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About Begete

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Whidbey Island
  • Interests
    gardening, bridge, mysteries, travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Cruise West
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Here is what we decided to do, based on reading everything we could find both from HAL and other insurers: We purchased a full policy, that did NOT EXCLUDE preexisting conditions, but NOT INCLUDE cancel for any reason coverage from Travel Guard AND also purchased HAL’s platinum plan that includes the cancel for ANY reason coverage. We are in our 70’s and the two policies, for our 18 days (including pre and post cruise packages) cost us about $1,000. This was nearly $400 less than purchasing a full cancel for any reason policy WITH no preexisting condition exclusion from any other vendor. My fear was that HAL’s platinum plan may not cover preexisting conditions once the journey has begun, and should one need transport from the Antarctic Ocean, it would cost more than the $50,000 max. So buying the less expensive Travel Guard plan covering preexisting conditions AND higher coverage for illnesses, lost luggage, trip interruption, etc. plus the cancel for any reason coverage of the HAL plan, I believe gives us maximum, complete coverage.
  2. I am booked on a HAL cruise in December, am a retired attorney, and am going nuts trying to figure out HAL’s platinum insurance policy. I never practiced anything remotely connected to insurance law, but heck...I should be able to read and understand a policy? My best guess is that even the platinum policy is a trip cancellation policy, and provides very little in the way of coverage for any medical occurrence once you have actually begun your trip. They say on their website that they cover you for preexisting conditions, but that seems to relate to pretrip cancellation, not to coverage during the cruise. There the language is more ambiguous. It say you are covered for “sickness” that begins on your trip...or something to that effect. Does that mean if you have a heart condition, but it is medically under control, but later have a heart attack on board, you are not covered? Darn if I know. Based on the language in the policy and on the HAL website, I could argue this both ways.
  3. We used to sail with HAL and Celebrity, but in recent years, have really enjoyed the premium lines, like Viking and Uniworld. What we hate above all else else is being nickeled and dimed to death. Even though the premium lines like the two mentioned and Seaborne sound expensive at first, when you consider that the prices include gratuities, shore excursions, most alcoholic beverages, and often air fare and transfers, if you do the math, they are really less expensive than HAL and Celebrity. We have just booked a HAL cruise and are shocked by the cost of all the add ons. We never would have booked this cruise if the others fulfilled our bucket list wishes at the times of the year we are able to cruise. If, however, you are a traveler who prefers nightclub like entertainment and dancing to lectures and local, cultural performances, or loves casinos, those premium lines are probably not for you. Hence, you do get mostly a different kind of passenger, not because of wealth disparities, but because of personal taste. I cannot recall anyone wearing a suit or cocktail dress on Viking or Uniworld. I laughed myself silly looking at the beverage packages on the HAL website. I could not consume that much alcohol in a year! And on Viking and Uniworld, where most liquor is included, I have yet to see a single passenger who appeared to be intoxicated. So my advice is to sail on the cruise line that provides the kind of atmosphere and activities you most enjoy and not really worry about the relative costs because they really do come out pretty much the same.
  4. Tampa girl.....if there is a way for us to communicate via email, I would be happy to go back to the HA site and tell you, or email you a ULR, on the various beverage packages.....There were MANY wine packages, even single bottle offers! and we are on the same ship, slightly different voyage, yours right after mine. OK, Here is how you find it, Tampa Girl. Go to the HA website, then Already Booked, then Manage My Booking. You will be asked for your email address and password. When you put that in, it should say “Welcome and your name”. There may be a necessity to go to something called “Before you go.” or the Before you Go screen may just show up. Then, down the left side of your screen, there is a list of things to do, before you go. One of them is “Beverage packages” Let me know if this worked. It is a really long list of beverage packages, and towards the end are wine and champagne packages. They even have beer packages!
  5. Thank you, Moriah. I am having some difficulty navigating the Holland America website. I did find the answer to Tampa Girl’s question, because when I went to “already booked” there was a tab for at least 50 different beverage packages. What I cannot find, and hoping someone can help me, is a list of what kinds of things are included in the price of your cruise and what things require additional payment. For example, on our upcoming cruise, we have many days at sea. Is there a self service laundry? or must one pay to have laundry done? This is particularly important to me as I am allergic to fabric softener and scented detergents, so would prefer to do my own, regardless of cost. I am also not much of a drinker, and cannot figure out if my favorite beverage, iced tea, is available free of charge. Is non carbonated water free? in containers one may take on excursions? Can one simply purchase a bottle of wine and use it over several days? May one drink the free bottle one is allowed to bring on board in the dining room, or only in one’s stateroom? What is available via room service? Is room service available at all hours? Are there bridge games on board? If anyone can provide some insight into how to better navigate the website it would be much appreciated.
