 & believe me that is young on HAL) they are driving us away.
One other point I would like to point out - when I do cruise I am able(fortunately) to spend freely & enjoy doing so. I like to have wine each night at dinner & drinks anytime I feel in the mood. Usually my onboard account can run $600-700 for a ten day cruise( I like good wines). I know HAL won't go out of business without me but they surely won't be getting me or my friends or family onboard anytime soon.
So Max, let me get this straight, you're a cheapskate and got exactly what you paid for, and now you think you deserve the royal treatment?
Personally, I'd prefer if you WOULD continue boycotting HAL. I've seen too many cranky passengers like you who think they're owed the world and go around the ship with a *****y attitude for the entire cruise complaning about everything.
I find your point interesting. I also find Marks position different from my situation. What it does point out is a chicken / egg question.
Years ago cruise lines catered to the passenger & pampering was the norm. Even the smaller lines produced quality meals service & beautiful ships. Passengers dressed & behaved well & certainly had a lot of fun along the way.
You paid for it but certainly the tariff was well worth the experience.
To day the passengers expect( & yet don't seem capable of appreciating) the same experience. The cruise lines produce these mega ships where people are more inclined to pay less than $ 1, 000 for a week. Well you can't replicate the experience on either side. I am tired of seeing people dressed in T shirts & jeans all week & looking like they are going to the stores at the mall. You don't have to spend a lot of money on clothes but certainly casual has been taken to an all time low by the American public. You can be comfortable & well dressed no matter what your budget may be.
As far as the extras on a cruise - get real. Unless you stay at a Howard Johnson on a nowhere interstate can you get the"Value" afforded on a cruise at todays prices. I laugh when I see people ordering water in the lounges & complaing about the cost of soft drinks. People sit in dinigrooms for a week or more & never order a glass of wine but feeel the need to buy another t-shirt at a port.
Certainly the quality is slowly dissapating on a lot of the cruise lines. Two or three thousand passengers( plus crew) on a ship anywhere on the planet is more like a Naval experience than a luxury cruise. Also one gage of service is always crew to passenger ratio. The standard use to be one crew member to every two passengers. HAL was one of the lines that had this ratio & I miss those days. The crews are overworked & the ships & passengers suffer.
So to this end, does the cruise line charge more for the ticket & produce a better quality product or will the cheapskates like Max continue to drive the cruise industry. Alas the drive for profit has allowed Carnival to prosper & have ships like the FRANCE be used up & sent on voyages much less than what they were built & designed for.
> I find your point interesting. I also find Marks position
> different from my situation. What it does point out is a
> chicken / egg question.
> Years ago cruise lines catered to the passenger & pampering
> was the norm. Even the smaller lines produced quality meals
> service & beautiful ships. Passengers dressed & behaved well
> & certainly had a lot of fun along the way.
> You paid for it but certainly the tariff was well worth the
> To day the passengers expect( & yet don't seem capable of
> appreciating) the same experience. The cruise lines produce
> these mega ships where people are more inclined to pay less
> than $ 1, 000 for a week. Well you can't replicate the
> experience on either side. I am tired of seeing people
> dressed in T shirts & jeans all week & looking like they are
> going to the stores at the mall. You don't have to spend a
> lot of money on clothes but certainly casual has been taken
> to an all time low by the American public. You can be
> comfortable & well dressed no matter what your budget may be.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I don't know where people get the idea that frumpy looking t-shirts, jeans, sneakers and the like look nice on HAL, Celebrity or Princess ships. There should be some sense that the ship's overall environment should be complemented by the pax. It is supposed to be an experience elevated over the everyday and this low form of casual dress on ships that one sees at your average mall doesn't work at all for me.
Casual clothes can mean dockers, decent short sleave shirts for men and comfortably stylish clothes for women.
> As far as the extras on a cruise - get real. Unless you
> stay at a Howard Johnson on a nowhere interstate can you get
> the"Value" afforded on a cruise at todays prices. I laugh
> when I see people ordering water in the lounges & complaing
> about the cost of soft drinks. People sit in dinigrooms for
> a week or more & never order a glass of wine but feeel the
> need to buy another t-shirt at a port.
There should be no complaining about the price of cruises. They are actually charging much less than anything comparable. They have to make it up in onboard revenue centers.
> Certainly the quality is slowly dissapating on a lot of the
> cruise lines. Two or three thousand passengers( plus crew)
> on a ship anywhere on the planet is more like a Naval
> experience than a luxury cruise. Also one gage of service
> is always crew to passenger ratio. The standard use to be
> one crew member to every two passengers. HAL was one of the
> lines that had this ratio & I miss those days. The crews are
> overworked & the ships & passengers suffer.
