Jump to content
ProvincetownCruiser

Holland America Hotel Packages

Recommended Posts

We are booked on a cruise leaving from Venice and were thinking about adding the pre-cruise hotel package, but we wondering if it is worth it. Being met at the airport, transport to the hotel and then to the ship as well as having a Holland America representative at the hotel make it sound very tempting.. Has anyone had any experience with their hotel packages?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Typically the cost charged by HAL is higher than booking your own room and transfers. We have never used HALs pre or post packages but have stay in the same properties HAL uses for a lower price than HAL quoted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Typically the cost charged by HAL is higher than booking your own room and transfers. We have never used HALs pre or post packages but have stay in the same properties HAL uses for a lower price than HAL quoted.

 

Totally agree. You can do much better on your own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Venice can be quite a confusing, crowded city to get around, especially if it is your first time and you are arriving, as most, in a jet lagged fog.

 

I personally would take the package and make the beginning of your cruise as relaxed as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Venice is one of those embarkation/debarkation ports that can be logistically and physically demanding. Private water taxis are fairly expensive and hotels on the Grand Canal equally so. We love Venice but have now made the decision to only visit when it is part of an itinerary. We will not use it as a departure or end port anymore. It is definitely one port where you might consider using HAL transfers and hotel to make your life easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used HAL Hotel Packages in a variety of ports and have been pleased with all of my experiences. Whether I choose to book one or not does depend upon the port and my comfort level of making the airport/hotel and hotel/pier transfers on my own.

 

In a new port for me, it relives any concerns when a HAL representative "finds" me, assists with my luggage, and gets me to my transportation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Expect to pay more because you are getting the service of having everything taken care of.

 

Only you can decide on the value to you of this service. No right answer. We never do cruise line hotels or transfers because we are independent, low maintenance travelers. We do not particularly value the service and hence are not willing to pay a premium for it. Many feel the opposite.

 

I do suspect thought, that the cruise line package prices in Europe are inflated even more than usual in order to take advantage of some cruisers concern over language issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Late in our cruising, after decades of independent frugal travels around the world, we tried the hotel/pick up package with HAL. Last year was our first and we've done the same with Princess for our next cruise. Easy, does come with a price and only you can decide if it's worth the expense.

 

On an independent land tour of Italy we did Venice, arriving by train, using the vaporetto and dragging our suitcases down alleyways to our hotel. It was an adventure we really enjoyed.

 

Ruth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It also depends on your physical ability and how much luggage you travel with. We travel with carry on only so the thought of public transportation, finding our own way, or carrying our bags up stairs is not an issue. Clearly, for some people this would be an issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we are cruising in or out of Venice, have luggage, and want to do it in an easy way, we simply stay in the Piazale Roma at the Ca Doge Hotel. Its a small inn-like facility right on the square. Getting to or from the airport on the reasonably priced (and fast) ATVO bus is quite simple...and our hotel is only a short walk from the bus stop. When its time to go to the port we can walk a short distance to the People Mover which quickly whisks us over to the Port. A room at the Ca Doge will usually cost us about 170-180€ for 2 persons (which includes a nice breakfast. When you add the cost of the ATVO bus...we are talking about approximately $100 per person for hotel plus transfer. Compare this to the cruise line package and we suspect one would save hundreds of dollars per night.

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you all for your input, . Although I am still not sure what we will do your information has been very helpful and informative.

 

We were relatively new to cruising when we did our first Med trip in 2015, and it was our first trip outside the US in many years. We got a few euro to start off with before leaving Boston. We flew direct into Venice, found the ticket machine to get a bus to Piazza Roma. We stayed at Hotel Olimpia, which we LOVED, and it was a short, one bridge walk from where the bus dropped us off. Piazza Roma is also where you get on the People Mover to go from Piazza Roma to the ship. We even ventured onto the vaporetto (water taxi) to see a bit of Venice. We're two 50/60 something ladies and it was all easy enough for us to do. ;) Whatever you decide, have a fantastic trip!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have done it both ways and it is nice to have the extra service. One less worry!

