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About TAD2005

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Central Florida
  • Interests
    Cruising, website design
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Windstar
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe, Caribbean

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  1. I don't think that using miles is an option. When you book with Flight Ease, HAL is acting like a bulk fare agent for you. Any use of airline miles for the basic ticket would be between you and the airline and HAL does not get involved. However, once you are booked in economy with Flight Ease, you will get a airline record locator and you can log into the airline's website and select seats. At that point, they MAY allow you to upgrade to premium economy or business class. But that is very iffy. The fares that HAL gets on international flights are very good, and the airline may not be too happy about you getting a super cheap fare and using miles to sit in the front cabin, when they could sell that seat for cash to somebody else.
  2. Back in March, when the $10 charge for a 2nd main course was being tested on 4 ships, we were on one of those 4, the Eurodam, for 28 days to Hawaii and French Polynesia. All of our MDR dinner menus had the note about the $10 charge in fine print at the bottom, buried with the cautions about eating uncooked seafood. During the cruise, they had a few "Ask the Officer" sessions, and when the Food and Beverage manager's turn came up, I attended that session and asked the question about the $10 fee for a 2nd main course. He politely asked me and another person to see him after the meeting. When we were in private, he told me that his understanding of the test program was not for items that were in good supply like steaks and chops. He said it was primarily for Gala nights when they offer lobster tails. Those are strictly quantity controlled for each cruise, and they do not have an endless supply. So to put a damper on the people who order 3 or 4 tails, they tried a test of charging $10 to see if it helped. I never heard the final results of the test, other than they stopped it in early April on the 4 ships it was tested on. Possibly this is another test to judge guest reactions if no surf-n-turf is offered, or they substitute another "surf" item, like salmon or jumbo shrimp (which is an oxymoron) .
  3. Agreed, but not the 3000 passenger monsters that they are building now. But when the bean counters get involved in the design, you know exactly what any new ships will look like. Definitely not the 900 to 1400 size that we love.
  4. I agree. Same with totally electric cars. "Oh look, I am not using any hydro-carbons in my electric car". Where does the electricity come from that you used to charge up your electric car ? Most likely it came from natural gas or coal. I'm sure somebody has computed how much natural gas or coal must be burned to fully charge an electric car's batteries to go 200 miles, compared to the carbon produced by simply burning gasoline for the same distance.
  5. For the air tickets booked by the passenger direct with the airlines, there isn't really anything HAL can do. That is a personal contract that is between the passenger and the airline, and the airline has no idea what you will be doing in FLL. And they really don't care. That is one of the problems of booking your own airfare. Yes, you may save money on domestic flights, but there's always the chance that the cruise will be cancelled, or you will cancel due to a personal reason. You have to deal with the airline directly, trying to move the flight or cancel it. In many cases, you will be hit with a change fee, or lose the total cost of the ticket. HAL offers it's Flight Ease for exactly this reason. If there is any change, you are not on the hook for airfare losses. This situation is a great example why travel insurance is necessary. Either a 3rd party policy for just your cruise, or insurance through your credit card. It is a must for travel these days.
  6. We had cabin 4174 on the Oosterdam, Aft, and we loved it. Huge balcony, longer cabin, and no problems with soot from the stacks. Compared to the aft cabins on decks above 4, when you lean on your balcony railing, all you see is the beautiful ship's prop wash and wake. On higher decks, you are looking down on other balconies and the tops of people's heads. No issues with rough seas. When the ship is climbing over 15 - 20 ft swells, you do get a little bit of shimmy or shudder. But in normal seas, it is quiet and calm.
  7. You didn't say if the $820 drop was for each person or 2 people. If it was just for one person, I don't feel that getting a $135 credit ($100 beverage card and $35 PG) is a fair amount of compensation. I have seen much higher levels of OBC issued here on CC.
