Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Host Walt

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

Recommended Posts

Have bought a couple of spa services and a dinner package. Are the tips already  included in the price  or will they be added to my account?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another unrelated question. Am looking at booking a couple of independent shore excursions. Itinerary says ship is in port from 8-5. What time could I safely assume I have disembarked and also what’s the latest time I need to be back?  Ports in question are Boston and New York (NY time is 8-6).  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband and I are taking a land/sea Alaska cruise this summer.  We leave on July 25th arriving in Seattle and go from there. I have several questions and was wondering if anyone can help.

1.  Is the meal plan offered only for meals in the hotels we are staying in? 

2. We weren't planning on getting soda/beverage cards but after reading the notes on here we think it might just be more convenient. We will get a rebate of what's not used?  Would that apply to the meal plan as well?

3.  Has anyone used the luggage services? How has your experience been with it? We are getting off the ship in Vancouver, traveling to Seattle via bus and catching our plane back home to Boston. 

4.  We are staying in a Neptune Suite...any perks we should know about.  This is our first cruise with HAL and in a suite.

Thank you.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2019 at 5:40 PM, ToXS said:

Please tell me what other lines do not have this requirement.  ToXS

We just sailed on RCL in May and Carnival in Feb and I bought the soda package on each but my husband was not required to buy one. He doesn't drink soda so being forced to buy it would be a total waste of money. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, clerksteno1 said:

1.  Is the meal plan offered only for meals in the hotels we are staying in? 

2. We weren't planning on getting soda/beverage cards but after reading the notes on here we think it might just be more convenient. We will get a rebate of what's not used?  Would that apply to the meal plan as well?

The HAL meal plan for the land portion of the tour is IMO, too expensive and is only good for the restaurants in the hotels. If you eat the MOST expensive things on the menu you might break even. Most on CC say skip the meal plan and enjoy the other places to eat outside of the hotels. You do not get any rebates for any unused meals, you will get vouchers for each meal for the specific venue. We are going in a SS with our grandson on July 21st and after doing research at restaurants in Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks we can eat for half of what HAL wanted for a 4 day meal package.

 

I do think you get back any unused cash in the soda cards. IMO it just as easy to charge any drinks to the room account. 

 

Have a great cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

The HAL meal plan for the land portion of the tour is IMO, too expensive and is only good for the restaurants in the hotels. If you eat the MOST expensive things on the menu you might break even. Most on CC say skip the meal plan and enjoy the other places to eat outside of the hotels. You do not get any rebates for any unused meals, you will get vouchers for each meal for the specific venue. We are going in a SS with our grandson on July 21st and after doing research at restaurants in Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks we can eat for half of what HAL wanted for a 4 day meal package.

 

I do think you get back any unused cash in the soda cards. IMO it just as easy to charge any drinks to the room account. 

 

Have a great cruise.

My wife and I also skipped the meal plan in AK last year and I'm glad we did.  Spent a lot less and found some very nice places to eat

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, clerksteno1 said:

My husband and I are taking a land/sea Alaska cruise this summer.  We leave on July 25th arriving in Seattle and go from there. I have several questions and was wondering if anyone can help.

1.  Is the meal plan offered only for meals in the hotels we are staying in? 

2. We weren't planning on getting soda/beverage cards but after reading the notes on here we think it might just be more convenient. We will get a rebate of what's not used?  Would that apply to the meal plan as well?

3.  Has anyone used the luggage services? How has your experience been with it? We are getting off the ship in Vancouver, traveling to Seattle via bus and catching our plane back home to Boston. 

4.  We are staying in a Neptune Suite...any perks we should know about.  This is our first cruise with HAL and in a suite.

Thank you.

 

I agree with comments regarding the meal plan for the land portion - too expensive with limited options.  I can't respond about the drink cards.  We were in a Neptune Suite during our May Alaska cruise on the Westerdam.  Loved the Neptune Lounge!  We used the concierges in the lounge frequently with questions about our bill and excursions.  They also made reservations for the specialty restaurants. The lounge has a variety of treats all day long, great coffee machine and an honor bar.  Our cruise included the Signature beverage package which we were able to use in the lounge for both sodas and alcoholic beverages.  Lunch in the Neptune Lounge was nicer than fighting the crowds in the Lido buffet.   It will be hard to go back to a regular cabin. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for the responses. We got a beverage card and any unused cash will be returned to our account. We're not getting the meal plan and will venture outside the hotel. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, clerksteno1 said:

Thanks so much for the responses. We got a beverage card and any unused cash will be returned to our account. We're not getting the meal plan and will venture outside the hotel. Thank you.

I too thought that unused beverage card "cash" would be returned but on the Masdaam last week I was advised any unused amount would not be credited to our account. I got this advice from the front desk on 2 occasions from different staff. I ended up using the full amount so cannot confirm whether the advice was correct.

