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


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11 hours ago, terrydtx said:

Glad it finally worked for you. My biggest issue with the app, is not being able to see the daily MDR menus for the entire cruise.  You can only see them for the current day. This makes deciding which days to book specialty restaurants rather difficult. 

 

BTW we are looking forward to our 30 plus days visiting your country in January 2024. We will be on a cruise for 22 days in  NZ and the Great Barrier Reef and another 12 days doing a self driving land tour of Australia from Melburn to Adelaide. 

I had the same issue on our October cruise and when I asked to see the future menus for the cruise at the restaurant reservation desk I was told that they didn’t exist. When I pointed out that since we had no ports for the first 5 days of our cruise and therefore all food was onboard and that I was pretty sure the menus were known before the food was ordered, I was told no-that the menu was determined each day🤔Unhuh sure. Got  a similar response from the Maitre’d but he at least offered me a printed copy of the next night’s menu. We used this to compare it to the Indian menu and decide whether we wanted to preorder the Indian one-usually quite tasty!

 

During a conversation with the Cruise Director he asked what we thought of HAL after he learned it wasn’t our usual cruiseline and if we had any suggestions.  I shared that having access to all the menus would be a good thing. He said he would bring it up with the home office but even he seemed to think the menus weren’t available ahead of time as they didn’t want to say they were having one thing and due to an issue it not actually be available. I suggested a simple statement saying menu was subject to change would address this concern. 
 

After 23 nights aboard, during which we saw basically the same menus with only minor variations (Brussels Sprouts instead of green beans for examples) and numerous occasions where what was described on the menu wasn’t what was actually served (Caesar Salad with romaine became Bibb lettuce with croutons, mashed sweet potatoes became mashed white potatoes, collards became spinach, just to name a few) there really seems to be no reason why HAL won’t let passengers know ahead of time what’s for dinner! 😂 #FirstWorldProblem

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12 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

I had the same issue on our October cruise and when I asked to see the future menus for the cruise at the restaurant reservation desk I was told that they didn’t exist. When I pointed out that since we had no ports for the first 5 days of our cruise and therefore all food was onboard and that I was pretty sure the menus were known before the food was ordered, I was told no-that the menu was determined each day🤔Unhuh sure. Got  a similar response from the Maitre’d but he at least offered me a printed copy of the next night’s menu. We used this to compare it to the Indian menu and decide whether we wanted to preorder the Indian one-usually quite tasty!

 

During a conversation with the Cruise Director he asked what we thought of HAL after he learned it wasn’t our usual cruiseline and if we had any suggestions.  I shared that having access to all the menus would be a good thing. He said he would bring it up with the home office but even he seemed to think the menus weren’t available ahead of time as they didn’t want to say they were having one thing and due to an issue it not actually be available. I suggested a simple statement saying menu was subject to change would address this concern. 
 

After 23 nights aboard, during which we saw basically the same menus with only minor variations (Brussels Sprouts instead of green beans for examples) and numerous occasions where what was described on the menu wasn’t what was actually served (Caesar Salad with romaine became Bibb lettuce with croutons, mashed sweet potatoes became mashed white potatoes, collards became spinach, just to name a few) there really seems to be no reason why HAL won’t let passengers know ahead of time what’s for dinner! 😂 #FirstWorldProblem

Our first choice for cruising is Celebrity and their app shows menus for all restaurants months ahead of time, I can see now the daily menus for our June cruise on the Equinox. They have made occasional changes to the menus but at least we have a pretty good idea way ahead of time. I can even see room service menus and all specialty restaurants ahead of time.

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26 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

Our first choice for cruising is Celebrity and their app shows menus for all restaurants months ahead of time, I can see now the daily menus for our June cruise on the Equinox. They have made occasional changes to the menus but at least we have a pretty good idea way ahead of time. I can even see room service menus and all specialty restaurants ahead of time.

I much prefer the dining options on Celebrity

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5 hours ago, leck57 said:

Before we get off on to a discussion about the need for a desktop and monitors, I have a question please.

We are about (in early Feb) to take our first HAL cruise after about 10 cruises with Princess. No issues with Princess but looking forward to a change. My question is, with Princess, after you have booked you get deluged with emails about excursions, specialty restaurants etc etc. There are also some useful ones about medical requirements, visas etc. Since booking with HAL (via a TA) I have received nothing from them. My TA sent me a link to the HAL site to input all our details and I have booked excursions and some restaurants, and have completed check-in. So, I think I have done everything but I am surprised I haven't received any emails whatsoever about the upcoming cruise.

