Jump to content

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


Host Walt
 Share

Recommended Posts

22 minutes ago, Omilona said:

Thanks, guys. For a ship the size of Westerdam, how much time should I allow for wait time for the tender to get back on the boat for departure? Dare  I assume if there are dozens of people still waiting for a tender that the ship does not depart? As a related question, if the ship embarks from Barcelona at 5 pm, what is the window of time between check in starting and the ship embarking? We are flying overnight  from NYC, so realistically landing between 9:30 and 11:30 am. so could we go straight to the ship?

Planning on arriving in Barcelona from NYC the morning of your departure is, in my opinion, a bad idea.  Perhaps you should consider arriving in Barcelona a day or two before departure.

 

If there are dozens of people waiting for the tender back to the ship, they won’t be leaving without you.

 

Typically, the wait time for a tender to return to the ship is not nearly as long as the wait time to get from the ship to shore.  People tend to return to the ship on a more gradual, unhurried pace unlike the mad dash to get ashore upon arrival at the port.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Omilona said:

As a related question, if the ship embarks from Barcelona at 5 pm, what is the window of time between check in starting and the ship embarking? We are flying overnight  from NYC, so realistically landing between 9:30 and 11:30 am. so could we go straight to the ship?

 

12 hours ago, d9704011 said:

Planning on arriving in Barcelona from NYC the morning of your departure is, in my opinion, a bad idea.  Perhaps you should consider arriving in Barcelona a day or two before departure.

Agree . Flying to Europe day of the cruise is unwise although doable . Barcelona is a great city and the three days we spent there pre-cruise was perhaps the highlight of our last Med cruise . Incredible sights, food and people . Very reasonable too .

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, richstowe said:

 

Agree . Flying to Europe day of the cruise is unwise although doable . Barcelona is a great city and the three days we spent there pre-cruise was perhaps the highlight of our last Med cruise . Incredible sights, food and people . Very reasonable too .

Now that we are retired, we always spend a day or more at the departure and arrival cities in  Europe just to see the sights.  This also gives time to get over jet lag before the cruise starts. We have 22 nights of cruising booked in September with 10 nights on land at the various departure and arrival ports. In 2008 we did a RT cruise out of Barcelona and flew in day of departure and home day of arrival and all we saw of Barcelona was the 2 bus rides from and to the airport.  We were still working then and very limited on vacation time.

Edited by terrydtx
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/26/2021 at 8:52 AM, richstowe said:

 

Agree . Flying to Europe day of the cruise is unwise although doable . Barcelona is a great city and the three days we spent there pre-cruise was perhaps the highlight of our last Med cruise . Incredible sights, food and people . Very reasonable too .

Absolutely! I'd find it very stressful to come in the day of. As for Barcelona, I had no desire to visit the city when we cruised in 2019, but DH and I did a walking tour. I fell in love with the architecture and history. And I'd love to go back again!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we took the inaugural cruise of the Nieuw Statendam out of Civitavecchia, we came three days early and explored the lovely little port city.  We had been there several times before but just were passing through.  Having the time to walk around, visit the market, the port and the sending church for the mission to Japan was so worth it.  We did a similar thing in Barcelona with similar results.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Ok, so the current plan is to fly overnight the 30th arriving 6:45 am  on the 31st, check into the Melia to sleep for a few hours and then have that afternoon and most of the 1st to see/eat in Barcelona. If the departure time is 5 pm, what time do they start checking in? Would it not make the most sense to check in with the luggage as early as possible and then go sightsee? Thanks everyone! So excited for this trip!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Omilona said:

Ok, so the current plan is to fly overnight the 30th arriving 6:45 am  on the 31st, check into the Melia to sleep for a few hours and then have that afternoon and most of the 1st to see/eat in Barcelona. If the departure time is 5 pm, what time do they start checking in? Would it not make the most sense to check in with the luggage as early as possible and then go sightsee? Thanks everyone! So excited for this trip!

 

Your boarding pass will say 1 pm but normally check in has started at 11 am.  that all may change with covid.  I suspect everyone will get pre-boarding times and a time slot to arrive in or come much later.  We need to wait and see how that pans out.

