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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. The Princess Medallion (and other similar programs) are advertised to be benefiting the passenger.   Yes, maybe a small part of it does.  But there is no free lunch.   It primarily is a marketing tool to track you all over the ship.   They want to know how much time you spend in the shops, bars, and other places on the ship.   

    I have heard that some Princess passengers put their Medallion (an RFID device) into a empty potato chip bag (the foil type) to block the tracking.    

  2. On the ships that have the 50" flat screen TV's that are interactive, it is very difficult to access any of the jacks on the rear of the TV.   The new TV's are connected to the ship's servers by ethernet not coaxial cable.   There are external jacks on the rear of the TV, but because they are mounted so close to the wall, it is very tough to get your hand behind the TV to plug in any external cables.  Also the remote controls HAL provides do not allow switching of the TV's inputs.   The only way to do that is to bring a universal remote, and program it to the type of TV installed.   

    The old small flat screen TV's on the smaller ships were strictly analog inputs, and the remotes allowed input switching.

  3. I have used the highest level for Skype.  I have never had any bad connections, even in the middle of the Atlantic.  However, these Skype calls were audio calls,  not Skype video calls.   HAL implies that the highest (premium) level is required to use Skype, but I have never tried it with the "Surf" level.   Skype uses specific port numbers for its connections, and Carnival's servers may block the initial port numbers that Skype uses, or it is blocked onboard,  based on the level of plan you purchase.   I also have used a private VPN with the premium level and it worked fine.

  4. We booked a R/T to San Diego for our March 9, 2019 Eurodam cruise.   We got a decent first class fare using our TA and Flight Ease.   We immediately got the airline record locator number, and the flights show on the airline's web site.  We were able to select our seats and enter our FF numbers.   The airline site shows the tickets are confirmed.   The HAL Flight Ease part of their website shows the flights, the fares, and that the airfare is due on final payment date, which is Dec 9, along with the full cruise fare.   

    We got an e-mail from our TA, telling us that even though the air fare was not due until Dec 9, it would be "safer" to pay the airfare now, to protect against cancellation and price increases.   I have never received a notice like that before, and I have used Flight Ease multiple times.   If HAL is guaranteeing the "Flexible Fare" air fare and it is not due until cruise payment date, why would my TA be hitting me up for payment now ?   If I pay now, and I have to cancel for some reason between now and final cruise payment date, I will be out the air fare.   Is my TA somehow looking for an early payment to bolster maybe a slow cruise month, and be able to show income ?

    I'm not paying until final payment date, and I have told my TA that.  She has not responded.  Other posts here on CC have said that people have never seen an airfare price increase after HAL has booked it.  The HAL Flight Ease site shows our fare as "Flexible Fare", payment due Dec 9.

  5. When you connect to a HAL ship's internet, and run iplocation.net, you will see that you are connected to Carnival Corp. in Miami.   So, no matter where you are in the world,  your computer thinks it is in Miami.   If you attach to a VPN from there, your computer/tablet/phone will think it is in the state/country where your VPN is located.   I do IT work for a small resort in St. Maarten, and I have a VPN to there.   I have connected to it using the premium level of HAL's 3 tier internet.  I have not tried it with the other 2 levels.

  6. The ship loves it when you order the 16th beverage for the day.  They won't say a word (unless you ask them) because it would be another 15% service charge for the bar staff.   

    I have come very close to 15, but that was back when they counted water, sodas, and specialty coffees in the 15 count.  I have heard that, depending on the ship,  they are not counting water, sodas and coffees in the 15 per day count.   

    I am not a stumbling, fall-down drunk, but with bottles of water and coffees, I have come close to 15.  I get a little perturbed when people apply their own personal beverage standards to everyone else and when you exceed 2 drinks per day, you should be forced into the Bill W. meetings on board. 

  7. I would think that you can still load up a slot machine with maybe $200, do a few pulls of the one-armed-bandit, and cash out, which puts the remaining funds on your casino account.  If you then go to the casino cage and present your key card to cash out, they will give you whatever is left of your original $200.   That $200 will be charged to your cabin account, and if you have either TA credit (which is cash) or your own, pre-purchased credit, it will come from that, not the HAL provided OBC.    If you have only HAL provided OBC, then that $200 will be charged to your credit card.

    This is a convoluted way to get spending cash, but it still does not have the 3% handling fee that is charged if you go to the front desk to get your $200.    I think HAL just wants to prevent you from using their free OBC for cash,  They are happy to let you use it for drink packages, Spa, HSC, shore excursions, etc.

