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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. I can only answer your second question:

    We sailed on the Rotterdam over Christmas (9th HAL cruise), and I thought that the food quality in the MDR was very good. And on average I would say that the variety of selection was better than average. However the service was brutally slow. I suspect that this was a kitchen issue, not our servers (who were excellent), because others have complained of the same thing, and we had the same slow service in the Canaletto and in the Pinnacle for breakfast.


    Food in the Lido market was very good for breakfast, just average for lunch (same as on all HAL cruises IMO). New York Pizza was great. Canaletto food quality was also very good, although a little salty for my taste.


    Thanks bleacher04 for your report on the Rotterdam food. We will be on her for 14 days in March. One thing piqued our interest was breakfast in the Pinnacle. We have had many lunches and dinners in the Pinnacle, but never breakfast. Is breakfast offered every day or only some days ? How much do they charge, and does my Mariner 4-star get me a 50% discount ? I have never seen a menu for a Pinnacle breakfast. Is one posted anywhere ?

  2. I recall once getting laundry service in Cozumel. A woman met me off the ship, took my laundry, and had it back to me as we boarded the ship a few hours later. IIRC, it was about $7.00! I may have to look into that again for our next cruise...:confused:


    Nice savings, but what would you have done if the woman never showed up with your laundry by sailing time ? A $13 saving over the ship $20 bag rate seems nice until you are sailing away wondering who in Cozumel will be sporting your duds after you left.

  3. HAL doesn't allow you to order two separate drinks at one time. But you can order doubles anytime. One of the two separate drinks can be easily pushed over to a friend who does not have the beverage package. But a double is more difficult to share unless you bring your own glass and cubes. Plus, trying to pour half of your double into a friend's empty glass would really be obvious. HAL's bartenders and waiters are on the lookout for that. If you are caught sharing, your drink package will be cancelled, and you get nothing back from what you paid for the package. No pro-rating. You pay as you go for the rest of the cruise.

  4. MissG is correct. Using a porter is not a guarantee of a fast passage through the lines. In Port Everglades, the porters must wait in line with you as you wind through the "Disney-like" lines. There is no quick exit unless you are in a wheelchair or have Global Entry. In Tampa, however, hiring a porter will get you into the "porter's only" line, and you have a fast track to the exit. It will cost you around $15 or $20 for a tip.

  5. Assuming we sleep 8 hours, that leaves 16 hours to drink. That means one coffee/cocktail/bottled water an hour all day every day. That just seems super reasonable to me.

    That being said, I don't know if they would sell you more. I do know that it would be unwise of them to do so. Over serving is criminal in the US. They can be charged with "negligent disregard for human life" even if nothing comes of it and up to negligent homicide, carrying a mandatory life sentence, if someone dies because the person is inebriated. We are trained that the average person can process about one drink an hour, so serving over 16 alcoholic drinks in a 24 hour period might be criminal.


    Then, based on your standards, just about every bar and restaurant in the US is committing a felony. Generally, if you can reach the bar, and appear sober enough to order a drink, you will be served. They might grab your car keys and call you a taxi, but they will keep serving you until you appear inebriated. The cruise lines feel that no one is driving home, (that's the captain's job) and if you appear sober, they will serve you. They don't care what your beverage count is for the day. Who knows, maybe 3 of your 15 is hot chocolates or coffees, and another 2 is bottles of water. The other 10 were 4 beers during lunch, 2 wines at dinner, and maybe 2 double Baily's in the casino. Every person handles alcohol in different ways. Some have 2 glasses of wine and they are blubbering idiots. Others can drink everyone under the table and still appear sober. You can't apply an arbitrary standard to all people.

  6. Jeans, (without holes), collared shirts (no tee-shirts, with or without logos, or tank-tops) are fine with me. I just don't get the ball caps, worn either normally or backwards. The dining rooms on HAL ships are generally too warm anyway, so what's with the caps ? My guess for the caps is a vanity issue. Trying to hide male pattern baldness. Nobody on the ship really cares about your favorite team !! Hey... bald is beautiful !! Don't hide it under a cap !!

