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Signature Suites - Are they worth it?

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5 minutes ago, Pair of Hikers said:

First time cruiser. We are on a Alaska Yukon trip with only 4 days on the ship. I just received an offer to upgrade to a Signature Suite for $189pp or a Neptune for $289 from a VD Verandah. I will call HAL shortly. Not sure about the price for only 4 days. Do we get anything upgraded besides the room? Better liquor package (which we have not ordered yet?) Any suggestions for someone who knows nothing are welcome

You certainly get more space :).  Booze?   Nope.  As to the space, although many here will disagree I suggest an interesting analysis.  Consider how many waking hours per day you plan on spending in your cabin and then divide all those waking hours into the total extra cost for the upsells.  This gives you your "waking cost per person hour" for those upsells.  This simple exercise has often kept us from booking suites or paying for upsells...especially on port intensive cruises when DW and I average no more then 3 waking hours a day in our cabin (we do not count sleep time since a bed in a large cabin is no different then a bed in a smaller cabin).   When we have a cruise with lots of sea days we really give a lot of thought to upsells or simply booking a small suite.

 

Hank

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We have 2 land days and 2 at sea days. One of which is Glacier Bay. The bigger room/verandah might be nice for that. It's hard to judge the space when we have never been on a ship. The Neptune seems to have its own lounge for breakfast and hanging out during the day. After 8 days of running around, a larger private space and a bigger veranda might be nice. I will call and ask tomorrow as the office was closed when I made the call.

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On 6/30/2018 at 5:56 PM, CherryG said:

We've had a Signature Suite once, Neptune twice, and just yesterday booked a Signature Suite for November We LOVE the Neptune Suite, but the Signature Suite is just fine. It's the extra room we love, and the two sinks! Depends what is important to you. For us, comfort makes the vacation. Hoping to get an up sell to a Neptune, but the Signature was a deal we couldn't pass up.

 

Exactly the same feelings here.  To us (being a bit spoiled on past cruises), the Signature represents a good compromise between a regular cabin and a Neptune (of course we like these better).  Plus, we get upsell offers frequently when we book a Signature, so most of the times we get to step up to a Neptune for a reasonable cost.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, DaveOKC said:

 

Exactly the same feelings here.  To us (being a bit spoiled on past cruises), the Signature represents a good compromise between a regular cabin and a Neptune (of course we like these better).  Plus, we get upsell offers frequently when we book a Signature, so most of the times we get to step up to a Neptune for a reasonable cost.

Another vote here for the Signature Suite.  As you move up in Mariner levels, the benefits associated with a Neptune Suite (other than the Neptune Lounge) are meaningless.

Edited by taxmantoo

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Hoping someone can answer this who has cruised to Alaska. We booked the last port side Verandah room originally. We can upgrade to a signature suite but it is on the starboard side. There is one Neptune on the port side but would cost us $678 for four nights. Not sure it's worth that. The signature suite is $378 so willing to do that but I'm not sure I want to be on the other side of the ship. Would welcome advice. Specifically, does side of ship matter in Glacier Bay??

 

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One criticism we often see about HAL suites is that they come with much less amenities then on many other lines.  Even the Neptune Lounge, which is a nice perk, lacks the perks one would expect at that price point.  Consider that if we cruise in the Yacht Club (you do not even need to be in a suite) on MSC we get a huge private lounge (with 180 degree views over the bow) that is staffed 21 hours a day, has a rotating buffet of snacks, open bar where you can order just about anything (including Mimosas made with fresh squeeze OJ and French Champagne) at no additional charge.  Or on Celebrity you have Luminae for suite dining..with its own upgraded menu, Michaels Club which has an open bar and even its own entertainment (on some nights), etc.  HAL could certainly make a few upgrades to their Neptune Lounge (such as a staffed open bar).  Or even NCL has their Haven Suites with a dedicated lounge, restaurant, sun deck, etc.    On HAL you pay the big bucks for a Neptune Suite and you get a nice large cabin/suite with some upgrades.  At one time that was enough, but now, it is simply not competitive.

 

Hank

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Thank you Hank for confirming my thinking. I was hoping that the signature suite would be available on the port side. I think that would be worth the upgrade.

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Update. Thanks to everyone for your help. I decided to call HAL back and say that if a port side Signature Suite opened up we would be interested. Well, one did open up between this morning and afternoon because the occupant of that suite  upgraded to the Neptune! Counting the days......

