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Batchy65

New to HAL, what wine package, if any?

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In May my wife and I and two of our dear friends are sailing on HAL for the first time, Nieuw Amsterdam, on an Alaskan cruise. We are all very excited.

 

We are wondering about the wine packages and which one, if any to choose. We all like a glass or two of wine with dinner and wondered whether any regular HAL guests had any recommendations on the various packages. Whilst we are not wine snobs we all subscribe to the mantra that "life is too short to drink sh&& wine" and whilst we have tried to look at packages we cannot decide as we do not recognise  all the wines, maybe this is because we are Brits and are not that familiar with US wine, who knows.

 

Any recommendations are greatly received, we will not hold anybody to it!!

 

Thank you.

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Posted (edited)

Every HAL cruise I have been on has a 5 pm “sip and savor” where very good wine is poured for $5 a glass.  Also on my most recent cruise the flights bar had evening/pre-dinner pours of excellent wine for $5.   S&S is sort of a hidden gem, since discovering it I no longer get the package.   In the past I skipped the package and bought the Chef Rudi wine, another hidden treasure.   On one cruise me and 5 of my new best friends bought out the entire supply, all agreeing it was excellent. There is now a Holland America label which I have not sampled.  I am not a big drinker but do like a glass before dinner. 

 

PS the Chef Rudi had to be requested and was always at the lowest available price per bottle 

Edited by Mary229

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Mary, thank you so much this is extremely interesting and will no doubt help us during our cruise. We are still interested in any thoughts on packages, however, so If anybody else would like to comment these will be greatly appreciated.

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I suggest you wait until you are on board and discuss it with your wine steward, since what they actually have available frequently doesn't match the on-line description. Also, the wine stewards like you to buy from them because they get some kind of credit or benefit from the sale.

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You can look on your booking online, they have wine several wine packages. It doesn't list particular wines though. We always find something on there we like.

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Usually the first sea day of the cruise the Wine Captain will host a tasting event that is usually $19-25.  It includes nice sized tasting pours of the wines from the packages.   It is educational, always has some good pairing foods too.   That way you can taste before you buy.  Usually the wine stewards will give you a little pour if they happen to have a bottle open in the MDR.  Tried to post a photo but CC is having photo hiccups.  

 

 

 

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Just returned from the Eurodam Hawaii/Polynesia/Marquesas cruise this past Saturday.  We enjoyed our wine package #2 and were quite pleased with the selections available.  We purchased on the first night in the dining room from our wine steward.  We are fortunate to get a 50% discount due to 5* Mariner status so it makes it attractive.  If you don't finish a bottle, they will hold it for you until the next evening or you can request it any other time in the DR, Lido or specialty restaurants.  When we knew in advance if we were going to Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto, our steward always arranged to have our bottle waiting for us.

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Posted (edited)

Mary, how much wine was in the glass for $5?

Edited by Katie52

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Katie52 said:

Mary, how much wine was in the glass for $5?

It was a normal pour, usually. One night was an exceptional wine, I imagine it was also expensive and the pour was about a 3/4 pour.  I bought 2😊

Edited by Mary229

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On 4/9/2019 at 4:51 PM, Batchy65 said:

In May my wife and I and two of our dear friends are sailing on HAL for the first time, Nieuw Amsterdam, on an Alaskan cruise. We are all very excited.

 

We are wondering about the wine packages and which one, if any to choose. We all like a glass or two of wine with dinner and wondered whether any regular HAL guests had any recommendations on the various packages. Whilst we are not wine snobs we all subscribe to the mantra that "life is too short to drink sh&& wine" and whilst we have tried to look at packages we cannot decide as we do not recognise  all the wines, maybe this is because we are Brits and are not that familiar with US wine, who knows.

 

Any recommendations are greatly received, we will not hold anybody to it!!

 

Thank you.

 

We also normally go with the #2 Wine Package although last Cruise we went with #3 which had some nice Wines on it.   They have the 4, 6, and 8 bottle packages and if you start out with a lesser bottle one, you can always increase it.        If you go with #2, you have the option to also choose from the #1 Package if there’s a Wine your familiar with and like.

