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

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Thank you, it is a big decision to make, trying not to rush into making and it be a big mistake.  

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We recently changed the land portion of our HAL Alaska cruise in May 2019.  The cruise portion was the same ship, dates and duration but we were told we would lose the perks (OBC, drink package, etc).  After asking to speak with a supervisor, the rep said we would be given a one time exception and be allowed to keep the perks.   It can't hurt to negotiate.   You will love AU and NZ!  We sailed last year with Celebrity.  

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18 minutes ago, Charlie Bear said:

How do you manage to get OBC?

Some booking promotions include OBC. If you book through a travel agent, they might give you OBC, whether or not the cruise line offers promotional OBC. You can purchase OBC for a booked cruise by going online to the HAL website. If you book a future cruise while aboard, you can get OBC. I've probably missed a few, but those are some of the most common ways.

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36 minutes ago, Charlie Bear said:

How do you manage to get OBC?

 

In addition to the possibilities Fouremco wrote about, you can also get OBC if you own at least 100 shares of Carnival Corp stock.  The amount you get depends on the length of the cruise ($50 for less than 6 days, $100 for 7-13 days, $250 for 14+ days).  You can find more information about it here:

Stockholder Benefit

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

 

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3 minutes ago, ArtsyCraftsy said:

In addition to the possibilities Fouremco wrote about, you can also get OBC if you own at least 100 shares of Carnival Corp stock.

Thanks, I totally forgot about that one. :classic_blush:

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On previous cruises with other lines (Carnival and RC) we went a little nuts at dinner in the MDR and got more than one appetizer or dessert per person... is this acceptable on HAL? It's hard to hold back when several things sound good... but I don't want to be greedy or rude either. 

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That was the case with us on HAL in Alaska last July.  Just ask, I never heard anyone say no

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20 minutes ago, raesive said:

On previous cruises with other lines (Carnival and RC) we went a little nuts at dinner in the MDR and got more than one appetizer or dessert per person... is this acceptable on HAL? It's hard to hold back when several things sound good... but I don't want to be greedy or rude either. 

Just left the Eurodam. My husband ordered three desserts one night (for us to share). The waiter didn’t bat an eye and still asked if I would like anything else for dessert. Starters (apps, soups, salads) are usually listed together. I almost always ordered two—an app and a soup. One night we ordered five and shared some of them. Always ask the size/number if you want to share. It’s usually just one spring roll, for example 

 

He also ordered, and received without question, 4 lobster tails on the final gala night (they’d not offered them on our first two gala night menus). The men at the table next to us ordered three each and he couldn’t resist showing them up (we were all buddies from 4pm happy hour).

323244DC-C384-4B2B-B7C9-0D56A39F550C.jpeg

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1 hour ago, raesive said:

On previous cruises with other lines (Carnival and RC) we went a little nuts at dinner in the MDR and got more than one appetizer or dessert per person... is this acceptable on HAL? It's hard to hold back when several things sound good... but I don't want to be greedy or rude either. 

Another thing, if you want to try something different and you aren’t sure; we gave the server our second choice. He brought it along with our first!. It so happened we like the first choice so everyone took a bite of the extra plate; there were 11 of us at the table. They are great; they aim to please.

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Wow, that's a lot of lobster! I'd be good with maybe two, lol. I guess I don't have to worry about going a bit wild!

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So I’ve read thru many pages and people talk about dining times. I’ve been on 2 previous cruises CCL and NCL.  I’m now booked on the Westerdaam NB from Vancouver to Alaska. My parents and my wife make up my group. My question is what’s the advantage of choosing early or late dining. And what happens if I miss my time of want to change for a day? Also I saw a lot about shared tables. I don’t remember those in my last cruises. Is there option for waiting for my own table of 2 or 4?

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34 minutes ago, Bengalfang said:

So I’ve read thru many pages and people talk about dining times. I’ve been on 2 previous cruises CCL and NCL.  I’m now booked on the Westerdaam NB from Vancouver to Alaska. My parents and my wife make up my group. My question is what’s the advantage of choosing early or late dining. And what happens if I miss my time of want to change for a day? Also I saw a lot about shared tables. I don’t remember those in my last cruises. Is there option for waiting for my own table of 2 or 4?

You have your choice of open or fixed seating.

 

Fixed is at one of two times every night, about 5:15 and 8:00; that can vary, especially in Alaska. You choose which time you want, and you are assigned a table for the duration of the cruise. You also choose a table size. If you choose a table larger than your party of 4, then others will be assigned to that table for every night, too. Of course, on any given night, some or all of you may choose a specialty restaurant, to go to the Lido, or even have room service.