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had the airport transfer and hotel package in Rome, and it was worth every penny!!:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are doing the Signature Experience in Venice in Oct. 2018 and the hotels are not listed but for 2017 HAL is using the Bauer and Bonvechiatti. Any advice as to which one if there is a choice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We are doing the Signature Experience in Venice in Oct. 2018 and the hotels are not listed but for 2017 HAL is using the Bauer and Bonvechiatti. Any advice as to which one if there is a choice?

 

I think there is a difference in price and location other than that we don't know much more and would also be interested in any advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the ship package is worth it if you like to be worry free when you arrive in a country you have not been to before. It may be more expensive but I like to be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel without me having to find a taxi and lug my luggage. And the fact that they take care of my luggage from the hotel to the ship and I'm transferred from the hotel to the ship with others, so you get to meet people who will be on the cruise with you.

 

It is really up to you as how much you want to do on your own. I have been to Venice several times and it really is not an easy place to get around the first time you are there. But once you have been there at least once it gets easier. I love Venice and if I have a choice of staying at a hotel in Venice or one on the outskirts I would choose to stay in Venice. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thought on the People Mover. It is a long walk from the People Mover to where the ships are docked. When we did our cruise that docked in Venice and we stayed overnight we took the People Mover to get into Venice and it was a long walk to the People Mover and even longer one going back because you have to go to the other end of the terminal to get in. And if you are pulling luggage along with you and I can't even imagine wanting to do that. To me it is not worth the money you would save. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Typically we book our own hotels and transfers as we don't mind making our own arrangements and it's usually less expensive even when staying at the same hotel as HAL or whatever line is using. Have to admit we actually used cruise line arrangements in Venice and were glad we did. We'd been there three times as a port call and had a good idea of the layout, etc., and that actually figured into our planning. This time Venice was actually our embarkation port so a whole different set of considerations. Secondly, light packing and cruising are mutually exclusive in our house. We look more like refugees than vacationers so the thought of hauling our own luggage on public transportation was not attractive or a good option. Anyhow, being met at the airport, a private launch (water taxi) directly to our hotel, and then a semi-private launch to the cruise terminal a couple of days later was well worth it. We have no problem arranging our own hotels and transfers in Barcelona, Rome, and Athens but Venice is unique in our minds and experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We thank everyone for their advice, we are most likely going to do the HAL package. Although we have done our own arrangements in the past, I think at least on this cruise it sounds like a good idea to use the package.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We just completed arrangements for a cruise to Australia and booked all the Hal package and air too. We feel with travelling that distance and all the changes to be made why not let someone else do it for you. This is the first time we have done this way, so we hope it will work out. Will let you know after the cruise is completed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I book a HAL hotel package another thing to think about is travel insurance! If you are on Medicare you are not covered out of the country. So if you book a hotel on your own you need an additional policy to cover that period of time. By the time I added up airport transfers, hotel, insurance and ship transfers, I really an satisfied with the package.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First off we are well traveled, physical able and love adventures on our own.

 

Venice can be tough, but NOT THAT BAD. Fly in to Venice, purchase a powered local canal boat ticket just inside the air port that will take you to Zartarie(may have misspelled it. Drag your luggage to the docks, this might be challenging because there are different boats for different area, just ask. Get off at Zartarie and stay at the Bella Aarti, int just a easy walk about the length of a football fields down the closest street. The hotel is near the Academia bridge and lots of shopping and restaurant, of reasonable price near by, St Peters square is a bit of a walk. Off to the cruise ship just go down to the same dock area and purchase a ticket for 8 euro PP and 15 minutes you are at the cruise ship of terminal.

There are other hotels on the same street. Make sure breakfast is included.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have been through Venice several times. If you stay at one of the branded well known hotels - contact the hotel in advance and the concierge will organise a water taxi and guide to meet you at the airport and take you directly to the hotel. Similarly for the embarkation.

Using a hotel consolidator or even the hotels website to book, we think that it works out cheaper than one of the cruise company's signature packages. The last time ( last Sept) we stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky. Their arrival/ departure arrangements were flawless even if the hotel itself was disappointing.

There are a number of very good hotels in Venice, the Danieli where we stayed on a previous embarkation was excellent and the arrangements went like clockwork.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
St Peters square is a bit of a walk.

