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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. We had a Lanai cabin on the Rotterdam in March, 2018. We were in 3376, which was directly below the dish washing section of the MDR. We did hear occasional vibration from above in the early hours of the mornings, but not enough to bother us. There are two lounge chairs right outside your lanai cabin door, and they are specified for use by this cabin only. Some passengers pay no attention to the posted signs, but they will move if you point our the sign near your door. Do not concern yourself about privacy. Even with all cabin lights on, I went outside at night and tried to peek through the reflective coating on the sliding glass doors. All you can see are the faint glows of the ceiling lights. It is impossible to see anything through those doors, even at night. However, you still will need to close your drapes for sleeping. The lower promenade deck is well lighted through the night, and you can see that inside the cabin.

  2. Someone's info on American Airlines is wrong. Our TA booked us a round trip using HAL's Flight Ease from Tampa to San Diego outbound on March 8, 2019 and returning on April 6, 2019. Outbound flight was on Delta, through ATL. Return was on American through DFW. We booked the flights on May 15, 2018, and we immediately received Delta and American record locator numbers. Going into both airline websites, we saw our reservations, were able to select our seats, and specify our FF numbers for each airline. The airfare payment is due at the same time the cruise payment is due, 75 days prior to sailing. All HAL cruises require final payment 75 days, and sometimes more, days out. It's never 45 days.

  3. In 2016, we booked a VD guarantee balcony on the Zuiderdam for a 26 day Med/TA cruise ending in FLL. They originally assigned us a deck 6 forward balcony, which was grade VD. Out TA thought she was doing us a favor and beat up on HAL and they moved us to a deck 5 mid-ships VA grade cabin. When we looked at the cabin pictures on that website that shows cabin pictures, we saw that a mid-ships, deck 5 veranda has a beautiful view of the tops of the big orange life boats one deck below. Sitting on the bed and looking out, you do have a nice view of the sea. But standing on the balcony and trying to look down, all we saw was big orange lifeboats. This was definitely NOT an upgrade, even though we went from VD to VA. We pitched a fit to our agent, and HAL moved us back to our original cabin, 6006, which was a beautiful view and no obstructions. We later learned that those mid-ships deck 5 cabins on Vista class ships were originally VE grade, partially obstructed. HAL changed that to VA to beef-up the inventory, but we would have been very unhappy. Since then, we book early, and always select a stern veranda cabin.

  4. We were on the Rotterdam in March 2018, and the only rock-n-roll entertainment was the piano bar in the Mix. Very good entertainment.

    The BB King Blues Band (the artist's name is Riley B King, died in May 2015, and he used the stage name of BB King, not BB Kings). The group used to be in the Crow's Nest, but it didn't work well due to the size, low ceilings, and tremendous volume in a very small area..

  5. We have used HAL Flight Ease multiple times. On one cruise, we needed a one-way to Venice. We got a premium economy fare of $780 vs. $2100 by booking ourselves. We booked the air with HAL about 5 months out, and we immediately got the airline (British Airways) record locator number. We were able to select our seats right on BA's website. We didn't have to pay for the air until cruise final payment date. We booked a cruise in March 2019 departing out of San Diego. We wanted first class air from Tampa. The Flight Ease price was very close to what we could get by booking ourselves, but the huge advantage is we have a confirmed reservation, with a record locator number for selecting seats, but don't have to pay until final payment date. That is a big advantage. If you book on your own, you must pay immediately for the air, but your cruise can still be cancelled up to 75 days before sailing. One-way international flights are amazingly cheap with HAL's Flight Ease. Domestic round trips are usually about the same as booking yourself, but the advantage in both cases is the ability to defer payment until you plunk down the big bucks for the cruise.

  6. Yes, some people will book shore excursions and specialty dinners in the PG ahead of the cruise, online. Then, once onboard, they cancel the tour or dinner reservation and try to rebook it using OBC. Some problems with this plan. On the HAL website FAQ's it has details about cancelling shore excursions "While no cancellation fee will be charged for bookings that are cancelled online, please note that online cancellations will not be accepted during the 3-day period prior to cruise departure. Instead, you will need to cancel once you board the ship. All onboard cancellations are subject to at least a 10% cancellation fee. If you do cancel onboard, your onboard account will be credited for the excursion amount, minus at least a 10% cancellation fee."

