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Everything posted by Curlingwhiz

  1. Original poster - I thought I should come back and update this thread. For our 10 day trip in December we received 30 points. 10 for cruise days, 10 for a suite and 10 for HIA. This, thankfully, did push us up to the 4 star level. Free laundry....Yahoo!
  2. Thank you Kazu - I have now read some of the other posts about this topic. It does appear that the Platinum Plan is not available to Canadian residents of BC and Quebec. My CC when she phoned this morning stated it was not available in the future to all Canadians.... I found it interesting that the two provinces which have been barred from canceling within the 24 hour time period are BC and Quebec - aren't these the two Canadian provinces that have embarkation for HA? Perhaps this is more of an issue of last minute cancelations from home ports than any insurance issue as the rest of the Canadian residents don't seem to have problems? Our agent said we had until tomorrow to pay for the Platinum plan on our currently booked trips - at this time we are thinking ... no. I have to admit I would appreciate a more informed response from HA than just no more BC residents allowed to purchase. Don't you like us anymore? :>)
  3. I just got a call this morning from my CC to let me know that effective tomorrow, Friday Dec 14th, that the Platinum insurance plan (90% reimbursement plus some medical/evacuation) will no longer be available to purchase for Canadians? Has anyone else heard of this? Apparently we can purchase and pay for it now for our two scheduled upcoming cruises, but that is it! Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on this...
  4. Wow - my brain has definitely had a little vacation. I definitely meant the Volendam not the Zaandam. I think I was confused in my typing by the fact that the Zaandam used to do Canada/New England back when we booked...and got canceled...in 2020. We are still looking at the different type of cruises. If we decided to go with the Zuiderdam, we would spend a few days in Boston prior, a day or two in Quebec City, then 3 hr train to Montreal for a couple of days and then home. Since we no longer have to be back home on certain days for work, we always add 3 or 4 days at embarkation and disembarkation. Lessens stress and allows more exploring. Anyway, thanks for pointing out my ship error - I probably confused a lot of people.
  5. I can see I will need to do a little more research. Turns out that I can't get a non stop flight back from Boston to Vancouver for the dates I was looking at. I can get nonstop "to" Boston not return, thus I need to look at only those journeys. ( With the air situation it current is, I am a big fan of non-stop) In the past we have been fortunate enough to go with Signatures or Neptunes. However, the new reality of pricing has made those cabins - in our opinion - too overpriced. But I would still like to get a balcony if possible. Thanks for the point about flying in/out Montreal.......I have looked at the train between Montreal and Quebec City and it appears quite doable......choices, choices!
  6. We have used Club Orange on our next two cruises. The difference in price between our "desired" cabin and the cheapest cabin in the category, in both instances, was higher than just buying Club Orange. I am now trying to do comparisons for a third cruise and although I couldn't see a ton of Club Orange improvements (as it is a smaller, older boat with no dedicated Club Orange dining room), it still works out about $300 cheaper to buy Club Orange than to choose my 'desired" cabin at the initial booking.
  7. Hello Jo - this is my first time seeing your posts - I will definitely head over to your blog. I appreciate all the detail you give on ports and the "just walking around" sites. I am currently looking at booking an East Coast cruise for 2025 and have a quick question. In checking out our options, it appears that the Zuiderdam and the Zaandam are both doing the route in 2025. We have sailed on the Zuiderdam in the past and quite like it. However, we have never sailed on the Zaandam and I would appreciate your take on any major/minor differences that you noticed? One thing that is having me lean to the Zuiderdam is the amount of verandah cabins versus the Zaandam with it's "lanai" cabins.
