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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. 1 hour ago, Cruiser Bruiser said:

    To make matters more confusing: the HAL website shows Noordam will receive Billboard Onboard in October 2020. That matches neither dry dock date. I'm trying to persuade friends to join me on Noordam in May. Having a few cosmetic updates in place would have been desirable.

    billboard onboard install.JPG

    We are on the Rotterdam in Oct 2020.  I saw the HAL "Ships at a Glance" chart which shows Billboard Onboard will be in place and performing by Dec 6, 2019.   But to totally gut the Mix area and install Billboard, it would take a week or 2 in drydock.   I checked with HAL's Ship Coordinator for the Rotterdam, Kelli Gould, and she said that there are no drydocks scheduled for the Rotterdam through the end of 2020.   

  2. 13 minutes ago, catl331 said:

    One gas station in our area would always put a $100 hold on our card which stayed until the actual charge was posted to the bank, often 2 days later. This didn't happen at other stations, so it wasn't our bank that was doing it. It annoyed me so much that we stopped buying gas there.

    That is annoying.   For some strange reason, that gas station or company is not doing the "settlement" on that day's transactions in a timely manner.   They delay the settlement for a few days, so the initial hold sits on your account until they run the settlement.

  3. The double asterisk ** refers to the entire paragraph.   Any kids under 18 years old must be supervised by an adult, so all of their onboard spending will go onto the adult's cabin account.   There is no credit card hold for kids under 18, but all of their purchases will go on the adult's card.  And, if your "under 18 year old" is a big time spender, HAL will add more hold amounts to the adult's credit card to make sure there is a sufficient reserve to pay the bill at the end..  

  4. The credit/debit card hold is $60 per person, per day for cruises from 1 to 25 days on HAL ships.  Cruises 26 days and up, the hold is $30 per person. per day.   We have used various credit cards for our past cruises, and the hold usually hits the night after your embarkation.   In all of our cruises, the hold has dropped off of the card by the 5th or 6th day.   The hold does reduce the total available credit on your card for as long as the hold is in place.

    Credit/Debit card holds are almost universal in a purchase where the actual total charge is unknown.   All the way from a simple gas station to a cruise.   When you slide your card into that gas pump, the station has no idea if you will be pumping $5 or $500 into your car/truck or boat.   So the station puts an authorization hold on your card for some crazy amount, to make sure you have sufficient funds on the card.   As soon as you put the nozzle back into the pump, the station knows exactly what your purchase is, so they drop the hold and charge the actual amount of gas pumped.   Very easy for a gas station.   But for something like a rental car, hotel or cruise, you can keep adding more and more items onto your account and your final balance is unknown.  So, to protect themselves, these companies put a guestimated hold on your card that the average person charges.   Cruise lines, in particular, were left holding the bag in years past, when people would pay their basic fare, with little or no reserve.   They would provide a credit card number, but when the cruise line hit the card after they left the ship, they would find that the charge was declined.   The unpaid balances were in the area of $500, so it was not worth going to court to collect it, but during college spring break season,  there would be a considerable number of unpaid balances.   To fix this, all cruise lines started the authorization hold process, or requiring an equivalent amount to be deposited in cash when you board the ship.   

  5. On 9/6/2019 at 8:14 AM, lesliew said:

    Thank you both for the replies.

    We will each bring on a bottle at embarkation and then check the selection.

    If it makes sense we'll purchase more while in Port.

    $7 a beer seems reasonable.  


    One other question, can you carry on water bottles or soft drinks?

    Thanks again.

