Jump to content
Host Walt

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

Recommended Posts

Our experience has been that it's cheaper to buy a wine package on board. On sail away day they normally/sometimes offer a discount? Enjoy a glass of wine with your meal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Bartsmom said:

I just checked current prices and buying a package is less than purchasing a bottle at a time.

 

Lesson to be learned:  Always (repeat always) check and double-check "information" posted on here, especially that which is explicitly claimed to be "honest".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ski ww said:

Our experience has been that it's cheaper to buy a wine package on board. On sail away day they normally/sometimes offer a discount? Enjoy a glass of wine with your meal. 

 

Thanks for confirming this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sense some confusion in all these posts.  Wine packages are cheaper than the "by the bottle" price in the MDR.  You can buy wine packages before you sail or after you get on board.  (there is some discussion about taxes on the pkgs bought before you sail but specify you want delivery to your cabin or the MDR after sailing and that is suppose to solve that problem.)  The packages are the same price bought either before you sail or on ship.  SOMETIMES, they offer an onboard discount when buying shipboard but not ALWAYS.  If you wait until you are onboard, you can see the actual wines they have (supply on the ship does not always equal the list on the web site).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently returned from 18 day trip on Eurodam.  A few of our impressions...

Embarkation/disembarkation was smooth and very quick. MDR food very good to excellent! Service there was spotty - from good to only fair, esp with large tables. Staff was entirely over worked!  Lido Market lunch food was good and quite varied.  Good service there.  Dive In burgers were good - Wow on those fries!  Cabin was well appointed, service very good. Nice, large TV mounted on wall. Nice veranda furniture.  The entire ship was spotless. Very little wear/tear anywhere - a very handsome ship! Covered pool was lovely!
Check these spots out. The Crow's Nest:  quiet, nice view, comfortable chairs, appreciated the library (though limited),  nice jigsaw puzzles, fun computerized maps to manipulate.  The Gallery Bar with table shuffleboard and good supply of board-games, card-games and tables for playing.

 

Deck 8 aft veranda cabin was nice for the view, but very noisy at two times EVERY day: gathering of all pool deck furniture above at midnight, setting out of same at 6:00 AM.  (Banging, dragging furniture across deck floor.) Very annoying if you like to sleep at either of those two times of the day.

 

Big disappointment on 2 fronts: #1 - Main Stage entertainment was at best only mediocre, often downright poor. This was the case in all categories and in all aspects of the show, from featured artist to stage band. For example - comedian used much of the same material in 3 shows of an 18 day cruise. What saved the nights were the fantastic Lincoln Center Stage concerts! Lovely!  #2 - HAL's monopoly on all shore excursions ("EXC Tours") is a big rip-off of it's passengers -  grossly over priced, very few choices, limited variety. We only booked one tour. Other cruise lines allow vetted local tours to sell their excursions. (NCL does an excellent job with this.) We will pre-book all future excursions on line directly with local tour companies if we sail with HAL again. These two areas can have a big negative affect on the over all enjoyment of one's cruise. For the money spent, HAL should really do better than this.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ToXS said:

HAL's monopoly on all shore excursions ("EXC Tours") is a big rip-off of it's passengers -  grossly over priced, very few choices, limited variety. We only booked one tour. Other cruise lines allow vetted local tours to sell their excursions. (NCL does an excellent job with this.)

 

Thank you for your comments . I am surprised at your excursion observations having found NCL to be the worst of an overpriced lot . We were told Norwegian demands that operators not offer any excursions directly to passengers and makes a huge markup on tours . I'm sure they aren't so different then others but certainly no better .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ToXS said:

Deck 8 aft veranda cabin was nice for the view, but very noisy at two times EVERY day: gathering of all pool deck furniture above at midnight, setting out of same at 6:00 AM.  (Banging, dragging furniture across deck floor.) Very annoying if you like to sleep at either of those two times of the day.

 

 

 

This is exactly why it pays to do one's homework ahead of time, review deck plans carefully, and select a cabin accordingly (i.e., not directly beneath the Lido deck, dining room or music venues). 😉

 

The best cabin locations in our opinion, especially for quietness; are on decks sandwiched between two other all cabin/passenger decks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, richstowe said:
 

Thank you for your comments . I am surprised at your excursion observations having found NCL to be the worst of an overpriced lot . We were told Norwegian demands that operators not offer any excursions directly to passengers and makes a huge markup on tours . I'm sure they aren't so different then others but certainly no better .

