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neuronbob

Is Club Orange worth the cost?

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My family is set for a March Nieuw Amsterdam boarding with a balcony cabin.  I just received an email about a Club Orange upgrade special.  It's a new program to me that wasn't present when I cruised last in March 2019--it started in October.  The cost is usually $35/day/cruiser for the first two cruisers, and the sale is for $25.

 

Has anyone here used the program and is it worth the price?  Was the cabin upgrade worth it?  I chose my cabin at booking and like where I am, but I wouldn't turn down an upgrade to a suite if offered.  How does the suite upgrade work in reality?  TBH, the most useful aspect of the program for me would be priority disembarkation, but since I carry my own luggage, I usually am in the first group off, anyway, unless that's changed.

 

Thanks!

Edited by neuronbob

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Only you can decide its  ‘worth ‘.  On NA there will not be a dedicated dining room for breakfast & dinner, like there is on Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam.  Your menu will have an extra entree item. The cabin upgrade is in your meta catagory - meaning if you have a balcony, you will be upgraded to a ‘better’ balcony not a suite. Better being very subjective especially if you choose your cabin.  You will board with the Suites and 4 & 5 star mariners. You get an upgraded bag, a dedicated line at the front desk and excursions desk.  

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I am cutting and pasting my reply from another recent thread about Club Orange.  Here is my personal response to a recent Club Orange experience:

 

 We were in Club Orange on the recent Feb 2nd sailing on Nieuw Statendam.  We very much enjoyed Club Orange.  For us, it provided some nice perks that we would have not had available to us as were are not 4 or 5 star (yet!).  Or in a Neptune Suite.  So it made sense for us to purchase as I really wanted to finally try it out on the larger ship with a separate dining room. 

 

Positives for me:

1) Priority Embarkation.  We were at the port at 11:00 and on the ship by 11:30.  Upon check in for Club Orange you are given a "Priority Embarkation" card and allowed in to a smaller room with fewer people that has coffee, juice and danishes.  

 

2) The dining venue is very nice.  It is a small room with far less people than the main dining room.  More intimate and cafe like in feel.  Ate breakfast and dinner every night in Club Orange and have no complaints about the food.  It was very good.  Much more relaxed feel to the atmosphere than the main dining room.  Only complaint is that service was a little on the slow side than I had expected.  BUT this was not due to the staff as they work really hard.  I just feel they are understaffed and definitely need a few more waiters and bus people as some times there was quite a delay between courses or getting dirty plates taken off our table.  The staff does work very, very hard but I just think they simply need more help.  Also, it is possible that our sailing had more CO people as it was always at least 80% full when we ate there.  

 

3) Behind the scenes culinary tour was excellent and yes it is different than the "normal" one that is given to all passengers if they want to go to it.  Much more in-depth and we were taken to lower decks and areas that not many passengers get to see.  It was very interesting!  I really enjoyed that tour and and glad I was able to attend,  Highly recommend.

 

4) Nicer orange tote bag and nicer robe in room.  Just a little extra something that is not really any extra value.  But still nice.

 

5)  Special invite to private sail into (or away) port with Captain and crew at the Bow of the ship.  REALLY wanted to make this but unfortunately could not get there in time.  Nice little perk of Club Orange on my sailing and I am sure others.

 

6) Dedicated Club Orange "host" or concierge at Guest Services.  This was a nice perk as we avoided getting in the line that always seemed to be at Guest Services.  You just stepped up to the area where the CO host is and wait your turn.  Usually there was either no one there with her or only 1 person in line.  Unfortunately we had to use her services every morning for issues with the Navigator App!  She was most helpful and courteous.  Diane was great!

 

7) Priority de-embarkation.  That was a big plus for us which we liked a lot.  We were first (or 2nd) group I believe to be called off the ship.

 

So my opinion is  CO is worth the extra cost if you like the dining in Club Orange.  To me that is the main reason to purchase.  If you enjoy the main dining room or specialty dining then CO might not be something you want to spend the money on.  JMHO 

Edited by margar

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Forgot to mention, that as stated by the previous poster there is NO dedicated dining room on the Nieuw Amsterdam ship.  You would be in a special section for Club Orange diners in the main dining room. Advantage to Club Orange on the Nieuw Amsterdam would be no waiting for dinner.  You should be seated immediately at any time you like.  That would be the only advantage I could see on the NA as dining would be in the main dining room and not a separate smaller venue as on the NS or Kdam.