  8. We always book thru our CC and have received probably about 6 different offers over the years to upgrade. As mentioned earlier, I do believe that it depends on your relationship with your TA or CC. (We used to .....pre covid.....have a pretty wonderful CC....he once got us an upgrade to a Neptune at no additional dollars!) But there is no additional monies paid to the agent for these offers so it depends on how dedicated they are? Plus the offers usually go quick so you need to know how much you are willing to pay and specifically which cabins. I once got an offer by a cell call while I was ordering two coffees at Starbucks - still don't know what was in those drinks I ordered?? One other item of note is that if you are upgrading to a suite from a non-suite category, you do NOT receive double Mariner points for your cabin. Just be aware so you don't miscalculate your points.
  9. I was told (as was my traveling partners) that the Club Orange is non refundable? I have still used it for my next two cruises as the cost of the Club Orange was less than the cost of getting a better stateroom in my category. I have not had to cancel any bookings with Club Orange so I cannot speak definitively about the refundability, but I would definitely check if it is an issue?
  10. We do as previous posters have mentioned - we book Flight Ease as soon as we can find an acceptable route. As it is not paid until the time of final payment and is totally cancelable, we continue to scan for flight sales, better routes etc. But having a fallback booking is somewhat reassuring. As to cost, it seemed like we used to get better deals with Flight Ease......now it is fairly comparable. We once were on a cruise in Germany which was blockaded for most of a day by protestors - it made us quite late to our disembarkation. Having Flight Ease on that trip proved invaluable as they took care of transport, hotel rooms and changed flights for those impacted. (We had left lots of time for our home flight from Copenhagen so we were fine, but once we saw how the crew was handling the disruption, we were able to just relax and watch the show.............however we saw a lot of very stressed passengers who had privately booked their flights) We usually try to get premium economy and have not had any issues booking our seats thru Flight Ease?
  11. Hello all, We have booked a voyage on the Rotterdam for 2024 - this is our first trip on this vessel and we have a cabin question. Currently we are booked in a cabin on the 5th deck. As our voyage is quite a while away there are still lots of cabins available. I am wondering if the 5th deck gets a reflection from the lifeboats below? We once had a cabin that we found had quite an "orange" colour on the outside balcony on sunny days. Is this an issue on the Rotterdam......should we maybe move to deck 6? We had originally picked cabin 5145 due to the extended balcony but I am now reconsidering. Any advice is welcome!
  12. @oaktreerb Thank you for your reponse - sorry for delay but somehow my thank you post was lost in never never land. It is always great when people get back on a topic. After reading through this thread, I am now fairly confident that the HIA with a suite will give us about 30 points for our ten day trip in November so I am much more relaxed. And worst case scenario - if we are a couple points short - as we live near Vancouver, we can just pick up a quick cruise to nowhere to gain a point or two!
  13. Like moscow123456 - we tend to figure out what price we are content with and do our booking based on that. However, I do check pricing about once a month prior to departure. On about 50% of our trips we have managed to either get "better" pricing or increased OBC based on current promos. (Once we were really lucky and got a free upgrade to a Neptune) We always do the onboard booking deposit so it gives us flexibility in our deposits. We have definitely noticed that the meal selection and portion size have both changed - not for the better - but if you have gone out to a restaurant in the last 6 months, you will not be surprised as labour costs, food costs and transport costs have got most people reeling.
  14. See - this is why Cruise Critic is so valuable. I thank you for your time. I think I will do the HIA , I am feeling a little more confident now.
  15. That sounds perfect. We have only been on two (dipping our toes in the water) and did not do HIA as they were short Coastal cruises. Did your charges for drinks etc appear on your on board account and then get credited off due to your HIA purchase? I am probably sounding a little obsessive on this but I would sure hate to make the wrong decision and then still end up a point or two short of 4 star for our 2024 cruise..................and I really couldn't bear to deal with my husband!!!
