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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. The purchase price for the SBP is $44.95 per day plus 15% SC if you buy it online, before your cruise.  if you wait to buy it on the first day on the ship, you will pay $54.95 per day plus 15% SC.   

    The penalty for waiting until you are onboard to buy the package using the free OBC provided by HAL does not apply to the Elite Beverage Package (yet).  The Elite package is $59.95 per day plus 15% if you buy it online or onboard.

  2. On 8/6/2019 at 7:11 PM, aledomom said:

    @TAD2005  Thanks for the word of caution.  We didn't book this trip until July 3, 2019 and it departs September 8, 2019.  The only "perk" we received was prepaid gratuities.  I did go ahead and do the upgrade today and our prepaid gratuities moved forward with us into the new cabin.

    I think the reason your "perk" stayed with you when you upgraded cabins is because you were still within the 60 day limit from disembarking the ship.  Whatever promotion that was in effect when you booked, was still in effect when you upgraded.  Our problem is the EBB promotion (that provided the $1500 P/P SBP) ended on June 30, and we asked our TA to move us up in late July.   We are still waiting for a decision from the Big Box TA and HAL.

  3. 14 minutes ago, RuthC said:

    Aw, you just made my day. Thanks.

    We are with you, Ruth.  We always select a late, fixed dining, table for our party, (2-top or 4-top).   We are usually off the ship on port days until 4:00 or 4:30.   Also, we are usually hot and sweaty.   Who wants to run to the cabin, throw on some non-smelly clothes and race to early dinner ?   We enjoy getting back on the ship, heading back to the cabin, relaxing with a cold drink, shower, dress, and head to the Ocean Bar for a few pre-dinner cocktails.   Then around 7:55, the Yum-Yum man comes through with the chimes announcing dinner.

    We really enjoy having the same table, same friends, same wait staff, our favorite rolls and ice-tea plus glasses of wine are sitting there on our table when we walk in.  Never even a 10 second wait, we walk right in, and sit down.   No waiting lines, no pagers, no bother of making reservations and hoping for a good table.  Fixed-Late seating is the best, IMHO.

  4. HAL only allows you to purchase the Premium internet package online, before the cruise at a discount from the onboard price.  For the Surf and Social Media packages, you have to wait until you board.   You sign up right on your device, no front office visit needed.   

    But in typical HAL fashion, they like to encourage you to buy services or other items ahead of the cruise instead of using your HAL issued OBC.   The want you to spend as much of your money as possible before you tap into their free provided OBC.   Same for shore excursions, beverage packages, specialty dining, etc.

  5. Be very careful with upgrading cabins after booking.   We booked a Lanai cabin on the Rotterdam for a 29 day cruise in Oct 2020, and we received the SBP as part of the Early Booking Bonus promotion in March while booking onboard.  There was no increase in price for the Lanai cabin.  After getting back home, (past the 60 day limit) we decided we wanted to upgrade to a Vista Suite, costing about $2100 extra per person.   I thought this would be a simple upgrade, considering we were paying the current price for the suite.   Not so easy with HAL.   They refused to accept a paid (full price) upgrade to the Vista suite unless we dropped the free SBP which has a value of $1500 P/P for a 29 day cruise.   There's no way we would pass up the SBP, so our TA is trying to negotiate a deal with HAL.   We will see what happens.

  6. 6 hours ago, Moriah said:

    Yes, it's annoying, but when you change your booking to a different promotion you lose all the perks of the promotion you had before.  It's happened to me as well.  You just have to choose whatever seems to be the best deal.  If it were me, I'd stick with the Lanai and all the perks you were originally offered, but in my opinion, a Vista suite is not an "upgrade" from a Lanai, so that's just me... YMMV!


    I'm not changing my booking to a different promotion.  All I want to do is move from cabin A to Cabin B which is a little more expensive.  If HAL offers you a paid upsell, you pay the money and everything stays intact.   I received no special deal on the Lanai cabin price.  It's been the same (plus or minus $200) since June 2018.   If HAL was happy giving me a free SBP when I was spending $4599, why are they not happy when I want to pay $2100 more for a better cabin, which also has not changed in price for over a year?   

