Are you going to dump your cruise line because they charge for an extra entree?

I personally regard the issue as pretty much inconsequential, in other words a non-problem. So I thought it rather silly that someone would suggest that a life-long HAL loyalist find another line just because HAL decided to charge ten bucks for another lobster. LOL

Therefore, the other day I was curious as to how the HAL faithful were taking this news so I looked at one of their forums. About as one might expect, most were not happy, but the topic was drawing more posts that I would have guessed. Some read like this: "Hotel ServiceCharges (HSC)----You are charging me 10, I’ll just remove 10 from the HSC,----- That's not very fair is it? This restaurant has the audacity to charge me extra for ordering extra food, let's punish the waiter".

Truth may be that more are displeased due the mere idea of the new rule, not that they are stuffing their faces with double entrees.

One area of suggestion(s) really got my attention though. Some commentators recommended that HAL guests look at other cruise lines and dump HAL. Of course, most of those had their favorite line so the remainder of their harangue dealt with the perceived virtues of said line. Isn't that what "trolls" do?

However, I was aghast when reading what those who were pushing Oceania, big time, had to say. Now, I've never been on Oceania or NCL but have almost 150 sailing days on Regent, their sister line. So here are posters advocating FDR's Oceania over HAL for charging a couple of bucks for an extra entree, at a time when FDR is making worldly pronouncements like this: "So we’re focusing on price; we’re pushing price higher everywhere we can both in 2019 and 2020,” “While we still have a lot of cabins to fill, the emphasis will be on raising prices across all three brands.” If you will recall, he did the same in September 2018 too.

What gripes me in this regard is that we just finished up last cruise year with two cruises, one on Princess and one on Regent. Princess was 29 days and Regent 22, both trans-oceans. On Princess we had a full suite, an Owners Suite, on the Mariner we had a Concierge Suite. The Owners Suite including balcony was about 1000 square feet, the Concierge Suite was 301 sq. ft including balcony. With the Princess Suite we received "Club Class" dining plus exclusive breakfasts in one of the specialty restaurants.

Shore excursions were about equal, although most Regent shore excursions were included and we paid separately for the Princess excursions. From a food and dining quality standpoint Princess had a significant edge at breakfast and a slight edge at dinner. Obviously, from a cabin standpoint the Princess accommodations were far better. Regent had the edge in on board ambience. The Princess vessel, Pacific Princess, had 670 guests, the Regent Mariner had 700. The Mariner is 48,000 gross tons, the Pacific Princess is 30,300 gross tons.

We paid $530.00 per person per day on Princess which included about $3,000 in excursions and Business Class Air, Seattle to Venice, was also included in the Princess price. We paid our own air on Regent this time. Total we paid $631.00 per day per person on Regent.

By coincidence, I just recently calculated expenses for a 28 day cruise in North America on the Oceania's Regatta in the exact same Owners Suite as we had on the Pacific Princess (Note: The Pacific Princess is the R-3 from the defunct Renaissance Cruises and the Regatta is the R-2). This Oceania cruise would run us $957.00 per day per person. Compare this to what we paid on Princess during a 29 day cruise a few months ago, $530.p.p.--p.d. In addition, the Regatta charges are going to be even more as we get no free internet, plus we get 7 shore exclusions each on the Regatta but any more we take will be an additional charge. We do get a butler if we choose to use the Regatta. But been there done that, the Butler isn't worth it and we must pay for one like it or not on Oceania.

In summary, Oceania will cost us $1000. “more” per day for the same cabin and about the same cruise experience as we had on Princess.

Tags: Holland America Line

20 Answers

I have never been on Oceana (or HAL) and am a fan of Princess (only stated for disclosure).

It sounds as if that cruise line (the whole line, not just the individual brands) is trying to price itself out of business.

As you said, if Princess offers a better product at half the price, why would a consumer choose to pay more?

On the other hand, the half-baked search for ways to save money is not confined to those lines. Princess has decided that on all cabins, balcony and below, they are taking a chair out of the cabin (supposedly to make more room in the cabins for the passenger to enjoy). On the face of it, it sounds like a pretty good idea, but considering that there are only two places to sit in the main cabin area (the desk chair and the second chair), taking one of them leaves only seating for one. Princess' reported reply is to just sit on the bedAngry

As much as enjoy Princess, it looks like I may be looking for a different cruise line for future vacations, since Princess has decided to value the dollar more than the basic requirements of passenger comfort.

Cannot say I have ever been on HAL yet. We have considered it a few times but not made it there yet. However that being said I cannot really see this as a deal breaker. It is not nice but how often do you really order a second entree. I may frequently order a second appetizer but do not recall ever going for a second entree. Which begs the question ... What are they really after with this new charge. It certainly is not trying to reduce waste as they state and I don't thing the extra revenue will be very substantial so what is the true motive behind this. Possibly a feeler towards working to a more a la carte MDR. That is a possibility. If there are enough up charges additional charges etc one becomes numb to them and all of a sudden anything more than a plain basic meal in the MDR becomes an up charge. I sure hope not but that seems to be how it feels.