St Peter's Square is definitely a bit of a walk considering it's in Vatican City. St Mark's Square will be much closer. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done both with and without the packages. I prefer the package in a place like Venice that I have never traveled to. I am traveling solo and it is nice and worry free to have this all taken care of after a transatlantic flight . It feels good to know that someone is on the other end and will take care of the details . Also it seems that with a package I was boarded on the ship sooner with the others. Last time I booked the pre-cruise package was in 2004 Amsterdam in Rio de Janeiro. Checking out the October 2018 Venice departure to the states. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have done it both ways. Sort of. In 2009 I did the Oosterdam repo San Diego to Rome with a friend. We were both traveling solo, different travel agents. She wanted to stay in Rome 3 days at the end, and wanted to do the HAL package. My TA arranged a different hotel in the heart of Rome, not the outskirts, similar tours, and transfers, for $700pp less than the HAL package. In 2012, traveling with my sister, we did 24 days from Venice on Nieuw Amsterdam. Same travel agent booked hotel and transfers. I have no idea what the savings were,but we were at the same hotel that HAL was using, Bonvecchiatti. The next year we went back, but this time I made all the arrangements. I booked the Hotel Olimpia, we did the bus transfer from the airport, and dragged our suitcases across Piazzale Roma to the hotel. (That was the trip that convinced us to travel with carryons only).

 

I would research both HAL hotels on this site and Tripadvisor. The Bonvecchiati is several building connected, and not all floors can be reached by elevator. And one elevator was about the size of an airplane lavatory. Our room was smaller than most inside cabins. Barely room to walk around the king bed. Hotel Olimpia, we had a huge room, but on an upper floor in the annex with no elevator. EM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are on the Oct 14, 25 day cruise to Ft. Lauderdale on the Westerdam. We booked a hotel on the Giudecca canal that will arrange for a private water taxi from the airport for 110 Euros. There are 4 of us, and we have exclusive use of the boat. Out hotel has its own dock, and the staff will be waiting for us to pull our bags off of the boat and take them into the hotel. If you use the public water taxis from the airport, they will drop you at the nearest dock to your hotel, but not guaranteed. You may have to drag your luggage for quite a distance to reach your hotel. That's why it is important to book a hotel that has it's own dock, and will coordinate with you on the private water taxis. We have the same deal a week later to get to the ship.

A relatively new feature at Marco Polo Airport is a people mover moving walkway from the baggage claim area to the water taxi docks, which is quite a long hike.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am crusing out of Rome (Civitaveccia) next april. I fortunately receive a special gift as I booked a Neptune Suite. I am very anxious to try this for free. Considering the transfert to Civitaveccia and the 2 night stay at the Savoy hotel (uphill Spanish steps) it's a very good deal !

With this special amenity, we are going to be able to visit the Colosseum at night with a private guide.

 

Wish you the best decision

 

Holacanada

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am crusing out of Rome (Civitaveccia) next april. I fortunately receive a special gift as I booked a Neptune Suite. I am very anxious to try this for free. Considering the transfert to Civitaveccia and the 2 night stay at the Savoy hotel (uphill Spanish steps) it's a very good deal !

With this special amenity, we are going to be able to visit the Colosseum at night with a private guide.

 

Wish you the best decision

 

Holacanada

 

The Savoy is more than just uphill from the Spanish Steps. It's about a 10 minute walk from there to the top of the Steps. I'd walk past it every night on my way from the Westin down to Centro Storico if I went that way rather than Via Tritone. Always had a bunch of tour busses in front of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have decided to do the HAL package, we compared prices and it is a bit pricier than if we booked the hotel and made our own arrangements, but having everything taken care of seems worth the extra money. We will be tired from the flight and having someone helping us will be a nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Typically the cost charged by HAL is higher than booking your own room and transfers. We have never used HALs pre or post packages but have stay in the same properties HAL uses for a lower price than HAL quoted.

We do the same as you. Holland American charges are very high.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We have decided to do the HAL package, we compared prices and it is a bit pricier than if we booked the hotel and made our own arrangements, but having everything taken care of seems worth the extra money. We will be tired from the flight and having someone helping us will be a nice.

That's two less things you have to worry about!

Have an Excellent cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We have decided to do the HAL package, we compared prices and it is a bit pricier than if we booked the hotel and made our own arrangements, but having everything taken care of seems worth the extra money. We will be tired from the flight and having someone helping us will be a nice.