  7. In North America, you have 3 options. $20 per bag, stuffed full, or, $7 per day for the full cruise, even though you can't use it for the last 48 hours, or by the piece, which is the worst prices. In Europe, those prices go up to $30 per bag and $9 per day.

    The laundry bags look small, but it's amazing what you can stuff in there. I got 7 men's shirts, 6 shorts, 1 pair of long pants, 5 wife's undies, 5 pair of socks. As long as you can pull the drawstring closed, you are OK. Rolling clothes into a tight roll is the best way to get the maximum in the bag. Don't forget to put the laundry inventory list in the bag before you close it. We leave it on our bed around 8:30 AM and it is usually back, on hangers for shirts and folded in a basket for the smaller stuff, by the next day.

  8. The K-Dam is a new HAL ship, and they may have made changes. But all HAL ships that I have sailed on only have electrical outlets at the desk, and shaver-only outlets in the bathroom. The desk outlets are 120 volts and 220 volts. They have US-type outlets with 120 volts, and 220 volts outlets with European round prongs. I think all CPAP machines, and the one that I have, will work from any voltage from 100-240 volts. People who use CPAP's onboard will bring a 12 ft extension cord to reach the bedside table. You can also request an extension cord from Guest Services. I think the only power near the beds are USB charging outlets for cell phones. You can also get gallon jugs of distilled water for $2.95. Order it online, in advance, and it will be in your cabin when you board. Or you can request a jug when you get onboard.

  9. There are 13 countries that, for religious reasons, ban alcohol consumption for their residents. Many of them do not have cruise ships calling at their ports. India, for example, does have ships calling, and they also ban alcohol, but only in certain areas, and only for residents. In many of the countries that ban alcohol, exceptions are made for tourism, and hotels are allowed to import it for their guests. Religious rules are strict, but for tourism and the money it generates, exceptions are made.

    As far as pot on ships, as others have said, hundreds of other countries consider it illegal. If it became common knowledge that a particular cruise line permitted passengers to bring marijuana onboard, even medical marijuana, those countries would prohibit that cruise line from docking, or, at the very least, every passenger who got off the ship in port would be subject to intensive pat-down body searches. Even if the US finally removed marijuana from the scheduled drug list and legalized it, there would still be problems with the other countries who still consider it illegal. You can't compare marijuana against alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana is considered illegal, and is a civil law violation. Alcohol and tobacco are usually banned for religious reasons, but exceptions are made for tourism.

    Finally, smoking of anything is gradually being banned from most cruise ships. Some lines, like HAL, only permit it in a small section of the starboard side of a single back deck, outdoors. As someone suggested, edibles would be the only way to go, but don't get caught !!

  10. We just got off the Rotterdam this morning. It was our first HAL cruise. I will probably not be cruising HAL again in the Caribbean, or maybe ever. I had heard HAL had better service, food, etc. than the other mainstream lines, but we did not find this to be true.


    We found the food quality and choices and dining room service to be below Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. Nothing was horrible, but nothing great either.


    I was not a fan of the buffet. For some reason, they do not allow self-service and there seemed to be no consistency as to which way the line was supposed to go. It changed from day to day and even hour to hour. Food choices and quality here were lacking compared to other lines as well.


    The room size and storage were good, but only one electrical outlet in the room and very little storage in the bathroom.


    The public rooms seemed too warm to me on most days. I am not sure if they were still having issues or just keep it warmer due to the average age of the passengers. Our room temperature was inconsistent, going from too hot to too cold even without moving the thermostat. We also had an issue with very low water pressure on one day, but no leaks.


    This is the first cruise I can honestly say someone could be bored on a cruise. The main shows were ok, but not up to standards of other cruises I have been on. They posted that a group Adagio would be playing in the Explorers Lounge each night and I only saw a piano player there on the final night. It was empty every other night we walked past. They did offer some interesting programs in America's Test Kitchen during the day.


    We enjoyed the ports and nothing was horrible on the ship, but we realized HAL is not for us. I am 56 and most passengers were 20 years older than me. I am not a big party person or drinker, but also like something to do on the ship after 9:00 PM.



