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TAD2005

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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. If you live near a major US city, you can make an appointment and go, in person to the passport office, and apply for an immediate passport. You will pay expedited fees, and you may have to stay overnight, but all of that would be far cheaper than either missing the ship in FLL and having to fly to Grand Turk, or missing the ship in a foreign port. You can easily get a passport in 18 days, you just have to start the process immediately.

  2. No passport ??? I sure hope this guy doesn't miss the ship in one of his foreign ports and needs to fly to the next port with no passport. That ain't gonna happen. He will be stuck on whatever island he is on until the US State Department can arrange for a temporary passport. It is insane to leave your home country without a legal way to travel by air. Yes, on cruises that are round trip to a US home port, they still allow you to go with just a birth certificate and ID. But the chances you take could cost you 10-fold the cost of a passport. And if you get in any legal trouble in a foreign port (too much booze, car accident, robbery) the local authorities are not going to be too happy seeing just a birth certificate (that you left on the ship). Always carry a photocopy of your passport when you are off the ship, or a passport card if you have one.

  3. There's an old saw that says "You get what you pay for" and Spirit Airlines is the poster child for that saying. There's a good reason for no lines at Spirit baggage checkin....their checked bag fees are so high that everyone carries onboard. There's still a fee for that, but less that the checked bag fee. Spirit is the punching bag for all airline jokes. (coin receptors on the bathroom doors, a non-refundable deposit to use the life jacket. etc) Maybe if you have time to kill and you don;t care if you are bumped a few times, Spirit may work. But for a cruise, spend a few more $$$ and go with a reputable airline that you stand a 50/50 chance of getting there. Fly in the day before, spend a relaxing night in a hotel, have a nice dinner and book a noon or later flight home. Spend thousands on a once in a lifetime cruise, and cheap-out on the airline getting there and back makes no sense.

  4. Who in the world advised the OP the insane idea to book a flight out of FLL at 9:00 AM ?? I sure hope it wasn't a TA !! The Port Everglades cruise terminal has gained a very poor reputation recently for posting only a few immigration officers to handle the thousands of passengers disembarking. The average time that I have seen on CC is 40 minutes from the time that you enter the terminal. We exited the Westerdam on Nov 8 and it took 55 minutes to get out the door. People with Global Entry do get an expedited clearance, they run those folks through the special booth on the right side along with handicapped passengers. But even Global Entry can take 15 minutes depending in the number of handicapped folks in line with you. Then you have to get a taxi, which is chancy at that hour, considering the crowds. I'm with most replies, get a noon or later flight. You will NOT make that 9:00 am flight. I'm sure Spirit Airlines will be happy to change your flight, just pay the change fee and the (naturally) higher price for a noon or later flight.

  5. No, you can't get a refund using your OBC once you get onboard. You would have to cancel and re-book once onboard. The dine-around packages are offered while onboard on some ships. Same as for booking a shore excursion online, and trying to get OBC to pay for it. Can't do that either. You have to cancel, and re-book, hoping that there is still space on that special shore excursion. Usually there is, except excursions that require a boat, aircraft, where there is only one available. The idea is to get you to spend as much of your own cash before the cruise and use the OBC for gratuities, spa treatments, casino, etc. HAL OBC is lost if you don;t use it, and they are banking on the hope that you don't.

  6. We booked the 28 day R/T San Diego Hawaii Tahiti March 9, 2019 cruise of the Eurodam while onboard the Westerdam in October. We originally had Explore-4 tied to this cruise, but when Explore-4 dropped on Nov 17, the cruise price dropped by exactly the same cost of a 28 day SBP. So, we told our TA to drop the Explore-4, and re-fare us under the Cyber Sale promotion that got us $750 in pre-paid gratuities. Our final fare for a VB cabin dropped way more than the SBP. But looking at our cancellation policy, I saw something that I have never seen before. Our final payment date is Dec 9, 2018, but the penalty period for cancellation kicks in on Nov 8, 2018. That is 122 days from sailing. This cruise is unique in that there is only one sailing for the entire year, so HAL extends the cancellation period. We lose our $300 P/P deposit we got for booking onboard if we cancel within the 122 day period. Our cruise is 28 days and to Hawaii, which falls outside HAL's statement that the OP posted.

