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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. I was just on the Rotterdam with my laptop and I logged into the HAL website (which is free, you don't use your internet minutes). I got the new site a few days ago. Totally different site. When I got home, I tried http://www.hollandamerica.com and still got the new site. I am using Chrome. I went into settings and cleared my browser history and re-entered the HAL site and I got the usual old site.

    The new site is "interesting" but needs a lot of work. You cannot check your Mariner status, only a list of FAQ's about the Mariner society. Also, I couldn't find a way to sign out. There is no logout button on the main page. If you drill down into your next cruise, you must sign in, and you can sign out from that, but you can't logout of the main site.

  2. We just got off Koningsdam on Wednesday 7th March.

    Expedited was called at 7.40

    There was a back up in the terminal as there was apparently only 1 officer on duty.

    I was scheduled to disembark in the 9.15 to 9.30 slot and we were called at 9.45am. We were outside by 10.am.


    You should be ok. either self disembark (Expedited) and carry off your own baggage or ask for 'Early Independent' which was listed on our cruise for 8.15 to 9 am.


    Based on your recent experience, you were outside the terminal, with luggage, ready to hail a taxi by 10:00 AM. Assuming you are lucky and the taxi line is short, and there are plenty of taxis waiting, you could be in a taxi, on your way to the airport by 10:10 AM. Maybe 15 minutes to the airport at that time of morning, unless it's a weekday, and you could be walking into the FLL terminal by 10:30. Unless you only have carry on luggage (very rare getting off a cruise), you have to wait in line to check your bags. Then you have the fun of getting through security, which can be backed up. You are supposed to be at the gate, ready to board anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes before scheduled time. If you are lucky, and the security and checkin gods are looking out for you, you will be OK. For me, why go through that panic hassle, trying to catch a flight ? For FLL, I never schedule my flights before 2:00 pm. I don't need to do that sprint run, hauling a roller bag, and working up a sweat. Unless a later flight will require a night in a hotel somewhere, I would rebook for something after 1:00 pm or later.

  3. We have experienced both the small, intimate piano bars and the new, Billboard Onboard. The advantage of the old style piano bar is that the musician is in total control of his/her performance and the songs he plays. Many artists also will supplement their piano with an electronic accompaniment. Plus they can play anything they want or is requested.

    Billboard Onboard musicians are provided and controlled by Billboard Corp. They may not use any additional accompaniment, and their playlists are controlled by Billboard. Usually the 2 musicians are very talented. But they only accept requests on the last set of the evening, and many requests that were presented were rejected because they were not allowed to play those songs. All popular music is licensed by BMI, SESAC, and ASCAP. I'm sure that Billboard musicians are covered under those licenses, but for some unknown reason, there are songs they cannot play. They know them, but can't play them,according to the musicians.

  4. On the French side of St. Marten and the other French islands in the Caribbean you probably could use Euros. But in the prior Dutch islands like St. Maarten, Aruba and Curacao and Bonaire, they only accept Guilders and US $$. You could try Euros, bit there's no guarantee they will be accepted. You could try to exchange them at the front desk, but if they accept them for exchange, you will get a terrible rate.

  5. We have found that the difference in price for a cabin with Explore-4 and without is almost exactly the same as the cost of the SBP. There are exceptions. Ask your TA or PCC for pricing with and without. We booked a 28 day Hawaii/Tahiti cruise in March 2019 while onboard a cruise in October 2017, with Explore-4 attached. A VB grade veranda cabin was $7049. After we got home, and Explore-4 dropped off, we re-booked under the Cyber Sale and the price dropped to $5049, but we got 28 days of the HSC prepaid and a $50 beverage card. We kept all of the OBC we got for booking onboard. The SBC for a 28 day cruise is $1447.

  6. We had the old 20" LG's on the Zuiderdam before refurb in 2015, and also recently on the Rotterdam. They are strictly analog inputs, no HDMI, just composite video and L-R analog audio. You would have to bring an HDMI to analog converter to use your laptop to feed the TV. We're on the Rotterdam, Lanai cabin next week and we will be bringing our own supply of DVD's. The ship does have a DVD lending library, but my experience with it found that out of 5 titles we wanted, they either had 1 or none. HAL doesn't keep multiple copies of popular DVD's. The conversion to the new, 50" on-demand TV's can't come soon enough for me.