That's true, the crews are quite overworked. Humans, not machines, serve people on ships. Sometimes some very real human factors are at play. They sign contracts for a few months. For awhile there was lots of political turmoil in Indonesia, you have to believe some of the crew members onboard HAL ships were affected. Other lines use Eastern European crew, and they have some family issues to deal with from time to time. But even without these problems in crew's home countries working 7 days a week and more than 10 hours a day for most crew members and staying in much more cramped quarters than the smallest passenger cabins, has to wear out crew members. I think most do an amazing job of bein cordial and showing the pax a friendly demeanor. Some may be untrained, but I just haven't found that many that are not reasonably friendly and polite.
Celebrity still has close to a 1 crew member to 2 passenger ratio, but with the ridiculous rate of growth of the ship lines service on this line suffers from time to time.
I looked at a ships on order site and was surprised at how many new ships are on order by 2005. Guess how many there are. I asked my wife how many from Carnival, Costa, Celebrity, HAL, Princess and Royal Caribbean. She thought 12-15. The actual number is 30. There will be 30 new ships in service by the end of 2005. None of them are under 70,000 tons or carry less than 1800 passengers. I expect service to really suffer in a few years as more and more new ships are introduced.
> So to this end, does the cruise line charge more for the
> ticket & produce a better quality product or will the
> cheapskates like Max continue to drive the cruise industry.
> Alas the drive for profit has allowed Carnival to prosper &
> have ships like the FRANCE be used up & sent on voyages much
> less than what they were built & designed for.
I think Carnival is just an after hours, somewhat wild wedding reception like atmosphere with some aspects of a Mall in their huge atriums and ship style and just a bit of traditional cruising in their product. RCI is much of the same but toned down a bit - and boy do I dislike the Voyager, but I guess there's enough people that like a huge floating resort like this. Unfortunately, this same type of product is now creeping into HAL and Celebrity. Princess seems to be going the freestyle route. HAL's next ships will have more restaurants, more emphasis on casual cruising, and will essentially be a version of the Costa Atlantica and Carnival Spirit, though one hopes the interior will be way different than these ships. Within they'll have some features of the Celebrity Millennium. I really complained on another forum that I sail HAL for HAL and Celebrity for Celebrity and that these ships don't have to be the same. I received plenty of business reasons why cruise ships have to be the same, not only ship to ship from every line, but ships across lines. Well, as a consumer, I think I have a right to express a concern that a line's ship is losing its personality. With more and more new ships coming out, there's actually less variety of the moderately priced line's ships than when we had fewer ships. We now have standardized cruise products with much of the same activities and standardized ships with much of the same features and will be operated by crews with less training.
I'm with you Benjamin - -wow 30 ships in 3 years between 3 parent cruise lines.
I wish that Sitmar & Home Lines were still around - Italian staff & officers, small interesting ships. I wish there was a line that can produce great ships of character & service(smaller ones like the Oceanic & Rotterdam, 40,000 tons or so). Both the Rotterdam & Oceanic had loyal followers for many years. It was great to be able to sail out of New York & not have the hassle of air travel. A truly great vacation! After a couple of days at sea you were acquainted with ship, staff & fellow passengers which really gave a complete travel experience. The ships could travel to the Bahamas or to Europe & were designed to do so. Even through the worst of storms the Rotterdam could ride through it unlike todays shallow draft ships that have difficulty in moderate seas & winds. There was plenty to oboard & the promenade deck was for promenading & seeing the ocean around you. The dining rooms were grand & more importantly the service & food was top notch! Everything from hotdogs to caviar was available & people dined for hours. I've noticed that in the last several years instead of spending 2-3 hours at dinner I have sat at the table for less than 2 hours. I find the Europens do Dine where the Americans see how much they can eat as fast as they can before the show & midnite buffet. Conversation is less interesting & the ratrace of living on land contiues at sea.
I hate to sound like an old fogey but I am so disappointed in the entire scenerio. I hope people realize the beauty if being at sea, out in the fres air & being rocked to sleep at night as you sail to the next port or continent. People should take time to read some books on the older ships & see how beautiful & unique they truly were.
People should experience the beauty of being at sea, to read a book or take a nap. Sit & dine for 3 hours & talk about your family & friends, art, music and what you experienced that day onboard or ashore. Have a drink anytime of the day, see a woman dressed in her finest come into a lounge, catch a glimpse of a man in a tuxedo coming around the bend as you walk along the deck. To hear live music & see people dancing & laughing!