This agrees with my observation . We are doing NCL in January. One excursion that I looked at from NCL was going to cost me close to double what I got privately-exact same itinerary-even with a $50 credit from NCL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, richstowe said:
 

Thank you for your comments . I am surprised at your excursion observations having found NCL to be the worst of an overpriced lot . We were told Norwegian demands that operators not offer any excursions directly to passengers and makes a huge markup on tours . I'm sure they aren't so different then others but certainly no better .

I don't doubt for a minute that NCL makes a commission (markup) when selling excursions for other tour companies.  (Remember, those companies are not owned by NCL.  HAL's "EXC Tours" is privately owned by HAL.)

 

What I am looking at is the bottom line... the "marked up" excursion prices on NCL were much, much less expensive than HAL.  There were many more excursions to choose from, and they were much more varied. We filled up our port stays with 2 back-to-back 4-hour excursions on NCL for less than a single 2-hour excursion with HAL's privately owned "EXC Tours,"  the only tours offered on HAL. 

 

NCL excursions are sold over a counter.  That's not the same as sold directly to passengers by the other tour companies.  We were aware one could actually buy tours directly on line, but choose to do it on ship even if more expensive. There was a guarantee not to get left behind if the tour was late returning.  Well the much higher cost of HAL excursions has changed our mind on that.  It makes shopping on line a more acceptable risk to us.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

can someone let me know when I should be able to print our boarding passes?  I have done the online check in and just wasn't sure when the option will open to print them.  thank you in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Kerwin725 said:

can someone let me know when I should be able to print our boarding passes?  I have done the online check in and just wasn't sure when the option will open to print them.  thank you in advance!

 

You should receive an email 50 days out from your cruise BUT you can usually check the HAL website under your cruise "Online Check-in" five days before that to print your E-Docs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We never received an email, but our boarding passes became available at the 50-day out point for our upcoming Eurodam sailing on Dec 9th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to clarify because I've seen conflicting info: are non-alcoholic drinks (soda, coffee, water) complementary with meals? Somebody said they were earlier in the thread but that was several years ago, and I see there is a beverage package specifically for non-alcoholic drinks. Are they no longer complementary? Apologies for not reading through all 92 pages of this thread, I did my best!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We just cruised on Oosterdam.  Coffee, water and tea are free in the dining room.  You pay for everything else including sodas and bottled water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Water, tea and regular coffee are free, sodas must be paid for at meals times. They also have packets of hot cocoa mix.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, invisible_pineapple said:

I just wanted to clarify because I've seen conflicting info: are non-alcoholic drinks (soda, coffee, water) complementary with meals? Somebody said they were earlier in the thread but that was several years ago, and I see there is a beverage package specifically for non-alcoholic drinks. Are they no longer complementary? Apologies for not reading through all 92 pages of this thread, I did my best!

Welcome to Cruise Critic @invisible_pineapple! You're forgiven for not reading the whole 92 pages -- some questions are so old, answers may have changed!

 

If you are looking at the non-alcoholic packing (Quench) on the HAL website, you'll see a short list of what is covered (I see it doesn't mention espresso drinks, how odd, they are covered). There is also a Coke-brand soda package for less than half the cost of the Quench. (Quench covers the sodas too, just like the Signature Beverage Package also covers Quench, and Elite BP covers Signature plus higher priced alcohols.)

 

The free drinks are ship's water (additionally filtered in the dining venues), coffee, tea (I believe both black and herbal teas are available), iced tea, lemonade, and in the Lido some sort of Hi-C punch. I believe orange juice (from concentrate) at breakfast. I believe Quench provides fresh-squeezed, but someone that's had it will have to confirm.

 

ETA: here are the still-not-comprehensive lists:

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Beverage-Packages.pdf

Edited by crystalspin
More info!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the mornings, we have found that in the LIDO there is typically orange, apple, cranberry, prune, and sometimes mango or another fruit drink (all free). 

 

In the LIDO, there's also quite a wide selection of teas, both herbal and non herbal.  I don't drink coffee, so I can't comment on that except that I know there is regular and decaf served in the LIDO.  All of the coffees and teas are free. 

