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Newbie and Looking for Advice!


Billy277
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Hi there everyone, I'm going on a cruise next month for the first time. I'm super-excited but have read so much conflicting information it's starting to make my head spin. Advice from you veterans is greatly appreciated!

 

I'm going on a 10-day Mediterranean cruise on the Holland America Ryndam. I have a couple of initial questions (with probably many more to follow):

 

1) Is there a fee to use the exercise room/gym equipment?

 

2) Is it easy to tell which food & drinks are free and which must be paid for?

 

3) I've read that you rarely, if ever, pay cash directly for things on a cruise. Instead, it's all added to your room account. Is this accurate, and if so is there any advice on how to avoid unwanted charges?

 

4) This is more of a question for people who've traveled through Europe on a cruise: We're visiting a whole bunch of exciting cities (Marseille, Venice, Rome, etc.) Are there buses or guides at the ports who can take travelers from the port into the city? I'm trying to figure out how we're going to get around each city after we've docked.

 

Thanks to all in advance!

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Answers might very well depend on cruise line

1) normally not

2) Yes - food in speciality restaurants is for a fee - in general you pay for drinks

3) You nver pay cash except for additional tips - all charged to your cruise account - you do sign for all charges - if something wron contact guest relation desk

4) Suggest you post/read at the European port of call forum with specific cities - Rome is far from the port where other cities are close

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Hi there everyone, I'm going on a cruise next month for the first time. I'm super-excited but have read so much conflicting information it's starting to make my head spin. Advice from you veterans is greatly appreciated!

 

I'm going on a 10-day Mediterranean cruise on the Holland America Ryndam. I have a couple of initial questions (with probably many more to follow):

 

1) Is there a fee to use the exercise room/gym equipment?

 

2) Is it easy to tell which food & drinks are free and which must be paid for?

 

3) I've read that you rarely, if ever, pay cash directly for things on a cruise. Instead, it's all added to your room account. Is this accurate, and if so is there any advice on how to avoid unwanted charges?

 

4) This is more of a question for people who've traveled through Europe on a cruise: We're visiting a whole bunch of exciting cities (Marseille, Venice, Rome, etc.) Are there buses or guides at the ports who can take travelers from the port into the city? I'm trying to figure out how we're going to get around each city after we've docked.

 

Thanks to all in advance!

 

Congrats on your first cruise & welcome to Cruise Critic!! There is no fee to use the gym or equipment..as far as drinks go, unless you take a beverage package of some kind ( each cruise line is different) , normally you pay for any alcoholic drinks, sodas,etc...coffee ( except specialty coffees) and tea, fountain water are usually included...correct on #3 regarding cash- cruising is a cashless society..you get a "cabin card"- looks like a hotel card you get these days..that's your card for all on board charges, as well as getting into your cabin.These days most ( not all, but most newer ships) have your account you can see/ access on the cabin TV, OR you can simply go to Guest Services daily & check your charges..always check daily, if not every few days, mistakes are made occasionally ..

 

The last question requires some investigation on your part..you can & should do 2 things: first, go to the "ports of call" section on the message boards here and click on "Europe", then find your ports of call..read up OR ask a question(s) on Rome, Venice, etc..also go to Trip Advisor.com and put in a search for Rome, Venice, etc., and then look at the "attractions" or "places to see" sections..this will list the top places IN ORDER by travelers and you can read reviews by each ( I.E., in Rome, "The Vatican", and read about that..)..many will list TOURS and names so you can jot them down and contact them...I would put a question on the Rome thread and ask "need tour guide in Rome", and wait for responses...there's always the HAL website and you can look at their excursions as well...hope this helps..any more questions let us know...

 

Big Al

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Welcome to Cruise Critic.

The gym on the Ryndam is small and free unless you sign up for some classes like Pilates, spinning.

HAL will charge you $11.50 per day per person Hotel Service charge and regular cabins and $12 per day per person for any cabin with the word "suite" listed in its category title.

All food in the Lido, main dining room and Dive-In is free. The Lido has coffee, tea free 24/7 and they are free in the dining room. If you want a soda or a cocktail -- then you pay and a 15% gratuity will automatically be added onto your bill. The Ryndam has 2 specialty restaurants -- you pay for them. The Canaletto is $10 per person -- Italian food -- only open for dinner. The Pinnacle Grill is $29 per person for dinner -- more of a steak house. One night it will transformed into Le Cirque -- limited menu -- $49 per person. On some days the Pinnacle is open for lunch -- $10 per person.

HAL no longer has you sign for anything you buy on the ship. HAL just gives you a receipt. This includes the shops on board.

If you don't buy any sodas, drinks, anything from the shops, don't buy shore excursions, the only thing that will be on your shipboard account at the end of the cruise will be the Hotel Service Charge.

If you want to see what others are doing on your cruise, check out your Roll Call at this link -- just scroll down until you find the date of your cruise:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=319

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Thanks to all of you! Everyone's been a huge help. I'm still researching how this "Excursion" system works. We're trying to decide if want to go with the guided tours or if we want to risk exploring the cities ourselves. Once we're onboard, will the ship have a listing of what excursions are available in each city?

 

Another question: On this particular cruise, on many days we're at port most of the daylight hours, such as disembarking from the ship at 7 AM and re-boarding at 7 PM. How will the dinner work on those days? Will we get a set window to come and eat, or will it be a free-for-all?

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