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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. Forget about the 15 drink limit per day. You probably will not hit that limit, more power to you if you do !! Think of the SBP as 6 or 7 drinks per day. Anything over that and you are drinking free. And that does include the 15% service charge. If you go ala carte, you will pay the $7.95 drink price plus 15%.

    If you have a specialty coffee or hot chocolate in the morning, a few bloody-Marys or beers for lunch, a pre dinner cocktail (you can order doubles with the plan), a glass of wine at dinner, an after-dinner drink at the casino or showroom, and take a bottle of water back to your cabin at night, you are already saving money with the SBP. However, if all you do is have coffee or ice tea in the Lido, and a glass of wine at dinner, save your money, it's not worth it.

    I like the peace of mind knowing that my total beverage costs are paid for before I board the ship, and I won't get that "sticker-shock" when the final bill comes on departure day.

  2. Thanks Ruth & Debbie. My machine is almost 6 years old. There is an online company that you can buy CPAP machines and supplies. But, as usual, the ridiculous rules about prescriptions for durable medical equipment hinder the easy online purchase. I've been told that I will need to sleep with a CPAP machine for the rest of my life. On this website, I can purchase all of the individual parts for my nasal mask with no script. But if I want to purchase the same mask, completely assembled, I need a doc's prescription. I can buy all of the parts for my CPAP machine with no script, but the same machine ready to go requires a script. Do they really think someone will buy a CPAP machine just for the fun of it ??

    I ordered 2 jugs of distilled water for a 28 day cruise from Athens to FLL. The jugs HAL supplied were 5 liters each, a little more than a US gallon. I used all of the first jug and 2/3rd of the second one. For the $8 fee, it was much better than humping all over Athens looking for distilled water, and then carrying both of them, along with our carry-ons onto the ship. And, in a pinch, the tap water on the ship is fine, just rinse out your humidifier reservoir daily.

  3. Wow. Those machines sure are getting complex! Mine doesn't have anything that remotely sounds like that. I have a Resmed, and I know there's some sort of card in it that records information, but I don't have anything like an airplane mode.


    I'll be interested in reading what others have to say about this, in case it's part of my next machine (I'm on my 3rd).


    Hi Ruth,

    I have used a CPAP machine since 2011. A Resmed. My machine is almost 6 years old. How long do they last (since you have been through 3 of them) and what are the symptoms when they are about to die ? In the old Medicare rules, durable medical equipment, like a CPAP, was 100% covered. Now, we have to pay 50% or more for a new machine.

    I always call ship's services and order a $4 jug of distilled water. It's waiting for me in the cabin when I arrive. I also bring a 15 ft extension cord, plus a European round prong to US blade adapter for the 220 volt outlet at the desk. That leaves the 110 volt outlet open for my laptop charger.

  4. There are 3 closets on the Zuiderdam Veranda cabins. The one on the right has the safe in it, so that one does have a shelf. The middle and left closets have adjustable shelves. You can pull them up and use them or leave the closets full length for hanging full length articles of clothing. You also have two pull-out drawers under the foot of the bed. The cabin steward uses them for storage of the luggage bed protectors and other items, but there's space in there. You could put your life vests in there and gain some extra closet shelf space. Just remember where you put them in case you need them.

  5. We are 3 star Mariners and we will be cruising with 2 relatives who have never cruised before, and they are in a different cabin. If we purchase a Pinnacle Grill dinner for the 4 of us, on line, using my 3-star account, will the 25% discount apply to all 4 of us, or just my DW and I who have the 3-star status ? I understand that we pay the full $35 per person price on line, when making the purchase, then we get the discount credited back to us on our on-board account. Will I see a discount for all 4 persons, or just the 2 of us who are 3-star Mariners ?

  6. The Signature Beverage Package (SBP) includes the 15% service charge if you get the package as part of the Explore-3 promotion or is you purchase it at $51.70 per person/per day. The $51.70 includes the 15% service charge, so it is already paid.

    And remember, the break-even point is only 6 .5 drinks per day. So, anything above that, you are drinking free.

