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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 22nd, 2007, 02:33 AM
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Default Too Mass Market?

Are you happy with the directions HAL has been taking in recent years? Do you think they are becoming too "mass market" like other lines?

The reason I ask this is that I've read lots of complaints on various message boards from HAL die-hards who do not like the direction the line seems to be going. For example:

Open seating dining

Relaxation of dress codes (i.e., elimination of informal, less formal nights, etc.)

Enhancement in children's programs and facilities, in an effort to encourage more family cruising.

Lower prices thus encouraging a younger age demographic comprised of folks who "just don't appreciate" the elegance of the "old world" cruising traditions.

So, what's your take on it? I have my opinions, but I'd like to hear yours. Has the HAL of late begun to disappoint you?

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Rita,
I hope you have bad info as we are actually gonna pack in a few minutes.
The things you mention are the very reasons why we returned to HAL after NCL.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 12:46 PM
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It's been a couple of years since we sailed HAL. But that's going to change in 3 weeks when we sail the Zuiderdam. I'll be sending back daily virtual cruise reports ... so hopefully that'll give everyone a "feel" for today's HAL experience.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 11:30 PM
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We just returned from our umpteenth cruise on Maasdam and had our usual wonderful time.

Some of the tradition of HAL has without question been dropped but I can't say the prices are any lower. We always book the same category "S" cabin and when we compare apples to apples, that cabin for the same itineraries in the past, the prices are unquestionably higher. I can't say about any other category.

To date, though there are changes, most we are willing/able to live with.
One thing that we miss a lot is the Captain's Welcome Aboard Party. The substitution with Captain's Toast is disappointing IMO

I don't really mind they cut out Informal Nights. DH still wears a jacket if we are going to Pinnacle or dining with a crew friend. No one says a gentleman cannot wear a jacket if he wishes. DH was NOT the only one to wear a blazer or jacket on some smart casual nights.

So far, we still love HAL and are still very busy booking future cruises.
If and when the changes become too dramatic, we'll face it then.
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rinker250
Rita,
I hope you have bad info as we are actually gonna pack in a few minutes.
The things you mention are the very reasons why we returned to HAL after NCL.
I didn't say the line was bad. I have two cruises booked myself ... including a Grand Voyage in 2009. I'm just talking directions the line is taking. Do you think they're adversely impacting the whole traditional HAL cruise experience?

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki
It's been a couple of years since we sailed HAL. But that's going to change in 3 weeks when we sail the Zuiderdam. I'll be sending back daily virtual cruise reports ... so hopefully that'll give everyone a "feel" for today's HAL experience.
And I'll be looking forward with great anticipation to reading that report, Kuki. Although I have to admit that it's been a couple of years since I sailed the Zuiderdam, I think you are gonna have a wonderful cruise!

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Too Mass Market?

So-so. After about 15 years the Carnivalization is beginning to show in generic notions, tiles, and gift shop goods and less persaonal service.

Open seat dining - don't like
Relaxed dress codes - maybe
Kiddo programs - all for them
Lower prices - maybe, but they come at the cost of lower service and bring in a different crowd

That said, the Rotterdam should be old HAL - longer trips, expensive, and loaded with seniors. Catch her if you can.

Has HAL ever disappointed me? Not in any significant way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kryos
Are you happy with the directions HAL has been taking in recent years? Do you think they are becoming too "mass market" like other lines?

The reason I ask this is that I've read lots of complaints on various message boards from HAL die-hards who do not like the direction the line seems to be going. For example:

Open seating dining

Relaxation of dress codes (i.e., elimination of informal, less formal nights, etc.)

Enhancement in children's programs and facilities, in an effort to encourage more family cruising.

Lower prices thus encouraging a younger age demographic comprised of folks who "just don't appreciate" the elegance of the "old world" cruising traditions.

So, what's your take on it? I have my opinions, but I'd like to hear yours. Has the HAL of late begun to disappoint you?

