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

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27 minutes ago, Jacaluke said:

Another question re the bottle of wine we are allowed to bring on board - are there fridges in the cabin to chill the wine as I'm thinking of bringing a bottle of champagne?  We are sailing on the Maasdam - many thanks.

On the Maasdam, the cabins with a veranda have a fridge. The inside and outside cabins can rent one for $2/day. 

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Just ask for an ice bucket at the same time you ask for glasses from room service. The fridge probably won't get it cold enough anyway

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52 minutes ago, Jacaluke said:

Another question re the bottle of wine we are allowed to bring on board - are there fridges in the cabin to chill the wine as I'm thinking of bringing a bottle of champagne?  We are sailing on the Maasdam - many thanks.

It depends on your room. But if it does not come with a fridge, you can rent one for your room for $2 a day.

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9 hours ago, Jacaluke said:

Another question re the bottle of wine we are allowed to bring on board - are there fridges in the cabin to chill the wine as I'm thinking of bringing a bottle of champagne?  We are sailing on the Maasdam - many thanks.

Yes the Verandah and up category cabins have a fridge but it is not very cold, more of a cooler but it will keep bottles of water and soda cool enough to drink. We have our cabin steward empty the cooler the day we board and fill it with bottles of drinking water we bring on board or buy on the ship. On the Noordam last July we bought a package bottled water deal on board, 6 liter bottles of Evian water for $24 and put them in the cooler for storage. This was a good deal since we did not have time after getting off the plane in Vancouver to buy any to bring on board. 

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7 hours ago, terrydtx said:

Yes the Verandah and up category cabins have a fridge but it is not very cold, more of a cooler but it will keep bottles of water and soda cool enough to drink. We have our cabin steward empty the cooler the day we board and fill it with bottles of drinking water we bring on board or buy on the ship. On the Noordam last July we bought a package bottled water deal on board, 6 liter bottles of Evian water for $24 and put them in the cooler for storage. This was a good deal since we did not have time after getting off the plane in Vancouver to buy any to bring on board. 

 

A few years ago I measured the  HAL minibar temps with an infrared thermometer as 43 degrees at the back and 48 degrees in the door.  Not good for long-term food storage but good enough for my Ziploc bag of sliced cheese from the Lido Market breakfast until later in the day.  Good temp for the breakfast granola parfaits, too.  The temp is fine for my Diet Mt Dew.

 

There is an underground mall (Waterfront Mall under the Fairmont Hotel) across the street from the Vancouver cruise terminal with lots of shops to buy almost anything (wine, toiletries, clothing, food, shoes, as well as an H&R Block to pay your taxes).  It is a good choice for water, Pepsi products, wine, Cheetos, etc.)

 

Here is a link to what is available in the mall:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/place/canada/vancouver-bc/waterfront-mall

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18 minutes ago, oceanfan1212 said:

Hi I was wondering if HAL had internet packages and if so, how much are they?

 

They do have internet packages.

 

If you pre-purchase on line, there is normally a discount for the premium package.

 

Otherwise, rates depend on the length of your cruise.

 

there are 3 packages.  The bottom is of no use unless all you want is FB and a few permitted social sites.  You need the middle or top package for email, internet, etc.

 

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On 1/2/2015 at 2:09 PM, kazu said:

 

right now it can technically be in your checked luggage. However, rafinmd just reported on his live thread that he was called to the "naughty" room so they could open up his suitcase to see his soda.

 

If you are not bringing a lot on, I would be tempted to carry it on. Otherwise check it and be prepared.

 

Remember, you don't have to bring it all on at embarkation. Depending upon your ports of call and availability of you soda, you can bring all the soda you want at every port of call - no problem at all.

 

hope this helps 😄

I phoned HAL about this question and was told I could bring my own non-alcoholic mixers and water/soda, but that I was not to give it to the porters to carry and must carry it myself.  We're bringing two cases of water, plus our allowed wine and two bottles of MaiTai mix.  Instead of a drink package, we opted for  a less expensive option of purchasing spirits by the bottle in advance from HAL.  We ended up buying two vodka and a rum, plus two eight bottle wine packages and it cost about a third of what a drink package would have.

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I was told you can only bring sodas on at embarkation, not at every port.  The wine also at embarkation, but that I understand because there is a limit of one bottle per person.  Sodas are unlimited, but they told me only allowed on the first day..

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8 minutes ago, gadgetlady said:

I was told you can only bring sodas on at embarkation, not at every port.  The wine also at embarkation, but that I understand because there is a limit of one bottle per person.  Sodas are unlimited, but they told me only allowed on the first day..

 

You can bring them on at every port.  Wine is also unlimited but only the first bottle is corkage free if you are drinking it in your stateroom.  All additional bottles have an $18 corkage fee per bottle.  If you bring aboard wine to bring home (at any port) you will leave it with boarding staff to store for the duration of the cruise and they will return it to your room the night before disembarkation.  There is no cost for this service.

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On 12/15/2019 at 6:58 AM, eculmone said:

😂 knife/fork - check; napkin - check 🍴

Strangely, on our numerous cruises, neither dh or

I has gained weight.  I think that is because we know that we can have anything at any time, so we do not want it then.

 

Edited by Oregon Cruiser Lady

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We have done numerous cruises but none on HAL.  We will do one this fall.  I have never done internet on a ship, but I would like to do it on this cruise, as it is a long one, and we would like to watch football games via our Dish anywhere which gives us all of our channels anywhere in the world.  We will be sailing on the Koningsdam.  My question is, is the internet/wifi on this ship fast enough for us to watch video using their service?

