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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. The SBP has always had the 15% SC included in the purchase price, if you buy it, or if it's included with a promotion, it is always included.  You never get hit with 15% service charges when you have the SBP.   And the current drink max cost is $11 MENU PRICE.   Do not start adding 15% to the menu drink prices to determine if they are included in the $11 limit.  The price you see on the drink menus will determine if the drink is included in the package.

  2. We had a Lanai cabin on the Rotterdam.   The sliding glass door has very thick panes of glass, much heavier than you would see on a regular balcony cabin higher up.   That heavy glass makes the door more difficult to slide open, but we never had a problem with it sliding closed by itself.   We definitely had to push it closed.   The door has a very strong magnetic lock that you push a button inside to release the magnet.   You have about 3 seconds to slide the door open before the magnetic lock re-energizes.  Same for the outside proximity lock release.   Your special lock release card (you are issued 2, and don't lose them) is a prox card.  You just hold it against the prox reader outside your cabin and you again have 3 seconds to start to slide open the door, or it will lock.

    The sliding door and window have a very heavy reflective film applied which prevents anyone on the outside from seeing into your cabin.  During the day, it's impossible to see anything.  At night, with all the cabin lights on and your nose pressed against the door from the outside, you can only make out the ceiling lights.  Anyone walking around the cabin are just shadows.   But you should still keep your drapes closed at night, because the promenade deck is well lighted all through the night.   Some people use the men's pants hangers with clips to hold the drapes completely closed, if you want total darkness for sleeping.   

    There is no fridge and there is little room to put one if you decide to rent one for $2 per day.   

    You have 2 reserved lounge chairs right outside your sliding glass door.   The pads on those chairs were removed around 9:00 pm and replaced at 6:00 AM to allow for hosing down of the deck during the night.

    On the Rotterdam, some of the Lanai cabins were under the kitchen sections of the MDR.  We did have a little noise from that in one of the Lanai cabins that were closer to the aft section.

    But we enjoyed the Lanai cabin and it's great for people who enjoy walking the decks.  

  3. 17 hours ago, c-cruise said:

    I don't mind the Lido pizza... the nice thing is you can just grab it and go. The NY Pizza is definitely better, but it can be painfully slow as well. Sometimes you just want to grab a quick slice and be on your way.

    The Lido pizza under the french fry lights and the taco bar near the Dive-In are one of the few self-serve food venues remaining on HAL ships.   Some people are just plain slobs and treat the self-serve venues like they do at home.   Grabbing pizza slices or taco shells with their hands, and if they aren't happy with their selection they put it back and take another.  I have seen people picking extra slices of pepperoni off of the other slices and putting it on their slice, using their hands.   Also a person at the taco bar taking a spoonful of sour cream with the serving spoon, dropping it on her plate, and licking off the spoon, and putting it back into the tub of sour cream.   That is why HAL is eliminating as many self-service stations as possible.   As Forest Gump said "You can't fix stupid", so HAL is trying to eliminate these places where people can be stupid.

  4. If everything goes on schedule, ship arrives on time, immigration officials are on time, no problems with luggage removal,  no strange immigration problems caused by an unusual number of non-US guests onboard, lots of available taxis, no shortage of TSA officials at the FLL airport, no breakdown of computers,  then a 10 AM flight could work.   But who needs that kind of stress after a great cruise.   And who wants to have the extra expense of missing the flight and maybe spending a night in a hotel somewhere on your routing back home ?

  5. If you have one of the VB-10XXX cabins on the observation deck, those cabins have "Juliette Balconies" which are very shallow, only 4 or 4.5 ft deep.   There is room for a couple of chairs and a table, but you must turn the chairs sideways if you want to stretch your feet out.   The cabin interiors are otherwise the same as other balcony cabins.

  6. 3 hours ago, Crew News said:


    No.  Only the larger HAL ships (Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Konigsdam, and Eurodam) have the NY PIzza. 

    And the Rotterdam has it, on the back deck, next to the SeaView Bar.   The NY Style pizza also has prepared salads, but the custom made salads in the Lido are better.   I guess they figure they must offer a "healthy alternative" to the fresh-made pizza just to keep the comments down.   

  7. 2 hours ago, taxmantoo said:

    We have noticed this happening many times in both the MDR and Specialty Restaurants at tables close to us. 

    We have our way of avoiding this.  When we sit down and the waiter approaches our table, we immediately inform him that we are not in a hurry and that we will be having wine (sometimes ours or sometimes theirs, does not matter) and that we will not order any food until our first glass of wine has been poured.  The wine attendant shows up at our table within 2-3 minutes after that... and they are both trained for the rest of the cruise 😉

    That's exactly the reason we always choose fixed, late seating dining, not anytime.   When we walk into the MDR, my ice tea is already there, our favorite rolls and butter, and DW's favorite glass of wine is on the table.  The waiter knows not to ask for our order until we're ready for the 2nd glass of wine.   So much better than anytime, IMHO.

