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Everything posted by TAD2005

  1. I would guess that some people have HAL sheets, pillow cases, and towels at home. The big question would be IF they actually paid for them ?
  2. We do a mix, but only when booking the ship's tour is reasonable. On tours that involve overnight stays it is way cheaper to go privately. Next March we will be overnighting in Bora Bora on the Eurodam. We have always wanted to experience the overwater bungalows. The ship anchors at 8:00 AM on Saturday and doesn't leave until 11:00 PM Sunday, so there is plenty of time for a DIY. HAL offers an overwater bungalow at the Pearl Resort, including transfers and dinner for $1299.95 PER PERSON. I booked the same hotel, in a similar grade overwater bungalow for $765 for both of us. The hotel provides a free ferry service to their resort, and you get a free breakfast. Worst case, dinner for 2, including drinks, maybe $250, considering the high prices for everything in Bora Bora. So our out of pocket cost for this overnight will cost us $1015 for 2 people. Using HAL's shore excursion, we would spend $2600, for the same hotel, same quality room. Also, the HAL excursion forces you to leave the hotel at checkout time of 11:00 AM Sunday. With our privately arranged tour, we can stay at the hotel, using their facilities until the last ferry, which is around 5:30 PM. The ship doesn't leave anchor until 11:00 PM. HAL has a guarantee that if you can find a duplicate private tour that is cheaper that the HAL tour, they will refund your money plus extra. I wonder if my Pearl Resort tour would qualify ? Has anyone actually cashed in on the HAL tour guarantee ?
  3. As a 4-star mariner, we get a 50% discount on Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, Rudi's, or Canaletto and their fixed price fees. On the menus, for example, Pinnacle Grill, there are extra cost items, like the 12 oz lobster tail and the President's cut steak, which costs an extra $59, on top of the $35. My question is if the 50% discount applies to the whole check, including any extra items, or only the $35 fee. Would my total cost for Pinnacle Grill be $17.50 + $29.50 for the President's cut steak, or would my cost be $17.50 + $59.00 for the same steak. Do they discount the whole check or just the base entry fee ?
  4. We had 4174 on the Oosterdam and the cabin was great. Much deeper balcony, and the cabin was also bigger. You can tell by the distance between the side of the bed and the couch. We had about 5 ft of space between the left side of the bed and the couch. The balcony was big enough for 2 full size lounge chairs. We had only one, but we asked for a 2nd from our cabin steward and it was there the next day. Deck 4 stern balconies are mostly uncovered on the Vista class ships. The great part of deck 4 stern balconies is when you stand at your balcony railing and look down, all you see is prop-wash and water. You are at the extreme back of the ship, and there's nothing below you to look at except water. On decks 5, 6, 7 & 8, you are looking down on the balconies of the decks below you and lots of heads. We always try to get a deck 4 stern balcony.
  5. We usually select fixed dining, late seating. Months before the cruise we send an e-mail to the Ship's Coordinator for the specific ship we will be sailing in. We check a website HAL Facts dot com that has the table number layout for the MDR's for all HAL ships. We put together a list of at least 10 tables that we think we want. We send that table list to the Ship's coordinator 4 or 5 months out, and they will always confirm one of our selected tables for us. We print that confirmation and take it on the cruise, but our keycard is always pre-printed with one of our selected tables. Naturally, if you wait too long, you will be waitlisted.
  6. If you actually book a cruise onboard (not just a future cruise deposit for a to-be-announced cruise) you get double OBC that you normally would get. That same offer is extended to you after you get home (welcome home) for a period of 60 days from leaving the ship. If you book onboard, the "welcome home" OBC is applied just as if you waited to decide after you got home. That is standard HAL policy, no "razzle-dazzle". Just a way to encourage you to book another cruise while you are still in the "cruise mood". As long as you book a refundable fare, you can cancel or switch cruises any time up to final payment date. You are not locked into the cruise you picked while onboard. However, if you change your cruise length by a substantial amount or change cabin type, your OBC will change.
  7. The old LG flat screens are small, and analog only. The HAL supplied DVD player uses regular composite video (yellow jack) and analog audio (red & white jacks) for inputs. The remote supplied with the TV's does allow you to switch TV inputs from RF to composite video. So, connecting an external guest supplied device is easy, as long as it has analog outputs. The new 50" flat screens in veranda cabins are mounted very close to the wall, inside a shadow box. If you have a very skinny arm, you may be able to push an HDMI cable into the side mounted jacks. In some cabins, the TV's are, as specified above, are in a corner, allowing easier access to the HDMI jacks. As mentioned, the big problem is being able to switch the TV's inputs from Ethernet to HDMI. The supplied remotes do not have this ability. If you bring a universal remote and the list of codes for the TV's, you may be able to switch inputs.
  8. With the unlimited laundry service, there is no extra price for pressing. Everything comes back pressed and on hangers, except little items like underwear and socks. All for the $7 per day rate in North America, and $9 in Europe. We put a bag out before leaving our cabin in the morning, at the clothes are back late that day or the next morning. The "by-the-bag" plan of $20 per bag in North America and $30 in Europe works the same way, everything comes back pressed on hangers. There is a separate pressing-only service that is not covered by the unlimited package plan. For all laundry plans, you can't use it the day before disembarkation. The laundry job may not be returned to you by the time you get off the ship.
  9. Flight Ease is great for 2 specific reasons. First, if you need a one-way or open-jaw international, you get much better pricing than you would on your own. Second, domestic or international, when you book with Flight Ease, your fare is paid at the same time as your cruise final payment. If you have a regular, refundable fare with the cruise, you can cancel the cruise and air together, if something comes up, and you lose no money. If you book your air on your own, and you need to change or cancel, you get hit with change fees, and lost money on the air cancellation. Also, when you or your PCC or TA books your flights with Flight Ease, you get an airline record locator. You then log into the airline and you can choose or change your seat assignments and add your airline FF number. You check-in and print your airline boarding passes from the airline's website, not HAL's. No, you cannot use miles to upgrade to a higher class or purchase the initial flights.
  10. The last 3 HAL ships we were on (Rotterdam, Westerdam, Oosterdam) all have ATM's in the casinos. But they charge a pretty steep transaction fee. The better deal is to sit down at a slot machine, put your room card in, and request a few hundred $$$ from your room account. Do a few pulls of the one-armed-bandit, then cash out. You will get a ticket you can take to the casino cage and they will give you US $$$ cash. There is no transaction fee, no credit card fee, and the amount lands on your room account which you pay at the end of the cruise. Much better than ATM's onboard, cash advances at the front desk or ATM's on shore, unless you need Euros or another foreign currency. Than the best deal is the ATM's on shore.
  11. I don't see how the room service eggs could taste different from the MDR or Lido. They all come from the same kitchens. There are no separate kitchens onboard just for room service. The only exception is in the Lido, and if you specify real cracked eggs, which you can do. They have both pasteurized liquid eggs and real eggs onboard. You can specify real eggs in the Lido and they will get them for you. They have them readily at hand for the eggs benedict, sunny side up, and poached eggs. On very long cruises, they will fall back on the liquid eggs because the have a longer shelf life.
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