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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. Our experience with HAL cruises is that the $60 per person/per day ($30 per person/per day for cruises over 25 days) will fall off of your credit or debit card in 5 - 7 days.   But you still need to have the available balance on whatever card or combination of cards you provide when you board.   On the check-in process on the HAL website, you can use a separate card for each person in your cabin.

  2. 2 hours ago, catl331 said:

    p.s.  -  IMO $2000 is way too low a limit for cruising anyway. What if an emergency comes up and you have to fly home at last-minute ticket prices? Or you have an accident in some port and need to pay doctor and hospital bills? Or you miss the ship leaving some port and you need plane tickets and other expenses to catch up to the ship? $1160 (2000-840) won't go far.


    Agreed.  Even if you buy travel insurance from a 3rd party company, usually if you have a medical issue and must see a doctor either on the ship or on a land hospital, you must pay for the costs and wait to file a claim to get reimbursed from your insurance when you get home.  So you need a credit card with a decent amount of reserve to cover emergencies.   Yes, the hold is just that.... a hold on your credit card available balance.   The hold usually drops off in 5 - 7 days, but it does tie up your available balance.   

    And for the folks who say "I'm healthy, so who needs insurance",  there is the story of a young, healthy couple with a 14 year old boy who developed appendicitis while in a Caribbean port.  The ship was not equipped to perform this surgery, so they sent the couple and son to a local hospital.  The hospital demanded a credit card payment of over $4000 to do the surgery and recuperation.  Naturally, the ship left without the family, so they had to fly home on a very expensive, last minute, one-way ticket after spending a few days in a local hotel.  They were fortunate that they all had passports.  Otherwise, after the son was ready to fly, they would have the additional expense of applying for an emergency passport so they could fly home.   Birth certificates and driver's licenses of any type are useless if you have to fly home from outside the US.   Moral of the story, ALWAYS buy travel insurance and carry a valid passport, even for a quick cruise to the Bahamas.   I know I'll get flamed for the passport topic, but if you can afford to cruise, you can afford $13 a year for the cost of a 10 year passport.

  3. The cabin TV's on the Zuiderdam (and all updated ships) are mounted very close to the wall at the foot of your bed.  The wall mounting bracket is not movable, nor can you angle the TV out from the wall.   The HDMI jacks on those TV's are on the back, but are side mounted.  You would need a VERY skinny hand to be able to get an HDMI cable plugged into one of the jacks.  The normal input to those TV's is an ethernet cable (RJ-45).   So, if you were able to get your HDMI cable plugged into the TV, you still have the problem of switching the TV's input over to the HDMI input.  The remotes that HAL provides are special and do not allow input switching.   You would have to bring along a universal remote and program it for the codes for the particular TV in your cabin.   People have done it, but please remember to switch the TV back to ethernet before you disembark.   Or, much simpler, go and have a few drinks and forget about your personal movies.  HAL provides hundreds of titles that I'm sure you could find a few you will enjoy.

  4. I also prefer the on demand movies.  If you start watching a movie and stop it mid-stream for dinner, you can resume  where you left off. 

    The biggest problem I have experienced with the DVD lending library is that there is little or no enforcement of the return dates by the front desk.   You have a limited amount of time to watch the DVD and return it.  Many people ignore that time limit and return a load of DVD's at the end of the cruise, or they simply let the cabin steward return them after the guest has vacated the cabin on disembarkation day.   That is not fair to other passengers.   Many times, I make a list of titles from the movie book that I would like, and call the front desk.  After a long time, digging through a file cabinet of DVD's, they come back on the phone and apologize that none of my selections are available.  They were supposed to be returned, but the guests have not done so.   A good backup is to bring your own supply of DVD's and enjoy the encores.  

  5. We always select a table for 2 in late (main) seating.   Because there are much fewer 2-tops than other sized tables in the MDR, we always seek out the e-mail address for the ship's coordinator for the ship we will be on.  We use the MDR layouts with table numbers that are available on halfacts dot com, and select 10 tables that will work for us.  We send that request to the ship's coordinator around 4 or 5 months out from our cruise.  We have always received one of our top 3 selections.   The same will work for early seating, but it is more popular, so book early.   

    If you want anytime dining, you can only reserve tables outside of the busy hours which are 6:00 pm to 7:30, but those times vary on each ship.  If you show up and ask for a 2-top in the busy hours, you may get some delays depending on availability.   We love having the same waiter and assistant, our favorite rolls and drinks are waiting for us on the table, the waiters know how we like our food cooked, and they treat us very special because we will be with them most nights for the duration of the cruise.  If you really like the privacy of a 2-top, then why play games with anytime ?   Reserve a table in early or main fixed seating and you can just walk into the MDR and your table is waiting, no delays.

