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


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36 minutes ago, 0106 said:

Higher the letter ( VA) better the cabin (VF) IN HALs opinion.

 

An important distinction (as you mentioned) is that the notion/opinion of whether a cabin category is 'better' is often different between HAL and the person purchasing the cabin.

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7 hours ago, 0106 said:

Higher the letter ( VA) better the cabin (VF) IN HALs opinion.

According to HAL it is location, location, location!  Some do not agree with HAL opinion.  Unless it is one of the odd shaped staterooms, easy to see on the deck plans, the "V" staterooms are identical.  

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Question about beer 🍻 This is our first time in HAL. We are booked in Nieuw Statendam in 2/11. We selected the “have it all” package. Does anyone know if there is draft beer, what kind, and if it is included in the package?  Thanks in advance. 35 days and counting!!

Edited by BristolRI
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7 minutes ago, BristolRI said:

Question about beer 🍻 This is our first time in HAL. We are booked in Nieuw Statendam in 2/11. We selected the “have it all” package. Does anyone know if there is draft beer, what kind, and if it is included in the package?  Thanks in advance. 35 days and counting!!

 

I don’t drink beer but  @Crew News keeps track of that info on his web site:

 

HAL Beverage Menus

 

Welcome to Holland America!  You’ve picked a great ship.

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3 minutes ago, TonyC1952 said:

Draft beer has limited availability, mostly in the Lido bar and the Gallery bar on some ships. Also you can find it in the sports bar where they show games.

 

Speaking of games, will we be able to watch the Super Bowl on board?

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18 minutes ago, BristolRI said:

Speaking of games, will we be able to watch the Super Bowl on board?

I have watched the Super Bowl on HAL ships and so will you .  Suggest you grab a lounger around the pool at least an hour before the game.

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How do you need to check in?  Can you use your cell phone?  

Telephone: Shore to Ship

Connecting to a Holland America Line vessel at sea is simple by using Ship Dial Service. A credit card is required for all inbound phone calls to a ship. The rate is $US16.00 per minute and billing begins at the time specified. 


 Internet  is slow and spotty at sea.  

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30 minutes ago, Zaggirl said:

I will have to check into work for about an hour on a sea day. Anyone know what that will cost on the Koningsdam?  

If you upgrade to the premium Wi-Fi and use Wi-Fi calling on your cell phone it will not cost anything more than the upgrade. We did this on the Oosterdam last August and it worked well for us when at sea and much cheaper than the $16 per minute for ship to shore as 0106 pointed out above. I found the Wi-Fi calling worked much better for dialing out but not so good for people trying to call us on the ship. It worked much better for texting, and I told people trying to call us to text me and I would call them back. Put your cell phone on airplane mode then turn on Wi-Fi to keep from accidentally using Cellular at Sea, which costs about $2 or more per minute. 

Edited by terrydtx
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Although technically not new to HAL (cruised on the Zaandam in 2018), I have a couple of questions that I can't seem to locate answers to on either the HAL website or here.  (The answers may be around, but sometimes my search skills seem to be lacking!).

 

Dining in the Main Dining Room:

 

(1) I understand that certain entrees may have an upcharge.  Am I correct in thinking that there is an charge if two entrees are requested?  I think I read this somewhere but can't find it.  How much is the charge?

 

(2) Is there a charge for requesting more than one appetizer?  Same question for dessert? If there is a charge for the second, how much is it?  Is this indicated on the menu?

 

(3) Do you have to request the Indian menu the night before?  Or is it available at the time of dining?  

 

(4) Can you order off both the Indian and regular menu?

 

Any other advice about dining choices in the Main Dining Room?

 

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1 hour ago, NancyDrew1953 said:

(1) I understand that certain entrees may have an upcharge.  Am I correct in thinking that there is an charge if two entrees are requested?  I think I read this somewhere but can't find it.  How much is the charge?

There are a few entrées in the Main Dining Room that have an up charge, but there is no additional charge for a second entrée that doesn't have an upcharge. 
IIRC, there was a trial on one ship for a short period where there was a charge for a second entrée, but that was short-lived. 

With the exception of the few entrées that have an up charge, the MDR is 'all you can eat'. 

There is a up charge for a second entrée in the Pinnacle restaurant, and there is a $7 charge for a second appetizer in that restaurant. 

