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


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1 minute ago, Fouremco said:

"it is a true emergency" or "it isn't a true emergency"?

If you are accepted into the hospital through emergency.  It is a little known and oddly written rule.  Best to dig deep into your own policy and read the details.   

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3 minutes ago, Mary229 said:

If you are accepted into the hospital through emergency.  It is a little known and oddly written rule.  Best to dig deep into your own policy and read the details.   

It seems illogical that they would pay if it wasn't a real emergency, but not pay if it was. Fortunately, my (Canadian) policies have no similar provision.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

It seems illogical that they would pay if it wasn't a real emergency, but not pay if it was. Fortunately, my (Canadian) policies have no similar provision.

I guess you are at the mercy of the hospital admitting department.   Let’s say you have a covered dental emergency and there is no emergency dentist in the hospital, you would be turned away.  However if you went to a dental office on an emergency basis it would not be covered 

Edited by Mary229
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On 6/22/2023 at 4:39 PM, islandwoman said:

I have a few questions about HAL's MDR dining options:

 

Early dining or "As you wish"?  I heard that Early Dining can be anywhere from 5:15 to 5:45 PM.  Is that right?  Most nights we would be happy with Early Dining, so long as it isn't at 5:15.  But we're considering requesting "As You Wish" for flexibility.  We like to eat around 6 or 7 PM, depending upon when the ship sails from a port of call.  How long are the waits to be seated around those times with As You Wish?   Is it easy to get a table for two with Early Dining? with As You Wish?

Is there a dedicated dining area for suite passengers?  

We did open seating on our cruise last week on the Koningsdam--there was a bit of a line at 5:45 for dinner the very first day, but little or no wait (5 minutes or less) after that for our group of 6 and it was a completely full cruise.  We really appreciated the flexibility to plan around our excursions and onboard activities. 

Club Orange is a dining option for suite passengers, although we did not have that so I don't know the specifics.

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19 hours ago, islandwoman said:

Can I use points earned on my Holland America credit card to pay for shore excursions booked online before sailing?  If yes, how?

 

So based on what I read from the card website, if you have a purchase from Holland America Line that is $50 or more w/the Barclays's HAL card, you can redeems points to apply towards a statement credit.  So yes.

 

As far as "how" to redeem, you would log in to the card website, click "rewards and benefits center", click "redeem my points", click "statement credit" and then find the transaction that qualifies and apply the statement credit. 

 

This is from the website regarding redeeming points for "statement credit" but you may want to call Barclay's to confirm:

 

Redeem your points for statement credits toward travel purchases of $50 or more made in the last 180 days on Holland America Line cruises, 

 

 

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Our HAL Alaska cruise starts in a few days and we have a few things we are not clear and hoping those here can answer

1) It will be my wife's birthday and we wanted to know if we allowed to bring on board a special bottle of wine?  I know some cruise lines allow one bottle of wine to be brought onboard

2) we booked through HAL and it said we were supposed to get $150 on board credit for each person.We can't find that that credit shows in our HAL app anywhere. We did book 2 excursions online weeks ago on our computer but we don't know if they took our $150 credit off the charged price or what. Would they have used it for our HAL excursions? If not then how do we get to use the credits and we can't even see on our HAL app account that they exist?

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You can bring wine on board but they will charge a $20 corkage fee.  
 

if you review your invoice you will see the OBC listed.  It will be noted in the block with the fare breakdown.  It will show, also, on the app once you are onboard.   That OBC can only be used onboard so it has not been used for pre purchases 

 

enjoy your cruise. 
 

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6 hours ago, gaudi89 said:

) we booked through HAL and it said we were supposed to get $150 on board credit for each person.We can't find that that credit shows in our HAL app anywhere. We did book 2 excursions online weeks ago on our computer but we don't know if they took our $150 credit off the charged price or what. Would they have used it for our HAL excursions? If not then how do we get to use the credits and we can't even see on our HAL app account that they exist?

All OBC cannot be used until you board, it is a terrible policy but that's HAL's way of doing business. If you booked with the HIA promo that includes credits for shore excursions and specialty dinning, those can be used pre boarding.

 

If you booked two shore excursions and did not have a HIA credit or pay for them with a CC when you booked, they most likely are only in your HAL shopping cart and not paid for or confirmed. My wife did this last year on our Oosterdam cruise and by the time we found out what she did the tours were sold out and we did not get on them.

