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

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One thing I forget to tell you is that there are no straws available. So bring your own especially if you order a frozen drink

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19 minutes ago, clerksteno1 said:

We just came back from a land/sea Alaskas cruise and had a Neptune Suite. There is no limit to the amount of laundry you can have cleaned.  Your steward will give you a different bag to put it in as it is complimentary. When we first arrived on the ship we had 8 days of laundry to have cleaned. The steward arrived with a huge (Santa size) sack to put our clothes in. You fill out a form that has items listed and you put down how many of each you're giving them to clean.  I just made piles on the bed and counted each shirt, jeans, socks etc. We had our laundry back the next morning and it was great. We could continue to give them laundry until 10 am the day before you leave the ship. So if you do that the only laundry you'll have when you get home is what you wear the day before you disembark and what you sleep in. I thought it was a great perk and well worth considering a suite again on our next cruise. Now the Neptune Lounge. Ours was open from 7 am until 8:30 PM. For breakfast they have bagels, toast, yogurts, fruit and muffins. On the idea of a continental breakfast. They had a coffee machine and you could have cappuccino, lattes, hot chocolate, and they had 8 teas to choose from.  There were also juices to choose from. At around lunch time they had little plates with various items from shrimp salad, hard boiled eggs, yogurt along with cookies muffins etc. There is alcohol there but it's an honor bar and they will charge your room. The concierge will make all your dinner reservations and take care of any needs you may have. Ours was great. Very dedicated to making sure we had a great time. Don't forget you can have breakfast in the Pinnacle Restaurant if you want, There you can get full breakfasts and the food was great. The staff will be very attentive. I hope this helps.

 

Thanks.

Yes, at this early stage prior to our first HAL cruise, all of this is very helpful.

Those cookies and muffins are a mixed blessing, unfortunately... you know... arriving as passengers, and leaving as cargo 😮

 

Do they happen to have cans (or better yet, bottles) of Diet Coke in the Neptune Lounge?  Bottles of San Pellegrino, by any chance?  (or any sparkling water?)

 

Many thanks!

 

GC

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Yes they do have Diet Coke in cans and had San Peligrino also but you pay extra for it.  Just remember that you can bring Diet Coke on board with you. There is a fridge in the suite and you can always get ice.

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On 7/16/2019 at 8:11 AM, RuthC said:

Oh yes there is!

Ruth, can you tell me why you feel that it is an advantage to buy a beverage card.  I usually get the SBP but on HAL it cost roughly CAD$70 a day and I usually don't have more than 5 drinks a day so I'm not sure it is worth it. 

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29 minutes ago, darstamp said:

Ruth, can you tell me why you feel that it is an advantage to buy a beverage card.  I usually get the SBP but on HAL it cost roughly CAD$70 a day and I usually don't have more than 5 drinks a day so I'm not sure it is worth it. 

 

Not Ruth, but I like the beverage card since a) there is no extra charge to try to reconcile on my bill, b) I can choose what I want to drink and not worry about the limit applied to a beverage package and c) what isn’t used is refundable.  5 drinks is really debatable on whether the SBP is worth it or not.  If you don’t get non alcoholic drinks and take advantage of happy hour, it’s probably borderline.  Otherwise, it’s not worth it IMO.

 

There are a couple of nice wines by the glass that we enjoy but they don’t qualify under the signature or elite beverage package.  So, we go at happy hour and order and get them for nearly the price of a regular cheap glass of wine.  You can’t do that with SBP, you can with the beverage card.

 

The last reason I like the beverage card is that I purchase it on line when I “think” the exchange rate is as good as it’s going to get.  It can be an advantage to ‘choose’ a time rather than be the victim of the exchange rate on the day you happen to disembark (I’m Canadian).

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2 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

Not Ruth, but I like the beverage card since a) there is no extra charge to try to reconcile on my bill, b) I can choose what I want to drink and not worry about the limit applied to a beverage package and c) what isn’t used is refundable.  5 drinks is really debatable on whether the SBP is worth it or not.  If you don’t get non alcoholic drinks and take advantage of happy hour, it’s probably borderline.  Otherwise, it’s not worth it IMO.