  7. The Westerdam has a movie each day in the BB-King club during the day, and that movie will be on your cabin on-demand TV the next day in the "New Releases" tab. The in-cabin flat screen TV's are all on-demand. They have some live channels, (2 ESPN channels, BBC World Service, CNBC, FOX News, MSNBC) CNN is not offered. Plus, there's reruns of US TV series, lots of movies listed by genre, daily MDR dining room menus, and Lido lunch and dinner menus. There's a ship position channel, plus weather in your next port and future ports. Because the movies are all on-demand, if you pause one and head to dinner, it will remember where you left off and you can resume at that point.

  8. We have never had to wait even 5 seconds for our dinner table, We always get back on the ship from a port day around 4 PM. Then we hit the cabin, relax, shower, clean up, dress for dinner. Then we head to the Ocean or Pinnacle bar for a few pre-dinner cocktails. Then we head to the MDR at 7:55 for dinner. We walk right in, go to our pre-assigned table, and my wife's favorite wine is waiting there, and my glass of ice tea. We have the same great waiters for the entire cruise. They get to know us, and we...them. They know when there's a steak on the menu, I like it medium rare, and big. We eat at home at 7:00 or 7:30, so what's the big deal waiting 1/2 hour for a relaxing dinner at 8:00. We can enjoy the sail-aways, never rushed to dress for dinner, never have to wait for a table, and never have to wonder which waiter we will have tonight. If we travel with friends, we get a 4-top, otherwise we reserve a 2-top with the ship's coordinator months in advance. Yes, you can reserve a table in anytime dining, but it is limited to off-peak hours. And, on many ships, it can only be reserved for 3 nights in a row. I just don't want to deal with that.

  9. Joseph Hume


    Thanks. I Googled his name and saw some of his performances. What I saw was not a contemporary piano bar entertainer (60's, 70's, Beatles, Jimmy Buffet, etc), but more like a piano to read a book by, or simply background music for the bar. Am I wrong here ? Did Joseph Hume rock the place with "Sweet Caroline" on the Rotterdam, or did he put everyone to sleep ? Is he an entertainer or is he background music ?

  10. If you book your flight with HAL, you don't have to pay in full until "Final Payment" day. If you book on your own, you pay the day you book and cross your fingers that you don't need to cancel.


    I agree, the deferred payment until final cruise payment date is a huge advantage if you have to cancel. There is no lost money from cancelling a non-refundable ticket that you would purchase on your own. And no change fee if you decide to alter your flights.


    The biggest advantage is the one-way and open-jaw international flights. I needed a one-way from Florida to Venice, but no return ticket was needed because the cruise was Trans-Atlantic and ended in FLL. The cheapest one-way I could get was $1800. My TA got a HAL Flight Ease fare of $388. She booked the flight 6 months out and I immediately received the British Airways record locator number, I could go onto BA's website and select my seats and register my American Airlines FF number for credit.

  11. The 2 bottles of water you will find in your cabin are also not included, but you can purchase 1 liter bottles of water at any bar and take those back to your cabin, or on a shore excursion. The bottles of water they sell at the gangway are also not covered.

    And when considering a particular beverage, only look at the menu price. Don't concern yourself about the 15% service charge in your $9 limit, because you already paid it when you purchased the SBP. You can also order doubles for mixed drinks. That is covered, but it counts as 2 of your daily 15. The package is coded into your room key-card. They sometimes put a little sticker on your card to indicate the SBP.

  12. My wife and I are booked in 3376 for the TA leaving Tampa on 15 April. Hope you like the cabin and can report on same after your cruise. Interested in knowing most of the same things you are concerned with in the cabin. Fridge? TV? 110v AC outlets? Reserved chairs on 'our balcony'. Room steward service, name would be nice. Possible problems, noise etc. Any info will be appreciated.




    Sent from my iPad using Forums

    Jim, we will report back when we disembark sometime after March 25. I don;t hold out too much hope that there will be a fridge, unless we decide to pay $2 a day for it.

