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

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Thank you so much for the great picture posts! Very helpful to those of waiting to be first-time cruisers. And... they are beautiful shots!

 

Photography is my hobby. Thanks for your compliment. Glad I could be helpful. Everyone is a first-time HAL cruiser once. Feel free to ask questions.

 

To give you a head start on your planning, here are the current Specialty Restaurant, Beverage, and Room Service (free 24/7) that I have scanned:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/hal-regular-and-specialty-restaurants/

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You start as a rookie with Holland America Line but do get to attend the Embarkation Lunch.

 

No past guest discounts until you earn some HAL points by completing your cruise and spending while on your cruise.

 

We will be in Alaska next year for two weeks on the Noordam and expect to see few kids because schools will not be on vacation.

 

If you cruise while kids are out of school, younger families will be on board with their kids. If you cruise while kids are in school, younger families will not be as evident. On longer cruises, only retirees are usually able to take so many days away from home. So, average age depends on when you cruise on HAL and how long the cruise. IMHO HAL is a traditional cruise without all of the glitz of other cruise lines. Some have describe HAL as comfortable cruising.

 

Solos pay double most of the time. Do we get double points per voyage?

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Solos pay double most of the time. Do we get double points per voyage?

 

 

Unfortunately the answer is, "No."

Edited by Crew News

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We're new to HAL & this thread has answered lots of my questions & I'm only about 1/3 of the way through it. Just wanted to say thanks for all your input.

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Hi! HAL for Dummies is amazing! Thanks for setting this up, Walt (btw..I grew up in Encino!)

 

Anyway, we've only done DCL and soda was free with your meals or at the beverage station. On HAL, are sodas still free with your meal (either MDR, Lido or Room Service?). When do you pay for soda? Also, do they only serve Coke products? I keep reading about cans of soda....I much prefer fountain drinks..is this an option?

 

Second, due to a late booking, we are doing As you Wish Dining but apparently are getting a promotional voucher for one dinner. What is this? We are a party of 11..does this get us into the MDR at a set time one evening? Or is this going to be for one of the speciality restaurants. A bit confused (another family member booked the cruise).

 

Also, wondering if children can dine at the HAL kids club? Was considering Le Cirque for my husband and myself and wondered if my son could eat at the Kids Club. Of course, we are traveling in a group, so he could also dine with other family members....TIA:)

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Appreciate all the info in this thread. We are considering HAL for the first time for Alaska - 14 night Maasdam for next year. I have some questions:

 

1. I saw photos of the Lanai cabins and the muster station signs seem to be right outside the cabin. Does that mean that typically our muster station is that close? AND if so can we sit in our chairs while we wait? We like that Princess meets in other areas and we can sit. I'm concerned about standing for a long period of time if I don't have to.

 

2. Soda/Pop - will hubby be able to get (fountain or canned) Diet Caffeine free Coke or Pepsi? Will I be able to get Diet 7-Up or Diet Sprite?

 

3. I have food allergies. How well does HAL handle these. In the past Carnival and Princess have been exceptional. I'm not concerned about breakfast and lunch ... just dinner.

 

4. What type of sandwiches are served at the Lido Bistro - are there roast beef and corned beef?

 

5. Hubby loves his midnight or later snack. Is there any place on board that is open that late or will we need to use room service?

 

Thank you for your help.

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Appreciate all the info in this thread. We are considering HAL for the first time for Alaska - 14 night Maasdam for next year. I have some questions:

 

2. Soda/Pop - will hubby be able to get (fountain or canned) Diet Caffeine free Coke or Pepsi? Will I be able to get Diet 7-Up or Diet Sprite?

 

3. I have food allergies. How well does HAL handle these. In the past Carnival and Princess have been exceptional. I'm not concerned about breakfast and lunch ... just dinner.

 

4. What type of sandwiches are served at the Lido Bistro - are there roast beef and corned beef?

 

5. Hubby loves his midnight or later snack. Is there any place on board that is open that late or will we need to use room service?

 

Thank you for your help.

 

2. You can bring as much soda as you wish when on Embarkation Day. HAL serves Coke products. You can also get Caffiene Free Diet Coke or Diet Sprite from any bar. Here is the current Bar Menu:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Bar-Menu.pdf

 

3. For food allergies, contact HAL Guest Services to add that information to your records. In addition, stop by the Main Dining Room and speak with the Manager about your allergies. You Dining Room waiters will also help you in your menu choices.

