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AllureOfVacation

Our upcoming Westerdam Asia cruise - first time HAL

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We will be boarding a HAL ship  (Westerdam) for the first time in two weeks and are very looking forward for this. We have tried several lines now, so we are excited what the vibe on HAL will be.

 

It is our honeymoon. We booked this before we decided to marry, but now we are married since 10 days, so we declared this vacation to our honeymoon :-). We will stay one week in Hong Kong before the cruise.

 

 

While planning activities, we were shocked by the prices of the shore excursions. Additionally, there is not really a choice of interesting tours, just a few ones. So we set up our own excursions with private guides. This was really a let down during the planning stage.

 

We intended to book a Neptune or Signature Suite, but then decided for a center aft cabin on deck 8. Prices then dropped significantly, and after some back and forth with our travel agent and HAL we are now waiting for the cabin assignment for a guarantee signature suite, I guess they will assign it at the pier the latest. This is the first time that we have booked a guarantee cabin - this is a good training for my personal patience ;-).

 

We have several questions....

 

We need some advise for the specialty restaurants. On all cruises we have taken we were satisfied with  the main dining room. Some courses were better then others, but all in all we enjoy it and it is something special for us. We have tried speciality restaurants only twice and we did not feel that it was worth the money. But now I saw a package for one dinner for Canaletto and Pinnacle Grill each. Shall we try this? Is this a step above the main dining room? Maybe someone can give us some advise

 

 

Do they have spinning bikes in the fitness center on Westerdam? There is a class pass for the whole 14 days to buy in the cruise planner. Does anyone know what kind of classes they provide? The homepage of HAL is a little lacking of information ;-)

 

 

And, is Red Bull included in the Quench Beverage package? It is shown on the picture for the package, but not mentioned in any descriptions. Do we both need to buy the same beverage package because we are staying in the same cabin?

 

 

Thank you for all your advises

 

Greetings from Germany :-)

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Welcome to HAL. We do the specialty restaurants just for something different for a treat, I don't think that they're worth the money. Never done the spin class, never had the Quench beverage package. Enjoy your cruise, let us know what you think after your cruise. Bon Voyage.

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Congratulations on your recent marriage.

 

Lovely way to spend your honeymoon -- a cruise.

 

Definitely get the dine around package.  We love the Pinnacle Grill -- but not fond of the Canaletto.  Some people do like the Canaletto.

 

Yes -- both adults staying in the same cabin must buy the Quench Package.

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3 hours ago, AllureOfVacation said:

 

 

This is the first time that we have booked a guarantee cabin - this is a good training for my personal patience ;-).

 

Congrats on working the price drop to get a better cabin.  I hope you get a great assignment.  If you watch your luggage tag about two weeks out, when your cabin is assigned it usually shows here first.

 

3 hours ago, AllureOfVacation said:

We have several questions....

 

We need some advise for the specialty restaurants. On all cruises we have taken we were satisfied with  the main dining room. Some courses were better then others, but all in all we enjoy it and it is something special for us. We have tried speciality restaurants only twice and we did not feel that it was worth the money. But now I saw a package for one dinner for Canaletto and Pinnacle Grill each. Shall we try this? Is this a step above the main dining room? Maybe someone can give us some advise

 

We like the Pinnacle Grill and sometimes the Canaletto for a change.  The package really doesn’t save you that much money.  I would be tempted to wait until you are on board and see what you think of the MDR.  If you are happy with that and choose to forego the specialty dining, no biggie.  If you decide you want to try one of the others, then you are free to do so at a time that suits you (providing there is room for your reservation, of course).

 

3 hours ago, AllureOfVacation said:

 

 

Do they have spinning bikes in the fitness center on Westerdam? There is a class pass for the whole 14 days to buy in the cruise planner. Does anyone know what kind of classes they provide? The homepage of HAL is a little lacking of information 😉

 

Can’t help you with that one, sorry.  If no one else here can, I’d call HAL to see if they can give you more information on the package.

 

3 hours ago, AllureOfVacation said:

 

 

And, is Red Bull included in the Quench Beverage package? It is shown on the picture for the package, but not mentioned in any descriptions. Do we both need to buy the same beverage package because we are staying in the same cabin?

 

 

Thank you for all your advises

 

Greetings from Germany 🙂

 

For the beverage package you both need to buy the same one.  

