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


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On 2/18/2023 at 1:26 AM, cruiser3775 said:

Holland America assigns you a boarding time. They say this will be about 14 days before the cruise. Look up your details on their website or the app. When you have completed all their requirements for personal information, you get a link to a page where you can print your luggage tags and your boarding pass.  If it is 14 days or less till you go, the boarding pass will have your embarkation time listed. (Prior to that, it is an interim pass without a time listed).

When you arrive they take your main luggage away and leave you with your carry on.  You walk this onto the ship and can go to your cabin. The main luggage may not arrive there for an hour or two.

How long it actually takes to get on board varies a lot.

 

I have received our boarding passes today.  It has the official bar code.  However we haven't received our check in time yet.

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4 hours ago, AtleeH said:

 

I have received our boarding passes today.  It has the official bar code.  However we haven't received our check in time yet.

 

Same here.. we have boarding passes with bar codes, but no check-in time yet (says TBA). And we're just 13 days out.

Wonder when our check-in time will be assigned 🤔

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I think it doesn't show the boarding time till you have completed all the check in requirements, except the final Covid medical stuff, which is for 24 hours beforehand.  Are you getting green ticks for all the requirements?  You might need to go through it all again and check that each section is completed.

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18 minutes ago, cruiser3775 said:

I think it doesn't show the boarding time till you have completed all the check in requirements, except the final Covid medical stuff, which is for 24 hours beforehand.  Are you getting green ticks for all the requirements?  You might need to go through it all again and check that each section is completed.

Yes, we've fully checked in online and have green check marks across the board. Still no check in time..

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Our most recent cruise (2 weeks ago) we got our check in time about a week before departure.

As for the mariner free cocktail card, last couple cruises, ours were not in the cabin; they gave them to us w/no issues at guest services when we asked. We were able to use them for any drink $11/under at any bar, all you have to do is ask.

Welcome to HAL and enjoy your cruise!

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9 hours ago, cruiser3775 said:

I think it doesn't show the boarding time till you have completed all the check in requirements, except the final Covid medical stuff, which is for 24 hours beforehand.  Are you getting green ticks for all the requirements?  You might need to go through it all again and check that each section is completed.

 

Thanks for responding.  Good news is I got our boarding time late yesterday.  Unfortunately I'm now confused.  The check in time for my Group J is 02:00 PM.  The Rotterdam is scheduled to depart 03:00 PM.  I've read on one of the other many documents sent to me that we had to be on board no later than 1 hour before departure.  I'm not sure how a person scheduled to board at 2 pm can be on board no later than 1 hour before departure which is 3 pm.

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12 minutes ago, AtleeH said:

 

Thanks for responding.  Good news is I got our boarding time late yesterday.  Unfortunately I'm now confused.  The check in time for my Group J is 02:00 PM.  The Rotterdam is scheduled to depart 03:00 PM.  I've read on one of the other many documents sent to me that we had to be on board no later than 1 hour before departure.  I'm not sure how a person scheduled to board at 2 pm can be on board no later than 1 hour before departure which is 3 pm.

I would just show up earlier and board. Last year in Trieste (Venice) we had a 2:00pm boarding time on the Oosterdam and we were at the terminal at 11:00am and on the ship by 11:30 with no questions or problems. BTW when I called HAL about the late boarding time, I was informed that I could show up earlier without a problem.

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7 hours ago, AtleeH said:

 

Thanks for responding.  Good news is I got our boarding time late yesterday.  Unfortunately I'm now confused.  The check in time for my Group J is 02:00 PM.  The Rotterdam is scheduled to depart 03:00 PM.  I've read on one of the other many documents sent to me that we had to be on board no later than 1 hour before departure.  I'm not sure how a person scheduled to board at 2 pm can be on board no later than 1 hour before departure which is 3 pm.

show up earlier. We had a check in time of 4:20pm ( for a 6:30 departure) turned up at 3 and went straight on. Even if you have to wait awhile at least you are there and your bags are checked in.

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Hi, we have cruised HAL before the pandemic but never had this problem before.

Our itinerary was changed a few days after booking. It´s ok for us but now we do not see any excursions for several ports. As we have the HIA package we get two excursions for a discounted price and we would like to book some before they are sold out.

Has anyone an idea how much in advance they will show the excursions for the "new" ports.

It´s an northern europe cruise and now they added the Faroer Islands and Shetland Islands and another port on Iceland. All of them are lesser known and don´t offer a lot of independend excursions either.

