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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. I tried it with IE-10 and the only link I see is to my local printer. I would think the proper function of this would be to open your default e-mail, like Outlook, and automatically load your itinerary into the message. Yes, copy & paste does work, but not as easy. Otherwise, you could print it, then scan it to a PDF, then e-mail that to a friend.

  2. The crew member assigned to your lifeboat station has a clipboard. They have to account for the souls assigned to their station. Hey, you got a discount for the combined runs. What's a half-hour of Deja Vu going to hurt?

    I don't mind the 2nd muster drill, we've been to plenty over the years. I just wanted to know how to plan my day in Civi or Rome. If I have to be back onboard at 3:30, that puts a serious dent in our allotted time, so my shore excursion will need to be planned accordingly.

  3. It has been mandatory on any of our cruises for the last few years and was mandatory on our April cruise on the Westerdam that we just did.


    Option if this is not your only stop for Rome would be to consider either doing the Etruscan tour or explore Civi which is quite attractive actually and does have some things to be seen.


    We have been to Rome many times so opted to stay in Civi last time and it was a nice, relaxing and surprising day :)

    Thanks, and you have confirmed what we read elsewhere. We did not purchase this as a

    "Collector's Cruise", we just saw the 26 days, with lots of ports in the Med, and then 7 days to relax on a TA. We had no idea that guests would be leaving the ship in Rome and more would be boarding. As far as we were concerned, it was just one long cruise.

    We have been to Rome twice before, but years ago. But, I would assume that after 2100 years, the Coliseum has not changed that much in the last 10 years !!! So, I think it will be a DIY tour of Civi, with a nice pizza and a few beers. That will prepare us for the 2nd lifeboat drill.

  4. We are on the Zuiderdam, 26 days from Athens to FLL, Oct 14. This cruise could also be purchased as a 7 day ATH->Rome, or 19 days Rome->FLL. We purchased this as one long cruise and we have only one booking number for the entire 26 days. We are scheduled to be in Rome from 7am to 5 pm, but, as many of you know, it's a 90 minute bus ride from the port to downtown Rome and another 90 minutes back. That kills 3 of the 10 hours we are in port. I have read on CC that when there is a lifeboat drill mid-cruise for passengers joining the ship at the mid-point, all passengers are required to attend the drill, even those who are already on the ship and attended a drill a week earlier. If this is true, HAL will want passengers back onboard around 90 minutes before departure, meaning 3:30pm. That would effectively shorten our available time off the ship to 7-1/2 hours, then remove 3 more hours for a round trip bus to Rome, and we have only 4-1/2 hours in Rome. Barely enough time for a gelato at the Trevi Fountain. This would eliminate many of the shore excursions we have been looking at. Is a mid-cruise lifeboat drill mandatory for guests who are already on the ship and have not boarded at the midpoint ?

  5. Just returned from Niew Amsterdam 12 days from Barcelona to Venice. :)It's $30 per bag, stuff it really tight. I was able to put a lot of stuff, even though the bag doesn't look too big. It was well worth it.

    I feel that charging $30 per bag in Europe vs. $20 in the western hemisphere is a real rip. It doesn't cost HAL more money to do a bag of laundry in Europe. I asked Ship's services about that and they said that because of the higher passenger loads and more expected laundry, the ship has the authority to raise the price of the per-bag rate. That makes no sense. If a cabin generates more than 1 bag of laundry, then they simply pay for 2 bags. The more you use the service, the more you pay. So, why gouge the passengers just because they can ?

  6. I heard on CC that if you want to book a reservation in the PG ahead of the cruise, online, you must charge the fee to your credit card, even if you have Explore-4, which includes a free PG dinner. The only way to use your Explore-4 free dinner in the PG is to take the date and time you are assigned onboard, or try to change it. Good luck with that, depending on the number of pre-booked reservations, and the number of Explore-4 freebies that are already on the books.

  7. We're on the Zuiderdam, Oct 14, 26 days, Athens to FLL. We have a guaranteed VD or better veranda cabin. Prior to final payment day, the HAL website was showing a totally sold-out ship. The day after final payment, all grades of cabins had availabilities, at much inflated prices than we paid in Sept 2014. I assume that all the cancellations on final payment day opened up these cabins. It's 52 days to sailing, and we haven't received any upsell offers or cabin assignments. We did use a travel agent, not booking directly with HAL. Some folks on here are cruising Aug 28 and just got their assignment. Does anyone have any ideas when we might see the assignment ? We keep checking the HAL website and the luggage tags.