  16. That is why I came to Cruise Critic. The consultant we had before the pandemic was so knowledgeable - he left. So although the employees are helpful, their inexperience really shows. So, can I ask - did the shore excursions, drinks, wifi etc that you had on board - did they show up on your daily bill with a charge and then were they credited back on the same day. (This is what has happened in the past with us when we have had tips included) Thus it shows up as a purchase but is credited back immediately due to a temporary deal available. I agree that it is a charge that we are using to purchase onboard goodies - they are not "free" so therefore they should count towards Mariner points. But getting anyone at HA to state that has been an issue. I just did a spreadsheet (retired accountant!) and by not purchasing the HIA and then purchasing the same things on board is a price difference of give or take $500. So I am almost thinking our best bet would be to purchase the HIA and then buy something for $500 at the jewelry shop. My husband is having a hard time with my analysis!!!!
  17. I "think" what the HA chat line was trying to say is that the Have It All option just changes the price of your cruise, just as choosing a more expensive deck would. These are not considered online purchases like dinners or excursions are. So, other than the tip portion (if not included in your HIA) then all the other goodies covered by the HIA will NOT show up as on board purchases. As ever with HA, very confusing and conflicting advice. I thought it was a fairly easy question to ask - but sigh!
  18. I just got off HA Chat line. Took a while to get my point across, however she was very clear that the Have It All charges will not accrue to Mariner Points. I guess to a certain degree this makes sense as the site states that it has to be ON BOARD purchases to get more Mariner Points. The Have it All package is purchased prior to boarding - just like purchasing a "better" stateroom doesn't increase your Mariner Points (unless you buy a suite). So now I have do the calculations of whether or not we will spend enough on board to accrue the points we are short if we buy the Have It All. Ahh - such problems! Ha Ha
  19. Would greatly appreciate if you can post once you know. I am getting the feeling that we will have to forgo HIA and just do all purchases on board. We are also booking the Koningsdam with a suite and Club Orange (if still available) I have looked back on some of our prior voyages and it seems almost impossible to relate the purchases to the points awarded on a consistent basis. Points for rooms or suites are easy - it is the purchases that are confusing.
  20. Wow - this is exactly what I was hoping to hear. I wonder if I can get an "official" response from HA? It seems like each person I ask at HA gives me a different answer. Thank you
  21. Ahhh - that seems to answer it. If the HIA drinks don't show up on the daily bill, then they can't be considered as "purchases" towards more Mariner points. I guess my best bet is to not purchase the HIA and then just pay cash for all my purchases on board - that would then give me my 4 points I am short. I would have to make sure to spend at least $1,200 (which can happen!!)
  22. Thanks - we have no problem with getting the points for the cruise days - it is the onboard spending that I was not sure of. For example - say you consumed $400 worth of drinks - did the drink purchases show as debits on your shipboard bill and then get credited back so the net result was that you paid no extra but the drinks showed as charges? I do know it is supposed to be 1 point for every $300 spent but I am concerned that the HIA charges do not show up on the shipboard bill.
  23. We are booking a cruise in November 2023 which should - with just suite points - put us within 4 points of reaching 4 Star status. Since we have a longer cruise booked for June 2024, we would really like to hit that marker before the 2024 cruise. My question is - if we purchase the Have it All Package (about $1,600 extra) for our remaining 2023 cruise, will the charges for dinners, drinks, shore excursions, WiFi extra all be added on as purchases to our bill.......then credited back on the bill due to the package we have purchased? I have referred to other trips and am having a difficult time trying to figure out how the points are calculated. I know it is 1 point for every $300 spent on board but trust me, it is not consistent. In reviewing these prior bills, I sometimes noticed that when we had for example, tips included, that the daily charge was added on to the bill and then taken off. Does anyone with experience with the Have it All packages noticed if there booze, shore excursions etc were added on to the bill then automatically deducted? I cannot seem to get a consistent response from HA so I thought I would check with all the experts here. We certainly don't want to be 4 points short and not get the 4 star status before our big 2024 cruise. But the Have it All Package is financially a better deal than purchasing components separately so we would like to pay for that package as long as we still accrue Mariner points??? Thanks in advance for your help with this Brenda
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