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TomTerw April 17th, 2009 11:14 AM

Problems with HAL Cruises
 
What problems have readers had? Any cruise line can be great until problems occur, but the real difference between a good and bad line is how they handle problems.

TomTerw April 17th, 2009 11:15 AM

I'll start off by noting that we have taken 3 HAL cruises, Alaska, the Baltic and the Mediterranean. We had no problems on the first two and had come to prefer HAL to several of the other lines. But the last cruise was a real dog. They out and out lied to us about the location of our cabin, which we did not find out until after we were aboard. It was totally unacceptable. The ship-board people were extremely rude and would not correct the situation for the duration of the cruise. We have been arguing with the main HAL office in Seattle for six months now with no satisfaction. They have even resorted to reporting us to a collection agent over a small amount that I do not feel we owe. We had never dealt with anybody in the main office before, but they are real nasty people.

susierphillips April 17th, 2009 11:52 AM

Wow. I never heard of that. We had a problem on the last cruise and Holland took care to solve the problem. I think it's a fine cruiseline.
Very proper.

homeatlast April 18th, 2009 09:46 AM

I too have had nothing but good experiences with HAL. I have dealt with their Seattle office many times and each time I have nothing but good things to say. Now to be honest, I have also experienced very little problems that even required me to deal with them for other than normal interactions when booking a cruise.

sail7seas April 19th, 2009 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TomTerw
<snip> ....
But the last cruise was a real dog. They out and out lied to us about the location of our cabin, which we did not find out until after we were aboard. It was totally unacceptable. The ship-board people were extremely rude and would not correct the situation for the duration of the cruise. We have been arguing with the main HAL office in Seattle for six months now with no satisfaction. They have even resorted to reporting us to a collection agent over a small amount that I do not feel we owe. We had never dealt with anybody in the main office before, but they are real nasty people.


Did you book a guarantee cabin? If so, HAL is only obliged to assign you to at least that category....any cabin in that category or higher. That is in exchange for the lower price you paid by booking a gurarantee. If you are not willing to accept any cabin in the category you booked, you should book by cabin choice and pay for it.

You surely had a deck plan. When you were assigned your cabin number, you could see where the cabin was. There was no lying. Deck plans are on the internet if you did not have a brochure.

You learned a valuable lesson. Book and pay for the category cabin in which you know you can be happy. Do not book less and hope for more.
UNLESS they assigned you to a lower category, which I have never heard happen, you have no legitimate complaint IMO Unless I have totally misunderstood your complaint.

If that is the case, sorry. Please explain what you omitted in your original post that makes the scenario different.

lrich1946 April 19th, 2009 03:05 PM

Zuiderdam Panama Canal Cruise
 
I too thought HAL was a fine cruise line. We just completed our 5th HAL cruise aboard the Zuiderdam. The third day of the cruise my friend fell and was terribly injured. She did receive very good medical care on board. We had arranged Air transport through HAL and were given a schedule home from Ft. Lauderdale to Minneapolis to NY. We had repeatedly asked for a change before we left for the cruise as this was flying and airport time of 12 hours. They refused any change. After the accident I begged them to alter the Air schedule as my friend was in pain and could not sit for that time due to her knee, as well as her face, being injured. They finally offered us first class direct flight for a total of $500 per ticket in addition to what we already paid. This would have been $850 total one way each.
We ended up medicating my friend to get her through the flights and airport waits. In addition, I was assured a wheelchair and help with luggage would be waiting for us on the pier when we left the ship. Nothing was arranged. I must commend the pier personnel for helping us on the spot when they saw my friends injuries.
The entire way the front desk staff handled this situation was more than outrageous, it was neglegent and heartless. We received a plate of chocolate by way of any concern for a 75 year old woman injured on a HAL ship.
I don't think there is any doubt that HAL could care less for their passengers. By the way, we were also traveling with a child to add to the situation we had to deal with coming home.

