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


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13 minutes ago, iaae22 said:

Also does Coca-Cola package for soda only or include sparkling and plain water (does not have to be bottled)?

 

You do not have to pay for plain water.  It's free in the dining rooms, buffets and bars.(Someone please correct me if I'm wrong about the bars.)   You can even drink it straight out of the tap in your cabin, although it might be a bit tepid. We always fill our reusable water bottles and keep them in the refrigerator.

 

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11 hours ago, islandwoman said:

You do not have to pay for plain water.  It's free in the dining rooms, buffets and bars.(Someone please correct me if I'm wrong about the bars.)   You can even drink it straight out of the tap in your cabin, although it might be a bit tepid. We always fill our reusable water bottles and keep them in the refrigerator.

 

You’re not wrong, it’s free everywhere….or at least was in October 2019. 

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On 3/10/2023 at 11:42 AM, 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?

Is it possible to have OBC moved to another booked HAL cruise? This is our situation, as well.

 

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34 minutes ago, islander47 said:

Is it possible to have OBC moved to another booked HAL cruise? This is our situation, as well.

 

No it's not, even on a B2B, cruise we had some left from the first leg, and we could not move it to the second leg. HAL's policy is use it while onboard or lose it.

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On 3/10/2023 at 11:20 AM, islandwoman said:

You do not have to pay for plain water.  It's free in the dinin g rooms, buffets and bars.(Someone please correct me if I'm wrong about the bars.)   You can even drink it straight out of the tap in your cabin, although it might be a bit tepid. We always fill our reusable water bottles and keep them in the refrigerator.

 

The only water that you have to pay for or use in your HIA package is water from a can or bottle.

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On 3/10/2023 at 9:42 AM, 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 booked an excursion prior to boarding . Once on board we went to the excursion people and asked to cancel,crediting my CC and then rebook using OBC . They did so which was very nice .Can't guarantee they will always do so. 

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Does anyone know if there are THEME NIGHTS on HAL ships? (I'm not asking about formal nights, I mean like 'color themes' or 'tropical themes', etc.) We will be going on Volendam through the Panama Canal shortly. Thank you! 

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1 hour ago, ewlj said:

Does anyone know if there are THEME NIGHTS on HAL ships? (I'm not asking about formal nights, I mean like 'color themes' or 'tropical themes', etc.) We will be going on Volendam through the Panama Canal shortly. Thank you! 

I think I remember some back in the 1970s. But nothing much lately. 

There is an Orange Night once per cruise, where there is a party in the evening, and everyone is supposed to wear something orange. But that's about it. 

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Even in the 2000s, I recall a night where passengers were encouraged to wear Hawaiian-style outfits to dinner (show off the stuff you bought or brought) on a Circle Hawaii cruise. I don't know if they still do that, but it was fun to see what folks were bringing back from Hilo Hattie's and the like.

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On 3/3/2023 at 5:34 AM, iaae22 said:

thank you for the answers. How do I get my 1* Mariner - do i need to call HAL?

Princess elite here, doing a first time cruise on HAL. My 1* showed up automatically in my account and neither I nor the HAL customer service lady I talked to to get some things done that I couldn't do online could figure out why it was like that. This thread clued me in. 😃 Log in to your account and see it yours is there too.

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19 hours ago, ewlj said:

Does anyone know if there are THEME NIGHTS on HAL ships? (I'm not asking about formal nights, I mean like 'color themes' or 'tropical themes', etc.) We will be going on Volendam through the Panama Canal shortly. Thank you! 

Every cruise has an Orange evening to celebrate their association with Holland . Alot of people wear something orange and there is an orange party that night.

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19 minutes ago, Aloha3 said:

Every cruise has an Orange evening to celebrate their association with Holland . Alot of people wear something orange and there is an orange party that night.

Is wearing something orange a requirement to enjoy the party?

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Looking for help - first time on HAL - we are Diamond with RCI

 

We are experienced cruisers, but most of our cruises have been on royal ships (they were a good fit when our kids were young). We actually prefer the smaller Royal ships. Really wanted to take a cruise this June, but had very limited options due to schedules. We found a good deal on the Boston - Montreal Itinerary on Zaandam.  With only a few months before departure, I'm trying to figure out what we should expect as first-time HAL cruisers. Royal is comfortable and familiar. What are some of the differences that we will notice? Advantages that we'll enjoy?

 

I read back several pages and have done multiple searches, but still have some questions. I'd also love to know some tips on Zaandam. We are on the lower promenade deck. We usually book a balcony, but only outsides were available on this cruise. 

 

Specifically, I'd love to know about:

1. Coffee. Is it available all the time? Where? Is there a cost? Real cream or just milk?

2. Internet. Is it best to buy this ahead of time or is there no difference? My husband has to have internet for work, although I realize on an older ship it is likely unreliable.

3. What should we do ahead of time? Do we need to purchase or make any reservations before getting on the ship?

4. Embarkation. We usually try to get the earliest time available on RCI, but it sounds like HAL just randomly assigns you a time. Is that correct? Is there a way to get an earlier time?

5. Open Dining. How does this work? Can you request to have the same serving team each night? We are waitlisted for early, but currently have open dining.

