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

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The hours for the BBQ on HMC will be posted in your "On Location". Just make sure to check that everyday and arrange your schedule accordingly. That way you won't miss anything really important.

 

Of course, if you do rent a cabana, you will have snacks and beverages provided by the ship.

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This will be our third HAL cruise. I've seen the notation "Collectors Voyage". What is that?

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... We have booked cabanas on Nieuw Amsterdam and Noordam and enjoyed them a lot. Hope this information helps you to decide.

 

When did HAL initiate Cabana Service on the Noordam? We have been on 1 previous Noordam cruise (January 2013) and did not see the cabanas. We are going on the Noordam again this coming January, and I would like to know how to make reservations for a cabana. Whom do I contact?

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When did HAL initiate Cabana Service on the Noordam? We have been on 1 previous Noordam cruise (January 2013) and did not see the cabanas. We are going on the Noordam again this coming January, and I would like to know how to make reservations for a cabana. Whom do I contact?

 

You can call ships services to book a cabana.

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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.

...

 

An advantage of using the British/European voltage is the speed of recharging. Not surprisingly, it takes about half the time. When we get home from a trip to Great Britain we are always amused by how long it takes for the kettle to boil. We don't need the extra outlets, but we use the 240 volts just for convenience.

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What I missed about HAL on my NCL Epic cruise last month was the Elemis shampoo, conditioner & body wash and the Elemis lotion.

 

So there is conditioner in each shower dispenser? I know that some cruise lines only offer shampoo.

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So there is conditioner in each shower dispenser? I know that some cruise lines only offer shampoo.

 

The dispensers I have used on HAL ships have shampoo, conditioner and body wash . Elemis brand.

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My eyes are crossing from reading all these great tips -- so I may have missed what to me is a huge benefit. If you own 100 shares of Carnival stock (parent company for many lines), and you fax your most current stock statement to the appropriate cruise line, you will get a cabin credit (amount varies with length of cruise) on your cruise. You certainly won't get rich on the stock, but over the years, we estimate we've gotten about $1000 worth of cabin credit -- and a whopping 10 shares more of stock as dividends. You can only claim the credit when you've booked your cruise and faxed the required information to the cruise line. For more information, go to the Carnival Corp. website and look for Stockholder Benefits.

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The dispensers I have used on HAL ships have shampoo, conditioner and body wash . Elemis brand.

 

We use all 3 of these, and quite like them. But the bar soap at the sink really dries my skin so I always purchase a pump soap to take with me.

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We use all 3 of these, and quite like them. But the bar soap at the sink really dries my skin so I always purchase a pump soap to take with me.

 

I like the white soap, and the shampoo. Alas, the spa quit selling the Elemis shampoo, so I had to find an alternative for my at-home enjoyment. I did, and now Elemis won't be selling me any more shampoo or soap.

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My eyes are crossing from reading all these great tips -- so I may have missed what to me is a huge benefit. If you own 100 shares of Carnival stock (parent company for many lines), and you fax your most current stock statement to the appropriate cruise line, you will get a cabin credit (amount varies with length of cruise) on your cruise. You certainly won't get rich on the stock, but over the years, we estimate we've gotten about $1000 worth of cabin credit -- and a whopping 10 shares more of stock as dividends. You can only claim the credit when you've booked your cruise and faxed the required information to the cruise line. For more information, go to the Carnival Corp. website and look for Stockholder Benefits.

 

That is an awesome tip -- thanks for posting it! (We have done really well with the tax-free OBCs, too :D)

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For those who've had Verandah suites, what advantages are there to booking a cabana?

Is the "stuff your laundry in a bag" deal roughly midway through the itinerary?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

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......Is the "stuff your laundry in a bag" deal roughly midway through the itinerary?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

 

Booking a cabana is a personal choice. If we have a large aft-wrap verandah, we are happy. A cabana gives a semi-private place to hang out during the day.

 

You can stuff your laundry in a bag ever day but the last. If you are in a Neptune Suite, the cost is FREE. There is a per bag fee or a reduced "entire cruise fee." Costs vary based on type of cruise and cruise location.