 

4. For the Lido Bistro, I have seen corned beef, roast beef, turkey, chicken breast, and sometimes pastrami. You design your own sandwich and it will be made for you. This includes a Panini press treatment if you wish.

 

5. There is a Late Snack served in the Lido Restaurant each evening at 10:30. Here is a link to one of our daily menus for the Caribbean last Dec (includes both lunch and dinner for the Lido Restaurant and MDR):

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/EC-2015-Day-06-A.pdf

 

I bring ziploc bags that I fill with cheese during lunch. Add several pieces of fruit from the lunch Salad Bar and some nacho chips from the Taco Bar to make a nice midnight snack. Of course, I keep a plate of chocolate chip cookies from the Dessert Station on the stateroom desk for nibbling.

Edited by Crew News

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2. You can bring as much soda as you wish when on Embarkation Day. HAL serves Coke products. You can also get Caffiene Free Diet Coke or Diet Sprite from any bar. Here is the current Bar Menu:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Bar-Menu.pdf

 

3. For food allergies, contact HAL Guest Services to add that information to your records. In addition, stop by the Main Dining Room and speak with the Manager about your allergies. You Dining Room waiters will also help you in your menu choices.

 

4. For the Lido Bistro, I have seen corned beef, roast beef, turkey, chicken breast, and sometimes pastrami. You design your own sandwich and it will be made for you. This includes a Panini press treatment if you wish.

 

5. There is a Late Snack served in the Lido Restaurant each evening at 10:30. Here is a link to one of our daily menus for the Caribbean last Dec (includes both lunch and dinner for the Lido Restaurant and MDR):

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/EC-2015-Day-06-A.pdf

 

I bring ziploc bags that I fill with cheese during lunch. Add several pieces of fruit from the lunch Salad Bar and some nacho chips from the Taco Bar to make a nice midnight snack. Of course, I keep a plate of chocolate chip cookies from the Dessert Station on the stateroom desk for nibbling.

 

Thank you so much. Greatly appreciate the information and the links.

 

Hubby will be thrilled to see the diet caffeine free Coke and I like that they have diet Sprite too. Don't want to carry any on the ship. We will be flying in the day before and normally spend time seeing family/friends/site seeing. If we lived local, then yes definitely would do that.

 

Yes, I know to let HAL know about the allergies and to discuss with the dining room manager. I just wondered if anyone had a good or bad experience dealing with allergies. As I said Carnival and Princess have been exceptional and I've never had a problem on a cruise. They discuss the dinner menus with me the night before. Have me pre-order and then all is set the next day. Sometimes it is hard to know what I will want the day before, but it is OK and has always worked out. I found in the Lido buffets that both cruise lines would get a chef for me if I had any questions. Lunch and breakfast I stick to standards that I know work. BUT once in a while there is something I would like to try.

 

Princess has refrigerators (mini) in the cabins. Will a lanai or above cabin have a mini fridge on the Maasdam? Great tip about the baggies. I do the same thing.

 

Good to see what is on the Bistro list of sandwiches. Carnival use to do a panini roast beef that was fantastic but stopped. Princess has a roast beef sandwich on their room service menu that we took advantage of on our last cruise a number of times. Corned beef will win out with my hubby and we both love paninis.

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Thank you so much. Greatly appreciate the information and the links.

 

Hubby will be thrilled to see the diet caffeine free Coke and I like that they have diet Sprite too. Don't want to carry any on the ship. We will be flying in the day before and normally spend time seeing family/friends/site seeing. If we lived local, then yes definitely would do that.

 

Princess has refrigerators (mini) in the cabins. Will a lanai or above cabin have a mini fridge on the Maasdam? Great tip about the baggies. I do the same thing.

 

Good to see what is on the Bistro list of sandwiches. Carnival use to do a panini roast beef that was fantastic but stopped. Princess has a roast beef sandwich on their room service menu that we took advantage of on our last cruise a number of times. Corned beef will win out with my hubby and we both love paninis.

 

The Triple-Decker club sandwich on the HAL Room Service menu is a favorite of many passengers.