    Sent from my iPhone using Forums


    Sorry you had a not-so-great cruise on the Rotterdam. We will be on her in March for 14 days.

    The comment you made about the Lido buffet not being self-serve does make sense. Let's face it, some people are absolute slobs. Near the Dive-In on Vista class ships, they have a Taco bar, and it is self-serve. I have seen a person scooping sour cream onto her plate, then she licks the serving spoon and puts it back. I have watched people on HAL ships that have self-serve pizza, using their hands to pick extra pepperoni off of other slices and put it on their slice. I have watched kids pick up rolls and bread, sniff them and then put them back. As the saying goes, "you can't fix stupid", so HAL tries to prevent actions like I mentioned above by not having self-serve in the Lido. By doing that, they are preventing some of the noro-virus outbreaks that plague a lot of ships these days.

    The consistancy of where the line starts in the Lido is caused by passengers who choose to start at the wrong end, and rather than create an issue, the servers reverse the beginning of the line.

  11. I knew a friend who got 2 specialty coffees in the morning, a bottle of water, and then proceeded to drink 6 double Tequilas throughout the day. (it was a sea day). The Tequila doubles counted as 2 drinks, so he hit 15. He had no problem ordering another alcoholic drink later in the evening, on the same day. It appears the computer terminals that the bartenders use do flag the count of your beverage consumption. Only when the individual transactions hit the accounting office, does the beverage count kick in. And if you are over your 15, they simply charge #16 and up to your onboard account. I would think that if you were obviously blotto-drunk, they cut you off. If you appear relatively sober and upright, they will continue pouring and let the accounting office worry about your totals.

  12. I was on the Westerdam on a trans Atlantic, on a very rough day. The handholds in the passageways were definitely required to stay upright, and I hadn't even had my first beer yet !! Some moron put a half finished drink on the passageway railing and I didn't see it and hit it. The whole glass, and it's contents went all over me. Whatever idiot did this was not my friend, for sure. Same for food trays. We always order a breakfast tray, and we have never come back to the cabin a few hours later and seen the tray still there.

  13. We have been on many of the Vista Class ships before the "drydock upgrades", where they delete the Sports bar and open the whole area up to the Billboard Onboard. We loved the older, intimate Piano Bars. That area was closed off from the casino, and guests could sit around the piano. The musician was usually fantastic, and they sometime brought their own electronic keyboard for drum, bass, brass accompaniment. Billboard Onboard was OK, but very structured, and their playlist was limited by Billboard Corp. Many requests we made during their final set, which was an "All Request" set, were turned down due to limitations in their playlists from Billboard. The single artist piano bars are not limited in any way. We are booked on the Rotterdam March 11 for 14 days, and we certainly hope the Piano Bar in the Mix lives up to our expectations. And we hope they have bar stools around the piano. You can't expect audience participation from people sitting at tables 10-20 feet away from the musician.

  14. Big question... is the wall mounted flat screen interactive TV's installed in ALL cabins, or only the Vista Suites and up ? We are on the Rotterdam in 59 days in a Lanai cabin, and no one has been able to say with certainty that cabins below the suite level have the new TV's. When they installed the flat screen interactive TV's on the Vista class ships, they dumped the old DVD players as well as the DVD lending library at guest services. I would have thought that this major upgrade would be done in all cabins.

    Also, do the lanai cabins have a refrigerator ? The HAL web site says "a no-host minibar". A chat with a HAL rep said that yes, the lanai cabins have a mini fridge with beers, wines, liquors, and snacks. Is that also true ??

  15. I think trays out in the narrow passageways is a safety issue. If the kaka ever does hit the fan, and you must evacuate the cabins or the ship, and the only lights you have in the passageways are the special emergency green floor level lighting, they don't want guests stumbling and falling over trays that have been placed out there. Also, guests that use walkers, wheelchairs or scooters may also have problems navigating around food trays. The HAL card always placed on your tray does say "For everyone's safety......". I think that is the real issue. Same reason the airlines want your carry on bags totally under your seat. If you have to get out fast, they don't you stumbling over other people's bags.

