Holland America Hotel Packages

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#1
Boston/Provincetown
27 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
We are booked on a cruise leaving from Venice and were thinking about adding the pre-cruise hotel package, but we wondering if it is worth it. Being met at the airport, transport to the hotel and then to the ship as well as having a Holland America representative at the hotel make it sound very tempting.. Has anyone had any experience with their hotel packages?
#2
Central Texas
1,447 Posts
Joined May 2014
Typically the cost charged by HAL is higher than booking your own room and transfers. We have never used HALs pre or post packages but have stay in the same properties HAL uses for a lower price than HAL quoted.
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#3
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
31,777 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by freestyling
Typically the cost charged by HAL is higher than booking your own room and transfers. We have never used HALs pre or post packages but have stay in the same properties HAL uses for a lower price than HAL quoted.
Totally agree. You can do much better on your own.
#4
East Coast
420 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Venice can be quite a confusing, crowded city to get around, especially if it is your first time and you are arriving, as most, in a jet lagged fog.

I personally would take the package and make the beginning of your cruise as relaxed as possible.
#5
Ontario, Canada
4,422 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Venice is one of those embarkation/debarkation ports that can be logistically and physically demanding. Private water taxis are fairly expensive and hotels on the Grand Canal equally so. We love Venice but have now made the decision to only visit when it is part of an itinerary. We will not use it as a departure or end port anymore. It is definitely one port where you might consider using HAL transfers and hotel to make your life easier.
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#6
Centerville, Ohio, USA
9,668 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
I have used HAL Hotel Packages in a variety of ports and have been pleased with all of my experiences. Whether I choose to book one or not does depend upon the port and my comfort level of making the airport/hotel and hotel/pier transfers on my own.

In a new port for me, it relives any concerns when a HAL representative "finds" me, assists with my luggage, and gets me to my transportation.
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#7
12,799 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Expect to pay more because you are getting the service of having everything taken care of.

Only you can decide on the value to you of this service. No right answer. We never do cruise line hotels or transfers because we are independent, low maintenance travelers. We do not particularly value the service and hence are not willing to pay a premium for it. Many feel the opposite.

I do suspect thought, that the cruise line package prices in Europe are inflated even more than usual in order to take advantage of some cruisers concern over language issues.
#8
Ontario, Canada
1,859 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Late in our cruising, after decades of independent frugal travels around the world, we tried the hotel/pick up package with HAL. Last year was our first and we've done the same with Princess for our next cruise. Easy, does come with a price and only you can decide if it's worth the expense.

On an independent land tour of Italy we did Venice, arriving by train, using the vaporetto and dragging our suitcases down alleyways to our hotel. It was an adventure we really enjoyed.

Ruth
#9
12,799 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
It also depends on your physical ability and how much luggage you travel with. We travel with carry on only so the thought of public transportation, finding our own way, or carrying our bags up stairs is not an issue. Clearly, for some people this would be an issue.
#10
New Cumberland,PA, USA
29,658 Posts
Joined May 2000
When we are cruising in or out of Venice, have luggage, and want to do it in an easy way, we simply stay in the Piazale Roma at the Ca Doge Hotel. Its a small inn-like facility right on the square. Getting to or from the airport on the reasonably priced (and fast) ATVO bus is quite simple...and our hotel is only a short walk from the bus stop. When its time to go to the port we can walk a short distance to the People Mover which quickly whisks us over to the Port. A room at the Ca Doge will usually cost us about 170-180€ for 2 persons (which includes a nice breakfast. When you add the cost of the ATVO bus...we are talking about approximately $100 per person for hotel plus transfer. Compare this to the cruise line package and we suspect one would save hundreds of dollars per night.

Hank
#12
Fort Myers, FL
269 Posts
Joined Feb 2014
Originally posted by ProvincetownCruiser
Thank you all for your input, . Although I am still not sure what we will do your information has been very helpful and informative.
We were relatively new to cruising when we did our first Med trip in 2015, and it was our first trip outside the US in many years. We got a few euro to start off with before leaving Boston. We flew direct into Venice, found the ticket machine to get a bus to Piazza Roma. We stayed at Hotel Olimpia, which we LOVED, and it was a short, one bridge walk from where the bus dropped us off. Piazza Roma is also where you get on the People Mover to go from Piazza Roma to the ship. We even ventured onto the vaporetto (water taxi) to see a bit of Venice. We're two 50/60 something ladies and it was all easy enough for us to do. Whatever you decide, have a fantastic trip!
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#13
Southern CA
1,633 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
We have done it both ways and it is nice to have the extra service. One less worry!
Karen
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#15
Long Island, NY
137 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
We are doing the Signature Experience in Venice in Oct. 2018 and the hotels are not listed but for 2017 HAL is using the Bauer and Bonvechiatti. Any advice as to which one if there is a choice?
#16
Boston/Provincetown
27 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by mauimacho
We are doing the Signature Experience in Venice in Oct. 2018 and the hotels are not listed but for 2017 HAL is using the Bauer and Bonvechiatti. Any advice as to which one if there is a choice?
I think there is a difference in price and location other than that we don't know much more and would also be interested in any advice.
#17
Plymouth, Massachusetts
848 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
I think that the ship package is worth it if you like to be worry free when you arrive in a country you have not been to before. It may be more expensive but I like to be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel without me having to find a taxi and lug my luggage. And the fact that they take care of my luggage from the hotel to the ship and I'm transferred from the hotel to the ship with others, so you get to meet people who will be on the cruise with you.

It is really up to you as how much you want to do on your own. I have been to Venice several times and it really is not an easy place to get around the first time you are there. But once you have been there at least once it gets easier. I love Venice and if I have a choice of staying at a hotel in Venice or one on the outskirts I would choose to stay in Venice.
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#18
Plymouth, Massachusetts
848 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Another thought on the People Mover. It is a long walk from the People Mover to where the ships are docked. When we did our cruise that docked in Venice and we stayed overnight we took the People Mover to get into Venice and it was a long walk to the People Mover and even longer one going back because you have to go to the other end of the terminal to get in. And if you are pulling luggage along with you and I can't even imagine wanting to do that. To me it is not worth the money you would save.
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#19
San Antonio, TX
8,940 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Typically we book our own hotels and transfers as we don't mind making our own arrangements and it's usually less expensive even when staying at the same hotel as HAL or whatever line is using. Have to admit we actually used cruise line arrangements in Venice and were glad we did. We'd been there three times as a port call and had a good idea of the layout, etc., and that actually figured into our planning. This time Venice was actually our embarkation port so a whole different set of considerations. Secondly, light packing and cruising are mutually exclusive in our house. We look more like refugees than vacationers so the thought of hauling our own luggage on public transportation was not attractive or a good option. Anyhow, being met at the airport, a private launch (water taxi) directly to our hotel, and then a semi-private launch to the cruise terminal a couple of days later was well worth it. We have no problem arranging our own hotels and transfers in Barcelona, Rome, and Athens but Venice is unique in our minds and experience.
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#20
Boston/Provincetown
27 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
We thank everyone for their advice, we are most likely going to do the HAL package. Although we have done our own arrangements in the past, I think at least on this cruise it sounds like a good idea to use the package.