Edited by Crew News

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Here's a question for the group - Do you have to board with your cabin mate or can you board individually? Thank you!

Edited by MarElz

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For those who've had Verandah suites, what advantages are there to booking a cabana?

Is the "stuff your laundry in a bag" deal roughly midway through the itinerary?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

 

The laundry bag is actually good deal, you would be amazed how much laundry you can get into it by rolling and stuffing it really well!

 

As to the cabana - I dislike them so I would never book one.:o

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Here's a question for the group - Do you have to board with your cabin mate or can you board individually? Thank you!

 

If you each have your boarding pass and passports (or id), it shouldn't be an issue.

 

I know some say no need for the boarding pass (1st page of the edocs) but we always take it. when the computers are down, whatever it really helps and some ports demand to see it to go through security.

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Here's a question for the group - Do you have to board with your cabin mate or can you board individually? Thank you!

You can come individually, even if you have the same booking number.

My roomie arrived with her family while I was already checked in, and sitting in the waiting area on an August Alaska cruise.

 

As noted, just be sure you each have a copy of the first page of your boarding pass. Sometimes it's needed to get into the port area, or the terminal.

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How are people accessing what cabins are still available on the various HAL ships? I have seen this mentioned a couple of times and am eager to find out how.

 

 

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How are people accessing what cabins are still available on the various HAL ships? I have seen this mentioned a couple of times and am eager to find out how.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

If I do a dummy booking and select the section of the ship (forward, midship, or aft) in which you are interested, then deck number, I have been given a few stateroom choices. Repeat for a different section/deck.

 

You could also use a deck plan with a dummy booking and just enter the stateroom number you would like but that might be a bit time consuming to get all of the available staterooms.

 

With the change in the HAL website stateroom selection procedures, I have not been able to get a complete list of available staterooms without telephoning my HAL Personal Cruise Consultant (PCC).

Edited by Crew News

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Hi

We have always cruised in Europe but never in Australia. We are booked on the Xmas/New Year cruise from Sydney to NZ on Oosterdam. When we booked with TA we were told that the price quoted included all gratuities because they didn't like their customers to have any nasty surprises.

This surprised me, and also the price quoted, because if it included gratuities it was a very good price (having checked around and also on HAL site), so I booked. I was there when travel agent spoke to the booking agent and she quoted me word for word what was being said, as I queried this part twice.

 

So paid the cruise in full and went away felling very happy as always when cruising in Europe you have this extra charge every day that you need to pay before you leave the ship. After reading more and more about HAL on this site I rang back and the agent who booked it for me wasn't there, but her collegue said yes that is right and it is all paid. Then I went down with passports etc and again saw someone else said yes it is paid and if they add it at the end tell them to take it off.

Went down a few days later and spoke to another person in the office who said no it is not paid and you need to pay it separately. By this time I was a bit agro as I wasn't getting what I was told I had paid for.

Then the original TA rang and said that she had been told it was all paid (I heard her) but now the booking agent was saying that no it wasn't and that it didn't have to be paid all I needed to do was go on the first day and say I didn't want to pay it.

I explained that it wasn't that I didn't want to pay it as I know these staff rely on this payment, but I had been told that it was included.

Again she told me that no one has to pay it and everyone goes and asks for it to be take off, and so on and so on etc.

 

I told her I didn't want to deprive the staff of this payment and I had been told on this thread "DON'T TRY TO HAVE IT REMOVED"'. I know on mediterrean cruises I saw lots of people hazzling and arguing over their bill at the last day.

 

However again she and lots of other people have said they cant force you to pay it or to tip on board.

 

You say in one thread Don't try to have it removed. Tell me what you mean please about what happens, as this TA and from what I can gather the booking agent in Australia is telling everyone go and tell them you aren't paying it. Just for my own information and lots of others on this thread.

 

Just a matter for thought, I don't know how many crew on this cruise I presume about 1000, and 1900 passengers at $11.50 a day pp. which is $21,850 or more per day, which works out to be $305,900 for for the trip which is a lot of money for gratuities, lets hope it all gets to the staff.