    So, trying this scam to hold a place in a popular shore excursion, tying it up by booking online, then cancelling onboard and rebooking, will cost you at least 10% of what you paid. Plus, if the excursion is popular, there may be a waiting list. If there is, and you cancel your online booking, not only will you lose 10% of what you paid, you will also be placed at the bottom of the waiting list. There is at present, no cancellation fee for dinner reservations. But on a short cruise, you may find the PG to be totally booked up. If you cancel, same deal, your may not be able to recover that place you held from an online booking.

  7. Same deal as shore excursions. Book early and be assured you will have your tour. Wait until you are onboard and book and for some excursions, they may be sold out. People would scam the system by booking in advance online, then cancel when they get onboard and get a credit on their card, and use their cabin credits to buy the same excursion. I spoke with Ship's Services after Jan 2017, and they confirmed that the extra $5 per day was to "persuade" passengers to purchase online ahead of the cruise. That "persuasion" was to discourage people from using their "free" cabin credits from HAL to purchase a relatively low markup product (beverages) and instead, use it to buy items of very high markup price such as Spa treatments, photography, and shore excursions.

  8. post 9..Tks for clearing this up..you r a wealth of information...I always carry a very small notebook with me while traveling, so will just mark down the number of drinks we both have on a daily basis indicating if it is a single, double, water, liqueurs, etc. or like you mention, go to the app. One final question, can one also order a double wine, silly question, but wanted to cover all the bases..Tks again for your help.


    I don't know why one would order a double wine, but you probably could. The problem would be fitting a double pour of wine in a typical wine glass. It won't fit, and you would most likely get only 1-1/2 instead of a double. And you definitely cannot get it in 2 glasses at the same time due to suspicions of drink sharing.

  9. The $5 per day "discount" is really a penalty. Prior to Jan 2017, the signature beverage package was $44.95 per day, purchased online, ahead of your cruise with your cash, or purchased onboard. After Jan 2017, they raised the price of the SBP by $5 per day if you purchase it onboard. HAL just doesn't want you using your free, HAL provided cabin credit to purchase a beverage package. They would rather encourage you to buy it with your own cash and use the OBC for higher markup items such as the Spa, shore excursions, etc.

  10. post 17, very informative info, tks....r u sure of the double/triple shots in one glass counting as only 1...good news, though...how does one keep track of the number of drinks they have had per day?


    I never said that doubles or triples count as one drink. I routinely order a double Absolute gimlet in the Ocean Bar before dinner. No problem getting it, but it does count as 2 of your 15 for the day. You just can't order 2 drinks at the same time in 2 separate glasses. They will suspect that you might share it with an acquaintance.

    You are on your own as far as counting your daily 15. HAL's bartenders and waiters are there to sell you drinks, plain & simple. The last thing they would do is tell you that you just ordered the 15th drink of the day. And believe me, it is possible if you like doubles, specialty coffees and bottles of water, which also count towards your 15. If you exceed your 15, they will happily keep on pouring. Any drink over the 15 will go onto your onboard account. If you are curious, log into the free onboard website and go to your onboard account. There, you will see every drink you had, the full price including the service charge, and then it is reversed out because of the SBP. Any drinks that are not reversed, either exceeded the base menu price of $9 or you went over your daily 15.

  11. With the regular SBP ($51.70 per day incl. service charge) you can get just about any mixed drink you can imagine. You can even get a Wang Wang, which has 6 different kinds of alcohol. Unless you demand top shelf scotch, just about any mixed drink or "neat shots" are included. Bloody Mary's with all but 2 brands of vodka are included. The only area where the SBP falls short is in the wine department. You can get house brands of whites and reds, but if you want specific brands, the EBP ($63.20 per day incl. service charge) would be better for you. The SBP limit is $9 menu price. The EBP (Elite Beverage Package) is $15 menu price limit. Both get you 15 beverages per day, including bottled water, specialty coffees, sodas, wines, all beers, and spirits. You can order doubles (or even triples) as long as it is in one glass. I have never had a problem getting a drink before the unenforced 5 minute time limit. As long as you aren't trying to sneak a drink to a friend, there are no limitations.