    Yes, you can carry on as much water or soda as you can handle, in any port, but the key word here is "Carry" on.   You are not supposed to put any beverages in your luggage, or even wrap a 24 pack flat of sodas with duct tape and hand it to the porter.   The porters at cruise terminals are as bad as airline baggage handlers.   The bags are all stuffed into huge metal cages with hundreds of pounds of luggage on top of your bag.  That whole cage is fork-lifted into the hold of the ship and distributed to your cabin.   HAL x-rays every bag looking primarily for prohibited items, (knives, guns, drones), but they also pickup cans or bottles of liquid.   On the x-ray they can't tell if your six-pack wrapped in your underwear in your luggage is soda or beer.   And the bottles of liquid may be vodka or water.   So they have to set aside every bag with cans or bottles of liquid and page you to come and open your bag.   That could cause a huge delay getting luggage distributed, so HAL has a flat rule that anything can or bottle of beverage you bring must be carried on as part of your hand carry bags.

  6. The original post on this thread was about having Amazon deliver to a cruise ship.   Considering that there is no lobby on a cruise ship that is accessible by a delivery person, and the ship's agent is not in the business of handling deliveries for passengers, this cannot work.   Where would one stand outside the terminal waiting for an Amazon delivery ?   How long would you have to wait ?   Would port security even allow an Amazon delivery vehicle into the port ?

    Some comments on this thread talk about Amazon delivery working at the hotel before your cruise.  Yes, that would work out.  They would come into the lobby and ask the front desk to page the guest to the lobby to receive the shipment.   That would work, but not directly to the ship. 

  7. You can't beat the one-way international fares on Flight Ease.   We are flying one-way from Tampa to Amsterdam, business class.  The best fare I could get on many sites was $2300 to $3100.   The fare on Flight Ease is $1130 per person.   Domestic flights, do not have such a huge difference in price.   But domestic or international, the big advantage is you can get a confirmed reservation, with seat selection when you book, but you do not pay for the flight until you make your final cruise payment, usually 75 days out.   If you book directly with the airline, or a 3rd party booking company, you pay for the air when you reserve it.   If you have to cancel the cruise for any reason before the 75 day date, you get all of your cruise fare money back, but you will be stuck with the air ticket if you buy it on your own.  If you use HAL's Flight Ease, when you cancel the cruise, the air is also cancelled with no loss of money.

  8. On 9/2/2019 at 1:29 PM, GreenValleyDogWalker said:

    Hi - we are new to HAL - booked in a Neptune Suite - (Oosterdam) 

    We have requested "early dining" - couldn't figure out how to request a table for 2 (HAL web-site is certainly NOT the easiest to navigate !) -

    Anyway - I understand that the staff in the Neptune Lounge are most helpful - are they the ones we should ask to help us secure a nicely located, table for 2 each night ?

    Or ?? - should we go to someone on the dining staff when we embark

    Thank You !

    It sounds like you are asking for fixed dining, early seating, and a table for 2.   That is not anytime dining.   Your table for 2 will be ready and waiting for you every night of the cruise, and you will have the same wait staff every night.  No lines, no reservations needed.   We always do the same thing, but in late seating (sometimes called Mail Seating).   We get the e-mail address of the Ship's Coordinator for the ship we will be on.  Ship's Services can help you with this.   Go onto HAL Facts dot com, and checkout the PDF of the MDR, upper level for the Oosterdam.   Pick a list of 5 or 10 tables that will work for you.  The PDF has table numbers on it.  Send that list to the Oosterdam's Ship Coordinator about 3 to 5 months out, and you will almost always get one of the tables you select.

  9. 3 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

    OP, thank you for coming back for an update.


    Please, please, it's Bill W, not Billy W. Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization with a long history and deserves the respect of getting the way they name their meetings correct. 



    As for why the LGBT scheduling, ask the CD why they didn't schedule it every day. 



    On many cruises, the "Friends of Bill W Meet" meetings are well attended, so they are scheduled every day.  The LGBTQ meetings are initially scheduled daily, but if no one shows up, then they are cancelled for future dates unless requested.   They will not tie up a meeting room for one person or no persons.    You can't just look at the daily program and when these meetings are not scheduled, automatically assume that the ship is being "non-inclusive".   It's simply a matter of supply and demand.   If nobody comes, then no meetings.  If people complain, then they will schedule a room for the meeting.   If attendance is still one or zero, then they cancel again.

