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

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I'm starting to research HAL, having previously cruised primarily on RCI. Regarding the wine policy, I have one question. Prior to RCI cancelling all corkage fees, it had been hit or miss as to whether folks would be charged when they brought their own bottle into the dining rooms. It was the same on the one Carnival cruise that we did. How does HAL handle this? Is the corkage fee ALWAYS charged, or is it at the discretion of the waiter?

Since all except one bottle of wine per person are charged corkage at boarding, the sticker on the bottles indicates the corkage has been paid, and that ends that.

If you were to choose to take the "free" bottle to the dining room (or other public place), the additional corkage due would be charged.

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Since all except one bottle of wine per person are charged corkage at boarding, the sticker on the bottles indicates the corkage has been paid, and that ends that.

If you were to choose to take the "free" bottle to the dining room (or other public place), the additional corkage due would be charged.

 

Thank you Ruth for responding. Much appreciated!

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Hi

We have always cruised in Europe but never in Australia. We are booked on the Xmas/New Year cruise from Sydney to NZ on Oosterdam. When we booked with TA we were told that the price quoted included all gratuities because they didn't like their customers to have any nasty surprises.

This surprised me, and also the price quoted, because if it included gratuities it was a very good price (having checked around and also on HAL site), so I booked. I was there when travel agent spoke to the booking agent and she quoted me word for word what was being said, as I queried this part twice.

 

So paid the cruise in full and went away felling very happy as always when cruising in Europe you have this extra charge every day that you need to pay before you leave the ship. After reading more and more about HAL on this site I rang back and the agent who booked it for me wasn't there, but her collegue said yes that is right and it is all paid. Then I went down with passports etc and again saw someone else said yes it is paid and if they add it at the end tell them to take it off.

Went down a few days later and spoke to another person in the office who said no it is not paid and you need to pay it separately. By this time I was a bit agro as I wasn't getting what I was told I had paid for.

Then the original TA rang and said that she had been told it was all paid (I heard her) but now the booking agent was saying that no it wasn't and that it didn't have to be paid all I needed to do was go on the first day and say I didn't want to pay it.

I explained that it wasn't that I didn't want to pay it as I know these staff rely on this payment, but I had been told that it was included.

Again she told me that no one has to pay it and everyone goes and asks for it to be take off, and so on and so on etc.

 

I told her I didn't want to deprive the staff of this payment and I had been told on this thread "DON'T TRY TO HAVE IT REMOVED"'. I know on mediterrean cruises I saw lots of people hazzling and arguing over their bill at the last day.

 

However again she and lots of other people have said they cant force you to pay it or to tip on board.

 

You say in one thread Don't try to have it removed. Tell me what you mean please about what happens, as this TA and from what I can gather the booking agent in Australia is telling everyone go and tell them you aren't paying it. Just for my own information and lots of others on this thread.

 

Just a matter for thought, I don't know how many crew on this cruise I presume about 1000, and 1900 passengers at $11.50 a day pp. which is $21,850 or more per day, which works out to be $305,900 for for the trip which is a lot of money for gratuities, lets hope it all gets to the staff.

 

Please give me your comments on all this and what the TA is saying, as a cruise expert.

 

Janderr

When we booked our Grand Asia Far East Australia cruise we were told about a lot of things that were included in the price including tips, but lucky for me I had read on cruise critic about people who had the same problem you had and to get it in writing from HAL via an email, which I did and there were no problems. So for future reference always get it in writing via email from HAL.

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I am really enjoying this forum and all its info as I am new to HAL. (cruises 10+ on another line) So many questions! My first though is what is included in the Signature Drink Package? My booking offered it as a free promotion and it states all drinks up to $7. I am assuming that is Beer and Wine, however does it include mixed drinks or on the rocks like Jack, etc?

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I am really enjoying this forum and all its info as I am new to HAL. (cruises 10+ on another line) So many questions! My first though is what is included in the Signature Drink Package? My booking offered it as a free promotion and it states all drinks up to $7. I am assuming that is Beer and Wine, however does it include mixed drinks or on the rocks like Jack, etc?

 

Welcome to Cruise Critic :)

 

Yes, the signature Drink Package includes anything that is less than $7, so mixed drinks or on the rocks, etc.

 

There is a really great thread started by POA1 on the drink package and it is usually on the first page (or the second at the worst). Called Signature Package.....Oh MY! I think you will find it very helpful.

