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Everything posted by kwb101

  1. The design caught my eye, so we got four. I was glad that (at the time) HAL seemed to be proud of its heritage.
  2. We only take about two voyages a year, but they're generally long (shortest one for '20-'21 is 35 days), so they don't get much wear and tear...and I don't put them on until we're ready to go to the port to embark. Still, they seem to be relatively sturdy (but we got them only a couple of years ago, so they may be made differently than older ones). Happy travels!
  3. Or you can go here https://shops3.directedje.com/HALstore/catalog.asp and get two HAL-branded luggage tag holders for $7 (contemporary) or $8 (vintage). The image is from the site, they're actually more colorful and sturdy...and reusable. Hardly worth creating your own for each voyage.
  4. We took a private Golden Circle tour in Iceland, and stopped for lunch at a geyser. My wife bought a bowl of soup for 1999 Icelandic kroner...$20 U.S. She just about fell over when I told her the true cost :( It was almost what it would've cost here in the Golden State.
  5. We were on Zuiderdam's Viking Passage (20 days, Copenhagen-Norway-Iceland-Greenland-New York) in September 2018, and didn't get (or find any need of) local currency. Credit cards worked quite well. In all fairness, we didn't buy much in the local shops.
  6. On Volendam in early June 2017, pea soup was served at 10.30 on Lower Promenade. It was on the daily schedule, and is a most civilized benefit of sailing on HAL, rather like the Panama buns served the day you go through the Canal.
  7. I had two cruises under my belt (including one Panama Canal San Diego to Boston) with no ill effects at all, so I didn't realize I was prone to seasickness. Our Iceland-Greenland trip informed me otherwise, and our recent Alaska trip reinforced it. You never know when you're going to encounter rough water, and there's a threshold beyond which even the meds don't do a lot. I am envious of those who (like my good wife) aren't stricken with this.
  8. I hate to disagree, but we were on Maasdam for three weeks in May, in cabin 583 (deck 5, midship, starboard side), and I managed to get quite seasick (to the point of missing the all-day Port Alberni shore excursion, plus another day). Low decks help, midship helps, but take your anti-seasickness meds or wear the patch (I wore mine from before we left San Francisco on day one), but be aware you may well get ill, and there's only so much you can do to mitigate that. I was also on last fall's Viking Passage on Zuiderdam, which encountered some nasty weather, and also got sick (although our cabin was on deck 4). It's not going to stop me from being on ships and enjoying the rest of the voyage. Happy travels!
  9. Probably because that is the current one, at least according to the HAL site.
  10. Yup, that's what it says.
  11. The current issue on the HAL website is Fall & Winter 2018. You don't have to log in to get it: from the home page click Already Booked > Mariner Society, then scroll down. https://digital.cenveomobile.com/view/holland-america/mariner/hal-mariner-fall-winter-2018-hal16548 Once you see it, you can download a PDF copy to your device (down arrow at the top right). The decreased frequency looks like another penny-pinching change, although I like being able to get a digital copy rather than a paper one.
  12. Check out the oyster and keep farm tour. We took it last month and found it interesting and educational.
  13. I think you get a one-bottle-per-person dispensation if your HAL shore excursion includes a winery, and you want to being back a bottle from there. I saw this in the description for some NZ ports.
  14. Rather than defer payment for the airfare until the final payment date for the trip, because this is a world cruise with a discount for early payment (of which we availed ourselves), we had the choice of paying the airfare when we booked it, or losing (and repaying) our 3% early payment discount. Hope this makes sense.
  15. Heh, I retired at the end of 2016, and, after considerable urging from friends who were the equivalent of 4-star cruisers at four lines (but not HAL), we decided to jump in and do the 14-day Alaska-Yukon-cruise trip in May 2017...and we were hooked. What's not to like? (Except that we're catching up for lost time, and have to hurry a bit, since mobility issues are overtaking us faster than we'd like.) We booked our first two voyages through AAA, but then discovered the big-box TA and its goodies, and its always-courteous-and-friendly staff...and we haven't looked back. BTW, if you use the big-box TA, check out their airfares (I've seen threads on this on this forum off and on). We booked our return flight from South America several days ago, and it was less than half what I found with the airlines and the big consolidation sites. The only clinker was that, because we'd gotten a 3% (over $400) discount from HAL, we had to pay for the air on the spot, or we'd've had to return the discount. Odd, but we saved a pile. Happy trails!
