Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
portcbob

What should we do upgrade or not???

Recommended Posts

Hi you experienced Hal cruisers.

 

Coming from Australia next June for our bucket list cruise to Alaska sailing out of vancouver on the volendam.

currently have a mid ship oceanview booked on deck 2. 

We are seriously considering an upgrade to a balcony cabin but unsure if it's worth the costly expense to do so. Is it really that important to move up.

Kind regards Bob. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely worth it if you can afford the expense.  Viewing the scenery from your own balcony sure is better than fighting the crowds on an open deck.  If it is a bucket list cruise, go for it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having been to Alaska five times my personal opinion would be if you are able to do it, do it now.  There is nothing like having the balcony in Alaska, your own personal place to enjoy the scene that unfolds before you every day!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you like to be out and about on the ship the Volendam has lots of viewing areas.  If you are cruising next year you can watch prices and make that decision if prices come down before final payment.  I like a balcony but don’t sit out on it in Alaska except for Glacier Bay.  We go out to watch sail-away or sail-in to the ports but you can do that from lots of places on the ship.  If this is your first glacier experience you need to be out and about anyway....not on your balcony.   Budget your saved money for an expensive  excursion like whale watching, Taku Glacier salmon bake floatplane excursion or the Deadliest Catch!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with taxmantoo. No dancing around trying to get a good view/photo spot. Plus, your veranda is quiet, and that's helpful when you want to listen for the glacier ice cracking. It doesn't matter which side you're on. When glacier viewing the captain will take turns pointing the ship so both starboard and port have the view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is this to consider...your view is only one side of the ship. At a glacier, you will turn around and see the entire thing. However...one a regular basis, you have only one side to see. Think about it.

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Volendam is an R class ships with not many balconies (compare Vista ships) and, as you note, they are expensive.  I like the idea of waiting to see if the price decreases before final payment, although with few balconies, the price could increase. 

 

This is a tough call.  The weather  is all-important.  When we've had balconies in June it was quite cool, so they served more as a big window (which was excellent).  It could be very nice, warmer weather, of course. 


Do you like walking the deck?  If not, I'd go for a balcony, but if you are the type who wants to be on deck, the outside cabin would work well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Alaska, a balcony is definitely not required. It's nice, but if the money could better be spent on expensive shore excursions, then do that. Flightseeing was highly recommended on my first Alaska cruise, and the advice was so, so right. There are lots of great boat tours, too, which give an entirely different perspective.
There is plenty of open deck space from which to sit and watch the passing scenery. Much of that deck space is sheltered from the 'liquid sunshine', and one side of the ship or the other will be out of the wind. Absolutely move around the ship on glacier viewing day. High, low, forward, aft, port, starboard---all give different views. Much more variety than one balcony view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you will have to cut back on shore excursions to pay for a balcony, imho stick with the OV and spend your money on the shore excursions.  We've been to Alaska numerous times with a balcony, and seldom used it.  We prefer to be out on deck, where you can move from side to side to view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on the Volendam starting June 30 going North. We got a free upgrade to a balcony after final payment from an inside because the price had dropped so much. I only wanted one on the land side going up. Funny...the only time we used it was in Glacier Bay. The rest of the cruise we spent in the Explorer Lounge. The main reason we didn’t use the balcony was because it was too cold. I would book what you can afford and watch the price. If it goes down, try for an upgrade or rebook. Not sure what you will get after final payment. I just wouldn’t fret about the balcony. I could have easily been out on a deck for the 45 min we spent watching the calving. And, it was awesome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys for all your great answers. Really appreciate it. Now to decide.

 

Regards Bob 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have been to Alaska quite a few times -- all in balconies/verandahs.  And we loved them.

 

We have spent s lot of time out on them.  Love having our own place to quietly sit and watch the scenery go by.

 

If you can afford it, go for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Bob, we did this 2 years ago and had a balcony,  "realistically" we spent 15 minutes out there looking at the glacier taking some photos etc. and then back inside and walking around the ship.  The outside public areas were a mad rush for the first 20 minutes then thinned right out.  Although its nice to have a balcony, If you need to save the cash, you are not missing out on anything by not having one.

