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HAL Beverage Packages

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1 hour ago, KroozNut said:

We're sailing Eurodam Sunday with the SBP as part of our X4 promo. I suppose we shall see if anything is awry with our current set-up. Will certainly not appreciate being surprised after getting onboard.

 

We have not heard a peep from HAL regarding any modifications to our X4 SBP deal, but that doesn't surprise me either.

With all of the X4 promos that are booked they would have a huge law suit on their hands if they did away or modified the SBP over the next year. Plus there will probably be a lot more drunks cruising next year, which is not a good thing.

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26 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

With all of the X4 promos that are booked they would have a huge law suit on their hands if they did away or modified the SBP over the next year. Plus there will probably be a lot more drunks cruising next year, which is not a good thing. 

 

I wouldn't worry about it. They've changed the SBP in the past and it's always been for the better.  There used to be a $7 cap, then $8, now $9. If you read the cruise contract, you'll see that they're allowed to modify things. If you read the fine print on the SBP, it's supposed to be a limit of 15 beverages total. If they're making it 15 alcoholic drinks with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages - and it sound like they are doing that based on quite a few reports from very reliable posters here, then that's a very good thing. It makes sense because it homogenizes the beverage plan offerings among the various Carnival Corporation lines.

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OK, I just looked at my upcoming booking on the HAL website again, and beverages are now available to pre-purchase.  Either it was offline for a while, or (not impossible 😉) I encountered operator error the first time I tried.  It now shows SBP as an option for April on Noordam, and the now usual 3 wine bottle packages, although they have the caveat that wines may be substituted.

 

On Rotterdam, we are all wondering how this will all shake out, but think it may be rolled out across the fleet ship by ship, with Rotterdam as the flagship being the first; I just wish HAL had been upfront with info.  We will watch the issue and decide before April what we will do on Noordam.  For now, we are OK with the wines within the SBP, and the EBP covers everything currently listed in the Ocean Bar, and the bar staff are wonderful as always.  We would appreciate any insights POA1 or others may gain over the next few months.

 

Thanks to everyone,

Dave

Edited by RetiredMustang

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@RetiredMustang - I just emailed someone who is doing a B2B on the Nieuw Amsterdam to see if she's heard anything. (It's like we have spies everywhere! I can bug some people on the Nieuw Statendam inaugural if we need more data.) 

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1 hour ago, terrydtx said:

With all of the X4 promos that are booked they would have a huge law suit on their hands if they did away or modified the SBP over the next year. Plus there will probably be a lot more drunks cruising next year, which is not a good thing.

Just because someone has purchased the SBP, or received it as part of Explore-4, doesn't automatically assume they are "Drunks".   Please do not apply your personal beverage choices and habits to everyone and accuse them of being "Drunks".

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Heard back from our friend on the Nieuw Amsterdam. She's checked at two different bars and they both said no changes to the packages. @RetiredMustang, I can probably call Seattle and get a third set of answers.  🤔

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4 hours ago, POA1 said:

I can probably call Seattle and get a third set of answers.  🤔

 

No need to prolong the agony... Lol! :classic_blink:

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We just got off of Oosterdam with EBP purchased onboard. We’ve had all beverage packages on many past cruises including  EBP, SBP and explore 4 packages. We were surprised we couldn’t get ‘doubles’ this cruise. First time ever. We had to wait 3 minutes to get the second pour. New to us, and we’re 5* mariners. Was it just the ship or a new policy?

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I will be on the Konigsdam, freshly out of drydock, on Dec 10 and will look into the SBP/EBP issue as I understand it.  It is certain that I will be scanning every menu possible and collecting as much information as possible on any HAL changes since my May 2018 cruise.

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9 hours ago, Crew News said:

I will be on the Konigsdam, freshly out of drydock, on Dec 10 and will look into the SBP/EBP issue as I understand it.  It is certain that I will be scanning every menu possible and collecting as much information as possible on any HAL changes since my May 2018 cruise. 

Have a great trip! Sail away from the usual spot?   I wonder if your menu cycle for the 11 day sailing will be different than ours on the Zuiderdam for the 10 day leaving on the 16th? 

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My research associate on the Nieuw Amsterdam has been to three different bars, seeking out the most knowledgeable beverage employees. So far, no one has any idea about an update to the beverage packages. We're on the Zuiderdam next Sunday, @RetiredMustang, so that should give us another set of observations. It's like a pub crawl for science. 

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I order doubles every evening in the Ocean Bar on various HAL ships for the last 10 years, and usually with the SBP.  I have never been refused a double with the SBP.   Of course, the "double" was in the same glass, not 2 separate glasses for the same person.   I can see where they might get concerned about 2 separate glasses.   I sure hope this isn't a new, unwritten rule for the bar staff.   HAL needs to update the published rules for the SBP and EBP.   There seems to be a lot of questions about it and also individual ships have their own rules that Seattle knows nothing about.

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29 minutes ago, TAD2005 said:

I order doubles every evening in the Ocean Bar on various HAL ships for the last 10 years, and usually with the SBP.  I have never been refused a double with the SBP.   Of course, the "double" was in the same glass, not 2 separate glasses for the same person.   I can see where they might get concerned about 2 separate glasses.   I sure hope this isn't a new, unwritten rule for the bar staff.   HAL needs to update the published rules for the SBP and EBP.   There seems to be a lot of questions about it and also individual ships have their own rules that Seattle knows nothing about.