 

Sodas are not free with meals but are ordered from the Beverage person who stops by your table before dinner.

 

You should have a minibar (not quite as cold as a refrigerator) and you can have the contents removed to leave room for sodas and your ziploc snack bags.

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The Triple-Decker club sandwich on the HAL Room Service menu is a favorite of many passengers.

 

Sodas are not free with meals but are ordered from the Beverage person who stops by your table before dinner.

 

You should have a minibar (not quite as cold as a refrigerator) and you can have the contents removed to leave room for sodas and your ziploc snack bags.

 

Thank you. Expected to pay for any sodas, but good to know for sure.

 

The minibar will be perfect. Just a place to keep things cool including bottled water.

 

Will have to try the sandwich. Sounds good.

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My suggestion for "Dummies":

 

MS Eurodam & Nieuw Amsterdam - The GRAND TOUR of SIGNATURE class - Pics and Video is your handbook, textbook, culinary book, tutorial for beginners and complete pictorial guide to the most exciting HAL ships - the Eurodam and the Nieuw Amsterdam.

 

Click here to take your video cruise on the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam.

 

Enjoy!

The first link doesn't work. the 2nd one does.

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This will be our first HAL cruise, Oosterdam in Alaska ending in Vancouver. If not taking a ship's tour when disembarking, does HAL offer luggage transfers from the ship to the Vancouver International Airport. We'd like to explore the city a bit before flying home in the evening.

 

Plan to read this entire thread, so much useful info. Appreciate any information that would be helpful. Thanks so much.

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I seriously considering an HAL transatlantic cruise, but only one thing is now stopping me: since my recent retirement, I really detest wearing a tie and jacket (no less a suit). I have sailed on and feel most comfortable on cruise lines that have a country club casual policy (my last cruise was with Paul Gauguin Cruises' Tere Moana), like Paul Gauguin, Oceania, Azamara, Windtstar.

 

So my question is can I get away, not at the buffet, but in the main dining room or extra cost specialty restaurants, wearing a navy blazer and no tie on"formal nights?" Or if absolutely necessary, wearing a blazer and removing the tie after dinner? (I'm also concerned about checking overweight luggage on my international and domestic US connections, so would wear the blazer when traveling and not pack a suit or extra sport coat. I'm grateful for your thoughts and would want to know in advance if I'd be ostracized...thanks.

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So my question is can I get away, not at the buffet, but in the main dining room or extra cost specialty restaurants, wearing a navy blazer and no tie on"formal nights?" Or if absolutely necessary, wearing a blazer and removing the tie after dinner? (I'm also concerned about checking overweight luggage on my international and domestic US connections, so would wear the blazer when traveling and not pack a suit or extra sport coat. I'm grateful for your thoughts and would want to know in advance if I'd be ostracized...thanks.

 

Most of your fellow passengers could care less if you wear a tuxedo, suit, or just a blazer. The jacket and tie are just the HAL rules to get into the MDR.

 

Why not just wear the tie to get into the door and then remove it "before" dinner? A number of males remove their jackets when they are eating on Formal Nights.

 

"After" dinner, feel free to change into your jeans and t-shirt and join your fellow passengers in the public areas.

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We have a party of 11 and I am booking some excursions online thru HAL. (6/6/15 Westerdam Alaska) I have heard that some excursions sell out. Are the sold out excursions excluded from the list shown online for booking excursions? I want to know there are enough spaces left for everyone that I need to book before I start booking people. When excursions start to get full will the listing say "4 spaces left" or something like that? If I book 4 people and it is full is it easy to delete the booking for those 4 people if we want to book everyone on another option? I haven't had luck searching this topic, perhaps due to incorrect choice of search terms? Thank you!

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Hi ..this will be our first HAL cruise...we are wait listed for first sitting on our Alaska cruise..if we don't get this sitting can we change to AYL ??....also as this is a scenic cruise what's the best way to organise getting lunch when there's so much to see on sea days ?? Lol

This is a great forum ..we have cruised only with Cunard but have met many fans of HAL

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Hi ..this will be our first HAL cruise...we are wait listed for first sitting on our Alaska cruise..if we don't get this sitting can we change to AYL ??....also as this is a scenic cruise what's the best way to organise getting lunch when there's so much to see on sea days ?? Lol

This is a great forum ..we have cruised only with Cunard but have met many fans of HAL

 

Welcome to HAL, If you have a verandah, Room Service will allow you to keep watching for wildlife.