 

Now, that being said, I see no reason why you can’t go there earlier just to check your luggage - but the cheaper options (as opposed to a taxi back and forth) is just to ask your hotel to hold your luggage for you and pick it up later when you are done sight seeing.

Melia is a nice hotel usually.  If they have the red rooms available for booking, they are great with the perks 😉 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/17/2014 at 7:47 PM, Host Walt said:

Every cruise line has its own standards, styles, techniques, idiosyncrasies, traditions and other characteristics that are unique. It has been suggested that we set up a sticky thread for folks who are new to Holland America but not necessarily new cruisers. Contributions by folks who have sailed on other lines as well as on HAL would be appreciated.

 

This thread is not intended to replace individual threads discussing specific issues. Rather it is intended to point out things that might be helpful to those who are cruising on Holland America for the first time.

 

My favorite user manuals for computers and associated software are the "Dummies" series, so that's the title I chose for this thread.

 

By the way, thus is not intended to replace the HAL Facts thread which has a different purpose.

 

Here's a thread on the First Time Cruisers board that may give you some ideas...but make sure your posts are specific to HAL. "I wish I knew before..."

Well, we are new to Holland America; usually cruise on Celebrity.  Does Holland charge a fee for room service?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, HappyCamper49 said:

Well, we are new to Holland America; usually cruise on Celebrity.  Does Holland charge a fee for room service?

 

For most items, no. But there is a charge for some menu items depending on what you want. For reference, here is a room service menu from a pre-pandemic sailing, and the menu is consistent throughout their fleet.

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Room-Service.pdf

 

Edited by KroozNut
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/15/2021 at 10:49 PM, KroozNut said:

 

For most items, no. But there is a charge for some menu items depending on what you want. For reference, here is a room service menu from a pre-pandemic sailing, and the menu is consistent throughout their fleet.

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Room-Service.pdf

 

Thank you!  We are senior citizens and HAL will be a change for us.  Hoping to meet more friendly cruisers!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you purchase the wine packages after boarding.  I suspect the answer will be yes, but they are more expensive. If that is your answer, then my question is, How much more expensive? Please be as specific as possible. I'm booked on the World Cruise so it will be difficult to judge how many bottles in advance. I'll have to add more along the way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, dropframe said:

Can you purchase the wine packages after boarding.  I suspect the answer will be yes, but they are more expensive. If that is your answer, then my question is, How much more expensive? Please be as specific as possible. I'm booked on the World Cruise so it will be difficult to judge how many bottles in advance. I'll have to add more along the way.

 

You can purchase the wine packages on board and they are NOT more expensive.  Same price.  Pricing you see on line is with the bar service charge included.  Pricing on board will show the package cost and wine stewards’ service charge is added to it.

 

You can purchase wine packages on day 1 or any day on entire cruise. 🙂 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, we are HAL virgins and would appreciate the benefit of your collective experience.

This will be a three generation family trip replacing a covid cancelled Celebrity cruise last year. Our grandchildren ( ages 12 & 9) are with us and this enquiry is largely on their behalf. We sail from Ft Lauderdale in April next year for 7 days on the new Rotterdam.

Important question number one- Is there free ice cream? Princess serves whipped ice cream on the pool deck, Celebrity offers a scoop counter at the entrance to the buffet open all day. What can we expect on Rotterdam?

Can the youngsters expect company of similar age in the first week of April?

For the adults if we book specialty dining in advance what is a sensible time in case there is something on the world stage we do not want to miss? (we normally eat about 6:30-7:00ish)

Thanks Tony & Lorna

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Tony & Lorna!

 

So glad to hear that you're giving HAL a try, I'm quite sure that you will enjoy the experience. We have had a 3 generation trip ourselves several times and everyone really loved the experience and can't wait to get back to cruising. Our grandsons were a little older (14 & 19 on their 1st cruise) and they ran all over the ship the moment that we got on. They even spent a lot of time in their cabin watching movies & enjoying room service. Great guy time together.

HAL will have a self serve soft ice cream station as well as a hand dipped selection in the Lido Market (buffet). I assume they will still offer that after COVID, maybe someone who sails in the interim can fill you in more.

