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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. The OBC shows up on your ship account automatically, no vouchers to submit to the front desk. I always bring documentation of OBC, no matter from where it comes... HAL, TA, myself and I make sure the OBC is there by the second or third day; getting your account statement might require you to visit the front desk, depending on which ship and if you will have remote access to your statements.


    Pre-purchasing OBC equal to $60/p/n (or $30/p/n for cruises 30 nights and longer) eliminates the need for a credit card hold, and for having to register a credit card at port check-in. But you may still have to register a credit card for online check-in to get your e-docs. But then HAL should not be placing a hold at port check-in which is when the hold begins. m--


    Copy and pasted from the HAL website "The day you board, Holland America Line places an initial hold on your credit or debit card for $60 per person per cruise day ($30.00 per person per day for cruises longer than 25 days).

    When we put a credit card on our account for a HAL cruise, the $60 (or $30) per day hold is applied, usually the night after sailing, or the next day. In all of our cruises, the hold has dropped off the card in 4 or 5 days. We usually take longer cruises, 21 days and up. We have never had a HAL card hold last for the duration of the cruise. After we disembark, the balance that we have run up on our onboard account is charged to our card, usually 2 or 3 days after we get home.

    But having the hold drop off in 5 days on a long cruise is kind of silly. HAL got their original authorization that the card was valid and a sufficient balance existed on day 1. After the hold drops off on day 5, you stop at some port on day 10 and buy that nice gold Rolex watch you have always wanted, which taps your card down to a zero balance. What does HAL do when you have already disembarked and they hit your card with a zero balance? Call their lawyers ?? Do they check your card again the night before disembarkation for a sufficient balance ? With 2000 passengers, that's a lot of work, and all holds and final charges happen from Seattle, not the ship. The ship just transmits your balance due to Seattle and they take it from there.

  2. The lack or presence of any live TV channel onboard is a matter of...... what else... $$$$. If you want to carry any major satellite channel, either in a bar, a hotel, a ship or any commercial establishment, unless you pay a cable TV system for it, you must pay carriage rights to the program supplier. When any TV network gets very popular, they start jacking up their carriage rates. CNN and CNNI have been missing from HAL for a while now. I'm thinking that they raised their carriage rate, and HAL told them where to stuff it !!

  3. We have a cruise in October from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. We purchased our one-way Florida to Venice air flight with HAL, through our TA. We got an excellent rate for premium economy.

    We have made our final payment for the cruise and the air connection back at the end of July. We have decided to treat ourselves to business class air for the long trans-Atlantic flight. I made this request to my TA and HAL has said to our TA that any changes after final payment must be done by the TA directly with the airline. HAL did the original reservation. Why can't they inquire about upgrading to business class ? My TA is having difficulty even reaching the airline due to hurricane related problems. I checked myself on the airline's website for the paid upgrade, and they cannot help me. They refer me to the travel agent who did the original reservation.

    Has anyone attempted a class change like this after final payment, when, I assume the tickets have been paid for by HAL to the airline ?

  4. If you have the SBP through Explore-4 or you purchased it online or onboard, the service charge (15%) is already paid. You don't have to worry about it. The current limit is $9 and that is for ANY drink on the menu that costs $9 or less. Don't even consider the service charge, it's already taken care of. If you are weighing the benefits of the beverage package, forget about the 15 drink limit. Most people never approach that limit, but still find value in the package. A typical $7.95 drink, plus 15% will cost you $9.14 if you are paying as you go. Based on that $9.14 total drink price, your break even number is 5.6 drinks. After that, you are drinking free. The SBP costs $44.95 per cruise day + 15% service charge = $51.70 total cost per cruise day. Divide $51.70 by $9.14 and you get 5.6 drinks. Of course, beers. specialty coffees, wine prices will differ. The only advantage I see for the Elite Beverage Package ($11.50 per day extra, including the 15% SC) is in wine. Many of the wine offerings are above $8. The recent increase to $9 helps, but if you want the full wine selection, the Elite package at $15 per drink covers many more wines and the specialty drinks.

  5. If you block open the balcony door, the huge roar of air coming through your main cabin entry door vents will be a dead giveaway that your balcony door is propped open. You will quickly get a knock on your cabin door, or a phone call asking you to close your balcony door. The hot, humid air getting sucked into the air conditioning system warms up your cabin and others in your grouping. Many times when passengers complain that their AC doesn't cool properly, it's because one of their neighbors has their door propped open.