1 hour ago, NancyDrew1953 said:

(3) Do you have to request the Indian menu the night before?  Or is it available at the time of dining?  

1 hour ago, NancyDrew1953 said:

(4) Can you order off both the Indian and regular menu?

If I wanted to order off the Indian menu, I would make my decision the night before and ask my table steward if I should place the order then, or wait until the next night. It may take extra time to prepare, or be made available, so it's usually better to do this in advance. 

I know of no reason you can't order off both menus the same night. Of course you can switch back and forth on different nights. 

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4 hours ago, NancyDrew1953 said:

Although technically not new to HAL (cruised on the Zaandam in 2018), I have a couple of questions that I can't seem to locate answers to on either the HAL website or here.  (The answers may be around, but sometimes my search skills seem to be lacking!).

 

Dining in the Main Dining Room:

 

(1) I understand that certain entrees may have an upcharge.  Am I correct in thinking that there is a charge if two entrees are requested?  I think I read this somewhere but can't find it.  How much is the charge? Our table of four once or twice ordered a fifth entree to share and were not charged for it. 

 

(2) Is there a charge for requesting more than one appetizer?  Same question for dessert? If there is a charge for the second, how much is it?  Is this indicated on the menu?

Never experienced any additional  charge and we usually ordered at least two appetizers. 

 

(3) Do you have to request the Indian menu the night before?  Or is it available at the time of dining?  
We were told that you need to review and order the Indian menu the night before.  We usually grabbed a copy of tomorrow’s regular and Indian menu on our way to our table and would then review and decide whether we wanted the Indian menu or not.  On at least one occasion, we augmented the Indian menu with a regular menu item we requested the night of. I HIGHLY recommend trying the Indian menu. It was the only time our food was served hot.  The barely warm entrees was our biggest complaint about HAL dining. 

 

(4) Can you order off both the Indian and regular menu? Yes, see #3

 

Any other advice about dining choices in the Main Dining Room?

If you’re one a long cruise, we did a 7 night B2B with a 16 night one, don’t expect much variety (our second complaint about HAL). 

 

My answers are embedded in the quote above and were based on our October 22 cruises. 

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4 hours ago, NancyDrew1953 said:

Although technically not new to HAL (cruised on the Zaandam in 2018), I have a couple of questions that I can't seem to locate answers to on either the HAL website or here.  (The answers may be around, but sometimes my search skills seem to be lacking!).

 

Dining in the Main Dining Room:

 

(1) I understand that certain entrees may have an upcharge.  Am I correct in thinking that there is an charge if two entrees are requested?  I think I read this somewhere but can't find it.  How much is the charge?

 

(2) Is there a charge for requesting more than one appetizer?  Same question for dessert? If there is a charge for the second, how much is it?  Is this indicated on the menu?

 

(3) Do you have to request the Indian menu the night before?  Or is it available at the time of dining?  

 

(4) Can you order off both the Indian and regular menu?

 

Any other advice about dining choices in the Main Dining Room?

 

We were on the Oosterdam last August for 14 nights from Venice. No charge for second entrees, appetizers or dessert. However many things have changed in the MDR post Covid with more MDR upcharges. We had no true surf and turf on Gala nights, a sirloin steak with 3 grilled shrimp was what they called S&T. A traditional surf and turf, 3oz lobster and 5oz fillet was only available for a $30pp up charge on Gala nights. On other nights the lobster tail was available without the beef for $10 and shrimp cocktail were $8.50 every night. None of this bothered us as I have never had any lobster tail on a cruise ship worth an extra $1 much less $10 or $30.

 

My understanding was the Indian menu was available any night just have to ask for it, never did order from them, however.

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New to HAL, sailing on Rotterdam in March, a few questions:

 

At Tamarind, can I order several appetizers instead of an app and main without additional charge?

 

Are discounts offered on specialty restaurants once onboard if they aren't fully booked?

 

Are there loungers in the shade by the Sea View pool? I like to be outdoors but can't take full sun. Related question, is lounger-hogging a big problem on Rotterdam? (by this I mean putting a hat or book and towel on a lounger early in the morning and not showing up until many hours later.

 

Thanks!

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4 hours ago, CruiserN1 said:

New to HAL, sailing on Rotterdam in March, a few questions:

 

At Tamarind, can I order several appetizers instead of an app and main without additional charge?

