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

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NSWP, I have done open seating for many cruises and have dietary restrictions. The wait staff usually have a tablet which will show your restrictions, additionally the manager at the door should also have a notice to inform your server. I haven't run into any problems, I just tell the server I pre-ordered my dinner and they look it up. At times you may need to remind them to bring the menu for the next day when ordering dessert.

The wait for a shared table is usually non-existent or just a few minutes.

You may want to review your restrictions with the dining room manager right after boarding, at this time is may be possible to get fixed seating, if available.

Hope you enjoy HAL.

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NSWP, I have done open seating for many cruises and have dietary restrictions. The wait staff usually have a tablet which will show your restrictions, additionally the manager at the door should also have a notice to inform your server. I haven't run into any problems, I just tell the server I pre-ordered my dinner and they look it up. At times you may need to remind them to bring the menu for the next day when ordering dessert.

The wait for a shared table is usually non-existent or just a few minutes.

You may want to review your restrictions with the dining room manager right after boarding, at this time is may be possible to get fixed seating, if available.

Hope you enjoy HAL.

 

G'day, I really appreciate your reply with great information. Settles me down a bit. I will take your advice on board. I have notifed HAL re Celiac condition.

 

Happy cruising to you.:cool:

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I am a HAL Dummy, first cruise with HAL next April on Noordam, Sydney - Honolulu, done plenty on Princess and other cruise lines. So we just booked last week and found that early/late dinner sittings are waitlisted. With open dining, how long would we be expected to wait for a shared table? I am a Celiac - gluten intolerant, so I prefer fixed sitting so as I can pick my menu items night before, but this is difficult with open dining I fear.

 

In our experience, and from what we hear, being waitlisted is often a temporary state, so do not despair. Often it gets moved to fixed seating well in advance, sometimes at the last minute. And if not, you can always go to the dining room host on embarkation day and request a different arrangement. No guarantees, but I rarely hear of people not getting what they want.

 

 

re: different cruise lines: In my experience, the mainstream lines sailing out of American ports are much more similar to each other than they are different. So, you might find a cruise line, or a specific sailing, that you like a little more or less than you have done before, but it is unlikely to be horrible. I have never done a cruise that I regretted :)

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In our experience, and from what we hear, being waitlisted is often a temporary state, so do not despair. Often it gets moved to fixed seating well in advance, sometimes at the last minute. And if not, you can always go to the dining room host on embarkation day and request a different arrangement. No guarantees, but I rarely hear of people not getting what they want.

 

 

re: different cruise lines: In my experience, the mainstream lines sailing out of American ports are much more similar to each other than they are different. So, you might find a cruise line, or a specific sailing, that you like a little more or less than you have done before, but it is unlikely to be horrible. I have never done a cruise that I regretted :)

 

Thank you very much for the information.

 

Happy cruising !!:cool:

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Hi all, I have just started cruising 2 year’s ago, met people on Princess and they said I probably would enjoy HAL better.

 

I found that in sea days or if you come back early from your excursion that there is absolutely nothing to do but trivia. What does HAL offer that is different from Princess?

 

I know food is subjective but do you think HAL ‘s food is the same quality or better is you have recently done both?

 

Does anyone have a sample daily activity sheet from HAL or do you know where I can see one?

 

Thanks that’s all my questions for now?

 

 

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Hi all, I have just started cruising 2 year’s ago, met people on Princess and they said I probably would enjoy HAL better.

 

I found that in sea days or if you come back early from your excursion that there is absolutely nothing to do but trivia. What does HAL offer that is different from Princess?

 

I know food is subjective but do you think HAL ‘s food is the same quality or better is you have recently done both?

 

Does anyone have a sample daily activity sheet from HAL or do you know where I can see one?

 

Thanks that’s all my questions for now?

 

 

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Where are you cruising to? I do have activity sheets but they are mostly European / Pacific & TA cruises.

 

There are also some on halfacts dot com and on rogerjett's site for the Caribbean and Alaska.

 

There can be trivia, sip and savour, music, bingo, etc and a sail a way depending on the port and the ship.

 

As to food, I far prefer HAL to Princess'. Now, food is SO subjective and the experience can depend on what ship, what sailing, etc., but that has been mine.

 

HAL does do some entertainment but it's not their strong suit in some ways. It depends upon what appeals to you and if you need to be entertained 24/7. We can enjoy ourselves just doing our own thing and with other roll call members. I've never found myself saying "sigh - nothing to do"

 

And I do participate in certain activities on board.

