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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. I check our flights regularly on Flight Ease and the Delta website.  We booked through a TA who used Flight Ease for the air.   Our cruise is March-April 2019.   One Saturday in November I checked Flight Ease and my flights were missing.   I checked the Delta site and the flights were there, but showing they were having a schedule change.   I waited a few days and the flights came back on Flight Ease and were shown as 'Status Confirmed" on the Delta website.   So, this does happen.  And this was a month before final payment.  I had not yet paid for the cruise or air at that point.

  2. I just checked the drink menu prices on Roger Jett's site.   The dates were from May 2018.

    The martini prices in the Ocean Bar and Pool Bars were $8.50 and $8.75 for all types of martinis using call brands.  Only in the MIX Bar do they show the same and other martini prices all at $9.95.    How can HAL charge different prices for the same drink at different bars on the same ship ?   Especially when the price of the same drink is covered by the SBP in the Ocean Bar, but not covered in the Mix bar.   

    Also, in mixed drinks, the price of the base alcohol sets the price of the drink.   All Gin prices, including Bombay Sapphire are $7.75.   All Vodka prices except 2 are within the SBP limit.   A "Classic Martini in the Mix bar has Grey Goose Vodka and a splash of dry vermouth priced at $9.95.   A similar martini in the Ocean Bar with the same ingredients costs $8.50.   

  3. With the SBP  (Signature Beverage Package), you do not have to concern yourself about the 15% service charge.  You have already paid that when you purchased the package or received it as a perk under Explore-4.   The only number you have to watch is the base menu price of the drink.  If it is $9 or less, drink up and enjoy.


    I noticed in the list of Martinis, they show most of them as $9.95, which would price them out of the package.  We were on the Rotterdam in March, 2018 and we had many Dirty Martinis, Coffee martinis and Classic Martinis, and they all were included in the SBP's $9 limit.   I hope this is not true that most martinis are now above $9

  4. Unfortunately, politics and lobbying efforts play a significant part in the decision to rate a particular destination on the no-go list.   Tourism plays a significant part in the economy of a country.   But political pressure can determine the status level of a destination.   The cruise industry does considerable lobbying for destinations they need round out their itineraries.  

  5. 2 hours ago, teacherman said:

    We paid extra for the Explore 4 package.  It was my understanding that it was drinks priced $9.00 or less AND the 15% service charge was INCLUDED with the package.  Is that the way it works?

    Yes, you got it.   The only price you have to concern yourself with is the menu price for the drink.  The 15% service charge is covered by the SBP which is included in Explore-4.   If you actually purchase the SBP outright for $44.95 per day plus 15% SC, your total daily out-of-pocket is $51.70.   A typical cocktail, wine, beer is $7.50 plus 15%, or $8.66 if you pay as you go.  Divide $51.70 by $8.66 and you get 6 drinks.  The break-even point for the SBP is 6 beverages priced at $7.50.   After that, you are drinking free.   Even though HAL says that specialty coffees, soda and bottled water are included in your 15 drink daily limit, many posts on CC say that is not true.   Only alcoholic beverages count towards your 15 daily limit. 

  6. I order doubles every evening in the Ocean Bar on various HAL ships for the last 10 years, and usually with the SBP.  I have never been refused a double with the SBP.   Of course, the "double" was in the same glass, not 2 separate glasses for the same person.   I can see where they might get concerned about 2 separate glasses.   I sure hope this isn't a new, unwritten rule for the bar staff.   HAL needs to update the published rules for the SBP and EBP.   There seems to be a lot of questions about it and also individual ships have their own rules that Seattle knows nothing about.

  7. On 12/4/2018 at 2:40 AM, ArtsyCraftsy said:

    The US State Department website has an “International Travel” section where you look at country-specific info, including whether or not a Visa is required.  If a Visa us required, they direct you to the country’s embassy to obtain it.  Seems pretty simple to me.  Of course, this helps only travelers from the US, but that’s where I looked when I was getting ready for the Voyage of the Vikings last year, and when I started putting together all my docs for the upcoming Hawaii-Tahiti-Marquesas cruise coming up in March.