  8. We just booked a cruise on the Maasdam for March 29 and got the Explore 4 option. We purchased the Signature Beverage Package for the last 3 cruises we have been on. We are excited to have it on our upcoming cruise. We booked a low category cabin' date=' so for us, it turned out to be a great deal. Specialty coffees in the morning, a couple of bottles of water to take on shore, Bloody Mary's poolside, coke for lunch, before dinner cocktails, wine with dinner, after dinner liqueur, cocktails in the evening, and a bottle of water to take back to the cabin with us, and we usually book a Pinnacle Grill evening each cruise. We know what our bar bill will be at the end of our cruise, no expected surprises We love the program. Who else is with us.[/quote']

    We got Explore-4 when we booked a 26 day TA from Athens to Ft. Lauderdale. After the explore-4 promotion was removed in late 2014, our cruise price dropped $600. But, we enjoy the same type of bar usage as you, coffees, waters, afternoon drinks, pre-dinner cocktails, a beer or wine with dinner, and a few after dinner in the piano bar. Hey... why not, we're certainly not driving !! 15 drinks per day/per person, now valued at $8 each, gratuities included, for 26 days.... that's a huge amount of money, well above the $600 per person we would have saved by cancelling and re-booking. And HAL just raised the drink prices on some ships to $7.50, up from $6.95. If you had to buy each one, plus a 15% gratuity, that's $8.62 per drink. The explore-4 promotion is well worth it. We will break even at 2.6 drinks a day, and I can guarantee we will have more than that !!

  9. Stop point. Wow, that's crazy.

    Update on the Explore-4 with SBP. I got a firm commitment from my TA, who spoke with her HAL rep, that all Explore-4 SBP will now allow $8 for all drinks and wines. And it is grandfathered back to cover all cruises. So, if you can believe HAL's travel agent reps, our SBP will be as valuable to us now, as when we booked in Sept 2014, for our Oct 14 Zuiderdam 26 day TA to FLL.


    And to add to other posts, the only ships I have seen people really going overboard (pardon the pun) with alcohol is on Carnival, during spring and summer, when young people go a little crazy. I have never seen anyone really inebriated on a HAL ship for over 14 cruises with them.

  10. I can not imagine why you would not! We got the same package added to our Oct 2016 Med cruise and I just went to HALS site and copied what was stated. And they have changed it to 8.00 instead of 6.95.

    Explore4 2015 Terms & Conditions

    *Fares and Explore4 offers are based on Promo(s) KA/KC/JA. Featured fares are per person based on double occupancy, cruise or Land+Sea Journeys only. Fares are in U.S. dollars. Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses are additional and range from $108.72 to $769.66. Subject to availability. Explore4 offers are per stateroom based on double occupancy, for 1st and 2nd guests sharing a stateroom and excludes 3rd/4th guests, except as provided herein. Explore4 offers are available for new bookings only, apply only to the cruise portion of Alaska Land+Sea Journeys, are not combinable with any other discounts, are not transferable, are capacity controlled, and may be modified or withdrawn without prior notice. Offers are applicable on select 2015, 2016 and 2017 departures. The Signature Beverage Package value of US$1,400 is based on a 14 day cruise and has a daily limit of 15 beverages, which includes all beverages priced $8.00USD or lower including service charges. Signature Beverage Package excludes purchases made in Signature Shops, Mini Bar and In Room Dining, or beverages on Half Moon Cay. Signature Beverage Packages are not transferable or refundable and may be used only on the cruise portion of Land+Sea Journeys



    My concern is that when Explore-4 2015 came out on July 20, the allowance was $7 for drinks and $8 for wine. Now, they are showing $8 for all drinks and wines. I booked my cruise under the Explore-4 that was current in 2014. Back in July, after the new Explore-4 2015 came out, I checked with Ship's Services and they said "no, your Explore-4 SBP is from 2014, and that is $7 for everything, including wines. Of course, sometimes the information you get from HAL on the phone is misleading or outright wrong. But now that they have raised the actual drink prices to $7.50, they would have to increase the SBP allowance accordingly. My cruise price dropped by $600 per person when the 2014 Explore-4 promotion was removed. I could have cancelled and rebooked and saved $1200, but I didn't because I would lose the Explore-4 and the SBP, which, for a 26 day cruise @ 15 drinks a day/per person, is a whole lot of money. If that package is now useless because the drink prices were raised, but the allowance stayed the same, I would be limited to water, cokes, and beers for my cruise. Not a pretty picture.

