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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. We are looking at a September 2017 cruise that presently has the Explore-4 promotion tied to it. We take full advantage of the signature beverage package and value having that perk. Usually, the Explore-4 promotion expires around late September, and the prices will sometimes drop. We are also booked on a November 2016 HAL cruise. By the time we board this Nov. 2016 cruise, and sit down with the future cruise consultant (fcc), the Explore-4 promotion will be gone for the Sept. 2017 cruise. Does the fcc have the ability (authority) to add the Explore-4 back into the Sept. 2017 cruise, if we book while on board ? We would like to take advantage of the cabin credits that are given for onboard booking. If we would place a deposit on the Sept 2017 cruise now, what perks could the fcc onboard add into the package at that point ?

  2. When you first board, HAL puts a hold on your credit card for $60 per day per person. My upcoming cruise will put a hold of $1260 per person. If I purchase the SBP onboard at a cost of $1085.49 per person, plus the $262.50 hotel service charge, I will already exceed the $1260 that they have put on hold. Does HAL at that point just run the tab, and hit my card for the excess at disembarkation day, or do they bump up the hold amount to a higher level ? I guess I could purchase the SBP ahead of time, online and eliminate the problem.


    The Signature Beverage Package has a daily limit of 15 beverages, which includes all beverages priced $8.00USD or lower including service charges.


    The underlined/bold part is sometimes misunderstood by guests. The per-drink price limit is $8, and don't concern yourself at all about the service charge. It has already been pre-paid as part of your SBP. If you simply purchase the package online, or onboard, you pay the 15% service charge when you buy the package. If you receive the SBP as part of the Explore-4 promotion, they load the 15% SC into the cost of the promotion. Either way, the SC is taken care of, and it does NOT figure into the maximum price of your drink. What you see (on the menu) is what you get.

  4. We are sailing on the Amsterdam next Sunday. My mother inlaw got the Beverage package as a bonus for booking through a travel agency, but is no longer able to drink alcohol due to medical reasons. Can they transfer this to my husbands card? We hate to see it go to waste.


    Thanks for any help :)


    Are you, your MIL, and your husband all in the same cabin ? HAL's requirements are that all guests in the same cabin must have the SBP, to eliminate possible sharing. I would think that this could get very sticky for HAL with one guest getting the SBP as a gift and other guests in the same cabin not having the SBP. They do say, in the fine print that all guests in the cabin must have the package, either by getting through Explore-4, or purchasing it outright.

  5. I see responses from some CC members saying that they just returned from cruises that stopped in Turkey. They said they toured all over and felt perfectly safe and had no problems. I think the passengers in the Ataturk Airport, 15 seconds before the guns and bombs started, also felt safe and secure. Does anyone think that ISIS will walk through the streets and bazaars with ISIS T-shirts on, proclaiming their affiliation ? Turkey, at this point in time, has real problems. I do feel very sorry for the majority of Turkish citizens who are decent people.

  6. Thanks and I'm glad they're waiting. Hopefully, a few weeks will make a difference.


    Why would a few weeks make a difference ? Does anyone think that ISIS has a calendar, and they mark off the Istanbul Airport bombing, and say, "OK we now have to wait 6 months before we can attack Turkey again" ? They look for soft target opportunities with the most impact, and they act. It can be 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 months from the last attack. ISIS doesn't operate on a schedule. When Istanbul is a short 7 hour drive from the Syrian or Iraqi border, that makes it a very easy target, with the most impact on the government. If you can kill tourism, you have a stranglehold on the government.

  7. I'm not sure that there is any easy way to approach the problem of deciding whether or not to visit a country or city based on past terrorist activity. Do the almost 10 million tourists visiting Orlando annually now boycott the city? Or the 55 million visitors to New York City? Or the millions of visitors to any of the many other targets of terrorism internationally? Is there a statistically greater chance of another bombing in Istanbul or one in Fort Lauderdale? If I'm planning a cruise, which should I avoid?


    In the US, we have the blessings of a huge Atlantic Ocean between Europe and here. So, terrorist attacks in the US are rare (thank God). However, we are talking specifically about Turkey. Istanbul is just 300-400 miles away from the Syrian and Iraqi boarders, where all hell is going on. If you are a terrorist, just a half day's drive to Istanbul will get you to your target. Orlando, NYC and San Bernardino are thousands of miles and an ocean away. I feel the odds of another terrorist attack in Orlando or NYC is much less than in a country that shares a border where the most horrible atrocities are happening, only 300 miles away. To answer your final question, "is there a greater chance of a terrorist attack in Istanbul or one in Fort Lauderdale".... yes, of course. Just the geography alone increases the odds.