 

If I am back early, I enjoy watching those coming in and sometimes, farewells by the people in the port with dancing, canon salutes or just a bunch of people waving to us.

 

Again, these are only my experiences. Hope it helps a bit.

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Hi all, I have just started cruising 2 year’s ago, met people on Princess and they said I probably would enjoy HAL better.

 

I found that in sea days or if you come back early from your excursion that there is absolutely nothing to do but trivia. What does HAL offer that is different from Princess?

 

I know food is subjective but do you think HAL ‘s food is the same quality or better is you have recently done both?

 

Does anyone have a sample daily activity sheet from HAL or do you know where I can see one?

 

Thanks that’s all my questions for now?

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

I think the HAL food is good but that is just my subjective opinion after many cruises.

 

Here is a link to the "dailies" from last year in the Caribbean:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/on-locations-specific-cruises/caribbean-ms-veendam-14-day-when-where-daily-activities-2017

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Have been reading various posts on St. Maarten-St Martin. Have any of you HAL cruisers been there recently? Scheduled to stop there in January on our cruise. Especially interested in the beaches.

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My wife and I have just returned from our first HAL cruise, the incredible Viking Passage on the Zuiderdam. I'll be posting thoughts once I've caught my breath, but I wanted to thank everyone on here for all the help leading up to our first time on HAL. You are all great!

 

I do have one quick question: we liked HAL enough to each buy a future cruise deposit certificate while on board. We submitted the purchase document for it five days before the end of the cruise, and we chose the "email us our confirmation" option. We disembarked two days ago. I still don't have that email confirmation, nor has our credit card yet been charged for the purchase of the certificates. Is this typical? If so, how long is the usual wait? If not, should I write to our HAL PCC?

 

Thanks!

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Have been reading various posts on St. Maarten-St Martin. Have any of you HAL cruisers been there recently? Scheduled to stop there in January on our cruise. Especially interested in the beaches.

Head over to the Ports of Call board for St. Maarten/St. Martin: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=93. We were there in March, and things were still pretty dismal, but recent threads suggest that things have come quite a way since then.

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jhsocial, I suggest checking out sxm-tours.com they do a great job and are local. Also check the ports-of-call board for more specifics. I have used them a couple times and had really good experiences.

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I do have one quick question: we liked HAL enough to each buy a future cruise deposit certificate while on board. We submitted the purchase document for it five days before the end of the cruise, and we chose the "email us our confirmation" option. We disembarked two days ago. I still don't have that email confirmation, nor has our credit card yet been charged for the purchase of the certificates. Is this typical? If so, how long is the usual wait? If not, should I write to our HAL PCC?

 

Thanks!

 

I suggest contacting HAL. Sometimes a purchase request can get lost. Other times it may be late getting posted because the future sales person is extremely busy.

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Thank both of you for those suggestions. Requested list of Hal's tours from our T.A. Will be interesting to see if they even go to the French side. Of course, things could change by January.

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I suggest contacting HAL. Sometimes a purchase request can get lost. Other times it may be late getting posted because the future sales person is extremely busy.

 

Thanks caribill! (The future sales person was definitely busy on our cruise.)

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Thank both of you for those suggestions. Requested list of Hal's tours from our T.A. Will be interesting to see if they even go to the French side. Of course, things could change by January.

 

 

There is at least one bus tour that includes the French side - I took it. This was a couple of years ago, but I don't think that would have changed. It was a very easy tour so probably a couple of others with more activity would not be uncommon.

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Another one from a HAL Dummy, if you please. 'Does the MDR open for lunch on Port Days? i.e. Noordam.:hearteyes:

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Another one from a HAL Dummy, if you please. 'Does the MDR open for lunch on Port Days? i.e. Noordam.:hearteyes:

 

I have checked my menu collection for Noordam in Alaska and the MDR os NOT open on port days for lunch.

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Hello all! Someone said somewhere that you can reserve a table at the MDR if you are doing the dine-at-any-time. How and when can you make those reservations? How many days prior can you do it? Can you reserve a table for several days in a row? Thank you!

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Hello all! Someone said somewhere that you can reserve a table at the MDR if you are doing the dine-at-any-time. How and when can you make those reservations? How many days prior can you do it? Can you reserve a table for several days in a row? Thank you!