  13. The fine print on those packages always say that everyone in the stateroom must take it -- is that not the case?


    Any beverage package, alcohol or soda, unfortunately must be purchased by everyone in the cabin on HAL ships. Obviously the age rules apply for those passengers under 21 and the 2 packages that include alcohol. This was caused by greedy people who constantly try to cheat the system by sharing drinks. Drink sharing was rampant years ago, and different lines chose different ways to combat it. Some just jacked up the prices of the packages to the point that if drinks were shared, the cruise line didn't lose much. HAL chose the "both (all) must buy" plan, and that has allowed their signature beverage package to remain at a very low price of $44.95 per day (plus 15% service charge). The bartenders and waiters are trained to detect drink sharing, and if they catch someone, the drink package is cancelled and you get nothing back from what you paid for the package.

  14. If you do try this, make sure you have a valid passport for the flight home. Many cruises that return to the same US port that they left from will allow you to travel with just an original birth certificate and a government issued picture ID. But many people get in a mess of trouble if they miss the ship and have to fly back to the US, or they get seriously sick and have to leave the ship for hospitalization. They need a passport to return home by air. In your case, you want to intentionally miss the ship and return home by another ship or by air. Don't even try this without a valid passport.

  15. When you board a HAL ship, you get a mandatory questionnaire attesting to your health status. You have to sign that you don;t have any colds, flu, or other communicable diseases. Guess what...... People LIE !!! Does anyone seriously think that a person who spent thousands on a cruise, flown to the port, and caught a bad cold a few days before boarding, will seriously answer honestly on that questionnaire ?? If you do, I have a bridge to sell to you. I'm sure that 90% of the outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease onboard were brought onboard by passengers who either lied on the form or they innocently caught a bug on the plane getting to the port and spread it to the rest of the ship.

  16. Not all cabins on the Rotterdam have a mini refrigerator. Only balcony and verandah cabins have them.

    If you have a cabin that doesn't have a mini refrigerator, you can rent one for $2 a day. Must call ahead to reserve one -- Ship Services -- 1-800-541-1576.

    We have a Lanai cabin on the Rotterdam in March. I contacted Ship's Services and asked about mini-fridges. The cabin description on HAL's website says "self-serve mini-bar" as a feature of the Lanai cabins. Ship's Services said that "yes, there is a mini-bar with soft drinks, beers, wines and snacks". But in cabin pictures I have seen, I don't see the fridge under the desk, like you do on larger cabins. Which is it ?

  17. I agree. Sanitation is the prime reason for no self-serve. I have never had a problem getting extra slices of meats, or anything else. Yes, there are areas where self-serve is necessary, such as bread, deserts and the taco bar where you build your own taco. The process does help the massive food waste problem for the folks who load their plates, take a few bites and dump the rest. But I'm sure that this no self-serve process goes a long way to keep HAL's ships in the high ratings for the CDC inspections. Parent company Carnival has not fared so well on the Carnival ships, same for Princess, and surprisingly, Oceana. They all had ships failing the recent CDC sanitation inspections.

  18. Depending on the level of pre-cruise booking, they may offer discounts for the specialty restaurants, but if offered, they are usually for the first night out. The main beverage packages (SBP and EBP) are never discounted. Actually, HAL charges a $5 per day premium on the signature beverage package (SBP) if you purchase it onboard instead of online before the cruise. HAL wants you to spend your own money to buy the SBP and not the non-refundable HAL provided onboard credit. The Elite Beverage Package ($15 drink price limit) does not carry that $5 penalty.

  19. Very true. On the Oosterdam and Westerdam, both ships that have the new 48" flat screen TV's mounted on the wall, that have HDMI connectors. But the TV's are mounted so close to the wall that you would have to have a very thin hand to sneak an HDMI cable in there. But the bigger problem is the remotes. They are not standard remotes, and have no provisions to switch the TV's inputs. The new, on-demand TV's are connected by ethernet, RJ-45 connectors. When you pause a movie you are watching, and come back the next day, you can resume where you left off. They are interactive. But you would have to bring a universal remote with a code list to be able to switch the inputs, providing you can sneak a cable into the back of the TV.

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