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9 hours ago, Mary229 said:

It was a normal pour, usually. One night was an exceptional wine, I imagine it was also expensive and the pour was about a 3/4 pour.  I bought 2😊

Thank you. Great information.

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I used the wine package twice. The first time it was provided by the travel agent as a perk, so I didn't pay much attention to the value and just enjoyed the convenience. When I didn't like the wine I just bought something else. I paid for it the second time. I bought the #2 package. One of our table mates bought the #1. On the first night they served both of us the same bottle of wine. They were "out" of the #2 wine I had selected. It seemed weird, as we had literally just left port 40 minutes earlier. On the second night the wine was too tanic for me, I ended up drinking a couple glasses from the night before. I wasn't offered a replacement or a refund. On day three I started looking up the prices and reviews of the wines I had ordered. It turns out, the mark up was about 45% in addition to the corckage fee. I live in Washington, so I can pick up pretty fantastic wine here. It flies for free on Alaska in a custom case I bought my first trip to California. I pay $18 a bottle for corckage, and I get to drink the wines I want, for about 45% less than the cruise ship charges. When you check in there is usually a little table where you sign for the corckage fee and they put stickers on the bottles.They also keep the wines for me, and have cheerfully given me advice on how to match what I have with what I am eating. The Wine Steward even reminded me I had 2 bottles of the veuve clicquot and only 3 days left so I better think of something to celebrate. I know that is a long detailed message for probably a simple question. What I am trying to say is that the service when you bring your wine on is still magnificent and having a little more control is worth lugging a cart of wine on board. 

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On 4/10/2019 at 1:49 PM, Skipper's Mom said:

Just returned from the Eurodam Hawaii/Polynesia/Marquesas cruise this past Saturday.  We enjoyed our wine package #2 and were quite pleased with the selections available.  We purchased on the first night in the dining room from our wine steward.  We are fortunate to get a 50% discount due to 5* Mariner status so it makes it attractive.  If you don't finish a bottle, they will hold it for you until the next evening or you can request it any other time in the DR, Lido or specialty restaurants.  When we knew in advance if we were going to Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto, our steward always arranged to have our bottle waiting for us.

The 50% off would really make it a fantastic deal!

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Where/when are the "sip and savors" held?  Are they on all ships?  We will be on the Zaandam on April 24th.  We plan to bring some wine onboard with us and pay corkage fee, but won't need as much if sip and savor is an option for us as well.

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2 hours ago, bebe08 said:

Where/when are the "sip and savors" held?  Are they on all ships?  We will be on the Zaandam on April 24th.  We plan to bring some wine onboard with us and pay corkage fee, but won't need as much if sip and savor is an option for us as well.

My previous cruise on Zaandam (Dec/Jan), they were in "Mix" at 5PM.  Unfortunately at the same time there was Trivia followed by Happy Hour in the Crows Nest.  The cruise before that was on Maasdam, also in "Mix", and it was standing room only.  One of the chefs came to explain the "savor" and the Cellar Master introduced the wine.  Much more enjoyable.  I guess it's a crap shoot as to how the schedule is made out.  

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Posted (edited)

Sip & savor is always buried in the daily newsletter.  I know to look.  It is usually at a consistent spot on any given ship.  Recently on the nights we attended it was a crowd of 4.   It is a hidden gem.   Also be sure to talk to the barkeep at the wine bar if there is one on your ship.  On our recent ship you had to be in the know, finally they posted the special on a blackboard.  This is separate from Sip & Savor

Edited by Mary229

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Posted (edited)

Cellar Master #2 seems to be a consistently good quality.  Even the sommeliers and wine stewards have a preference for it.

Edited by *Miss G*

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On 4/10/2019 at 6:47 PM, catl331 said:

I suggest you wait until you are on board and discuss it with your wine steward, since what they actually have available frequently doesn't match the on-line description. Also, the wine stewards like you to buy from them because they get some kind of credit or benefit from the sale.

Thanks for the advice.

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Thank you to everybody for the valuable advice which is greatly received

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