I did the HAL package for my recent cruise and was very pleased. Not only did they have to worry about the reservations and transportation issues, when my suitcase turned up missing, the HAL agent at the hotel took charge and acted as my advocate with the airline and got my bag to me that evening instead of waiting until the morning delivery run the airline usually makes.

 

They will generally have copies of the health questionnaire at the HAL table in the hotel, which helps speed up the process once at the terminal.

 

In Seattle I was using a cane due to a knee injury and they sent me and my family on the handicapped bus. They have special handling through the terminal and go a bit earlier to avoid the crowds so you don't have to navigate walkers and canes around huge masses of people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have booked a Baltic Cruise with the Signature Experience of 2 nights accommodation pre cruise in Copenhagen in 2018. Does anyone know if breakfast is included at pre cruise hotel stays?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We have booked a Baltic Cruise with the Signature Experience of 2 nights accommodation pre cruise in Copenhagen in 2018. Does anyone know if breakfast is included at pre cruise hotel stays?

I think it depends on the hotel. It was included when we were in Buenos Aires and Amsterdam, but not in Seattle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How are the transfers and the needed directions to your hotel and then again at the hotel to the airports handled at the airport on arrival and then at the hotel? Are you given written directions or is there someone stationed at the baggage claim? Who helps you at the hotel? We are cruising to Sydney, Australia and have purchased the post package through a PCC (our first time doing this kind of arrangement). Looking for information from someone who has experienced this. Thank you in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How are the transfers and the needed directions to your hotel and then again at the hotel to the airports handled at the airport on arrival and then at the hotel? Are you given written directions or is there someone stationed at the baggage claim? Who helps you at the hotel? We are cruising to Sydney, Australia and have purchased the post package through a PCC (our first time doing this kind of arrangement). Looking for information from someone who has experienced this. Thank you in advance.

 

You'll be given written instructions while onboard, just like normal. Your luggage tags will be for pax going to the HAL hotel. I can't remember if you have to pick up your luggage shoreside or if it will be put on the bus for you; that may depend on customs (if any). At the hotel, there will probably be a HAL rep at a desk in the hotel lobby. That individual can provide advice or book additional tours.

 

For transfer from the hotel to the airport, you'll again receive written instructions as to when to gather in the hotel lobby and how the luggage will be picked up. On the bus, you'll be asked which airline so that you will be dropped off at the correct terminal (if more than one terminal). I can't remember if they help you with your luggage to the check-in or not; I'm thinking they don't.

 

For pre-cruise hotel stays, a HAL rep will meet you at the baggage claim, after your flight, and direct you to the bus/taxi to get you to your hotel. Sometimes, there is a rep at a station just beyond baggage claim. It will depend on the airport. I've experienced both.

Edited by Alberta Quilter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How are the transfers and the needed directions to your hotel and then again at the hotel to the airports handled at the airport on arrival and then at the hotel? Are you given written directions or is there someone stationed at the baggage claim? Who helps you at the hotel? We are cruising to Sydney, Australia and have purchased the post package through a PCC (our first time doing this kind of arrangement). Looking for information from someone who has experienced this. Thank you in advance.

 

The few times we've used HAL's arrangements we were greeted by or found a HAL representative in the baggage claim area. They have a list of passengers and will direct you to a curbside area where a bus will take you and your luggage to the hotel. At the hotel HAL usually sets up a desk where you check in and they'll tell you what the arrangements are for transfer to the cruise terminal the next morning. How the morning is handled will depend on how many people are staying at the hotel under HAL arrangements. We've had everything from two or three bus loads with a 100 more or less passengers to a small mini-bus with maybe 20. Our luggage to the ship has either been loaded on the bus or in a separate truck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are fairly independent travellers. We have never used HAL's hotel or transfers,not those of other cruise lines. We don't even bother looking anymore. A word of advice. If you do book a hotel through the cruise line check to make sure that it is in a tourist area if this is what you want/expect. Especially in a larger city on a Friday/Sat/Sun night.

 

I am sure that the cruise line service is good and there are many people who feel more comfortable doing this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Victory Cruise Lines Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win a free 9-night cruise on Victory II
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2018
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×