TomTerw April 20th, 2009 11:00 AM

susierphillips and homeatlast:

I would have agreed with you 100% until this last cruise. We had had a few miscellaneous problems on prior HAL sailings but they had always been dealt with courteously. But not this time. As Irich said, it was obvious HAL could care less.

sail7seas:

Yes we had the cabin number and yes we checked the deck plan. But the deck plan was inadequate. (Have you ever seen a deck plan that shows what crew stuff is actually next to the cabin areas? I never have.) This cabin was near all the ship's docking machinery, so very early every morning all hell would break loose. It was like being inside an earthquake or volcano at 4 or 5 AM. I did specifically ask about what was adjacent to the cabin area and was specifically lied to. They even e-mailed me a picture of the ship and then explained incorrectly where the cabin was located in relation to the picture.

And you are right, I did learn a valuable lesson. However, it would have made no difference what category the cabin was in or how much it cost. When I asked specific questions about the location and was specifically lied to there is a problem. No amount of additional diligence on my part would have helped. But I was mostly appalled at HAL's "we don't give a damn" attitude. I run a business myself, and I certainly could never stay in business if I treated my loyal customers this way.

richstacy April 20th, 2009 12:48 PM

Tom, those white spaces on the deck plan are a clue. Next time, pay attention to it and also to what is above you and what is below you. Could have happened on any line. You made a mistake and now it's their fault. We have spent at least three months total on HAL ships, and have been able to avoid similar problems.[/i][/b]

richstacy April 20th, 2009 12:50 PM

Irich1946, surely you did not expect them to give you the first class flight free!!! :roll:

sail7seas April 20th, 2009 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TomTerw
susierphillips and homeatlast:

sail7seas:

Yes we had the cabin number and yes we checked the deck plan. But the deck plan was inadequate. (Have you ever seen a deck plan that shows what crew stuff is actually next to the cabin areas? I never have.) This cabin was near all the ship's docking machinery, so very early every morning all hell would break loose. It was like being inside an earthquake or volcano at 4 or 5 AM. I did specifically ask about what was adjacent to the cabin area and was specifically lied to. They even e-mailed me a picture of the ship and then explained incorrectly where the cabin was located in relation to the picture.

And you are right, I did learn a valuable lesson. However, it would have made no difference what category the cabin was in or how much it cost. When I asked specific questions about the location and was specifically lied to there is a problem. No amount of additional diligence on my part would have helped. But I was mostly appalled at HAL's "we don't give a damn" attitude. I run a business myself, and I certainly could never stay in business if I treated my loyal customers this way.

Which ship? What cabin number?
Let all of us look and see exactly what shows on the deck plan.
Thank you.

lrich1946 April 20th, 2009 03:22 PM

No, richstacy, I did not expect to get first class flying free. I wanted a coach ticket for a direct flight as I had a sick woman who was in agony if her leg had to be bent for long. As it was, she was medicated-but had to be for 6 hour flying time rather than 21/2 hours if we flew direct.
I guess I really expected a little more support rather than hop on the first class thing. I just returned from bringing my friend to the emergency room as her knee is now infected and she still has a golf ball size lump on her cheek. Maybe all this is her fault rather than wet floors where at least 7 passengers we know of fell.

richstacy April 20th, 2009 04:22 PM

It's a ship :!: Decks frequently get wet, and they sometimes toss and tip and move a great deal. That's just a fact. I'm very sorry about what happened to your friend, but I'm not sure HAL could fix it. You are lucky they didn't just dump her off the ship at the next port. That has happened on just about every cruise line. We had a very long thread here on that once, where I took the side of the passengers.

CanadianCruiseBooker April 20th, 2009 06:06 PM

Has anyone figured out yet which ship and cabin numbers we are talking about ???