  16. On the Vista class ships, the closest outlet to the bed is over at the desk. I also bring a laptop with charger. So, I use a plug adapter (not converter) for the 220 volt outlet and plug my 12 ft extension cord into it. Every electronic device made in the last 20 years will work on any voltage from 100 - 240 volts. That leaves the 120 volt outlet open for my laptop charger. I do put the extension cord and the hose/mask into the drawer in the morning. I don't want the cabin steward to have to work around it when they vacuum my room. You can place your order for a gallon of distilled water on the HAL website, under beverages. It's $2.95 for a gallon and it will be in your cabin when you board. For my machine, a gallon will last about 18 days. I have used the ship's tap water with no problems, just rinse your reservoir daily.

  17. With the regular, Signature Beverage Package (SBP) the break-even point is 5-1/2 drinks, based on a typical $7.95 cocktail and the 15% service charge. For the Elite Beverage Package (EBP) the break-even point is 7 drinks. The EBP has the advantage of a higher per-drink limit of $15 for those higher priced liquors and wines you can get under the SBP..

  18. An update to my above post. I entered an online chat with a HAL representative. I questioned the refrigerator in a Rotterdam Lanai cabin. I asked it the "No-Host Minibar" listed on the HAL website was a refrigerator. The agent, Philip, responded "[Philip] That is correct, it is a refrigerator with snacks and drinks.". I think I will save and print this chat and take it to the front desk if there's no fridge. I will mention that "everything that Seattle says can be taken as Gospel".

  19. Thanks for all of the information. I assume the old, smaller, flat-screen TV's and DVD player are still at the desk, and the DVD library is still at the front deck.

    I'm still confused by the mini fridge. On the HAL website (and we know everything there is 100% accurate !!) for the Rotterdam cabin descriptions, the Pinnacle, Neptune, and Vista Suites have the following in their detail descriptions "mini-bar, refrigerator," and also " No-host mini-bar for easy entertaining".

    In the Lanai cabin description, they have "No-host mini-bar for easy entertaining". They do not mention refrigerator. But what is a "no-host minibar" ? I always thought a mini-bar was a small fridge with beers, wines, liquors, soda, mixers, all there for "easy entertaining". I would hope they don't refer to the ice bucket, tongs, a pair of glasses and a tray as a "no-host minibar".

    The Ocean View and Inside cabins do not specify a "no-host minibar", but they do say you have a "Elegant ice bucket and serving tray for in-room beverages". It would appear now that for the lanai cabins, the "elegant ice bucket" that is in the OV and Inside cabins is referred to as a "no-host minibar" for lanai cabins. How can I do "easy entertaining" with warm beer, warm white wine, or warm sodas and no fridge ? Yes, I can put ice cubes in my sodas, but not in beer or white wine.

  20. We just booked a lanai cabin (#3376) on the Rotterdam for the 14 day Circle Caribbean cruise of March 11, 2018. I have checked cabin pictures on that site that features cabin pictures, and I can't see where a mini-fridge would fit under the desk. Question.... is there a mini-fridge in all lanai cabins on the Rotterdam ? Actually, I can't see HAL passing up another source of revenue, so it must be there, I just can't find it in the pictures.


    Also, the Nov. drydock was supposed to install the large, flat-screen TV's that have on-demand movies, in cabins. After drydock, are the new 48" TV's in the lanai cabins, or just the Vista Suites and up ? Or do I need to bring my own DVD's with an HDMI cable to feed my laptop into the small flat-screen TV over near the desk ?

  21. Unfortunately, HAL has a "wiggle clause" in the fine print on their website that protects them from errors by the webmaster. They say, in effect, that Holland America is not responsible for any errors on the website content. We have run into this before on cruise pricing. A mistake was made in a price and it was not honoured.

    Most companies have that "wiggle clause", but some will still honour the erroneous price for good customer relations. I have never seen any shore excursions on HAL's website for less than $20, which was a HoHo bus in Key West. If I saw a tour for $9.95, I would have called HAL and confirmed it before booking.

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