  7. We intentionally booked a stern cabin on the Oosterdam, deck 4. Deck 4 is at the absolute back of the ship with only the MDR below you. When you lean over the railing (not too far, of course), you are looking directly down to the water and the beautiful wake of the props. The rear of most of these HAL ships are tiered, with each deck above deck 4 are further back from the one below it. On deck 5, 6, 7 & 8, if you look down, you see the decks below you. Deck 4 has partial shade, which is perfect if one in your cabin likes to sunbathe, while the other wants shade. Deck 5 stern cabins have more shade, and they vary as you go up. Only deck 8 has a noise problem, due to the Lido and aft pool being above you. That's why the deck 8 stern cabins are the last to go. All stern cabins have huge balconies, and if you don't get 2 lounge chairs on yours, ask your cabin steward early for one.

    Enjoy your deck 5 stern cabin, which is definitely great for Panama Canal transits.

  8. We were on the Zuiderdam last October for a 26 day Med/TA cruise to FLL. We bought internet time on their lowest priced package and we were able to Skype (audio, not video) through the Med and also crossing the Atlantic. We had no problems with audio only Skype calls. Video calls were choppy and not reliable. At that time, the Zuiderdam offered only one speed, and you purchased it by blocks of time, or by the minute. The "by-the-minute" rate was really expensive and not worth it. But, the service was reasonably good. But, certainly not the speeds you are used to at home.

  9. In all of our cruises with HAL, we've only been bothered by balcony smoking once, and that was late at night. What really bugs us is the inconsiderate slobs who toss their cigarette butts in the water drain right at the edge of the balcony floor. It is designed to allow wave and rainwater to drain off of your balcony. There's nothing more disgusting than seeing someone's butts floating by your balcony in the water drain. They at least have the common sense not to throw the butts overboard, so the lazy bums throw then into the drain and let the rains wash them away. I've seen whole packs of cigarettes floating by, where the morons forget that it gets quite breezy out there once underway.

  10. We were on the Eurodam October 2015 and had the Signature Beverage Package via Explore4. Since we were having some problems with the Pinnacle Grill, I would go down nearly every other day to see if corrections were made for the Pinnacle Grill (didn't want to keep bothering the concierges and it was just as easy to go down there and zip my card through the Kiosk). Never did any drinks show up on any day.


    This must be something new that has started.


    We saw the daily beverage consumption on our recent Zuiderdam cruise of 28 days. The SBP was part of Explore-4. We also had some cabin credit problems, and we did notice that all of our drinks were listed, and then reversed out, but only on the daily accounting. When we got the final report at the segment end, all drinks disappeared.

  11. I have entered the US at MIA, ATL, CLT, and LAX, among other airports. 2 hours is definitely not enough time. You first have to clear immigration, and even with GE, that takes time. Then, you have to wait for, and claim all of your bags, and a luggage cart to roll them on. Then, you must clear customs, usually long lines. After that, you must re-check your bags with American. Your bags will already have the proper tags for your domestic flight, so it is a simple drop-off. Then, you have to exit the international arrivals terminal and enter the domestic terminal. Your carry-on bags and you will have to pass through security, because you have been outside of the clean areas, and also had access to your checked bags. After that, you find your gate for your IND flight.

    There are plenty of reasons for arrival delays into LAX. ATC delays, available gate delays, luggage delivery delays, etc. I arrived into LAX on an international flight with a 3-1/2 hour layover. We have GE and TSA pre-check. We barely made our domestic connection. And, after sitting in a coach seat for 12 hours from SYD to LAX, you want a little time to relax, grab a bite and a beer, before settling in for a 4 hour domestic flight. I would look for at least a 4 hour layover. Murphy's Law says that if anything can go wrong, it will, at the worst possible time, (when you only have a 2 hour layover). A 2 hour connection, international to domestic, is a legal connection at LAX. American is not responsible for delays out of their control, eg- gate delays, customs clearance, etc. Why take a chance to ruin the last day of your holiday by missing your connection ?

  12. No problem at all with doubles. They just want to be sure you aren't putting them into separate glasses to share with a friend. if your double is in one glass, no problem, they just charge it as 2 drinks.

