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


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Explorations usually opens around 7. 
 

You may benefit from reading some “live” threads from people on the Alaska cruises this past summer.  People often post the daily “Where and When” which contains more specific info.

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3 hours ago, Benh said:

Got the Have it All package, even though I don't drink alcohol. My Mom does like wine and beer with dinner, and it was a case of if one gets it the other needs to get the package too. Is fresh orange juice offered? And where will I be able to get premium coffee, like a morning latte? Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance.

All the bars also make "mocktails" so you can have a fancy blended drink like a pina colada without the alcohol or just have juice with sprite or club soda. They will gladly make whatever you fancy!

This menu may be out of date price-wise, but scroll down to the end for an example of non-alcoholic offerings.

https://rogerjett-photography.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Lido-Seaview-Seaview-Sun-Bar-Menu.pdf

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Regarding the "check in" process on the HAL website (we leave in about 30 days):

 

Every time I go into it to "manage my cruise" it makes me go through ALL the steps again (emergency contact into, health attestation, etc).  It does seem to save the actual information, but it still takes me through every single step to "save and continue."  Am I doing something wrong?  I really just want to get to the end to complete my check in and find out when my boarding time is.

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Your check in has nothing to do with when you receive your boarding time. FYI- In February my boarding time changed 4 times before I embarked.  
 

You cannot complete your check in until 72 hours before you sail when you will complete your health assessment.

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44 minutes ago, tensixmom said:

Regarding the "check in" process on the HAL website (we leave in about 30 days):

 

Every time I go into it to "manage my cruise" it makes me go through ALL the steps again (emergency contact into, health attestation, etc).  It does seem to save the actual information, but it still takes me through every single step to "save and continue."  Am I doing something wrong?  I really just want to get to the end to complete my check in and find out when my boarding time is.

When you begin the Check In process, just select All Guests and then continue. You will get something that looks like this at the top of the next section:

 

image.thumb.png.b2c83a5b0e1350d4ea33d36e9fdcf2ce.png

A green check mark will indicate the sections you have already completed, and you can click to any tab that still needs work. If all tabs are complete, you can go straight to DOCS tab.

 

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Guarantee Cabin Question 

 

I booked in SZ, a Signature Suite "cabin to be assigned " on Zuiderdam. This week I found I had been assigned a SY cabin (with cabin number). 

My cruise isn't until early January.

 

What are the chances they will reassign me to a different cabin before the cruise?

 

For what it is worth they put me in a handicapped cabin.

 (I did not request handicapped and am not handicapped.)

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I have 2 questions.  How far in advance can you reserve specialty dining?

And what is the cost for the internet center? My husband has a business and even though we will be on vacation he needs to check on some things. I haven't heard great things about the wifi in some areas (we will be in Norway) so is the computer in the internet center much better? Totally new to cruising so I have no personal experience.  TiA

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11 minutes ago, TxNewbie71 said:

Do you have a way to know in advance if your shore excursion will be at a tender port (hope I phrased that correctly)

Your itinerary should list out the ports, with times in port, whether it's an overnight, and other assorted info. Tender ports will have a 'TR' next to the port. 

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15 hours ago, TxNewbie71 said:

I have 2 questions.  How far in advance can you reserve specialty dining?

I was able to book all my specialty dining when I was still at least 200 days out from our cruise date. Log into your account on the HAL page, choose your booking and from there you can reserve specialty restaurants (listed under Cruise Activities), as well as shore excursions and lots of other tempting ways to spend your money!

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Our booking confirmation email in the 'Itinerary' section clearly identifies each tender port as 'Tender Required'.

In our case, for our March '23 Western Caribbean sailing, both HMC and Georgetown, Cayman Islands are listed as 'Tender Required'.

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On 10/28/2022 at 4:08 PM, dropframe said:

Guarantee Cabin Question 

 

I booked in SZ, a Signature Suite "cabin to be assigned " on Zuiderdam. This week I found I had been assigned a SY cabin (with cabin number). 