  10. It doesn't matter if it's stated policy or not, it's common sense.   Cases of soda, sitting in a soft-sided bag (one person suggested a Dollar Store zipper bag), placed in the huge steel cages that are used in most US ports to transport your luggage from the drop-off point to the hold of the ship, by fork lift, have hundreds of pounds of luggage in them.   You have plastic water bottles or flats of soda in your bag, being squashed under the hundreds of pounds of luggage.   What happens when one or more of those cans or bottles ruptures, spilling your precious, sticky soda all over your fellow passengers luggage ?   Nothing more annoying than getting your luggage in your cabin on embarkation day and your bag and clothes are soaked with water or sticky soda, just because you wanted to avoid having to hump it onboard in your carry-on bags.  If you want to avoid the cost of a Quench water & soda package or buying your sodas onboard, then you should carry it on, and not jeopardize other passengers luggage.  It's common sense and courtesy.

  11. 22 hours ago, DebbieMacG said:

    I think if I’d have been on that cruise I’d have been asking for the Christmas music to be switched off after two weeks, there only so much you can hear, I like it AT Christmas, the first two weeks of December not so much. 


    Thanks for the info 😀

    The generic holiday music was not continuous.  There was a Frosty the Snowman type of song interspersed between 5 or 6 contemporary rock-n-roll selections.   That was acceptable and not overbearing.   With the holiday decorations, it added a nice holiday touch to the cruise.   In the last week of the 21 day collector's cruise, all of the holiday music stopped.    

  12. All HAL ships have an air-conditioning/heating system that has a continuous air flow from the ceiling vent.   The setting of the thermostat on the wall will determine if that air flow is cool or warm.   There is no "Fan Off" switch like you have at home.   That constant flow keeps fresh air circulating through your cabin.   It's up to you if that circulating air is warm or cool.   And do NOT prop your cabin balcony or Lanai door open for some fresh sea air.   That will allow the humid sea air to be sucked into the cabin ventilation system and it will wipe out the cooling for many cabins in your area who are on the same system.    

  13. I always had a good laugh way back in the 80's and 90's when cruise directors were giving the stock standard speech to a show room full of guests who were about to disembark in a US port.   He would say "As you leave the ship and enter the terminal, you will see lines and lines of luggage.   You will also see US Customs agents with their drug sniffing dogs going up and down the lines of luggage.   If you see one of the dogs stop at your bag, you better hope and pray that the dog simply lifts his leg and pees, and moves on".    That was always good for a good laugh, especially on cruises returning from Jamaica.

  14. 99% of the time, you sail through immigration and customs with hardly a glance.   But there's always that one oddball time when they are doing random spot checks.   As you are leaving the customs area, the officer points at YOU, and waves you to the secondary inspection area.   That is when those extra undeclared bottles of alcohol, Cuban cigars, or pills in unmarked containers will come back and bite you in the arse.   The chances are 1000 to 1 that you will be selected for a secondary inspection, but it's always good to be prepared.

  15. 7 hours ago, DebbieMacG said:

    Thanks for your reply. HAL contacted me and told me they are all on late seating dinner, I’m not, so that won’t impact me, but of course would others, at the moment they have 230 booked. 


    We decided based on other feedback to just stick with our cruise and paid final payment yesterday, we are excited for our first HAL experience!

    We are not picky what people wear to dinner.   This Nations group insisted on wearing their magazine's plain logo $6 quality tee-shirts with no collars to dinner, even on Gala nights.   The maitre d' said he didn't want to offend such a large group by asking them to wear at least a collared shirt.   Also, this cruise was in the 2nd week of December.  There was non-religious Christmas music playing on the PA systems in the public areas, music like Frosty, Rudolph, etc for the first 14 days of this 21 day collector's Cruise.  It was not all holiday music, but intermixed.  The day after this group boarded the ship, the Christmas music stopped and was replaced by all generic rock-n-roll.   The front desk said they had some complaints, but we were on the ship for 14 days before this group boarded and no one complained.   A coincidence ????   Maybe, maybe not !! 