  6. I assume that OBC means on board credit? If so, how does one acquire them?
  7. This is a very important thread. But I fail to understand the hostility being directed at the original poster. I am an an experienced cruiser and a retired attorney. I just got off the phone with a HA agent who we have used before and find to be very helpful on most issues, but when I asked about insurance, she was not particularly knowledgeable. Had we purchased the HAL insurance she recommended, we could have found ourselves in the same situation as the OP. I strongly urge travelers to buy their trip insurance separately from any package offered. Insuremytrip.com, as someone else mentioned, is an excellent way to compare provisions. Know that if you are an older person, every insurance company will deem anything relating to your health to be a preexisting condition, so make sure you purchase insurance as soon as possible, at least within 10 days of making your initial deposit. And people, please be kind.
  8. Hey bennybear....we are in our 70’s and have traveled a lot. Fortunate that Japan, South America 😉 was one of only three places left on our bucket list! Thanx for the belly laugh.
  9. Good News. Holland America allowed us to pay the difference between a 12 day cruise and a 14 day cruise, so we are off to South Americain December just as we hoped.
  10. MAVIP.....you are my new favorite person on Cruise Critic. Thank you for both of your posts, recognizing, unlike caribill, that we know we should have done more research before bidding and are not blaming anyone other than ourselves, and your great suggestions. I think we will book the 10 day cruise. We have never been to Dubrovnik, but have already spent a lot of time in Turkey, and Ephesus is a sight to behold, a trip we highly recommend. We would love to return to Turkey, too, but living in the Pacific Northwest, my tomatoes ripen in the beginning of October and I cannot travel then! To the others: Thank you for your suggestions, but the certificate we won is pretty clear that while we may pay to upgrade our cabin, we may not apply our certificate to a longer cruise. However, we will ask, because I really want to go to Japan!
  11. Cruiser Bruce....the fine print IS the problem. It says we cannot apply the certificate we won for a 12 day cruise to a longer cruise. The certificate does allow you to pay for a cabin upgrade, but not any more days, and all of the cruises offered in which we are interested are for more than 12 days. This is not Holland America’s fault or the charity’s fault. It is our own fault. We did not realize that the places we want to visit require a cruise longer than 12 days. I was just hoping someone here, with more HA experience than our two cruises with them, might have a suggestion for a shorter cruise that they particularly enjoyed. We will call them this morning. Thank you.
  12. I hope someone from Holland America reads these threads. We are Mariner members who had the successful bid at a charitable auction for a 12 day cruise on Holland America any time and anywhere except Alaska and over Christmas or New Year’s. THANK YOU Holland America for your very generous donation to our favorite charity. We have a problem, however...a nice problem to have, but nevertheless a problem. We are older, retired and have had the good fortune to be well traveled. We are avid gardeners, so never travel between April and mid October. Our problem is that we cannot find a single Holland America cruise to some place or places we have never been for 11 or 12 days between November and March! We would love to travel to Japan, Korea, or anywhere in South America or the Greek Islands, but we cannot seem to find a cruise for which we can use our certificate. Does anyone have a suggestion, please? Thank you.
  13. In 40 years of cruising, I have never heard of such a thing. A friend of mine had a husband who had been quite ill, off and on, for many years. They purchased a 7 day cruise from California to Mexico, I believe scheduled for early April. Last week, her husband died very suddenly, but not from the chronic condition he had. Her travel insurance will not reimburse her because of prexisting condion, even tho that condition is not what he died from, and Holland America will not refund even her husband’s portion of the fare. IMHO, this is unconscionable, and my husband and I will never cruise with Holland America again.
  14. We have cruised with both Viking and Uniworld and would choose Uniworld for all the reasons others have mentioned. We never paid for any excursions, and their crews are incomparable, even though, unlike Viking, they are not working for tips as all gratuities are included. We found that the majority of the staff are employees of many years standing on Uniworld cruises, and have truly mastered the art of taking care of their visitors. Furthermore, we had serious problems with the “package “ we purchased from Viking for a Mekong river cruise in 2016. Their agent was confused by the International Date Line, got it backwards, and scheduled our air travel to have us arriving in Vietnam an hour before sailing when we had paid to arrive two days before sailing. He then tried to get us to forgo those two days of hotel, tours and meals we had paid for. When we complained, we were treated as “difficult customers” and though they did finally rearrange the air travel, they booked us on 4 flights coming and going, some requiring us to sit in an empty airport all night. And we live on the west coast! We would NEVER travel with Viking again. And we are older, very experienced travelers, this was probably our 20th cruise, and we NEVER before were subjected to the uncaring, shift the blame to the customer treatment we experienced with Viking. If you choose Viking, book your own air!
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