My cruise isn't until early January.

 

What are the chances they will reassign me to a different cabin before the cruise?

 

For what it is worth they put me in a handicapped cabin.

 (I did not request handicapped and am not handicapped.)

We once received an unrequested handicapped cabin when booking a guarantee  . It was significantly larger then the same category regular cabin . There was no downside . We loved it . 

Edited by richstowe
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I'm almost overwhelmed by all the dining options on the Eurodam. Any suggestions as to which to do when? Thanks in advance.

 

Some background. My 85-year old Mom and I are taking a 7-day cruise in May to Alaska. My Mom actually was on Holland America before, way back in 1960 and 1961, when she crossed the Atlantic twice with my late father, on two ships of that era, the Rotterdam and the Statendam. They loved it, and she still recalls fondly the 10 cent Heinekens lol! But she hasn't been on since. I've never been on Holland America, but cruised twice with Celebrity, in 2006 and 2016. When I was on Infinity and Solstice, however, we never went to the specialty restaurants, because the main dining room and buffet were so good.

 

For this 7-day Eurodam cruise to Alaska, however, we each got $250 in on board credit with our balcony stateroom. After the c.$110 of tips for crew that leaves about $140 for the speciality restaurants. Plus with the "have it all" pkg we also have one more specialty restaurant. My Mom enjoys good food, although she tends to order lightly and skip dessert. I'm hoping to get her to indulge a bit on this cruise.

 

Anyway, any suggestions on where to eat and when? For instance, if we first embark around noon or so, will we have time for a late lunch the day of boarding? The Lido will be open, I'm sure, but is the main dining room open as well? Is Pinnacle open for lunch the first day? 

 

My guess it that the specialty restaurant that will be my Mom's favorite is Tamarind. We might reserve two nights there. But for the specialty dining credit with HIA seems like we should reserve Pinnacle, because it's the most expensive.

 

We lucked into getting a large balcony, and I'm wondering about maybe having a few room service meals out there, although I know it will be cold. Can we order the main dinner dishes from the MDR for room service? And I apologize in advance for this probably silly question, but I assume the specialty restaurants don't do room service?

 

Thanks again for any insights and suggestions. 

 

I'm already wasting way too much time thinking about this cruise. But it is a nice distraction.

 

Ben

 

PS On another topic, my Mom likes to be a good tipper. So we'll pay in advance the $15.50 per day pp, of course, but she told me she's also planning to slip people an extra five or ten spot sometimes for good service. Any thoughts on that? Is that considered slightly weird, much appreciated, both?

 

 

4166.3-Eurodam.png

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42 minutes ago, Benh said:

Anyway, any suggestions on where to eat and when? For instance, if we first embark around noon or so, will we have time for a late lunch the day of boarding?

 

Yes

 

42 minutes ago, Benh said:

The Lido will be open, I'm sure, but is the main dining room open as well?

 

 

Sometimes it is; sometimes it isn’t.  The only way to know would be to visit the Deck 2 entrance before regular closing time at 1:30pm.

 

42 minutes ago, Benh said:

 

Is Pinnacle open for lunch the first day? 

 

No, not usually. Having said that, however, I do recall seeing someone mention it was open for them once.

 

42 minutes ago, Benh said:

 

We lucked into getting a large balcony, and I'm wondering about maybe having a few room service meals out there, although I know it will be cold. Can we order the main dinner dishes from the MDR for room service?

 

 

Yes.  Call within the first hour of the MDR opening at 5:30pm.

 

42 minutes ago, Benh said:

 

And I apologize in advance for this probably silly question, but I assume the specialty restaurants don't do room service?

 

They do.  Check the Navigator app or your TV for the limited room service menu.

Edited by *Miss G*
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52 minutes ago, Benh said:

I'm almost overwhelmed by all the dining options on the Eurodam. Any suggestions as to which to do when? Thanks in advance.

