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New to Holland America? This is for you...AKA "HAL For Dummies"

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first of all I want to say how friendly & helpful this HAL forum is!I booked our first HAL cruise for next year,and have learned so much already!Thank you so much.

 

This is for those of you who have sailed on both DCL and HAL,as this is our 1st with HAL,and we're doing our 4th DCL next month.We're both in our early 60's,so I'd love to hear what you have to offer.Oh,and our first trip will be on the Eurodam on the Navgation Deck to Western Car. in March next year!;)

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Instead of keeping your extra pens or vials in the medical center, you might want to get yourself a FRIO Pack. You soak the liner till it swells some, it has polymer beads in it, and put your vials or pens in there, then slip it in a fabric cover. You can carry it in a purse or carryon like this, and also keep it in your cabin, hotel room, etc. It will keep the items at a safe temperature for four or more days. Don't let it totally dry out. Then you soak the liner again (it takes less time if it isn't dry). I've been using one for years, and you could ask for more references on the Disability section.

 

Where do you get a Frio Pack? Well, I can't recommend a place, but Uncle Google is your friend :rolleyes: They come in all sizes from those for one or two pens to those carrying several vials.

 

M.

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first of all I want to say how friendly & helpful this HAL forum is!I booked our first HAL cruise for next year,and have learned so much already!Thank you so much.

 

This is for those of you who have sailed on both DCL and HAL,as this is our 1st with HAL,and we're doing our 4th DCL next month.We're both in our early 60's,so I'd love to hear what you have to offer.Oh,and our first trip will be on the Eurodam on the Navgation Deck to Western Car. in March next year!;)

Rather than ask the question here ( as I fear it would be missed), I would start a new thread asking the question where those who have sailed both would have a better chance of seeing this.

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Instead of keeping your extra pens or vials in the medical center, you might want to get yourself a FRIO Pack. You soak the liner till it swells some, it has polymer beads in it, and put your vials or pens in there, then slip it in a fabric cover. You can carry it in a purse or carryon like this, and also keep it in your cabin, hotel room, etc. It will keep the items at a safe temperature for four or more days. Don't let it totally dry out. Then you soak the liner again (it takes less time if it isn't dry). I've been using one for years, and you could ask for more references on the Disability section.

 

Where do you get a Frio Pack? Well, I can't recommend a place, but Uncle Google is your friend :rolleyes: They come in all sizes from those for one or two pens to those carrying several vials.

 

M.

 

available at the company - http://www.frioinsulincoolingcase.com/

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I know this has already been mentioned, but perhaps it needs emphasis as recent discussions show:

 

WINE POLICY: You are limited to taking on board 1 -750 ml bottle of wine per passenger (Not 2 per cabin - solos take note).

You may NOT take boxed wine onboard.

You may take additional bottles of wine and pay $18 per bottle corkage for each. These bottles can be taken to the MDR for consumption.

If you take a "free" bottle to the MDR, you must pay the corkage there.

 

Hope that covers it, perhaps others can add anything I've missed.

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Gloria - HAL does NOT recommend that you keep meds in the fridge in your room as they do not guarantee the temperatures. A regular ocean view room does not have a fridge but you can rent one - but I recommend against that.

 

I also travel with temperature sensitive meds and always have them stored the medical facility as they monitor the temps of the fridges. I just put them into a zip bag, add my name and cabin number to the bag and they store them. Also do the same to the freezer packs and they will put those in the freezer for me so it is ready to go when it is time to disembark. The medical facility opens at 8 am on most days and stays open until about 6-7 each evening, with an hour break for lunch. Have asked the staff if they could open early one day as we had a 1st off tour to the pyramids and one of the nurses opened up at 7 for me to get my meds.

 

 

 

Please reconsider keeping your meds in the room fridge as we have had soda freeze in 1 fridge - it was a mess!

 

Please check with your pharmacist about the necessity of storing medications at particular temperatures. Most insulins are now good for at least 28 days at room temperature and some for 42 days. I can think of very few that MUST be kept refridgerated. Please note, I am a pharmacist!

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The HAL for Dummies is a God-send - even though I am a 2-Star Marriner!

 

Our plane is coming in at 7:00AM - the day of our cruise. The ship leaves at 4:45pm.

 

If we opt for the transfer service from HA from the airport to the cruiseport, would our luggage be loaded directly from the bus to the ship?

