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Everything posted by TAD2005

  1. On most of the "premium" cruise lines, their per-day rate is considerably higher than HAL. Yes, they do include some extras that HAL charges for, but they charge enough that if they get a port charge increase from a particular port, they usually eat it instead of hitting the passengers. But in the reverse situation, where a port charge is reduced or eliminated, there is no credit given to the passengers. I guess they figure it all washes out in the end.
  2. The terms NV and BV are Dutch corporations. NV is a business license for a larger company. BV is for smaller companies. I am the IT manager for a small resort and a beach bar in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Both of these companies have NV after the corporate name.
  3. I don't care how low the fare is, I would NEVER buy a ticket from a company called Cheapoair. If you have a problem anywhere along the way, you have to deal with them, and not the airline.
  4. Posted or not, please be considerate of other passengers luggage and clothes. We have all seen how the gorillas handle the luggage in some ports, especially Ft. Lauderdale. They throw them into the steel cages and all other bags are thrown on top of your bag until the cage is full, possibly hundreds of pounds squashing your bag full of hot Coke cans which can burst and destroy everyone's clothes. Carry it on !!! Nothing ruins your cruise quicker than getting your luggage all sticky with somebody else's coke.
  5. Multiple CC members have asked "what genre of music are they performing" ? 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's, Rap, country..... please explain. It's hard to understand when people say "I didn't like it and walked out", or "I loved it and want to see it again". Provide some song titles, so we can determine what era they are performing. That would go a long way in letting people know what kind of show it was.
  6. The ship's crew (even Carnival) are well conditioned world travelers. Their job demands it. For some crazy reason, Carnival feels that changing time zones is too confusing for their clientele. But as Silver to Gold mentioned above, by not requiring passengers to adhere to local time, they open themselves up to a disaster at departure time.
  7. HAL's regulations require that you must hand carry all bottled water, wine and soda on with you, and NOT in your checked luggage. With a flat of cans of soda, there is too much of a chance that it can be squashed or punctured in the steel cages that your luggage is placed in, even if you pack it securely in a piece of luggage. Yes, you may have gotten away with it in the past, but all it takes is your luggage being on the bottom of the huge pile of bags in the steel cages they use to fork-lift luggage into the ship. If it gets squashed and a can of warm soda bursts, not only will your clothes be ruined, but so will all others who were unfortunate enough to have a bag under yours. The rules say carry it on. If that is too much trouble, then buy a beverage card.
  8. Yes, the amount you paid for your ticket doesn't disappear. You have 1 year to re-book on another flight somewhere. But, you will pay the airline change fee, usually $200 each way, plus the additional cost of the new flight if it exceeds the amount you have as credit with the airline. As far as using Consolidators for a one-way international, as Iancal suggested, they do work great until they either cancel or delay your departure at the last minute, or even worse, go totally out of business as many have done, stranding their passengers. If you miss your flight or connection, you are not protected as you are with a regular ticket. The fine print in many consolidator deals is that the flight, date, aircraft may change at any time. This is great if you are backpacking through Europe. But if you need to meet a cruise ship on a specific date, I would rather have a locked in flight using the cruise line.
  9. On "O" you pay for most things upfront, with the cruise fare (except alcohol), even if you don't use them. On HAL, you pay ala-carte, only paying for the items or services that you want. I would rather pay for the things I really want and value instead of paying for it all upfront and not using much of it.
  10. Booking your own tickets does give you full control. But trying to book a one-way international flight on your own will cost you double or more. Some people will book a round trip to save money and throw away the return. The airlines are getting wise to this tactic and can charge you for a one-way. Domestic flight prices are about the same as those booked on Flight Ease. The big advantage by booking with flight ease, (other than the huge savings on one-way international flights) is that you don't pay for the ticket until you also pay for the cruise, usually 75 days out, occasionally 90 days. If you book your own air, and your boss all of a sudden says you can't leave, or you develop a medical problem, you can cancel the cruise if you are outside final payment date, but you have to eat the self-booked air travel. If you do book your own air, make sure you also buy travel insurance that covers "cancel for any reason" or if your credit card for the air has a cancellation provision that doesn't require you to be dead to collect.