  8. We were on the Rotterdam from Tampa, on a B2B, passing through Tampa again for the 2nd segment.   It seems that US ports require a ship to go down to "zero count" when there is a B2B or collectors cruise when the mid-point is a US port.  We had to leave the ship, and hang out in the terminal until everybody got the message and left the ship.  Then, after 45 minutes we were able to board again.   People who took tours in Tampa were already off the ship, but we live near Tampa, so we just got back on after the wait for the "zero count".

  9. On the Rotterdam, and other similar ships in the fleet, the Lanai cabins have a very heavy, sliding glass door opening out onto the promenade deck.   The glass is very thick and the door is very heavy.  The doors are held shut by magnetic locks, that you use a button on the inside to open and a swipe of a proximity card from the outside to open.  All pictures in HAL cabins are securely fastened to the walls in multiple places, so I doubt they would "rattle"  when another cabin door would slam shut.   The regular veranda cabin doors have a closer, preventing them from slamming, unless there are very high winds. 

  10. We were able to purchase Euros at the front desk on the Westerdam in October 2017.   The exchange rate was not great,  so any further Euros we needed were obtained from the ATM's (Bank-O-Mats) found in the towns on shore.  Much better rates.

    The worse thing you can do is try to sell excess Euros back to the ship to pay down your onboard account.   We tried that, because we had about 240 excess Euros and no European cruises booked in the future.  So we figured we would use them to pay down the small balance we had.  When we saw the exchange rate we got, we said "thanks, but no thanks", and let HAL put the small balance onto our credit card.   

  11. That increase in price sounds like the bump in price due to Explore-4.   The Signature Beverage Package (SBP) is $51.70 per day, per person, including the 15% service charge.   So, a 10 day cruise for 2 persons with Explore-4 added on would cost an extra $1020.   As other have said, there is no free lunch.   When Explore-4 is added to a cruise, most times, the price increases by approximately $50 per day/per person.    You should ask your TA or PCC to price this cruise without the Explore-4 promotion.    If this is an very port intensive cruise, a port every day, then the SBP may not pay for itself anyway.   Other than the SBP, Explore-4 only provides a Pinnacle Grill dinner and reduced fares for 3rd/4th passengers in the cabin.   95% of Explore-4 is the SBP. 

  12. Yes, you can do a write-in on the in-room breakfast card.  I would say that 90% of what we have for breakfast in our room is a write-in.   As long as it is available in the MDR or Lido, you can get it delivered to your room for no charge.  There are some extra tariff items on the breakfast card, such as Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and steaks.  The regular eggs benedict with Canadian bacon is free.   In many years of cruising, we have never has any write-in item rejected.   Be sure to tip a dollar or Euro to the guy who delivers your food tray, because he has to look at  you right out of bed, and in my case, that deserves a nice tip.

  13. The ZPM/ZPN promotion is effectively the same as if you booked a future cruise with the Future Cruise Consultant, while onboard.   You get the same benefits as long as you book and deposit a cruise within 60 days of disembarking the ship.   We had booked a cruise while onboard, paid the deposit, got home, cancelled that cruise and re-booked another cruise all withing 60 days, and we still got the double cabin credits and reduced deposit applied to the new cruise.

  14. HAL is trying to encourage younger, not-yet retired people to cruise with them.  People who are still working, (unless you are a CEO) do not have the luxury of the free time to be able to take longer cruises multiple times per year.   Loyalty programs like Mariner, attract and keep people coming back.   But if the 4-star level, which is where the benefits really kick in, were at 500 or higher days, that would discourage many from even trying.    Keeping the target at level where the average customer could achieve in a few years will encourage repeat business, which is what loyalty programs are all about.  

  15. The default font is way too fine.  Needs a bolder font.   If I manually bold my font, it is better, but that should be defaulted.   The light blue that CC uses for prompts is even more difficult to read. 

    Also  I can't find any indication on a topic that indicates which ones I have contributed a comment.  There used to be a little green arrow next to the topic name that indicated you have made a comment in the past.

    Also, within some posts, the HTML font formatting characters are showing up within the message.  Here is an example from one of krazy kruzers posts:

    FONT=Comic Sans MS]The Amsterdam is an R class ship. Her Explorations Cafe is on the Upper Promenade Deck -- Deck 5.[/FONT]



  16. Bombay and Sapphire is included in the regular $44.95 per day (plus 15% service charge) package. Unless you want VSOP liquors or a better selection of wines, you will be happy with the regular package. The regular package is $44.95 per day, and the elite package is $54.95 per day, both plus 15% SC. However if you purchase the SBP onboard, and then quickly change your mind to go with the elite package, it will cost you $10 per day extra, plus 15%. If you got the SBP with Explore-4, then HAL will value the package at $44.95 per day, and to upgrade it, you will have to pay $10 per day plus 15%. But study the drink menu prices from Roger Jett photography before you rush to upgrade, you may decide it's not worth it.