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Where is your cruise and How many days before you leave ? Just trying to get an idea about when these upgrade offers start. Also, did your offer come from a travel agent or HAL ? 

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We start on May 27 in Anchorage on an Alaska-Yukon land tour and meet our boat in Skagway. Offer came on Tuesday late afternoon. We booked directly through HAL and we received the email directly from them.

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18 hours ago, Hlitner said:

One criticism we often see about HAL suites is that they come with much less amenities then on many other lines.  Even the Neptune Lounge, which is a nice perk, lacks the perks one would expect at that price poin

I agree, the Signature Suites, are nothing more than larger cabin and bathroom with amenities that are a joke compared to other lines. We have one for our Noordam cruise in July because we wanted more room since we will have our grandson with us, otherwise a verandah would have been fine. We do not get priority boarding and check-in like a true suite normally gets. Basically we get more space, binoculars and a choice of pillow firmness  and double Mariner cruise nights over lower cabin classes. Our SS cabin was only about $200pp more than the best verandah cabin on our cruise, so it is worth the cost to us.

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I disagree with one point made concerning Signature Suites. You do get priority boarding as an amenity.  We have also benefitted with Signature Suite bookings when HAL offers any “Suite Deals”.  We got free pre-cruise hotel and excursions in Venice last year by booking a Signature suite. The price worked out cheaper by booking the SS and getting the free two-night stay in Venice than it would have cost us to book a Verandah and the hotel stay on our own. So the SS is actually one of our favorite cabin selections. 

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2 hours ago, terrydtx said:

I agree, the Signature Suites, are nothing more than larger cabin and bathroom with amenities that are a joke compared to other lines. We have one for our Noordam cruise in July because we wanted more room since we will have our grandson with us, otherwise a verandah would have been fine. We do not get priority boarding and check-in like a true suite normally gets. Basically we get more space, binoculars and a choice of pillow firmness  and double Mariner cruise nights over lower cabin classes. Our SS cabin was only about $200pp more than the best verandah cabin on our cruise, so it is worth the cost to us.

I actually like the Signature Suites and think that they are often the best deal on the ship.  Whether or not the SS's should have some additional amenities is certainly a topic open to discussion.  But my issue with HAL Suites has to do with the Neptune Suites which have a much higher price point then the smaller SS's.   When we were in the Divina's (MSC) Yacht Club we finally understood about real perks :).  With HAL suites you are essentially paying for more real estate with some window dressing perks.  On many other cruise lines, when you book a large suite (or even some small suites) you not only get real estate..but an entire package of perks.  In the case of lines like Cunard, MSC, and NCL you actually get an entire ship within a ship with lounges, pools, sun decks, private restaurants, etc.  On HAL you get a Lounge where you do not even get included drinks.   All things being equal, the Neptune Suites are among the worst deals in cruising.

 

The trend in the cruise industry is to make the large suites part of a large package of perks, amenities, etc.  HAL has fallen horribly behind the curve on this issue.

 

Hank

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1 hour ago, MajMom96 said:

I disagree with one point made concerning Signature Suites. You do get priority boarding as an amenity.  We have also benefitted with Signature Suite bookings when HAL offers any “Suite Deals”.  We got free pre-cruise hotel and excursions in Venice last year by booking a Signature suite. The price worked out cheaper by booking the SS and getting the free two-night stay in Venice than it would have cost us to book a Verandah and the hotel stay on our own. So the SS is actually one of our favorite cabin selections. 

I thought someone told me (and I could be way wrong) that there is NO priority boarding with a signature suite...

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1 hour ago, beaming90 said:

I thought someone told me (and I could be way wrong) that there is NO priority boarding with a signature suite...

And they were right ... there is no priority check-in and boarding for Signature suites unless you are a 4 or 5-Star Mariner.

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On our cruise last month we were given priority check in boarding to our signal suite and we are only three star. 

We too like the signature suites for the space.   Giggled about the snob factor, that is another thing I love about Hal! There isn’t one!  But that is Not the status quo on all lines, on Cunard we were asked constantly if we were in the Grills?  And we were in steerage there in a lowly balcony🤑 

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25 minutes ago, bennybear said:

On our cruise last month we were given priority check in boarding to our signal suite and we are only three star. 