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4 hours ago, Oregon Cruiser Lady said:

We have done numerous cruises but none on HAL.  We will do one this fall.  I have never done internet on a ship, but I would like to do it on this cruise, as it is a long one, and we would like to watch football games via our Dish anywhere which gives us all of our channels anywhere in the world.  We will be sailing on the Koningsdam.  My question is, is the internet/wifi on this ship fast enough for us to watch video using their service?

 

You will need the premium service to watch streaming/videos.

 

That internet package is available to purchase pre cruise for most cruises and is cheaper than buying it on board.

 

Internet on the ships is not as fast as at home.  If things are favourable you will be able to stream and watch your foot ball games.  On our last cruise, DH wanted to watch soccer games on sea days.  It worked at times but other times it did not.  It could have been our ship or our location for the satellite but just to let you know that it may be sporadic.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Oregon Cruiser Lady said:

I have never done internet on a ship, but I would like to do it on this cruise, as it is a long one, and we would like to watch football games via our Dish anywhere which gives us all of our channels anywhere in the world.  We will be sailing on the Koningsdam. 

Some NFL and NCAA games will be available on the ship's TV stations. The ship carries ESPN, which has Monday Night Football. There is a 'special events' station which will carry some of the NFL games on Sunday (I don't know about Thursday), but they may not be the games you want to see. I have stumbled across NCAA games on Saturday, and reruns of some of them on ESPN later on. 

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2 hours ago, Oregon Cruiser Lady said:

Thank you, kazu and RuthC, for your valuable tips and information!  I will get the premium service and hope for the best.  

 

We have just come back from a two week trip on Noordam and the internet was truly abysmal - there were lots of complaints. We Australians were trying to stream the cricket. and it just wasn't possible. Try it by all means but don't get your hopes up.

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What is outstanding about HAL which makes it unique and different from Princess, celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival ?

How is the westerdam for an Asian Cruise?

Thanks

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4 hours ago, drsel said:

What is outstanding about HAL which makes it unique and different from Princess, celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival ?

Well, HAL is certainly quieter and more dignified than Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Carnival. You won't hear staff encouraging passengers to get louder. 
If quiet is your thing, HAL might work for you. If you want noise---HAL is not the line you're looking for. 

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As always Ruth is measured and reasoned in her comments.

My view is that HAL is a throwback to an earlier more refined cruising experience . The ships are small (by today's standards) ,  the food is great but less adventurous then say Celebrity . You will not get skating , bumper cars , or rock climbing walls . You will get nice places to read a book , warm experienced staff and fellow cruisers and a classical music trio to enjoy .You seldom feel like a pinata with constant upsells and various new and varied ways to make you spend a bit more onboard .

I am not wedded to any cruise line having experienced 6 in only 12 cruises . Holland most exceeded my cruise expectations .  

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I agree with Richstowe.  In my opinion HAL has smaller ships, so it's more like a small town.  The lines with larger ships I would liken to a big city.  There will be less choices in entertainment and courses/classes.  The crowd tends to be older and more laid back.  There will be less people in line for activities, but there also won't be as many choices.  The food has always been excellent, the service is friendly and more personalized.  My 20 year old son likened his one trip on HAL as a floating nursing home, but he said it with a laugh.  If you are looking to be constantly entertained while on board, or you enjoy rowdy activities, it's probably not your idea of a great vacation.  If you enjoy quieter activities like going to the fitness center, massages, great places to curl up with a book, or to play cards/games in one of the lounges, swim in the pool or lay poolside that's more the HAL style.  The evening entertainment will be geared to the middle age crowd, but there won't be many kids running up and down the hallways either.  I forgot to add that smaller ships can get into more smaller ports of call, and some without the need for a tender. 

Edited by rboysinmt
addition

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15 minutes ago, rboysinmt said:

I agree with Richstowe.  In my opinion HAL has smaller ships, so it's more like a small town.  The lines with larger ships I would liken to a big city.  There will be less choices in entertainment and courses/classes.  The crowd tends to be older and more laid back.  There will be less people in line for activities, but there also won't be as many choices.  The food has always been excellent, the service is friendly and more personalized.  My 20 year old son likened his one trip on HAL as a floating nursing home, but he said it with a laugh.  If you are looking to be constantly entertained while on board, or you enjoy rowdy activities, it's probably not your idea of a great vacation.  If you enjoy quieter activities like going to the fitness center, massages, great places to curl up with a book, or to play cards/games in one of the lounges, swim in the pool or lay poolside that's more the HAL style.  The evening entertainment will be geared to the middle age crowd, but there won't be many kids running up and down the hallways either.  I forgot to add that smaller ships can get into more smaller ports of call, and some without the need for a tender. 

This is all great news, my daughter in law and I are looking forward to some quiet time.   This will be our first time on HAL, we have experienced most of the other lines.    Excited for the change.

 

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We put down our deposit, then we read that HAL had been bought out by Carnival!  Many folks here have mentioned that things have been going down recently -- few if any productions, worse food, etc.  I'm still trying to find out if they still have a separate vegetarian menu anymore, but no one has responded yet.  Question for those of you who've taken HAL in earlier years and have also experienced it recently:  Do you notice a difference in offerings, food, etc.?

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1 minute ago, Oregon Cruiser Lady said:

We put down our deposit, then we read that HAL had been bought out by Carnival!  

Carnival bought HAL in 1989. There's been lots of changes in the last three decades 😉 

 

Rest assured, I can confirm there's a vegetarian menu in the MDR still, in addition to daily vegetarian selections on every menu. I saw it in use in December.

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