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

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2 hours ago, TRAYSEE said:

 

Is this still true?  Does HAL still allow you to bring unlimited soda and water?

 

thanks

Tracey

traysee@aol.com

We also frequently purchase pop or soda water at ports during the cruise and bring it on board then in our backpacks or shopping bags. 

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19 hours ago, kb4683 said:

Update.

Called back this afternoon and the rep I spoke with took care of the situation and we now show as 3 star in our profile.  Now if they can just post our bonus days for onboard spending (34 days worth and lots of those 0010 martinis in the Crows Nest :classic_wink:)!

 

Thanks to everyone who responded.

Bonus days can only ever match the actual days. So if you were on board for 34 days, the spending could double them. But if less, no matter how much you spent, only that number.

 

ETA: glad you got your third Star!

Edited by crystalspin

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Has anyone ever pre-purchased a wine package?  I noticed the pricing seems pretty good but wondered how this works.  We are doing back to back Caribbean cruises next month. 

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16 minutes ago, Bartsmom said:

Has anyone ever pre-purchased a wine package?  I noticed the pricing seems pretty good but wondered how this works.  We are doing back to back Caribbean cruises next month. 

 

In the old days I did.  Just choose MDR for delivery and then you can choose your wine on board each time you want a bottle.

 

I prefer to order on board to check on what wines are actually available in each of the packages so we can choose wisely.  It only takes a minute to order on board 😉 

 

 

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We bought a little luggage cart to "carry on" and brought 8 cases of soda on it - we also had 2 bottles of wine in our back packs. Even one of our children grabbed one of our backpacks and carried a bottle of wine on board in our backpack. We have also purchased wine at a port and brought it back on board. 

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41 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

In the old days I did.  Just choose MDR for delivery and then you can choose your wine on board each time you want a bottle.

 

I prefer to order on board to check on what wines are actually available in each of the packages so we can choose wisely.  It only takes a minute to order on board 😉 

 

 

Thanks for the info.  When I looked at the pre-purchase option I thought the prices were less than ordering in the dining room.

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8 minutes ago, Bartsmom said:

Thanks for the info.  When I looked at the pre-purchase option I thought the prices were less than ordering in the dining room.

 

No, they are not.  There's no differenc in the price.  One is without the 15% added but it does get added and the other is with.  there's no savings ordering it early before you board - honest. 😉 

 

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1 hour ago, Bartsmom said:

Has anyone ever pre-purchased a wine package?  I noticed the pricing seems pretty good but wondered how this works.  We are doing back to back Caribbean cruises next month. 

 

I've purchased wine packages on both of my HAL cruises (September 2017 14-day Alaska, and July/August 2018 38-day Voyage of the Vikings) -- and I'll be purchasing them again for my upcoming 28-day Hawaii-Tahiti-Marquesas cruise in March-April.  Compared to purchasing individual bottles onboard, it's a significant savings.  There are good wines in each of the 3 categories, and on both of my previous cruises, there was at least one wine tasting where you can sample some of them if you want to wait to purchase the package onboard.  There's always a chance that they'll run out of a particular popular wine -- it happened on the longer cruise -- but there will usually be acceptable substitutes to choose from.

 

I usually designate "deliver to Main Dining Room," but once onboard, you can arrange to have a bottle delivered to your room if you prefer.  Just talk to one of the wine stewards.  I like to have a bottle of red in the room for sipping when I'm out on the veranda.

 

Have a great cruise!

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, Bartsmom said:

Thanks for the info.  When I looked at the pre-purchase option I thought the prices were less than ordering in the dining room.

 

23 hours ago, kazu said:

 

No, they are not.  There's no differenc in the price.  One is without the 15% added but it does get added and the other is with.  there's no savings ordering it early before you board - honest. 😉 

 

 

23 hours ago, ArtsyCraftsy said:

 

...  Compared to purchasing individual bottles onboard, it's a significant savings ...

 

 

 

So, which is it - cheaper to purchase the package or to purchase by the bottle in the MDR?

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7 minutes ago, avian777 said:

 

 

 

So, which is it - cheaper to purchase the package or to purchase by the bottle in the MDR?

 

When I looked into this last summer, the prices for purchasing individual bottles of wine on the HAL website were the same as the prices charged onboard in the MDR ** for those individual bottles **.  However, purchasing one of the packages -- say, 6 bottles -- for a fixed price ended up costing less than purchasing 6 individual bottles onboard.

 

Granted, this was for a July-Aug 38-day cruise, and I was doing the research in April (followed up when I was onboard in July to see if there really was a savings).  No telling how they're doing things now.  Also, this was on the Rotterdam -- whether that makes a difference.  

 

It was enough of a difference that I'm planning on doing the same on my next cruise (Mar/Apr, 28 days).  As with almost all things, your mileage may vary.  😊

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

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7 minutes ago, ArtsyCraftsy said:

 

When I looked into this last summer, the prices for purchasing individual bottles of wine on the HAL website were the same as the prices charged onboard in the MDR ** for those individual bottles **.  However, purchasing one of the packages -- say, 6 bottles -- for a fixed price ended up costing less than purchasing 6 individual bottles onboard.

 

Granted, this was for a July-Aug 38-day cruise, and I was doing the research in April (followed up when I was onboard in July to see if there really was a savings).  No telling how they're doing things now.  Also, this was on the Rotterdam -- whether that makes a difference.  

 

It was enough of a difference that I'm planning on doing the same on my next cruise (Mar/Apr, 28 days).  As with almost all things, your mileage may vary.  😊

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

 

Thanks for the reply -  it certainly makes sense to me that HAL would pre-sell the wine package at a discount from the by-the-bottle, onboard pricing. 

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1 hour ago, ArtsyCraftsy said:

 

When I looked into this last summer, the prices for purchasing individual bottles of wine on the HAL website were the same as the prices charged onboard in the MDR ** for those individual bottles **.  However, purchasing one of the packages -- say, 6 bottles -- for a fixed price ended up costing less than purchasing 6 individual bottles onboard.

 

Granted, this was for a July-Aug 38-day cruise, and I was doing the research in April (followed up when I was onboard in July to see if there really was a savings).  No telling how they're doing things now.  Also, this was on the Rotterdam -- whether that makes a difference.  

 

It was enough of a difference that I'm planning on doing the same on my next cruise (Mar/Apr, 28 days).  As with almost all things, your mileage may vary.  😊

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

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

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6 hours ago, Bartsmom said:

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

 

Thanks for the updated info.

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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. 

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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".

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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.

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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).

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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.

 

 

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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!

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