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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. You mentioned that the Amsterdam and Zaandam may not get Billboard Onboard.   I notice on the "HAL Ships at a Glance" chart they are showing that the Rotterdam will be getting Billboard Onboard on or before Dec 6, 2019.   That is a pretty intensive level of construction.  They have to rip out the entire "Mix" bar and piano area and install Billboard.   That level of work would take at least a week.   But checking the HAL website and another cruise calendar site, I see continuous scheduled cruises from now, August 2019 through November 2020.   I don't see how this kind of work could be scheduled.

  2. Thanks for all the input.   I don't want to cancel and re-book, because that will blow the $3000 (for 2) SBP.   I was just hoping to pay HAL more money for a better cabin and still keep everything.   I find it strange that HAL was perfectly happy to give me a $1500 P/P beverage package for a $4499 priced cabin, with NO increase in price, but when I want to give them $2100 P/P more money for a suite, they are saying NO.   They will happily take my money for the suite, but they will kill the SBP.   

    My guess is that they never thought of giving a beverage package for a 29 day cruise that is valued at one-third of the cost of the cabin price.  Now they realize what has happened, they are trying to claw some of that back by blocking any paid upgrades.  Ironically, if I waited until 2 weeks out, I might be offered an upsell to a Vista suite,for the same price or less and I would still keep my SBP.

  3. 7 minutes ago, BVsmurfette said:

    No dueling pianos on the Rotterdam when we were on her last month!  Also no BB Kings if you were wondering about that.

    The "Mix" area was still intact, though I don't remember what specific entertainment they had there. 

    Thanks for the info.   I checked the HAL website and they show the Rotterdam doing a Pacific coast and Panama Canal cruise in December 2019.   I checked another site that has ship's calendars and I see a continuous series of cruises from August 2019 through November 2020, with no breaks.   Ripping out the "Mix" area, the bars, and some of the shops in that area would take at least 2 weeks in a wet dock.   So, I don't understand their schedule showing Billboard Onboard being effective on Dec 6, 2019.   Chart attached as a PDF.


  4. 2 hours ago, BVsmurfette said:

    We were just on the Rotterdam last month for a Baltics cruise, and had a great time. It was our 1st time on the Rotterdam (been on the Vista class ships mostly), and we really enjoyed her (even) smaller size. The latest upgrade HAL has made is the Lincoln Center Stage, which we found we really liked - maybe bc the talented musicians did not just classical music but also modern/pop/rock/jazz songs, so it was lovely see that live. They had an almost-full house for most of their performances. There is also still a full library on this ship, which was nice to have on the sea days especially.

    The only place we noticed any "wear and tear" was in our inside cabin - specifically we had a water leakage issue. We woke up one morning to wet carpets along the edges of the cabin! HAL couldn't figure what was causing the issue, but they had a full team of people trying to fix it. They handled the situation very well and thankfully it was near the end of the trip so it only affected the last 2 days for us. 

    We had an excellent trip overall, and would definitely sail on the smaller HAL ships again.


    (Edit: forgot to mention the Caneletto restaurant onboard! this was our 1st time trying it after the recent menu change, and we thought it was really excellent. chicken parm sunday night special was delicious, as was the lobster ravioli! not sure if the food is consistently delicious in all the canelettos aboard the other HAL ships, but we loved it on the Rotterdam)


    On your recent Rotterdam cruise, did they still have the "Mix" area with the single piano bar, or have they ripped that out and installed Billboard Onboard ?   

    We are booked on a 29 day trans-atlantic on Oct 3, 2020.  The "HAL ships at a Glance" chart shows that Lincoln Center Stage was added in a drydock on May 11, 2019, and they plan the add Billboard Onboard in another drydock on Dec 6, 2019.   I can't imagine any cruise line taking a ship out of service 2 times in the same year.   

    We really enjoy the intimacy of the single piano bar with a talented musician, over the commercialized dueling piano concept of Billboard.

  5. We booked the Rotterdam, Oct 3, 2020, while onboard the Eurodam in March.  It is a 29 day, Rotterdam to Ft. Lauderdale cruise.  We originally booked a Lanai cabin, and because the Early Booking Bonus (EBB) was in effect at the time, we received a 29 day SBP which would cost us $3000 to buy it for 2 people, plus a PG dinner and some cabin credit.  I was watching this cruise's pricing for many months before booking on the Eurodam.  The Lanai cabin was $4499 six months before booking and the same price when we booked with the FCC onboard.   We were pleased with the deal, especially the $3000 SBP for no extra charge.  When EBB dropped off in July, the price was still $4499.