Edited by ThePenguin1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Bob, the Volendam has OVs on the Lower Promenade (Deck 3) which are steps away from the biggest balcony on the ship (the full circle promenade). Have done Alaska twice in a partially obstructed LP cabin, 7 days on the Volendam and 14 days on her sister Zaandam. You want to be either forward of the main kitchen overhead on Deck 4, or behind under the MDR. 

 

If it is available, 3365 for some reason got an upgraded bathroom during the retrofitting of the Lanai cabins, so it has a all-glass walk in shower, not the tub-shower of the other LP OVs. It is under a white area at the very forward kitchen, but I would risk it myself! Or I would love to sail in a Lanai cabin!

Edited by crystalspin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's often a bit chilly to spend a lot of time just sitting outside on an Alaska cruise.  I might choose not to spend the money on a verandah in this instance.  Often a nice, warm place to hang out and watch the scenery go by in Alaska is on a lounger next to the big windows in the solarium/covered pool area.  I haven't been on Veendam specifically, so I'm not sure if it has floor to ceiling windows in the covered pool area like some other ships I've been on. Maybe someone who's familiar with the Veendam can chime in.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We leave for our Alaska cruise/land tour in 4 days on the Noordam. We booked last year in July  and our SS cabin dropped in price 4 times before we finally rebooked the week before our final payment. Our final cost was almost $1000pp less than what we booked last July. I bet your pricing will drop several times in the next year too, if it does that Vista Suite Verandah may be much more affordable.  An alternative as suggested by Crystalspin above is book your OV on the lower promenade deck and be steps from going outside on the deck from your cabin. Our first HAL cruise was on the Volendam and we had the OV on the Lower Promenade deck for a Panama Canal transit cruise. We were only 40 feet from our cabin to the door going outside on the LP deck, it was a great cabin and cruise which sold us on HAL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alaska is one cruise I would never do without a verandah.  Unless you have to cut back somewhere else, go for it.  You won't regret it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

If you’re on your balcony and miss glacier calving on the other side, you may wish that you had been out of your cabin, moving around.

 

Of course you’re just as free to move about the ship if you do have the verandah, so if you get an awesome deal on the upgrade, go for it.

Edited by SetAnOpenCourse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just checked the upgrade price difference from an o/v cabin to a cheaper balcony and at present the price unbelievably expensive. 

I may check later next year as we get closer.

Cheers Bob 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm betting the prices will come down. The balcony is great to have in Alaska, but honestly we spent more time on the bow of the ship than on our balcony. They only opened the bow for Glacier Bay viewing. It was great. They served hot chocolate while we were out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done Alaska cruises in inside, outside ocean view, and balcony cabins.  Any of them are FAR better than not going on the cruise at all.  And, for me and my money, I generally like going more so I usually tend to go more cheaply so I can afford to go more often (or, at least, for longer).

 

That being said, Alaska is one of those places where a balcony is a WONDERFUL luxury, and if you can afford it you should do it.  A Balcony isn't necessary to enjoy the cruise, but it's sure nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If getting a balcony cabin is a "splurge", I do NOT recommend it.  The balcony you will have is very small, you won't use it when the ship is underway (too cold), and when you are viewing the glaciers, you are going to want to be out on the bow, at the ocean view area, or on the promenade!  I strongly believe it's a waste to spend more money on a regular balcony cabin over and ocean view in Alaska.  You will get a lot more for that money if you use it for excursions!  If you can afford a Neptune suite, of course, that's a different story - then your balcony is a nice size that is comfortable so actually spend time on, but for Alaska I actually prefer OV over a regular veranda cabin.  I know I'm in the minority on that, but it's a strong preference.  On Volendam the OV cabins are slightly larger than the regular balcony cabins, the window looks right at the water, and it's a small enough ship that you are only a few steps from a large outside viewing area.  I've been sailing to Alaska with HAL every summer for the last 17 years, and would choose either an OV (which you have) or a Neptune.  Nothing in between.

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
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • 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
×
×
  • Create New...