    Also, based on a $51.70 per day cost ($44.95 +15%) of the SBP, your break-even point is 6 drinks, based on a menu price of $7.95 for a typical mixed drink. Check the menus, do the math, and make your decisions.

  17. We were on the Westerdam 25 days Venice to FLL, in October/November 2017 and they had 3 levels of unlimited internet. On the 12 day segment from Venice to Rome, the Social Media package was around $95, the middle level which allows e-mail, banking and web browsing was $149 and the Premium package which includes streaming and VOIP phone calls like Skype was $199. The Westerdam has abandoned the by-the-minute plans, and gone to the 3 unlimited plans. It is still the same today, and the Eurodam, which we will be on next March also has the unlimited plans.

  18. Another casualty of non-paying insurance companies is Orient Beach Club on the French side of St. Martin. They have received their insurance payout for loss of revenue, but they only operate the resort with their employees. The Copropriété (Copro) which owns the land on which Club Orient is built and is similar to an HOA is responsible for the vast majority of structures. Copro has still not received any payments from the insurance company, but the French government has a policy that the resort ( OBC) must pay their out-of-work employees 85% of their salaries, even if the resort was totally destroyed, which is was. OBC has met that responsibility for over a year, in the anticipation that the insurance funding would allow them to rebuild. The insurance company is still refusing to pay Copro, and OBC cannot afford to continue to pay 85% salaries with zero income, so they have filed with a liquidator and will go bankrupt. No more Orient Beach Club. See Club Orient Facebook, details of closure, dated Oct 4, 2018.

  19. If you want to get a glimpse of the port you can find the PTZtv webcam here. PTZtv has two other webcams on the island.




    There's another live streaming webcam looking full time at the port and Great Bay.


    This small resort is located near the west end of Great Bay beach, closer to the now destroyed Sonesta Great Bay hotel and casino, and Divi Little Bay resort.

  20. On a trans-Atlantic from Cadiz to FLL, we had 27-30 ft seas until we reached the Azores. It was early November on the Zuiderdam. There was a storm north of us in the Bay of Biscay. We were in cabin 6006, close to the bow. We had some pitching up and down, and you had to hang onto the railings walking to dinner. But we certainly were not "bouncing". And the term is "Swells" not Swales. There is a slow pitching up and then down if you are in forward or aft cabins. Very slow pitching, as the ship climbs over each swell. We find the rocking very relaxing, certainly not annoying or violent. The OP must be trying to associate rough seas on a ship with turbulence in a jet. Yes, in a jet caught in turbulence, you will bounce up and down. But in a jet, you are blasting through the air at 500+ MPH, while a cruise ship moves up and over the swells at a leisurely 18 knots. No bouncing !!

  21. There is no advantage buying the beverage package on the 2nd day. It is not pro-rated, but you will have to negotiate with the front desk to get your first day drinks reversed. But remember, if you buy the SBP onboard, you pay a $5 per day penalty, ($44.95 per day, vs $49.95, both prices plus 15%). If you intend to buy it, you should purchase it online, before your cruise and save $5 per day, per person. If your intent is to purchase onboard to utilize some of your free HAL provided cabin credits, then you will pay the $5 per day penalty. Hal would rather you use your own money to purchase the package online, because the markup for alcohol onboard is much lower than other onboard purchased items like Spa treatments, Art purchases, and shore excursions.

  22. We have used Flight Ease for many cruises, and the airlines involved were United, British Airways, Swiss, Delta, American. As soon as the flights were booked through Flight Ease, we were given the airline record locator number. We could go onto the airline's website and select seats, add our frequent flier numbers, and when the time was right, usually 24 hours before the flight, we could check-in. In all cases, the reservation was made 6 months or earlier before the flight, and payment for the flight was tied to the final payment for the cruise. Same date, usually 75 days out. Anytime before final payment, we could change our flights, or cancel them with no penalties. We have never had the airfare go up, but if you change a flight before final payment, you do pay the current rate, which may be more or less than originally booked.

  23. If you cancel an online booked tour, more than 3 days before the cruise, the refund will go back on your credit card. If you cancel it under 3 days, the refund will go onto your cabin account, MINUS 10% short cancellation fee. This 10% is to discourage you from doing exactly what you propose. Plus you take the chance that the tour may be sold out and there is a waiting list. Cancelling onboard, or under the 3 day limit, not only costs you 10%, it also puts you at the bottom of any waiting list if you choose to rebook.

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