 

I'll test this for you in 10 days. I drink Maker's Mark on the rocks. They always offer me a double because a single jigger of whiskey in a glass of ice is just like sadness. It needs a friend.

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7 hours ago, POA1 said:

Have a great trip! Sail away from the usual spot?   I wonder if your menu cycle for the 11 day sailing will be different than ours on the Zuiderdam for the 10 day leaving on the 16th? 

 

Two different Culinary Operations Managers on the Zuiderdam told me that the only difference in the 10 and 11-day cruise menus was the removal of Day 09 for the 10-day cruise.  It must be noted that 10 and 11-day menus are the same for all Caribbean cruises for all HAL ships.

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We paid extra for the Explore 4 package.  It was my understanding that it was drinks priced $9.00 or less AND the 15% service charge was INCLUDED with the package.  Is that the way it works?

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28 minutes ago, teacherman said:

We paid extra for the Explore 4 package.  It was my understanding that it was drinks priced $9.00 or less AND the 15% service charge was INCLUDED with the package.  Is that the way it works?

Exactly. Just look at the menu price. $9 or less and you're not golden. 

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2 hours ago, teacherman said:

We paid extra for the Explore 4 package.  It was my understanding that it was drinks priced $9.00 or less AND the 15% service charge was INCLUDED with the package.  Is that the way it works?

Yes, you got it.   The only price you have to concern yourself with is the menu price for the drink.  The 15% service charge is covered by the SBP which is included in Explore-4.   If you actually purchase the SBP outright for $44.95 per day plus 15% SC, your total daily out-of-pocket is $51.70.   A typical cocktail, wine, beer is $7.50 plus 15%, or $8.66 if you pay as you go.  Divide $51.70 by $8.66 and you get 6 drinks.  The break-even point for the SBP is 6 beverages priced at $7.50.   After that, you are drinking free.   Even though HAL says that specialty coffees, soda and bottled water are included in your 15 drink daily limit, many posts on CC say that is not true.   Only alcoholic beverages count towards your 15 daily limit. 

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2 hours ago, POA1 said:

Exactly. Just look at the menu price. $9 or less and you're not golden. 

Sorry. That should have said "and you're golden." Not "not golden." I blame the tiny post box on the phone version of CC, combined with my sausage fingers and the phone keyboard's predictive typing.

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do they scan your card or something to keep track of the 15 drinks?

 

we purchased the SBP backage for our Dec 23 sailing.  that was our xmas present to each other  I need to start working up my tolerance  haha

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8 hours ago, POA1 said:

 

I'll test this for you in 10 days. I drink Maker's Mark on the rocks. They always offer me a double because a single jigger of whiskey in a glass of ice is just like sadness. It needs a friend.

Maker’s Mark is my poison as well. It took a few days and finding the right palm to grease before I could get doubles on Oosterdam in ANY bar with my EBP. Either HAL has changed their policy or it really is up to the Beverage Mgr du jour. “Sorry Mum Kris no doubles, 3 minute wait between pours”. I’ll be very interested in your test results!

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27 minutes ago, KrissyCruises said:

Maker’s Mark is my poison as well. It took a few days and finding the right palm to grease before I could get doubles on Oosterdam in ANY bar with my EBP. Either HAL has changed their policy or it really is up to the Beverage Mgr du jour. “Sorry Mum Kris no doubles, 3 minute wait between pours”. I’ll be very interested in your test results!

 

Excellent choice of whiskey! One of our first reconnaissance missions is finding the bartenders with the best pours. We usually get them identified before dinner on day one. Since most usually work at a couple of bars throughout the day, we try to learn their schedules. We always try to be friendly, say "Please" and "Thank you," and of course, show our appreciation. Once we've ID'd our bartenders, we can usually move from the bar to a table, since the bartenders know our order and can steer good servers our way. (This time-tested method works equally well on land.) 

Edited by POA1
I

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12 hours ago, teacherman said:

We paid extra for the Explore 4 package.  It was my understanding that it was drinks priced $9.00 or less AND the 15% service charge was INCLUDED with the package.  Is that the way it works?

 

Yes it is.

 

As long as your drink is $9 or less it is included in the package.  The service charge is taken care of with the package.

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When you upgrade from the SBP (via Explore 4) to the EBP do you pay the difference of the pre-cruise purchase price of $44.95  or the on-board selling price of $49.95?  I do understand there will also be 15% gratuity added to this upgrade cost.

 

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, kb4683 said:

When you upgrade from the SBP (via Explore 4) to the EBP do you pay the difference of the pre-cruise purchase price of $44.95  or the on-board selling price of $49.95?  I do understand there will also be 15% gratuity added to this upgrade cost.

 

 

 

 

It depends on what you paid originally.  I'm interested in seeing how they treat Explore 4, because the selling literature and website valued the SBP at the higher rate. If they were being honest, the Explore 4 SBP to EBP upgrade should be $11.50/pp/day.

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6 minutes ago, POA1 said:

It depends on what you paid originally.  I'm interested in seeing how they treat Explore 4, because the selling literature and website valued the SBP at the higher rate. If they were being honest, the Explore 4 SBP to EBP upgrade should be $11.50/pp/day.

 

Thanks.  I agree with $11.50, but one can always  hope it will be the other way at $5.75 😜.

 

Either way, we are planning to do it just for the better selection of wines.  Of course, our cruise isn't until April and with the rumors of the wine list changing, we will just have to wait and see.

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