To take a walk under the stars at night at the forward end of the ship. To go back to your cabin & be lolled to sleep & know you have a few more days of te same.
Your last paragraphs do bring back memories of a dozen cruises - only all of them have happened in the last ten years. My second voyage was 17 days on Rotterdam V, and I was delighted to have experienced that era and style of ship. However, our more recent cruises on the newer ships have continued to get better and better - and we think HAL is doing a good job maintaining a quality cruise experience. This may be in part because we try as much as we can to book trips that are longer than the 7-day norm. It is also the case that when we board a ship now, there are good odds of running into crew we know from previous voyages, which helps to create an "at home" feeling.
We remain committed HAL fans - because our experience has been consistently very good and because we have rarely had anything to complain about. Our few complaints have been responded to very well indeed.
I must sayI had 2 thoughts after reading yor response - one is how old are you & secondly would you accept substandard service in a restaurant on land during the lunch period as opposed to dinnertime?
I expect the same quality whether I am on a 5, 7 10 or 14 day or more cruise. The per diem is may not be the same but a clean cabin & courteous service should always be offered. Ichose HAL because of past experience & their "quality"
of services. As I stated - on the last 10 day cruise onboard Zaandam the quality of the HAL was pathetic.
A friendly response! Age: 52. Re. longer cruises: there is a difference in the subtle things, like how many crew remember your name and preferences; but also a difference in passenger expectations - people seem a litle more relaxed on the longer voyages, a little less inclined to insist that life be perfect every minute of the day.
I guess one of the things we've learned is easy, friendly ways to let the crew know what we expect about those things that are important to us - and the crew have rarely disappointed.
I guess we've also learned what we can expect, given the limitations of the ship. HAL can't match my expectations for the very best of food - which tend towards small French bistros. But I do want my beef and lamb rare and my asparagus not overcooked - and with a little effort and a smile, we've been able to get the HAL galleys to deliver. For some things, I'll wait to get home to my favourite local Italian restaurant.
I am not beyond complaining. But I am amused by those who must complain about everything and distressed by those who treat the crew rudely.
I think that some of these debates occur because taste and expectations are very personal things - even the best of friends can differ widely.
I suspect the biggest challenge facing lines like HAL is the rapidly changing demographics of cruisers - we are increasingly diverse and eclectic, and so it harder to please us all of the time.
What is telling is that after a dozen cruises, what HAL offers [including price] is enough to keep me with them rather than jumping to the competition; and I continue to want more cruises. They gotta be doing something right!
Please do not be offended .You seem to be missing my point. I agree with you about all of your points - what I am pointing out is that HAL feels it was ok to treat me as they did & then after months of not getting a response from them I receive a $150 cruise credit - I had to sleep on the sofa for 4 nites because of insufficient insulation in the cabin. I was bounced around the diningroom unfairly & had to deal with the Guest Relayions Manager from HELL! The Hotel Manager appologized for all of this - but $ 150 credit does not equitably settle this matter - I am a Mariner & have sailed on HAL since the late 70's.
My point is that it seem HAL now caters to the hoards of new cruises (unlike yourself I tend to believe by your e-mails) and the line will end up being no better than NCL.
I must add that the other crew I have encountered are the best in all manner of personality & service. I note that it didn't matter to the length of cruise or destination to note the friendliness of the crew & their abilities.
I do expect clean & quiet cabin, reasonably efficient service & food that is consistent. I try to stay away from the first season of a ships life(let the line work out the kinks).
At this point Celebrity offers a good product, wonderful service, interesting ports & food that I enjoy. So for me it is a question of having a good vacation or going back to HAL & being disapointed once again. The ships are getting larger - what will be the difference in the end?
One thing I might add - its too bad we never met - it would of been nice to have this discussion in the Ocean Bar!
No offense taken at all. Nor did I want to sound as if I am belittling your experience. It's real and I agree with you about being properly treated when things go wrong. - On further reflection, perhaps the unevenness of the experience folks are having with HAL does speak to a growing problem for them, and those of us who have felt very well-served should not be smug - nor should HAL.!
We've been tempted to try Celebrity given what we've heard about food and style, but have noticed a similar range of praise and criticism as per HAL, as well as comment that the two are very close in quality. We're also finding ourselves wanting to experience new parts of the world on ships of reasonable size and civility, so are looking at lines like Orient and Saga. So far, our continuing good experience with HAL is decisive - but we don't take it for granted.