    I see people on CC all the time saying "no way I can drink 15 beverages, so the package is not worth it". The break even point with the SBP is 6 or 7 drinks per day. Anything over that and the drinks are free. A typical drink is $7.95 (and don't worry about the 15% service charge, it's included and already paid for) and the package is $44.95 per day plus 15% service charge, which comes to $51.70 per day. Divide $51.70 by $7.95 and you get 6.5 drinks. Naturally, beers are less than $7.95, same for specialty coffees, hot chocolate, sodas and waters. But, we always find that we usually exceed 6 or 7 drinks in one day (what the heck, you're on vacation, so go for it) so the SBP is always worth it to us. If all you have is a glass or two of wine with dinner, then certainly the SBP is not worth the cost to you.


    If you get the SBP as part of Explore-4 or by purchasing it, you are not refunded anything at the end of the cruise. So, with the SBP, you use it or lose it !! And, if you are hearty enough to hit the 15 drink limit in one day, wait until it's 12:01am and the counter resets back to zero. You can check your beverage consumption by heading down to the front desk and use a kiosk to get a printout of your account. You will see your beverages for that day, but later on, those will disappear from your account.

  13. Get yourself a new TA. The TA is looking at the total commission they will receive, and a cruise with Explore-4 is considerably more than without. We always ask our TA to price our cruises both ways. Our recent booking for a 21 day cruise for Sept 2017 was $980 cheaper without Explore-4, in the same VB grade cabin. The cost of the SBP for 21 days is $1070. So, the savings of Explore-4 was $90, but the additional OBC we got far exceeded the loss of Explore-4, if we purchase the SBP outright. So, if your TA says there's no difference in price, get a new TA or call HAL for a PCC. There's no such thing as a free lunch, (of a free drink package). You pay for it one way or the other.

  14. Do you get upset when the first officer on your flight provides the cabin PA announcements and not the captain ? I don't. The captain is busy doing what he was hired to do, flying the plane. Same for ship's captains. Some captains are outgoing and sociable, others are strictly business. Either way doesn't matter to me. I also feel that the Costa Concordia incident, where the captain was a social butterfly, entertaining and schmoozing, mostly the women, has had an impact on all cruise ship captains. They may be concentrating more on being ship captains, and leaving the socializing to the cruise director and hotel director.

  15. The Signature Drinks Card you refer to is the Signature Beverage Package (SBP). HAL needs to improve it's website writers. Their description of this package is very confusing and generates many questions here on CC.

    There are NOT just 15 specific drinks you can purchase with the package. If you like, you can have 15 beers, 15 glasses of wine, 15 bottles of water, 15 specialty coffees, 15 shots of Jack Daniels, 15 Bloody Mary's, or 15 of any other kind of drink, or.... any combination of all of the above. If you can actually get out of bed the next day, you can start all over again. Just about any beer, mixed drink, call brand, well drink, soda, water you can imagine is OK with the SBP. Just look at the menus and as long as the menu price is $8 or less, it's yours, and don't concern yourself about the 15% service charge. That has been included in your SBP, either by you purchasing it, or you got it as part of Explore-4. About the only drinks you can't use the SBP on are wines by the glass over $8, and bottles of wine. The VSOP stuff is also beyond the package as well as anything in your fridge in the cabin, and the bottles of water in your cabin. Easy solution, pickup a few bottles of water before heading back to your cabin, and stock up. As long as there's 2 bottles there when the guy comes by to check, you won't be billed.

    I don't think HAL has a way to bill you separately for a coffee instead of hitting your daily 15 drink limit. But if you can handle 15 alcoholic drinks a day, more power to you.

  16. When you login and do a booking the rates will reflect any promotions that apply to you. I did a mock booking for a dec 4 cruise on the koningdamm with out login in and it was 1700 per person . I then login and the same cruise and room was 399.00 per person for a casino rate that I qualified for.



    Sent from my iPad using Forums


    I see references to "Casino Rate" occasionally here on CC. What is the Casino Rate? Is this similar to Las Vegas, where you have one of their preferred player cards and you build up credits based on the level of money you have in play ? You get to a certain level and you get free dinners, buffets, shows, and if you are a really big high roller, (a whale in Las Vegas terms), you get free penthouse suites, free airfare, etc. Does HAL's Casino Rate work like that ? Does the casino staff keep track of how much money you have in play, win or lose ?