  8. I checked into the HAL hotels and transfers.  The problem is that HAL charges PER-PERSON for the hotel.   I looked at a hotel in Venice.   HAL wanted $290 per person, per night for the hotel.  I could book the same hotel, same class room for 300 Euros per night for BOTH of us.  And that included breakfast.   HAL transfers are also priced per person, which is OK, but you can usually get a taxi and pay for the whole car which will hold 4 persons, and will end up being a much more personal service, and no waiting for the HAL bus to fill up.   At the very least, HAL should price their hotel rooms the same way the hotels price their rooms, one price for the room, not per person.

  9. I hope all HAL ships dump the Lido Market Pizza under the french fry lights, and adopt NY Style Pizza.   On one Westerdam cruise in 2017, I was waiting for a person in front of me to select some slices of pizza in the Lido market.  Obviously they were not happy with the quantity of pepperoni on the slice they took, so this person, using her fingers, was pulling slices of pepperoni off of the remaining slices and placing them on her slice.   Disgusting !!   I notified the HAL worker who was taking care of the Pasta Bar, which is next to the pizza pans, and he removed all the pizzas and trashed them.  I had to wait 20 minutes for another pizza to be brought out.   

  10. In the PG, you are not limited to the wines they have on the menu.  You can order any of the house wines, or anything you have seen elsewhere on the ship that is $11 or under.  

    And yes, you can order anything on the menu that does not have a surcharge, and it is included with your complementary PG dinner.

  11. We are also in our low 70's and we are mobile, but we will have luggage for a 29 day cruise.   So humping big bags, even with wheels would be a pain.   We also are considering a downtown hotel, because it is close to decent restaurants.   On a cruise from Venice on the Westerdam, we all shared a private water taxi from Marco Polo Airport direct to the private dock of our hotel.  The hotel staff pulled our bags from the boat and put them into our rooms.  Cost was 70 Euros per couple, or 140 for the whole boat.   We will probably do the same thing and share a private car from Schiphol to the hotel.

    Thanks for all the input.

  12. The NY Style Pizza is way better than the pizza under the french fry lights in the Lido market on the Vista class ships.  We have really enjoyed NY Style Pizza on the Eurodam and Rotterdam.   Each one is custom made to your order.  You can select the toppings you want, the bake of the crust, extra anything, and yes, you can split one half-n-half with different toppings on each side.  The pizzas are about 10" in diameter, just enough for one person.   I also have seen people getting a small bowl of some special toppings in the salad bar section of the Lido, and giving that to the NY Style Pizza attendant and he will put those on your custom pizza.   On both the Rotterdam and the Eurodam, the Sea View Bar also has ice-cold draft beer, which is a requirement to go along with a tasty pizza.

  13. I have seen the washing machines they use in the laundry.  They are huge.   So I don't think that if you send all whites one day and colors the next will make much of a difference.   They put many bags of laundry in the machine at the same time.  That's why you have those little stickers on your larger pieces, showing cabin number.   For smaller items like underwear and socks, they put those into a mesh bag, but still in with other clothes.   They do honor your requests for cool water, and they try to keep whites and colors separated.

  14. We will be flying from the US to Amsterdam Schiphol, but cruising out of Rotterdam.   We will be staying in a Rotterdam hotel (not yet selected), for 2 or 3 days before our Oct 3, 2020 cruise on the Rotterdam for 29 days.   

    What is the best transportation from Schiphol to a downtown Rotterdam hotel ?   There will be 4 of us.

    We are considering  staying in the SS Rotterdam Hotel, which is the old HAL cruise ship which is now a museum and hotel.

    But the main concern is decent transportation from Schiphol to Rotterdam.

  15. The muster drill can never be at 6:00 pm.   It would totally foul up the early seating dinners and also right in the middle of the most popular time in anytime dining.   Hundreds of passengers would be missing their dinners, and going to Anytime and the Lido.   HAL will always schedule it before dinner hours.  Even later in the evening, for a 11:00 PM sailaway,  with a muster drill at 9:00 pm, you would still impact late seating diners, and the Main Stage show times.

  16. 59 minutes ago, CRZR58 said:

    Whatever it costs to get on board should be included in the price including Gratuities, Port Taxes and Fees. I really don't care how the cruise line breaks those things out. They all come out of my pocket.