  11. Some cruise lines like Carnival feel that time changes confuse their passengers. I guess they don't give much credit to their passenger's intelligence. So, you are right, they stay on Florida time for the whole cruise, even into the Central time zone. That works OK if all you do is take ship's tours. But if you take a taxi or private tour, or just hit Carlos & Charlie's in Cozumel, the driver will be working on local time and you very easily miss the ship. If the All-Aboard time is 4:00 PM, on a Carnival ship that stays on Eastern time, but your taxi driver in Cozumel says "no problem, it's only 3:00 pm", you will be paying a huge amount of money to catch up with the ship in the next port. One consolation though.... you will have some fantastic pictures of your ship sailing away from the dock. HAL does it right, by coordinating ship time with local time. No chance for error.
  12. We also have had a rectangular hole pre-punched in the end our key-cards on the last 3 cruises.
  13. HAL has no control over the time displayed on your cell phone. That is supplied by the local cell service that you were last connected to. It is much better to rely on the cabin TV for the correct time and set your watch accordingly. The ship will depart based on the time you see on the TV, not your cell phone.
  14. HAL has a policy that cuts off guest laundry on the day before your disembarkation. They cannot guarantee that you will get your laundry back the same day, and you must have your bags out by midnight, they don't want the hassles of your left-over laundry items and you are leaving the ship.
  15. Whatever you do, don't book a HAL post cruise hotel. Their prices are horrible, because they charge you per-person, and the same hotel will charge you for the room. So, you effectively pay almost double. Once you get off the ship, there are porters and water taxis that will take you to your hotel. Many Venice hotels have their own docks and the water taxi pulls up to the dock, and you get off, and the hotel staff will take your luggage. No problem. Heading back to the Marco Polo airport, get another water taxi and they will drop you right at the airport terminal where you roll your bags to the checkin counter. Very easy.
  16. If you like a Wang Wang, (and can handle it), you might also enjoy a Zombie.
  17. We have had the hold drop off after 5 or 6 days. But the hold absolutely reduces the amount you can spend on your credit (or debit) card for the hold duration. The cruise line wants to determine that you have sufficient capacity on the card you have on file to cover the normal amount of spending on your cruise. However, if they place the $60 per day/per person hold on your card, ($30 per day/per person on cruises of 26 days and up), and then you go to the gift shop and buy a $5000 watch or put $5000 in chips in the casino on your cabin account, I'm sure HAL will do another quick "authorization hold" for this higher amount, just to make sure you have the funds available to cover these purchases.
  18. DW gets cuts and coloring on our cruises. She tells me that during the whole process she is constantly barraged with suggestions for extras that really jack up the price. That is the job of the stylist. After you book a cut and color, their job is to sell you on extras like nail treatment, pedicures, and additional services. You just have to specify that all you want is a cut and color. I think bringing your own coloring agent is similar to walking into a restaurant with a raw steak and some eggs and saying "here.... cook these for me". I seriously doubt that any discount is given if you provide your own coloring agents.
  19. I agree with Taxmantoo about the destruction of the great, intimate piano bar in the "Mix" and installing Billboard Onboard. The talent that Billboard Corp provides for their dual pianos is hit or miss. Many of the musicians have never worked together before they got on the ship for their contract. Some are able to work together and put on a good show, others not so much, and the stronger musician carries the weaker one. Unfortunately, this Billboard Onboard concept eliminates the possibility of passengers getting to experience such great piano bar showman like Barry from Boston. Talented musicians like him are not welcome in the Billboard group. Such a loss !! I have heard from a future cruise consultant onboard the Eurodam, that the smaller S and R class ships will have the large, wall mounted flat screen TV's in the suites, BUT..... they will still be the older 15 or so channels of TV, not the on-demand type system that is on the Vista class ships and larger. It's a wiring issue. The on-demand system requires an ethernet cable to be run to each TV from the control room where the video servers are located. That level of wiring is beyond the capability of a 2 week drydock, according to the FCC. If that is the case, then the new, larger wall mounted TV's will still have a DVD player connected, and the front desk DVD lending library will still be operational. If someone has been on a recently updated R or S class ship, and you had a 48" or larger flat screen TV mounted on the wall. let us know how the DVD's were handled. It the DVD player still mounted at the desk ? How many channels are there on the new TV's ?