 

There are a couple of nice wines by the glass that we enjoy but they don’t qualify under the signature or elite beverage package.  So, we go at happy hour and order and get them for nearly the price of a regular cheap glass of wine.  You can’t do that with SBP, you can with the beverage card.

 

The last reason I like the beverage card is that I purchase it on line when I “think” the exchange rate is as good as it’s going to get.  It can be an advantage to ‘choose’ a time rather than be the victim of the exchange rate on the day you happen to disembark (I’m Canadian).

Very helpful, thanks.

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We disembarked yesterday from the Zaandam and although we enjoyed the Canada cruise, we were disappointed with the small size of our deck 6 Vista "Suite". We previously sailed the Statendam in a Vista Suite and had adequate room for two people.  The description on HALs web site shows the Zaandam Vista Suite from 297 to 379 sq.ft.  I'm sure our cabin was not 297 sq ft even with the balcony.

 

We have three cruises booked with HAL over the next 10 months and I am now concerned about my cabin selections. (I have signature suites booked on the Eurodam and Oosterdam.)  HAL shows the Eurodam Signature Suite from 273 to 456 sq ft - that's a big difference! Does anyone know how one can find out the size of a specific cabin?

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21 minutes ago, Cajuntraveler said:

I have signature suites booked on the Eurodam and Oosterdam.)  HAL shows the Eurodam Signature Suite from 273 to 456 sq ft - that's a big difference! Does anyone know how one can find out the size of a specific cabin?

 

Your best bet is to look at the deck plans.  Normally the bigger Signature Suites are HC or some afts, I believe.

 

Generally speaking, Signature Suites are a good size in my experience.  They are usually at least 1.5 times the size of a verandah.   You’ll have a separate shower + the bathtub area and double sinks.  There’s plenty of room in them.

 

Keep in mind on the smaller ships, while they might be called Vista Suites, they are nothing more really than verandah cabins.

 

I honestly haven’t seen one that is 273 square feet and I’ve seen a few 😉 

They are about 1/4 smaller than a Neptune Suite.  I’d estimate them around 350 - 375 feet (with verandah).  I’ve never seen an uncomfortable one but definitely check the deck plans and take a look at HALFacts dot com.  Lots of pics of Signature suites on it (all the vista categories are basically the same as are the Signature) so you will get a good feel for different cabins.

 

Hope this helps.

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3 hours ago, darstamp said:

Ruth, can you tell me why you feel that it is an advantage to buy a beverage card.  I usually get the SBP but on HAL it cost roughly CAD$70 a day and I usually don't have more than 5 drinks a day so I'm not sure it is worth it. 

I have about one drink a day, rarely two, but I take cruises of about 30 days, or so. Over the course of a cruise that would be a similar number of drink slips to proof out on the last morning when I am checking my bill. 
With the beverage card I have only the one charge (rarely 2) to proof out. That saves a lot of time and concentration when I am trying to dress, eat, and finish the last of the packing. Makes it easier on me. 

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13 hours ago, kazu said:

 

Your best bet is to look at the deck plans.  Normally the bigger Signature Suites are HC or some afts, I believe.

 

Generally speaking, Signature Suites are a good size in my experience.  They are usually at least 1.5 times the size of a verandah.   You’ll have a separate shower + the bathtub area and double sinks.  There’s plenty of room in them.

 

Keep in mind on the smaller ships, while they might be called Vista Suites, they are nothing more really than verandah cabins.

 

I honestly haven’t seen one that is 273 square feet and I’ve seen a few 😉 

They are about 1/4 smaller than a Neptune Suite.  I’d estimate them around 350 - 375 feet (with verandah).  I’ve never seen an uncomfortable one but definitely check the deck plans and take a look at HALFacts dot com.  Lots of pics of Signature suites on it (all the vista categories are basically the same as are the Signature) so you will get a good feel for different cabins.

 

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the info!

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I have a question regarding fixed vs open dining. I booked via the HAL website a couple of months ago, and don't ever recall being asked which dining option I preferred. I noticed on my confirmation email that I was assigned open dining (which frankly, I'm OK with as I would have chosen that anyway). Just curious why I wasn't given the choice. Is it because open dining is the default option, or is it because the fixed dining option was already fully booked? 

