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Experiences on our 40 day Maasdam cruise which started Oct 7, 2019


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I know that the lectures would occur less frequently on most voyages.  I was surprised that any lectures with a guest speaker were bring considered on most voyages, as the cutbacks continue.   If HAL does bring back the lectures, it would definitely be a plus for most cruisers, I think, who are loyal to this line.  Most of us can recall lectures on most voyages and miss this feature.

 

I, too, will be interested to hear about Club Orange, as we have purchased it for the second week of our upcoming B2B.  After reading some of the more positive reviews, we're looking forward to it. 

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Here’s what I found out about the implementation of Club Orange on the Maasdam starting on the next leg, especially with regards to eating in the MDR. Most importantly, there will not be a separate area in the MDR designated for CO. 
 

Breakfast - if you are in either a NS or PS where you get the CO benefits included with your booking, you will continue to be able to eat breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. All other CO folks can eat in the MDR with everyone else. The only extra benefit will be that there will be a special CO line to speed up getting seated at a table. 
 

Dinner - As I mentioned there will be no separate CO area. Instead there will be a special CO line to speed up the process of getting seated unless you have decided to reserve an early or late fixed seating table. Once seated you will receive a special CO menu which will include one extra dish which will change nightly. You will also be able to sit with folks that are not CO if you so choose. In addition there will be no table side preparation associated with the extra dish. That will all be done back in the kitchen area. 
 

As far as the procedure to purchase a CO package for the upcoming “maiden” cruise coming up in a few days, the HAL CO Committee member I talked with said that will be up to the head of Housekeeping which we have not yet heard from. 


BUT, let me be clear, this is me simply interpreting what I understand to be what I heard. I’m sure all will be made clear to everyone who will be boarding in Sydney as to what will or will not be included in the Maasdam CO package. Having said that if you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them if I can. 

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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9 hours ago, TiogaCruiser said:

Perhaps the value of CO would be in tendering for low star pax. Are there a number of tender ports on the upcoming voyages?

That’s what we’re thinking as there really isn’t a lot of extra value added if you are a 4/5 star. But the “in category” fare adjustment might be interesting if you booked an OV and aren’t a 4/5 star. 

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22 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Not a clue. The MDR staff only said that the committee was onboard and hinted that CO might start on the next voyage. 

 

Thank you for your reply and the updated Club Orange information.

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2 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

That’s what we’re thinking as there really isn’t a lot of extra value added if you are a 4/5 star. But the “in category” fare adjustment might be interesting if you booked an OV and aren’t a 4/5 star. 

 

Complimentary laundry, 50% discounts on wine packages, Exploration's Cafe and specialty restaurants.  And for 5 stars 2 complimentary Pinnacle dinners and a spa day,  plus a discount on internet.  More than "a bit" of added value, I think.

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We’re in Noumea today and had a fun excursion riding around on the Tchoo Tchoo train under partly clouding conditions. We had originally booked an excursion to the aquarium, but they’re closed on Mondays. 
 

Looking forward to two days at sea on the way to Sydney and hearing all those in-depth EXC lectures. But I must say the evening shows every night have also been very good!

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25 minutes ago, SilvertoGold said:

 

Complimentary laundry, 50% discounts on wine packages, Exploration's Cafe and specialty restaurants.  And for 5 stars 2 complimentary Pinnacle dinners and a spa day,  plus a discount on internet.  More than "a bit" of added value, I think.

I realize that. But I was referring to the specific perks that come along with purchasing the CO package. There isn’t really all that much incentive for us at the 4 star level because we already get most of the “priority” stuff that also comes with CO. We also usually book a vista suite (so no category discount there)  and an early fixed seating table for 2 in the MDR (so no CO express line needed). 
 

Now if we booked an OV and could get the most expensive OV cabin for the cheapest fare in the same OV category, that may be an incentive if it made a big enough dent in the $25 pp/day CO rate. And if we weren’t 4 star it might be nice to get those few extra priority perks, especially if there are multiple tender ports like the cruise we’re on now. 

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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4 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

RP-WD03 is the model number. It was the one without the extra file storage stuff.  We got it on Amazon for around $49. 

Travel router placement hint. All of a sudden today the Maasdam WiFi link to our router kept jumping in and out, causing intermittent connection issues. Up until now we had not had any connectivity problems storing the travel router on the counter above the tv. To make a long story short this new connectivity issue disappeared when we moved the router closer to the hallway door. Just another tidbit in case you’re bringing one and run into connectivity issues. 

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12 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

I realize that. But I was referring to the specific perks that come along with purchasing the CO package. There isn’t really all that much incentive for us at the 4 star level because we already get most of the “priority” stuff that also comes with CO. We also usually book a vista suite (so no category discount there)  and an early fixed seating table for 2 in the MDR (so no CO express line needed). 
 