  6. HAL's largest (and newest) ship, the Nieuw Statendam is 935 ft long.  The Rotterdam is 780 ft long.  That 150 ft difference will not make any difference in the motion of the ship and the Rotterdam is definitely not a "very small ship".  We have been on 4 Trans-Atlantics on the Rotterdam, and we have a 5th booked in 2020.   The motion is negligible, unless you get into 20-30 ft seas.  Then there will be pitching up and down as the ship climbs over the swells.  But this happens on all ships, even the "monsters".   We have also cruised on the Windsurf, which is a 5 masted motor-sail ship with only 330 passengers, and that IS a "very small ship".  We did a trans-atlantic on that one and yes, you do feel a lot of motion when the seas are rough.   Pick a mid-ship cabin on a lower deck and you will be fine.   

  7. The last I heard from a Future Cruise Consultant onboard the Eurodam in March, the Rotterdam will have the larger flat screen TV's in the Vista suits and up, but they will still have the regular channels that the smaller ships have.   They will still have the DVD players and the book of titles available at the front desk.   The Lanai cabins, Ocean View and inside cabins will still have the smaller flat screen TV's at the small desk with a DVD player under it.   The FCC told me that the on-demand, interactive service requires an ethernet cable to be run to each cabin which and that was "too much work for the smaller ships while in drydock".   That answer makes no sense, because they did it during  drydock on all of the Vista class ships and they are larger and have more cabins.

  8. We had over $1000 in OBC, $800 from HAL and the rest paid by me.  We were on a 28 day cruise, so the hold is $30 per day, per person, ($60 per day/per person for cruises 25 days and under), and HAL still put a $840 per person hold on our credit card the day after sailing, for a total of $1680.   And we also pre-purchased the SBP for both of us, and we had prepaid hotel service charge (tips).   So, it doesn't seem to matter how much OBC you have if part of it was provided from HAL.   With our experience, the HAL credit card holds drop off within 5 to 7 days.   But you do need to have at least $60 per day/per person available on the card you provide to HAL, or post a cash deposit with the front desk in that amount.   When people do post a cash deposit in lieu of a credit card hold, I have heard that the front desk will work with you on the amount, if you do have the SBP and a lot of OBC.

  9. 10 minutes ago, Lovely other said:

    I love a wang wang or two in the evenings to get the party started 🎉 

    It's definitely a Party-Starter.   I also like a Zombie.   That is a real potent drink'

    It has 3 different types of rum.  I'm not sure if this would be considered a single drink under the SBP.  It may be a double.


    1.5 OZ RUM

    1.5 OZ RUM

    1 OZ RUM



    .5 OZ DONN'S MIX





  10. If you book the PG dinner online, you will have to pay the full $39 P/P (new rate as of June 2019).  When you board, check your onboard account on Navigator.  You should see a 50% Loyalty Credit if you are 4 star, but 5 star sometimes requires a trip to the front desk to get the charge reversed.

  11. I tried the Wang Wang on my last cruise.  It has 8 different types of alcohol.  But it goes down smoothly, and compared to other drinks, not overwhelming.   And it is 100% included in the Signature Beverage Package, just like a Long Island Ice tea and only counts as one drink in your daily 15 allotment..

    The recipe, courtesy of Copper 10-8

    1/4 oz Vodka

    1/4 oz Gin

    1/4 oz White Rum

    1/4 oz Scotch

    1/4 oz Bourbon

    1/4 oz Tequila

    1/4 Triple Sec

    1/4 oz Brandy

     Top it off with Pineapple and Orange Juice

     Add a splash of Grenadine

  12. On 6/26/2019 at 2:10 AM, caribill said:


    The person you tip is not one of the people who actually move your luggage to the ship/

    True, but they are the ones who stack your luggage into the steel cage.  And they really don't care if your bag is on the bottom of 100 other bags.   They just throw them into the cage.  Forklift operators move those steel cages to the ship's hold.

  13. 40 minutes ago, doone said:

    I received my signature beverage package as part of my early booking bonus.  Can I just call HAL a month or two before my sailing to upgrade or does it need to be done on the ship??

    As far as I know, it must be done on the ship.

  14. On 6/27/2019 at 8:33 PM, kazu said:



    You’ll be charged the full price of the drink plus the service charge.



    Bolding is mine - not quite.


    If the holder of the package orders a drink of $11 or less there is nothing added nor any charge to be paid.  The service charge is included in the package (and paid for). So your example of a $10 drink is non consequential


    It’s only when they go over the $11 limit that they need be concerned about the service charge/tip.  And, yes, if they go over, they are charged the full amount.

    If you have the SBP or Elite package, the only drink prices you need to worry about is $11 and under for SBP or $15 and under for Elite, and those prices are MENU prices.  Forget about the 15% SC, and leave your calculator back in the cabin.  You have already paid the 15% SC when you bought the package, and it is covered by HAL if you got it with Explore-4 or EBB.  An $11 drink with the SBP will not cost you a penny more.  A $12 drink with the SBP will cost you $12 plus 15%.   And that $12 drink will not count towards your daily 15 alcoholic drinks.  