  6. As many have said "There's no free lunch". Do you seriously expect HAL to give you $965 of a beverage package and PG dinner on an 18 day cruise and not charge you for it ? If you do, then I have a bridge to sell to you ! HAL does not say the Explore-4 promotion is free. It is included in your cruise fare and a benefit. And yes, in most cases, the fare goes up. An 18 day SBP is worth $931, ($44.95 per day + 15% X 18 days) plus the $35 PG dinner. That's a total of $965 in benefits for a cruise price increase of, as you stated "around $900". Do your math. If you don't think you will consume $45 per day (plus 15% service charge) in beverages, then tell your TA or PCC to re-fare your cruise without the promotion. Simple !! Some CC members say they have gotten Explore-4 for little or no price increase. Bravo for them, they got deal ! That is not the norm. When promotions that give you benefits, like beverage packages, HSC, or free internet, and you are paying for it some way.

  7. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Ships need constant maintenance to stay ship-shape. They can't do this work once every 2 years while in dry-dock. There WILL be constant painting, sanding, wire-brushing of everything. People are asking that they do this maintenance during dead hours. Can you paint your house in the dead of night ? All ships need constant maintenance. The old Navy saying "If it moves, salute it, if it doesn't move, paint it" holds true on cruise ships too. If cruise lines didn't do constant maintenance on their ships, people would be griping about the terrible condition of the ship they were on. If they do the constant maintenance, the same people will complain that the maintenance should be done at some other time, "when I'm not onboard". You can't win this argument. Maintenance must be done, and most of it involves paint. And marine paint is not the latex stuff you use at home. It must withstand crashing waves, salt water and air, constant foot traffic, etc. If you have a serious health problem with the odours of marine paint, maybe cruising is not for you.

  8. SBP is $44.95/day (every day of journey must be bought) if bought before cruise, $49.95 if bought on board. 15% is added to that at purchase for effective prices of $51.69 and $57.44 (per person per day; all persons over 21 in a cabin must buy). Calculating the same percentage difference, the EBP would be $69.94pp/pd if bought on board (with tip added).


    On the HAL website, they only penalize guests who have the absolute gall to wait until they board to purchase the SBP. If you buy it online, at least 4 days ahead of your cruise, it's $44.95 per day. Purchased onboard, and it's $5 more per day, both prices plussed up by 15% for the service charge. HAL doesn't want you to use your OBC to purchase the SBP because the markup on beverages is relatively low, compared to Spa treatments, shore excursions, etc. BUT, HAL does not (yet) penalize guests who purchase the Elite package (EBP) onboard. It is the same price, $54.95 per day, no matter if you buy it online or onboard. You can check this by the HAL website and look for beverage packages. You can't extrapolate the SBP onboard purchase rate to the EBP. They have not done that, so far.

  9. Everybody is listing the amount their cruise went up or down with or without Explore-4. Those amounts are totally meaningless to us CC readers without you providing a reference of the number of days of your cruise. The SBP is roughly $51.70 per day, including the 15% SC,purchased online, in advance. On a 7 day cruise, the SBP, plus a Pinnacle Grill dinner (normal Explore-4 perks) would cost you $396.90 per person if you purchased them. So, please, in future posts about how much you saved by adding or deleting Explore-4, also tell us the length of your cruise. It would really give us a reference as to how generous (or not) HAL is. But, always remember, There's no such thing as a free lunch.

  10. Could someone post a link to the bev packages ??? thank you


    Check the HAL website. But the quick answer is:

    Signature Beverage Package (SBP) $44.95 per day + 15% service charge = $51.70 per cruise day, everyone in the cabin over legal age must purchase the same package, unless you produce a doc's note saying you are allergic to alcohol. Also, that price is based on you buying the SBP online, at least 4 days ahead of your cruise. If you buy it onboard, then, it's $49.95 per day + 15% service charge = $57.44 per day. That package gets you just about any liquid you can swallow that is under $9, and you can do that 15 times per day, and the reset time is midnight. If you're in the B.B. King bar and you have blitzed out on 15 drinks, wait until after midnight, and you are good to go again. Ask for some help getting back to your cabin !!