 

But the general rule of thumb is any drink under $7 and no premium liquors.

 

hope this helps

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As best I understand the Explore4 Program, the Signature Drink Package covers all drinks (up to $7 each) up to the daily $50 limit.

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As best I understand the Explore4 Program, the Signature Drink Package covers all drinks (up to $7 each) up to the daily $50 limit.

There is no $50 daily limit; there's a 15 drinks per day limit. If all of those drinks were cocktails at $6.95 each, the price would be worth $104.xx, plus service charge for a total of $119.xx.

 

The "value" of the package is (roughly) $50 per day, but that's not a limit. It's the price someone would have to pay if they were to purchase the Signature Beverage Package.

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I defer to RuthC on this one, as she obviously has more drinking experience than me!

<hic>

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We are new to HAL and when we booked our room they asked us if we wanted to be upgraded without calling us. I said no, because I know that what some people feel is an upgrade is not always a true upgrade.... Especially since I have one of the large inside cabins k1116. However, I would be willing to consider an up sell. The question is, will I not get the opportunity for an up sell because I checked that box? Sorry... But this is a little confusing for me. Any help would be appreciated. And one more question... When do they generally start calling with up sell offers in relation to your departure?

 

 

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We are new to HAL and when we booked our room they asked us if we wanted to be upgraded without calling us. I said no, because I know that what some people feel is an upgrade is not always a true upgrade.... Especially since I have one of the large inside cabins k1116. However, I would be willing to consider an up sell. The question is, will I not get the opportunity for an up sell because I checked that box? Sorry... But this is a little confusing for me. Any help would be appreciated. And one more question... When do they generally start calling with up sell offers in relation to your departure?

 

 

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Welcome to HAL - hope you enjoy your cruise.

 

With that cabin, I don't blame you for saying no to an upgrade ;) Even though you said no to upgrades, you can still receive upsell offers.

 

Upsell offers vary depending upon the sailing but generally speaking, they seem to start a few weeks before the cruise - two - three weeks generally. Of course they start with the higher categories and work down. If the ship is sold out in all categories, then, of course, there is no upsell to offer.

 

Caveat - no one knows how the upsell fairy works so you may or many not get an offer.

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Welcome to HAL - hope you enjoy your cruise.

 

 

 

With that cabin, I don't blame you for saying no to an upgrade ;) Even though you said no to upgrades, you can still receive upsell offers.

 

 

 

Upsell offers vary depending upon the sailing but generally speaking, they seem to start a few weeks before the cruise - two - three weeks generally. Of course they start with the higher categories and work down. If the ship is sold out in all categories, then, of course, there is no upsell to offer.

 

 

 

Caveat - no one knows how the upsell fairy works so you may or many not get an offer.

 

 

Thanks Kazu! That is very helpful.

 

 

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There is no $50 daily limit; there's a 15 drinks per day limit. If all of those drinks were cocktails at $6.95 each, the price would be worth $104.xx, plus service charge for a total of $119.xx.

 

The "value" of the package is (roughly) $50 per day, but that's not a limit. It's the price someone would have to pay if they were to purchase the Signature Beverage Package.

 

Thanks for the clarification, very helpful! :)

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So the $50 is only for the drinks. Service charge is still added to your account, correct? and not included with the Drink Package. :confused:

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So the $50 is only for the drinks. Service charge is still added to your account, correct? and not included with the Drink Package. :confused:

The $50 (a rounded number) is to purchase the card; not the individual drinks. There is a price for the card, and the service charge is added to that price---bringing it to a little over $51. No additional charge for the drinks will be placed on your account.

 

If you are given the Signature Beverage Package as a gift as part of the Explore 4 Program, the service charge is absorbed by HAL (it's figured into the program itself). Again, there is no additional charge when you "purchase" a drink.

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This is a great thread - off on my first HAL cruise on Zaandam in just under three weeks.

 

Question - we have booked a guarantee cabin but as yet have no assigned number. How soon before we sail are we likely to know this?

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This is a great thread - off on my first HAL cruise on Zaandam in just under three weeks.

 

Question - we have booked a guarantee cabin but as yet have no assigned number. How soon before we sail are we likely to know this?

 

It can be anywhere from 2 weeks out until you get on the pier. A lot report around 3 - 7 days before the cruise.

