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Sailing the Rotterdam... tips?


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Good morning, everyone! We are a family of 4...my husband, me, and our two college sons. We are sailing for the first time in a very very long time. We chose Rotterdam because of the price, the ports that we have never been to before, and also because of the timing of the cruise... Dec 17th-24th. I am a teacher and to have the week off that is front-loaded before Christmas is rare and amazing!

 

We are in OV room 1937. We have purchased the Signature drink package (oy!:)) because we are pretty heavy drinkers and will use it.

 

Are there any tips that we need to know concerning drinks (specifically the Signature package,) food, entertainment, etc? How does tipping work? We love any and all experiences.

 

Our sons thought our only other cruise when they were in elementary school was the best vacation ever, so when I asked them about this cruise, they said "Hell, yes!" Very excited!

 

Thank you in advance!

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IMHO, you made a good decision by purchasing the Signature Beverage Package, (SBP). Some on CC will dispute that, and say it's a waste of money, but it all comes down to your personal beverage choices. You are on vacation, the captain is doing the driving, so let go and have fun. The break even point is 5 or 6 drinks, based on a typical $7.95 drink plus the 15% SC. And don't concern yourself with the 15% service charge, you have already paid that when you purchased the SBP. When you are looking at drink prices on the bar menus, the price you see is what is used to determine if you are exceeding the $9 limit. Don't add in the 15%, that is prepaid by your SBP purchase. With the SBP, you can order just about any mixed drink, any beer, specialty coffees, drinks in the MDR, wines by the glass (limited selection), call brands, soda, 1 liter bottles of water, just about anything you can drink. A couple of catches, you can't share beverages, even with your sons, unless they have also purchased the package. There are some expensive wines, tequilas, brandies and cognacs that exceed the $9 per drink limit, check the menu before ordering. No bottles of wine, only by the glass. Nothing from your in-cabin minibar, and also the 2 bottles of water placed in your cabin. No drinks on Half-Moon Cay, if you are stopping there. A 15 drink per day limit. Ordering doubles is allowed, it just counts as 2 of your daily 15, which resets at midnight. The bartenders will happily allow you to exceed your 15 drink limit and won't tell you. You will see those extra beverages on your room statement. You can check your cabin folio on your laptop or other device in your room. Do check it..... they do make mistakes. If you see a drink charge that is not automatically reversed, call or visit the front desk on deck 1 and inquire. They will reverse it or explain why they can't.

HAL charges an automatic $13.50 per person/per day for the "Hotel Service Charge", HSC, or Tipping. ($15 P/P for suites) It will be charged to your on board account at midnight of each day. You are not expected to do anything else, but many people will give extra cash directly to a cabin steward, waiter, bar tender, or anyone who has done an exceptional job for you personally. Your choice on that.

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IMHO, you made a good decision by purchasing the Signature Beverage Package, (SBP). Some on CC will dispute that, and say it's a waste of money, but it all comes down to your personal beverage choices. You are on vacation, the captain is doing the driving, so let go and have fun. The break even point is 5 or 6 drinks, based on a typical $7.95 drink plus the 15% SC. And don't concern yourself with the 15% service charge, you have already paid that when you purchased the SBP. When you are looking at drink prices on the bar menus, the price you see is what is used to determine if you are exceeding the $9 limit. Don't add in the 15%, that is prepaid by your SBP purchase. With the SBP, you can order just about any mixed drink, any beer, specialty coffees, drinks in the MDR, wines by the glass (limited selection), call brands, soda, 1 liter bottles of water, just about anything you can drink. A couple of catches, you can't share beverages, even with your sons, unless they have also purchased the package. There are some expensive wines, tequilas, brandies and cognacs that exceed the $9 per drink limit, check the menu before ordering. No bottles of wine, only by the glass. Nothing from your in-cabin minibar, and also the 2 bottles of water placed in your cabin. No drinks on Half-Moon Cay, if you are stopping there. A 15 drink per day limit. Ordering doubles is allowed, it just counts as 2 of your daily 15, which resets at midnight. The bartenders will happily allow you to exceed your 15 drink limit and won't tell you. You will see those extra beverages on your room statement. You can check your cabin folio on your laptop or other device in your room. Do check it..... they do make mistakes. If you see a drink charge that is not automatically reversed, call or visit the front desk on deck 1 and inquire. They will reverse it or explain why they can't.

HAL charges an automatic $13.50 per person/per day for the "Hotel Service Charge", HSC, or Tipping. ($15 P/P for suites) It will be charged to your on board account at midnight of each day. You are not expected to do anything else, but many people will give extra cash directly to a cabin steward, waiter, bar tender, or anyone who has done an exceptional job for you personally. Your choice on that.

 

Thanks so much! After seeing the prices of the drinks on another thread, I am absolutely ecstatic that we purchased the beverage plan. I agree, with our personal habits we will easily get our money's worth.