    The Elite Beverage Package (EBP) is generally $10 more per day (plus 15% service charge), and there is no penalty for buying it onboard like the SBP. That package will get you any liquid refreshment priced at $15 per drink, and don't consider the service charge. It'a all prepaid, just look at the menu prices. Same 15 drink per day limit.

    If you are a beer person or cocktails, then you would be hard pressed to find a cocktail that is not included in the regular SBP. But if you tilt towards wine, then you may consider the EBP due to the higher per-drink limit of $15.

    Either way, enjoy, and at the end of your cruise, there's no sticker-shock when you get the final bill and it "Holy S**t, did I drink all that" !!!

  11. We have had the SBP many times, last time in December, and we have ordered Black Russians, White Russians, Wang-Wang's, Long Island Ice Teas, all of which have up to 5 different types of alcohol, and all of them were included under the regular SBP.

  12. We have a 25 day MED/TA cruise in October. We asked about Explore-4 and they said NO, it was linked to cruises 6 months or more in the future. And, it would have raised our cruise fare by almost as much as buying the SBP online. If your cruise is in 2018 or later, it might be sold under the Explore-4 promotion. But prices usually go up when it is attached. There's no free lunch !!

  13. W e have used a debit card once long ago on a ship. The hold they put on the card lasted about 6 days and then dropped off. I have heard that these holds can last a month. On HAL, the hold on a credit or debit card is $60 per day/per person, unless your cruise is 26 days or longer. Then, it is $30 per day/per person. The worst part of using a debit card is the hold, which ties up your cash in your bank account, and you cannot touch it until the hold drops. With credit cards, the hold is just an authorization, not a hold, and it doesn't tie up your funds.

    I do agree with others. Travelling with just cash is a real problem if you miss the ship and have to fly to the next port, or you need to fly home early from a port. You absolutely MUST have a credit or debit card to purchase any airline ticket. Most US airlines will not accept cash for anything, even a drink or bag of peanuts onboard.

  14. Send an e-mail to HAL's ship's services and request that they refer this to the coordinator for your ship. We did that about 7 months in advance for a particular table in late seating on the Westerdam, and the coordinator responded in a few days confirming our table. You can go to HAL Facts dot com and see the MDR layouts for each HAL ship, with table numbers. If you are many months away from your cruise, you stand a good chance of getting the table you pick. Always provide 5 to 10 optional table numbers. If you are close to your cruise, you only hope at this point is to greet the matre'd on embarkation day with a $20 or $50 bill palmed in your hand when you shake his.

  15. What info/suggestions can you give for any shore excursions at Cobo San Lucas, Maziitlan, and Vallerta? Thanks!


    You might check the HAL Roll Call for your particular cruise on this website. You will find many guests with descriptions of private shore excursions to the places you may want to see, and they are considerably cheaper that what you purchase online or onboard from HAL..

  16. Thanks for reply! So if you play inside it is $1. Is there a minimum there? Like do you have to play more than a dollar minimum --- like 4 numbers?


    I was on the Oosterdam in December, and I think all HAL casinos have the same gaming rules. For roulette, it's $5 on the odds/evens and the colours, anything on the inside is $1, but you still must wager $5 spread over the layout. You can't put four, $1 chips inside, it must be 5 chips. .

  17. You can make reservations for times between 5:15 - 6:15 and 7:30 - 9 PM.

    You can make the reservations for 3 days at a time and you certainly can request the same table and wait staff.


    Yes, you can request the same table and wait staff, but nothing is guaranteed. The only way to assure that you have the same table and wait-staff is to book fixed dining, either early or main seating. If you don't reserve for each 3 day period, and just walk in, you may or may not get your same wait staff. It all depends on how many people got there before you.

  18. That's what you get when ad agencies hire script writers and proof readers for the US market where English is not their first, (second or third) language. But this is amazing that this video had passed test marketing, and HAL's marketing department before releasing it. That's a lot of eyes and ears that missed this very obvious error.

  19. What "ticket" are you two talking about from the slot machines? I've never seen it. I just go to the cashier to "cash out" and enter my pin. that's the way it is even on the P'dam.