 

One can order specialty coffees at the Explorations Cafe for a charge.

Edited by Btimmer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/23/2014 at 1:17 PM, serendipity1499 said:

 

No they don't but you can rent a cooler for about $3.00 a day.. That's what our Friends do..Ask your Travel Agent to set it up or call Reservations & ask to be transferred to Ships Services..Sorry I don't have their direct Number..

Wouldn't special needs put a small fridge in your cabin if you request it?  I have friends who do that on all other lines/ships for their insulin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Terre said:

Wouldn't special needs put a small fridge in your cabin if you request it?  I have friends who do that on all other lines/ships for their insulin.

 

HAL will store refrigerated meds in the Medical Center for free -- they would *really* rather do that than worry

about having a passenger at sea with spoiled meds due to freezing or overtemp in an unmonitored refrigerator.

 

That being said, insulin is now comes in a stable-at-room-temp-for-7-weeks-after-opening variety.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Haboob said:

 

HAL will store refrigerated meds in the Medical Center for free -- they would *really* rather do that than worry

about having a passenger at sea with spoiled meds due to freezing or overtemp in an unmonitored refrigerator.

 

That being said, insulin is now comes in a stable-at-room-temp-for-7-weeks-after-opening variety.

Thank you, I did not know that.  We have our first HAL cruise in March so this thread is great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Terre said:

Thank you, I did not know that.  We have our first HAL cruise in March so this thread is great!

 

Just wanted to mention that you quoted a post which is 4.5 years old and a lot of things have changed since then.

 

Regarding juice in the morning... there is also tomato juice and V8 available for free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Terre said:

Thank you, I did not know that.  We have our first HAL cruise in March so this thread is great!

 

Oops!  I also meant to say... Welcome to Holland America!  I really hope you enjoy your cruise and the wonderful staff on board.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

 

Oops!  I also meant to say... Welcome to Holland America!  I really hope you enjoy your cruise and the wonderful staff on board.

Thank you!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

 

Just wanted to mention that you quoted a post which is 4.5 years old and a lot of things have changed since then.

 

Regarding juice in the morning... there is also tomato juice and V8 available for free.!  I didn

 

Quote

Lol!  I didn't even look at the dates!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are arriving at FLL the night before our cruise on Oosterdam.  Our hotel provides shuttle from the airport, but we would like to have a car to make some overnight and morning stops before going to the cruise terminal.  It appears that you can rent a car (we are looking at Alamo) at the airport and return it to the cruise port.  I phoned Alamo at port everglades and was told that they provide a shuttle to the cruise ship after we drop the car off, but I'd feel better hearing from someone who has actually rented at the airport and returned to the cruise terminal.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question: First time on HAL. Cruising on the Oosterdam to the Eastern Caribbean.

 

  1. How deep are the pools? 5 feet (stand up in) or 6-8 feet (deep)
  2. Do the pools have freshwater or saltwater?
  3. Can someone point me to a daily program (the ones they leave in your stateroom the night before) for an Oosterdam cruise? I hear the entertainment is lackluster. I'm use to NCL
  4. Is it difficult getting a sun bathing chair on this ship like it is on some overly populated ships?

Thanks in advance! I tried finding answers to my questions. The search function for CC isn't what it use to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Size12Stilettos said:

Question: First time on HAL. Cruising on the Oosterdam to the Eastern Caribbean.

 

  1. How deep are the pools? 5 feet (stand up in) or 6-8 feet (deep) depends on ths ship and if you are using the aft or LIdo pool.  I find the Lido is stand deep at one end and deeper at the other.
  2. Do the pools have freshwater or saltwater? Freshwater in one and salt water in the other on most of my cruises
  3. Can someone point me to a daily program (the ones they leave in your stateroom the night before) for an Oosterdam cruise? I hear the entertainment is lackluster. I'm use to NCL. Try halfacts (dot) com and there are some samples.  Programmes are the same for most ships.  I sailed NCL years ago and it was very Las Vegas style back then.  You won't find that on HAL.  HAL's shows tend to be more small scale.  They have to be - they are smaller ships.
  4. Is it difficult getting a sun bathing chair on this ship like it is on some overly populated ships? Not usually in my experience.  There are certainly some that live there but we have never had a problem finding a chari or a seat

Thanks in advance! I tried finding answers to my questions. The search function for CC isn't what it use to be.