  12. We're booked on the 28 day R/T San Diego, Hawaii, Tahiti, Marquesas Eurodam cruise this March, 2019. Most of our cruises are 20 days and up. This cruise of 28 days has 18 sea days, so there will be plenty of lunches with quite a few Heineken Drafts. We have found that we always make out with the SBP, usually in the hundreds of $$$. Specialty coffees in the morning in the Crow's Nest (what's left of it), draft beers and bloody mary's for lunch, pre-dinner cocktails in the Ocean Bar, a glass of wine or 2 at dinner, after dinner cocktails in Billboard Onboard, and a few bottles of water to take back to the cabin. No... we are not sloppy drunks. We are on vacation, the captain is driving, and we both know our limits. But with a break-even point of 5 - 6 drinks at $7.50, we always come out way ahead over paying as you go. So, yes, on the 28 day cruise next March we will have the SBP.

  13. The receipts you may or may not get with each beverage purchase with the package will not show any drink totals for the day. You may or may not get your total from the bartender or waiter. HAL will keep pouring drinks for you as long as you can reach the bar and stand up. Why would they tell you that you are at the 15 drink limit ? They are in the business of selling drinks. The waiters get 15% out of every drink you purchase. They will not be falling over themselves to cut you off, or tell you that your next drink will cost you full price on your cabin account. They will just keep pouring. "It's not personal Sonny, it's just business". (from Godfather 1)

  14. If you have the SBP, you don't have to concern yourself with the price of the bottles of water and specialty coffees. They are way under $9. You only have to watch your beverage count for the day. And yes, the $44.95 online price and $49.95 onboard price does NOT include the 15% service charge. Total price, per day is $51.70 purchased online, at least 4 days prior to your cruise. Your cabin card will have SBP printed in the upper right corner. Enjoy the SBP, you are on vacation and the captain is driving !!

  15. We had a VB cabin on the Oosterdam in November 2016, and they did have 48" flat screen TV's at the foot of the bed, mounted on the wall. The TV's are interactive, with about 6 live news and sports channels, and a large selection of movies. Because the movies are "on demand", if you start watching a movie, and then stop in the middle to go to dinner, you can resume where you left off when you come back. The movie selection is varied and broken down by genre. There are also local channels showing ship position, weather, bow and stern cameras, dining menus in the MDR and Lido, plus port channels and shopping. The live channels are CNBC, BBC World Service, FOX News, MSNBC, and 2 ESPN channels. There is also a live events channel for special events like Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, etc.

  16. As of a few months ago, Unlimited laundry was $7 per day in North America, and $9 per day in Europe. I have purchased the unlimited laundry package in advance through ship's services (number posted above) and when purchased in advance, it is $7 per day, even for cruises in Europe. One small catch, you must purchase the package for the full length of your cruise, even if you send your first load out on day 3 of a 7 day cruise. There is no pro-rating. And, you cannot use the package on the 2nd to last day of your cruise, because there's no guarantee you will get your laundry back in time to pack and leave. So, on a 7 day cruise, the last day you can send laundry out is day #5, in the morning. Actually, for a 7 day cruise, unless you pack extremely light, you would better with the $20 per bag offer. You can really stuff those laundry bags full of clothes if you roll everything. In a 7 day cruise, even two, $20 bags would be cheaper than the package which would cost you $49 for the cabin.

  17. Thank you all. We didn't get this through Explore 4. It was just a perk. I saw on the HAL website that if you bought the sig bev pkg in advance, you had to buy one for everyone in your stateroom, That's why I'm not sure if mine covers both of us.


    If it was a perk from a TA or a big-box agency, they would have to give you the SBP for both persons (over 18) in your cabin. HAL requires that both guests in the cabin have the same package to prevent drink sharing. If you are travelling with a friend who booked separately from you, you may have the SBP and your friend may not. In that case, your friend may get a rude awakening when they see that they were automatically billed for the SBP when they board the ship. There is no way to opt out unless you can provide a doctor's note that you can't consume alcohol.

  18. If you want fixed (traditional) dining, go to a website halfacts dot com, select your ship and download the PDF of your MDR. Pick your favorite table numbers (select a few), and then send a request to the ship's coordinator for your ship, listing your specific table request. Call Ship's Services at HAL to find the Ship's Coordinator e-mail address. I have done this for many cruises, and have always gotten one of my desired tables.