    Around the first of August, we decided to upgrade our cabin to a Vista suite, priced at $6599.   We asked out TA to make the change.   She came back to us saying that HAL was giving her a hard time, because we booked onboard with a Future Cruise Consultant, and if we change our cabin now, more than 60 days after disembarking the Eurodam, we would lose all of the perks of the EBB, including the $3000 SBP.   We are not cancelling the cruise and re-booking, just trying to pay HAL about $4000 more money for a Vista Suite.   They are telling my TA no, you must cancel the booking and re-book.   We would get the $800 that is now offered by the newly designed Explore-4, but lose the $3000 SBP.   

    Has anyone heard of losing all benefits if you just want to upgrade your cabin and pay for the upgrade ?   

  6. Easy answer why HAL is hesitant to do this.  CASH !!!!

    They want you to use your cash to buy as much as possible before your cruise, then use the OBC for much lower markup items.   That's why there's a $10 penalty per day if you wait to buy the SBP when you board the ship.  Many people do that, to use the HAL provided OBC.   To discourage that, they now charge $10 (plus 15% SC) extra to buy it onboard.   Same for the internet, which basically costs HAL next to nothing to provide.  They would rather you buy it online at a discount with your cash, instead of using OBC .   Same for shore excursions and specialty dinners.   So far they haven't put a surcharge on those if you purchase onboard, but there is the possibility that if you wait until you're onboard, you may be wait listed.   It's all about the money, no surprise there. 

  7. 1 hour ago, cruisernan said:

    HAL does seem to be very inconsistent.  I am getting many different answers.  Kind of amused by their “corkage” fee - so many wines are now screw tops 😁😁

    In that case, you would be charged the "Screw Fee", which basically is the same as the "Corkage Fee".  In either case, you get "Corked".

  8. That's wonderful that they have a time limit, but is that limit published anywhere ?   A statement something like "If your felony was 10 years ago, you are clear to cross the border in either direction".    Taking into consideration the age of your offence does no one any good if you don't find out if you are cleared to enter until you are face-to-face with the border agent.  Before you plop down thousands of dollars on a cruise, it would be nice to have a definitive statement that a person will have no issues.

  9. On 7/29/2019 at 9:54 PM, Copper10-8 said:


    No worries! Rotterdam is not scheduled for dry-dock this year; her last was 25 Oct - 03 Nov 2017

    What happened to the scheduled installation of Billboard Onboard as listed in the attached ship facilities chart ?  If the "Mix" will still be on the Rotterdam in October, 2020, I will be a happy camper !!




  10. On 7/30/2019 at 3:18 PM, Selion said:

    Not that much different from the Early Booking Bonus promo they ran in May this year.  It had:


    50% deposit

    Pinnacle Grill Dinner

    $200 OBC for suites


    Need to see fare difference to get a feel.  Internet isn't important for us.

    The EBB (Early Booking Bonus) was WAY different than Explore-4.   The EBB was added to cruises with NO increase in price.   I booked a 29 day Rotterdam cruise in March.   I have been watching the price for 6 months, waiting to book while onboard the Eurodam.  The price for a Lanai cabin 6 months earlier was $4299.   When I booked onboard, the FCC told me I had the SBP and a PG dinner.   I said "Whoa", what is the price increase ?   She said the price was exactly the same.   When the EBB dropped off at the end of June, the cruise was still $4299.   The SBP for 29 days is valued at $1500 P/P.    

    Conversely, when Explore-4 is tacked onto a cruise, the price usually goes up by exactly the purchase cost for the SBP.   

  11. 6 hours ago, 0bnxshs said:

    Abrogating one's personal responsibilities may be why so many find this predicament surprising.  Be responsible enough for yourself, your conduct and your intentions so you don't have to depend on others who can't possibly be concerned with each individual's personal circumstances to tell you how to behave.


    What ever has happened to being responsible for yourself?