 

If you go to the MDR, you can arrange for reservations as long as you do it in non peak dining time slots. It can vary by ship but generall speaking up to 6:30 pm and after 7:45 or 8:00 pm. Usually you can reserve 3 days in a row.

 

Hope this helps.

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Thank both of you for those suggestions. Requested list of Hal's tours from our T.A. Will be interesting to see if they even go to the French side. Of course, things could change by January.

 

You could also download the Shore Excursions brochure from the HAL web site.

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I have checked my menu collection for Noordam in Alaska and the MDR os NOT open on port days for lunch.

 

Thank you, you have a very good collection there !!:cool:

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If you have to go to the Lido Buffet for lunch (we usually go to the MDR for the Mariner embarkation lunch) it is busy, so be sure to select a table first, if there are two of you you can take it in turns to go get your food.

 

Room service lunch is not usually available on embarkation day as all hands are on deck! (delivering baggage).

 

Also be sure to catch the wine/beer steward as he comes by during lunch that day - you can buy beverage cards at that time.

 

If you do not have a balcony, the aft Lido is a great place for sailaway.

Do you need an invite to the MDR embarkation lunch or do you just show up. This our 2nd cruise with HAL and I didn't read anything about it as being one of the perks. Thanks for the info.clear.png?emoji-grin-1677clear.png?emoji-grin-1677

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Do you need an invite to the MDR embarkation lunch or do you just show up. This our 2nd cruise with HAL and I didn't read anything about it as being one of the perks. Thanks for the info.clear.png?emoji-grin-1677clear.png?emoji-grin-1677

 

We’ve just returned from our first HAL cruise, where of course we had no Mariner status, and had no problem just walking into the MDR for lunch when we embarked. I’d read on this board that there isn’t usually any restriction on doing so now. In any event, as a Mariner, you should have no problem.

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I am a HAL Dummy, first cruise with HAL next April on Noordam, Sydney - Honolulu, done plenty on Princess and other cruise lines. So we just booked last week and found that early/late dinner sittings are waitlisted. With open dining, how long would we be expected to wait for a shared table? I am a Celiac - gluten intolerant, so I prefer fixed sitting so as I can pick my menu items night before, but this is difficult with open dining I fear.

 

Thank you.

 

We have twice been in open seating with our diet restrictions. No problem having the waiter find our pre-order by our cabin # and names, and bring us the menu at dessert for the next evening. We added things to the printed menu - like fresh fruit for dinner; or sliced avocado (when available). They were VERY understanding.

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Regarding the Sommelier Suite Cellar package, if I purchase 4 bottles of wine with this package can I take the bottles to my room? If I want to drink my wine with dinner, do I take my bottle to the dining room? Can I just haul a bottle of wine around the ship and drink wherever I want to on deck? If I don't do any sort of package, can I still purchase individual bottles to take to my room? I'm just trying to decide if this is something I want to purchase. Any input appreciated!

In addition to the answer already given, know that if you drink part of a bottle in one location (MDR or a bar) they will then store it and you can ask for it the next day in another location. We would start often in the MDR and then have the rest before dinner another evening in one of the bars.

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We have twice been in open seating with our diet restrictions. No problem having the waiter find our pre-order by our cabin # and names, and bring us the menu at dessert for the next evening. We added things to the printed menu - like fresh fruit for dinner; or sliced avocado (when available). They were VERY understanding.

 

Thank you.:hearteyes:

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Wondering what adapter and converter to buy for Lanai room? Cpap will be be using us outlet and I want to use the other with adpter for camera and computer, thanks

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Hello all! Someone said somewhere that you can reserve a table at the MDR if you are doing the dine-at-any-time. How and when can you make those reservations? How many days prior can you do it? Can you reserve a table for several days in a row? Thank you!

 

Eight of us. We were offered 5.30 or 8.00 and chose the earlier slot. We have NEVER had dinner this early anywhere ever, but it worked well with our itinerary (Fjords/Koningsdam). We were told that the table was ours as long as one if us was seated by 5.45 with the rest of our Group following very shortly afterwards. The early sitting gave us lovely long evenings for the shows etc.

 

P.S. The food was amazing; fine-dining EVERY night not just on Gala Nights. Chateaubriand, Filet Mignon; Lobster; Escargots and the like. Excellent ingredients, beautifully and imaginatively cooked, well presented and served. As good as Cunard Princess Grill.