  8. I have seen posts on CC after prior terrorist acts in Turkey saying that people should still go, because the chances of being impacted by a terrorist attack is 1 in 10 million, or some other very slim odds. They say that you have greater odds of being injured in a tornado. All of these odds are true. But if you see a tornado, and drive right up to it, your chances of getting injured are much greater. Same with terrorism, if you place yourself in close proximity to areas where terrorism is rampant, obviously the odds are much worse.

    Another point to consider, many travel insurance companies do not cover acts of war, uprisings, acts of terror, etc.

  9. Can anyone explain the drinks package we will have with this deal? Is it a fixed amount per day or a fixed number of drinks.


    The SBP as part of Explore-4 is a promotion that allows you up to 15 beverages of any type, per day, with a beverage price of up to $8. You should not concern yourself with the 15% service charge. You will not see that on your final bill, it has been bundled into the Explore-4 promotion. So, any drink you order can have a max menu price of up to $8.


    HAL says no sharing, and 5 minutes between drinks. We have ordered doubles of many cocktails and they charge them as 2 drinks on the same ticket, at the same time. No problems. Just about every mixed drink is $7.50, so there's no problem there. All beers are included, as well as specialty coffees in the explorer's lounge. Also, bottled water, purchased on the ship and cans of soda are included. Only wines are limited. There are good house wines, and some name brands available for the $8 price limit, but if you want the really good stuff, you have to buy it separately. Wines covered by the package are only by-the-glass, no full bottles. And all beverages from your cabin mini-fridge are not included, as well as beverages on Half Moon key.

  10. We have heard some people complain about the mandatory 15% service charge tacked onto the SBP when it is purchased (not part of Explore-4). They feel that they are paying a service charge for drinks they will never consume, thinking that the service charge is based on 15 drinks. "I'll never drink 15 per day, so why should I pay a service charge for 15 drinks".

    Actually, with the average drink price of $7.50 plus the 15%, it comes to about $8.62 per drink if you had no SBP, and were paying by the drink.

    With a total per-day SBP cost of $51.70, divided by $8.62, that equals 6 drinks. So, with the SBP, you are, in reality, paying for 6 drinks per day including service charge. If you get one bottle of water or a soda over that 6, it is free, and you are not paying any service charge on it. The SBP is great for some people, and not worth the expense for others. It all depends on what your usual cruise beverage consumption is. And remember, the SBP covers all liquid refreshments, beer, wines, cocktails, specialty coffees, hot chocolates, sodas, water, etc.

    Am I a fan of the SBP ?.... you bet I am, but it works for me. maybe it doesn't for you.

  11. The CC posters are correct on this, not the long-winded, confusing legalese of HAL's website description. If you outright purchase the SBP, the cost is $44.95 per person/per day, PLUS the 15% service charge, or $51.70 per day. You pay the service charge upfront when you buy the package. So your drink price limit is a flat $8. The service charge has already been paid when you bought the SBP, so it doesn't figure into your final drink price.

    It gets a little different when the SBP is provided "free" as part of Explore-4. You still don't have to concern yourselves about the service charge, it is bundled into the cost of your "free" SBP.

    Either way, with the SBP free or purchased, your drink price limit is $8, the SC does not reduce the cost of your drink.

    This is still true as of 45 days ago on a recent HAL cruise.

    I have never had a bartender apply the 5 minute rule. I have ordered doubles with no problems, and they run them through as 2 drinks, at the same time, on the same ticket.

    Plus, I have had friends who exceeded the 15 drink limit (yes, they were still walking because there were 2 specialty coffees, 4 bottles of water, and 2 sodas in that total). They had no problems. This is really up to each individual ship. A general rule of thumb.... trust what recent HAL guests say here on CC first. Their actual, on-the-ship experience is more realistic than HAL's website and HAL's phone agents.

  12. Generally, for us on a short cruise (under 30 days), we feel we are on vacation and take the usual vacation attitude towards beverages. But on the very long cruises, 30 days and up, we tend to drift back into our usual daily home routine. That would be a couple of glasses of wine at dinner for DW and a few beers for me.

    We always have the SBP for the shorter cruises, either purchased or through the Explore-4 promotion. For the longer cruises, we buy beverage cards. We plow through them pretty quickly for the first couple of weeks, and taper down to our home routine for the remainder of the cruise. The breakeven point with SBP is about 6 or 7 beverages per day. After that, you are saving money.


    We follow the same routine the OP mentioned, with a combination of specialty coffees, afternoon beers, pre-dinner drinks, wines at dinner, after dinner drinks, and bottles of water for the cabin and shore excursions. But that is only on the shorter cruises.


    We are both in our upper 60's, and have followed this routine all of our cruising history, starting in the mid 70's on the Sunward II. We also do not appreciate suggestions that we should consider cutting back. It's our bodies and our wallets, and they both are doing fine.