    If someone has made a stupid mistake 30, 30, or 50 years ago, has paid their debt to society, and maintained a trouble free life since then, I would say that they truly HAVE "taken responsibility for themselves".   If there is never any forgiveness in life,  what is the use of mending your ways.   I blame both the US and Canada for their archaic laws, that condemn an individual for a single transgression decades ago.   "Those without sin may cast the first stone".   I seriously doubt that any of the lawmakers on either side of the border who formulated these laws have never taken a drink and then drove a car.   Especially in the 70's, 80's, and 90's when the 3 martini lunch was standard business conversation.   

  12. On the Eurodam, for 28 days, I had the Surf plan, which worked well for me in the South Pacific.   But every day when I logged into the paid internet, I would get a message from HAL telling me that I could upgrade to the Premium package for a specific amount, and that amount decreased every day until the end of the voyage.

  13. With all of the "executive, 2 martini lunches" that happened many years ago, there were certain counties that used DUI stops as a fund raiser for that county.   Many times, if you even blew less than .08 in the breathalyzer, you were still pulled in and fined.   You were still considered legal, but those certain counties (Florida, Georgia) still nailed you with an impaired driving arrest and a record.   If these very minor DUI's would impact international travel, there would be a lot of executives from the 80's and 90's in deep trouble.   Yes, there are very serious felony DUI's, because of bodily harm and property damage.  But on the opposite side of the coin, a lot of people were charged in the past for having the misfortune of driving through some counties where traffic stops were their main source of revenue.  

  14. You can bring all the soda and water you can carry in any port.  BUT.... you must carry it on, don't sneak it in your checked luggage, not allowed.   You can also bring as much wine onboard at boarding, but you only get one bottle free from the $18 corkage fee.

  15. Depends on the ship and the cabin location.   Be careful of deck 4, forward verandas, because some may have solid steel balcony railings, not the usual clear glass.   Also, the deck 5 mid-ship verandas on Vista class ships will have IMHO, a partially obstructed view.   Deck 5 mid-ships have the deck 4 lifeboats immediately below your balcony.  The balconies are not as deep due to the reduced width of the ship in that area.   In those cabins, if you are inside, and looking out, your view is clear.  But if you are out on the balcony, leaning on the railing and look down, all you see are the tops of the huge, orange lifeboats.   That could affect the view of some sea life swimming along the side of the ship, or maybe a sail-away band on the dock.

  16. You can write-in just about anything that is available for breakfast in the Lido, and you will get it.   There are a few items that involve a charge, like steak-n-eggs, or the salmon Benedict.   But a regular eggs benedict can be written in and you will get it with no charge.  if it's available in the Lido, you can get it delivered to your cabin by writing it in.   Make sure to tip the delivery guy a dollar or Euro or 2..

  17. Contact your TA or HAL and ask for the upgrade.   They will usually have no problem making the change, but make sure that any promotional items that you received with your original booking remains in place.   Sometimes when you re-fare a cruise, with a cabin level change or not, you can lose benefits like beverage packages, onboard credit, specialty dinners, etc.

  18. The Rotterdam will be going in for a drydock on Dec 8, 2019.    That may take care of any discrepancies noted by some CC members.  One of the changes they will make is the destruction of the "Mix" area, including the traditional single piano bar.   They will be installing Billboard Onboard into that combined area of the Champagne Bar, Martini Bar, and the Piano Bar.   I am sad to see one of the last few traditional piano bars in the HAL fleet go the way of Billboard Corp,  but, as we know, all areas on a ship must make enough revenue to justify their space.   One thing for sure, we will not be entertained by such piano bar greats as Barry from Boston.   We now will have dueling pianos, 2 musicians that in most instances have never performed together until they have boarded the ship.   Sometimes you get lucky and they work well together.  Other times, not so good.

  19. 4 hours ago, sirvegetables said:

    Does anyone know if/when Explore4 will be offered WITH SIG DRINK PACKAGE for HA cruises starting from May 2020?  It seems like the Explore4 package they have out now does not include a drink package.  

    The Explore-4 promotion will kick in around August 1 and continue to mid November.   Explore-4 is basically 4 promotional items, #1, the Signature Beverage Package, #2, A Pinnacle Grill dinner ($39),  #3, A reduced deposit, and #4, reduced fares for 3rd and 4th guests in a cabin.   The biggie of Explore-4 is the SBP.   Whatever you are seeing right now is not Explore-4.   You will see that starting in August.