 

I would think that the bus would get to the port by 9:00 and we probably would not be able board for another three hours and would hate to wait around guarding our luggage!

 

Thanks

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There is also "stuff a bag" where you can send out a bag of laundry for $20 (N. America, not sure about the cost in other areas).

 

How big/small is the bag?

 

Thanks

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How big/small is the bag?

 

Thanks

 

Lordy, kind of hard to describe. Small pillow case size, maybe. But you can stuff a heck of lot into it by rolling everything up. It's a great deal.

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The HAL for Dummies is a God-send - even though I am a 2-Star Marriner!

 

Our plane is coming in at 7:00AM - the day of our cruise. The ship leaves at 4:45pm.

 

If we opt for the transfer service from HA from the airport to the cruiseport, would our luggage be loaded directly from the bus to the ship?

 

I would think that the bus would get to the port by 9:00 and we probably would not be able board for another three hours and would hate to wait around guarding our luggage!

 

Thanks

 

I do not know how far you have to travel BUT:

 

Goggle "luggage forwarding". The will pick up your luggage from your home or office or pick up almost any where about a week before your trip and deliver it to to ship.

 

It is pricy about $124 for a large bag under 50 pounds from Calif to Florida.

 

They have a good reputation. There is also a thread on Cruise Critic if you wish to check them out.

 

This is not to be confused with Holland America program called "Luggage Direct"

 

This wonderful program is at the end of your trip and used to send your luggage to the air port from the ship. Cost is $19 dollars per person for your boarding pass and luggage handling.

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The HAL for Dummies is a God-send - even though I am a 2-Star Marriner!

 

Our plane is coming in at 7:00AM - the day of our cruise. The ship leaves at 4:45pm.

 

If we opt for the transfer service from HA from the airport to the cruiseport, would our luggage be loaded directly from the bus to the ship?

 

I would think that the bus would get to the port by 9:00 and we probably would not be able board for another three hours and would hate to wait around guarding our luggage!

 

Thanks

 

you are talking about HAL's transfer from the airport to the ship, correct?

 

Yes, the luggage is loaded on the bus. If there is not enough room it will go on another one, but there usually is.

 

The stevedores will probably around be on duty and your luggage will be passed to them. Always good to see it happen

Edited by kazu

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I'm assuming HAL does the "fire drill" before departing.How is it done?Asking because Disney has everyone on one deck,and they slide your room card to show you're there.The one time we were on Carnival in Jan.it seemed to be all over the ship!;)

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Do the Vista ships have only North American style electrical outlets? How many outlets are there in a standard cabin?

 

Thanks!

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I'm assuming HAL does the "fire drill" before departing.How is it done?Asking because Disney has everyone on one deck,and they slide your room card to show you're there.The one time we were on Carnival in Jan.it seemed to be all over the ship!;)

 

It usually is around 45 minutes before departing. Right now you go to an assigned spot on deck by your lifeboat station. No swiping of cards yet. You report to the steward with your cabin number and they call out the numbers and names of those that have not reported in to take attendance.

 

It's quite organized. The only thing that causes delays is "no shows".

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Do the Vista ships have only North American style electrical outlets? How many outlets are there in a standard cabin?

 

Thanks!

 

Each outlet will have both a North American and a European receptacle. A trick is to take along a European plug adapter for charging your electronics. Most chargers have a voltage range of from 100 to 240. Just check what is written on your charger and if you see that voltage range it is safe to use the European plug. This will allow you to plug in two items at one receptacle.

 

Since the chargers can be bulky enough that it is hard to fit two side by side, I take along a small thingy that I plug in and it has a few places for plugs in it. If I plug one charger in the end of the thingy there is room in the other outlet for another charger. I don't know what they are called----sort of an extension cord without the cord.

 

We normally book an SS on the Vistas and there are two outlets----one at each desk. We had a standard balcony cabin on the Oosterdam and there was one receptacle in the cabin. There will be a receptacle in the bathroom for charging razors or toothbrushes.

 

The hair dryer that is provided will work in the European receptacle only so don't make the mistake of plugging it into the European adapter. There is no built in converter in the hair dryer like you will find in the chargers.

Edited by sapper1

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I'm assuming HAL does the "fire drill" before departing.How is it done?Asking because Disney has everyone on one deck,and they slide your room card to show you're there.The one time we were on Carnival in Jan.it seemed to be all over the ship!;)

 

The fire drill has been undergoing safety changes, and you need to listen carefully to the announcements, as muster time is a part of the change. Do not head to your lifeboat station until instructed to do so. I understand it is after the second horn or whistle. Until now, you do not check in by swiping your card, but that is something coming soon - if not already - as well.