    Lana in Bellingham, WA

    We are on the Eurodam Hawaii, Tahiti, Marquesas cruise this March 9.   I checked and I didn't see any requirements for US citizens to enter French Polynesia, other than a regular passport.   Have you found something different for these ports ?

  8. The Rotterdam also has the old style, intimate Piano Bar, next to MIX.   It is a single piano, not the dueling pianos of the Billboard Onboard.   We were on the Rotterdam in March and the Piano Bar entertainer, Don Alexander, had his own sideman accompaniment and also a small alto sax that he played simultaneously with his left hand as he played the Piano with his right.  He also played a harmonica, Billy Joel style, along with the piano.  Very talented guy.  That type of variety is what I miss on the larger ships that have the Billboard Onboard venue.   Also, the very talented entertainer on the Rotterdam had applied to Billboard Corp to be one of the dual piano entertainers, but at age 58, he was rejected as being too old for the HAL ships.   Kind of makes you wonder what they were thinking.

  9. I always use the nylon cable ties, and carry spares in case TSA has to chop one off for inspection.  I usually have one bag inspected, and the little note is placed inside to tell me they were in there poking around.   I always carry a 12 ft long regular AC extension cord for my CPAP.   Not a plug strip, just a plain vanilla extension cord.   Because it is coiled up, that must attract the attention of TSA's X-ray and they open it.   

    A also don't carry valuables in my checked luggage.  But I secure the bag anyway with nylon ties.  I have seen too many partially open bags on the airport carousels with clothing hanging out.    

  10. 15 hours ago, AliceS said:

    OK...I booked one of these cabins.  Now I find out that there is no refrigerator.  One can rent one onboard?  Seriously?


    does Rotterdam have BBKing?  I really enjoyed those shows when on Holland.  On longer cruises...29 days...do they offer a laundry package?

    Yes, you can rent a mini-fridge for $2 per day.   Call Ship's Services and order it now, or contact the front desk when you are onboard.    

    There is no BB King Blues Club on the Rotterdam.  They have a piano bar, intimate style, not the new, huge Billboard Onboard dueling pianos.   It is right next to the Mix, which is a nice martini bar.

    The Rotterdam has the standard HAL laundry deals.   You can have stuff washed and pressed by the piece (most expensive), by the bag rate of $20 (or $30 in Europe), best deal), or unlimited laundry for $7 per day, per cabin.  Note, the rate of $7 is for the whole cabin, not per-person.   No matter which plan you choose,  you cannot use it on the last day of your cruise.   They usually get your laundered items back to you in under 24 hours, but that would not work on the day prior to your disembarkation.   Your clothes would show up on disembark morning and your bags would be long gone.   Pants, shirts, dresses all come back pressed and on hangers.  Small items like undies and socks are in tissue paper in a basket.   The $7 per day rate for unlimited laundry is for North America.  The rate is $9 per day in Europe.   If you call Ship's Services, you can pre-book and pay for the unlimited laundry package before boarding.

  11. 1 hour ago, terrydtx said:

    With all of the X4 promos that are booked they would have a huge law suit on their hands if they did away or modified the SBP over the next year. Plus there will probably be a lot more drunks cruising next year, which is not a good thing.

    Just because someone has purchased the SBP, or received it as part of Explore-4, doesn't automatically assume they are "Drunks".   Please do not apply your personal beverage choices and habits to everyone and accuse them of being "Drunks".

  12. We were on the Oosterdam in Nov/Dec 2016.   The ship was fully decorated right after the US Thanksgiving Holiday.  There was also non-religious (Rudolf, Frosty, etc)  Christmas music playing in the public areas.   However, this was a collector's cruise and for the last 7 days a large political group boarded.   They took over the MDR for late seating, and all of a sudden, the Christmas music stopped, and we were back to generic rock-n-roll in the public areas.   I don't think this was a coincidence. 

