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HAL Virgin Questions


Woodfaerie
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12 years of cruising and still I feel like a newbie as I start to research how things work on HAL. the majority of my sailings have been on Carnival. I am in my beginning stages of reading all of the HAL FAQ's on the sticky notes.

 

May I be so bold as to ask a few quickies?

~Are we able to choose a boarding time at some point during the online check in? or is it all assigned?

~is there 24 hour ice cream? (I don't avoid the elevators for nothing)

~I understand we can carry on the one bottle of wine or champagne pp but are we allowed to carry on CANS of beverages?

~is there any door decorations going on or is it a serious ship?

 

thank you. I know these may sound silly but whats a board for, right? all info is appreciated.

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~Are we able to choose a boarding time at some point during the online check in? or is it all assigned? -- I've always been given a time that boarding starts and a time that is listed as "All Aboard" and you can check in and board at any point between those times. We prefer to go later as there are fewer people, but it depends on hotel shuttles and a number of other factors. I also hear, but have not experienced it myself, that the Konigsdam has assigned boarding times. If that's the case, I am sure the information will be provided.

 

~is there 24 hour ice cream? (I don't avoid the elevators for nothing) -- there is not 24 hour ice cream. but you can get ice cream from 11:00 until 5:00, and then when the Lido is open for dinner, and again when the Lido is open for the "Midnight" Buffet. I have never had a problem getting ice cream when I wanted it, but then I rarely want ice cream at all hours, so maybe the hours just line up with when I wanted the ice cream.

 

~I understand we can carry on the one bottle of wine or champagne pp but are we allowed to carry on CANS of beverages? -- I never carry on beverages, so someone else will be better qualified to answer this.

 

~is there any door decorations going on or is it a serious ship? -- I have seen some door decorations, but more often people decorate the "mailboxes" that include the cabin number. I have never seen elaborate decorations, just things like tinsel or small balloons, small flags or seasonal wall hangings. This last cruise was the first time I saw lights on the "mailbox" they were margarita glass shaped lights; I overheard a number of people on the hall commenting on those lights.

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12 years of cruising and still I feel like a newbie as I start to research how things work on HAL. the majority of my sailings have been on Carnival. I am in my beginning stages of reading all of the HAL FAQ's on the sticky notes.

 

May I be so bold as to ask a few quickies?

~Are we able to choose a boarding time at some point during the online check in? or is it all assigned?

~is there 24 hour ice cream? (I don't avoid the elevators for nothing)

~I understand we can carry on the one bottle of wine or champagne pp but are we allowed to carry on CANS of beverages?

~is there any door decorations going on or is it a serious ship?

 

thank you. I know these may sound silly but whats a board for, right? all info is appreciated.

 

As mentioned above, there is a beginning time for check in and an ending time. There are no chosen or assigned times for individuals to board.

 

There is no 24 hour ice cream.

 

Yes, you can carry on beverages in cans. I may be incorrect, but I believe there is a limit of one 12 pack per person.

 

There are very few door decorations on HAL. You are welcome to decorate your door, but you would definitely be in the minority.

 

Welcome aboard!

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As mentioned above, there is a beginning time for check in and an ending time. There are no chosen or assigned times for individuals to board.

 

There is no 24 hour ice cream.

 

Yes, you can carry on beverages in cans. I may be incorrect, but I believe there is a limit of one 12 pack per person.

 

There are very few door decorations on HAL. You are welcome to decorate your door, but you would definitely be in the minority.

 

Welcome aboard!

 

All of these are discussed here frequently. But to clarify something, you can carry on cans of soft drinks. Not cans of beer, or any other alcoholic beverage.

 

There is no limit on cans of soft drinks ( we typically take on a 36 case of Diet Pepsi), but it needs to be carried on, not put in your checked bag.

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~Are we able to choose a boarding time at some point during the online check in? or is it all assigned?

 

~I understand we can carry on the one bottle of wine or champagne pp but are we allowed to carry on CANS of beverages?

 

Boarding times for HAL are based on when you complete your check-in. You may arrive at the terminal entrance anytime you wish on the day of the cruise. Terminal entrances are usually opened around 10:00 AM for most US departures if the docked ship has been cleared by local authorities. When you complete the short check-in process, you are given a boarding group number and will board when your group is called. Handicapped, Neptune Suites, and 4/5-Star Mariner passengers are the first to board usual at 11:30 AM. About 15 minutes later the first called group will board. The above translates into the early groups being in their stateroom around noon to drop off carry-on luggage and at your choice of lunch locations a few minutes later.

 

You can bring as much non-alcoholic beverages (soda, water, etc.) cans/plastic bottles as you wish in/with your carry-on luggage. Stack a case of sodas on the top of your roller bag. Since there is no limit to carry-on luggage, bring another roller bag just for beverages and fill the bag with souvenirs for the trip home.

 

Enjoy your cruise planning and HAL research.

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There is 24 hour free room service so you can get cookies and cake. Maybe they have ice cream too. Take an insulated cooler, some rock salt fill it with ice from the room steward and have your ice cream that you selected earlier whenever you want? Naaaw, think you would need dry ice for any in room storage..

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THANK YOU all for this valuable information.