  13. This was very helpful. I signed on to the forums this morning to figure out of the 16 day Signature beverage card was worth the money. In looking at your menu shots it appears that it certainly is. Many thanks for effort and the share.


    The signature beverage package (SBP) is definitely worth the $51 a day fee, (incl. service charge). It all depends on the level of beverages (alcoholic and non) that you enjoy. The max drink price with SBP is $8 per drink, and the 15% service charge has already been paid when you buy the package. The breakeven point of the SBP is 6 or 7 drinks per day. You are allowed 15 per day, but I've rarely reached that amount.

    Take a typical sea day, (port days are obviously less). Specialty coffee in the explorers lounge in the morning, a couple of beers or drinks with your Dive-In burgers for lunch, a pre-dinner cocktail, a glass or two of wine with dinner, a few drinks after dinner in the casino or showroom, and a bottle of water to take back to your cabin. With that level of drinks, you are saving money and are ahead of the game using the SBP. However, if all you drink is maybe a glass or two of wine at dinner, then definitely don't go for the SBP.

  14. We got off the Maasdam on June 6. We were in Cabin 300 the most forward cabin on port side of the Lower Prom deck.


    We could not get the temp lower than 72, which for us, was warm.


    Luckily, I had read about AC issues on CC prior to leaving, and I brought a small electric fan which made sleeping tolerable.


    We have another Maasdam cruise booked for next year in the South Pacific, so I will be following how the AC is doing before the final payment date.


    Other than the AC issue, we enjoyed being back on the Maasdam.


    Wow, 72 degrees cooling. We live in Florida, and you are in Nevada, both very warm states. If I tried to keep my house at 72 degrees in the summer, my central AC would run 24/7, and I would have a $1000 monthly electric bill. You guys in Nevada with hydroelectric power are lucky.

  15. We've been on a few B2B's. On one, the turnaround port was Civitavecchia for Rome. The ship arrived at 8:00am and was scheduled to leave at 5:00pm. All aboard time should have been 4:30. But because there were a lot of new passengers boarding in this port, all guests had to go through a muster drill, even though we, as transit passengers, had just participated in a muster drill 14 days earlier. So, the "all aboard" time was moved back to 3:30 pm, which really put a kink in many guest's plans who arranged private tours scheduled to get back to the ship around 3:30 or 4:00pm. It takes sometimes 90 minutes to get to and from Rome when docked in Civitavecchia. This reduced our available time in Rome to under 6 hours. Be prepared to have to attend a mandatory muster drill at your turnaround port, which may reduce your time in port.

  16. In its documentation after booking a cruise (and this is probably somewhere on its web page) HAL notes" Each country has its own entry requirements, and guests are personally responsible to have the necessary documents when boarding."


    This puts the onus on the passenger.


    With airlines, they verify, at boarding, that you have sufficient docs for the countries(s) you are flying to. Many countries stipulate that they require 6 months validity on your passport, you must have a return or continuing reservation, occasionally a visa, and, if you bring a pet, the pet must also have valid docs. If you do not meet the requirements that the airline has on file for your destination country, the airline will refuse to board you at your origination point. They do this because if you arrive at your destination with invalid or improper docs, and immigration denies you entry, THE AIRLINE is responsible to fly you back to your origination point, AT THEIR EXPENSE. They broke IATA rules by boarding you with improper docs, so they are stuck with you.

    Countries establish these entry regulations, and they distribute them to IATA, (International Air Transport Assn), and they, in turn, distribute them to their member airlines. The countries rely on the airlines to enforce their entry requirements by denying boarding.

    On a recent cruise where I purchased a one-way airline ticket to an Eastern European destination, (not through the cruise line), the checkin agent at my flight's origination point refused to issue me a boarding pass until I showed them my cruise documents, which provided proof of a continuing reservation.

    I would assume that cruise lines must adhere to the same regulations of countries that they visit, and denying boarding if your passport does not have 6 months left on it. My passport had only 5 months and a few days validity, and I had to get a supervisor to approve my boarding at FLL for a Caribbean cruise. The cruise's only foreign port was St. Maarten, the other ports were San Juan and St. Thomas.

  17. thanks for the response. We're over north of Ft Myers, so an easy 2- 1/2 hrs to FLL or Miami and less than 2 hours to Tampa. Guess we'll see what the other responses bring.


    Just as an aside, this is our first summer in FL so I'm sure I'll be hearing from all those folks up north that I gloated to about the weather over the winter, asking how we like the heat and humidity. *L*


    Enjoy the heat & humidity. We've lived in west central Florida since 1975, and in the summer when we get daily temps of 95, we head to the Caribbean, where in St. Maarten in August, it's 84-86 and cooling trade winds.