    I agree that a Vista Suite on the Rotterdam is just about the same as a plain vanilla veranda cabin on the larger ships.  You have a little more space in the cabin and a slightly larger balcony.   But because HAL calls it a suite, they charge thousands more than the same cabin would cost on a Vista Class ship or larger.   And the extra cruise-day Mariner credits mean nothing to me, I am 4-star and the benefits of 5-star do not warrant the extra expense.  I have had a Lanai cabin before on the Rotterdam, and it was OK, but for 29 days, I would like a bit more room.

  7. You mentioned that the Amsterdam and Zaandam may not get Billboard Onboard.   I notice on the "HAL Ships at a Glance" chart they are showing that the Rotterdam will be getting Billboard Onboard on or before Dec 6, 2019.   That is a pretty intensive level of construction.  They have to rip out the entire "Mix" bar and piano area and install Billboard.   That level of work would take at least a week.   But checking the HAL website and another cruise calendar site, I see continuous scheduled cruises from now, August 2019 through November 2020.   I don't see how this kind of work could be scheduled.

  8. Thanks for all the input.   I don't want to cancel and re-book, because that will blow the $3000 (for 2) SBP.   I was just hoping to pay HAL more money for a better cabin and still keep everything.   I find it strange that HAL was perfectly happy to give me a $1500 P/P beverage package for a $4499 priced cabin, with NO increase in price, but when I want to give them $2100 P/P more money for a suite, they are saying NO.   They will happily take my money for the suite, but they will kill the SBP.   

    My guess is that they never thought of giving a beverage package for a 29 day cruise that is valued at one-third of the cost of the cabin price.  Now they realize what has happened, they are trying to claw some of that back by blocking any paid upgrades.  Ironically, if I waited until 2 weeks out, I might be offered an upsell to a Vista suite,for the same price or less and I would still keep my SBP.

  9. 7 minutes ago, BVsmurfette said:

    No dueling pianos on the Rotterdam when we were on her last month!  Also no BB Kings if you were wondering about that.

    The "Mix" area was still intact, though I don't remember what specific entertainment they had there. 

    Thanks for the info.   I checked the HAL website and they show the Rotterdam doing a Pacific coast and Panama Canal cruise in December 2019.   I checked another site that has ship's calendars and I see a continuous series of cruises from August 2019 through November 2020, with no breaks.   Ripping out the "Mix" area, the bars, and some of the shops in that area would take at least 2 weeks in a wet dock.   So, I don't understand their schedule showing Billboard Onboard being effective on Dec 6, 2019.   Chart attached as a PDF.


  10. 2 hours ago, BVsmurfette said:

    We were just on the Rotterdam last month for a Baltics cruise, and had a great time. It was our 1st time on the Rotterdam (been on the Vista class ships mostly), and we really enjoyed her (even) smaller size. The latest upgrade HAL has made is the Lincoln Center Stage, which we found we really liked - maybe bc the talented musicians did not just classical music but also modern/pop/rock/jazz songs, so it was lovely see that live. They had an almost-full house for most of their performances. There is also still a full library on this ship, which was nice to have on the sea days especially.

    The only place we noticed any "wear and tear" was in our inside cabin - specifically we had a water leakage issue. We woke up one morning to wet carpets along the edges of the cabin! HAL couldn't figure what was causing the issue, but they had a full team of people trying to fix it. They handled the situation very well and thankfully it was near the end of the trip so it only affected the last 2 days for us. 

    We had an excellent trip overall, and would definitely sail on the smaller HAL ships again.


    (Edit: forgot to mention the Caneletto restaurant onboard! this was our 1st time trying it after the recent menu change, and we thought it was really excellent. chicken parm sunday night special was delicious, as was the lobster ravioli! not sure if the food is consistently delicious in all the canelettos aboard the other HAL ships, but we loved it on the Rotterdam)


    On your recent Rotterdam cruise, did they still have the "Mix" area with the single piano bar, or have they ripped that out and installed Billboard Onboard ?   

