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

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2 hours ago, white_bear said:

We are also new to HAL, expect to be on the Maasdam in the New Year.  Would appreciate advice on self-service launderette - ie costs and whether we have to provide our own detergent.  Thanks in advance.

The Maasdam still has self-service laundries on board, although I am not sure if/when they are scheduled to be removed.
They cost $2 to wash, and $1 to dry (or reverse; I can never remember), and quarters are available at the Front Desk. Detergent is supplied; bring your own dryer sheets, if you use them.

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What does HAL call the card key (Carnival is Sail & Sign, RCCL is Set sail pass)?

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Are nice men’s shorts allowed in the MDR for dinner and also for gala dinners?

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Long pants only for the dining room.  Saw several occasions where guys were wearing very tasteful shorts and were turned away.  Most guys throw on a pair for dinner, then change back after. 

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Drink Package Question

 

We are still not decided on the drinks package for both of us and was surprised about the restriction on both parties have to purchase the drinks package or not at all.

But I notice they have a card you can purchase for 250 dollars .So can this card be used for all types of drink including tea and coffee in the dutch café ? Ideally    my husband would use the beverage package and I would get the card for the smaller amount but I guess that is a no no.

Any help with this one ?

 

Thanks

Scotslizzy 

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2 hours ago, scotslizzy said:

Drink Package Question

 

We are still not decided on the drinks package for both of us and was surprised about the restriction on both parties have to purchase the drinks package or not at all.

But I notice they have a card you can purchase for 250 dollars .So can this card be used for all types of drink including tea and coffee in the dutch café ? Ideally    my husband would use the beverage package and I would get the card for the smaller amount but I guess that is a no no.

Any help with this one ?

 

Thanks

Scotslizzy 

 The beverage card can be used for any drink at all - soda, water, mocktails, specialty coffees and alcoholic - the list is endless.

 

They are available in several different denominations.

 

Sorry, but you are right - each person has to buy the beverage package so buying it for your DH and a beverage card for you is a no no.

 

There have been exceptions made for valid medical reasons (not allowed to drink).  A doctor’s letter and other documentation is needed for that.  I’m not sure how complicated/difficult that one is.

 

Remember, the beverage package lets you buy any drink as well - not just alcoholic.

 

Hope this helps.

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7 hours ago, cruises42 said:

What does HAL call the card key (Carnival is Sail & Sign, RCCL is Set sail pass)?

 

I haven’t noticed it called a name.  Usually the server just asks for my card/room card.

 

 

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3 hours ago, scotslizzy said:

Drink Package Question

 

We are still not decided on the drinks package for both of us and was surprised about the restriction on both parties have to purchase the drinks package or not at all.

But I notice they have a card you can purchase for 250 dollars .So can this card be used for all types of drink including tea and coffee in the dutch café ? Ideally    my husband would use the beverage package and I would get the card for the smaller amount but I guess that is a no no.

Any help with this one ?

 

Thanks

Scotslizzy 

HAL rules require every person over 21 in your cabin has to buy the SBP. Just buying a beverage card for one and the SBP for the other will not work. Also unless you can buy the beverage card at a discount, there is not advantage to having one since the full price of what ever drink you buy plus 15% gratuity is deducted from the card balance at time of purchase. The people who buy them use it as a way to control what they spend on the cruise so they have no huge surprises at the end. At a cost of close to $50pp per day the SBP is not a good deal if only one of you drinks any alcohol including wine. Do the math, most bar drinks are under $9 and at happy hours in bars the second drink is only $2. Specialty coffees and espresso cost around $4.

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8 hours ago, Chergs said:

Are nice men’s shorts allowed in the MDR for dinner and also for gala dinners?

HAL's suggested dress code for dinners in MDR and specialty restaurants  are long pants and collared shirts for men. Non distressed jeans are also allowed for men and women.This doesn't mean you will not see shorts or distressed jeans, it is pretty much up to the restaurant mangers on each ship to set how far they will go to enforce the dress code. For Gala Nights  the dress is still as above with the exception of jeans, you will still see a minority of passengers in coats and ties or Tuxes for men. 