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Each outlet will have both a North American and a European receptacle. A trick is to take along a European plug adapter for charging your electronics. Most chargers have a voltage range of from 100 to 240. Just check what is written on your charger and if you see that voltage range it is safe to use the European plug. This will allow you to plug in two items at one receptacle.

 

Since the chargers can be bulky enough that it is hard to fit two side by side, I take along a small thingy that I plug in and it has a few places for plugs in it. If I plug one charger in the end of the thingy there is room in the other outlet for another charger. I don't know what they are called----sort of an extension cord without the cord.

 

We normally book an SS on the Vistas and there are two outlets----one at each desk. We had a standard balcony cabin on the Oosterdam and there was one receptacle in the cabin. There will be a receptacle in the bathroom for charging razors or toothbrushes.

 

The hair dryer that is provided will work in the European receptacle only so don't make the mistake of plugging it into the European adapter. There is no built in converter in the hair dryer like you will find in the chargers.

 

Thanks!

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This is not to be confused with Holland America program called "Luggage Direct"

 

This wonderful program is at the end of your trip and used to send your luggage to the air port from the ship. Cost is $19 dollars per person for your boarding pass and luggage handling.

 

Luggage Direct availability is limited to certain airlines, so if you're planning to use it, better make sure you are booked on an allowed airline.

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I'll be on the Veendam. What deck are the muster locations on? Do you bring your life jacket with you? Do they do an indoors or outdoors muster? I'm doing a back to back cruise. Do you have to attend muster for both cruises? Thanks.

Edited by KruzPrincess

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I'll be on the Veendam. What deck are the muster locations on? Do you bring your life jacket with you? Do they do an indoors or outdoors muster? I'm doing a back to back cruise. Do you have to attend muster for both cruises? Thanks.

 

You don't take your life vest with you. Since the Costs tragedy, you can expect to have to attend the drill on both segments of the cruise.

 

I always get my deck names mixed up. But the life boat drill is on the walk around promenade deck.

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<snip>I missed the classical trio or guitarist with dinner in the MDR, and the ocean view while we dined..<snip>

 

Sorry to edit so much of your post, but just wanted to respond to this bit. It has been a long time since there has been any live music at dinner in the MDR. The Adagio trio is now a duo, and plays in the Explorer's Lounge only.

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Glad to hear that HAL compared so favorable. I agree with almost everything that you wrote - so many cruise lines are eliminating the conditioners, for example, happy to read that HAL isn't.

 

I do however like the plays. I guess that I am old fashioned. Really what I like are the variety shows with the singers & the dancers. I take cruises to visit new ports, to enjoy the meals and for wonderful nightly entertainment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed reading your post. Gloria

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You don't take your life vest with you. Since the Costs tragedy, you can expect to have to attend the drill on both segments of the cruise.

 

I always get my deck names mixed up. But the life boat drill is on the walk around promenade deck.

 

Thank you. I think my cabin might be on the deck with the walk around promenade. If so, that will be easy. Good to know about not taking a life jacket with you.

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Can you please tell me what ships give you the ability to do laundry instead of the laundry bag?

All the Holland America ships offer the various laundry bag options.

 

The ships with self-service laundries are:

All the S-class ships---Statendam, Maasdam, Ryndam, Veendam

All the R-class ships---Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Volendam, Zaandam

The Elegant Explorer---Prinsendam. There is no charge for self-service laundry on this ship.

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I've been on one HAL cruise before and had set dinner at 8 pm. Personally, I didn't like the set time, but I loved getting to know the wait staff. So, it's a mixed bag.

 

Has anyone had experience with open dinning times but were able to ask for, and get the same wait staff / table?

 

Any suggestions?

 

(I know, I just want it all! ):)

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I've been on one HAL cruise before and had set dinner at 8 pm. Personally, I didn't like the set time, but I loved getting to know the wait staff. So, it's a mixed bag.

 

Has anyone had experience with open dinning times but were able to ask for, and get the same wait staff / table?

 

Any suggestions?

 

(I know, I just want it all! ):)

 

On cruise to Hawaii we were in a SY suite and had early setting, same table same staff. We were assigned late setting but requested and receiver change to early setting.