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How does the Holland America Line Rewards Visa from Barclay work?  I saw an add for it on the HAL website claiming that if I applied and was approved and then used it to spend $500 within the first 90 days, I would receive 15,000 points, a value of $150.  Could I use those points to partially pay for an upcoming Holland America cruise, to book and pay for shore excursions, or to cover some onboard expenses?  If yes, how? 

I have read the "Terms and Conditions", but not being an attorney, the information isn't clear to me. It appears that the points can be used "toward your next cruise purchase", but I don't understand how that works.

I'd like to hear from someone who uses this card about how it has worked for you. 

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5 hours ago, islandwoman said:

... if I applied and was approved and then used it to spend $500 within the first 90 days, I would receive 15,000 points, a value of $150.  Could I use those points to partially pay for an upcoming Holland America cruise, to book and pay for shore excursions, or to cover some onboard expenses?  If yes, how?

Yes, yes, and yes. You could use the points for any of those purposes. 
When you want to redeem the points you can also just select to pay down the HAL expenses on your bill, which is the only way I have ever done it. 

I build up my points until I have several thousand, and either book a cruise or make final payment, then use the points when the bill comes in. Paying for the cruise that way is a little less painless. 
I don't know if Barclay is still doing it this way, but in the past the higher the number of points, the better return for the points---higher numbers of points were worth more money than lower numbers. 

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6 hours ago, islandwoman said:

I'd like to hear from someone who uses this card about how it has worked for you.

 

I have the card.  I've had it for many years.  

 

We've stopped using it because the redemption value is lower than other cards.  It is easy to redeem....and the best redemption amounts are when you use it to purchase a HAL cruise or HAL onboard account because you use the card to buy and then you go in after it posts and you can redeem the points as a credit to the card account.  

 

Here's the chart from Barclays regarding the best redemption values......You have to spend a lot to get the highest return for points on a cruise...and the highest amount is only 2.5%.

 

I so wish they would increase the value and if so, it would be my card for everything.  As it goes right now, BofA gives me more cash back when I buy a HAL cruise than the Barclays HAL card offers. 

 

Holland America Line cruise transactions with a value of $4,001 or more offer the best redemption value. For example, 200,000 points may be redeemed for a $5,000 statement credit toward an eligible Holland America Line purchase.  Holland America Line purchase amount ($50 or greater) within last 180 days = Redemption points value
 $50 to $499.99 = 1%
 $500-$1,499.99 = 1.25%
 $1,500-$2,000.99 = 1.50%
 $2,001-$4,000.99 = 2%
 $4,001+ = 2.50%

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43 minutes ago, FlaMariner said:

 

We've stopped using it because the redemption value is lower than other cards.  It is easy to redeem....and the best redemption amounts are when you use it to purchase a HAL cruise or HAL onboard account because you use the card to buy and then you go in after it posts and you can redeem the points as a credit to the card account. 

Where do you "go in"? 

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2 hours ago, islandwoman said:

Where do you "go in"? 

 

Log into the Barclays card site, 

go to "rewards and benefits" center

go to "redeem my points"

go to "redeem now" if you want stuff like thermal suite, pinnacle dinner etc or 

go to "statement credit" if you have HAL charges on your statement and you want to use the points for a "statement credit"

 

 

 

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Hi,

New to HAL, but have cruised on Azamara and NCL. I'm looking for input on following.  We booked through large US travel agency a seven day cruise to Norway this summer. Did Have it All package as the math with drink package, $100 excursion p/p, upscale dinner and $275 TA showing everything but HAL excursion data didn't. After verifying OBC was showing I called HAL excursion desk and they advised OBC can only be used on the ship, i.e. wouldn't show up in my account until after embarkation. Would love to use OBC for excursions beyond $100 each we received.  When I called TA, he thought OBC is in account at time deposit on booking is paid.  He conferred with manager and verified HAL OBC is available only on ship.  He said this is not always the case.

 

Is this OBC policy normal with HAL. Thanks.

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6 hours ago, MegCV said:

Hi,

New to HAL, but have cruised on Azamara and NCL. I'm looking for input on following.  We booked through large US travel agency a seven day cruise to Norway this summer. Did Have it All package as the math with drink package, $100 excursion p/p, upscale dinner and $275 TA showing everything but HAL excursion data didn't. After verifying OBC was showing I called HAL excursion desk and they advised OBC can only be used on the ship, i.e. wouldn't show up in my account until after embarkation. Would love to use OBC for excursions beyond $100 each we received.  When I called TA, he thought OBC is in account at time deposit on booking is paid.  He conferred with manager and verified HAL OBC is available only on ship.  He said this is not always the case.