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Amadeus:09 Diamond;Celebrity:10 Summit; HAL: 87 Rotterdam V,89 Nieuw Amsterdam II,93 Nordam III,94 Ryndam III,96 Westerdam III,99 Veendam IV,01 Maasdam V,02 Amsterdam III,03 Volendam III,03 Zuiderdam II,04 Westerdam IV,04 Oosterdam I,05 Zaandam III,06 Statendam V,06 Prinsendam II,07 Nordam IV,08 Eurodam I,08 Rotterdam VI,09 Veendam IV,09 Volendam,10 Nieuw Amsterdam IV,12 Ryndam III;11 P&O:Artemis;RC:07 Splendour of the Seas,11 Navigator of the Seas,12 Majesty of the Seas
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Old December 24th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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just curious..what is your definition of mass market and do you consider yourself part of the definition
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 07:38 PM
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We will be traveling on Zuiderdam for 24 days this summer with our two children- ages 5 and 6. We have not traveled on HAL before but chose it because it will be higher end (we hope) while also catering to families. We understand that many of the older passengers do not care for the decor, changes, etc but for those of us with younger children who enjoy travel, we love it!
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Old January 5th, 2008, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venice
just curious..what is your definition of mass market and do you consider yourself part of the definition
I would consider "mass market" to be a lower-end (in terms of price and ammenities) cruise line, as contrasted with higher end lines such as those in the luxury or premium category. Luxry would include Regent and Silversea, while premium would be Azamara and HAL, at least as HAL currently bills themselves. The difference to me between mass market and premium cruise lines is mainly one of tradition. The premium cruise lines will often offer just a bit more in the way of ammenities, as well as adhere more to cruising traditions. It's also one of price. The mass market lines try to keep their fares as low as possible so that just about everyone can afford to take a cruise. They offer lots of short cruises so that even if you make $30,000 a year, you can afford to take the family on one of their three-day "getaways." Of course, these lower prices are a facade. They will nickle and dime you like crazy once onboard, and to have a half-way decent time, you will get sticker shock when you get the final bill. But because of the lower cruise fares, the mass market lines are cutting back on ammenities in the interest of keeping up their bottom lines, and they are rapidly moving away from the cruise traditions (such as encouraging jeans and tee-shirts in the dining room) so that people not accustomed to dressing up will not be discouraged from coming onboard.

I was just curious as to how people felt HAL fit into that picture. Do you think they are going too "mass market" for your tastes? In some respects, I do. But yet I still see them being unique, and being premium with some of the really interesting, "higher end" cruises they do. I almost consider HAL two cruise lines, and maybe one day they will be ... such as Celebrity breaking off their Azamara product.

Do I consider myself mass market? Not really, and believe me it's not a matter of snobbery. I just like longer, more diverse itineraries ... something that the mass market lines rarely do. I am fortunate in that I have been with the company I work for quite a while now ... and I have the vacation time each year to take some of these longer cruises. On those itineraries, HAL is not what I would consider mass market. They add a lot of nice touches ... special events onboard, special evenings in the dining room, special lecturers and activities, etc. But then turn around and take a seven-day Caribbean cruise on a Vista ship, and I think you will see the mass market side of HAL.

That's my opinion, though. I'm more interested in what you think.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old January 5th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Luxury would include Regent and Silversea, while premium would be Azamara and HAL, at least as HAL currently bills themselves.
Actually.... as far as cruise agents and the cruise lines go, luxury is what you said; Regent, Silversea, Seabourn and other lines that are all inclusive, also included are Crystal and Cunard (though not all inclusive)

Azamara, Oceania and other small, long-cruise operators with open single seating and alternative dining venues are now considered "deluxe"

Premium is HAL and Celebrity, and usually Princess, though some agents consider Princess Mass Market.

Mass Market lines are Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL. They call themselves "contemporary" in industry parlance.

My opinion - no HAL is not too mass market. I think they offer exceptional value, but their smaller passenger loads and accent on service over fun & games is premium, not your average Caribbean cruise.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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Rita: You are on the mark - consider the Oosterdam vs the Rotterdam, for example. The Oosterdam is "new" HAL ($499 el cheapo Mexican Riviera cruises, for example), while the Rotterdam is "old" HAL (long cruises). Bit of a hassle catching the Rotterdam as she sails exclusively "Mariners Only" long itineraries and etc. to keep out the riftraft and their bothersome kiddos.

Now if I can only convince kiddo's school that "no child left behind" means "let my kiddo take a 16 day cruise"....


[quote="kryos"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by venice
I almost consider HAL two cruise lines
That's my opinion, though. I'm more interested in what you think.
--rita
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