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

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1 hour ago, Princeandstella said:

Do the ships usually have daily trivia?

Yes

1 hour ago, Princeandstella said:

Are there ever movies played in the theatre in the day time? 

 

Is the dinner menu displayed outside the dining room in the daytime?  We like to view it so we can decide if we want to go to the dining room or perhaps have room service instead and just slop around in our togs.  

 

What is the tendering procedure?  Do guests have to line up at the tender boats or do you go to a lounge or theatre and get a ticket and wait to be called?

 

Movies - yes on the cruises I have been on.

 

Dinner - yes, shortly after lunch the dinner menu is posted.  It's also available on the Navigator

 

Tendering - go to the Showroom to get a number for the tender tickets.

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Thanks Kazu, what is the Navigator?

 

Another question, I noticed in a review of the Noordam that there is no jogging allowed on the Promenade deck, is there another jogging deck onboard?

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2 hours ago, Princeandstella said:

Thanks Kazu, what is the Navigator?

 

Another question, I noticed in a review of the Noordam that there is no jogging allowed on the Promenade deck, is there another jogging deck onboard?

 

It's connected to with the internet on board.  It's not an app but that's the easiest description.  It lets you see your on board account, main activities, evenings menu and other such stuff.  No charge to use it on board unlike the internet itself.

 

Jogging on the ships is supposed to be done on the Sports deck (the deck above the Lido).  Promenade deck is supposed to be for walking.

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On 8/20/2014 at 6:59 AM, capncarp said:

 

OK, I see the unlimited water/soda, and I see the 1 bottle per passenger for wine, but what are the rules about beer?:confused:

no beer or hard liquor can be brought on.  You can bring soda, and buy a bottle on board for your stateroom. 

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9 hours ago, Princeandstella said:

This has been such a helpful thread I hope you don't mind all the dumb questions as I have a few more.

 

When having a third person in a verandah stateroom does the bed in the small couch get left made up everyday or can it be folded up during the day?  It looks like a tight squeeze to get to the balcony if it is left out?

When we sailed on the Volendam, the couch was folded up during the day and made up at night.

9 hours ago, Princeandstella said:


 

Also has anyone that has slept on the fold out couch found them to be comfortable enough?  Our daughter is worried that it will be uncomfortable.

Our 15 year old granddaughter slept on the couch for 2 months with no complaints.

 

9 hours ago, Princeandstella said:

Do the tvs have movies on demand or do you have to use dvds?  (on the Noordam)

 

Is the library well stocked or should I pack my own reading material?

I recommend bringing your own reading material.  Then supplement it with whatever you might find on board.  Kindle on our iPhones or Kindle Fire Tablets has been our preferred reading method.

 

9 hours ago, Princeandstella said:

Do the ships usually have daily trivia?

Yes, and usually several times at day.  Typically at 1pm and 7pm.  The location varies by ship.  There can be general trivia, music trivia, or other specified genres of questions.

9 hours ago, Princeandstella said:

 

Are there ever movies played in the theatre in the day time? 

Yes, occasionally, depending on other uses of the theatre.

9 hours ago, Princeandstella said:

 

 

Is the dinner menu displayed outside the dining room in the daytime?  We like to view it so we can decide if we want to go to the dining room or perhaps have room service instead and just slop around in our togs.  

Yes, and don't overlook the LIDO as a food venue for dinner.  We eat there most of the time.

 

9 hours ago, Princeandstella said:

 

What is the tendering procedure?  Do guests have to line up at the tender boats or do you go to a lounge or theatre and get a ticket and wait to be called?

The tendering process varies by ship.  Generally speaking, if you are not a 4 or 5 star Mariner, typically you have to go to a designated location to pick up a tender ticket (the earlier you go, the lower your number and the sooner you board the tender).  Once you have the tender ticket you can wait anywhere for your tender number to be called.

9 hours ago, Princeandstella said:

 

 

 

 

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It’s been a bunch of years since I’ve sailed on HAL, but we’ll be on the Koningsdam in a few weeks. A few questions, mainly around beverage packages:

 

1) We received the signature beverage package when booking, and want to upgrade to the elite package. On Celebrity, you can do this online pre-cruise, but this doesn’t seem to be an option on the HAL site. I’ve seen conflicting info, so where on-board can I do this?

 

2) I’ve recently seen new beverage menus from the Nieuw Statendam with increased wine by the glass prices, i.e. a glass of Chandon is now $16. Has this rolled out to all ships (or the Koningsdam)? Has the elite package been changed to accommodate these price increases? Or is $15 per beverage still the max covered?