  7. "Blowing tax dollars" to help these Ameican peoople get their lives back together???????????? Huh? Why is it different tthan spending those ttax dollars to help the people in Texas, LA and FLOrida after a hurricane? Or NYC or Boston after a serious storm? those are American loca tions as is St. thomas, which is ( USVI) the United States Virrgin Islands........ It is U.S. and the people living there are Ameican.

     

    The taxpayer $$$ were not used to help these US citizens get their lives back. They are still, to this day, without power and fresh water. So how did all those tax $$$ help the US Citizens of St. Thomas ?? The tax $$$ were used to quickly repair the tourist areas and facilities. In Texas, the tax $$$ were not used so tourists could take bus rides and see the massive flooding, they used tax $$$ to help the citizens restore their communities. Maybe you misunderstood my post. People getting the simple basic needs to live, like power and water take precedence over hurried band aids so tourists can buy their tee-shirts and souvenirs..

  8. Maybe the tax dollars that were used to fix up the tourist areas in a mad rush, paying exorbitant, inflated rates for labour and materials could have gone into fixing the island infrastructure like power, water, fuel. Yes, the island does need tourist dollars to recover, but blowing tax payer's dollars so tourists can ride in air conditioned comfort in tour buses, noses pressed against the windows, looking at all of the devastation doesn't make the local population get warm fuzzy feeling for tourists. Two and one half months without power or fresh water will make anyone a little negative.

  9. We were on the Westerdam and had the full cruise package. We used Skype to make many calls (voice, not video) and they worked perfectly, with no dropouts. we were travelling from Venice through the Med, and then trans Atlantic to FLL. No problems with VOIP or even VPN.

  10. Just about every electronic device made in the last 20 years will work on any voltage from 100 to 240. To use all of the outlets, available, lust bring a European round prong to US blade adapter, costing maybe $5 in Best Buy or online. Don;t bring a hair dryer, each cabin has one that works on 220 volts. And you are not allowed to use immersion heaters, hot plates, etc anyway so don;t bring them. I plug my CPAP machine, (with a long extension cord) into the 220 volt outlet at the desk, with a plug adapter, and I plug my phone and laptop chargers into the 115 volt outlets. But, it really doesn't make any difference, with the proper plug adapters (not converters) you can use all 4 plugs at the desk.

  11. The bottom line is will the package pay for itself ? I am referencing the Signature Beverage Package (SBP) not the elite package.

    The average cocktail price on HAL ships is $7.95, a little more for call brands, but rarely exceeding the $9 limit.

    If you pay out of pocket, a $7.95 drink will cost you $9.14 with the service charge. The SBP, purchased online, ahead of the cruise, costs $44.95 per day plus 15% service charge. That is $51.70 per day. If you divide $51.70 by $9.14, you get 5.6. So, after 5 or 6 drinks, you are drinking free. Only you can determine your personal beverage consumption. And don't use what you normally do at home. You are on vacation, the captain is doing the driving, so you can let go a bit. On long cruises with many sea days, we find the SBP to be a good value. On short cruises with a port every day, not so much. You decide.

  12. I take my wife's card and order my drink and her's. Never a problem. My drink is a double, and no problem there either, it just counts a 2 of my 15 for the day.

    You can get 1 liter bottles of water at any bar. We get a couple, one for the room, and one for our shore excursion the next day. We get our fridge emptied on the first day, and keep the water cold in there.

  13. With the SBP, each of you get 15 beverages per day. That doesn't mean just alcoholic drinks, it means bottles of water, sodas, specialty coffees, etc. Few people actually get there, but if you did hit the 15 drink limit, you would have to pay full price for everything over that. If your DW orders a glass of wine and pushes it over to you, then you could feasibly get 16 drinks or more in one 24 hour period at no extra cost. Let's face the cold, hard facts, HAL is in business to make money. They don;t make money by people sharing drinks on the beverage package. Your argument will not hold any water when you are confronted by the bar manager for sharing a drink.

  14. Absolutely NO sharing. You can't even buy a can of coke and hand it to your kid. They want you to buy a soda card for your kids. Sharing is the big problem with either of the 2 beverage packages that include alcoholic drinks. That is the reason why they force all guests in a cabin that are over 18 to purchase the same package. You are supposed to wait 5 minutes between ordering beverages on the same card. There is no problem ordering doubles of any drink, it is included in the package, but they count that as 2 of your 15 drink allotment for the day. You just can't order a double and pour half of it into your friend's empty glass. That will get your beverage package cancelled with no refunds for the days not used. Please don't even try it, you will just expose yourself to humiliation when your package gets cancelled.