Is this normal?

Thanks for any advice.

 

I know that any upgrade offers HAL sends out only go to the TA’s if that’s who you booked with.  (If you book direct with HAL the offer emails come straight to you.) Maybe the same thing happens with regular emails and your TA isn’t forwarding them?  Hopefully someone who books with a TA sees your question or you could create a specific thread on the board.

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1 hour ago, terrydtx said:

Our first choice for cruising is Celebrity and their app shows menus for all restaurants months ahead of time, I can see now the daily menus for our June cruise on the Equinox. They have made occasional changes to the menus but at least we have a pretty good idea way ahead of time. I can even see room service menus and all specialty restaurants ahead of time.

Not months ahead on Viking but at least once aboard the app shows all the menus.  

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2 hours ago, jonyboy said:

I much prefer the dining options on Celebrity

So do we, the Luminae on Celebrity has sold us on only booking suites for the access to it. I will say Tamarind on HAL is our favorite specialty restaurant of any cruise line, with Celebrity's SUSHI on 5 a close second. Unfortunately Tamarind is not fleetwide with HAL.

Edited by terrydtx
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  • 2 weeks later...

My first cruise with Holland America coming up in March.   I've searched through this huge thread and I can't seem to find what I want to know.  I got the "Have it All" package promotion, which includes the Signature Drinks package.  I thought that meant I could order drinks by the glass under $11 and they would not cost me anything, including the 18% gratuity.  Then I read that if you order something over the $11 limit, you pay the whole cost, plus the gratuity, not just the difference in price over the $11.

Now some people are saying that Holland America has recently changed this policy, in line with what other cruise ship companies do, so you will just pay the difference. Not sure whether you pay the gratuity in this case. Very confusing.

Does anyone know for sure what the current policy is for drinks over the $11 limit?

Edited by cruiser3775
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5 hours ago, cruiser3775 said:

Now some people are saying that Holland America has recently changed this policy, in line with what other cruise ship companies do, so you will just pay the difference. Not sure whether you pay the gratuity in this case. Very confusing.

Does anyone know for sure what the current policy is for drinks over the $11 limit?

 

Yes, if the beverage is over $11 menu price, you pay the difference plus 18% of the difference. The 18% is included in the Signature beverage package for all drinks with a menu price of $11 or less.

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51 minutes ago, Cruise Suzy said:

 

Yes, if the beverage is over $11 menu price, you pay the difference plus 18% of the difference. The 18% is included in the Signature beverage package for all drinks with a menu price of $11 or less.

When did this change? On the Oosterdam last August I was charged full price plus 18% for my  Mccallen scotch. 

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Has anyone else purchased another cruise while on a cruise to get the incentives offered by booking onboard? If so, have to tried to get a better price within 60 days of the original booking? Did you have any problem getting all the incentives transferred to the lower priced booking? The cruise consultant, Joanne on the Noordam said I had 60 days to get a lower price. She said all my percs or incentives would flow to the lower price booking. Is that consistent with your experience? Thanks for the anticipated reply.

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2 hours ago, UTBOB said:

Has anyone else purchased another cruise while on a cruise to get the incentives offered by booking onboard? If so, have to tried to get a better price within 60 days of the original booking? Did you have any problem getting all the incentives transferred to the lower priced booking? The cruise consultant, Joanne on the Noordam said I had 60 days to get a lower price. She said all my percs or incentives would flow to the lower price booking. Is that consistent with your experience? Thanks for the anticipated reply.

Never had a problem booking 60 days after cruise and received same benefits. 

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2 hours ago, UTBOB said:

Has anyone else purchased another cruise while on a cruise to get the incentives offered by booking onboard? If so, have to tried to get a better price within 60 days of the original booking? Did you have any problem getting all the incentives transferred to the lower priced booking?

 

We have booked most of our cruises with the onboard cruise centre, have transferred them all to our TA, and been able to make changes later (without losing the incentives). We've also had our TA contact HA to get price matching outside of the 60 day window, usually resulting in a lower invoice or onboard credit (depending on if we've already paid the bulk of the trip or not). I've been impressed with how easy it has been to work with HA and our TA.