 

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29 minutes ago, AstoriaPreppy said:

...  1) We received the signature beverage package when booking, and want to upgrade to the elite package. On Celebrity, you can do this online pre-cruise, but this doesn’t seem to be an option on the HAL site. I’ve seen conflicting info, so where on-board can I do this?

...

 

IMO your best bet would be to call HAL Ship Services to upgrade to the Elite Package. (1-800-541-1576 or 1-206-626-8602  Monday - Friday 7:00am to 5:00pm (Pacific Time))  Enjoy your cruise.

Edited by avian777

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5 hours ago, AstoriaPreppy said:

It’s been a bunch of years since I’ve sailed on HAL, but we’ll be on the Koningsdam in a few weeks. A few questions, mainly around beverage packages:

 

1) We received the signature beverage package when booking, and want to upgrade to the elite package. On Celebrity, you can do this online pre-cruise, but this doesn’t seem to be an option on the HAL site. I’ve seen conflicting info, so where on-board can I do this?

 

2) I’ve recently seen new beverage menus from the Nieuw Statendam with increased wine by the glass prices, i.e. a glass of Chandon is now $16. Has this rolled out to all ships (or the Koningsdam)? Has the elite package been changed to accommodate these price increases? Or is $15 per beverage still the max covered?

 

 

1) If you received the Signature package as part of Explore4, so far everyone has  had to do it on board.  Ask at a bar or where the display is of wine & beverage packages, events, etc is.  That's usually outside the Lido on embarkation day.

 

2) N Statendam was an inaugural sailing and their pricing seemed to differ in different bars.  POA1 reported the same thing on his LIVE thread on the Zuiderdam as to difference in pricing.  I don't recall the Chandon being outside of his Elite package, though.  HAL is in the midst of changing their wine packages so this may be part of the reason for the flux.

 

Elite package has not been changed yet or, at least no one has reported it but when HAL raised drink prices so that many would have been out of reach of the SBP, they also raised the limit for the SBP..  They're usually pretty good about this stuff.

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OK folks I am lazy, I have only read about 8-10 pages of this thread, I think it is great but I have some different questions. We are only 2 star mariners and haven't cruised HAL in over 5 years and I know things have changed.

Mostly we have cruised on Celebrity so have more perks there but we booked the 14 night AK on the Amsterdam in Aug. We have done AK 3 times before but this 14 day goes to places we haven't been.

 

DH uses a CPAP  that uses distilled water and would need an extension cord. On Celebrity  they confiscate the extension cord and they provide one onboard and distilled water for free to all that request. Do they do this on HAL.

 

Also shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion, do they offer it in OVs, little bottles or on the wall? I am not fussy but need some and want to travel as light as I can.

 

I think this is a great thread for new and old alike (to cruising, not age). From the first post about 5 years ago I know many things have changed. Thanks for you help.

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34 minutes ago, lb0103 said:

DH uses a CPAP  that uses distilled water and would need an extension cord. On Celebrity  they confiscate the extension cord and they provide one onboard and distilled water for free to all that request. Do they do this on HAL.

I bring a regular extension cord and have never had a problem, although I have read reports others have. It's power strips with circuit breakers on them that are no-nos.
You have to pay for the distilled water. :classic_sad: It can be ordered (and paid for) in advance, and will be waiting in th cabin when you arrive.

34 minutes ago, lb0103 said:

Also shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion, do they offer it in OVs, little bottles or on the wall? I am not fussy but need some and want to travel as light as I can.

Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash is available in large bottles attached to the wall in the shower/tub. Lotion comes in small, portable, bottles.

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As an additional comment on the CPAP and the cords, be sure to order the water in advance by calling HAL.  It's way cheaper than purchasing it onboard.  The Onboard price is in the $10/gallon range.  Personally, I try to purchase a gallon for $0.99 off the ship and bring it onboard. One gallon will last well over a week for me, but with port stops in Alaska, you could supplement it if needed. 

 

Re: cords, RuthC is spot on.  When we recently got off the Nieuw Statendam, there was a pile of power strips that were in the confiscated pile in the terminal waiting for their owners to pick them up.  I use a Christmas cord that has two sets of 3 outlets on the end so 6 items can technically be plugged in. 

 

The Amsterdam was our first HAL cruise and we went to Alaska.  Years later, we repeated the cruise on the Amsterdam.  Have a great time and enjoy the GREAT LAND.

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Thank you RuthC and Btimmer. We will get the water ordered before we leave as I do not want to be hunting for water before we board the ship and a gallon should be enough. 

This is a great thread and a lot of helpful comments, thanks again.

 

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In general with HAL, if we have NO checked luggage and we want to catch a taxi to the airport (i.e., we do not need any luggage or transportation assistance), can we just disembark whenever we want once the All Clear is given?