Sorry, thought I would redirect to the original point.

lrich1946 April 20th, 2009 07:03 PM

I'm going to reply to the original message about cruise lines showing who they are when there are problems. All I expected from HAL was the same service and care I received from NCL when I caught the ship flu. HAL gave my friend no help disembarking as they had promised and no help with the flights. Northwest, the airline HAL put us on, told me HAL would have lost big money amending the flights and further said we would have been far better off just booking with them a direct flight to begin with.
I know ships are wet. This is my 16 cruise and we sail on Cape Cod all summer. I am complaining about service. Beware of a cruise line that doesn't care about it's passengers-only the bottom line.
Sorry I took up your time. I won't post again and you can all go back to the cabin problems.

richstacy April 20th, 2009 07:32 PM

Don't be testy Irich. What they told you about HAL losing money if they changed the flight is true. Do yo think any other cruise line would have been different? If you do you are mistaken. they offered you a fairly inexpensive upgrade to first! It is always easy to find someone who feels they have been mistreated, by any line. Check it out for yourself. Cruise lines are a business. They are in business to make money. Like every other business they are having a very tough time now. They don't really treat anyone very well under bad circumstances. And though there are always exceptions to every rule, usually anecdotal ones, they are virtually all the same in that regard.

In your case, it is very difficult to see what it was exactly that you expected them to do :?: You can get (and should have) medical evacuation insurance in case of serious injury. We always get it though we have never needed it.

BTW we always arrange our own flights, and if it is a very long flight, like to Hong Kong, London, or New Zealand, we use tons of miles from mileage plus to upgrade to business class.

Once again I'm sorry things didn't work out to your satisfaction.

richstacy April 20th, 2009 07:37 PM

BTW irich you need to understand that cruiselines book blocks of seats on flights and get a substantial discount. Had they done what you wanted, they would have had to pay full price for the coach fare. IMHO, you should have taken the upgrade.

gcbcwy April 20th, 2009 09:10 PM

Rich - you're making me nervous, this is my first cruise, actually I've never even been on a cruise ship before. I've made reservations for RHapsody of the Seas in July. I just went to go look at the deck plan after reading your post and noticed white areas near my cabins (deck 4, #4549 and 4551). I hope I'm not next to anything noisy, I am aware that we are below the casinos so Im expecting the sounds of the roulette at 1am. but I never thought about the surrounding areas.

richstacy April 20th, 2009 10:02 PM

No idea what might be there. In most of the white areas it's nothing.
most things are soundproofed pretty well and most folks aren't bothered by brief sounds such as the winding gear for the ropes at the dock, (fore and aft.) That lasts just a few minutes at most. Obviously it bothered the original poster, but...

If I were you, I wouldn't worry about it too much. There are always noises when a ship docks and they may be louder if you are lower down and closer to either the bow or the back of the ship. Short lived ship sounds are to be expected and don't cause much grief for most people. How's that for diplomacy? :)

gcbcwy April 21st, 2009 02:29 AM

Well, since this is our first cruise I will consider any inconvenience a lesson learned.

sail7seas April 21st, 2009 09:53 PM

I am still hoping OP returns to tell us which ship/which cabin.


He has been busy posting this on a number of BB's. I've seen the same post on at least three, not that there is anything wrong with that. I visit the three; why shouldn't he? :)

richstacy April 21st, 2009 11:59 PM

Some people have an axe to grind and like to think they can harm the reputation of a fine company. It would never occur to them that they could b wrong or perhaps too critical. :roll:

TomTerw April 22nd, 2009 11:47 AM

richstacy: Yes, I am well aware that the "white spaces" are a warning not to be ignored. That is why I called and asked. But when they give you the wrong information, there is not much else you can do. I did not make a mistake; the mistake was HAL's and the problem is not that they made a mistake, because anybody can make mistakes. The problem is that they so far have considered it my mistake, and not theirs. And, sure, all the lines have these "white spaces". But I have never had another line provide me incorrect information before.