  8. Princess does not require that both in a cabin must purchase the package. HAL does. Princess does have a rule against drink sharing, but I would assume that they feel that their much higher daily price will cover the occasional drink that is quietly slipped over to your cabin mate.
  9. It is, (or should be) very difficult for anyone to enter a major shipping port. Many of us who have taken taxis back to a port after a tour know each passenger in the taxi must show an ID and ship key card to enter the port. If 50 or so protesters can enter a major commercial seaport, either by land or sea, with boats, banners and other supplies, without being stopped and ejected, means that the port authorities felt that this protest was not intended to be harmful, or cause disruptions, or they were sympathetic to their cause. Were all of these protesters searched for any dangerous devices ? They were able to get in direct contact with the ship's hull, which is a scary situation for people with unknown motives. What would have happened if just one of these protesters was not happy with just blocking the departure or hanging on the mooring lines like idiots ? What if one of them had a package of C4 explosive in their backpack ? OK, this ended peacefully (sort of). But what about the more sinister groups that now see how easy it was to enter a shipping port and get right up against a cruise ship's hull ? Will they be encouraged next time by the ease of access to a supposedly secure area, and make more dangerous plans, posing as just simple ecological protesters ?
  10. We also cruised the Oosterdam from Tampa in November, 2016. 21 days and a great cruise. We were on the Rotterdam from Tampa in 2018 for a similar itinerary. The problem with the Rotterdam is the cabins they call Vista Suites, with correspondingly higher suite prices, would be considered just plain veranda cabins on the Oosterdam and other Vista class ships. The cabins are a wee bit longer, and so are the balconies but they are a far cry from a similar priced Signature Suite on the larger ships. Unfortunately, the Veendam is also configured the same way, Veranda cabins being called Vista Suites and priced accordingly. The only benefit you get with a Vista Suite on a ship like the Veendam or Rotterdam is the double day credits for Mariner status. We are already 4-star, and the extra benefits of 5-star do not justify the thousands extra for a "Vista Suite".
  11. There's a bunch of Boston folks who are hoping the Veendam will be home-ported there for Bermuda cruises. So, we Tampa cruisers have competition.
  12. This test program was tried on 4 HAL ships in March. They received such bad press (it even made CNN) that HAL dropped the plan. We don't know if they will try to resurrect it sometime in the future. They claimed it was to prevent food waste. But most of the food waste occurs in the Lido Market, not from an occasional passenger in the MDR asking the waiter for a 2nd pork chop.
  13. Also, there are 10% cancellation penalties on some tours if you wait to cancel until you are onboard and only a few days away from the tour. Some tours that involve aircraft, like helicopter tours, require many more days if you want to cancel and expect to get your money back. Yes, it is a gamble that the tour you booked online may be sold out when you board the ship. If you cancel, to get your cash back and re-book onboard, you will go to the bottom of the waiting list, and it may never clear.
  14. The Rotterdam used to do 7, 14, & 21 day cruises out of Tampa. The 14 day itinerary was Key West, San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Curacao, Aruba & Grand Cayman, then back to Tampa. A '"Circle Caribbean" cruise. The 7 day was Key West, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Maya Mexico. You could combine the 14 and 7 day into a B2B for a nice 21 day cruise with lots of relaxing sea days. We did that in March 2016 on the Rotterdam and it was great. There is a huge typical HAL demographic on the west coast of Florida, and Georgia, Alabama, and other southeastern states who hate travelling to the zoo of south Florida and Port Everglades.
  15. Only the R and S class ships still have DVD players and the DVD lending library. The Vista class and larger class ships have interactive TV's, with menu driven programming. If you select a movie on these new TV's and stop it part of the way through for dinner, when you return, you can resume the movie right where you left off. The movie selection is substantial, and categorized based on comedy, family, travel, drama, sci-fi, etc. There are also some live channels, BBC World service, Fox News, MSNBC, ESPN 1 and ESPN 2 and a special live events channel.
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