 

We've only done no checked luggage once before.   We got a late disembarking time, so we sat in the room waiting, and anxious to get to the airport.   We debated "Can we just go down now, even though they didn't call our number yet?"

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On our recent HAL cruise those who carried their own luggage (or in your case with no luggage) were the first group to disembark after the All Clear.  Those with an early flight also were among the first to disembark.

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1 hour ago, CTOM said:

In general with HAL, if we have NO checked luggage and we want to catch a taxi to the airport (i.e., we do not need any luggage or transportation assistance), can we just disembark whenever we want once the All Clear is given?

 

We've only done no checked luggage once before.   We got a late disembarking time, so we sat in the room waiting, and anxious to get to the airport.   We debated "Can we just go down now, even though they didn't call our number yet?"

A few days before disembarkation, a questionnaire will be sent to your stateroom.  On that questionnaire you can indicate that you are able to get off without any assistance and you will be assigned the appropriate colored tag.  They call it EXPEDITED DISEMBARKATION.  You can't just walk off the ship without a colored tag.

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I can’t find anywhere on HAL website about bringing water onboard. Most cruise lines I have ordered a 12 pack of water in advance and it’s waiting in the cabin when I get on. The only water I can find on the website is Evian. 

Does anyone know if I can bring a pack of water onboard?

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, kissimmee-cruiser said:

I can’t find anywhere on HAL website about bringing water onboard. Most cruise lines I have ordered a 12 pack of water in advance and it’s waiting in the cabin when I get on. The only water I can find on the website is Evian. 

Does anyone know if I can bring a pack of water onboard?

Thanks!

 

You can bring as much water and soda as you wish in your carry-on luggage.  You can also bring as much carry-on luggage as you wish.

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18 hours ago, Crew News said:

 

You can bring as much water and soda as you wish in your carry-on luggage.  You can also bring as much carry-on luggage as you wish.

Thank you!

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Can someone confirm?  Can I take bottled soda on bourd?  Seems to me last year you couldn't  take bottled beverages on  bourd .

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26 minutes ago, Snowbaby369 said:

Can someone confirm?  Can I take bottled soda on bourd?  Seems to me last year you couldn't  take bottled beverages on  bourd .

 

Not sure about glass but I brought eight plastic bottles of Diet Mt Dew soda through Security at Fort Lauderdale on Dec 10 with no issues. 

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29 minutes ago, Snowbaby369 said:

Can someone confirm?  Can I take bottled soda on bourd?  Seems to me last year you couldn't  take bottled beverages on  bourd .

Yes, you can take bottled soda on board.

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And you can bring them (soda and water) on board in any port in virtually any quantity. 

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Hello everyone! Thank you for your invaluable advice and answering so many questions. I've read through the last two dozen pages and have picked up a lot of very practical advice and suggestions. I really appreciate it.

 

I do have a question, and it is a more conceptual/philosophical one, I guess. We have not done a sea/ocean cruise in three years, and one and only time on HAL was in May 2012 on Eurodam, so almost seven years ago. We are going on Rotterdam in 4 weeks.

 

In your opinion, what has fundamentally changed in that time, and what can we expect in terms of differences with our first HAL experience? Eurodam was lovely and definitely stood out in culinary experience (as probably top 2, a tie with Aida for us). It was lacking in service, but seemed to be a fluke based on other reviews at the time. Overall, HAL was a wonderful fit in terms of ambiance and demographics. Although, we were in our mid 20-ies in 2012, so not quite the target audience, I guess.

 

Thank you in advance for any thoughts!

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11 minutes ago, iwingy said:

what has fundamentally changed in that time, and what can we expect in terms of differences with our first HAL experience?

 

The biggest change is no more bringing on unlimited wine. Now it's $18/bottle with only one free bottle per person. There seems to be fewer staff now, but since you're moving to a smaller ship, that might be less noticeable. Portions are smaller, but you can ask for seconds if you want more. Bread/rolls at the table are mostly only by request. Internet is now sold at a daily rate instead of per minute. Formal (gala) nights continue to become, on average, less formal. No more giant chocolate buffet (there's still special chocolate treats served on board certain nights). Less big band/ballroom dancing. Photo department is more digital. Drink prices have gone up (but hasn't everything?). Activities on board have more sponsored tie-in endorsements (BB Kings, Billboard, America's Test Kitchen, Oprah, etc.). Libraries are smaller and no more librarians. Oh, and one more big one... no more smoking on private balconies on any HAL ship! Rotterdam still has smoking in the casino and designated public outdoor areas.

 

We also sailed HAL in our 20's and were the youngest ones on the ship our first HAL cruise! I'd much rather cruise with retirees than families.

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