 

Are discounts offered on specialty restaurants once onboard if they aren't fully booked?

 

Are there loungers in the shade by the Sea View pool? I like to be outdoors but can't take full sun. Related question, is lounger-hogging a big problem on Rotterdam? (by this I mean putting a hat or book and towel on a lounger early in the morning and not showing up until many hours later.

 

Thanks!

 

I'll comment only on the lounger hogging question, as it's ALWAYS a hot button topic here on the HAL boards. Chair hogging on cruise ships is endemic, and has been since cruising began. I don't believe the problem varies much from ship to ship, or even from cruise line to cruise line.

But as I mentioned, this is a hot topic, and I'm sure you will hear a variety of opinions on the subject.

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Just now, KroozNut said:

 

I'll comment only on the lounger hogging question, as it's ALWAYS a hot button topic here on the HAL boards. Chair hogging on cruise ships is endemic, and has been since cruising began. I don't believe the problem varies much from ship to ship, or even from cruise line to cruise line.

But as I mentioned, this is a hot topic, and I'm sure you will hear a variety of opinions on the subject.

I've asked someone from the crew to remove items left on an empty chair for a long time and they have removed them so we could use them

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21 minutes ago, KroozNut said:

 

I'll comment only on the lounger hogging question, as it's ALWAYS a hot button topic here on the HAL boards. Chair hogging on cruise ships is endemic, and has been since cruising began. I don't believe the problem varies much from ship to ship, or even from cruise line to cruise line.

But as I mentioned, this is a hot topic, and I'm sure you will hear a variety of opinions on the subject.

Thanks for the comment, not sure it was endemic since cruising began. I cruised with my parents from NYC to Bermuda in the 1980s when I was in high school. I don't recall the line we sailed but pretty sure it no longer exists. Back then, if you so desired you paid a fee and reserved a specific lounge chair for the cruise (they were all numbered). You could pick shade or sun and proximity to the pool. I don't recall the cost but my dad was a frugal man and he paid it for me and my mom without complaint. I'm not sure why the modern cruise lines haven't figured out that this is a money making opportunity. I'd pay $10/day for a guaranteed lounger in the shade.

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1 hour ago, CruiserN1 said:

I don't recall the cost but my dad was a frugal man and he paid it for me and my mom without complaint. I'm not sure why the modern cruise lines haven't figured out that this is a money making opportunity. I'd pay $10/day for a guaranteed lounger in the shade.

 

The cabanas are a version of this, with some services added. We find it good value generally, for routes that are warm enough for it to be useful. Being able to rent a lounger elsewhere would be nice too (I think).

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5 hours ago, CruiserN1 said:

New to HAL, sailing on Rotterdam in March, a few questions:

 

At Tamarind, can I order several appetizers instead of an app and main without additional charge?

 

Are discounts offered on specialty restaurants once onboard if they aren't fully booked?


This last November (2022) my son and I ate at Tamarind. We shared four appetizers, three sides and three entrees. There was a $10 up charge for the extra entree.  There was not an extra charge for the extra appetizers and sides. My son ate most of the food himself. 

 

I’ve only cruised once post pandemic, but I never have seen a discount on the specialty restaurants. You eat lunch at the Pinnacle for $15 for the experience (with a different menu of course). I was surprised how good Canaletto ($20) was this cruise and I enjoyed it more than the Pinnacle. There was no up charge for extra apps or entrees. 

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1 hour ago, CruiserN1 said:

Thanks for the comment, not sure it was endemic since cruising began. I cruised with my parents from NYC to Bermuda in the 1980s when I was in high school. I don't recall the line we sailed but pretty sure it no longer exists. Back then, if you so desired you paid a fee and reserved a specific lounge chair for the cruise (they were all numbered). You could pick shade or sun and proximity to the pool. I don't recall the cost but my dad was a frugal man and he paid it for me and my mom without complaint. I'm not sure why the modern cruise lines haven't figured out that this is a money making opportunity. I'd pay $10/day for a guaranteed lounger in the shade.

 

Okay, admittedly, the 'endemic since cruising began' reference was a bit hyperbolic. But I do believe that most long term cruisers will agree that the chair/lounger hogging problem has been around for a long time, and unfortunately, the cruise lines have not managed to find a workable solution to solve it yet.

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