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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 20th, 2001, 11:16 AM
don don is offline
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Default price drops, service, tipping

I am disappointed!! I booked HAL Veendam for next week 10-27. I booked an inside guarntee for $599. It was dropped to $499. All HAL said tough luck. And the tipping policy on HAL has disappointed me. Why can't HAL suggest a tipping scale like every other mid-ranged cruise line.

Their "tipping not required" is very misleading. It says tipping is not requires, and I know tipping is never required, but is often times expected.

I booked HAL because I thought the tip was included in the fare. I could have cruised Princess for the exact same itinerary except the private island for $100.00 less. I factored in the tip and said they are the same price. So I iopted for HAL. Now I learn that a tip is expected by the crew.

Talk about misleading advertising. HAL should make their intentions clearier. I had intended to tip but, not as much as I normally would on a ship like Princess or NCL. Now I am made to feel like a cheapskate because I question tipping.

HAL better be hands-down far superior to other lines.

I am starting out disliking HAL. I my oppinion they didn't treat me fairly on the cabin price. Yes I know I got exactly what I paid for. But, I was one of the ones who booked early I want to put money in the cruise indrusty to help prop it up after Sept. 11th. Then it, seem to me at least, HAL has said thanks. But they give the real gifts to the ones who waited for the bargins. What makes me so mad is for the same $599 you got a outside guarntee. I think HAL should of upgrade everyone and sold inside to fill the ship. I know you are saying to yourselves wait till you get to the ship. HAL will have upgraded you. I called. My cabin K593, inside.

Second, I am still upset over the misleading advertising about tipping. I wish I could find a mid-priced cruise line who said exactly what you can expect from day one.

Don
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Old October 20th, 2001, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: price drops, service, tipping

I've always maintained HALs.. "no tipping required" policy is confusing. A more straightforward explanation in their brochures would certainly be appropriate.
The present description is unfair both to the staff and the passengers.

At present cruise pricing seems to the most fluid we've ever seen, and unfortunately people are going to get caught by the situation. My best advice to try and get some compensation for the price reduction would be to insist your TA go further up the ladder at the cruise line on your behalf.

Even before the recent problems, I've found no two people on any cruise line payed the same price for their cruise; one of the anomolies of the industry.

HAL offers an excellent cruise product, with outstanding Indonesian and Filipino staff. Hopefully you'll enjoy your onboard experience, and all these annoyances will seem minor once you're cruising.

Regards,
Kuki
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Old October 20th, 2001, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: price drops, service, tipping

Hi, Don ...

As Kuki said, prices are very fluid right now in an effort to get us sailing again, to keep the crews occupied, etc.

The HAL policy IS confusing and I would be first in line to say "Fix it".

As a frequent HAL cruiser, I can tell you that you will enjoy the experience and won't mind a bit handing over those tips.

I would not, however, bring my travel agent a little gift -- if I were you.

pamda
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Old October 21st, 2001, 03:06 AM
rcmsw
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Default Re: price drops, service, tipping

I am confused about your not getting the price difference in your favor. Every travel
agent I've worked with guarentees that if price goes down any time during your cruise, the difference will be refunded to you. I read your post also on cruise critic, and I can't believe hal said no. I don't know how you booked trip, but it maybe the person you got on the line was misinformed or having a bad day. Call again and talk to someone else, I'm serious, and if that does not work call again. From what I've noticed is that when agents call cruise lines for prices, they can get different answers too. If travel agent is no help or non-existant, ask for owner of agency and
ask them why they don't have a price guarentee, I bet they do. I also would keep calling hal, they may just give you your way just to get you to go away (meaning stop calling) I doubt you'll have to go to these extremes. Another option for you is that if you want a outside cabin, you can probably get one for the same money already spent. Just voice your grievance to hal and they may say they can't promise outside cabin but will put in your request. There are plenty of outside cabins right now not occupied. As far as tipping, hal customers like not having to be told what amount and who to tip. I would check posts or ask what others do.
Its not that much money for tipping really. I use the same standard as other cruise lines do:$ 3:50 pp for cabin steward, etc. More if someone goes out of their way to help me. If you have never sailed on hal before, you will be quite surprised by the level of service. They rate the best in every travel magazine I've read, but I also know from experience. Hey, your going on a cruise and you picked a great line. Take it from a picky cruise goer.
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Old October 21st, 2001, 04:43 AM
rcmsw
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Default Re: price drops, service, tipping