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35 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

...If you booked two shore excursions and did not have a HIA credit or pay for them with a CC when you booked, they most likely are only in your HAL shopping cart and not paid for or confirmed. My wife did this last year on our Oosterdam cruise and by the time we found out what she did the tours were sold out and we did not get on them.

Good callout - you will always get an email confirmation of your purchase so if you don't get one, you should check your shopping cart. Also, you should get occasional email reminders that "you left something in your cart and it's time to complete your purchase" if you did leave w/o actually checking out and finalizing the purchase. So if you get one of those emails, you might want to check your shopping cart.

You will also see the excursions and/or dinners on your itinerary, so that's another way to confirm they were actually completed.

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Hi Cruise Crittic experts!, 

New to HAL and put a reservation for holiday 12 day east caribbean on NS. My question is this "all in" package from a convenient stand point may be worth the price.

Get 2 excursions 

Get "drink" package up to 15 per day --  fine print says $11 per drink.

Get 2 speciality restaurants

Get Internet 

What do the expert cruisers do?  Yea or Nay on the "all in" package?

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17 minutes ago, DenverSeaDog said:

Hi Cruise Crittic experts!, 

New to HAL and put a reservation for holiday 12 day east caribbean on NS. My question is this "all in" package from a convenient stand point may be worth the price.

Get 2 excursions 

Get "drink" package up to 15 per day --  fine print says $11 per drink.

Get 2 speciality restaurants

Get Internet 

What do the expert cruisers do?  Yea or Nay on the "all in" package?

Welcome to HAL, @DenverSeaDog! Do the math deducting the cost of the items you listed above: internet, excursion credit and dining credit from the cost of the HIA package. The amount left over is your remaining drink budget. If you think that's sufficient (remember you get coffee & other drinks, not just alcohol), then getting HIA would not benefit you. But if you'll spend more on drinks than the $$ figure you got, HIA is likely a good deal for you. The 15 drinks (@$11 ea) includes more than just alcohol, so you need to factor that in when "doing the math." If you want a higher priced drink (above the $11) you'll only be charged the difference +18%.

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46 minutes ago, DenverSeaDog said:

Yea or Nay on the "all in" package?


Everything @Haljo1935 said above is a good way to figure it. But also consider the refundability of the rate when you’re comparing. When you’re booking, it will show the lowest fare and the HIA Package fare — the latter comes with a refundable deposit, the former does not. There’s also an Advantage fare not shown on the website that you can call to get a quote for that’s just the base fare, but with a refundable deposit. That’s the one I would price compare against the HIA Package fare to get a true idea of how much those perks will cost.

 

There are lots of posts here (several very recent and still active) discussing the HIA package, either bundled as part of the fare or as a $50/day add-on. Browse through the forum for some of those for a broader list of pros/cons and people’s opinions on the matter. 🙂 Good luck, and welcome!

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IMHO the key to HIA value is the beverage package. 

How many drinks will you consume per day?  How many drinks will you consume if you are aboard for only a few hours on port days? 

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10 minutes ago, Crew News said:

IMHO the key to HIA value is the beverage package. 

How many drinks will you consume per day?  How many drinks will you consume if you are aboard for only a few hours on port days? 

 

I am the first person at the coffee bars in the morning. My husband sleeps in and I can drink 3 or 4 cups a day. I have wine at lunch, several cocktails before dinner, a few glasses of wine during the shows. 

 

I use the internet quite often during the day for Committee updates and communication with family and friends. We tend to cruise 4 to 5 weeks. This year we cruise for 52 days (Nov to Jan)

 

The HIA pkg is advantageous for me.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, DenverSeaDog said:

Hi Cruise Crittic experts!, 

New to HAL and put a reservation for holiday 12 day east caribbean on NS. My question is this "all in" package from a convenient stand point may be worth the price.

Get 2 excursions 

Get "drink" package up to 15 per day --  fine print says $11 per drink.

Get 2 speciality restaurants

Get Internet 

What do the expert cruisers do?  Yea or Nay on the "all in" package?