And as far as changing lines I see that as being a limited option because once one line adopts something the rest in that price point area will also adopt it. In order to change lines and avoid something like this one would have to move up the scale to a more luxurious all inclusive line.

Wow .. I had not heard that one yet. That is pretty petty and chintzy. How much to they really think they will save with a move like this. And all they have really created is more room to stand ... and tick off their passengers.

Probably not, but I may just dump reading your posts. (j/k) You're killing me. Called the wife over to read this one. Now we've met folks up there in the rare air. Dined with two couples over the cruising years. One asked us, we asked the other. Hit it off both times, memorable and thoroughly enjoyable. Just like your descriptions!

That's interesting. I didn't know Princess was doing that. Our last three cruises on Princess have been on the Pacific Princess, of course the last time was, as I mentioned, a full suite, first time we ever did that and maybe the only.

Other than that we have been trying to only book mini-suites. Looking at my pictures it looks like we always had a small coffee table and two chairs in the M-S on the Pacific plus a full size couch. Ironically, the Concierge "Suites" on the Regent Mariner are slightly smaller than the M-S on the Pacific although they have walk in closets and a much larger bathroom with walk in shower or no tub. That is not true with those same suites on Regent's Navigator or their Voyager, which are very large. One thing I find about the Mariner is they tend to cram too much stuff in those little cabins. They have a full size couch a fairly large marble coffee table and a long no back settee that slides under the desk, no seats. I'm always banging my chins in the Mariner cabins but that's not true on the Pacific Princess Mini-Suites.

One time, it may have been on either the Regal or Royal Princess ships with a standard balcony, I think we ran into the situation you mention, not enough seats to face the TV(s) without sitting on the bed. So I would bring a deck chair in, which worked out well since when I was done using it I put it back on the deck and that gave us more room to maneuver inside the cabin.

2016--Pacific Princess TA 315.JPG

One of our Mini-Suites on the Pacific Princess

If need be, I will bring in a balcony chair.

According to my source (that other forum), Princess has stated "There has never been more than one chair in the cabins", "We took them for passenger safety", "We took them for passenger comfort", and "We will replace them with something better sometime in the future" (with no clue as to what or when the imaginary replacement will show up). It just depends on what day of the week you call as to what the answer will be.

Suggestions from them included "Ask your steward for a chair and he will bring one" (all reports state that the steward had no access to any chairs) or "Sit on the bed" (makes for a fine in-cabin dining experience for two), or, my favorite, "Just upgrade to a mini-suite -- they have a couch!" (too expensive for me).

As far as HAL's charge for a second entree, that would not affect me, as I do not recall the last time I ordered a second serving of the main course.I agree with OGW that they will not make much money off it, especially compared to the number of passengers they will upset. Perhaps (and the conspiracy theorist in me is strong today) they are slowly turning the MDR into a regular a la carte dining experience, paying for everything you order. (Don't panic, yet, though -- that is just my imagination running wild).

I have over 400 days with HAL , I think they have the best food , I am not worried about what go`s on in the Dinning room ,I always go to the Buffet

Well for us we will not leave Hal over this exploratory venture. I remember years ago I went to a coffee meet with the officers on the Zaandam. The Hotel manager was asked about them removing the trays from the buffet. I have not seen trays on Holland as a matter of fact I think the last time I saw a tray in the buffet was in the late 90’s on the Holiday. But I digress.

His response was they noticed over the years that people would take two plates fill them up and eat about half. The decision was made to remove the trays and put out bigger plates. By doing this they cut food waste considerably. He made a point to say you can go back to the buffet as many times as you like.

We are fortunate enough to have reached the four star level on Hal and elite on Princess. To go to a new line at this time makes no sense. Free laundry is more important to me than maybe spending $10 on a second entree which I very rarely order. The laundry means I can pack very very little and allows more room for the wifeys shoes!

Reading BDRebels exchanges with Princess, reminded me of my corkscrew battles long ago.

As most of you know, I am a wino. Wife got everything unpacked and we were finally relaxing in our Princess cabin. I dug out one of my bottles of red; looked around for the usual cabin corkscrew, none. Looked through my stuff, I forgot to pack one. Called cabin service and ordered one. No can do. Why not? We don't put them in cabins since children could get hurt. No kids here, send one up. No can do. Well, how in the he--- do I get my wine open? We will send somebody up to open it for you. That's crazy, look, I'll buy a corkscrew from you from cabin service. No can do.

So, I sat there for a few minutes, wow, do I have to wait until the next port to get a corkscrew? Maybe the neighbors have one. As it was we had just sailed. So the ship's stores just opened. I went down to the gift shop, sure enough, they and a great assortment of corkscrews and all were reasonably priced. End of problem.

A bit later, a knock on the door. A two or three striper was there. He said "I understand you have a problem can I help?" I said, not anymore, I'm a happy camper now. He wanted to talk more about it. I said, "look, just have the staff try telling the truth for a change." "In this case, say: We don't furnish corkscrews in our cabins anymore, but our gift shop has a fine selection, in the meantime I'll get somebody right up there to open your bottle." Don't make up fibs, like kids might screw one into their eyeball socket or something, you don't even have to be truthful in that guests rip them off when they disembark, that is why you quit furnishing them." Whew.

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