  18. Another thing I used to do when living in a Third World country for two years is to carry a hat pin concealed in a hand with the point barely peeking out. One short jab usually does the trick! Crowding is usually a component of an approach.


    I would not recommend that anyone adopt this practise. You escalate the possibility of losing some money or consumer objects to being seriously injured or killed.


    Don't bring a hatpin to a knife fight !!

  19. We live in west-central Florida, and every day from June through late September we have mid-day temps around 93-95 and humidity close to that number. That's why we head to the Caribbean. In July in St. Maarten, the mid-day temp is around 85 and the continuous trade winds keep the humidity much lower. Yes, of course you can get badly sun-burnt, even in the water, but the "feels-like" temperature rarely gets close to 87-88. But, as others have said, it all depends on what you are used to. If you live in the northern tier of the US or in Canada, yes, 85 degrees (30 C) will feel very hot, especially if your cabin AC is not functioning.

  20. I also use a small two prong European adapter taped to a light weight 15 ft extension cord. Because the cord goes across the cabin from the nightstand to the 220v European outlet that the stewards use for the vacuum, I put the cord and mask away daily.

    The biggest issue is getting through TSA flying to meet the cruise. I cannot risk a lost machine, so it flys with me in a small backpack under the seat in front of mine. I pack it separately because to go through TSA, it has to go into its own tub. Or maybe with your


    I'm going to try the humidifier for the first time on our next cruise, so thanks for the advise on getting distilled water.



    The airlines do not consider any medical device (CPAP included) as one of your carry-ons. You may still bring a normal carry-on that fits in the overhead, and a purse, laptop, etc. But, you do have to remove the CPAP from the bag going through security, unless you have TSA Pre-Check

  21. [attach]387907[/attach]


    I would consider that an "Obstructed View". This "partially obstructed" description is subjective, based on what you expect from a balcony cabin. It's like hotel resorts that advertise a room as "Ocean View", and when you get there, if you lean far to the right, hang over the balcony, and use binoculars (not provided) you may get a tiny view of the ocean between buildings and trees.

    HAL did that on Vista class ships. The mid-ships, deck 5 cabins used to be VE grade because of the lifeboats hanging right below your balcony. Also, due to the reduced deck width in that area, the balconies are very shallow, maybe 4 ft. Then they changed it to VA grade and used them for guarantee upgrades. Hey.... who would complain of a guarantee upgrade to a VA cabin, until you actually get there and see it. When you are in the cabin, looking straight out, your view of the ocean is fine. But when you stand out on the balcony and look down, all you see are the big orange tops of the lifeboats. I would call that partially obstructed. What I see in the pictures the OP provided was totally obstructed. You can't be expected to shift all over your balcony to catch a glimpse of the ocean between boats and davits.

  22. I have used a CPAP machine for many cruises. Yes, bring a 12-15 ft extension cord (not a plug strip). If you will be using other electronic devices at the desk, bring a very inexpensive adapter plug for US flat blades to European round prongs. Plug your extension cord, with the adapter, into the 220 volt outlet at the desk, and use the 120 volt outlet for your other devices. Almost all CPAP machines will work perfectly anywhere from 100 volts to 240 volts.

    I always grab the side of the bed closest to the desk, because the desk is where the outlets are located. Always remove your facemask and extension cord each morning and put them in the nightstand drawer so the room steward doesn't trip over it or damage your facemask when cleaning your room.

    If you are driving to the port, you can buy distilled water locally. However, by contacting Ship's Services ahead of time, they will deliver 5 liter jugs of distilled water to your cabin, and it will be there when you arrive, $4 per jug. I find that I go through a US gallon in about 14-18 days, depending on the humidity setting. If you run out during the cruise, you can request more from the medical center, or use the ship's tap water. If you do use the tap water, just rinse out your reservoir each morning.


    I have been using CPAP for 6 years, and it's my new sleeping companion. My partner gets a good night's sleep because I'm not snoring. You will quickly get used to it. I use a nasal mask, not a full-face mask. Easier to get used to.

  23. Terrorists or rebels, whatever you want to call them, don't really get too upset if that police bus they just fire-bombed just happened to be sitting in traffic outside of the carpet store loaded with cruise passengers. They call it collateral damage, and if it destroys tourism, oh well, no biggie !!

    The best way to drive home a terrorist or rebel point is to destroy tourism, because it has such a huge hit on the country's economy.

    Yes, Turkey is a beautiful country, and I'm glad I got to see it years ago before this insanity started. Going there today..... no way ! Murphy's Law follows me around, and I'm not one to tempt fate. But, the odds are in your favor of experiencing no problems. You roll the dice and you take your chances !

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