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calteacher

Using HAL for precruise hotel?

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We have a cruise booked which includes a "land first" tour followed by a cruise.  The night prior to the start of the "tour" has the hotel accommodations included as part of the tour.  I assume that it will be at the Westmark Hotel in Anchorage.  Would we be better served by obtaining a couple of days room reservations at the same hotel (to avoid the problem of transferring luggage) or should we book on our own?

 

Discovered on a cruise to Europe that the cruise lines generally charge much more for those rooms than booking individually.  Has anyone had experience with having HAL book the rooms?

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It is frequently discussed here that arranging the hotel through the cruise line is typically around double the average booking costs if you do it on your own. It is noted that this includes the airport to hotel, and hotel to ship transfers, but is still rarely a better deal than if you book your own hotel and transportation.

 

We only book through the cruise line if it is a unique location or travel issue, like the time we arrived in Lima Peru at almost midnight. It was nice having HAL great us and get us to the hotel that night, and to the ship the next morning.

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Many years ago we thought we might book HAL's Copenhagen hotel -- back then it was the Sheraton.  The price seemed high so I checked on it myself.  It was nearly double what I could book it for.  And it didn't include any transfers -- that was an added fee.

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Contact the hotel that HAL is using and book additional nights yourself. Let them know you will be staying 1 “additional” night via HAL and prefer to stay in whatever room class you booked. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks.  that was my idea.  When we went on a river cruise, I could determine that the "chosen" hotel in Amsterdam was the Amsterdam Grand Amrath.  I was able to book it on my own for about half the cost that the cruise line would have charged.  Of course, I couldn't get transportation to the ship, but I just ordered a taxi.

However, that was not on HAL, so didn't know if HAL was an exception to the rule.

Edited by calteacher
Addition

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, calteacher said:

Would we be better served by obtaining a couple of days room reservations at the same hotel (to avoid the problem of transferring luggage) or should we book on our own?

 

We just did a pre-cruise land tour with HAL in Aug/September. We went a day ahead and stayed at the Westmark; booked the 2nd day with HAL and it was a bit pricey: $199pp. Did not try to book on our own with the Westmark. Decided I didn't want to deal with the 2 reservations and making sure they matched rooms.

 

As it turned out, there was a bit of confusion at the hotel when we were transported by a large bus (with only the two of us onboard!). The airport HAL rep did not really explain the procedure to check in when we boarded, nor did the driver. Most people arrived in large groups with HAL reps greeting you in an office within the hotel to distribute your travel packet explaining everything. We just came in by ourselves and the HAL rep just waved us into the hotel (assuming, I think, that we were with a large group that just entered).

 

Anyway, it took about 30 minutes or so to figure out that we needed to go back to the HAL office to get our packet. The front desk person was confused about why we didn't have a packet and couldn't quite understand why we didn't know what to do. Once we got our packet (with our room keys) all was fine; our luggage was in the room already. The rest of the trip was great, especially the land tour!!

 

I assume if you go earlier to the hotel without a HAL booking, you will have to get your packet at the HAL desk on the day the rest of the group on your land tour arrives; which will be on your HAL itinerary page. There will be a lot of coming and going, as new groups come every day.  

Edited by PSR

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As the HAL representative reminded me when we were thinking of booking their pre-cruise hotel in Copenhagen, "we aren't in the hotel business."  We found another hotel, a little boutique hotel, for 75% less.  Oh my goodness, we loved that hotel.  Just marvelous.  Now, if I could remember its name. . .   LOL.  

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Our experience is just about anything (except air) arranged though a cruise line costs double.  That is why we never book cruise line transfers or hotels.  

 

Hank

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5 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Our experience is just about anything (except air) arranged though a cruise line costs double.  That is why we never book cruise line transfers or hotels.  

 

Hank

 

We usually don't either. However, when you book a land tour you automatically get transfers and if necessary due to distance, one hotel night included.

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6 hours ago, PSR said:

 

We usually don't either. However, when you book a land tour you automatically get transfers and if necessary due to distance, one hotel night included.

Despite more then 40 years of extensive cruising we have never taken any kind of land tour or package from HAL.  We have previously done a pretty long land/cruise tour (in China) on Princess and once used a pre-post cruise package in Buenos Aires which was provided by Celebrity (that was a big mistake on our part).  We now put together our own land trips.  In Europe that will usually mean renting a car for at least a week.  We are now working on a 10 day pre-cruise itinerary in Japan (prior to a Westerdam cruise) and will not use anything provided by HAL other then their decent air deal.   We can use points to pay for all of our Japan hotels and will purchase a JR Rail Pass to get around between a few cities (primarily Tokyo and Kyoto).

 

Hank

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Unless during holidays/local events. We found the Amsterdam hotel during Gay Pride week was close to the HAL price especially when considering the included breakfast and transfer as well as cancellation deadlines--and convenience of being right at the port for departure during the Saturday morning festivities. Our favorite hotel in AMS also had a 3-night minimum stay requirement which took them off the list. Similar issues for a Caribbean cruise out of FLL last Christmas week. When booking a family trip, you don't always have a choice of when you can go.

 

 

On 10/7/2019 at 4:20 AM, CruiserBruce said:

It is frequently discussed here that arranging the hotel through the cruise line is typically around double the average booking costs if you do it on your own. It is noted that this includes the airport to hotel, and hotel to ship transfers, but is still rarely a better deal than if you book your own hotel and transportation.

 

 

 

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Actually my preferred Marriott Harbor Beach Ft. Lauderdale in April through HAL is $150 less for one person and $100 less for two per night with transfers so not always more.   As well, one way flight back from Barcelona HAL booking is half AA price so a good deal all around.

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HAL always tacks on a hefty commission on outside services, such as shore excursions, transfers, and hotels.   With hotels, the big problem is that HAL charges "per-person" for the room rate.  A typical hotel costing $250 per night for the room, if you book it yourself, will cost $199 per-person, per night booked with HAL.   You save $150 by booking yourself.

HAL will hold a number of rooms in their selected hotel.  But if you contact the hotel very early, (many months early) and book it yourself, you will save a bunch.  

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