  15. The standard breakfast room service menu card left on your bed each night has a very limited range of selections. We have found that we can write just about anything on the card and you will get it. I order oatmeal with brown sugar, eggs Benedict (Canadian bacon, not smoked salmon which will cost $$ extra) a plate of berries or fresh fruit, sliced bananas for my rice crispies, cream for my coffee, plate of sausage and bacon, etc. We have never had anything refused, when it was clearly written on the card. And we always tip the guy who brings the tray.

  16. If people in the Lido would simply carry on their conversations at the same level as before the announcement started, all would be well. But that's not what happens. When the captain starts his announcement, a lot of people jack up their levels to override the announcement. If they would just continue at the same level, this thread would probably not exist. But when they shout to each other, in an attempt to override the captain's voice, that is what creates the problem.

  17. While we haven't sailed on the Eurodam we have sailed on 3 Vista class ships and our last cruise was in one of the staterooms you have questioned. The footprint for the entire stateroom was identical to those with tubs. The stateroom itself was the same size as those with bathtubs and bathroom was actually seemed a bit bigger since the tub takes up more room than the shower. The sink counter was also a bit longer. We decided we really liked it better than those with the tubs which we have never used other than to step over it's high side. IMHO I believe you will really like it better.

     

    Google "pictures of 4168 Eurodam" and then pick the link to halfacts as there are a coupe of great pictures of the bathroom and yours will look just like them.

     

    And of course nothing beats the deeper veranda's on deck 4! :D

     

    Thanks so much for your very helpful report. The deeper balconies on deck 4 are much deeper than any of the decks above. (except for the suits, obviously). Ironically, the deck 5 mid-ships balconies which are classed as VA (the top classification) are much smaller than their less expensive counterparts on deck 4, forward and aft. Be cautious of the deck 4 forward verandas, they have solid steel railings compared to the deck 4 aft balconies which have glass railings.

  18. Exactly what I was talking about. I even asked at front desk, audio not available on TVs. This was Feb - so it might have been added by now, that I wouldn't know. I will try next month to see if it is once again available.

     

    I experienced the audio on the aft camera channel on the Oosterdam last December and this November on the Westerdam. It may not be on all ships, but it is an easy change to do, so it should be across all ships that have the interactive TV's soon. Another TV feature we saw this month on the Westerdam was during disembarkation, they display the various luggage tag colours and the expected times they will be called to disembark. It is on the initial channel you get when the TV is first turned on, very convenient. They do not seem to be interactive, e.g. in real time. They are the best guesstimates they plan for if everything goes as planned in the terminal with immigration and customs. In Rome, it went exactly as scheduled. In Ft. Lauderdale, they were running 45 minutes to an hour behind the displayed schedule. But that is the typical SNAFU for Ft. Lauderdale.

  19. We like the deck 4 veranda cabins on Vista class ships and the Eurodam due to the deeper balconies. I'm not speaking of the stern balcony cabins, unfortunately they are all gone on the cruise I'm booked on. Those balconies are huge due to their location. My question concerns the port and starboard side aft VC grade veranda cabins. There are 6 cabins in that group on the Eurodam (4168, 4172, 4174, 4173, 4177, and 4179) that have an asterisk (*) indicating that they are "shower only", no tub. I have seen pictures of the bathrooms and they are definitely smaller because of the lack of a tub. We really don't use the tub, we shower, so a missing tub is no big deal. If there is no tub, the bathroom cubicle is smaller. Does that smaller bath translate into more space in the cabin, or is the lack of a tub a result of an overall smaller cabin ? I have 4174 reserved, but I'm wondering if i should select another VC grade cabin that has a tub in the bath, like 4151, 4154, 4158, etc. The pictures available on a website that shows "deck plans" do not provide enough detail to determine the overall cabin size.

  20. Wait until she gets the interactive TVs , then try to get it in your cabin. Good luck!

     

    Good luck is not needed with the new interactive TV's. Simply select the "Live TV" tab, then scroll over to the Aft Camera. All announcements are heard there from your TV.