Share this post


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

I too thought that unused beverage card "cash" would be returned but on the Masdaam last week I was advised any unused amount would not be credited to our account. I got this advice from the front desk on 2 occasions from different staff. I ended up using the full amount so cannot confirm whether the advice was correct.

 

I have always purchased beverage cards from HAL on all our cruises.  At the end of the cruise, any unused portion of the cards is credited to your onboard account and back to your credit card.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too had a credit on my card at the end of the cruise.  Since I'd paid $25 for $50, the credit was half of what was left on the card. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2019 at 8:26 AM, clerksteno1 said:

4.  We are staying in a Neptune Suite...any perks we should know about.  This is our first cruise with HAL and in a suite.

Thank you.

 

On Embarkation Day, there will be express check-in line for Neptune Suite guests and you will board in the third group (first group is mobility issue guests, second group Pinnacle Suite guests, and third group 4/5* Mariners with Neptune Suites).  There should be a Specialty Restaurant crewmember in the Neptune Lounge on Embarkation Day to make/change any reservations. 

 

Snacks are changed four times per day (approximate times are breakfast, 10:00 AM, 3:00 PM, and 6:00 PM) and you can take a plate of snacks back to your room.

 

There is a PC terminal and printer available in the Neptune Lounge to print boarding passes and a scale to weigh your luggage,

 

Neptune Suite guests can disembark the ship on Disembarkation Day at a time of their choosing within the disembarkation time window.

 

The Concierge can arrange a course-by-course dinner served in your stateroom/balcony by a dedicated waiter.  This includes white table cloth and probably LED candle.

 

There is an Honor Bar in the Lounge where you can signfor and prepare a drink that will be charged to your ship account.

 

Neptune Suite free laundry service means you can pack less and put a filled laundry bag on your bed mornings and evening for often same-day service.

 

Just so you are not surprised, when you use your ship card to unlock the Neptune Lounge door, your picture will appear on the Concierge's computer screen and you will be greeted by name.

 

Neptune Suite guests may have appetizers delivered each afternoon, just tell the Concierge what you would like (there is a daily menu).  Chicken wings are not on the menu but you can have them delivered as I do.  What wings I don't eat every afternoon goes into my minibar for a cold-wing late snack.

 

The Concierage can perform miracles so feel free to ask for the moon.  Try the chocolate truffles.

 

Hope this gives you a headstart on what to expect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this information. We leave in a month and you didn't just make my day you made my month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, clerksteno1 said:

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this information. We leave in a month and you didn't just make my day you made my month.

 

Hopefully, these tips will make your cruise a great one.  On Decks 6 and 7 at the very back of the ship there will be doors marked "Emergency Exit" but that is thier secondary purpose.  The doors lead to a public deck that spans the whole back of the ship and an amazing view for photographs and whale watching.  It is not well-publicized so you will probably be the only ones out there.

 

FWIW the Mix Bar has free chicken wings after 11:30 AM on their bar menu. 

 

Here is a link to the bar menus (all are the same with the exception of the first and last pages of special drinks for that bar):

 

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

 

If you don't feel like going to Gala Nights (minimum dress code is collared shirt and slacks for males - one or tuxedos will be seen), or any dinner night, you can order via Room Service from the regular dining room menu.  You can also order any multiples that you wish (six soups, five desserts, etc.).

 

Here is a buried link on the HAL website that can answer a lot of land tour questions:

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/content/dam/hal/marketing-assets/manage-my-cruise-already-booked/faqs/Tour_Tips.pdf

 

Edited by Crew News

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Nang said:

I too thought that unused beverage card "cash" would be returned but on the Masdaam last week I was advised any unused amount would not be credited to our account. I got this advice from the front desk on 2 occasions from different staff. I ended up using the full amount so cannot confirm whether the advice was correct.

If you purchased the beverage card (and it's not a soda card which is different), any unused portion will be refunded. I was also on Maasdam last week, had a $250 beverage card (I also had $25 bev card from HAL that I used first as that would not be refunded) and I had my $161 unused balance refunded on my final statement. This has always been my experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is the benefit of buying a beverage card? 

Share this post


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

What is the benefit of buying a beverage card? 

Mainly only one slip to keep track of; buy a beverage, get receipt, check that previous balance minus transaction price equals new balance, toss old receipt. You won't have a ton of little drinkie charges littering your final bill and a million receipts to reconcile. And as was just discussed if you have a balance left at the end of your cruise it is refunded to your onboard account, so I bought a larger bev card than I figured I would need to kind of function as OBC. I wound up with a credit balance for a three week cruise which was nice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a Princess cruiser but will be booking my first HAL cruise tomorrow.  I have a few questions that I didn’t see while skimming the last 167 pages 😁.  

 

Is there a ‘coffee card’?  At the Exploration Cafe are the pastries free but you pay for the coffee?  I am wondering if it is similar to Princesses International Cafe.

 

Does the library have games/cards that you can borrow to play in your cabin or elsewhere on the ship?