 

Is this OBC policy normal with HAL. Thanks.

In my experience OBC is just that, credit to be used once on board.

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8 hours ago, MegCV said:

Hi,

New to HAL, but have cruised on Azamara and NCL. I'm looking for input on following.  We booked through large US travel agency a seven day cruise to Norway this summer. Did Have it All package as the math with drink package, $100 excursion p/p, upscale dinner and $275 TA showing everything but HAL excursion data didn't. After verifying OBC was showing I called HAL excursion desk and they advised OBC can only be used on the ship, i.e. wouldn't show up in my account until after embarkation. Would love to use OBC for excursions beyond $100 each we received.  When I called TA, he thought OBC is in account at time deposit on booking is paid.  He conferred with manager and verified HAL OBC is available only on ship.  He said this is not always the case.

 

Is this OBC policy normal with HAL. Thanks.

Unfortunately it is HAL's policy for OBC you get from HAL on any promo. OBC that comes from outside sources like a TA in my experience can be spent before boarding. We have $275 OBC for our November cruise that we can't use until we board. The credits from HIA for specialty restaurants and excursions can be booked before you board. 

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2 hours ago, terrydtx said:

Unfortunately it is HAL's policy for OBC you get from HAL on any promo. OBC that comes from outside sources like a TA in my experience can be spent before boarding. We have $275 OBC for our November cruise that we can't use until we board. The credits from HIA for specialty restaurants and excursions can be booked before you board. 

We have $475 of OBC for our upcoming HAL cruise.  Since we've purchased the "Have it All" package, there's little we'd want to buy except shore excursions.  It's been our habit (on other cruise lines) to book our shore excursions before sailing, so that we don't have to spend our precious cruise time standing in line at the shore excursions office and being disappointed that the excursions we want are sold out.  Is there a work around to the HAL policy you mentioned?

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1 hour ago, islandwoman said:

we don't have to spend our precious cruise time standing in line at the shore excursions office and being disappointed that the excursions we want are sold out. 

You can use the Navigator app to book excursions and to avoid standing in line after you board.  
 

I book the HAL excursions that are most important to me using my HIA credits prior to boarding.  As soon as I board, I use the Navigator app and my OBC to book additional excursions.  

You can use your OBC to pay for your crew appreciation.  

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1 hour ago, islandwoman said:

We have $475 of OBC for our upcoming HAL cruise.  Since we've purchased the "Have it All" package, there's little we'd want to buy except shore excursions.  It's been our habit (on other cruise lines) to book our shore excursions before sailing, so that we don't have to spend our precious cruise time standing in line at the shore excursions office and being disappointed that the excursions we want are sold out.  Is there a work around to the HAL policy you mentioned?

I do not know any work around that works, There have been CC discussions about this and some suggest booking for cash and then once on board to cancel and rebook with OBC, but the problem once you cancel a sold-out excursion you may not be able to rebook onboard. Same for sold out restaurant reservations. It is very frustrating as you said when other cruise lines like Celebrity let you spend OBC pre cruise. On the Apex in September we have $1100 in OBC and we have used for booking spa reservations for my wife, and a couple of shore excursions

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4 minutes ago, 0106 said:

You can use your OBC to pay for your crew appreciation.  

Crew appreciation is included in the early booking bonus "Have it All", as are the Elite Beverage Package, specialty dining, Premium wi-fi, and shore excursion credit.  

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13 minutes ago, islandwoman said:

Crew appreciation is included in the early booking bonus "Have it All", as are the Elite Beverage Package, specialty dining, Premium wi-fi, and shore excursion credit.  

Last year when I had some extra OBC on the last day of the cruise, I bought a couple of very good quality shirts in the ships store. We also used some for a bottle of good wine on our anniversary. We had about $50 left in the account that we gave to our room steward as an extra tip.

Edited by terrydtx
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Hello  - a few more questions from the newbie. We are not getting ‘Have is All’ as it’s will not work or us. Only one person in the cabin drinks alcohol (and maybe 2-3 per day the most). We were looking into other option but wondering if all have to be purchased for both people in the room. For example – can only one person get Quench? We can always pay as we go but I can’t find pricing for that to see if package even worth considering. I would like to know price for coffee (black), cappuccino, sparkling water. Also does Coca-Cola package for soda only or include sparkling and plain water (does not have to be bottled)? How about beverage cards - are those same as just paying as you go or they give you any advantage?

Thanks!

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