  13. When you screw up and fail to get the proper documentation for travel to countries that require passports to be valid for 6 months past your arrival or visa requirements,  and you run into problems, the first thing the person does is try to point blame to everyone else except themselves.   Big problem in the world today, no one takes responsibility for their own actions (or lack of actions).   The problem is always the cruise lines fault "they should have told me" or the country in question, or their TA, etc.   HAL clearly states that the passenger is totally responsible for proper documentation, but if you blow that off, and figure "I'll just wing it and see what happens", things will turn out very bad, and expensive.  If you are incapable of researching the required documents, then use a reputable travel agent.  That's why they earn their money.  Yes, HAL's agents shouldn't have boarded these people at embarkation, but this same type of argument would be happening, due to a news article "Cruise line boots passengers from boarding a luxury cruise".  The cruise line cannot win in this kind of situation.  If they deny boarding, they get blasted in the press.  If they allow boarding and later, boot them off, they get blasted by the press.

  14. The media does this all the time with Cruise incidents.   A perfect example is when a cruise passenger goes overboard.   The huge headline is "Another Cruise Ship Passenger FALLS Overboard".   That is exactly the definition of "Fake News".   When you read the news story,  the person was in some kind of domestic dispute,  drinking far too much, taking a "selfie" by sitting on the railing, etc.   No one "falls" overboard a cruise ship.  The railings come up to mid-chest for most sized people, so your center of gravity is far below the top of the railing.   

    And when a ship boots a passenger off a ship, 90% of the time it is because of the passenger failing to adhere to the clearly stated rules, or by improper behavior towards other passengers or crew members.   The cruise lines clearly know when they boot someone off the ship, there will be hell to pay in the press.  So they don't do this on the word of one officer or even the captain.  Discussions have been ongoing with corporate headquarters, and the line's lawyers have put their blessing on the plan.   

  15. We were on the Rotterdam in March 2018.   We had cabin Lanai #3376.

    There is a very heavy, sliding glass door going out to the Promenade Deck.  The glass is very thick which makes the door heavy.  It is held closed by a magnetic lock.  From the inside, you press a white button which releases the magnetic lock and you have a few seconds to slide the door open.  If you press the button to release the lock, and wait 5 or 10 seconds, it will re-lock.  From the outside, you are provided 2, unmarked proximity cards.  Just hold the prox card against the reader on the outside of your cabin and that will release the magnetic lock.   The doors are heavy, and, depending on the ship's motion,  the door may slide closed by itself.  So, if you run out of the cabin to check on a school of dolphins and forget your prox card or regular cabin key card, you better hope there is somebody in the cabin to open it for you.  

    I was also concerned about being able to see in from outside.  I checked.  It is impossible to see in through the mirror-like coating on the window and door in the daytime.  All you see is yourself, just like a mirror.   I also checked it at night.  I turned on every cabin light there was and went outside.  Standing a few feet from the glass door, I couldn't see anything.  If I pressed my nose right on the glass, I could barely make out the glow of the ceiling lights.  If my DW was walking around in the cabin, I could see a shadow pass in front of a light, but nothing of any detail.   

    So, you don't have to concern yourself about anyone peering through your Lanai cabin door.  But you most likely will still want to close your drapes, because the Promenade Deck is brightly lit all night, and the light shines into the cabin.  

    There are 2 wood lounge chairs right outside your Lanai cabin door.  There is a small sign on each chair specifying that these chairs are for the guests in the associated Lanai cabin.  (See pix below)


    We have found that occasionally, some people choose to ignore the signs or claim they can't read English.  There are soft pads on the chairs.  The pads are placed on the chairs right after they wash down the Promenade deck, around 6:30 AM.  They remove the pads around 8:00 PM each night.

    Noise was an issue in Lanai cabin #3376.  It is located directly under the dish washing section of the MDR Galley on the deck above.   We would hear some machines running around 6:00 AM, not too loud, but if you are a light sleeper, it may bother you.

    The Lanai cabin description on the HAL website says it comes with a "no-host minibar".   I asked Ship's Services on a chat what that meant, and he said "it is a refrigerator with snacks and drinks".   I thought he was wrong, and when we got on board, we found it was 2 bottles of water and some cans of soda, with a hanger tag showing the prices of these items.  No snacks.  And definitely no fridge.  And I have no idea where they would put a fridge in those cabins, there's no room under the desk, which is the normal location.