 

On cruise to Alaska, we were unsold from VE to SA, first lunch we liked our table so much that we requested it be reserved each lunch and dinner.

 

We had as you wish open setting and sat at the same table with the same staff every night. I do not know if the Neptune Suite status influenced the table choice.

 

We are waiting for our trip to Panama in 7 weeks. I plan to ask our TA to secure the same table for us before we set sail. Do not know if it can be done but worth a try. We are in SY this time.

 

Have a great trip. Judy

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My suggestion for "Dummies":

 

MS Eurodam & Nieuw Amsterdam - The GRAND TOUR of SIGNATURE class - Pics and Video is your handbook, textbook, culinary book, tutorial for beginners and complete pictorial guide to the most exciting HAL ships - the Eurodam and the Nieuw Amsterdam.

 

Click here to take your video cruise on the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam.

 

Enjoy!

 

Great Video! Can't wait for my cruise!!

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Walt, what a great idea for a sticky thread! I'm new to both HAL and Cruise Critic and find this thread very handy indeed. I notice some posters mentioning Signature class and Vista class. I will be on the Zuiderdam in 2015 but can find no mention of its class. Can anyone tell me what class the Zuiderdam is?

 

Many thanks.

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Walt, what a great idea for a sticky thread! I'm new to both HAL and Cruise Critic and find this thread very handy indeed. I notice some posters mentioning Signature class and Vista class. I will be on the Zuiderdam in 2015 but can find no mention of its class. Can anyone tell me what class the Zuiderdam is?

 

Many thanks.

 

The Zuiderdam is Vista Class.

 

Please see this sticky: An Introduction to the Ships and Classes of the HAL Fleet

Edited by Host Walt

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Very new to all of this. Two questions: 1) what beverages are complementary (water, coffee, tea, juice?) and does it matter where those beverages are consumed (MDR, or somewhere else)? and 2) is there a dress code for the MDR for breakfast and lunch or only for dinner?

 

Was telling DH about all the wonderful things I've been learning. His reply was that he wondered how others learn this stuff.

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...Was telling DH about all the wonderful things I've been learning. His reply was that he wondered how others learn this stuff.

 

Most of the time common sense and/or previous cruise experience prevails. However you will almost always encounter someone who wasn't totally aware of all there is to know. Some won't care while most others will experience a bit of embarrassment or discomfort.

 

That said, there aren't that many "rules" or social decorum standards involved with cruising so that the experience is really a very pleasant one for the novice cruiser. Participation in Cruise Critic, however, adds so much to the newbie simply by putting the concerns one may have to rest.

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Two quick questions:

 

1. When do you select your dinning time? When we booked online, it just asked us if we wanted a set time or not, but we didn't get to specify what time.

 

2. How do you order off the vegetarian menu in the MDR? Do you need to do anything before hand or can you just show up at dinner and request the vegetarian menu?

 

Thanks!

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Your TA should know your dining time or it is listed on your reservation which you can find under your account on the HAL website. When in doubt, call HAL and ask.

 

There are vegetarian offerings on each dinner menu in the MDR but never hurts to ask for additional menu options. You can always ask for extras. We have a small plate of fresh vegies instead of bread while we are perusing the menu and have seen extra plates of steamed vegies at other tables served 'family style' during the entree.

Edited by take us away

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Your TA should know your dining time or it is listed on your reservation which you can find under your account on the HAL website. When in doubt, call HAL and ask.

 

We had a TA on our last HAL cruise who handled it for us, but we just booked online ourselves this time. Is this an option that becomes available online at some point? Thanks!

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We had a TA on our last HAL cruise who handled it for us, but we just booked online ourselves this time. Is this an option that becomes available online at some point? Thanks!

It's an option that's supposed to be available when you book the cruise.

Take the advice to call HAL and straighten it out.

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,,, and 2) is there a dress code for the MDR for breakfast and lunch or only for dinner?

 

I'm not sure exactly what the dress code for breakfast and lunch is, but there is one. A friend made the mistake of wearing a sleeveless t-shirt to breakfast and was turned away as he "needed sleeves". A gentleman behind us had three pre-teen to teen daughters with sleeveless shirts and he asked if they needed sleeves. It was politely indicated that, yes, they did. Flip flops and shorts weren't a problem and we even saw them at the Mariners Brunch.

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So glad I found this thread. We're sailing on the Eurodam for Christmas. This is our first HAL cruise and all these tips are great. Please keep em coming! :)

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