 

According to to the HAL blog - Red Bull is included in the Quench Package.

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/blog/topics/arts-entertainment/all-you-need-to-know-for-your-cruise-is-on-the-frequently-asked-questions-page/

 

Their post is actually taken from the “know before you go” (Below in bigger type).

 

Quench Package (NON-ALCOHOLIC)
Quench your thirst with our nonalcoholic package which includes an unlimited variety of premium coffees such as espresso and cappuccino, juices, Coca-Cola™ products, our signature mocktails, Red Bull, and bottled waters 500ml and under.

 

Hope this helps a bit and have a wonderful honeymoon!

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Congratulations on your recent marriage!  Your honeymoon on a Holland America ship will be amazing. 

 

As far as the specialty restaurants go, we love the Pinnacle Grill and usually have both lunch and dinner two or three times per cruise. 

 

We do not care for Canaletto at all.  HAL gave us a free dinner there on our last cruise and we still didn't like it.  We will not go to Canaletto anymore, even if it's free! :classic_blink:

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Congratulations, hope you have a wonderful time.  Everyone is different but we really enjoy Canaletto,  and usually find the food superior to the Pinnacle Grill.  You will enjoy the signature suite, extra space,  twin sinks and a larger bathroom,   Have fun!

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Congratulations on your recent marriage. I hope you will have a wonderfull honeymoon on board the ms Westerdam.

Pinnacle and Canaletto. I love the Pinnacle for dinner and lunch (seadays) and I do not like the Canaletto as others already stated for themselves. But I have to say too that the MDR is very good.

 

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Congratulations and happy to see you on the HAL board!  Have you joined your roll call?  People there can be a great help.

 

We have sailed on Westerdam a few times, and enjoyed the ship.  We agree with Kazu - it's probably better to wait until you are on board to decide if you want to go to one of the specialty restaurants.  Canaletto is a part of the Lido Market, actually, much more casual than the Pinnacle Grill.  We wait and see what the daily special is before we book.  We do like eating there, and sometimes they will have a special dinner.  The Pinnacle has a very nice lunch for a sea day.

 

There probably will also be some pop-up dinners, Sel de Mer and the Cellar Master Dinner, maybe de Librije.  You might want to check those out, too.

 

And there is another thread on this board that there is the possibility that there will be a Tamarind Restaurant on board soon.  If so ,that is a great option!

Edited by Vict0riann

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@AllureOfVacation Best Wishes for your marriage!

 

We enjoyed the Canaletto in 2016 -- there were six of us and the service is very much slanted to sharing the "plates", small and large. Also it is hard (not impossible) to eat lower carb and pretty much impossible to have low-salt, not surprising for Italian, I guess. The upcharge was small enough that we thought it was worth it.

 

We enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill in 2018. There were nine of us; I I can't remember if the side dishes were family-style (shareable). We had the PG as part of a promotion and I'm not sure if it's worth the upcharge. The service was actually better in the MDR! If you do eat in the PG, I recommend the lamb and the crab legs, and do not recommend the rib eye... of course the meat quality could be different across the globe!

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Congratulations and we hope you have a fabulous honeymoon cruise!

 

As other replies have hinted, food is really subjective. I absolutely love the Pinnacle Grill and have made reservations for that on the first and last night of our upcoming (7 night!) Caribbean cruise. I also like Canaletto, especially on Saturday nights when their special is grilled shrimp. Yummmmm!

 

We did a Hong Kong to Tokyo cruise on the Volendam several years ago and it was fantastic. We had a great group of travelers on our roll call and we booked almost all private tours. It was our first trip to Asia and I still think about that cruise, the friends we made (and still keep in touch with), the places we saw, the things we did. Have a fantastic trip!

 

Best wishes!

ps: we agree with kazu and Vict0riann about checking out the MDR first before booking a specialty restaurant, and just book onboard. The savings for the package deal of 1 night in Canaletto and 1 night in the PG is minimal.

Edited by CruiseMGM
adding a ps!