    We are booked on a 29 day trans-atlantic on Oct 3, 2020.  The "HAL ships at a Glance" chart shows that Lincoln Center Stage was added in a drydock on May 11, 2019, and they plan the add Billboard Onboard in another drydock on Dec 6, 2019.   I can't imagine any cruise line taking a ship out of service 2 times in the same year.   

    We really enjoy the intimacy of the single piano bar with a talented musician, over the commercialized dueling piano concept of Billboard.

  11. We booked the Rotterdam, Oct 3, 2020, while onboard the Eurodam in March.  It is a 29 day, Rotterdam to Ft. Lauderdale cruise.  We originally booked a Lanai cabin, and because the Early Booking Bonus (EBB) was in effect at the time, we received a 29 day SBP which would cost us $3000 to buy it for 2 people, plus a PG dinner and some cabin credit.  I was watching this cruise's pricing for many months before booking on the Eurodam.  The Lanai cabin was $4499 six months before booking and the same price when we booked with the FCC onboard.   We were pleased with the deal, especially the $3000 SBP for no extra charge.  When EBB dropped off in July, the price was still $4499.

    Around the first of August, we decided to upgrade our cabin to a Vista suite, priced at $6599.   We asked out TA to make the change.   She came back to us saying that HAL was giving her a hard time, because we booked onboard with a Future Cruise Consultant, and if we change our cabin now, more than 60 days after disembarking the Eurodam, we would lose all of the perks of the EBB, including the $3000 SBP.   We are not cancelling the cruise and re-booking, just trying to pay HAL about $4000 more money for a Vista Suite.   They are telling my TA no, you must cancel the booking and re-book.   We would get the $800 that is now offered by the newly designed Explore-4, but lose the $3000 SBP.   

    Has anyone heard of losing all benefits if you just want to upgrade your cabin and pay for the upgrade ?   

  12. Easy answer why HAL is hesitant to do this.  CASH !!!!

    They want you to use your cash to buy as much as possible before your cruise, then use the OBC for much lower markup items.   That's why there's a $10 penalty per day if you wait to buy the SBP when you board the ship.  Many people do that, to use the HAL provided OBC.   To discourage that, they now charge $10 (plus 15% SC) extra to buy it onboard.   Same for the internet, which basically costs HAL next to nothing to provide.  They would rather you buy it online at a discount with your cash, instead of using OBC .   Same for shore excursions and specialty dinners.   So far they haven't put a surcharge on those if you purchase onboard, but there is the possibility that if you wait until you're onboard, you may be wait listed.   It's all about the money, no surprise there. 

  13. 1 hour ago, cruisernan said:

    HAL does seem to be very inconsistent.  I am getting many different answers.  Kind of amused by their “corkage” fee - so many wines are now screw tops 😁😁

    In that case, you would be charged the "Screw Fee", which basically is the same as the "Corkage Fee".  In either case, you get "Corked".

  14. That's wonderful that they have a time limit, but is that limit published anywhere ?   A statement something like "If your felony was 10 years ago, you are clear to cross the border in either direction".    Taking into consideration the age of your offence does no one any good if you don't find out if you are cleared to enter until you are face-to-face with the border agent.  Before you plop down thousands of dollars on a cruise, it would be nice to have a definitive statement that a person will have no issues.

  15. On 7/29/2019 at 9:54 PM, Copper10-8 said:


    No worries! Rotterdam is not scheduled for dry-dock this year; her last was 25 Oct - 03 Nov 2017

    What happened to the scheduled installation of Billboard Onboard as listed in the attached ship facilities chart ?  If the "Mix" will still be on the Rotterdam in October, 2020, I will be a happy camper !!




  16. On 7/30/2019 at 3:18 PM, Selion said:

    Not that much different from the Early Booking Bonus promo they ran in May this year.  It had:


    50% deposit

    Pinnacle Grill Dinner

    $200 OBC for suites


    Need to see fare difference to get a feel.  Internet isn't important for us.