  15. We got a full engine room tour back in 1998 on the Norwegian Crown.   We got to know the Chief Engineer, and he gave us a personal tour.  We were issued hearing protectors due to the deafening noise of the multiple diesel engines.   We did have to climb up and down metal stairs, and wear hardhats.   We also saw a few playmate calendars hanging around.  The whole area was very clean, not oily or greasy, and well air conditioned.   

  16. The cost of the upgrade from SBP to Elite depends on when and how you got the original SBP.   If you bought it before the cruise, online, you paid $44.95 per day.   If you wait to buy it on the ship, during the first day, you paid $54.95 (new price as of April 2019).  The Elite package costs $59.95 per day   All per day prices are plus 15% service charge, which you pay upfront, not on each drink.   The only drink price you have to concern yourself with is the menu price, either $11 and under for the SBP or $15 and under for the Elite.   Don't sweat the service charge, you have already paid it when you purchased the package, or it was included with a promotion like Explore-4 or Early Booking Bonus.

    To upgrade from SBP to Elite, you will have to pay the $10 per day if you bought the SBP online, or $5 per day if you bought it on the ship and quickly changed your mind    The $10 and $5 upgrade prices per day, are also plus 15%.

    If you got the SBP through Explore-4 or EBB, then the date of your booking will determine what you have to pay to upgrade and, as others have said, you may have to do some arm twisting to upgrade a promotional SBP..

  17. On 6/28/2019 at 1:14 AM, Alphen said:

    I have contacted HAL by mail (phone from outside US is not a real option), awaiting (any) reaction on their part.

    Setup a Skype account, deposit $10 or equivalent in your currency, and you can call any landline or cell phone in the US, Seattle.  I'm not sure which country you are in, but from the US, I can call any landline phone in Europe for 20 US cents a minute.

  18. 4 minutes ago, smurfgirl06 said:

    Perfect! Ours was booked as one Collector's Cruise, not a B2B.  Thanks!

    Love your screen name, Smurfgirl.  My daughter (now age 40) had the full collection of smurfs when she was around 7 or 8.   Big ones, little ones, the smurf village, Gargamel, his cat, etc.   I don't know if she passed those down to her kids, but they might be worth something, like the "Cabbage Patch Kids" are now, of which she had about 7.

  19. Our experience for multiple Collectors Cruises, (not B2B, totally different) is that you only have to attend a muster drill every 30 days.   HAL sends around a notice to passengers who are continuing on at the mid-point.   They will tell you about the 30 day rule, and occasionally provide you with a transit pass to get priority boarding if you happen to return to the ship in the middle of the boarding process of the passengers joining the ship at that port.

  20. Here is a screen shot of my onboard folio from the HAL Navigator concerning use of the HAL onboard credit.

    Date:    Location:    Charges:
    3/9/2019    Promo Credits(Not Valid For Casino Or Cash)    ($400.00)
    3/9/2019    Promo Credits(Not Valid For Casino Or Cash)    ($400.00)


    At least on the Eurodam last March, you could not tap your OBC for use in the casino.  You could buy chips at the casino cage (no fee) or load up a one-armed-bandit with cash, but that cash will come from the credit card you have on deposit.

  21. The stevedores at most ports are not know for their gentle treatment of passenger's luggage, no matter how much you tip them.   You luggage, along with everyone else's, goes into a huge steel cage that is loaded onto the ship by forklift.   If your Pepsi-laden bag happens to be near the bottom of the pile in the steel luggage cage, then you will have hundreds of pounds of bags on top of your's.   If the pressure is too great, your hot Pepsi cans will explode all over your clothes and any unfortunate passenger's bags below your's in the cage.   Carry it on, so you don't unintentionally cause other passengers to incur laundry fees on their first day.   Nothing like sticky sugary soda in your underwear !!

  22. I'm with Ruth.  We always have a few pre-dinner cocktails from 7:00 pm to dinner time at 8:00.   However, if HAL wants to cut into their beverage consumption revenue by forcing late seating diners to take in a show at 7:00 pm instead of paying money for drinks, then I would wonder what morons in Seattle are making these dumb decisions ?

  23. There is no pre-sailing discount for the SBP on HAL.   But there is a Post-Sailing penalty for booking the SBP onboard.   Like the Elite Beverage Package now, the SBP was always the same price, purchased online, before the cruise, or purchased on the ship, before January 2016.  After that date, HAL realized that many people were using their free, HAL provided onboard cabin credit to buy part or all of the SBP.   HAL would rather you use your free OBC to buy very high markup items like spa treatments, photo packages, and shore excursions.   They would rather you use your own money to buy the SBP online, which has a relatively lower markup than the other items.   It used to be a $5 per day penalty for waiting to buy onboard, but now, it is $10 per day.   

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