 

Some background. My 85-year old Mom and I are taking a 7-day cruise in May to Alaska. My Mom actually was on Holland America before, way back in 1960 and 1961, when she crossed the Atlantic twice with my late father, on two ships of that era, the Rotterdam and the Statendam. They loved it, and she still recalls fondly the 10 cent Heinekens lol! But she hasn't been on since. I've never been on Holland America, but cruised twice with Celebrity, in 2006 and 2016. When I was on Infinity and Solstice, however, we never went to the specialty restaurants, because the main dining room and buffet were so good.

 

For this 7-day Eurodam cruise to Alaska, however, we each got $250 in on board credit with our balcony stateroom. After the c.$110 of tips for crew that leaves about $140 for the speciality restaurants. Plus with the "have it all" pkg we also have one more specialty restaurant. My Mom enjoys good food, although she tends to order lightly and skip dessert. I'm hoping to get her to indulge a bit on this cruise.

 

Anyway, any suggestions on where to eat and when? For instance, if we first embark around noon or so, will we have time for a late lunch the day of boarding? The Lido will be open, I'm sure, but is the main dining room open as well? Is Pinnacle open for lunch the first day? 

 

My guess it that the specialty restaurant that will be my Mom's favorite is Tamarind. We might reserve two nights there. But for the specialty dining credit with HIA seems like we should reserve Pinnacle, because it's the most expensive.

 

We lucked into getting a large balcony, and I'm wondering about maybe having a few room service meals out there, although I know it will be cold. Can we order the main dinner dishes from the MDR for room service? And I apologize in advance for this probably silly question, but I assume the specialty restaurants don't do room service?

 

Thanks again for any insights and suggestions. 

 

I'm already wasting way too much time thinking about this cruise. But it is a nice distraction.

 

Ben

 

PS On another topic, my Mom likes to be a good tipper. So we'll pay in advance the $15.50 per day pp, of course, but she told me she's also planning to slip people an extra five or ten spot sometimes for good service. Any thoughts on that? Is that considered slightly weird, much appreciated, both?

 

 

4166.3-Eurodam.png

We love Tamarind and believe it is the best specialty restaurant of any cruise line, if you like Asain fusion food.

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The Pinnacle Grill has an excellent lunch on Sea days. I recommend trying it. The MDR is also usually open for lunch on Sea days. 
 

You can also use your OBC in the spa and shops. You may want to treat yourself or Mom to a massage or mani/pedi. I don’t typically shop while on a cruise but if I had extra OBC, I’d search the shops for a memento.

 

Extra tipping is always welcomed by the crew, but never expected. For room service, I suggest you have the $ waiting by the door. The person delivering the meal is in and out super quick so you need to be ready.

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On 10/28/2022 at 6:15 PM, TxNewbie71 said:

I have 2 questions.  How far in advance can you reserve specialty dining?

And what is the cost for the internet center? My husband has a business and even though we will be on vacation he needs to check on some things. I haven't heard great things about the wifi in some areas (we will be in Norway) so is the computer in the internet center much better? Totally new to cruising so I have no personal experience.  TiA

I haven't seen an Internet Center on a HAL ship in years. There are a few public computers with access to the Navigator app, through which you can access the Internet if you have purchased an Internet plan, but it is exactly the same service as you get in your cabin.

In my experience, shipboard Internet access varies from acceptable to abysmal. Our last cruise was a 16-day Hawaii round trip from Vancouver on the Koningsdam, and 80% of the time it was so slow that web pages would not open. Ping times averages 950-1150 ms. (Here at home they are around 17-18 ms.) One day it was down completely for the entire day. My Internet-quality speculation is that the virtually full ship (2,400 passengers) with lots of sea days overwhelmed the meager satellite Internet service the ship uses, but that's just a guess.

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I'm new to HAL. Im considering a 25 day cruise next summer on the Zaandam (ex-Boston to Canada, Greenland, Iceland). There are 2 fares:

 

Have it all

  • 3 SHORE EXCURSIONS (up to US$300 per guest)
  • DRINKS wine, beer, cocktails, specialty coffee and soda. plus, service charges are on us
  • SPECIALTY DINING EXPERIENCE
  • WI-FI 
Best price 
50% non-refundable deposit 
 
The price difference is about US$1200 pp.  What I can't find is the price  for these items to compare. 
 