  16. 7 hours ago, JESSMANN said:

    I am also trying to figure out a good way to bring on soda for our cruise. My husband is a soda addict (5-8 cans/day) but l really don’t want to buy the drink package (even the soda one) for all 5 members of our family staying in our cabin.


    5 people (adults ???) in one cabin ???  I sure hope you are booked into the Pinnacle Suite !!   It's tough on a cruise with 3 adults sharing one small bathroom, forget about 5.

  17. All prescription bottles that I get have the full description, color, markings, shape of the pill inside.  That is to prevent people from bringing prescription bottles for one med, but with something completely different inside.   Some countries are very picky about any pain medication that are not over-the-counter.   

  18. On 8/31/2019 at 9:10 AM, DebbieMacG said:

    The second week of my 14 night Cruise on nieuw Statendam says there is a cruise for “the nation” (8-15 Dec) is this likely to be a big group that would have an impact on my cruise? Thanks

    We were on a similar cruise on the Oosterdam in late November 2016, and for the last week (it was a Collector's Cruise) the "Nation" group came onboard for 7 days, cruising to similar ports.   The Nation is the Nation Magazine, a liberal political group.  There were about 250 members on the ship.   They did have an impact on the MDR seating because they wanted all members to be sitting together, even in fixed dining on the 2nd level of the MDR.   Considering that this cruise was only a month after the 2016 presidential election, the mood of the group was rather somber.  

  19. On 8/30/2019 at 4:10 PM, zuzanna said:

    I'm on the Oosterdam  Sept 15, 2019 Seattle to Alaska cruise. I am in a Veranda balcony cabin and am sailing alone. I thought there were 2 drink packages for the ship, one for $50.00 and one for $100.00. I thought this covered the length of the cruise not per day. Its my first cruise so would appreciate some clarification on this.  Also is there a photographer on the ship that could help with pointers for taking photos in Glacier Bay?

    Thanks all for your help.


    There are 2 drink packages.   The regular Signature Beverage Package (SBP) and the Elite version.   The differences are the cost per day and the maximum drink price.   The SBP will cost you $51.70 per cruise day.  And you must purchase any drink package for the duration of the whole cruise.  You cannot pick and choose the days you want the package to be in effect.  The Elite package will cost $68.95 per day.  Both prices include the 15% service charge.  If you wait to buy the SBP when you get onboard, you can use your onboard cabin credit to help pay for the SBP,  but you will pay $10 per day more than if you bought it online before your cruise.   The daily price for the SBP purchased on the first day of your cruise is $63.20, including the 15% SC.   You pay the 15% service charge when you purchase the package, so you do not have to worry about that 15% when you are looking at the drink menus for prices.   As long as the menu price is under $11 for the SBP and under $15 for the Elite, you are covered.   You do not get receipts for your drinks and you do not have to sign for them.   You can request a receipt, but it does not show your cumulative total for the 15 alcoholic beverage daily count.  You must keep track of that yourself.   Water in 330 and 500 ml bottles are included, sodas in cans, specialty coffees also included.   Yes, draft beer is also included, but not the self-serve draft.   

    Wow !! an all inclusive drink package for $50 or $100 for a whole cruise ???   For that to be a reality, it would have to be a one-day cruise.

  20. 23 hours ago, HeinBloed said:


    Although they tell you it is "mirrored": when outside is dark and inside is illuminated, you could see every little details of your life in your cabin... So be sure to have the right "costumes" for a show with you. There are many people who are looking inside when you have the door open...