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8 hours ago, viajante74 said:

I have a question regarding fixed vs open dining. I booked via the HAL website a couple of months ago, and don't ever recall being asked which dining option I preferred. I noticed on my confirmation email that I was assigned open dining (which frankly, I'm OK with as I would have chosen that anyway). Just curious why I wasn't given the choice. Is it because open dining is the default option, or is it because the fixed dining option was already fully booked? 

It is possible that fixed dining was already booked and sold out at the time you booked.

Edited by terrydtx

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10 hours ago, viajante74 said:

I have a question regarding fixed vs open dining. I booked via the HAL website a couple of months ago, and don't ever recall being asked which dining option I preferred. I noticed on my confirmation email that I was assigned open dining (which frankly, I'm OK with as I would have chosen that anyway). Just curious why I wasn't given the choice. Is it because open dining is the default option, or is it because the fixed dining option was already fully booked? 

 

2 hours ago, terrydtx said:

It is possible that fixed dining was already booked and sold out at the time you booked.

 

Along with that if you booked a Collectors’ cruise, fixed dining is waitlisted at the beginning whereas open is readily available.

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HAL defaults to open seating. It's only one of their many methods of subtle discouragement of fixed dining. 

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Most cruises we ask for late, fixed seating at a large table, that way we know where our table is, who the wait staff are and we have always been lucky and have had great table mates & wonderful conversations over dinner. 

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Just wondering as I am buying my beverage cards. Can I purchase an additional beverage card onboard the Nieuw Statendam in the event that I run out on the prepurchased card? I know that if I overbuy, I'll get my money back, but was wondering if I underbuy. 😉 Thanks!

Edited by Dismomx5

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4 hours ago, Dismomx5 said:

Just wondering as I am buying my beverage cards. Can I purchase an additional beverage card onboard the Nieuw Statendam in the event that I run out on the prepurchased card? I know that if I overbuy, I'll get my money back, but was wondering if I underbuy. 😉 Thanks!

Sure can! HAL will be pleased to sell you a card so you can purchase more drinks easily. 

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2 hours ago, RuthC said:

Sure can! HAL will be pleased to sell you a card so you can purchase more drinks easily. 

Thanks Ruth! That will make the pre-cruise buy a bit cheaper! 🍹

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Not booked a HAL cruise yet but been looking , as a couple in our early 40's with a 13 year old would the Koningsdam be ok.

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16 minutes ago, never_cruised said:

Not booked a HAL cruise yet but been looking , as a couple in our early 40's with a 13 year old would the Koningsdam be ok.

Absolutely, and they have a club HAL for just teens that your 13 year old will enjoy.

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11 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

Absolutely, and they have a club HAL for just teens that your 13 year old will enjoy.

Ok cool thanks for replying.

 

Another question if I may.

 

Upon reading the reviews on this ship there seems a lot of people saying they found the pool deck hard to find seating and the World Stage hard to get a place.

 

Are these fair comments ?

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27 minutes ago, never_cruised said:

Ok cool thanks for replying.

 

Another question if I may.

 

Upon reading the reviews on this ship there seems a lot of people saying they found the pool deck hard to find seating and the World Stage hard to get a place.

 

Are these fair comments ?

I have not been on the Koningsdam, but on any ship or cruise line we have sailed the pool deck will always be crowded and seating can be hard to find. The exceptions are cold weather cruises like the Alaska cruise we were on in July, the pool deck was not so crowded, even with the pool cover closed. We did a Celebrity Mediterranean cruise and on sea days the pool deck was very crowded after 9 am. The world stage will be full unless you get there at least 30 minutes before show starts. That is true for any cruise we have been on too.

 

Hope this helps.

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We are on a cruise on the Maasdam in January and we have got a Lanai cabin CA370 - it is directly below the galley.  I'm just a bit worried about noise - has anybody stayed under the galley and if so how bad was the noise?  Thanks.

 

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11 hours ago, Jacaluke said:

We are on a cruise on the Maasdam in January and we have got a Lanai cabin CA370 - it is directly below the galley.  I'm just a bit worried about noise - has anybody stayed under the galley and if so how bad was the noise?  Thanks.

 

I haven’t stayed in that cabin nor under the galley simply because it is one location I would not choose to stay.

 

The disturbance can be considerable.  There have been a number of posts by people who were under the galley with negative comments.

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