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About HappyInVan

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  1. Just a reminder. Always blame management. Never blame the customers. BTW, what did you say you did? Public Relations? Some of us are already exiting HAL. But, hope is still alive and we're keeping an eye on HAL and Carnival. There could be a management change. Replacements for Donald and Ashford. Then, there could be a new set of 'right' passengers to succeed us.
  2. Just a reminder. Always blame management. Never blame the customers. Change is inevitable. But, you can 'follow' the trend or choose a different path. For management people, strategy is about the right kind of change. Carnival has 9 brands. RCL has just three brands. Hint! Some of us are waiting for Carnival to do the smart thing, rather than follow the mirage that cost cutting can restore their profitability . It's amazing how some of you guys have been praising Carnival. Completely oblivious to the dire straits of Carnival's operating profitability. RCL has a 6 point advantage in gross margin, even though Carnival has more revenues from premium and luxury brands. Premium brands (HAL and Princess) 37% versus RCL (Celebrity) 25%. Luxury brands (Cunard and Seabourn) 8% versus RCL (Azamara) 4%. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_cruise_lines Who do you think needs to make the biggest cuts in value? A gold star for the person with the right answer! BTW, should Carnival try to make up for the 6 points different in GM by cost cutting? It would be cutting value on the way to oblivion. Some of us care enough about HAL to resist the trend.
  3. Of course. Don't forget to spend spend spend on the extras. You have a heavy responsibility. You're replacing the guys who have left for Viking, Oceania and Seabourn.
  4. Let me summarize the discussion for OP. There are different bands of 'loyalists' One group, 'Remainders' are budget travellers. As HAL go down-market, the 'Remainders' find value with HAL. They're willing to ride HAL downwards to the end. Some of them get annoyed at the complainers. 'Don't they know that you get what you pay for!' The other group 'Exiters' are the loyalists who remember and mourn the classic HAL that is no more. As they exit HAL and Carnival, they're trying to pass on their knowledge to the newcomers. Who are the newcomers? They say that they aren't loyalists. Choose from different companies based on price and itinerary. Hope that HAL make the ships more amenable to them. The newcomers aren't impressed by the Remainders, and vice versa. You know that the end is in sight when those in their 30s are interested in HAL. They're keen on the compact size of the ships and the low prices. And, they can bask in the classy interior. So like a luxury hotel! But, there's got to be VR, or no deal! They think that HAL is CCL-plus. Hope that I have fairly summed up our discussions. Just a reminder. Change is inevitable. But, not all change is desirable. Always blame management. Never blame the customers.
  5. HappyInVan