    If you have a tender boat you look always on the bottom of a tender boat:


    We have been on 2 different "R" class ships in Lanai cabins.   During the day it is impossible to see inside through the mirror coating on the door and window.  At night, with all cabin lights on, AND if you are pressing your nose on the sliding glass door from the outside, you may see some shadowy movement of people in the cabin.  But I doubt that there are too many perverts onboard that will try to peek into the Lanai cabins, or, for that matter, the OV cabins that have the same mirror coating on their windows.   

    You mention that "people look inside when the door is open".   Well what do you expect ?  If the sliding door is open, of course people can see inside, day or night.   But a more serious question, why do you leave an air conditioned cabin door open ?   You are killing the air conditioning for yourself and many cabins around you.  That open door sucks in warm, humid air and wipes out the ability of the AC system to cool your cabin and many cabins next to you, and above and below you.  Be considerate and do NOT prop open any cabin door, in a Lanai or any balcony cabin that has a door.

    When you choose your cruise cabin, do a little research.  Check Cruise Deck Plans dot com and look at pictures of similar cabins.   If you have a problem with a railing or the bottom of a lifeboat in your view, then pick an OV cabin, or spring for a Vista Suite.   Don't complain here about a choice you made and now regret it.  "Caveat Emptor", or "Buyer beware".

  21. When we have limited water supply due to hurricanes, we used the reliable old standard "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down".

    We have had many cruises that during the wee hours of the morning, you push the flush button and nothing happens.  Usually a few hours later, you hear a flush from the bathroom.  They are working on the vacuum system and that happens many times on cruises with new ships and old ships.   If you gotta go, then go, and when the water is back on, flush it.  No big deal, unless your REAL goal was to score some cabin credits by complaining.   But complaining on CC will not get you too far.  Try the front desk.   

  22. HAL has really screwed up on this one.   For years, the Explore-4 promotion, which was applicable for booking from Aug 1 to just before the US Thanksgiving holiday.  It included the SBP,  a PG dinner, reduced deposit, and lower fares for 3rd and 4th passengers in a cabin.   The last time Explore-4 was available was November 2018.

    The new promotion, which HAL screwed up by calling it Explore-4,  provides cabin credits based on your cabin grade and cruise length.  It also provides some specialty dinners and lower deposits, plus free premium internet in verandas and suites.   HAL should have come up with a different name for this promotion to eliminate the confusion we are seeing here.

    They did have a promotion called Early Booking Bonus (EBB) which was very successful, but it ended on June 30.  It provided the SBP and a PG dinner for no increase in cruise price, which was amazing.   I got a 29 day SBP valued at $1500 per person for no increase in price on my Oct 2020 cruise.   Some people have confused the EBB with Explore-4.   The present Explore-4, in my opinion, is a total dud, and not worth the additional cruise price.   However, if free drinks do not interest you, then the current Explore-4 might be interesting.   They just should have had their marketing people come up with a new name for the promotion.  

  23. 5 hours ago, Selion said:

    HAL noob here with 1st HAL cruise 9 months away (Memorial Day weekend 2020).  How far in advance should I book my flights?  It's domestic to Seattle.  I know I can cancel and rebook if I book flexible fares with HAL.  Anyone has a suggestion for the "Goldilock's Zone" for booking flights?

    The earliest you can book any flights is 330 days from your last flight, which could be after you disembark the ship, if you are flying home.   For domestic (US) flights, the prices start changing (going up or down) around 60 days out.  For international flights, 5 months is a good time to book.   Unless you are travelling to Europe in the summer.  Prices are very high from April to September for Europe.

  24. Any news on the Rotterdam dry-dock in December 2019 ?   On the current "HAL Ships at a Glance" chart, the Rotterdam is scheduled to have the "Mix" area renovated to include Billboard Onboard, eliminating the traditional Piano Bar in that area.  The HAL chart says that Billboard Onboard will be on the Rotterdam effective Dec 6, 2019.   But checking the Rotterdam cruise schedule from now to December, 2019, I don't see any gaps in the sailing schedule that would allow a large scale renovation like ripping out the entire "Mix" area, with both bars and adding the dueling pianos.

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