  17. We are on the Nieuw Amsterdam from Sept 30, 2017 through Oct 21 for a reposition/Panama Canal cruise, starting in Vancouver and ending in FLL on Oct 21. There is a 7 day cruise scheduled from Oct 28 to Nov 4, and then the NA goes into drydock in Nassau from Nov 5 through Nov 18. But I don't see a cruise scheduled from Oct 21 to Oct 28. Our concern is what's happening in that week from Oct 21 to 28, 2017. The last thing we want is to be on a ship that is preparing for a 2 week drydock refurb. Usually HAL boards prep crews that start ripping the ship apart during the prior weeks.

    Does anyone know what the NA is doing from Oct 21 to 28, 2017, nothing is on HAL's schedule, and nothing like a charter is shown on CC ?

  18. I'd like to know the current rate of laundry service for one bag and for unlimited. Appreciate any information. Of course, this question is for those ships that don't have self help sundry mats. Thanks!


    $20 per bag in the west, and $30 per bag in Europe. And you can stuff those bags full to the brim, plus some.


    The unlimited laundry is $7 per day in the west, and $9 per day in Europe, and those rates are for the whole cabin, not per passenger. You can stuff as many bags as you want, just ask your room steward for more, and also the 3-part sheet that goes with it. Your clothes will come back on hangers and the smaller stuff in a basket. The laundry will put little green sticky laundry tags on your items. Be careful of your underwear, those little green stickers are itchy.

    If you are on a European cruise, call Ship's Services ahead of departure and purchase the unlimited laundry package. You will save $2 per day if purchased in advance. Purchased onboard, in Europe, it's $9 per day.

  19. On our recent K'dam trip, an Elite Beverage package at $54.95/day was offered that mirrored the Signature package except it allowed for higher priced wines ($15 not $8).


    That Elite Beverage Package should not be limited to one ship in the fleet. It should be fleet-wide, and just a little programming of the Food & Beverage computer system, plus some promotion of the package, would be all it would take to offer this on all ships. Poor, limited wine selection is the biggest complaint I hear about the standard SBP. That could be easily fixed.

    I am assuming that the $54.95/day price you quoted is not including the required 15% service charge. That would make the EBP, if that will be the eventual acronym for this package, cost $63.20 per person/per day. The standard SBP costs $51.70 per person/per day, including the 15% SC.

  20. So, even though it clearly states on my booking confirmation, "includes all beverages $8 or lower including service charges" if it's the explore 4 promotion it's no service charge, if I buy the Signature Beverage package I pay a service charge when I buy the package???


    To put it nicely, HAL needs some qualified proof-readers for their website and published documents, who have a command of the English language. The line "includes all beverages $8 or lower including service charges" should read "includes all beverages $8 or lower". "The service charge has been pre-paid".


    When you receive the explore-4 promotion, the SBP is included in your cruise fare, and so is the 15% service charge. There's no free lunch. You will notice that when the Explore-4 promotion drops off of the website, as it will do on Nov 18, 2016, the price of the cruise drops dramatically, in most cases. So, it really doesn't matter if you get the SBP through Explore-4, or if you purchase it separately, either way, you are paying for it, and also pre-paying for the service charge. As others have said, once you have the SBP, forget about the 15% SC, just concentrate on the yummy drinks, under $8, of course !!


    I'm certainly not encouraging people to over-imbibe, but with the SBP, and HAL's average drink prices, the break-even point is 6 or 7 drinks. ($8 X 7 = $56) Over that amount, and you are getting free drinks. Under that amount, and you are not getting your money's worth. So, have that extra glass of (house) wine, or pickup a couple of specialty coffees at the Explorer's Lounge.

  21. We have had the SBP as part of the Explore-4 promotion and also just an outright purchase. When it is given to you as part of Explore-4, the 15% service charge (tip) is included in the cost of the promotion, you never see it. When you purchase it online or onboard, it costs $44.95 per day plus 15% for the tips, or $51.70 per person/per day. Either way, the 15% tip is already paid, and all you have to concern yourself with is the menu price of the beverage. If the beverage is $8 or less, it is included in the package. You can ignore anything to do with the service charge, it's already paid.