Which drinks package is included? What is its normal cost? 
How many speciality dining is included and whats the normal cost 
Whats the normal cost for wifi? 
 
Some additional questions as I've only sailed Cunard in the past.
 
I see plastic bottles are banned - I assume you can bring on polycarbonate or stainless-steel water bottles.  I'm not a huge water drinker but do like to have something with me particularly on shore excursions. I'm perfectly OK with tap water - its the ban on containers which has me confused 
 
Is it right that there are no guest laundries on board? What is the cost of laundry?  As this is a cold weather cruise a lot of my clothes will be merino - these obviously can't go in a dryer - is there an option for wash only/no drying? Or do you end up just hand washing these? 
 
With the total ban of bringing on alcohol is there a mini-bar service? (we will be inside or ocean view) - we like a late night drink sometimes in the cabin. 
Edited by lissie
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5 hours ago, lissie said:

I'm new to HAL. Im considering a 25 day cruise next summer on the Zaandam (ex-Boston to Canada, Greenland, Iceland).

 

Which drinks package is included? What is its normal cost?
HIA Includes the Signature drinks package. The cruise I have booked lists this at US$54 per day per person. Includes almost everything except really premium stuff. (Champers, 20y.o.scotch)
 
How many speciality dining is included and whats the normal cost 
My 18 day cruise includes 2 specialty dining, yours will probably have 3. The ones I got were $46. and $34. (Pinnacle and Tamarind).
 
Whats the normal cost for wifi? 
The one included is the middle tier. Normally $15/day.
 
I see plastic bottles are banned - I assume you can bring on polycarbonate or stainless-steel water bottles.  I'm not a huge water drinker but do like to have something with me particularly on shore excursions. I'm perfectly OK with tap water - its the ban on containers which has me confused.
Reusable drink containers are fine. If you buy water on the ship (rather than getting it from the sink or the dispenser in the buffet) they serve it in aluminum cans. There has been very mixed  experience reported here as to enforcement of this policy on the gangway. Everything from coming back from an excursion with a partly full bottle left over from a snack and having to pour it out and dispose of the bottle on land, to no problem boarding with several full bottles. Staff tired and in a hurry? Caribbean vs Alaska? Who knows?
 
Is it right that there are no guest laundries on board? What is the cost of laundry?  As this is a cold weather cruise a lot of my clothes will be merino - these obviously can't go in a dryer - is there an option for wash only/no drying? Or do you end up just hand washing these? 
One of the best things HAL has going for it is the laundry! For $30 (not positive, someone correct me) you can stuff their laundry bag full and it arrives the following day washed and pressed, a little longer for wash and line dry. On a longer voyage absolutely go with the unlimited package for $7/day/cabin. This does not include dry-cleaning and I don't remember ability to ask for hand wash. Anyone else know?
 
With the total ban of bringing on alcohol is there a mini-bar service? (we will be inside or ocean view) - we like a late night drink sometimes in the cabin.
No spirits or beer but you can actually bring as many bottles of wine as you please - the new rule is that you will be charged a corkage fee of $20 each just to bring it onboard. There is a mini-bar BUT the contents are not covered by your drinks package. Many people get a bucket of ice and some may squirrel away a couple of neat scotchs for later 🤐. You can also buy a bottle of your spirit of choice online before you go $70+

 

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4 hours ago, lavictoria said:

 

Thank you so much this is very helpful!    With only 8 sea days I doubt that we will come close to spending that much on booze.  I have the figures from our Cunard cruises so I can work it out.  I assume the bar prices are all plus 15% gratuities? If so the prices are comparable - and we've never bought a package on Cunard (they ae $69! but do allow you to carry on anything for cabin consumption).  

 

Its a very cool itinerary - and  most of the other lines doing it are v. expensive e.g. Silversea! 

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