  20. 19 hours ago, kangforpres said:

    Considering this right now for a 7 day Alaska next week. No beverage package included in my fare. So I think the $250 drink card will cover it. 3-4 drinks a day at between $9-11 bucks each = $30-$45 per day x 6 days =$190-$270 for the trip. Not drinking on last night. Plus you order any drink you want on the menu not limited to the Signature Price cut-off. 


     Signature package $49.95x7 =349.65....with drink pricing limitations. Obvious choice if you still love your liver is to get a beverage card since it gives you more choices and no price limit per drink.



    The SBP right now is still $44.95 per day, -plus 15% SC or $51.70 per cruise day.   If you wait to buy it onboard, the price is now $54.95 per day plus 15%.   If you buy it online, before the cruise, based on the average menu drink price of $8.95 plus 15% (if you are paying as you go), your break-even point is 5 drinks per day.   It's even better if you choose more expensive drinks, not exceeding $11 menu price.   After 5 drinks, you are drinking free.   Everybody is different, and their beverage consumption is totally different when you are on vacation and you don;t have to drive home from a restaurant.   Only you can judge if the SBP is worth the expense.

  21. We had an aft veranda cabin on the Eurodam, deck 4, (4187) for 28 days to Hawaii and Tahiti from San Diego.  Even the 2 days out of San Diego, when there is usually rougher seas, we had no problems with vibration or noise.   The deck 4 aft balconies are, IMHO, the best, because when you are leaning on your balcony railing looking down, all you see is the beautiful ship's prop wash and wake.   Higher decks, look down onto the balconies below you.   Deck 8 aft balconies occasionally get some noise from chairs being moved around at the Seaview pool on deck 9.

  22. Any pre-cruise purchases, shore excursions, beverage packages, specialty dining, etc, do not count until the cruise is completed.   If they credited the purchases before the cruise, and you cancelled the purchase or the whole cruise, they would have to reverse the credited days.

    One interesting point about onboard spending and the $300 per day credit.   We always sail with the SBP, either purchased or as a promotion.   We have completed 25, 26, 28 and 29 day cruises with the SBP, in a regular veranda cabin, NOT a suite.  We have always received an equal number of day spending credits to match the number of days on the ship.  On our last 28 day cruise in March, we received 28 days for the sailing plus 28 days of spending credits.   The SBP cost us $1447 P/P, purchased online, before the cruise.  Our remaining onboard spending was around $1200 because we had prepaid HSC.   So, per person, our total onboard spending, including the prepaid HSC equaled around $3000.   That should have allowed us to get 10 spending day credits for each of us and both DW and I got 28.   28 days X $300 would mean we would have to spend $8400 for the cabin.   There's no way we did that.   There was a post by a CC member on You Tube about the SBP and he says that if you have the SBP, HAL will credit you with the equivalent spending of 15 drinks at the maximum drink price of $9 (as of last March, now it's $11) plus the 15% per day SC, even if you didn't consume 15 drinks.   A $9 drink plus 15% equals $10.35.  Multiply that by 15 drinks and you get $155.25, then by 28 days and you get $4347 per person.   For 2 people in a cabin, you have exceeded the $300 per day (X 28 days) spending credit you are allowed, and they simply credit you with spending credits that equal the number of days of the cruise.  This has happened for the past 5 cruises.   So, the SBP has an unknown side benefit of Mariner points.   And you do NOT have to consume 15 alcoholic drinks per day to make this happen.  Some days, we were off the ship for 24 hours,  (overnight in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora that we booked on our own), so we had NO ship drinks for that day.  

  23. Wow !!  I meant no animus towards Canada or any country.  If you had a felony DUI (in some states, the first DUI with an elevated blood alcohol is counted as a low grade felony) and you have paid your debt to society, (fines, jail time) and you have successfully completed any parole ordered, and you have kept your nose clean since,  then your rights are restored, you now can vote, obtain a passport and get on with your life as a sadder but wiser person.   I still feel that both the US and Canada should establish a statute of limitations on specific felonies.   Holding someone responsible for a low grade felony after 30 years is detrimental to society, no matter if you are crossing the border heading north or south.   

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