  19. If you purchase the SBP or EBP ahead of your cruise, or it is included with Explore-4, your room key will have SBP or EBP printed on the upper right corner. If you purchase it onboard, with the $5 per day penalty for the SBP, a bartender will place a sticker on your card saying SBP. Yes, you use your room card for all drink purchases. I have never had a problem ordering a 2nd beer in less than 5 minutes. (The first beer always goes down fast after a hot day ashore). I have also ordered doubles (in the same glass) of many cocktails with no problem. Don't even think of slipping a drink to a friend on your card. The bartenders and waiters are alert to this and will cancel your beverage package with NO REFUND. What you paid for the package for the whole cruise is gone. You will be paying as you go for the rest of the cruise. So, don't try to scam the system, you will be caught.

  20. We got off the Westerdam in November, 2017. At that time, they had unlimited internet in 3 classes for the duration of your cruise or segment. The lowest level is "social", and is limited to social media life Facebook. The next level is for most normal browsing, banking, and e-mail, but doesn't include Skype and other VOIP. That is the "Premium" level. They also had a by-the-minute rate of .75 cents. Not practical unless you only have to check e-mail a few times. We used the premium level because we had to use Skype. Skype worked flawlessly, even video calls. It was a little expensive. We were on a collector's cruise from Venice to FLL with the turnaround in Rome. The 12 days to Rome was $189, and the 13 days to FLL was $209. The intermediate level was somewhere around $145 for each leg and the social level was $95 for each leg.

  21. If you have a fixed dining table table assigned (not anytime) and you don't show up on the first night, there is the possibility that the matre'd may give your seats away if there is a high demand for fixed dining on your cruise. If you do plan to go to a specialty restaurant (or Lido) for dinner, and you have a fixed dining assignment, it always wise to inform the matre'd that you will not use your dining assignment that evening.

  22. On very long cruises, over 30-35 days and up, we tend to get back into our normal lifestyle that we do at home, (a beer or two or a glass of wine at dinner). When you are on a short cruise, under 30 days, (short for us) it's party time, the captain is driving and I want to enjoy myself. On much longer cruises, I do not purchase the SBP because it does not work out financially as well as it does on shorter cruises. On cruises under 30 days, we usually end up hundreds of $$$ ahead with the SBP. I have never seen a discount for very long cruises, like world cruise segments or grand voyages.

  23. You're in St. Thomas USVI and on a private tour. The minibus gets a flat tire or some other problem. You are on the other side of the island and the ship is leaving at 5:00 pm and it's now 4:30 and the guy operating your tour has no idea who to call to advise the ship's port agent that you will be late. Ship leaves without you, and the next stop is St. Maarten. The cost of a hotel overnight in St. Thomas, plus a one-way air ticket to SXM will cost you well over $400. But to add to your misery, you also don't have a passport, just a birth certificate. The airline and St. Maarten immigration people will laugh at you if you show them a birth certificate for air travel. It's Saturday evening, tomorrow is Sunday, and Monday is a government holiday, so the earliest you can get an emergency passport is maybe Tuesday or Wednesday. All your clothes, medicines, are still on the ship. Hmmm... maybe that $110 for a passport obtained well ahead of your cruise, seems like a good deal right now. NEVER leave the US without a valid passport !!

  24. Note... the SBP purchased online, before your cruise is $44.95 a day and if purchased onboard, it is $49.95 per day. Both prices are plus 15% service charge. It is erroneously being referred as a "discount" if purchased in advance. Up to January 2017, the SBP was $44.95 per day no matter when you purchased it, online or onboard. After Jan 2017, HAL added a $5 penalty for purchasing onboard. HAL doesn't want you to use your HAL OBC to purchase the package, they want you to use your cash to buy it online. They would rather you use your OBC for things that have a greater markup, like shore excursions and Spa treatments.

    The EBP, at $54.95 per day costs the same (right now) if purchased online or onboard.

    The SBP is still a good deal for us, especially with longer cruises with lots of sea days. The break-even point is 5 or 6 drinks costing $7.50 plus 15%. After that, you are drinking free.

  25. I could eat escargot any time... breakfast, lunch or dinner! :D


    If you have them late at night, you better hope your bed partner also has some. The garlic is strong on the ones I have had on various HAL ships. Otherwise, one of you will be sleeping on the balcony.

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