 

I had to buy the beverage plan for all four of us so we will have no shortage of options. We love specialty drinks ....cappuccinos, bloody marys, baileys and coffee, etc etc and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Our bar bill on our last cruise way back when was $1000+ for just two of us and I stressed the whole time. A bucket of beer was $40! There were people in line on the last day in hysterics with $2K and $3K bar bills.I love that we will not have to worry.

 

Thanks for the heads up on the water on the gangway and in the room. Didn't know that! Glad to know prices are posted, too.

 

You said to check our account online. Is WiFi available free? Is that our HAL account we check?

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Thanks so much! After seeing the prices of the drinks on another thread, I am absolutely ecstatic that we purchased the beverage plan. I agree, with our personal habits we will easily get our money's worth.

 

I had to buy the beverage plan for all four of us so we will have no shortage of options. We love specialty drinks ....cappuccinos, bloody marys, baileys and coffee, etc etc and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Our bar bill on our last cruise way back when was $1000+ for just two of us and I stressed the whole time. A bucket of beer was $40! There were people in line on the last day in hysterics with $2K and $3K bar bills.I love that we will not have to worry.

 

Thanks for the heads up on the water on the gangway and in the room. Didn't know that! Glad to know prices are posted, too.

 

You said to check our account online. Is WiFi available free? Is that our HAL account we check?

 

You will really enjoy your cruise. And not having the dread of seeing the final statement on the last day is a blessing.

You can setup an onboard Wi-Fi account for free, if you just want to check the dinner menus, browse shore excursions, browse the HAL website, and check your cabin onboard account. Only if you want to go onto the internet, do you have to pay for a plan. Some ships have 24 hours or the whole voyage, unlimited. Other ships still use the by-the-minute plan.

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Unrelated to your beverage and gratuity questions, but I would encourage you to take a close look at the art aboard the Rotterdam. Some, particularly the Terra Cotta replicas, could be a "teaching moment" for your children. Her art is the best that I have seen on any HAL ship.

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Unrelated to your beverage and gratuity questions, but I would encourage you to take a close look at the art aboard the Rotterdam. Some, particularly the Terra Cotta replicas, could be a "teaching moment" for your children. Her art is the best that I have seen on any HAL ship.

 

 

 

I still have the ms Rotterdam Art Tour in podcast format. I enjoyed walking the ship following the narrators guidance. HAL have pulled all those voice tours from the website and from iTunes so they may have concerns about posting the file publicly. Can you do private file exchange on CC?

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Wonderful! Thank you! We will definitely try to take a tour around. Is there anywhere we can find copies of recent daily programs? Would they have something of that nature like an art tour?

 

I surely don't know the answer to your question. But, I suggest that you speak to the Guest Relations Manager. She/He may be able to provide you with some information regarding an art tour.

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Wonderful! Thank you! We will definitely try to take a tour around. Is there anywhere we can find copies of recent daily programs? Would they have something of that nature like an art tour?

 

I don't recall an art tour per se (we were on her earlier this year) but there were other tours - floral, kitchen, etc.

 

The floral tour (seeing the different flower displays on the ship and hearing from the florist) was very interesting.

 

I did post the daily programmes (aka When and Where) on my live thread at the time if you want to check them.

 

Here is the link https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2474965

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Wonderful! Thank you! We will definitely try to take a tour around. Is there anywhere we can find copies of recent daily programs? Would they have something of that nature like an art tour?

 

 

 

From the Holland America homepage, select ONBOARD, then select ENRICHING ACTIVITIES. On that page you will see lots of activity choices. The GALLERY WALK describes a high tech self-guided art tour. In years past the Gallery walk had a link to a sub-page where you could download the audio files. No more.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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The art tour is available as a download from HAL website to your smart phone and possibly on board by borrowing it from the front desk.

 

Not sure how paying $200 a day for drinks relieves stress but each to there own :rolleyes:.

 

When you head to the stern, be sure you are on the right deck as deck 5 (I think it’s 5) end prematurely, same as the Amsterdam. I don’t care how many time I sail her, this gets me at least once a cruise.

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The art tour is available as a download from HAL website to your smart phone and possibly on board by borrowing it from the front desk.

 

Not sure how paying $200 a day for drinks relieves stress but each to there own :rolleyes:.

 

When you head to the stern, be sure you are on the right deck as deck 5 (I think it’s 5) end prematurely, same as the Amsterdam. I don’t care how many time I sail her, this gets me at least once a cruise.

 

Isn't that dead-end into stairs/elevators at one of the dining room levels. I remember being caught in that at the Mariner's brunch on Amsterdam.

 

I will be on Rotterdam in January - thanks for the reminder.

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Isn't that dead-end into stairs/elevators at one of the dining room levels. I remember being caught in that at the Mariner's brunch on Amsterdam.

 

I will be on Rotterdam in January - thanks for the reminder.

 

That’s the one.

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Unrelated to your beverage and gratuity questions, but I would encourage you to take a close look at the art aboard the Rotterdam. Some, particularly the Terra Cotta replicas, could be a "teaching moment" for your children. Her art is the best that I have seen on any HAL ship.

Agreed. Ahe's our favorite R class ship.

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