    Totally confused - but yes, that will work for the tables IMO. You can also buy casino credit/OBC ;)


    I was on the Oosterdam last December. After a relatively decent session at a slot machine, I hit the "cash out" button. A little slip of paper came out of the machine showing the credit I had in the casino. The ship advised everyone who had credits at the casino to be sure to cash them out on the last night or you may forfeit them. I take the slip showing my winnings over to the cage and they scan it, and issue me cash. I suppose that some ships may eliminate the paper receipt, and you just show your card at the cage. But I never heard of a PIN attached to a room card. When is this PIN established ? Where do you do that ? Maybe if you purchased casino credits from the special site for HAL casinos ???

  20. $250 spent for alcoholic beverages by two people on a 14+ day cruise? That amounts, at $8 a drink, to slightly over one drink a day. You think that defines "most" people on a cruise?


    You nailed it exactly, Tampa Girl. I can't stand it when people apply their personal standards to everybody, and make dumb comments like that. Everybody can figure out the math, and they know what they might drink on a cruise (which is totally different to normal life at home). We find the SBP very beneficial, others don't. That's fine, but don't try to impose your adult beverage standards on everyone else by saying "most people". I don't think they stand at the bottom of the gangway and take a survey of their ship's passengers. It's perfectly fine to say "I don't see the value in the SBP". But don't say "most people don't value it", because you have no way of knowing.

  21. I was told any cash charged to your cabin account from the casino table games would have a 3% surcharge added regardless of whether OBC was available. Since the slots are electronic and tied through your card to your account, you avoid the fee. The house margin on slots is phenomenally higher than Black Jack, so they are happy to let you bill your cabin.


    I have $800 in HAL issued OBC for an upcoming 25 day cruise. 8 of those 25 days will be crossing the Atlantic to FLL, so I plan on donating a lot of money to the casino during those sea days. You are saying that if I use my cabin card to fill up a slot machine, there's no fee, but if I charge a couple hundred to my cabin at the craps table for chips, I get hit with 3% ??? How about at the cage ? Same deal there ? What if I load $100 into a one-armed bandit, pull the handle once or twice, and then cash out. The little printed slip from the slot machine can be cashed in at the cage, I assume for cash ?? I can take that cash over to Craps and lay it down for chips. Is that possible ?

  22. We have a collector's cruise booked, Oct 14, Westerdam, Venice to Rome, then Rome to Ft. Lauderdale. We always book fixed, late seating. Around March, we e-mailed the ship coordinator for the Westy, and gave her a list of 15 possible table numbers for 4 that we would like in the upper level of the MDR. She e-mailed back in a few days with one of our choices confirmed. Naturally, I printed out that e-mail and will have it my hot little hands when visiting the matre'd after boarding. We did get the table reservation for the full 25 days. There are (fortunately) no groups on either segment of our cruise.

  23. After probably 15 cruises, we are booked on a February cruise and find that fixed dining is already booked (8 months away!). So, we are faced with open dining. Are we going to find that on this 18-day cruise we will need to stand in lines waiting for a table? Also, we have enjoyed having the same table as our stewards rapidly learn our preferences and the thought of needing to have a different steward daily is not something we are looking forward to.


    That is the exact reason why we always reserve fixed dining, always late seating. We love having our favorite beverages waiting for us when we sit down, a basket of our favorite rolls, and a waiter who knows how I like my steaks, when to bring two of them, and providing us a sampling of all deserts each evening. You may be able to get that in open seating if you take the extra time to reserve a specific table, but that is still no guarantee you will get it. Open seating is called that for a reason. The only time we have experienced slow service in fixed dining is when a large group was onboard, and the matre'd would fill in the unused tables in fixed with open seating from the group. That would cause the waiters to have to deal with guests they knew nothing about, and they would wait until the tables were full before taking orders and serving. It did lengthen the service.

  24. If everyone in your cabin is over 21, then all must purchase it, unless they have a doctor's note saying that they cannot consume alcohol.

    If they are caught sneaking a shared drink from their cabin-mate, there will be repercussions. If only one of you drinks only beers then you should NOT buy the SBP. All beers are well under the $8 or $9 (on some ships) limit, and you would have to drink a lot of beer to break even on the packages. If you do buy the package, then you will be forcing your other cabin-mates to buy it. HAL has added a rule to their SBP. If one person in a cabin purchases a beverage package, and the other guest(s) don't, they will automatically add the package to their onboard account.

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