  20. Easy. In all but the suites, just pre-purchase cabin credit on the HAL website in an amount close to the equivalent of $14.50 per day, per person and you will be all set. A 7 day cruise in an inside, ocean view, lanai or veranda cabin will cost $101.50 per person. So just pre-purchase $200 in cabin credits for 2 people and that will come close to covering it. If you have any HAL provided onboard credit, you can use that too. The only thing you can't use HAL provided OBC on is casino slots or chips and cash at the front desk. Those 2 items have to come from your cash or they are charged to your cabin account and you pay for it with the credit card you have on file when the cruise is over.
  21. Even better, why sit in a cabin looking out a window, when you can be sitting on the aft Lido deck in the fresh air, with lots of views and scenery, and you can be served ice-cold draft beer from the bar, instead of canned beer. Better views, and guaranteed cold beer, same price.
  22. We always book aft balcony cabins on deck 4, which is above the MDR. We have never had any noise issues from the MDR, which is a generally quiet place after 9:00 pm. The MDR is carpeted, and any noise from chairs moving would be transmitted to the deck below, not above, like deck 4. The only cabins you have to concern yourselves with for noise issues are the ones directly above or below BB-King Blues Club. Or cabins on deck 8 directly below the aft Lido deck pool area. If you have a choice of a deck 4 aft balcony and a deck 10 Juliet balcony, I would take the deck 4 balcony in a heartbeat.
  23. The ships that have the on-demand, interactive TV's (Vista class and larger) have 2 ESPN channels and a "special events" channel on the TV's. On the smaller ships, ( R and S class) they also offer ESPN channels. So, I'm pretty sure you will get your NFL "Fix" in the fall cruises. Unfortunately, the ships that did have a Sports Bar with lots of big screen TV's deleted them in order to make room for the Billboard Onboard dual pianos. But the Gallery Bar, behind the casinos have large screen TV's and lots of draft beer. The Gallery Bar has become the Sports Bar.
  24. We have booked the Rotterdam, Oct 3, 2020 from Rotterdam to Ft. Lauderdale. The Vista suite price is $6699 P/P while the Lanai cabin is $4499. Not double in this case, but the $2200 difference is not worth the double Mariner points, IMHO. We looked at a 28 day south Pacific cruise a couple of years ago. It was on the Maasdam. A Vista Suite was $9949 P/P. The Lanai cabin was $4899. We chose to wait until 2019 to do this cruise on the Eurodam, and we paid $5049 for a aft balcony (VB grade) including pre-paid gratuities values at $812 for 2 people. Another issue is on the Rotterdam, they consider a Lanai cabin as an Ocean View as far as OBC goes. When booking onboard with the FCC, Ocean View cabins get $200 P/P OBC while Veranda cabins get $300 P/P OBC. They have no allowances for Lanai cabins. They lump Lanai cabins into Ocean View when it comes to OBC. But Lanai cabins are $700 more expensive than Ocean Views.
  25. Our experience with the new balcony cabins installed on deck 10, behind the Crow's Nest is that they are very tiny balconies. DW calls them "Juliet Balconies", like you see in some European hotels. You can open the door and stand out there, but no real room to do anything like have breakfast or a few drinks. Check out Cruise Deck Plans dot com and see the pictures of the actual cabins with balconies. They are definitely smaller than a regular Vista class balcony.
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