    You can order doubles, and they charge it as 2 drinks. I have never had a waiter enforce the "5 minute rule" as listed on HAL's website.

    There is no separate card for the SBP, it is encoded into your cabin key. When you order a drink, you give your card to the waiter and he returns with your drink and a receipt. You can just toss that receipt, unless you like to keep track of your consumption. Just don't try to use the SBP for anything in your cabin fridge or the water bottles in your cabin. Pick up a few bottles of water before retiring at night at one of the bars. That is included in the SBP, not anything in the mini-bar in your cabin.

  22. Just off a 14 day HAL cruise . Laundry was $20USD a bag or $50 USD for unlimited laundry for 7 days ($3.50 US per person per day). Both people in a cabin have to have the unlimited laundry package.


    You may be confusing the SBP rules with the unlimited laundry rules. For the SBP, both guests in a cabin must purchase the SBP, to prevent sharing of drinks. For the unlimited laundry, the price quoted to me by HAL's ship's services and the front desk onboard was $7 per day for the cabin, ($9 per day in Europe). The unlimited laundry package is always based on the cabin, not individual passengers in that cabin. A tip, if you are cruising in Europe, for a long cruise, you can book the unlimited laundry package ahead of time by calling Ship's Services, and you only pay $7 per day, not the onboard purchase price of $9. Not a big deal on a 7 day cruise, but we were on a 28 day cruise through the Med and TA, and the savings by purchasing ahead of time bought us about 3/4 of a Pinnacle Grill dinner for 2.

  23. We were on the Zuiderdam last winter. We had an aft cabin. ( not a corner one). it was really nice and big but we only had two regular chairs . The deck above us had as big or bigger balconies with the two regular chairs but they also had two loungers ! You have to ask what size and furniture will be for your specific deck. we are not aft cruisers but for the loungers we would book such a cabin.


    I have heard that if you have any of the aft cabins with huge balconies, a request (and possibly a nice gratuity) to your cabin steward will get you two lounge chairs and a table. I don't know where they grab them from, but at least for me, it worked one time on the Zuiderdam

  24. On another post weeks ago, someone mentioned that mid-ships cabins on deck 5 used to be a much lower grade veranda, like VD. Then, HAL declared them to be VA, and used them to offer upgrades and upsells. We had a VD grade on deck 5 forward, and HAL offered us deck 5 mid-ships, VA grade. We took it, but when we saw it, we asked for our original cabin back, which was available. As others have reported, sitting in your cabin, or standing on the balcony, looking straight out, the tops of the lifeboats are just below your line of sight. However, when looking down to the pier to watch a sailaway serenade, or trying to see dolphins or whales swimming alongside, all you see is the tops of bright orange lifeboats. We considered these cabins to be a partially obstructed view. HAL disagreed, but we were much happier in our original deck 5 forward cabin.

  25. The Explore4 promotion expires on Nov 18/16 according to the terms and conditions on the HAL website. Is your November cruise after that?


    I agree with Dave that the FCC will not be able to add E4 after it expires. The FCC will only be able to offer whatever promotions are available at the time and the standard OBC that is available when booking onboard (which may include the ZPM offer that Dave mentioned).


    If the promotion expires before your cruise, then I would just book now, since the E4 promo is of value to you. Actually, you might want to wait another month or so because, IIRC, HAL usually has some additional promos in September like Plan a Cruise Month and a CLIA promotion. I think we got some additional OBC by booking during those promotions, in addition to the E4.


    Yes, my November 2016 cruise is on the 25th, too late for Ex-4.

    What is ZPM ??

    When a cruise is booked onboard by the FCC, what kind of OBC's do they give you ? I realize that the cruise prices usually drop after Explore-4 expires, but not always. Purchasing the SBP for 21 days will cost me $2170 for both of us. I would have to see how much the cruise price drops after Ex-4 is gone, and add in the OBC's given by onboard booking. There's a lot of variables, and I could make out well or get screwed by waiting to book onboard.

    Thanks for those tips for those extras you mention in Sept., but I want a specific type of cabin (aft facing veranda, deck 4 or 5). Some of those are already reserved. Waiting to book onboard in late Nov. could possibly wipe out all of those cabins.

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