If you choose open seating, you can either make a reservation for up to three nights at a time, or just appear when you want to go to dinner. The reservation times are limited to fairly early, or somewhat later; reservations are not taken for prime time from about 6:30-8:00.

In either case, you will be asked if you want to join others. If not, then your party will be by itself;  if so, then others will be seated with you.

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1 hour ago, Bengalfang said:

So I’ve read thru many pages and people talk about dining times. I’ve been on 2 previous cruises CCL and NCL.  I’m now booked on the Westerdaam NB from Vancouver to Alaska. My parents and my wife make up my group. My question is what’s the advantage of choosing early or late dining. And what happens if I miss my time of want to change for a day? Also I saw a lot about shared tables. I don’t remember those in my last cruises. Is there option for waiting for my own table of 2 or 4?

I see you are a Bengal Fan, so probably live in the Eastern Time Zone. Keep that in mind when you plan things. If you are used to eating at 7ish then your dinner time may seem like it should be about 3 or 4! Maybe early seating is good for you. We find open seating fits us the best and we love to share table with new people. The problem with choosing an assigned seat and picking a table with others, then not showing up; sometimes people end up eating alone. I know that is their problem and they may not mind; but we were on a cruise where the dinner table crew felt slighted when some didn’t show up. Also, in AK where it won’t get dark until late, you may want to enjoy the sights longer and eat late. Just some stuff to consider. We are almost always able to get MDR reservations for 7pm 

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17 hours ago, ljgordon54 said:

I see you are a Bengal Fan, so probably live in the Eastern Time Zone. Keep that in mind when you plan things. If you are used to eating at 7ish then your dinner time may seem like it should be about 3 or 4! Maybe early seating is good for you. We find open seating fits us the best and we love to share table with new people. The problem with choosing an assigned seat and picking a table with others, then not showing up; sometimes people end up eating alone. I know that is their problem and they may not mind; but we were on a cruise where the dinner table crew felt slighted when some didn’t show up. Also, in AK where it won’t get dark until late, you may want to enjoy the sights longer and eat late. Just some stuff to consider. We are almost always able to get MDR reservations for 7pm 

Our experience in AK was that the days we were in port we typically did some excursions and didn't return back to the ship in time for our assigned dining time.  On those evenings we met some new folks and our original table mates were very understanding.  Go with the flow

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How do I know if my cruise will have high tea? And what days? I’m on 7 day Alaska cruise from Vancouver to Seward.

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15 minutes ago, Bengalfang said:

How do I know if my cruise will have high tea? And what days? I’m on 7 day Alaska cruise from Vancouver to Seward.

The closest HAL ever came to having high tea was the old Royal Dutch Tea they served, but that hasn't been done in several years.
Every ship has low (afternoon) tea most every day, however. They don't have it on embarkation day, though.
Just check the daily program for time (likely 3:00 PM) and location (likely the dining room).

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On 2/15/2019 at 9:07 PM, ArtsyCraftsy said:

 

In addition to the possibilities Fouremco wrote about, you can also get OBC if you own at least 100 shares of Carnival Corp stock.  The amount you get depends on the length of the cruise ($50 for less than 6 days, $100 for 7-13 days, $250 for 14+ days).  You can find more information about it here:

Stockholder Benefit

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

 

When I went to shareholders it stated only sailings through July 31,2019. Will they extend it? My cruise is in October 

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29 minutes ago, philliesgirl48 said:

When I went to shareholders it stated only sailings through July 31,2019. Will they extend it? My cruise is in October 

This is something voted on every spring at the CCL shareholders meeting. It has been extended every year since I have been paying attention.

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I’ve sailed with Carnival long time ago on end before. Does it help me at all in my up coming HAL cruise?

 

thanks for everyone that helps and has helped me with my random questions on this thread

 

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The correct answer is actually YES.  If you have a previous cruise on Carnival then once HAL is advised you will be a one Star with HAL but with no cruise days credited.  Just provide HAL the information about your cruising with Carnival.

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In May last year (2018) my husband and I took a one week cruise with P&O, part of the same group as HAL.  I informed HAL of this giving the dates and cruise number.  The reply was that it was not the policy of HAL to take into account of passengers’ cruises with other lines. 

 

But you you can always try.  Nothing ventured nothing gained!

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What I meant to say was it will not provide you with any perks or freebies. Still enjoy your cruise.

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It gets you an invite to the Mariner Society Luncheon where you will receive your first Delft tile.

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