 

Please give me your comments on all this and what the TA is saying, as a cruise expert.

 

Janderr

Edited by Janderra

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Hi

We have always cruised in Europe but never in Australia. We are booked on the Xmas/New Year cruise from Sydney to NZ on Oosterdam. When we booked with TA we were told that the price quoted included all gratuities because they didn't like their customers to have any nasty surprises.

This surprised me, and also the price quoted, because if it included gratuities it was a very good price (having checked around and also on HAL site), so I booked. I was there when travel agent spoke to the booking agent and she quoted me word for word what was being said, as I queried this part twice.

 

So paid the cruise in full and went away felling very happy as always when cruising in Europe you have this extra charge every day that you need to pay before you leave the ship. After reading more and more about HAL on this site I rang back and the agent who booked it for me wasn't there, but her collegue said yes that is right and it is all paid. Then I went down with passports etc and again saw someone else said yes it is paid and if they add it at the end tell them to take it off.

Went down a few days later and spoke to another person in the office who said no it is not paid and you need to pay it separately. By this time I was a bit agro as I wasn't getting what I was told I had paid for.

Then the original TA rang and said that she had been told it was all paid (I heard her) but now the booking agent was saying that no it wasn't and that it didn't have to be paid all I needed to do was go on the first day and say I didn't want to pay it.

I explained that it wasn't that I didn't want to pay it as I know these staff rely on this payment, but I had been told that it was included.

Again she told me that no one has to pay it and everyone goes and asks for it to be take off, and so on and so on etc.

 

I told her I didn't want to deprive the staff of this payment and I had been told on this thread "DON'T TRY TO HAVE IT REMOVED"'. I know on mediterrean cruises I saw lots of people hazzling and arguing over their bill at the last day.

 

However again she and lots of other people have said they cant force you to pay it or to tip on board.

 

You say in one thread Don't try to have it removed. Tell me what you mean please about what happens, as this TA and from what I can gather the booking agent in Australia is telling everyone go and tell them you aren't paying it. Just for my own information and lots of others on this thread.

 

Just a matter for thought, I don't know how many crew on this cruise I presume about 1000, and 1900 passengers at $11.50 a day pp. which is $21,850 or more per day, which works out to be $305,900 for for the trip which is a lot of money for gratuities, lets hope it all gets to the staff.

 

Please give me your comments on all this and what the TA is saying, as a cruise expert.

 

Janderr

 

Well, I can't blame you for being upset at all. If your TA was given incorrect info by HAL then, to me, HAL has some responsibility here and the TA should be having a discussion with them to either get you some OBC to help correct the error or whatever. But that's just my opinion. I would probably ask the TA for confirmation in writing.

 

The HSC (hotel service charge/gratuity) does go to the crew. Not just to your cabin steward and waiters in the dining room but to the people behind the scenes who contribute to the cruise.

 

If you remove the HSC, you are basically not compensating any of the crew for the work they have done for you. Any tips that you pass on to them will be turned over to the entire pool if you remove the HSC.

 

Your TA is giving you advice that to me, is an easy out for them. They gave incorrect info. They should fix it IMO or at least, try.

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In the Australian way of life, tipping is not necessary because people are paid a wage that tips cover in other places.

Aboard ship is one of those places where tipping is customary, not only as a way of saying "Thanks for a job well done", but as a significant portion of salary. It is a different custom, as you are already aware. You know to pay the Hotel Service Charge, as you do that on European cruises.

 

I agree with Kazu that the Australian agent is giving out incomplete information (as you are allowed to remove the Hotel Service Charge), and believe it is rooted in the Australia culture.

But this is one of those "When in Rome..." things. Since you felt you got a really good deal in the first place, then you know that leaving the Hotel Service Charge on the bill is the right thing to do.

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Thank you all for sharing your experience. My husband and I have been on a handful of cruises and we are really looking forward to trying HAL. I read that we can bring soda and water on board. Do you think mixers are ok? Such as cans of Bloody Mary mix? We like to order a bottle of vodka for our room and enjoy on the balcony.