 

 

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Hi there, we are new to HAL, and booked our first cruise with them on Oosterdam for 2024. My hubby is slightly handicaped (walking disabled), and prefers a shower in the bathroom instead of a tub. Now I found that Veranda cabins are in a surprisingly high number equipped with tubs. Any recommendations for cabins with a shower? Thanks for any help. We are bookd on 7101 (VD).

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22 minutes ago, Adrenalin67 said:

Hi there, we are new to HAL, and booked our first cruise with them on Oosterdam for 2024. My hubby is slightly handicaped (walking disabled), and prefers a shower in the bathroom instead of a tub. Now I found that Veranda cabins are in a surprisingly high number equipped with tubs. Any recommendations for cabins with a shower? Thanks for any help. We are bookd on 7101 (VD).

 

You will need to speak with your TA or HAL Personal Cruise Consultant (PCC) about switching to a Handicap room.  Check the Oosterdam Deck Plan for the accessibility staterooms (see legend on left side of each page).  You can also see pics of the rooms on HALfacts Vista Class.  The links with (HC) beside the room # will be the ones you are looking for.  

 

All ships in the Vista Class will have the same type rooms so don’t worry if it says Noordam or Westerdam or Zuiderdam.  Also keep in mind that a lot of those pics were taken long before refurbishment so they may look outdated (but they’re not).

 

Hopefully someone who has more specific information sees your post and can provide additional info.  Welcome to Holland America!  

 

Editing to add:  Only the Pinnacle Class ships (Rotterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Koningsdam) will have the walk-in showers without having to book an accessible room.

 

Edited by *Miss G*
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30 minutes ago, Adrenalin67 said:

Hi there, we are new to HAL, and booked our first cruise with them on Oosterdam for 2024. My hubby is slightly handicaped (walking disabled), and prefers a shower in the bathroom instead of a tub. Now I found that Veranda cabins are in a surprisingly high number equipped with tubs. Any recommendations for cabins with a shower? Thanks for any help. We are bookd on 7101 (VD).

If you can't get a handicapped accessible cabin, on HAL they book quickly, then maybe look at a Signature Suite, they have a tub plus a separate walk-in shower.

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There are Verandahs on Deck 4 (5 in category VC and 4166 is a VB with WIDE balcony , Deck 5 (6 VCs) and Deck 6 (10 VDs) at the aft that have only a shower. Some images can be seen at halfacts.com - as @*Miss G* said look at these cabins on any of the Vista class ships.

Edited by Cruise Suzy
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3 hours ago, Adrenalin67 said:

Any recommendations for cabins with a shower?

In addition to the other suggestions, you should know that all inside cabins have a shower, too. The insides on Main Deck are large enough to accept and store a scooter comfortably, if that's a consideration. 

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7 hours ago, Cruise Suzy said:

 

 

There are Verandahs on Deck 4 (5 in category VC and 4166 is a VB with WIDE balcony , Deck 5 (6 VCs) and Deck 6 (10 VDs) at the aft that have only a shower. Some images can be seen at halfacts.com - as @*Miss G* said look at these cabins on any of the Vista class ships.

 

Here are shots of cabin 6152 on Noordam (taken in April 2019)

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Edited by boeckli
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I put a $100 future cruise deposit down while onboard a spring 2022 sailing. I can’t find paperwork that tells me what perks this gives me. I’ve applied this deposit to a booking now and have received a $50 onboard credit. That seems lower than I remember? Anyone have the paperwork or a link to benefits? Thanks!

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3 hours ago, kluv2cruz said:

I put a $100 future cruise deposit down while onboard a spring 2022 sailing. I can’t find paperwork that tells me what perks this gives me. I’ve applied this deposit to a booking now and have received a $50 onboard credit. That seems lower than I remember? Anyone have the paperwork or a link to benefits? Thanks!

Screenshot from my recent future cruise deposit

 

491321024_Fullscreencapture6012023195338_bmp.thumb.jpg.8999e6a3b89ba5f5f3099a5767fb3f51.jpg

 

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On 1/5/2023 at 10:20 AM, Cruise Suzy said:

There are Verandahs on Deck 4 (5 in category VC and 4166 is a VB with WIDE balcony , Deck 5 (6 VCs) and Deck 6 (10 VDs)

I have been trying to find information on the different categories and my searches are not turning up anything.  Could you explain the differences between the letter categories?  I am booked in a VB.  What is the difference between a VB vs VC, etc?  I am just curious and wondering which is better?  Thanks.

 

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