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Embarcation/Club Orange


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We are 3-star mariners, and are scheduled to embark on the Nieuw Statendam for a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on February 23.  Primarily because we have not tried it in the past, we signed up for Club Orange.  One of the inducements for doing so is the "priority embarkation" offered though this program - especially since we are not 4-star or higher (yet), and (sadly) are not staying in a Neptune suite.  Earlier this week, we received the expected email from HAL as to the staggered boarding times.  We are on the Gershwin deck (5) and are informed that our boarding time will be 2:30 PM.  

 

In the past we have arrived at the port at 11:00 or so, and have been content to wait around a bit and enjoy the hubbub and excitement before boarding at 11:30 or 12:00.  Although we are likely to do the same this time, that "excitement" may wane a bit if we have to wait 3 1/2 hours to board!  We are also aware of the comments on this Board to the effect that the boarding times are generally ignored in practice.

 

Our questions are these: (a) does the Club Orange "membership" grant early boarding in general, or does it just mean that we will be boarded before the rest of the 2:30 group? (b) does the Club Orange group have a special waiting area, or is that handled through the usual boarding number card issued when checking in? (c) does the Club Orange restaurant accept reservations and, if so, how is that handled? (d) although we enjoy meeting and talking with fellow passengers, my spouse and I prefer dining alone.  Will that be possible in the Club Orange restaurant?  (e) In the past, we have been issued a specific table number in the MDR.  Will that happen on this cruise, or will it be assumed that we will dine in the Club Orange restaurant throughout the cruise?

 

Thanks very much for your responses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You do get your own line for check-in,  but don't know how they prioritize boarding groups. The CO restaurant is only anytime seating, but there is usually no wait. No reservations are accepted. They do remember your preferences for where you want to sit. They can't guarantee the same table. We always had a table for two. Usually it was a table for four, but set for two. 

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My husband and I were on Zuiderdam on the 1/25 to 2/1 sailing. We signed up for Club Orange and had the quickest embarkation and debarkation we have experienced in our many cruises.

We arrived at the port at 11:00 and were on board in 30 minutes from the time we dropped off our bags with the porter. There was a priority waiting area on the upper floor that we were directed to after the initial check in.

We were in the first wave of groups (Red 1) to leave the ship after the cruise behind the expedited groups and were in our car headed north by 9:30. This included the shuttle time back to the hotel to retrieve the vehicle.

There is no separate Club Orange restaurant on Zuiderdam but we did get priority seating in the main dining room and priority reservations at Canaletto and Pinnacle. You do have a personal concierge assigned to you through Club Orange.

There was a check in desk for Club Orange at the entrance to the MDR. We were directed to a table for 2. 

Overall we were pleased with the Club Orange experience and would use it on another cruise which had a separate Club Orange restaurant.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Arrowinc said:

(a) does the Club Orange "membership" grant early boarding in general, or does it just mean that we will be boarded before the rest of the 2:30 group? (b) does the Club Orange group have a special waiting area, or is that handled through the usual boarding number card issued when checking in?

(a) go at your normal time and you will board in the first couple of groups around 11.30

(b) At checkin there is a separate line for Club Orange/4 &5 star/suite passengers.  When you get your Boarding Card you will be directed to a different area (behind the barriers!) to wait for your group to be called.

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As a recent user of Club Orange on the Nieuw Statendam, I had my choice of tables, to include the "share" table if the other tables were occupied.  In my 14 days aboard, I only needed to use the "share" table twice.  I met a couple who attend my university and another passenger who used the same rare camera as I do.

 

You can make same-night reservations for Club Orange via the Maitre de who will give you a beeper (same as Dive In) that will let you know when your table is available.  Note that Club Orange will close early for breakfast on Disembarkation Day.

 

According to my Club Orange benefits letter, priority boarding was not indicated.

 

A huge benefit was the Club Orange Behind the Scenes Tour of culinary operations that took us into all of the storage lockers and two decks of kitchens/bakeries. I did not take advantage of my free jewelry cleaning, Black Label Photography sales pitch, Greehouse Spa private consultation (sales pitch), or my one-on-one beauty consultation (sales pitch).

 

All passengers did not receive the staggared boarding process notification, nobody checked, and so the cruise veterans selectiviely chose not to comply.

 

Here is a link to your Club Orange and Lido Market menus:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/specifc-cruise-lido-and-mdr-menus/caribbean-2019-7-day-series-b-dining-menus

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4 hours ago, Barney10 said:

Once signed up for Club Orange, what do you get to identify yourself, as such, when checking in?

 

If you mean when you check in at the port, your boarding pass will probably be marked in some way. My boarding pass for my upcoming cruise shows that I am 4-star (4-star mariner logo) and in a Suite (big S), so the "gatekeepers" can tell at a glance that I can go into the priority check-in line.

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