 

.

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We are doing our first HAL cruise this December. When will be assigned our embarkation time?

Thanks.

 

Normally embarkation starts at 11:30 AM.

 

There is not an assigned time unless the ship is undergoing a CDC inspection or deep cleaning or there is an anticipated backlog in certain ports.

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Wondering what adapter and converter to buy for Lanai room? Cpap will be be using us outlet and I want to use the other with adpter for camera and computer, thanks

 

The other outlet works with a euro adapter.

 

You can also arrange for a power bar if needed by calling and reserving. They can be available on board as well but the numbers are limited.

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Kazu answered your questions. In recent months final documents have listed an arrival time. Our cruise last Fall listed 1PM. This is a suggested time, not enforced by HAL. Believe many ignore this time and arrive with the hope of boarding at or close to 11:30AM.

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a Mahjong Group is listed on our cruise in January. Imagine that would be a rather quiet group. Anyone have any experience with this group on your cruises?

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Wondering what adapter and converter to buy for Lanai room? Cpap will be be using us outlet and I want to use the other with adpter for camera and computer, thanks

 

liamur:

If you contact Ship Services, they will provide an acceptable (no surge protection) power strip that will give you additional US outlets. If you still want to use the other desk outlet, an European adapter (not converter) will provide for any "modern" electronics that can handle 110-220V, most can. It has two round 'prongs' on the plug in side, slots for the US plug on the other.

 

And yes, I am stalking you!

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Hello,

It took me a few days but I read through this whole thread before I decided to ask my question so I wasn’t a repeat [emoji4]

We are booked on Eurodam July 2019 for Alaskan cruise VC 4157.

As we are myself, DH and a 13 yr old and an 11 yr old, I was wondering if we could request table to be removed from balcony and 2 more chairs placed instead ? I know it will be tight but do you think 4 chairs will fit ?

Also does the Eurodam have the pizza bar ?

Thanks in advance for you help !!

 

 

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Hello,

It took me a few days but I read through this whole thread before I decided to ask my question so I wasn’t a repeat [emoji4]

We are booked on Eurodam July 2019 for Alaskan cruise VC 4157.

As we are myself, DH and a 13 yr old and an 11 yr old, I was wondering if we could request table to be removed from balcony and 2 more chairs placed instead ? I know it will be tight but do you think 4 chairs will fit ?

Also does the Eurodam have the pizza bar ?

Thanks in advance for you help !!

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Your Room Steward can make the swap for more chairs on your balcony. There is a Pizza Inn on the aft Lido Deck 9 pool for custom pizzas and salads. They also provide take-out boxes.

 

Enjoy your cruise planning and make sure to join your cruise thread on the HAL Roll Cal Forum.

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Hello,

It took me a few days but I read through this whole thread before I decided to ask my question so I wasn’t a repeat

 

That is a FORMIDABLE reading accomplishment! I would answer the same as Roger: ask your steward, it is amazing what they can do!

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Your Room Steward can make the swap for more chairs on your balcony. There is a Pizza Inn on the aft Lido Deck 9 pool for custom pizzas and salads. They also provide take-out boxes.

 

 

 

Enjoy your cruise planning and make sure to join your cruise thread on the HAL Roll Cal Forum.

 

 

 

Thanks for the info Crew News !! The kids will be excited about pizza, This with be my 4th cruise with HAL but last time I was on Eurodam was 2012 and no pizza then.

I started a roll call but so far no one else has been on it, hopefully it is because it is so far away, or maybe I am just not seeing one that is already started ?

 

 

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That is a FORMIDABLE reading accomplishment! I would answer the same as Roger: ask your steward, it is amazing what they can do!

 

 

 

Taking a speed reading class many moons ago in high school is by far my most used educational skill lol

 

 

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Thanks for the info Crew News !! The kids will be excited about pizza, This with be my 4th cruise with HAL but last time I was on Eurodam was 2012 and no pizza then.

I started a roll call but so far no one else has been on it, hopefully it is because it is so far away, or maybe I am just not seeing one that is already started ?

 

 

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If you searched by ship and month and it's not there, it's not there . Congratulations, you started the roll call . BTW , in the Summer HAL sails with a good number of kids . Not nearly as many as Carnival, NCL and RCI, but a more manageable number . Your kids will have a blast .

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