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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. I have also seen the HAL legal details of the UK Explore-4 promo, (posted on another message board) now being offered. They describe all drinks up to $7 USD are included, BUT wines are included up to $8 USD per glass. If you have a Brit and a Yank sitting at a bar, how can they discriminate on wine costs based on what country you are from. That can't fly !!

  2. Thanks to Alberta Quilter for clarifying the gratuity process. It was not really addressed on HAL's website. We usually find a friendly bartender and stick with him/her for the entire cruise. And we give them a nice palmed $100 bill with a handshake. It's well worth it !

    Thanks to Ruth C's explanation about doubles and how to get them. And she says that a new rule allows 3 drinks at a time will help folks who want to take them back to their cabins.

    Great info, keep it coming.

  3. We are on the Zuiderdam, Oct 14, 26 days from Athens to Fort Lauderdale. We booked back in Sept 2014 and got the Explore-4 perk, which includes the Signature Beverage Package (SBP). HAL's description on their site is very confusing, so I contacted someone in HAL's Ships Services Dept. for an explanation.

    The package applies to each person in the cabin. EACH PERSON can (if humanly possible) have 15 drinks per day, which includes water, soft drinks, coffees, and anything alcoholic under $7. So, you could feasibly consume 15 drinks per person, per day, as long as they are under $7. The value to us, on a 26 day cruise, is enormous. The technical rules say you can only order drinks every 5 minutes, so don't chug that first beer! You can't order doubles, so a Double Vodka Martini is out. Wines are only by the glass. There's a decent selection of white wine, but a very poor selection (only 3) of reds. Most reds are above $7, and yes, you do have to pay the full price of any drink that is not covered under the package. If anyone has more info on the $1 upcharge for premium drinks mentioned above, let us know. Also, nothing in the mini-bar is included, so get your water and sodas at the bar, bring them back to the cabin and stuff them into the mini-bar.

    The 15% gratuity is also strange. If you buy the SBP, then 15 % of every drink you order is added to your room account. If you get the SBP free, as part of Explore-4, then the tips are not added to your account, HAL considers your $11.50 per person/per day gratuity fee will cover these tips, but they encourage you to compensate your favorite bartender. This part is still not clear. But, for sure, the 15% tip is not added to the $6.95 drink cost, because that would put you over the $7 limit on just about every cocktail.

    We clearly noticed that when the Explore-4 perk was removed from our cruise on HAL's website, the cabin prices dropped dramatically. At one point in April, we could have cancelled and re-booked for almost $1000 per person cheaper, but we would lose the Explore-4 benefit. Not admitting that we like a few beers and cocktails from time to time, we would easily blow through $1000 per person plus tips on a 26 day cruise. So we happily stayed with the original booking.

    If anyone else has more info, especially how the tips are handled for those with Explore-4, I would appreciate it.

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