 

The fastest way to see it is to check your express doc and go as if you were going to print your luggage tag - the stateroom number seems to show up here faster than elsewhere.

 

hope you enjoy your 1st HAL cruise:D

Edited by kazu

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So the $50 is only for the drinks. Service charge is still added to your account, correct? and not included with the Drink Package. :confused:

 

You don't have a service charge added to your account, this is included within the cost of the drinks package. :)

 

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We are long-time cruisers, mainly on RCI, and I'm researching HAL for a cruise for late '15/early '16. Which ship would be a good choice to experience HAL for the first time, sailing out of Port Everglades?

 

For a first-time HAL cruise, what "must know" information should I have about the HAL culture? We are mid-60's, active, and enjoy the entire cruise experience. TIA!!

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I know absolutely nothing about HAL or their ships, and would like to give them a try.

With all due respect, how do you know you would like to try HAL if you know absolutely nothing about them, or their ships?

 

I suggest you read a lot of threads on this board, to get a feel for the ships, itineraries, activities, food, service on board, the passenger base, and get a feel for the atmosphere on HAL.

Start the thread, as suggested. As you read and pose questions, you will formulate more questions. It's only then that you will get a real idea whether or not HAL would be a good fit for you.

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Hi, I’m loving this great thread.

I am a first-time HAL cruiser (sailing next August) and new to Cruise Critic. But fools rush in . . . . . . . I started the roll call for this cruise despite having little or no idea of what I should do as a Roll Call Initiator. I have welcomed those who have logged onto the roll call and I have put in some shore excursion suggestions. But where to from here? Do I organise some sort of meet and greet once on board? How do I do this? What other hints can people give me?

 

Oh, and if anyone would like to join or just take a look, the roll call for Zuiderman’s 33 day Best of Mediterranean is at: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2110476

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Thank you for this response. I will start a thead on the HAL board and see what responses I get. I know absolutely nothing about HAL or their ships, and would like to give them a try.

 

 

Hello KeywestK...

I am also new to HAL and I have posted lots of questions recently on the HAL board and gotten wonderful help and info! I will be going on my first HAL cruise on January 25th after cruising only twice before... Once with Disney and once with Celebrity. I enjoyed both but I am still trying to find the right fit for me. Hopefully you will start a thread and I will be able to respond when I get back... If not... I will try to respond here. For now, enjoy your research! I think that's half the fun! As my DH says, we enjoy our cruise for the entire year. 😄

 

 

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Hi, I’m loving this great thread.

I am a first-time HAL cruiser (sailing next August) and new to Cruise Critic. But fools rush in . . . . . . . I started the roll call for this cruise despite having little or no idea of what I should do as a Roll Call Initiator. I have welcomed those who have logged onto the roll call and I have put in some shore excursion suggestions. But where to from here? Do I organise some sort of meet and greet once on board? How do I do this? What other hints can people give me?

 

Oh, and if anyone would like to join or just take a look, the roll call for Zuiderman’s 33 day Best of Mediterranean is at: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2110476

 

It sounds like you are doing a great job as a roll call initiator (or the OP) to me.

 

You don't have to organize the meet and greet. Someone else on the roll call can do it if you prefer.

 

If you wan to see if anyone wants to do it, just post on your roll call.

 

If you want to do it, just call HAL and they will get things going for you and email you the meet and greet confirmation.

 

It's best to organize meet and greets before you go and you can see who on the roll call is interested (most usually are).

 

Aim for a sea day if it's early on - morning is usually a good time.

 

10 or 11 am.

 

There is a sticky above the roll calls on organizing a meet and greet.

 

There are also a number of threads on the general HAL board if you want to use the search function.

 

If this is something that you are not comfortable with or doesn't give you the desired results and if you have any questions, by all means start a thread on the HAL board and people will help:D

 

Welcome to HAL - and, if you would like a bon voyage from the HAL board - add your cruise to the Future Cruise Listing and we will do so.

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Thanks for the informative & supportive reply, Kazu. I can't find the "sticky above the roll calls" you mentioned. How do I get there?

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Thanks for the informative & supportive reply, Kazu. I can't find the "sticky above the roll calls" you mentioned. How do I get there?

 

If yoiu go to "Holland America Roll Calls' forum, above the list of ships there is a "star", and just underneath it says something like "how to organise a Meet & Mingle or Meet & Greet." Click on that. Good luck!:)

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=86

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