6. Tender tickets. We tender for Bar Harbor. We've been on some RCI sailings where this was chaos and if you didn't line up for tickets super early you were out of luck. How is this handled on HAL, and specifically HAL?

7. Specials - Does HAL run specials on excursions and onboard experiences? Where are they posted? Do they have upgrade options?

8. Zaandam - any "don't miss" activities or locations? What are your favorites with this ship/class?

 

Thanks so much for the help!

 

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1 hour ago, rm1247 said:

1. Coffee. Is it available all the time? Where? Is there a cost? Real cream or just milk?
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, is available in the Lido 24/7 for no charge. It is also available in the Explorations Café during their open hours for a charge. 
There is half & half or milk, as well as sugar and sweeteners. 

 

2. Internet. Is it best to buy this ahead of time or is there no difference? My husband has to have internet for work, although I realize on an older ship it is likely unreliable. 
The surf package can only be purchased on the ship. The premium package, which adds streaming to the surf package, can be purchased in advance at a lower rate than on the ship. Your husband may or may not be able to get his work done, even with the streaming package. 
 

3. What should we do ahead of time? Do we need to purchase or make any reservations before getting on the ship? 
If you are interested in booking the specialty restaurants (Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto on the Zaandam), you should consider booking in advance, unless you have on-board credit you want to spend for that. You should also consider booking shore excursions in advance, if you are planning on taking HAL excursions. 
 

4. Embarkation. We usually try to get the earliest time available on RCI, but it sounds like HAL just randomly assigns you a time. Is that correct? Is there a way to get an earlier time? 
You will be assigned a check-in/boarding time a few days in advance of embarkation. Don't bother printing the boarding pass until it has a bar code showing. That is the one that matters. 
 

5. Open Dining. How does this work? Can you request to have the same serving team each night? We are waitlisted for early, but currently have open dining. 
You can book a time for most open seating times either that day, or (this can vary) for a few days at a time. If you have found a team that works for you, you can request them for every night. 
 

6. Tender tickets. We tender for Bar Harbor. We've been on some RCI sailings where this was chaos and if you didn't line up for tickets super early you were out of luck. How is this handled on HAL, and specifically HAL? 
You and your entire party will go to an assigned lounge (probably the show room) when you are ready to go ashore. You will be given tender tickets, then wait in the lounge until your tender number is called. 
If you are on a shore excursion, you will be given instructions as to where to meet. It could be a different lounge on the ship. In that case, your tour will all be called together. If you meet ashore, you will need to follow the first procedure. 

 

7. Specials - Does HAL run specials on excursions and onboard experiences? Where are they posted? Do they have upgrade options? 
There are few onboard activities with a charge. One I can think of is wine tasting. HAL isn't like Royal Caribbean where you have to pay for the evening show, for example. 
I've never seen a special on excursions. If you want to upgrade your cabin, best to do it now. With an outside on Lower Promenade Deck, you will have easy access to the outdoors, and views. You will also have a smaller cabin than the outsides on the lower decks. 

 

8. Zaandam - any "don't miss" activities or locations? What are your favorites with this ship/class? 
My personal favorite thing about this ship/class is the size. I much prefer the smaller ships where I don't have to pack a lunch before I head from one end of the ship to the other. 

I answered, in a different color, under your questions, embedded in the quote. 

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We are going on New Amsterdam, leaving Port Everglades (FL) on Sunday. First time cruisers.

 

We have a number of electrical outlet adapters we have brought on international trips in the past. Should we bring any on this trip? We have "U.S." devices (phones, ipad, CPAP machine ...).

 

thanks in advance.

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23 hours ago, KroozNut said:

Is wearing something orange a requirement to enjoy the party?

No but take something orange and decide on the day.  Can be something small - bow tie scarf, jewellery etc. Some people go all out but some have just a touch. 

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I have a question?  We are cruising May 7-14 on WEsterdam from Seattle to Alaska R/T.  My son wants to join us so we are upgrading to a Signature room on deck 8.  My question is would it be better to be under the pool area or the Lido buffet?

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3 hours ago, BostonBoy2 said:

We have a number of electrical outlet adapters we have brought on international trips in the past. Should we bring any on this trip? We have "U.S." devices (phones, ipad, CPAP machine ...).

I would bring the European adapter, just in case you need to use the Euro plug. Can't hurt to bring it. 

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1 minute ago, anuenue said:

My question is would it be better to be under the pool area or the Lido buffet?

Buffet, without a doubt. The Lido buffet area is carpeted, cutting down on any possible noise. Under the pool you are likely to hear chairs being moved around early in the morning as the deck is washed and chairs are replaced in position. 

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1 hour ago, RuthC said:

Buffet, without a doubt. The Lido buffet area is carpeted, cutting down on any possible noise. Under the pool you are likely to hear chairs being moved around early in the morning as the deck is washed and chairs are replaced in position. 

Ruth, thank you!

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Anyone have any experience in a vista suite on the Zaandam with three adults? Been on Zaandam several times but only in an inside or OV room, never with three adults in one cabin. We will be on the deck 6 as we didn't want to be on the 7th deck due to Lido is on the 8th deck. With the sofa bed out, I'm assuming it's going to be pretty tight? 

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