We too like the signature suites for the space.   Giggled about the snob factor, that is another thing I love about Hal! There isn’t one!  But that is Not the status quo on all lines, on Cunard we were asked constantly if we were in the Grills?  And we were in steerage there in a lowly balcony🤑 

You got a bonus 😉 I was just quoting the published rules.  It often happens with HAL that the individual ships do not follow the Seattle guidelines.  It could also have been that the terminal employees were trying to better regulate the flow of passengers checking in and assigned you to the priority line.  In the end, everybody gets on and that's what counts.  🙂 

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All I can do is speak from experience and we have always received priority checkin when we book a Vista, Signature or Neptune Suite. Even before we reached 4-star status. But to be perfectly honest, priority checkin is the least important perk when booking a suite, so if that’s the only perk someone cares about, I’d advise saving your money, chill in the terminal to board,  and book a Verandah. 

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13 minutes ago, MajMom96 said:

All I can do is speak from experience and we have always received priority checkin when we book a Vista, Signature or Neptune Suite.

Then you were always very lucky that the ships you sailed didn't follow HAL policy.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, catl331 said:

Then you were always very lucky that the ships you sailed didn't follow HAL policy.

Or the port agents who do the check-in were gracious....

Edited by oceanmom

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9 hours ago, MajMom96 said:

All I can do is speak from experience and we have always received priority checkin when we book a Vista, Signature or Neptune Suite. Even before we reached 4-star status. But to be perfectly honest, priority checkin is the least important perk when booking a suite, so if that’s the only perk someone cares about, I’d advise saving your money, chill in the terminal to board,  and book a Verandah. 

You can just go ahead and stand in the priority boarding line, nobody checks until you are at the counter and by then it's too late.  We always get Signature Suites and I never remember priority boarding being officially included.

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On 5/15/2019 at 7:57 AM, taxmantoo said:

Another vote here for the Signature Suite.  As you move up in Mariner levels, the benefits associated with a Neptune Suite (other than the Neptune Lounge) are meaningless.

We always get a Signature Suite.  We like the extra room and sometimes we do spend extra time in the cabin, especially on sea days.  Trying to get a seat in the Crow's Nest or elsewhere with a view can definitely be challenging sometimes. 

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12 hours ago, beaming90 said:

I thought someone told me (and I could be way wrong) that there is NO priority boarding with a signature suite...

I always smile when anyone mentions "priority boarding."  It really is no big deal but some do think it matters.  We have done a few longer HAL cruises when over half the ship got "priority" and one Prinsendam cruise when nearly 75% were 4 and 5 Star Mariners.  On that cruise (out of Port Everglades) when we cleared security we were put into the Priority Line (we were 4 Star Mariners at the time).  We immediately noticed that the priority line was very long and not moving very fast and the nearby regular line was nearly empty :).  So we ducked under the rope and got in the regular line.  We were immediately directed to a counter, checked-in, and boarded the ship.  The Priority line had hardly moved as we left the terminal.  One lady, when she saw that we had moved into the regular line commented to her husband (loud enough for folks to hear in the next terminal), "I earned the right to be priority and I am not getting in the regular line!"  We had a great laugh as we boarded the ship and wondered how long that poor lady waited for her "priority" treatment.

 

Hank

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That’s so true Hank! Priority boarding is not a perk worth paying for and you’re so right that so many Holland America clientele are 4 and 5 star Mariners with the priority boarding perk anyway. Signature suites are great for the extra space and larger balconies, especially for those itineraries with beautiful coastlines to view.  That’s the best reason to book them. 

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On 5/5/2013 at 9:15 PM, Viking75 said:

I am debating between a regular balcony cabin and the Signature Suite on the Oosterdam for an Alaska cruise. It looks like while the cabin is slightly bigger it doesn't really come with too many extra perks (e.g., stationery, DVDs). For those that have traveled in the Signature Suites are they worth the extra money? The extra room isn't that important but it is nice if there are other perks. Thanks for your insights.

We're on the Oosterdam in June.  There are 3 of us in our cabin.  I called my cruise consultant and asked how much it would be to upgrade from the Verandah we had to a Signature Suite.  It was $70 per person, with the third person not being charged.  SIGN ME UP!  Just the extra room for three people is worth it. So I called my sisters and sister in law, all who have triples booked, and they upgraded, as well. 

I think that if it were only my husband and I in the room, I wouldn't have bothered. 

It's a cruise celebrating my younger son's college graduation. He's in the room with us. I've not told him I've upgraded.

My other son and his gf are in an interior room.  If they want to upgrade, it's on them!  HA!
 

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