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Everything posted by DaveOKC

  1. People do not tend to go to specialty dininig the first night (too many things going on and getting settled in), so they used to discount it. Now with the "free" dining promotion they just schedule people to fill it. If we have Open dining we like to do a Specialty venue the first night, as it seems that the MDR is slow and sometimes a bit confused that night.
  2. Sailed in 7088 and loved it. Larger balcony and very close to aft elelvators (made it easy to get around). Would book again.
  3. I would get off the ship as early as possible to start with. Then catch a taxi, cost about $15 and takes 10 minutes or so. This way you beat the "rush" of cruise ship buses and should not have a problem making a 11:40 flight. Once the cruise line buses start arriving, lines to check bags and for security can become long, especially on weekends.
  4. We are staying at the Residence Inn across from the pier nexr cruise in March. Have stayed there on the Springhill Suites area and really liked it. Very modern, fairly new and about 100-200 yards from the ship. No airport shuttle, but a very good free breakfast. It seems that the downtown area hotels are discontinuing airport shuttles (Hampton Inn just stopped their's). The rate we got ($229 with free cancellation for Seniors) was very good IMO for this area.
  5. Happened to me a couple of times in the past and the replacement always contacted me via email as I recall.
  6. Ditto this. Cabin location is very important to me and once I get the one I mark it Do Not Upgrade, as HAL's idea of an upgrade is not always the same as mine. Besides, I still get upsell offers with the DNU marked on my reservation.
  7. I thnk you have to ask. I always do and always have been given a list of cabins to choose from. Only exception was once there was only one cabin left, so I had to take that one!
  8. To address you second question, the answer is "it depends". HAL for several years now has aggressively promoting "paid upgrades" (upsells). so free upgrades are less common. However, this depends on the cabin category you are in (IMO). The upsells normally begin 2-4 weeks prior to sailing and you need to move quickly on them as sometimes they sell out in a matter of minutes. It seems that HAL starts with the higher priced cabins and works it way down the list from there. One thing to consider on upsells - getting a call or email for one depends on how you booked your cruise. If you booked directly from HAL you get an email from them offering the upsell and you have to call a specific number they provide. If you booked through a TA, the offer goes to them, they have to contact you, then the TA has to call HAL back to book it. Some TAs are better and this than others and I have heard that some of the larger TAs do not even want to bother with upsells. You should watch the HAL message board for the many discussions of how upsells and upgrades work on HAL.
  9. Seems a bit high to me as well, even though it is for 2 weeks. I assume that those prices were per person?? I would expect to see another round or two of upsells based on this. I have experienced same thing with HAL on 4-5 weeks out upsell offers.
  10. Pre-Covid, everytime I was offered an upsell either I or someone else took it before the free upgrades began. HAL has gotten smart with how they do this and I am sure it is now an important part of the revenue process. This is why I avoid booking guarantees (unless it is for a Neptune). Good example - on our last cruise I booked a Signature suite and was offered an upsell to a Neptune for $200 pp, which I uickly accepted. I was able to pick my cabin and selected one right by the Neptune Lounge. I friend of mine on the cruise booked a Neptune guarantee and when he got his assignment it was for a cabin one deck below the Lounge (and he paid over $1000 pp more than I did for the Signature). He was not happy when he saw my location and total price paid. Now, having said all that, this is for the higher rated cabins. For the lower ones, such as Insides and Ocean views, I think that free upgrades are still a good possibility. So, my answer to your question is "it depends".
  11. We have had several corner aft Neptunes. Cons - slightly smaller cabin and sometimes the cabin stewards are not used to handling Neptunes (did not get Neptune only mailings/invitations, etc.). Pros - great balconies. Con - Long walks to Neptune Lounge.
  12. $200 in extra OBC is nice, but I wonder how this will work. For example, what if fares drop (likely over almost 2 years), and we refare, do we lose the $200 OBC? Time will tell, but its something to consider.
  13. I have heard from many others who use a big box TA that they GENERALLY do not pass on upsell offers. Its just too much time and effort for them I guess and I fully understand why they do this. However, since we often get and accept upsells, I refuse to book with them.
  14. True. My point was that sometimes the casino rates, along with booking perks, etc. and the ability to select your cabin can almost be as good a deal as getting a "free cabin" casino offer.
  15. Funny thing is that on our March cruise we booked a Veranda and picked our cabin. Given the stockholder credit, the 20% discount and all the perks we got (free drinks, specialty dining, free gratuities, $100 excursion discount) its almost as good a deal as if we got a casino offer for a free cabin. Not quite, but pretty close.
  16. Thanks kazu! I missed that in all the fine print. Now to see if they apply the stockholder credit to my second cruise in March, which is booked under a 20 % off casino rate.
  17. My PCC just told me that we would not get out $100 stockholder credit on our upcoming sailing since we booked under a casino OFFER (which means a free cabin). We paid extra to book a Neptune suite, so the cabin is not FREE. In the past we have booked casino RATES and were able to use the stockholder credit. Has anyone using a casino OFFER (free cabin) been able to use the stockholder credit?
  18. Maybe even a group swim back to the ship at Midnight!
  19. Does anyone know if this will work if your complimentary meals are for being 5 Star? Also, what do we do to book 4 meals, 2 of which are complimentary due to 5 Star?
  20. Given the way the Casino deals are structured, it is often better to pay the Club Orange cost than to pay the extra fee to upgrade yourself. Depends on the ship and cabin category of course. I even tried to do this with a Neptune guarantee, but they would not let me, as CLub Orange is already included.
  21. Get well soon! Sure glad it is not Covid.
  22. I cannot comment on the SIZE of the cabins, but you should be aware that the Eurodam has only 50 Signature Suites vs 100 on the Zuiderdam. Both ships have 60 Neptune suites. Almost everytime I book a Signature Suite on the Zuiderdam (or her 3 sister ships) I get (and usually accept) a good upsell offer to a Neptune Suite.
  23. Good advice to split the clothing - we do this just to be safe. A change of clothing in the carryon is a good idea also.
  24. Could one of the gift cards been in your travel partner's name and thus went to their account? Just a crazy thought, but you never know with HAL.
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