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4 hours ago, terrydtx said:

Also unless you can buy the beverage card at a discount, there is not advantage to having one since the full price of what ever drink you buy plus 15% gratuity is deducted from the card balance at time of purchase.

Oh yes there is!

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We recently went on a 10 cruise where we did not take the drink package, but we did pre-buy a bottle of rum for our state room.  I'm not a big drinker, but I enjoy a glass of wine.  We brought two bottles of wine on board as per the rules. We ordered a glass of wine and bottle or two of beer at dinner. (Averaged about $8-$9 each). When we went to lunch in port we'd often enjoy an adult beverage.  A beverage package wouldn't have been beneficial to us.  Two other couples in our group had the beverage package and they said that they felt pressured to drink more to make sure that they got their money's worth.  Think about how many drinks you plan on having daily and do the math.  There is a limit on how much each drink can cost, so I think if you're planning to drink less than 8-9 drinks a day, the package isn't an advantage, except to say I didn't have to worry about it. 

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Thanks to all the replies. We do not sail until Sept so still time toe consider.

Scotslizzy

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Is it possible to get lunch package on the Nieuw Statendam? We going for some hikes in Norway during our cruise and want to take food from the ship if possible... Do they offer this? 

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19 minutes ago, TheChiefNL said:

Is it possible to get lunch package on the Nieuw Statendam? We going for some hikes in Norway during our cruise and want to take food from the ship if possible... Do they offer this? 

 

Most countries do not permit food to be brought off the ship.  In fact, it’s more rare than common that you can.

 

You can take off pre-package food that is vacuum packed, sealed or hermetically sealed (ie crackers (they are sealed with 2 in a pack, energy bars, etc.).

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New to HAL, and on the KDam next May and we have the SBP, my question is, can you use this in the Dutch cafe for their coffees or is there a charge ? Many thanks 

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5 minutes ago, meeann said:

New to HAL, and on the KDam next May and we have the SBP, my question is, can you use this in the Dutch cafe for their coffees or is there a charge ? Many thanks 

Yes it is good for all specialty coffees at any venue.

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1 hour ago, christinand said:

Does Hal ever put discounts on excursions? It is 2 months before my cruise and not sure if to book.

 

They do periodically - around 5 or 10% but from what I have seen there are no ‘last minute sales’.

 

The periodic discounts are due to a promotion and available long before you cruise.

 

They are few and far between IME.  

 

If there is a tour you really want, book it.  It could be sold out when you get on board.  If there are several that you can choose from and there is not a priority then wait until you are on board if you like.  Don’t be surprised that the price is the same and some are not available.

 

I’m not a big HAL shore excursion fan but we do book some and if I want one, I book it so we have it 🙂 

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Is it possible to get on the deck in front of the bridge (Nieuw Statendam)? Don't know how you call it.... If so, ho do you get there?

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If a ship is birthed in port and departs at say 5 pm. What time do you have to be back for re-embarkation?

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27 minutes ago, PaulineW said:

If a ship is birthed in port and departs at say 5 pm. What time do you have to be back for re-embarkation?

4:30. Reboarding is generally 1/2 hour prior to sailing. If you are tendering, then the last tender can be earlier, depending on how long the ride is. There is a sign at the gangway reminding you of the due back on board time.

It's a good idea to plan to be back earlier than all-aboard time.

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Tx Ruth. I asked the same question of my travel agent and they came back and said I had to be ONBOARD by 4 pm. This of course would mean I’d have to be at the dock around 3.30 to go through re-embarkation process. (My assumption of course that it’d take half an hour.). I thought that was excessive as by the time you get off the ship it certainly cuts down on the time you have in port!

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8 minutes ago, PaulineW said:

Tx Ruth. I asked the same question of my travel agent and they came back and said I had to be ONBOARD by 4 pm. This of course would mean I’d have to be at the dock around 3.30 to go through re-embarkation process. (My assumption of course that it’d take half an hour.). I thought that was excessive as by the time you get off the ship it certainly cuts down on the time you have in port!

If you are in line to reboard on time, the gangway isn't going to be pulled up before you get all the way aboard.
Many times a tour bus (or two) pulls up at the last minute. Trust me, there's a line! But it moves quickly.

That said, I would never deliberately cut it that close.

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