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Thank you all for sharing your experience. My husband and I have been on a handful of cruises and we are really looking forward to trying HAL. I read that we can bring soda and water on board. Do you think mixers are ok? Such as cans of Bloody Mary mix? We like to order a bottle of vodka for our room and enjoy on the balcony.

 

mixers are fine - anything non alcoholic is :)

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Well, I can't blame you for being upset at all. If your TA was given incorrect info by HAL then, to me, HAL has some responsibility here and the TA should be having a discussion with them to either get you some OBC to help correct the error or whatever. But that's just my opinion. I would probably ask the TA for confirmation in writing.

 

The HSC (hotel service charge/gratuity) does go to the crew. Not just to your cabin steward and waiters in the dining room but to the people behind the scenes who contribute to the cruise.

 

If you remove the HSC, you are basically not compensating any of the crew for the work they have done for you. Any tips that you pass on to them will be turned over to the entire pool if you remove the HSC.

 

Your TA is giving you advice that to me, is an easy out for them. They gave incorrect info. They should fix it IMO or at least, try.

 

Hi again

 

I went back to the Travel agent and again said I was given the wrong information and I had booked with them thinking that the gratuities were included at the price and this is why I chose them.

Also told her that not paying the gratuities was different to having them included in the price, and I did not want to take these gratuities off the staff.

I got an email back saying that yes she understood and HAL booking agent was still telling them that the gratuities do not have to be paid on Australian cruises.

However she told me in writing to go ahead and pay them and bring the receipt to her and she would reimburse out of her wages.

I agreed that was what I would do, but told her that her company should take some responsibility and she shouldn't have to pay from her wages.

However that is for her to sort out.

I will be paying the gratuities and presenting the receipt to her on my return for reimbursement.

 

Thanks for all the advice

Janderra

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Thank you all for sharing your experience. My husband and I have been on a handful of cruises and we are really looking forward to trying HAL. I read that we can bring soda and water on board. Do you think mixers are ok? Such as cans of Bloody Mary mix? We like to order a bottle of vodka for our room and enjoy on the balcony.

 

Attached is a copy of HAL's "General Info" booklet - it answers your question plus many more. Enjoy your cruise.

 

Rod

HAL Cruising General Info.pdf

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Thank you KY Colonel. I only wish you had posted this link earlier.

 

I have downloaded the PDF file for future reference......... Noordam cruise February 2016.

 

The liquor rules and regulations are what concern me most !!!

Edited by Texoma
Added more info

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Glad to be of service - and thanks to HAL for publishing such a helpful and thorough brochure. We'll also be cruising on the Noordam in 2015, albeit our cruise leaves at the end of January. Hope you have a very enjoyable cruise.

 

Rod

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I'm starting to research HAL, having previously cruised primarily on RCI. Regarding the wine policy, I have one question. Prior to RCI cancelling all corkage fees, it had been hit or miss as to whether folks would be charged when they brought their own bottle into the dining rooms. It was the same on the one Carnival cruise that we did. How does HAL handle this? Is the corkage fee ALWAYS charged, or is it at the discretion of the waiter?

Since all except one bottle of wine per person are charged corkage at boarding, the sticker on the bottles indicates the corkage has been paid, and that ends that.

If you were to choose to take the "free" bottle to the dining room (or other public place), the additional corkage due would be charged.

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Since all except one bottle of wine per person are charged corkage at boarding, the sticker on the bottles indicates the corkage has been paid, and that ends that.

If you were to choose to take the "free" bottle to the dining room (or other public place), the additional corkage due would be charged.

 

Thank you Ruth for responding. Much appreciated!

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Hi

We have always cruised in Europe but never in Australia. We are booked on the Xmas/New Year cruise from Sydney to NZ on Oosterdam. When we booked with TA we were told that the price quoted included all gratuities because they didn't like their customers to have any nasty surprises.

This surprised me, and also the price quoted, because if it included gratuities it was a very good price (having checked around and also on HAL site), so I booked. I was there when travel agent spoke to the booking agent and she quoted me word for word what was being said, as I queried this part twice.

