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


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38 minutes ago, Darjeeling said:

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.

We have sailed on both and agree with you 100%

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/10/2021 at 11:32 AM, Darjeeling said:

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.

We also have sailed both and have upcoming cruises on both.  For the comparing the same itinerary Celebrity gets our vote, they have special separate restaurants for both Suites and Aqua Class cabins with completely different menus from the MDR. HAL has a joke called Club Orange for suites and those willing to pay more per day in other cabins. We are on the Oosterdam next year for a Greek cruise only because Celebrity did not have a close one to it. We prefer Signature Suites on HAL but nothing close in amenities to a Celebrity Aqua Class cabin or a Sky Suite. Our cruise next month we are in a Sky Suite on the X Equinox. For us side by side Celebrity wins out every time.

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20 hours ago, esimon said:

what is the current gratuities rate for 14 day cruise

 

$15.50 per day for non suite, $17 per day for suite (per person)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry but if I print my luggage tags without the room number may I add it when it’s assigned. Never had a guaranteed cabin before. I knew where it was before we got moved from Rome TA to Barcelona TA. Thanks

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3 hours ago, Chickadee910 said:

Sorry but if I print my luggage tags without the room number may I add it when it’s assigned. Never had a guaranteed cabin before. I knew where it was before we got moved from Rome TA to Barcelona TA. Thanks

 

Yes you can.

 

The only problem with that is that the location for the bags to be loaded will not be on it.  You can also  print at the hotel or just ask for tags at the pier. 

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On 8/8/2021 at 10:15 AM, Chickadee910 said:

Sorry but if I print my luggage tags without the room number may I add it when it’s assigned. Never had a guaranteed cabin before. I knew where it was before we got moved from Rome TA to Barcelona TA. Thanks

I had the same issue on a trans-Atlantic out of Barcelona in Nov. 2019 - the baggage guys at the Terminal will look up your cabin number when you get to the pier and attach new tags.

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We're new to HAL, having sailed Princess, NCL and MSC (twice per line). I have a fairly good understanding of the differences between HAL and the others, but have a few specific questions. I've done searches and found bits and pieces of answers but thought it clearest to just directly ask. Looking at Nieuw Amsterdam and possibly a Neptune Suite, if that makes a difference. I've been following the various NA Alaska threads (glad she's sailing!) but these are definite newbie questions so more appropriate to this topic.

 

1. Are the sofabeds the old-school type with the bar that hits across your back and your head is up in the "sofa" part? OR are they the type where the seat of the sofa lifts out to form half of the bed and the back of the sofa slides down to be the other half of the bed (so you're sleeping longways)? 

 

2. When requesting the special menus I've seen posted (both Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-Free and Indian), do you have to order the evening before or can you just order them when you sit down for the lunch or dinner?

 

3. Here's a super specific one - has anyone taken watercolor or acrylic paints and small canvases on board? I haven't seen that there would be a issue with it based on the HAL site's banned materials, but thought I'd ask. 

 

4. Lastly, in general, are the pools as much of a zoo when finding a lounge chair as the other lines?! Yes, I know my mileage will vary but want to mentally prepare if that will likely be the case!

 

Thanks for your  insights.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi All,

I've identified quite a few excursions that I would like to book from HAL. Is there any advantage to booking them now vs on board? Unlike the actual cruise, one needs to pay them at booking time (refundable). Is it more/less/same amount to book on board? No reason to tie up my credit line  a year in advance  if it's the same to book it on board. Also, can one choose which table they would like in advance in the MDR and reserve it?

Thanks!

Stephanie

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1 hour ago, Omilona said:

Hi All,

I've identified quite a few excursions that I would like to book from HAL. Is there any advantage to booking them now vs on board? Unlike the actual cruise, one needs to pay them at booking time (refundable). Is it more/less/same amount to book on board? No reason to tie up my credit line  a year in advance  if it's the same to book it on board. Also, can one choose which table they would like in advance in the MDR and reserve it?