    We enjoyed the Lanai cabin and would book it again, just not one in that exact location.



  16. The old CC would load a cookie into your device for each thread or roll call that you have browsed through.  This cookie would make your browser turn the topic or thread  RED in color.  If you cleared your cookies, this RED flagging would go away until you browsed that thread again.  This made it very easy to scroll through the many topics and immediately pick out the ones that have shown an interest in.   

    The thread would be a normal Red after you have read the posts.  But later, if someone would add a new post to this thread, the Red title would be Bold.   

    This allowed you, at a glance, to see which threads you have interest in, and if there were any new posts.  

    If you did make a comment on the thread, there was a green arrow pointing to the thread title in addition to the Red color change and regular or bold font..   

    The new version of CC does put stars next to threads that you have posted a comment, but it does not have any way to quickly scan the list of threads to see the ones that you have browsed before.  They do "gray out" threads that you have read before, but only if there are no new posts to the thread.  Once a new post is entered, the thread title looks the same as all the others.


    Also, the Blue Dot that you can click on to take you to the first post that you have not read only works from outside the thread.  Once you enter the thread, and realize that you have already read part of the thread before, there is no "Click here to go to the first unread post", like there was on the old CC.   


    Just a few features that made browsing the threads easier and are missing in the new version of CC (unless I'm missing it).

  17. We have Canadian friends that we cruise with, and they always order a "Bloody Caesar" and 99% of the time, they do have the Clamato Juice to make it.

    The Wang Wang has 8 different types of alcohol in it.  Here's the ingredients 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 and let the games begin!


    And, amazingly, the drink is included in the Signature Beverage Package !!   

    But I still like an ice cold Heineken on draft.  Available in the Lido Bar, Seaview Bar, and the Gallery Bar.

  18. We find the SBP is well worth the money.  The break-even point is 6 drinks (beers, wines, cocktails) priced around $7.50 plus the 15% service charge.  After that you are drinking free.   We always take very long cruises with many sea days, so it definitely works out to be a big savings.

    I have a problem with some posts that categorize all people who purchase the SBP must be classified as "heavy or excessive" drinkers and should be attending the Bill W. meetings onboard.   Please do not judge others by your own personal standards.   

  19. As part of promotions from HAL, we ended up with the Signature Beverage Package and two, $25 beverage cards.   This seems like a redundancy.   Yes, we could combine them for a nice bottle of wine,  but is it possible to simply turn these 2 cards in at the front desk for a $50 credit to our cabin account ?

  20. In Europe, the unlimited laundry is $9 per day for the whole cabin (not per passenger), and in North America, the price is $7 per day.  I've never heard the reason for the higher price in Europe.    But I have heard that if you book unlimited laundry ahead of your European cruise, with Ship's services, you can get the $7 per day price, even for Europe.  If you wait to book when onboard, it will be $9 per day.   

    Also, the "by the bag" price in Europe is $30, while it is $20 in North America.   Still don't know why ??  The water is desalinated on the ship, the soap costs the same in Europe, the labor is the same as North America, so why the price difference.   Why does it cost $2 per day, or $10 per bag more to wash my socks and underwear in European waters ?


  21. You can get doubles (or triples) on the SBP.  No problem.  But a double will count as 2 drinks of your daily 15.   Just don't try to pour half of that double into a friend's glass who doesn't have the package.   The bartenders and waiters are aware of any drink sharing and the penalties are stiff.   You lose your package and there's no rebates on the unused days.   People scamming the system and sharing drinks is the reason why HAL (and other lines) require both in the cabin to purchase the same level of drink package. 

    And the special after dinner drinks where you keep the little glass are included in the SBP and count as one drink.

  22. Remember, you can't send out any laundry on the day before your disembarkation date.   So on a 7 day cruise, you can only send out laundry on days 1 through 5.   Day 6, the day before you disembark, laundry is not accepted.  HAL feels that they may not get the laundry back in time for you to pack that evening.

    This "last day" rule applies to any of the laundry plans.

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