  16. We've booked three voyages for '20 and '21: a 41-day and 35-day next year, and a 43-day the next year. The numbers for these look like this: 41-day: world cruise segment (South America), cat HH (fully obscured) OV guarantee, fare $17,106 (not incl port fees), $1210 TA OBC 35-day: Europe, cat D OV, $17,848, $1375 TA OBC 43-day: SouthPacific, cat H (partially obscured) OV, $12,376, $760 TA OBC The OBC is about 7.1% of the fares. I haven't included anything not from the TA like HAL OBC for booking onboard. The info is current today. Hope this helps.
  17. We're budget travelers, and the $2100 is for a category HH (fully obstructed ocean view) on one, and a category G (partially obstructed ocean view) on the other. And we don't have to pay suite rates to get deals like this. Our first cruise two years ago was booked that a national auto association and cost over $7000. Our goodies through them? Two-$25 beverage cards and two dinners at PG and Canaletto, worth about $150. OTOH, we're going on a cruise this fall (another category HH fully obstructed), and the fare (not including port fees) is $4256. The big box TA is giving us $330 OBC, not a huge amount, but equal to about 7.75%. Not a bad deal for the price.
  18. They typically give you 6-7% of the fare as OBC. It's real money, so you'll get it back at the end of the trip. I forgot: when you use their credit card, you get back 3% from the credit card company, and another 2% if you're an Executive member. Overall, a good deal. We booked onboard, and our TA showed up at the top of the booking info. However, we still had to go through the bother of the forms.
  19. I have to relate our experience this week (and last). I called our big-box TA on June 6 to transfer two bookings we made on Maasdam last month. After the TA contacted HAL by phone, the TA told me to fill out the Acrobat fillable firm they sent and return it to them by email. The TA's email instructions said not to worry about signing the forms. So, I believed them and returned the form the same day. A couple of days later, I got another email saying that HAL wanted a signature, so I signed and scanned the forms and returned them again on June 8. Then...crickets. The original and followup email both said to allow 24 to 72 hours for HAL to process. After hearing nothing, I called the TA June 17, and was told they had just gotten the OK from HAL, and proceeded to finalize the bookings. I was more than a little discouraged that HAL made it so difficult to transfer bookings. However, we'll be getting over $2100 OBC for these, so it was worth the bother.
  20. I think it would have to improve to be a shambles: more like a train wreck now, to use a landlubber's term.
  21. Thanks for the info: I kinda figured "V" was for visa, but couldn't determine the"X" part. A search turned up two links with VX, neither of which actually contained that letter-pair. Indeed. I think that perhaps VX stands for VeXing, which the site certainly has become since its reinvention as a glitzy but not-very-usable site, I wonder how much business this site has cost them.
  22. Hello. We'll be going to New Zealand and Australia in 2021, and the HAL website shows all ports for both countries with "VX" in the itinerary. Is this a reference to a visa requirement? Thanks!
  23. We were on Maasdam in Alaska in May, and the Orange Party was in one of the bars at 9.30 one night at the end of the voyage. We would've liked to have gone, but we're early risers, so... We were disappointed that it seemed to be more of a drinking party.
  24. I have to say that all this hoo-ha about carbon footprint and all considers the value of your time to be zero, since I never see anything about increased travel time that these beneficial means of transport will result in. Passenger railroads (at least in the U.S. for long-distance travel) are an anachronism, and, in some cases, use more fuel per passenger-mile than aircraft. For me, faster is better to get from one place to another, save for those trips that allow one to smell the daisies, which is what cruises are for.
  25. The refund info is at the bottom of this page: https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/shore-excursions/1010061/mount-roberts-tramway.html The tramway is very close to the dock. Be aware that it is a cable tram (suspended in the air on a wire rope), not one that rides on rails on the ground.
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