 

If not, the Lido Restaurant is another choice, by a window. Other choices are at a window by the indoor pool or outside on the Aft Lido Deck.

 

Behind the Crow's Nest on some ships is a sandwich cafe (Exploration Cafe).

Edited by Crew News

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Hi ..this will be our first HAL cruise...we are wait listed for first sitting on our Alaska cruise..if we don't get this sitting can we change to AYL ??....also as this is a scenic cruise what's the best way to organise getting lunch when there's so much to see on sea days ?? Lol

This is a great forum ..we have cruised only with Cunard but have met many fans of HAL

 

There is the Dive In on the lido deck for burgers and hot dogs. I am presently on the Westerdam and have not seen sandwiches at the Explorations Cafe - that is where you get special coffees for a price and the little snacks are complimentary. Otherwise, the Lido buffet and main dining room are both excellent venues plus room service.

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Welcome to HAL, If you have a verandah, Room Service will allow you to keep watching for wildlife.

 

If not, the Lido Restaurant is another choice, by a window. Other choices are at a window by the indoor pool or outside on the Aft Lido Deck.

 

Behind the Crow's Nest on some ships is a sandwich cafe (Exploration Cafe).

 

You often have to look closely into the display case to see the sandwiches amongst the pastries:

 

IMG_1202-sandwich.jpg

 

While enjoying the Crow's Nest's panoramic view, the Explorations Cafe is very close at hand for both hot and cold beverages. Alcoholic beverages are also available. Here is the Explorations Cafe beverage menu:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Explorations-Cafe-Combined.pdf

Edited by Crew News

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Thanks for the replies...could you answer one more question please?..we are wait listed for first sitting ..if we do not get this sitting will we be able to transfer to Freedom Dining ?...thanks

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Thanks for the replies...could you answer one more question please?..we are wait listed for first sitting ..if we do not get this sitting will we be able to transfer to Freedom Dining ?...thanks

 

"As you wish" dining will be your default if you don't get "Early Dining." That just means you wait a little later before you report to the MDR if you want to still eat early.

Edited by Crew News

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I just finished reading this thread and learned so much. I have already booked my HAL cruise and was assigned a Mariner number. I just learned through this thread that I already have credit from my previous Carnival sailing. How can I get this added to my Mariner account?

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I have 2 cruises 17 nights with Princess but am sure I've read here on these forums that HAL starts you at the bottom. I have my first HAL booked and ready to go.

 

Good luck the veteran cruisers might know more.

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I just finished reading this thread and learned so much. I have already booked my HAL cruise and was assigned a Mariner number. I just learned through this thread that I already have credit from my previous Carnival sailing. How can I get this added to my Mariner account?

 

I have 2 cruises 17 nights with Princess but am sure I've read here on these forums that HAL starts you at the bottom. I have my first HAL booked and ready to go.

 

Good luck the veteran cruisers might know more.

 

Previous Carnival Corporation ship sailings get you a single star BEFORE your cruise which everyone without Carnival experience will receive AFTER their cruise. As a One Star Mariner, you may attend the Embarkation Lunch in the MDR as well as the Mariner Lunchean later in the cruise. Those without their first star must wait until their next cruise to attend the two events.

 

Hope this clarifies.

 

feel free to ask questions on the HAL Forum to become well-informed before you cruise.

Edited by Crew News

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You often have to look closely into the display case to see the sandwiches amongst the pastries:

 

>SNIP<

 

 

Behind the Crow's Nest on some ships is a sandwich cafe (Exploration Cafe)

 

 

The "sandwiches" that we have seen and enjoyed at the Explorations are little two-bite snacks. IMHO the offerings there don't warrant calling it a "sandwich cafe". The primary service is beverages (non-alcoholic). Little nibbles such as brownies, tiny sandwiches, and cookies are available, but not the primary focus.

 

 

AFAIK each ship has an Explorations Cafe, though not all are in the same area as the Crow's Nest.

Edited by CowPrincess

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