We had AI on our recent Rotterdam (Mar 2023) and had the specific items you listed.  We booked recently another Rotterdam sailing for 2025 and got an 'early bird' addition of gratuities included.  I mention this to just be aware that there are specials flying around and as one special offer ends, another begins in general.  This is their business model.

 

As to really needing the package, Haljo 1935, suggested  doing the math.  That is always a good plan.  I would also suggest thinking through your day onboard over the length of cruise like Seasick Sailor and I did.  We  drank 1-2 specialty coffees most days would get 4-5 cans of water during day/evening, a beer at lunch, a drink mid afternoon, a glass of wine pre dinner, glass of wine during dinner and another drink during the evening entertainment, maybe a nightcap.  

 

That to us was a lot of drinking.  Coffees - 2; waters - 5;  alcohol drinks -  6 alcohol drinks.  Trust me that is a lot of alcohol and we quickly realized we did not need to drink that much each day and did slow down some.  AND we did not ever get to 15 drinks!  Now throw in excursions (off ship) and you will most likely drink less on those days. If you remove the water and only 1 alcoholic drink, we did 7 drinks a day in addition to getting water in a glass in many places on ship to replace the cans of water in this example.

 

So, do the math and know that if the total of all the  perks included in your AI cost less than the non bundle price of your drinking pattern, it may make sense to get. 

 

Our last cruise on Celebrity, where we get access to drinks in evening, makes our decision to not book their version of AI.  We do, if on a cool weather trip get the Premium specialty coffee package.  I am not sure HAL offers that.

 

Again, you need to think through your version of your cruise. Do an daily recap of how your cruise might look like.

 

 I never used the internet as I am on a cruise to be away.  Not everyone can or wants to, but if internet is important to you, then that perk works.  I think with AI, you get the lower of 2 streaming rates.  

 

We liked the excursions and for speciality restaurants they get to pick as I understand it.  We enjoyed the restaurants and also really enjoyed the high end dining.

 

Wishing you a great and fun cruise.

Edited by shipshape sam
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On 7/1/2023 at 10:56 AM, DenverSeaDog said:

Hi Cruise Crittic experts!, 

New to HAL and put a reservation for holiday 12 day east caribbean on NS. My question is this "all in" package from a convenient stand point may be worth the price.

Get 2 excursions 

Get "drink" package up to 15 per day --  fine print says $11 per drink.

Get 2 speciality restaurants

Get Internet 

What do the expert cruisers do?  Yea or Nay on the "all in" package?

We felt the math was worth it based on...

 

1) We wanted at least the Quench package for water + fancy coffees
2) We WILL visit the Pinnacle either way

3) We WILL spend at least that much on excursions

4) We want internet to stay connected with our kiddo

 

So I worked out cost for those if I paid individually (not internet, but phone package through our provider) - and then it became a complete no-brainer that we wanted HIA.

 

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13 minutes ago, loveandpeas said:

We felt the math was worth it based on...

 

1) We wanted at least the Quench package for water + fancy coffees
2) We WILL visit the Pinnacle either way

3) We WILL spend at least that much on excursions

4) We want internet to stay connected with our kiddo

 

So I worked out cost for those if I paid individually (not internet, but phone package through our provider) - and then it became a complete no-brainer that we wanted HIA.

 

Wise decision and you can also have some wine with meals if wanted.

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When does a guaranteed cabin usually get assigned? We're 3 days out and nothing yet... just says "Category N." I feel like there's very few Category N cabins on the Volendam, correct? And it's a sold out cruise!

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26 minutes ago, loveandpeas said:

When does a guaranteed cabin usually get assigned? We're 3 days out and nothing yet... just says "Category N." I feel like there's very few Category N cabins on the Volendam, correct? And it's a sold out cruise!

I would call HAL tomorrow if you have not been notified,

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, loveandpeas said:

When does a guaranteed cabin usually get assigned? We're 3 days out and nothing yet... just says "Category N." I feel like there's very few Category N cabins on the Volendam, correct? And it's a sold out cruise!

Agree with @terrydtx you should call HAL. While some people do report just "going with it" and letting porter notify them of the cabin when they drop their bags at the pier, better to learn of an issue before you get that far. Especially on a sold out ship.

It's a phone call.

Proactive is better than reactive.

Safe travels  - enjoy your cruise!

Edited by Haljo1935
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