It just dawned on me after last post that you may have booked a catagory that promises what you paid for or better. I've noticed that new prices are for new bookings only. If this is the case, I would request an outside cabin and see what happens. Regardless, you would get a better catagory than you paid for. I hope
this advice helps: if it was a good deal then, its a good deal now. I hope you do not let this get in the way of looking forward to your cruise or enjoying it while your
there. As mentioned before, the staff is awesome, you are going to tip the people who make your vacation special anyway. Wait to you are a few days into the cruise to think about tipping, I bet you'll have new outlook aboout this. Enjoy your
cruise.
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Old October 22nd, 2001, 10:05 AM
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Default Re: price drops, service, tipping

Hi Don

You certainly received much more positive feedback from Kuki and Pamda than you did on the other board. They are truly a wealth of experience!

I booked an outside cabin on the Amsterdam and was told by my agent that HAL would not refund any difference as the price drop was for new bookings only. I booked in Sept and on a sale for an outside guarantee. I may be naive but I'm hoping for an upgrade??!!

We are really looking forward to our cruise and were quite happy with the sale price, so I am keeping that in mind.

Just to keep a smile on your face, remember for every drink you have on board, I am paying 50% more!! Hope you have a wonderful cruise!
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Old October 23rd, 2001, 09:41 AM
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Default Re: price drops, service, tipping

Thanks for the kind words, Sharon.

pamda
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Old October 24th, 2001, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: price drops, service, tipping

My husband and I just came back from a Mexican cruise on the Statendam and the service on board was exceptional. We tipped what we wanted to and to whom we wanted to pay. Their staff is paid more money than other linesand they do not pool their tips. I think you will be pleasently surprised to know that they will remember your name, remember what you like to drink.

We enjoyeed asking them questions about their families back home adn their future plans. Very nice staff.
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Old October 24th, 2001, 07:08 PM
don don is offline
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Default Re: price drops, service, tipping

Sharyn,

I am saving 100%. I haven't drank since 1981. Had a problem. I am a poor cruise customer. I only ever spend money on shore excurisons. Maybe every now and then a massage.

I will have a good cruise and I will tip. I have always known I would tip. I enjoy seeing how upset some people get. The other boards you spoke about have nothing to offer as far as i am concerned. Everytime I need real advice I come to CruiseMates. I am not a mean spirited person but......

Don
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Old October 31st, 2001, 07:37 PM
jcpc
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Default Re: price drops, service, tipping

Holland America Lines is NOT very easy to deal with when it comes to price reductions. An elderly couple who book their travel through me are repeat HAL cruisers - members of "Mariner's Society". They had booked a Category C cabin for a 10 night Christmas/New Years Eve cruise (in addition to Thanksgiving cruise). They have done these 2 holiday cruises with HAL every year for as long as I can remember. The Christmas/New Years cruise started at a price of $3500+ per person - price came down to $3200 per person when final payment was due back in the beginning of October. On October 20th, they received a letter in the mail from the Mariner's Club inviting them to participate in a "private sale" that was being offered to onlya very few, "special", highly thought of Mariner's. You should have read the letter...it was going on and on about how special they were! Lo and behold.....the 10 night Christmas Cruise was being offered for $1300 per person - outside cabin guarantee. BIG CATCH was this offer was for new bookings only. Since the price difference was so huge (total of $6400 compared to a total of $2600) they obviously wanted to take advantage of the special pricing. While my clients were sitting at my desk, I spent 1 hour and 40 minutes on the phone with, I believe, almost every employee of HAL. I finally got to a supervisor who offered to upgrade them to a suite but keep their $6400. After much cajoling and pleading and threatening on my part she finally agreed to reprice their trip to the promotional price adding several times that they would be in an outside guarantee - meaning they could get any outside cabin on the ship. To save almost $4000 my clients were very happy to be in an outside guarantee. I told the supervisor that if they were such "super-duper special Mariner's" I would think that HAL would do everything they could do to give them a suitable outside cabin. I was also told many, many times by HAL that the commission would not be protected on the cabin (meaning I would only make commission on the $2600 not on the $6400. I'm not happy about losing commission money but there's not much I can do about that! My job is to protect my clients) My clients are very disgusted with HAL and have indicated to me that from now on they are booking on Celebrity.
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