My next Ocean Bar opportunity comes Nov 10 on the Zaandam - as it follows two weeks visiting family in rainy England, it better be especially good!
When I made my Alaska plans Holland America was over $400 more than Princess for the same cruise itinerary. People should
let Holland America know that they should be quicker to drop their prices and be competitive with the other cruise lines - then they wouldn't have so much unsold space available.
Sorry to hear of the difficulties you had. Obviously, they were not expecting anyone to be put into the cabin you ended up in, as it was not prepared for passengers. (unmade bed, not cleaned, not clean bathroom, no towels) How long did it take for the cabin to be readied? 3 days to "straiten out" the dining room reservation? What had to be straitened out? Find an empty seat and assign you to it, problem straitened out. You only ate in the dining room twice? Why? You were "disgusted over the treatment you were receiving"?!?!?!? Explain What did they do, set up a card table and a stool in the galley? It seems there HAS to be a lot more to the scenerio than "they lost my dining room reservation". As for the poor construction and soundproofing, well, weather that was the cabin you reserved 6 months ago or the one they put you in at the last minute, that problem would have existed, regardless. What exactly do you feel you are entiltled to? It would seem to me that you ARE entitled to the difference in price between the OUTSIDE cabin you paid for, and the INSIDE cabin you got.
I believe that HAL was worth the expense - fewer passengers onboards & I liked the HAL ships better!
I had sailed on Princess - Fair, Island, Regal, Crown. I personally liked the food, accomodations & service on HAL. Princess ships are too big now for me( I will get on the Pacific Princess before it retires next year & would like to try the Royal someday).
2. They couldn't even find my name on the diningroom list & I was asked to return the second day.
3. I was then put at the same table as the couple that took my outside cabin(believe me that wasn't good - the guy was a real jerk - he fought for his upgrade that I paid for).
4. Day 3 The bell hop was suppose to hand me a dinig card in my cabin - he said he did yet I never received it & had never seen the boy before. Surely he would of slipped it under the door. I DON'T LIKE BEING CALLED A LIAR BY ANYONE - ESPECIALLY WHEN I AM CORRECT & THE MATRE'D DOESN'T HAVE THE COURTESY TO SPEAK TO ME IN A CIVIL MANNER IN THE DINING ROOM AS PEOPLE AROUND US WATCHED IN AMAZEMENT AS TO WHAT WAS HAPPENING. A few people came up to me later & said they felt bad for me.
5. We sailed on Saturday - it was Sunday afternoon before the cabin was partially cleaned & 3 days of asking for towels.
6. Sleeping on a couch for 4 days to me adds up to a 4 day refund / credit!
6. I was tired of running around - I was on vacation - not in a lets HAL get their act in gear mode!
7. The Zaandam was a new build only a few months old - all these new ships are being built so fast that the quality & craftsmanship is sacrificed just to get it delivered.
I'm sorry to hear you didn't receive the kind of care that you were expecting. My husband and I (ages mid 50's) sailed on the Amsterdam in May after making arrangments at the very end of March. We took the "guaranteed outside cabin" and had a wonderfully reduced rate! We got cabin on Dolphin deck, category FF. I would have loved to have gotten a better spot, but found that this was really quite good. Our cabin steward was excellent. There were 2 little boys in the next cabin and I hardly ever heard them and my husband never heard them. Dinner reservations had been made for a "Large" table at 1st seating. We found it to be a table for 6 and the first night there was only one other couple. He spoke English, but she didn't. We asked the Maitre 'd if we could be moved. He said of course, there would be no problem. We were given a CHOICE of different tables. Found a nice group at a table for 8. The rest of our 12 day cruise went very well. This was our 5th HAL cruise and contrary to what you found, ours was quite good. Concerning your luggage. Did you follow all the instructions correctly?
You have hit the nail on the head. HAL is doing what people want--the new people that is. They are no longer courting us old timers who ha;ve been loyal to HAL for years and expect the kind of service that we used to get. After all it is new customers who keep them going.
The cruise industry has built entirely too many ships recently, and they are entirely too large. But, then the new customers flock to them.
I remember the first time I saw someone in the dining room aboard ship with a baseball cap on. I complained to the Purser and the Hotel Manager. It did no good. Now I see passengers roaming the ship on formal nights in shorts and T shirts. The ship is catering to them, allowing them to eat in the Lido without observing the dress code.
I remember when formal on HAL meant FORMAL. And, the dress code referred to the entire evening- not just the dining room.