Sail7seas: It was cabin 2503 on the Rotterdam. It is the very front cabin, and no deck plan we have ever seen showed what was in the area in front of where the cabins are. The deck plan is not wrong; it is simply incomplete. Which is why I called and asked. And they sent me back a picture of the ship and very carefully explained that there was only "empty space to the bow" in front of that cabin area; nothing in the way of any ship's machinery. Which was completely incorrect. Cabin 2503 is well below any of the "empty space" in the picture they sent.

So, it is exactly as I said previously. I knew all about all of the restrictions and conditions. I followed their procedures exactly as they specified. They provided me completely incorrect information.

No, richstacy, it is not a matter of having an axe to grind. It is a matter of when a business makes a mistake they have an obligation to acknowledge their mistake and do everything possible to correct it. That certainly didn't happen in my case, and maybe not in irich's either. Now if all the above posts are any guide, no doubt HAL does keep 95% of their customers quite happy; I was in that group prior to our last cruise. But that was not the point of my post. The real issue is how do they treat the other 5%??? Of course, if you have never been in the other 5% then consider yourself lucky; hopefully you never will have a major problem. But please don't question the integrity of those of us that have had problems.

sail7seas April 22nd, 2009 02:47 PM

Thanks for your response.

Rotterdam VI was launched in 1997 or maybe 1998. During those years, how many folks do you imagine stayed in that cabin? A GREAT many, I am sure.

Can't be all that miserable or they would have had to do something about it. JMHO.......

Sorry you were so unhappy on your cruise.
Hope your next is better.

Tlingit Eagle April 22nd, 2009 11:14 PM

OK, someone started this thread intending for people to share their complaints. Now, this person has done this and is getting nothing but a lot of grief!

Everyone who has posted has a valid point. But..lets look at the context here. The lady was injured, which adds stress, they had a child, which adds stress, and they were expecting an wonderful vacation and fate turned that around.

I think that my patience and understanding would be a bit less than normal also. Give them a break, a pat on the back, and wish them a great vacation next time. Lets not flame.

Oh, and here's a funny about cabin location. My husband and I opted for an oceanview cabin on the Regal Princess when we went to Alaska for our honeymoon. At the oddest hours we would hear something rolling around our cabin. It wasn't regular, wasn't that loud, but it sure was perplexing. finally on the 5th day, we asked the steward if he knew what it could be. He came back very apologetic. He said that we were directly under the shuffleboard and the teens were staying out late and playing.

Well, we almost never saw these teens, or the little ones either. They hadn't been a problem and Princess was doing a wonderful job keeping them amused. The steward said he would ask them to not play after dark. We told him to let them be, we weren't bothered and just wanted to know what it was. Then we turned up the TV.

TomTerw April 28th, 2009 10:26 AM

Thanks, Tlingit Eagle. I'm glad someone else feels we should get back to the original intent of this topic.

sail7seas: The number of people that have stayed in that cabin previously is so totally irrelevant that I cannot believe that someone with your obvious amount of experience would even advance such an argument. When I have a concern about a specific location and I ask a specific question and I am given the wrong information, there is a problem. So far, HAL has not even been willing to acknowledge any of the above. I have received nothing more than the (insulting) standard "feel good" form letters.

Tango Couple April 29th, 2009 04:42 PM

Hello Tom, HAL is our favorite and we have 100+ day with them on many different ships. We have always found them most receptive in listening and solving problems. First they solve the problem then reward you with some sort of "extra" like covered strawberries.