    The EBB (Early Booking Bonus) was WAY different than Explore-4.   The EBB was added to cruises with NO increase in price.   I booked a 29 day Rotterdam cruise in March.   I have been watching the price for 6 months, waiting to book while onboard the Eurodam.  The price for a Lanai cabin 6 months earlier was $4299.   When I booked onboard, the FCC told me I had the SBP and a PG dinner.   I said "Whoa", what is the price increase ?   She said the price was exactly the same.   When the EBB dropped off at the end of June, the cruise was still $4299.   The SBP for 29 days is valued at $1500 P/P.    

    Conversely, when Explore-4 is tacked onto a cruise, the price usually goes up by exactly the purchase cost for the SBP.   

  17. 6 hours ago, 0bnxshs said:

    Abrogating one's personal responsibilities may be why so many find this predicament surprising.  Be responsible enough for yourself, your conduct and your intentions so you don't have to depend on others who can't possibly be concerned with each individual's personal circumstances to tell you how to behave.


    What ever has happened to being responsible for yourself?

    If someone has made a stupid mistake 30, 30, or 50 years ago, has paid their debt to society, and maintained a trouble free life since then, I would say that they truly HAVE "taken responsibility for themselves".   If there is never any forgiveness in life,  what is the use of mending your ways.   I blame both the US and Canada for their archaic laws, that condemn an individual for a single transgression decades ago.   "Those without sin may cast the first stone".   I seriously doubt that any of the lawmakers on either side of the border who formulated these laws have never taken a drink and then drove a car.   Especially in the 70's, 80's, and 90's when the 3 martini lunch was standard business conversation.   

  18. On the Eurodam, for 28 days, I had the Surf plan, which worked well for me in the South Pacific.   But every day when I logged into the paid internet, I would get a message from HAL telling me that I could upgrade to the Premium package for a specific amount, and that amount decreased every day until the end of the voyage.

  19. With all of the "executive, 2 martini lunches" that happened many years ago, there were certain counties that used DUI stops as a fund raiser for that county.   Many times, if you even blew less than .08 in the breathalyzer, you were still pulled in and fined.   You were still considered legal, but those certain counties (Florida, Georgia) still nailed you with an impaired driving arrest and a record.   If these very minor DUI's would impact international travel, there would be a lot of executives from the 80's and 90's in deep trouble.   Yes, there are very serious felony DUI's, because of bodily harm and property damage.  But on the opposite side of the coin, a lot of people were charged in the past for having the misfortune of driving through some counties where traffic stops were their main source of revenue.  

  20. You can bring all the soda and water you can carry in any port.  BUT.... you must carry it on, don't sneak it in your checked luggage, not allowed.   You can also bring as much wine onboard at boarding, but you only get one bottle free from the $18 corkage fee.

  21. Depends on the ship and the cabin location.   Be careful of deck 4, forward verandas, because some may have solid steel balcony railings, not the usual clear glass.   Also, the deck 5 mid-ship verandas on Vista class ships will have IMHO, a partially obstructed view.   Deck 5 mid-ships have the deck 4 lifeboats immediately below your balcony.  The balconies are not as deep due to the reduced width of the ship in that area.   In those cabins, if you are inside, and looking out, your view is clear.  But if you are out on the balcony, leaning on the railing and look down, all you see are the tops of the huge, orange lifeboats.   That could affect the view of some sea life swimming along the side of the ship, or maybe a sail-away band on the dock.

  22. You can write-in just about anything that is available for breakfast in the Lido, and you will get it.   There are a few items that involve a charge, like steak-n-eggs, or the salmon Benedict.   But a regular eggs benedict can be written in and you will get it with no charge.  if it's available in the Lido, you can get it delivered to your cabin by writing it in.   Make sure to tip the delivery guy a dollar or Euro or 2..

  23. Contact your TA or HAL and ask for the upgrade.   They will usually have no problem making the change, but make sure that any promotional items that you received with your original booking remains in place.   Sometimes when you re-fare a cruise, with a cabin level change or not, you can lose benefits like beverage packages, onboard credit, specialty dinners, etc.

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