Unfortunately, it is the American public that has down graded the ships, and not the Cruise Lines. How can we get the old days back?
The Royal Princess is the ONLY really good Princess ship. The others are much too large. We loved the Royal, but hated the Crown Princess. As far as the Crown Princess (and its sister ship, the Regal Princess) are concerned, don't naval architects believe in putting bathrooms near the dining rooms?
I hate to sound preachy, but there are just a few things I feel compelled to address.
Documentation is critical. When Jon first saw the condition of his cabin, his first action should have been to photograph it in that state. If he had no camera, a quick trip to the gift shop for an overpriced disposable camera would have done. After securing the "evidence", the second stop should have been to the hotel manager. Not "Jenny" behind the purser's desk. Even the best trained service personnel don't get it sometimes. He should have explained the condition of the cabin, that it was not what he payed for or was assigned and that he wanted an outside cabin immediately. (All of this before the ship left port)
One phrase I learned from my mother (it embarrased the heck out of me as a teenager) "excuse me, but I am going to need to correct spelling of your full name, your title, and the name of your immediate supervisor". (Before they could speak she had her little pen & papper out ready to jot it all down) The manager may have tried to blow him off or direct him to an underling. At that point, it would have been nice to invite the manager up to his cabin for a personal viewing or simply mention that if he did not have the time, he could view the color photos taken of the cabin once the film was developed at the first port.
If the ship was "full" (sometimes its full in your category, but there's a nice balcony on the navigation deck wide open-- always have to check) that would be the time to request that the manager make arrangements for Jon to contact HAL's Customer Relations department at the ship's expense. One must be very clear about their dissatisfaction & even more clear & firm about the remedy/compensation they would like. I could go on & on about that but won't.
Also note, that there are persons on board the ship with the power to issue a voucher for future cruise or take care of processing the refund. They don't advertise the fact as paxs would be lined up for days at the slightest problem, but the power is there.
As for the dinning room seating, that wasn't handled correctly. Calling or dealing with a cabin steward is not as effective as walking down in person. Clear, calm and firm. Maitre 'd of no assistance, the hotel manager would get to know me better than his/her spouse on that first day.
No one able to make the cabin changes? No problem. Jon already mentioned that he met the paxs who were upgraded to his cabin. Did he get their names? Very important. Time to draft a letter to HAL CR and cc: it to all the necessary persons. This includes your TA. And the letter should've stated exactly what he wanted to be done. Then request that it be faxed, again at the ship's expense, while you wait.
The entire process takes less that 20 minutes. I know this seems like a drag. Not something most would want to do on their vacation, but had I been in that situation, I wouldn't have slept on a couch for 4 nights. There is a reason for the saying, strike while the iron is hot. Six months after a cruise is so cold its almost frozen. $150 credit was a nuisance crumb.
We love to complain that the cruise line has gone down & that we don't like the service. We have a responsibility to let them know. I know of what I speak. I spent 2 hours getting bounced around until I was able to speak to the person who had the power to correct my problem. I had a valid position & I knew it. I also listened to every single thing I was told on so many levels to convince me to let it go. After awhile, the stories conflicted so much I found it amusing. To a point. I was finally told, flatly, that HAL did not have the power to intervene, that it was against policy and out of my hands.
I calmly & sweetly explained that I knew HAL valued its customers & wanted each of us to have a pleasant experience. That HAL was committed to meeting the needs of its paxs... . yada yada yada. I gave them their brochure right back then sat silent. I just stood there not saying a word, but waiting for him to do what I asked. He asked me to wait. Less than 5 minutes later he confirmed what I suspected, HAL policy was what I said it was. He said he would make the calls & adjustments, that I would recieve written confirmation within 1/2 hour documenting the situation and that ALL of my money would be refunded.
I had already gotten the correct spelling of his name, title and name of his immediate supervisor. My situation was not unique, but I suspect my tenacity and quiet manner was.
Yes I did follwow the instructions & that is my point - I did my part - how did HAL lose the bag between the ships & pier in Ft lauderdale - I'll tell you - a HAL rep picked it up by mistake & put in on a truck. - Only problem was that I was the one that had to do all the running around to get the bag back.
I find this funny - wait until You are in my shoes & we'll see how happy you are.
Well, I think that is part of the problem with the service going down cruise ships today. The prices are too low. We have Princess charging for various foods and drinks. We have RCI and Carnival doing away with wine stewards. RCI was trying to do away with the Head waiters. We have Princess cutting Butler service for suite passengers and the list is continuing to grow.