Thanks!

Stephanie

Shore excursions are the same price to book on board as they are to book in advance. There are two advantages to booking in advance: 1.) you get a spot that might not be available if you wait to book on board, and 2.) you spread your costs out. 
There can be a disadvantage in booking in advance in that more excursions may be added as time goes on, and unless you keep on top of it, you may miss a better opportunity. Personally, I hate doing the same work twice, so once I book, I am done looking. So, I tend to wait until closer to sailing before booking, without waiting to book on board. 

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2 hours ago, Omilona said:

Hi All,

I've identified quite a few excursions that I would like to book from HAL. Is there any advantage to booking them now vs on board? Unlike the actual cruise, one needs to pay them at booking time (refundable). Is it more/less/same amount to book on board? No reason to tie up my credit line  a year in advance  if it's the same to book it on board. Also, can one choose which table they would like in advance in the MDR and reserve it?

Thanks!

Stephanie

If you do not book ASAP, you will miss excursions that have few seats (flying, dog sledding, small boats, etc).  Other excursions may sell out before you board the ship if you wait to book later in your cruise planning.

 

I cannot answer the pre-cruise table selection.  My Dec 30 HAL cruise has a pre-cruise time and date selection option.  I have not heard of anyone being able to book a specific table in advance.

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2 hours ago, Omilona said:

I've identified quite a few excursions that I would like to book from HAL. Is there any advantage to booking them now vs on board? Unlike the actual cruise, one needs to pay them at booking time (refundable). Is it more/less/same amount to book on board? No reason to tie up my credit line  a year in advance  if it's the same to book it on board.

 

One thing you can do is to check every so often to see if they are marked as "Limited capacity" or "Only x seats left." Then book immediately when that appears. That being said, I usually book the one(s) I really, really don't want to miss as soon as possible, balancing how far out the cruise is with our cash flow.

 

As mentioned above, there is no discount for pre-booking. However, last year, I had several excursions booked when HAL had a discount on excursions. One by one, I cancelled and immediately re-booked at the lower rate. Have not seen that promo since.

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3 hours ago, Omilona said:

Also, can one choose which table they would like in advance in the MDR and reserve it?

Thanks!

Stephanie

 

1 hour ago, Crew News said:

 I have not heard of anyone being able to book a specific table in advance.

 

I have certainly booked our table in advance in the past.  Normally I select 3 of them as they can’t guarantee just one.   I used to call ship services but now I ask our TA to put in the request as the last time ship services was a bit hesitant to do it.

 

I am not sure if that is dependent on your cabin category but I don’t think so.

 

MDR maps are available at halfacts.com for the different ships and worth taking a look at.

edited to say - my experience is in fixed dining with table confirming.

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Anyone know what balcony cabin 4042 looks like on Rotterdam? We're booking for January 2022 (Caribbean), and deck plan looks like it has a larger balcony. 

Edited by rim140
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I doubt if very many have sailed on the Rotterdam just yet, at least not in the US. This cabin should be identical to the same ones on the Koningsdam & Nieuw Statendam so you may get a better response from someone who has stayed on those ships. From what I can tell it appears that that cabin has the same basic size veranda as the other cabins, so the difference is probably minimal. DW and I have always found the balconies on the Pinnacle class ships to be a reasonable size & quite comfortable. 

I think that I would be more worried about the view being partially obstructed by the lifeboats. Try calling HAL customer service for more information.

 

Hope you have a wonderful cruise on this shiny new ship!

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23 hours ago, rim140 said:

Anyone know what balcony cabin 4042 looks like on Rotterdam? We're booking for January 2022 (Caribbean), and deck plan looks like it has a larger balcony. 

 

there are some nice dep balconies in the aft.

 

I saw this report from Vict0riann on halfacts.com. Cabin 4045 on a Pinnacle Class ship (not Rotterdam since it’s not sailing yet but should be similar).  https://halfacts.com/pinnacle-class/4045-koningsdam/

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