As far as the specialty dining, I would advise trying to get to the restaurant by 6:00ish. The restaurants are usually excellent and you don't want to rush through the experience. The World Stage shows start at 8:00 (if memory serves me) so you will want to arrive around 7:30 to get good seats, even though there really aren't any bad seats that I've experienced.

Not sure how much company of a similar age to your grandchildren you'll see in April, but you should see at least some other children. Many schools will have their "Spring" breaks during that time, but it's kind of spread out over the month so I wouldn't expect the ship to be covered up in kids like on some other cruise lines. Again, others who have sailed during April can probably speak to this better that I can (we typically cruise over the Christmas holiday). Either way, your grandchildren will have a great time I'm sure.

 

Wishing you a great family trip!

 

Ray & Nancy Bishop

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello.  My husband and I are experienced cruisers, but usually travel or RCCL or X.  Chose HAL for the VOV itenerary.  Can't wait.  Does HAL provide shampoo and hairdryers in all cabins?  Do they offer port talks & cruise tour reviews?  What is their tour cancellation policy?  We've chosen our tours and I want to book now (want to get before they are full, & want to feel we're making progress towards cruising again), but want to be able to change our minds.

 

Thanks in advance for the information.  We're looking forward to our first HAL cruise.  Based on the research I've been doing on HAL, they may become our go to cruise line.

 

Carol & Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/26/2021 at 10:02 PM, ael123 said:

We will be on the 2022 Grand Africa cruise on Zaandam. This cruise is 71 days. We don't drink alcohol but like bottled water and soda pop and specialty coffees and teas. I am reading on line and it sounds like the cost for the packages is per day. Pop, water and specialty coffee packs look like they are $15.95 a day which would mean for a 71 day cruise the cost would be for the two of us about $2,200. This seems crazy. From what I read drink packages must be bought by both people in a cabin. The other thing I need is a laundry package for the cruise. I can't find the price of unlimited laundry for 71 days? And I need an internet packages. I have traveled on Seabourn, Oceania, Viking, and Crystal so I am used to included beverages, internet, and sometimes excursions. I am purchasing this cruise because of the itinerary but am concerned about how much additional money I will need to cover soda pop, water, internet, and laundry. If you have been on HAL grand voyages can you provide insight into the cost of the packages.  Thank you.

I see others have answered most of  your questions.  My husband & I are BIG water drinkers & the tap water always creates problems for us.  We find ordering water by the Gallon Jug delivered to our room is best price.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, CruisingGrandmaW said:

Unless Policy has recently changed ---- NO Holland America does not charge for Room Service.

 

They do charge for some items, as I mentioned above (and enclosed a menu with pricing).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey ya'll,  we normally cruise Celebrity but are considering trying out HAL.  Is there any sort of nightlife?  We enjoy shows in the theatre, and guest lectures, and my old husband likes to stay out dancing.  Does HAL usually have things like that?  Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They have shows in the theatre.  Except for solo acts and stand up that is not my thing so I can't comment on the quality as I don't go for those production shows.

The do have guest lectures and before the crisis it was one of their best features.  However it depends on the cruise you are going on.  The long voyages usually have an excellent slate of lectures.  The shorter cruises to the Caribbean have a few "talks". 

They are trying to make their mark for music venues.  The new bigger ships have an acclaimed line up of music venues with dancing.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, AmberCascades said:

Hey ya'll,  we normally cruise Celebrity but are considering trying out HAL.  Is there any sort of nightlife?  We enjoy shows in the theatre, and guest lectures, and my old husband likes to stay out dancing.  Does HAL usually have things like that?  Thanks.

We love the BB King lounge

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, jonyboy said:

We love the BB King lounge

Guest lectures are usually OK. The shows are only mid level quality. I don’t think HAL invests much $ there. The single shining star is the Lincoln Center Stage. Outstanding! I have not found any thing like it with any other line. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have cruised with both Celebrity and Holland America. HAL is a much quieter experience including fewer announcements. The theatre entertainment on Celebrity is of a higher caliber but we especially enjoy HAL’s Lincoln Center Stage (classical music) and the musical soloists in the evening. Lectures on Holland America are hit or miss. Meals in the main dining room are of a higher quality on Celebrity. Holland America offers a nice afternoon tea.

Link to comment
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
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • ICYMI Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Q&A with Silversea Cruises
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...