    Do you feel the same way about the airlines ?   You pay a basic fare that includes all taxes, just like the cruise lines do.   But when you get to the airport, you have to pay extra for your checked bags, and even for your carry-ons for some budget carriers.  If you want to select your seat, you pay extra,  if you want early boarding, you pay extra, if you want a drink or a snack, you pay extra.   The airlines are making billions doing that and will never stop.   

    Even hotels zap you with "surprise"  usage fees when you check-in, most of which you don't want or use.  

    I'm not justifying the cruise lines doing this by referencing the airlines and hotels.  I'm just saying that this is standard marketing practice in the travel industry.   If you want all inclusive cruising, then there are luxury lines that will cost you $500 to $600 per day, but everything is included, including drinks.   But what of you don't drink ?  Will those luxury lines reduce your fare?   Not a chance.   

  17. No, transfers are extra.

    Yes, with Flight Ease you are protected.  But if your flight is delayed and there are only a few people on that flight who will be on the ship, there is a possibility that the ship will leave without you.   If you are the only people on the flight that are cruising, and you are more than an hour or two late, you can almost guarantee that the ship will leave without you.   Yes, HAL will pay for a hotel and airfare to get you to the next port, but what if you have a few days at sea before the next port.   You lose all of that time on the ship and you get no compensation because the delayed flight was not the fault of the cruise line.   If at all possible, arrive the day before.   You can never guarantee the airlines will perform on schedule.

  18. 1 hour ago, ChinaShrek said:


    What if I never sent out laundry?  What if I never went to the pool? Why tip people who have done nothing for me?  As for the lido,  I am also waiting on myself, so I expect a tip as well.  

    Please ignore ChinaShrek.  This member always posts idiotic comments like this to intentionally troll CC members, and gets his/her jolly's off reading the outrage responses.  The best you can do is ignore him/her and he/she will go away.

  19. On Celebrity, their premium package is $70 per day plus 15% and you get drinks priced up to $15.

    Their Classic package costs $60 per day plus 15% SC, and your drink limit is $9.   

    Compare that to HAL's package prices of $59 Premium with a $15 limit, and $45 regular with a $11 limit, both prices plus 15% SC.

    For the prices that Celebrity charges, they can easily afford to allow you to "pay the difference" when you go over the per-drink limit.

  20. The regular drink package has a max drink price of $11.  The Elite package has a max price of $15.

    The regular package (SBP) costs $44.95 per day plus 15% service charge IF you buy it online before the cruise.  If you wait to buy it onboard, it will cost $54.95 per day plus 15%.  The Elite package is $59.95 per day plus 15% and it doesn't matter if you buy it onboard or online.    Because each package includes the prepaid 15% service charge in the purchase price, you only have to check the bar menus for the base price of the drink.   If you do buy a drink that exceeds $11 or $15, depending in your package, you pay the full amount plus 15%.  You cannot pay the difference.  

    You do not pay for the mixer or add-on alcohol.  For example, a Black Russian is priced by the brand of Vodka you ask for.  The Kahlua is no extra cost.  You can even get a Long Island Ice Tea or a Wang Wang with 5 or 6 different types of alcohol and it is covered by the SBP as ONE drink.  You can order doubles with no problem, but it does count as 2 of your daily 15 alcoholic beverages.   You also have unlimited sodas, 500 ML bottles of water, specialty coffees, etc.

    Just about every call brand of alcohol is included in the regular package.  If you are a wine snob and want a better selection, you should go for the Elite package.  Also, the very expensive VSOP cognac will cost over the $11 price.  

    Go to a website roger jett photography.  He has the latest drink menus for HAL.

    With the SBP, you generally will break even after 5 drinks costing $8.50, which is the average price.  Naturally, beers are cheaper.   

  21. My DW's name is Theresa which is on her passport.  Many years ago, she booked a cruise using Terry, and the cruise line accepted it (Cunard when it was not part of Carnival).  When we arrived in Russia, she had a horrible time clearing Russian immigration in St.Petersburg.   It took a special room and about 45 minutes to convince a very stern immigration agent that Terry is a nickname.   Cunard, surprisingly, had no problem with the discrepancy.    But just to make sure there's no issues, make sure the booking name matches exactly the name on the passport.

  22. You can purchase either of the 3 plans on a per-day basis (most expensive) or for the whole cruise.   We had the Surf plan for a 28 day South Pacific cruise last March and it cost $259.99 purchased onboard.  You can not purchase the Social Media and Surf plans online, before your cruise.  HAL only has that option for the Premium plan and there is usually a small discount for using your own money to buy it instead of using the free, HAL provided cabin credit and buying it onboard.


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