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Flowergirl56 said:

I am a Princess cruiser but will be booking my first HAL cruise tomorrow.  I have a few questions that I didn’t see while skimming the last 167 pages 😁.  

 

Is there a ‘coffee card’?  At the Exploration Cafe are the pastries free but you pay for the coffee?  I am wondering if it is similar to Princesses International Cafe.

 

Does the library have games/cards that you can borrow to play in your cabin or elsewhere on the ship?

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

 

On our cruise this past April the front desk was not handing out free playing cards as they had in the past...we wee directed to the Casino where we could buy a pack for 99 cents...and the first pack we got didn't have the right number of playing cards so we had to return and get a different deck..these are cards that have been used in the Casino. There are some games available but we brought our own...many were looking for games and they were not available...we had many people coming up to ask us where we got the games. LuAnn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/24/2019 at 7:01 PM, RuthC said:

If you have sailed any other line in the Carnival Corporation family, then HAL considers you a past passenger, but with zero sailing days to your credit.
That will get you lower past passenger rates, if thy apply to your chosen sailing. It will also get you an invitation to the past passengers' Mariner party, and a ceramic tile.

Do you know how we do this? We haven't sailed HAL in 17 years but have been on several carnival and princess cruises. Hoping to love Holland because the itineraries are great!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Flowergirl56 said:

I am a Princess cruiser but will be booking my first HAL cruise tomorrow.  I have a few questions that I didn’t see while skimming the last 167 pages 😁.  

 

Is there a ‘coffee card’?  At the Exploration Cafe are the pastries free but you pay for the coffee?  I am wondering if it is similar to Princesses International Cafe.

 

Does the library have games/cards that you can borrow to play in your cabin or elsewhere on the ship?

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

 

Welcome to Holland America Flowergirl!  Yes, you can purchase a coffee lovers card within your booking.  Yes, the pastries and sandwiches are free but you pay for the coffee.  

 

The library depends upon which ship you’re on.  For example, the Zaandam had lots of games and cards and a lovely library (see pictures) whereas the Koningsdam does not have a library but there will be games in the Crows Nest.

 

In addition, if you are in a Neptune or Pinnacle Suite the Neptune Lounge will have games and cards.

 

Enjoy your cruise!

 

99C59DFD-4137-4004-A03B-A4288D3F5756.jpeg

507A6B31-113B-4B8A-B392-78E52CA25885.jpeg

CCB9AE69-EB75-4534-A82B-106C82C6C344.jpeg

4C80C00B-4142-41CF-BB27-0E1CF5F9CD6E.jpeg

17931319-CD68-4F0C-AD04-1DB82B2898CA.jpeg

Edited by *Miss G*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Sea-Bos said:

Do you know how we do this? We haven't sailed HAL in 17 years but have been on several carnival and princess cruises. Hoping to love Holland because the itineraries are great!!!

 

Welcome back to HAL!  You should be automatically enrolled but you may want to mention it to your TA/PCC so they can verify.  You may also want to check with Guest Services when you board to ensure you receive the invitation to the Mariners Lunch.

 

See the Terms & Conditions at the bottom of this link for more information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/27/2019 at 1:27 AM, Crew News said:

On Embarkation Day, there will be express check-in line for Neptune Suite guests and you will board in the third group (first group is mobility issue guests, second group Pinnacle Suite guests, and third group 4/5* Mariners with Neptune Suites).  There should be a Specialty Restaurant crewmember in the Neptune Lounge on Embarkation Day to make/change any reservations. 

 

Snacks are changed four times per day (approximate times are breakfast, 10:00 AM, 3:00 PM, and 6:00 PM) and you can take a plate of snacks back to your room.

 

There is a PC terminal and printer available in the Neptune Lounge to print boarding passes and a scale to weigh your luggage,

 

Neptune Suite guests can disembark the ship on Disembarkation Day at a time of their choosing within the disembarkation time window.

 

The Concierge can arrange a course-by-course dinner served in your stateroom/balcony by a dedicated waiter.  This includes white table cloth and probably LED candle.

 

There is an Honor Bar in the Lounge where you can signfor and prepare a drink that will be charged to your ship account.

 

Neptune Suite free laundry service means you can pack less and put a filled laundry bag on your bed mornings and evening for often same-day service.

 

Just so you are not surprised, when you use your ship card to unlock the Neptune Lounge door, your picture will appear on the Concierge's computer screen and you will be greeted by name.

 

Neptune Suite guests may have appetizers delivered each afternoon, just tell the Concierge what you would like (there is a daily menu).  Chicken wings are not on the menu but you can have them delivered as I do.  What wings I don't eat every afternoon goes into my minibar for a cold-wing late snack.

 

The Concierage can perform miracles so feel free to ask for the moon.  Try the chocolate truffles.

 

Hope this gives you a headstart on what to expect.

I am in a neptune suite in two weeks, this is super helpful info, thank you 

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
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • 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
×
×
  • Create New...