 

I tried answering your questions above in bold.  Hopefully others will also share their experiences as they can all vary 😉 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/27/2018 at 2:47 PM, invisible_pineapple said:

We just sailed on Oosterdam.  I only got in the Lido pool, I recall markings of 4feetsomething in the shallow end, and 6feet9inches in the deep end.  But we are talking about my memory here...  I recall the water being verrrry soft, don't think it was salt water.  Did not get to enjoy the aft pool.  No issues getting deck chairs, I'd say they were 60% occupied the couple times I visited.  We bought the thermal suite package, $219 for two for the week, but we only went a handful of times.  It was nice tho.  Water in the thermal pool was maybe 5 feet deep.

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Cajuntraveler said:

  It appears that you can rent a car (we are looking at Alamo) at the airport and return it to the cruise port.  I phoned Alamo at port everglades and was told that they provide a shuttle to the cruise ship after we drop the car off, but I'd feel better hearing from someone who has actually rented at the airport and returned to the cruise terminal.  

 

There are no rental car companies (Alamo or anyone else) at the cruise port. There may be some near the cruise port.

 

If Alamo will drive you to the cruise port from wherever you can return the card, I see no problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were just in Ft. Lauderdale following our Transatlantic on the Konningsdam. Over the years, we have rented a car and drove around before and after cruises. We either picked up the car at the airport and on the day of the cruise, we drove the car back to the airport and then took a taxi to the cruise terminal or did the reverse. This time we used Uber all the time while we were in Ft. Lauderdale. We never had to wait more than a few minutes for a car to arrive. At our hotel we were talking to some young people who mentioned they had used Uber to go to South Beach for a night of fun. It cost them $36 each way. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was going to suggest UBER also. That is who we used. They took us to the grocery store for some supplies, to the liquor store for wine, and to dinner. We didn’t need a ride to the port, the hotel provided that. So much easier than messing with a car, and probably cheaper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just as clarification for bringing alcohol on board--each adult can bring one bottle of wine on board at no charge, to be consumed in the stateroom.  Does it matter if it's a fortified wine (like port or sherry)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, danb35 said:

Just as clarification for bringing alcohol on board--each adult can bring one bottle of wine on board at no charge, to be consumed in the stateroom.  Does it matter if it's a fortified wine (like port or sherry)?

'

Yes, it does.  It seems to vary by the ship somewhat.  We were allowed to bring on port in Portugal once and another time it was stored until we got off the ship.

 

It was going home anyway - not being consumed on board - so it was fine.

 

I wouldn't count on bringing it on as my "free" bottle 100%.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎11‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 5:57 PM, Cajuntraveler said:

We are arriving at FLL the night before our cruise on Oosterdam.  Our hotel provides shuttle from the airport, but we would like to have a car to make some overnight and morning stops before going to the cruise terminal.  It appears that you can rent a car (we are looking at Alamo) at the airport and return it to the cruise port.  I phoned Alamo at port everglades and was told that they provide a shuttle to the cruise ship after we drop the car off, but I'd feel better hearing from someone who has actually rented at the airport and returned to the cruise terminal.  

I have done this from FLL and MIA. The Alamo location is only a couple of minutes from the port. They do drop offs at all of the ship terminals. Like any shuttle, you might have to wait a few minutes for the shuttle if others are dropping off their cars at the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it possible to play video from an iPad (old, Gen 3) to the tv through the dvd player on the Veendam?  

 

Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, kb4683 said:

Is it possible to play video from an iPad (old, Gen 3) to the tv through the dvd player on the Veendam?  

 

Thank you

You might want to post this query on the Cruising Technology board as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/14/2018 at 8:35 AM, kb4683 said:

Is it possible to play video from an iPad (old, Gen 3) to the tv through the dvd player on the Veendam?  

 

Thank you

 

You may want to direct this question to HAL Ship Services.  The SS person you talk to may not know the answer - as I'm certain some of the "serial Posters" will tell you - but there is always the possibility that she/he might or be willing to track down the answer for you.  IMO it's certainly worth a shot.  Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Victory Cruise Lines Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win a free 9-night cruise on Victory II
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2018
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×