    roll call

    Some of us are interested. Just waiting for someone to start the ball rolling 3 months before departure.
  6. From the POV of the cruise companies (and passengers), mega-ships make good sense. It's not just about cutting costs. It allows the company to run two brands on the same ship. You could have a premium or luxury brand in a segregated part of the ship. A real ship-within-the-ship. $$$$ cruisers could enjoy premium food and quiet areas within their part of the ship, while joining younger family members for entertainment in the mass-market areas. This may seem like a regression to the days of the Titanic. But, it made sense then. A large liner could sell cheap stowage fares to working-class emigrants. The upper classes paid for the enjoyment of the upper decks, which sailing in the comfort of a large ship. On the return voyage eastwards, there were few immigrants. So, the first class passengers were subsidizing the others. Today, it can still make sense.
  7. You might not want to abandon old customers, but you must grow your business in the direction of where it is profitable. This is different from merely following the demographics. You must be able to create a significant differentiation with your competitors to charge a higher price (or hold on to existing customers). That competitive advantage must be sustainable. RCL has launched a floating Disneyland concept and only mega-ships can accommodate the rides. In return, RCL received the industry's best gross margin. Even after paying for depreciation and interest on the giant ships (Oasis-class $1.4b), RCL has the best net margin among the conglomerates. By comparison, Carnival is abandoning the high-margin premium segments. It believes that it can only reduce costs in a significant way with bigger ships. It's making feeble attempts to squeeze more income from Club Orange, internet fees, photographs and massages. While HAL's demographics is getting younger, the median income of its passengers is probably getting lower. There are reasons why they abandoned the art auctions. That is a tale of two cities. The difference in the self-confidence of the organizations. RCL would not be able to sustain its margins if CCL and NCL matched their products. But, do the competitors have the confidence for a toe-to-toe fight? Ten years after the first Oasis-class ship (2009), RCL has 8 Oasis and Quantum ships. Another 6 mega-ships on order. NCL has 4 160k GT ships. CCL has only two 185k GT ships under construction.
  8. Thanks for the insight. I agree with your assessment about HAL. As someone said, HAL has no direction. If you don't like HAL today, you'll hate HAL in 5 years time. The question is where we're migrating to. Personally, I prefer separate ships (like MSC Yacht Club) for a HAL+premium brand. In the meantime, I'm off to Ponant (and not Seabourne)... https://us.ponant.com/le-champlain-ec-4
  9. Earlier in this thread, we had discussed the urban myth that Carnival rescued HAL from bankruptcy. Fact is that the van der Vorm family and associates rescued HAL in 1930s AND the 1970s. https://tech2.org/netherlands/rich-families-this-is-how-the-van-der-vorms-collected-9-billion-euros/ In the 1970s, HAL divested its cargo and liner services. Focusing on cruising and Alaska. Acquiring Westours etc. In 1989, the family happily sold HAL and its Alaskan operations to Micky for 1.2 billion guilders ($625m). At a time when corporate bonds cost 10%. That family moved on to new startups and today is said to be worth $9b. Twice as much as Micky. BTW, HAL could have been a 4-star brand. But Micky chose to expand HAL dramatically in competition to Princess. After Carnival's merger with P&O Princess, Carnival Corp now owned both HAL and Princess. Both going down-market.
  10. The problem is similar to the experience of long time flyers after airline deregulation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_deregulation Currently, I fly Premium Economy because of the mess in the economy section. The price adjusted for inflation, is similar to what I would pay 40 years ago for long distance economy. I also fly Business class to Europe when the price is C$4k. The lie flat seats are value. They have an upgrade path. Deregulation (and the fleet expansion of cruise brands) has been great for the budget passenger. Whilst, affluent travellers have been squeezed upmarket. Consider this. CCL passengers can upgrade to HAL. Can HAL passengers upgrade, and stay within the Carnival group? Seabourne is far too expensive for too little. What's missing is a HAL+ brand. Carnival Corp is actually forcing its customers to join other companies. So, goodbye Micky! Another sign of corporate disarray at Carnival HQ. That's a lot of money out there for premium/luxury experiences and Carnival is out of the picture. The weird thing is that Micky was willing to buy HAL for $$$$$ when corporate bonds cost 10%. But, in this decade of low low interest rates, its RCL and Ponant who's charging ahead. Most cruisers don't care. They choose their itinerary year by year. 'Loyalist' sail with friends, and are willing to pay more from time to time.
  11. The saddest thing I have ever seen was a table full of millennials busy with their phones. Ignoring each other. Perhaps, they're playing online game with each other? Ever noticed that?
  12. Has anyone actually Orlando in person? Does he visit the ships?
  13. Data mining combines information about you from multiple sources; the websites you visit, the purchases you make, your questions on google/yahoo search, the information you enter in your HAL profile. It is useful in identifying potential customers for the data miner's clients. Search for a cruise ship online, and cruising advertisements will pop up on your browser. A brand pays for access to the data miner, to find the right customers. You may get an email or postal solicitation. BTW, you don't need a lot of IT skills to be a data mining customer. Data mining is a useful tool for the sales department. But, strategic marketeers must choose the 'right' customer. And, all the data mining in the world will be useless unless you have the right product. I'll say it again. The fares on HAL are too low, leading to 'cheap' passengers who do little extra spending. These 'cheap' passengers have accumulated over the years. Nothing would change if you got rid of the old timers and don't raise the fares. There will still be 'cheap' passengers among the newcomers. And, quality will still be going downhill. The idea that you can be saved by an influx of younger high-spenders is a mirage. On my May B2B trip on the Rotterdam, the Norway portion of the itinerary had 80% Dutch. Most of these passengers came with tour groups. There were a lot of younger passengers with their families. They were active and noisy. Frankly, these tourists were not typical of HAL middle-class passengers. So, you can get rid of the old timers by turning HAL into Fun Central. But, HAL will still have the same problem. Overcapacity leading to a failure to maintain their premium positioning. I'm told that Celebrity seems to be doing better. Able to charge higher fares as their value/quality eroded less. Well done! Someone said that the MSC Yacht Club has been so successful that they are launching Yacht Club ships. They're following the money. They're not just cutting costs/value.
  14. Yes, sounds like there are TWO databases with incompatible bits. No surprises here since we know that HAL needs to catch up with RCL on profitability, and we know how competent the new management is. I'm still waiting for Ian to explain why he said that HAL (alone) doesn't analyze customer information. Thanks for the info on the digital entertainment system. There will be no DES on the Rotterdam! I missed the news because I don't hang out in this forum. I have a life elsewhere. At this time, I am interested in the forum because IMHO it is ready for a deeper understanding of HAL's problems. I contribute business and management insights. I look forward to hearing your insights. I am not just a complainer!
  15. I've also noticed that the front-end customer services is dysfunctional. Not surprised that they have outsourced (if you are correct) to a second tier service company. Which may explain the lag experienced by 3rdGenCunarder. That is different from the corporate IT net, includes B2B (business to business) interfaces. I certainly hope that HAL has retained that function internally.
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