    I would like to hear from some guests who actually booked under Explore-4 2014 and recently cruised after the drink price increase. Did your SBP allowance go up to $8 for drinks and wines when the drink prices were raised ?

  11. We have the SBP as part of Explore-4 on our 26 day, Oct 14 Zuiderdam cruise from Athens to FLL. We got the Explore-4 promotion when we booked this cruise in Sept 2014. At that time, drinks and wine were capped at $7. But the majority of the drinks on the menus were $6.95, so we were happy. Now, I see that, at least on the Ryndam, most cocktails are now $7.50, which eliminates 75% of the available drinks under SBP. I see where some posters say they have raised the allowance on the SBP to $8 for drinks and wines. Is that increased allowance to $8 grandfathered to Explore-4 SBP booked in late 2014, or does it only apply to the current Explore-4 promotion which started on July 20 ? I guess a call to Ship's Services is in order. Hopefully I will get straight information.

  12. EXCELLENT idea and thanks for helping be think it trough! That's EXACTLY what I am going to do! 5:30 IS a little early but we are going to give it a try. Will probably stick with it thru the first formal night at least.

    I have seen reports that the dining room staff compares fixed dining, cabin numbers and open seating. When a guest "tries" open seating dining for a few nights, some people say that your fixed seating reservation is cancelled and a waitlist request is accommodated. So, by trying open seating, even for one night, you may lose your fixed, early table. Check with the maitre'd onboard before you do it.

  13. I'm curious if you've ever tried open or if you are just going by reviews. If you ask for a two top they will not seat you at a larger table. There may be a wait. I have also requested the same table in open and haven't had a problem. I think it's pretty hard to have a private, intimate dinner with 500 other people :). Ymmv.

    I admit that I enjoy the same table/same wait staff each night. And yes, dinner with 500 other cruisers is hardly intimate, but I choose to not have to do a meet & greet every night, going through the same questions, "where are you from, what do you do, what other cruises" etc. etc. I have never used AYW Dining on HAL, but I have on NCL and Princess. Not a good experience for us. And HAL's website says that you must call a number or visit the AYW Dining office between 8am and 4pm every day to make your reservation for that evening. My personal choice is to have a known and proven dining experience, rather than a crapshoot of who I will be bumping elbows with at dinner.

  14. Sorry, there isn't any way to work it this way.

    If you book in advance, you pay in advance. If you want to use OBC, you book on board.

    Thanks Ruth & Debbie. That is my situation, I have a bunch of OBC, plus more coming as a gift from a friend. I already have the Explore-4 promotion plus TA dining gifts, which includes PG and Cannelloni lunches and dinners, plus I have the 26 day Signature Beverage Package. So, my onboard expenses will be mostly the hotel service charge and some casino chips. I would rather use the money I have in HAL's bank instead of what's in my bank.

    I have heard of people booking online, then cancelling on the ship, with the intention of using OBC to rebook. But, cancelling onboard gets you a 10% penalty for tours booked online, according to HAL's website FAQ's.

    So, I guess my only options are to take a chance on sold-out tours or book the critical ones online. Thanks for all of your input.

  15. We have an upcoming Zuiderdam 26 day cruise from Athens to Ft. Lauderdale, on Oct 14. We occasionally get e-mails from HAL to book our tours online, before embarkation day; the premise is to guarantee we will get the tours we want. We have been on many cruises, HAL, Crystal, Celebrity, Princess, Cunard and NCL, and we have never had a problem booking onboard. I realize that private car/minibus tours are limited capacity. But the standard 20 - 30 passenger bus tours with guides are almost always available when booked onboard, with a reasonable lead-time. HAL makes a huge markup on shore excursions, so I would think that when they see a tour selling out, a phone call from the excursion desk is quickly made to reserve a few more busses and tour guides. Has anyone seen a popular tour totally sold out, a week or so in advance, and they could never clear the waitlist ? Is it really worth purchasing shore excursions ahead of time online or is this a plan by HAL to get your cash upfront ?

  16. I don't drink, but I would assume beer cans are the same size as soda cans. Just remove the soda and replace with the beer you like. I would use clear package tape. Nobody will notice or care.

