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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. 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.

  2. 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.   

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.   

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.   

  14. 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.

  15. 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.


  16. The airlines assume that if you are buying a one-way international ticket, then you are a business traveler whose company is paying the fare.  So the fares are through the roof.   HAL has contractual agreements with many airlines and they get very attractive one-way fares that you could never get booking by yourself.  And you have the added benefit of not having to pay for the ticket until final cruise payment, usually 75 to 90 days out.   

    Domestic round trip fares are about the same as you can get on your own.

  17. 3 hours ago, JeffElizabeth said:

    Our last voyage on the Prinsendam in June, we started having signal problems on the North Cape and never really got it back to normal, even near Amsterdam,  but maybe they just didn't want to invest in expensive repairs on a ship they had just sold. 

    Very possible.  The satellite antennas inside those white, ball shaped radomes on the top deck have motor-driven gimbals to keep the satellite antennas constantly aimed at a specific satellite in space.  They are supposed to track the satellite, even when the ship is pitching and rolling in heavy seas.   I have seen them in action with the radome cover removed.  Pretty amazing that they can keep a lock on a satellite in space with only a half a degree of error.   But if the tracking system was not working as it should, it would be an expensive repair job.  Possibly some bean counters in Seattle objected to the expense of a repair. 

  18. Docking on the mainland and transporting thousands of passengers to Venice will be no easy task.   Other ports mentioned above, like Rome and Florence have established mass transit systems in place to carry the thousands of people from the ports to the downtown cities.   Venice is a completely different animal.   There is only one bridge that takes you from the mainland to Venice.  Buses and rail service, but once you arrive in Venice, you still have the problem of moving the masses around, which has to be totally by small watercraft.  (water taxis and vaporettos).  By  Docking in the present locations, you can actually walk to St. Mark's Square and other locations.   Not possible when docking on the mainland.

  19. With late, fixed dining, you can take in a full Lincoln Center Stage performance, have a few pre-dinner cocktails, have dinner at 8:00, and then have plenty of time to make the 10:00 pm Main stage show, or the BB-King show, or the Billboard Onboard show.   That's why we love late seating fixed.   And with a reserved 2-top or a 4-top, depending on who we travel with, there's no issues of 7, 14, 21, or 28 nights of questions like "where are you from, where do you work, how many kids/grandkids do you have, how many cruise have you been on, etc etc.   

  20. On 1/21/2019 at 10:41 AM, mrmoviezombie said:

     Most airlines require you to actually pay HAL for the flights before you can use the locator code to pick seats or upgrades. 


    I have booked Flight Ease flights on Delta, American, British Airways, and Swiss, and as soon as I booked, months before final payment (and air payment) I was able to select seats and post my FF number.

  21. 30 minutes ago, JeffElizabeth said:

    I think you should be good as long as you stay near the coasts. Gyosychronous satellites.  Mid ocean tends to have limited live TV. 

    We were in the middle of the South Pacific, near Tahiti in March.  We had perfect TV reception of the regular set of channels that HAL provides.  Proximity to any US coastline will not have any effect, because the ships do not receive any terrestrial TV channels.  Only the package of satellite-delivered channels.   As you get much further north, near Alaska or close to the tip of South America, the satellite signals get weaker.  But in those cases, all channels start pixelating and have occasional dropout.   HAL's complement of TV channels are all received on a pair of digital transponders that include MSNBC, Fox News, BBC World service, 2 ESPN channels and a special channel for special events.  There are no regular US network TV channels like CBS, NBC, ABC, of FOX.   Just the news channels and ESPN.

  22. 23 hours ago, aledomom said:

    That’s not it. We weren’t onboard when we booked this cruise. We haven’t been on a cruise since May 2018. When I asked our PCC said we aren’t going to take this away when you are upgrading and giving us more money. 

    This should be a win-win-win for everybody.  HAL will sell an unsold suite for the going rate, HAL can then re-sell our Lanai cabin at $500 more than we paid for it, because there's only 3 left.  I get a Vista Suite with the same SBP that HAL is happy to give me with my $4500 Lanai cabin.   HAL gets $2000 more per person, resells my Lanai cabin at a higher price and i pay the going rate for a Vista suite.  Plus my TA make commission on $4000 higher cruise fare.

    Everybody wins.

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