Dancers Two

lrich1946 April 30th, 2009 12:26 PM

Thank you
 
Tlingit Eagle-Thank you for your very kind response. You are right, all I wanted was some support and you gave it. I wish you good sailing.
Linda

dssm69 May 17th, 2009 08:24 AM

Just completed the HAL cruise on the Oosterdam starting April 25th for 12 nights from Barcelona. Can honestly say it is our first and last time.
The ship was just out of a re-fit.
Mainly new carpets are all you could see, but there were some mechanical repairs to the Azipod drives.
There was definatly something missing on the cruise, mainly a lack of crew, entertainment, late night activities. service.
It was like a ghost ship after 10pm
We had one 45 minute show in the first 5 days.
They then started bring entertainers onboard from other ships.
Something was definatly wrong.
The front service desk was the most popular place with a constant line of people seeking answers to many questions. With little success.
Many nights there was work continuing on the ship fixing things that had not been done.
We actually walked on in Barcelona and found our own cabins. No meet and greet service. Really amazing.
We introduced ourselves to our cabin steward after 3 days.
The only time we saw the white suits was at meal times and in the bars of an evening.
No infromation was offered for people who wanted to do thier own thing ashore. It was all about the paid excursions.

We travelled with friends and had requested cabins close to each other.
No such luck. We were even on different decks.
The staff had no interest in trying to fix the problem.
There were many objections to the $11 per day per person Hotel Service Charge that was added to your account, many requested it removed caring to handle the tips themselves.
The ship was fine, the food was great, just the wrong cruise at the wrong time. It may be the American style, but definatly not for Australians.

lrich1946 May 17th, 2009 10:11 AM

HAL
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dssm69
Just completed the HAL cruise on the Oosterdam starting April 25th for 12 nights from Barcelona. Can honestly say it is our first and last time.
The ship was just out of a re-fit.
Mainly new carpets are all you could see, but there were some mechanical repairs to the Azipod drives.
There was definatly something missing on the cruise, mainly a lack of crew, entertainment, late night activities. service.
It was like a ghost ship after 10pm
We had one 45 minute show in the first 5 days.
They then started bring entertainers onboard from other ships.
Something was definatly wrong.
The front service desk was the most popular place with a constant line of people seeking answers to many questions. With little success.
Many nights there was work continuing on the ship fixing things that had not been done.


We actually walked on in Barcelona and found our own cabins. No meet and greet service. Really amazing.
We introduced ourselves to our cabin steward after 3 days.
The only time we saw the white suits was at meal times and in the bars of an evening.
No infromation was offered for people who wanted to do thier own thing ashore. It was all about the paid excursions.

We travelled with friends and had requested cabins close to each other.
No such luck. We were even on different decks.
The staff had no interest in trying to fix the problem.
There were many objections to the $11 per day per person Hotel Service Charge that was added to your account, many requested it removed caring to handle the tips themselves.
The ship was fine, the food was great, just the wrong cruise at the wrong time. It may be the American style, but definatly not for Australians.

As you know if you've been reading this topic, I am not a fan of HAL. However, the problem with not getting any information about ports other than the ship's excursions I have found on other lines. HAL in the past had shown you to your cabin when you first embarked. On the Panama Canal cruise, no one was there when we boarded to help us.
I think HAL is in the middle of trying to save as much money as possible and in doing so, they are hurting their business. NCL, for instance, is known as a line which offers very good rates for their cruises, and tries to make as much money as they can on board their ships. However, I believe the way they do it is not insulting to passengers, and as I have said in the past, when there is a problem they try very hard to fix it and take care of their passengers.
A short example, we were in Morocco and had a problem with an excursion. I complained and told NCL I was not looking for compensation, but was more concerned with the local people and what was done to them by the excursion company. I received part of the excursion cost as a credit. Versus HAL, who charges 10% fee for excursion cancellation no matter what the reason. My friend, as you know, was injured on the ship and the doctor told us she could not go on excursions for several days. I had to fight with the excursion people about their fee. The attitude of that clerk was unbelievable and she should be fired.
Anyway, try NCL. I had a wonderful cruise last Nov. in Europe with them.

TomTerw May 18th, 2009 09:46 AM

Irich:

We also sailed with NCL and enjoyed the trip with no problems. That's not to say NCL would have handled problems any better, simply that we didn't have any problems. We also enjoyed the fact that the average age of the passengers in NCL was at least 10 or 15 years younger than on HAL.


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