    That would give you a six-pack of totally FLAT beer. Ughhhh

  17. Will HAL let you bring a power strip on board? Both my wife and I have CPAPs and if there is only one outlet then I don't know where we will plug our other one into :(

    I brought a 20 ft US extension cord, with a US to European adapter (female US blades to round European male prongs). I plugged it into the 220 volt outlet at the desk, and then I had a 3-way cube tap on the other end, bedside. I could plug in my CPAP and my laptop charger. I'm sure you could plug both CPAP's into a 3-way cube tap. And if you can get an extension cord in your luggage, you certainly can also get a little 3-way cube tap, available at any hardware store. Why carry a big, heavy plug strip ? A cube tap is smaller than your computer mouse.

  18. Will they let you bring on your own distilled water.

    I had no problem bringing distilled water on Windsurf, but it was a sealed bottle. I bought it at a local market before boarding the ship. However, if you are flying to the port, there's no way you'll get a jug of anything liquid on a plane. You will just have to hope you can buy it locally before boarding, or pay HAL's $4 price.

  19. That happened to me, as well, but once onboard, the cost was $9/day and the per bag rate was higher, too. I hope you pre-paid the amount quoted and got the confirmation as someone advised earlier. I suspect you'll need it onboard so you pay the lesser amount.

    I again spoke with Ship's Services, and pressed the issue on laundry rates. I was transferred to a supervisor, who said: "The official price for laundry is $7 per day, unlimited, and $20 per bag for bulk". They said "However, the rates charged for laundry are left up to the management on the individual ship, and they have the authority to increase the cost of either plan as they see fit". So, that's where the $9 per day and $26 or $30 per bag is coming from. The supervisor told me that "if there is an expected increase in the laundry loads from passengers, the ships will increase the price". I think that's something called "gouging". During hurricanes in Florida, stores raise prices on plywood to board your windows, gasoline, candles, etc. That's gouging too. I was advised to purchase the unlimited laundry package from Ship's Services ahead of time and they will then guarantee the $7 rate.

  20. That happened to me, as well, but once onboard, the cost was $9/day and the per bag rate was higher, too. I hope you pre-paid the amount quoted and got the confirmation as someone advised earlier. I suspect you'll need it onboard so you pay the lesser amount.

    Thanks AQ. I guess this is another example of HAL-Seattle not having a clue what is really happening on their fleet of ships. I believe in the idea that the captain (or other dept. head) can set their own methods of operation, but when that is in stark contrast to the HAL website or advise from HAL-Seattle employees, something is definitely wrong. Another example of this is when I was transferred to 4 different HAL agents when I asked about the credit card hold of $60 per day/per passenger vs. $30 per day/per passenger on cruises longer than 25 days. Three HAL agents swore to me they have never heard of this before, until I finally asked them to browse the FAQ's on the HAL website. Then they kept passing me to other agents for confirmation. Who is training these agents ?

  21. Our cruise on Oct 14, Zuiderdam, departs Athens, and arrives in Ft. Lauderdale 26 days later. I called HAL's Ship's Services and they looked up my cruise and found a 26 day unlimited laundry package could be purchased online or onboard for $182, which is $7 per day. This cruise has about 19 days in the Mediterranean and 7 days trans-Atlantic, so maybe that is why the rate is not $9 per day ?? Ship's Services also confirmed the $20 per bag rate for my cruise, not $26 or $30.

  22. The most recent figures I have read are $26 per bag, or $9 times the number of days in the cruise.


    Cruise Critic poster Bruce Muzz is a Hotel Manager who has explained before why the price is higher in Europe. Perhaps you could run a search to find his posts on the subject.

    It had to do with European passengers bringing their laundry packed to do on board, I believe.

    Thanks Ruth, I know the ships desalinate their own potable water onboard, so it had to something external as a reason for the higher cost. Nothing like carrying a couple of suitcases of dirty, smelly clothes through customs when entering the country for your cruise.

  23. I have cruised 5 or 6 times now since I started using a cpap.

    The first few times I did request an extension cord, and it was never in the cabin when we first got to the room. I then asked the steward and he brought it. Once it was a very long cord, like 25 feet. Lol. More recently I have just brought my own. I carry it in the cpap bag. That way I know I have it with me at all times.

    Also, it will depend on the cabin layout as to whether you will need an extension cord or not.

    I travel and cruise with a CPAP. Most CPAP machines work fine anywhere from 100 volts all the way up to 240. So, I usually bring my own extension cord and plug adapters. I have found that many times there are no available outlets bedside, so the closest outlet is at the desk or in the bathroom. And those outlets may be 120 USA blade-type or the 220 volt European round prong-type. Adapters may be necessary on some ships.

    And, I have had no problems using the ship's desalinated tap water, and I do rinse the CPAP reservoir daily when not using distilled.

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