 

I am not an ice cream addict however, I do allow myself some naughty behavior when I am on a ship, ice cream being one of them. (hence my self imposed rule of no elevators, stairs only) 24 hour FREE room service? awesome news for this night owl.

I was hoping I could bring cans of seltzer, something along that line, good to know that I can. (ha, no pun intended there)

There seems to be such a difference in how cruisers board based on which line they are traveling. I am always so impatient, I want to get my vacation going as soon as is possible. I am a little spoiled from my Carnival status in that I can get on 1st thing and get straight to my room if I choose to.

In reading up on some reviews, I am feeling that this cruise will be much lower key than what I am usually surrounded with on Carnival. Bottom line is, you could stick me in the middle of The Hairy Chest contest and I would be cool with that because I would still be ON A SHIP! ms Nieuw Amsterdam, here I come, again thanks for your replies everyone!

 

and I can bring on bottled water?? wow. thats a welcome switch.

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You can find the current room service menu here: http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Room-Service-and-Breakfast-Card.pdf. Our very own CrewNews posts a lof of very good and very current information about HAL ships on his website "rogerjett"

 

It has changed lately and now does have fee items, as well as a much more limited selection of free items. Still has the club sandwich with chips (crisps) and plates of cookies with milk and chocolate cake. Some salads and wraps, and quesadillas on the no-fee side of the menu. Lots to still like on the free side, even more to like if you want to pay the surcharge - 24 hour Dive In burgers and fries. Oh my.

 

Plus you can order the full dinner menu as included in-room dining, but only during the dinner hours -all courses come at once.

 

If you have a port intensive itinerary, you may not miss the onboard daily activities, but there will probably be less to do at night too - not much that is interactive. No cruise director roaming around to see if everyone is having fun. This will be a more sedate experience. HAL very good food, nice variety and selections and lots of very fresh items and wonderful baked breads. Nothing really fine dining "gourmet", but very good for a 24/7 large crowd food prep setting.

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You will be able to go to your room when you board. This isn't a perk just for suites and 4/5 star mariners. They do get to board first, but unless something unusual has happened, all cabins are ready by the time you board. I don't know how those stewards do it!

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THANK YOU all for this valuable information.

 

<snip>

 

In reading up on some reviews, I am feeling that this cruise will be much lower key than what I am usually surrounded with on Carnival. Bottom line is, you could stick me in the middle of The Hairy Chest contest and I would be cool with that because I would still be ON A SHIP! ms Nieuw Amsterdam, here I come, again thanks for your replies everyone!

 

and I can bring on bottled water?? wow. thats a welcome switch.

 

You are correct. The cruise will be more low key than what you probably experience on Carnival. No Hairy Chest contests on Holland America ;)

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I am also a newbie, and am loving this thread!!!

May I ask a couple of questions....

 

About boarding, on other cruises the big draw of early boarding is to snag reservations... especially the Retreat.

How do Retreat reservations work on HAL ?

Could these reservations be less likely for a first time HAL passenger?

 

Also, when I am online looking into bookings, it seems like very limited number of cabins show up.

I doesn't seem to include all available/unbooked cabins?

Can one select some cabins that they might want, and reserve these cabins if they are, indeed, not already taken?

 

Thanks to you experts!

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I am also a newbie, and am loving this thread!!!

May I ask a couple of questions....

 

About boarding, on other cruises the big draw of early boarding is to snag reservations... especially the Retreat.

How do Retreat reservations work on HAL ?

Could these reservations be less likely for a first time HAL passenger?

 

Also, when I am online looking into bookings, it seems like very limited number of cabins show up.

I doesn't seem to include all available/unbooked cabins?

Can one select some cabins that they might want, and reserve these cabins if they are, indeed, not already taken?

 

Thanks to you experts!

You can book a retreat cabana prior to your cruise by calling Ships Services 1-800-541-1576. You would have to pay for the entire cruise. If you want only a day pass, then you would have to wait until you board and line up. Obviously, cabanas in the retreat being book for the whole cruise will have preference over daily passes, but you never know.

 

When doing online cabin selection, there is a place where you can enter a specific cabin number to see if it's available for booking. I've done this a number of times.

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I am also a newbie, and am loving this thread!!!

May I ask a couple of questions....

 

About boarding, on other cruises the big draw of early boarding is to snag reservations... especially the Retreat.

How do Retreat reservations work on HAL ?

Could these reservations be less likely for a first time HAL passenger?

 

Also, when I am online looking into bookings, it seems like very limited number of cabins show up.

I doesn't seem to include all available/unbooked cabins?

Can one select some cabins that they might want, and reserve these cabins if they are, indeed, not already taken?

 

Thanks to you experts!

 

To expand on what Lady Arwen said, HAL's website never shows more than 10 cabins on a page, even if more are available. If you want to check out a particular cabin, when you get to step 2, where you start cabin selection, click on "stateroom type"and that will take you to a page where you can enter a number. You can only check one number at a time, so it can be a slow process, but it is possible.

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To expand on what Lady Arwen said, HAL's website never shows more than 10 cabins on a page, even if more are available. If you want to check out a particular cabin, when you get to step 2, where you start cabin selection, click on "stateroom type"and that will take you to a page where you can enter a number. You can only check one number at a time, so it can be a slow process, but it is possible.
Thanks for explaining it much better than I did. Good to have back-up!
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