 

So paid the cruise in full and went away felling very happy as always when cruising in Europe you have this extra charge every day that you need to pay before you leave the ship. After reading more and more about HAL on this site I rang back and the agent who booked it for me wasn't there, but her collegue said yes that is right and it is all paid. Then I went down with passports etc and again saw someone else said yes it is paid and if they add it at the end tell them to take it off.

Went down a few days later and spoke to another person in the office who said no it is not paid and you need to pay it separately. By this time I was a bit agro as I wasn't getting what I was told I had paid for.

Then the original TA rang and said that she had been told it was all paid (I heard her) but now the booking agent was saying that no it wasn't and that it didn't have to be paid all I needed to do was go on the first day and say I didn't want to pay it.

I explained that it wasn't that I didn't want to pay it as I know these staff rely on this payment, but I had been told that it was included.

Again she told me that no one has to pay it and everyone goes and asks for it to be take off, and so on and so on etc.

 

I told her I didn't want to deprive the staff of this payment and I had been told on this thread "DON'T TRY TO HAVE IT REMOVED"'. I know on mediterrean cruises I saw lots of people hazzling and arguing over their bill at the last day.

 

However again she and lots of other people have said they cant force you to pay it or to tip on board.

 

You say in one thread Don't try to have it removed. Tell me what you mean please about what happens, as this TA and from what I can gather the booking agent in Australia is telling everyone go and tell them you aren't paying it. Just for my own information and lots of others on this thread.

 

Just a matter for thought, I don't know how many crew on this cruise I presume about 1000, and 1900 passengers at $11.50 a day pp. which is $21,850 or more per day, which works out to be $305,900 for for the trip which is a lot of money for gratuities, lets hope it all gets to the staff.

 

Please give me your comments on all this and what the TA is saying, as a cruise expert.

 

Janderr

When we booked our Grand Asia Far East Australia cruise we were told about a lot of things that were included in the price including tips, but lucky for me I had read on cruise critic about people who had the same problem you had and to get it in writing from HAL via an email, which I did and there were no problems. So for future reference always get it in writing via email from HAL.

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I am really enjoying this forum and all its info as I am new to HAL. (cruises 10+ on another line) So many questions! My first though is what is included in the Signature Drink Package? My booking offered it as a free promotion and it states all drinks up to $7. I am assuming that is Beer and Wine, however does it include mixed drinks or on the rocks like Jack, etc?

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I am really enjoying this forum and all its info as I am new to HAL. (cruises 10+ on another line) So many questions! My first though is what is included in the Signature Drink Package? My booking offered it as a free promotion and it states all drinks up to $7. I am assuming that is Beer and Wine, however does it include mixed drinks or on the rocks like Jack, etc?

 

Welcome to Cruise Critic :)

 

Yes, the signature Drink Package includes anything that is less than $7, so mixed drinks or on the rocks, etc.

 

There is a really great thread started by POA1 on the drink package and it is usually on the first page (or the second at the worst). Called Signature Package.....Oh MY! I think you will find it very helpful.

 

But the general rule of thumb is any drink under $7 and no premium liquors.

 

hope this helps

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As best I understand the Explore4 Program, the Signature Drink Package covers all drinks (up to $7 each) up to the daily $50 limit.

There is no $50 daily limit; there's a 15 drinks per day limit. If all of those drinks were cocktails at $6.95 each, the price would be worth $104.xx, plus service charge for a total of $119.xx.

 

The "value" of the package is (roughly) $50 per day, but that's not a limit. It's the price someone would have to pay if they were to purchase the Signature Beverage Package.

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I defer to RuthC on this one, as she obviously has more drinking experience than me!

<hic>

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We are new to HAL and when we booked our room they asked us if we wanted to be upgraded without calling us. I said no, because I know that what some people feel is an upgrade is not always a true upgrade.... Especially since I have one of the large inside cabins k1116. However, I would be willing to consider an up sell. The question is, will I not get the opportunity for an up sell because I checked that box? Sorry... But this is a little confusing for me. Any help would be appreciated. And one more question... When do they generally start calling with up sell offers in relation to your departure?

 

 

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