     

    Also, for other posts, the Captain is not hired for his public speaking abilities, he is hired for his nautical experience and ability to manage a huge staff. I am not disappointed if the captain is not a comedian on the PA announcements. Most of the time, his short, noon announcements involve some nautical trivia, a position report, weather report, distances traveled, and, occasionally, announcements concerning possible rough seas later in the day where the promenade deck will be closed and other precautions. In the past, cruise lines have been criticized for too many PA announcements. So now they cut them back to a noon report from the bridge, and people still blow them off as trivial and unnecessary. But if they didn't hear the announcement about rough seas, then they complain that this should have been announced multiple times during the day.

  21. We just got off of the Westerdam, 28 days Venice to FLL, in an aft cabin. From Santorini to Naples, a sea day, we had 26 ft seas and rain. The slight shimmy of the aft part of the ship was barely noticeable, and certainly didn't affect our sleep. We love Aft and Aft-Wrap cabins, whenever we can get them.

  22. The main reason that HAL requires both guests in a cabin purchase the SBP is due to rampant sharing problems. It is almost impossible to prevent some people from gaming the system. One person in a cabin buys the package and the other doesn't. The first person orders a drink on the package and slides it over to their friend, and then, orders another for himself a few minutes later from a different bartender. Princess also had severe problems with sharing with their Premiere beverage package. Their solution to overcome the losses of sharing was to keep raising the price of the package. It now is around $71 per day. They still don't require both adults in the cabin to order the package. Princess also has experimented with eliminating sodas and water from the package, because parents would purchase sodas and hand them off to their kids. Princess wanted parents to purchase the soda packages for their kids, and that was not happening. Princess also requires all beers to be opened when served. This also prevents people walking away with a unopened beer and giving it to their friends. If Princess catches you sharing, they will cancel your drink package and they refund nothing. You lose everything you paid if they catch you sharing a drink. There is a whole thread on the Princess board about beverage package sharing and how they combat it. HAL's solution may be unworkable for some who's travel partner does not consume any adult beverages or very few, but you can thank the freeloaders who continuously try to game the system by sharing for the extra expense

  23. Another alternative is to order an entire bottle of Absolut (or several) and have it waiting for you in your room on arrival for $43.75 (less than the daily SBP price) and you can bring on any non alcoholic mixers that you like. Slight inconvenience of having to go back to your room but if you plan ahead and bring an extra large "water bottle" to carry to Lido deck very do-able!

     

    For the $51.70 daily cost of the SBP, I can have 15 drinks with Absolute vodka. You want me to run, maybe 900 feet each way, back to my room, mix a drink, hope there's still un-melted ice there, every time I want a new drink ? That is FAR from a "slight inconvenience", that's insanity to save a few bucks..

  24. Yes, I am one who also is irritated when those around me continue their conversations, thus preventing me from clearly hearing what the Captain is saying.

     

    I also become irritated when I'm in my stateroom, the Captain begins to speak, and I have to rush to the door and open it in order to hear what he/she says.

     

    On the recently renovated ships with the new flat-screen TV's that are on-demand, you select "Live TV", then select the Aft Camera channel. All announcements are broadcast on that channel and you don't need to prop your cabin door open to hear them..

  25. On a recent Westerdam cruise that was Med/TA we had many sea days, including 8 straight days crossing the Atlantic. Obviously, the Lido deck was very crowded around noon. The captain did his daily position report, weather, and expected sea conditions for the night and next day. A lot of people would (should) listen to the announcement because it will tell you if the seas will be rough, and the precautions to take if it is. But, we also experienced the usual people who, when hearing the captain's announcement, just jack up their voices even louder so they can continue their (I'm sure) critically important conversations over top of the announcement, which lasts maybe 4 or 5 minutes. I understand what a great sacrifice it is to quiet down for 4 or 5 minutes, but the information they may hear could impact their comfort and safety that evening or through the night. We had one fairly rough night, with 24 ft seas, and the captain advised people to avoid using the stair towers, no high heals for dinner, and take any breakables off of the desk, counters and bathroom shelves to avoid breakage. That is important information that a lot of people missed because they felt their conversations were too important. And asking people who are eating lunch or have snagged one of the rare free tables available in the lido deck, to vacate their table and find another place on the ship to hear a 5 minute announcement is inconsiderate.

    I don't think it's too much to ask for people to pause their conversations to listen (or allow others to be able to hear) the captain's noon announcement. You should't have to ditch your lunch, abandon your table, and run back to your cabin to hear a 5 minute, sometimes important announcement. The same type of rudeness also happens on airplanes when the captain makes an announcement. Some people continue their conversations, and even raise their voices to override the PA announcement.

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