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Welcome to the Westerdam!  We were on her in a Signature Suite on Deck 8 in December for 14 days.  We enjoyed the cruise and are boarding her again with you on 1 February.  We have found that in most of the ports public transportation works very well.  The important thing is to do your research before the cruise to see what sites are available in or near the port and how to get there.  To us, it is silly to pay 2 or 3 hundred dollars for both of us to take a bus with 40 other people to visit a tourist site when we could take public transportation for maybe ten per cent of that cost and see the same thing without the crowd.  Another choice is to share a taxi with another couple. The Pinnacle Grille is similar to a 4-star restaurant and the main dining room is a 2 or 3 star restaurant; however, the MDR is free and the Pinnacle is $39.  On Gala nights, the MDR might be closer to a 4 star meal, so it makes more sense to book the Pinnacle on non-Gala nights.

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On ‎1‎/‎15‎/‎2020 at 12:13 PM, ski ww said:

We do the specialty restaurants just for something different for a treat

something different - that is a good idea to have some variety for dinner

 

 

23 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

Congratulations on your recent marriage.

Thank you very much :-)

 

 

23 hours ago, kazu said:

For the beverage package you both need to buy the same one.  

 

According to to the HAL blog - Red Bull is included in the Quench Package.

We need to sort it out then if we buy the basic package or the quench package. I bet in the end we will take the basic package, we can not drink so many mocktails and red bull as I currently think, so that we pay those extra drinks out of pocket, plus real cocktails.

 

 

 

18 hours ago, Taters said:

Congratulations on your recent marriage!  Your honeymoon on a Holland America ship will be amazing. 

Thank you for your wishes!

 

 

16 hours ago, bennybear said:

You will enjoy the signature suite, extra space,  twin sinks and a larger bathroom,   Have fun!

Double sinks and a seperate shower...this is already worth it for me!

 

 

16 hours ago, MAVIP said:

Congratulations on your recent marriage.

Thank you!

 

 

16 hours ago, Vict0riann said:

There probably will also be some pop-up dinners, Sel de Mer and the Cellar Master Dinner, maybe de Librije.  You might want to check those out, too.

I will have a look on the sample menus of the pop-up dinners. I have heard of De Librije in the Netherlands before

 

 

13 hours ago, crystalspin said:

Best Wishes for your marriage!

Thank you :-)

 

12 hours ago, Level six said:

We are on the same cruise!  I hope it is fun!  Safe travels. 

I have the feeling that this is going to be a fantastic cruise!

 

 

12 hours ago, CruiseMGM said:

Congratulations and we hope you have a fabulous honeymoon cruise!

Thank you so much :-)

 

 

6 hours ago, USN59-79 said:

To us, it is silly to pay 2 or 3 hundred dollars for both of us to take a bus with 40 other people to visit a tourist site when we could take public transportation for maybe ten per cent of that cost and see the same thing without the crowd.

 

Exactly this! I found private tours that are very similar, for just a small percentage of the costs.

 

 

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Welcome and congratulations!

Your cruise will be a memorable honeymoon.

Good advice to wait until after you are aboard to consider special restaurants.

We have never bought a beverage package.  We enjoy the regular coffee, tea, water, lemonade, iced tea, juices, milk, etc for no extra charge.  Once aboard you might decide to pay extra for the special beverages.

Good for you researching your private tours.  Sometimes HAL does offer the best choice for us, but you have done well.

Enjoy!

Barbara

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Welcome to the world of HAL and you might find yourself quickly "addicted" to the cruise life.  We agree with your observation on HAL excursions and this is pretty typical of other cruise line.  Most cruise line excursions are overpriced when compared to other options ( such as DIY or private tours) plus you generally find yourself crammed into a large bus with fellow cruisers.  Do you know how long it can take 50+ cruisers to all use a couple of restrooms?   Many folks do like the cruise line excursions because they are convenient and easy to book, require no homework, and are somewhat mindless.  You just do what you are told, go where they tell you, etc.  Others such as myself would not even consider a cruise line excursion except in very rare circumstances.   In our case the only time we book a cruise line excursion is if it does what we want to do and there is no other reasonable option for us to do it on our own or with a small group private tour.  We probably average 1 cruise line excursion for every 200 ports.

 

Hank

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Another thing you could do about drinks - at Happy Hours you can buy one for full price, the second for $2.  You can order a bunch and not have them opened, just take them back to your room and put them in the fridge.  I know my DBIL did that with his beers, you should be able to do it with Red Bull as well.

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