Now if we booked an OV and could get the most expensive OV cabin for the cheapest fare in the same OV category, that may be an incentive if it made a big enough dent in the $25 pp/day CO rate. And if we weren’t 4 star it might be nice to get those few extra priority perks, especially if there are multiple tender ports like the cruise we’re on now. 

 

I agree, Ken.  I really don't think Club O is worth it for 4 and 5 stars.  So much duplication!  On the Pinnacle class, maybe, with the separate dining room, if one likes that idea.  I am not up-to-date on the CO perks, like the "upgrade" but somehow I can't see HAL giving the type of upgrade you would look for!   

 

Enjoying your reports and appreciate the time and effort you are putting into this thread!  Enjoy your cruise!

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Thanks for sharing your cruise with us! We are looking forward to circumnavigating Australia on a 36-day cruise (Sydney to Sydney) on Regent Navigator. Hope you have good weather and a wonderful cruise. Your router advice has already given me a new idea! Keep them coming. 

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5 hours ago, WisRiver said:

What are the outlets like on a Vista Suite on the Maasdam?  We are doing the San Diego/Sydney transpacific next year.  Are there bedside outlets or USB ports?

Believe it or not there is a power strip with a HAL logo and 5 available ports on the desk. One port is used by an extension cord they have plugged into it to power the frig next to the sofa. Not sure if it’s used in all cabins for this, but it has come in very handy for us. 
 

I just looked around and there is just one plug, used by the extension cord, and one over the sink in the bathroom. That’s it and there are no USB ports. I’ll ask the steward if the extension cord is in every room later on this morning. 

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Power strip update. Talked with our steward and the power strips are NOT in every cabin. Then we talked with some nice folks at breakfast who are in an OV and when they asked their steward about the shortage of plugs in their cabin, a power strip with the HAL logo suddenly appeared the next day. So if you find your cabin has an insufficient number of plugs like they did, you may want to mention something to your steward. 

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On 10/13/2019 at 3:10 AM, Ken the cruiser said:

Here’s what I found out about the implementation of Club Orange on the Maasdam starting on the next leg, especially with regards to eating in the MDR. Most importantly, there will not be a separate area in the MDR designated for CO. 
 

Breakfast - if you are in either a NS or PS where you get the CO benefits included with your booking, you will continue to be able to eat breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. All other CO folks can eat in the MDR with everyone else. The only extra benefit will be that there will be a special CO line to speed up getting seated at a table. 
 

Dinner - As I mentioned there will be no separate CO area. Instead there will be a special CO line to speed up the process of getting seated unless you have decided to reserve an early or late fixed seating table. Once seated you will receive a special CO menu which will include one extra dish which will change nightly. You will also be able to sit with folks that are not CO if you so choose. In addition there will be no table side preparation associated with the extra dish. That will all be done back in the kitchen area. 
 

As far as the procedure to purchase a CO package for the upcoming “maiden” cruise coming up in a few days, the HAL CO Committee member I talked with said that will be up to the head of Housekeeping which we have not yet heard from. 


BUT, let me be clear, this is me simply interpreting what I understand to be what I heard. I’m sure all will be made clear to everyone who will be boarding in Sydney as to what will or will not be included in the Maasdam CO package. Having said that if you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them if I can. 

Since I will be boarding Maasdam in December, I'd like to know what benefits will apply to me as a 4-star mariner.  Most of the ones I have seen do not interest me.

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18 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Believe it or not there is a power strip with a HAL logo and 5 available ports on the desk. One port is used by an extension cord they have plugged into it to power the frig next to the sofa. Not sure if it’s used in all cabins for this, but it has come in very handy for us. 
 

I just looked around and there is just one plug, used by the extension cord, and one over the sink in the bathroom. That’s it and there are no USB ports. I’ll ask the steward if the extension cord is in every room later on this morning. 

 

16 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Power strip update. Talked with our steward and the power strips are NOT in every cabin. Then we talked with some nice folks at breakfast who are in an OV and when they asked their steward about the shortage of plugs in their cabin, a power strip with the HAL logo suddenly appeared the next day. So if you find your cabin has an insufficient number of plugs like they did, you may want to mention something to your steward. 

 

 

Great information!!

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1 hour ago, BJzink said:

Since I will be boarding Maasdam in December, I'd like to know what benefits will apply to me as a 4-star mariner.  Most of the ones I have seen do not interest me.

 

There are  lists of 4-star mariner benefits.  Surely you will appreciate the free laundry.  Priority tender boarding varies from ship to ship with circumstances, but Btimmer reported last month that it had become very good on the Maasdam.

You will enjoy your voyage.

Barbara

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