 

And the upgrade is only within your category of stateroom.  Example, outside to a “better” outside or veranda to a “better” veranda - which may or may not be a better one in your view, only HALs.  It does not provide you with an upgrade from interior to outside or verandah to suite.  The only way to do that is to pay for a better cabin or get an “up sell” from HAL.  Which occasionally will happen via email about 2 weeks or so prior to sailing.

 

Me, personally, I do not think I would do Club Orange on any of the ships without a dedicated dining venue for CO.  I would probably spend the extra money on specialty dining in the Tamarind, Canelleto or Pinnicle Grill.  

Edited by margar

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If you not in a big suite on the large Suite Deck--Rotterdam on your ship--Then I think it is worth it at $25.00 per day.

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I loved Club Orange on the Koningsdam but I would not pay the extra for a non-Pinnacle Class ship. 

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My step son and wife enjoyed CO on their Nieuw Amsterdam in Alaska so much they've signed up for CO again on their next cruise also on NAM.

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On our upcoming 44 day cruise on the Koningsdam around South America we were offered “Club Orange” for $15 per person per day and we accepted it. For us, and our circumstances it makes sense. 
 

DD

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2 hours ago, margar said:

 

Me, personally, I do not think I would do Club Orange on any of the ships without a dedicated dining venue for CO.  I would probably spend the extra money on specialty dining in the Tamarind, Canelleto or Pinnicle Grill.  

I totally agree with this.  We did Club Orange (we are 4*) on Nieuw Statendam and loved the dedicated dining room but it was offered a 15pp not 25pp. That was the only real benefit we received.  We have a current offer of 25pp on our 10 day Koningsdam cruise and declined and will use $ in speciality dining.  With our 4 star discount, we can do speciality dining every night for less than  $25. pp

 

Again. . . Each person has to evaluate ‘worth’.   

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I got the same email last week for our cruise on Zuiderdam. I called my HAL rep and inquired about the upgrade; she said it was only an upgrade within the category [ie, a "better" balcony room] - then she said, "let me check on something!" Five minutes later, she was back with the offer of a FREE upgrade to a mini suite [yep! I said free] because apparently prices had decreased and a mini suite was now going for the approximately price I paid for an aft balcony. The change got me some of the Club Orange perks, so we took it. Fast forward 24 hours and another offer comes in, this time an upsell from the mini to a Neptune suite for just about the same cost as we were contemplating for Club Orange [10 day cruise x $25 per person]. Yes, indeed!

 

So in the space of 24 hours we went from a balcony to a full suite and you better believe I am going to enjoy that suite! 

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20 minutes ago, panoramaofthepast said:

 

 

So in the space of 24 hours we went from a balcony to a full suite and you better believe I am going to enjoy that suite! 

 

Wow, enjoy!

When is your cruise?

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31 minutes ago, panoramaofthepast said:

I got the same email last week for our cruise on Zuiderdam. I called my HAL rep and inquired about the upgrade; she said it was only an upgrade within the category [ie, a "better" balcony room] - then she said, "let me check on something!" Five minutes later, she was back with the offer of a FREE upgrade to a mini suite [yep! I said free] because apparently prices had decreased and a mini suite was now going for the approximately price I paid for an aft balcony. The change got me some of the Club Orange perks, so we took it. Fast forward 24 hours and another offer comes in, this time an upsell from the mini to a Neptune suite for just about the same cost as we were contemplating for Club Orange [10 day cruise x $25 per person]. Yes, indeed!

 

So in the space of 24 hours we went from a balcony to a full suite and you better believe I am going to enjoy that suite! 


👍🏻👍🏻Woooohooo! Great deal!!  I hope I get that lucky sometime in the near future 😉

Edited by margar

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43 minutes ago, panoramaofthepast said:

So in the space of 24 hours we went from a balcony to a full suite and you better believe I am going to enjoy that suite! 

 

That is fantastic!  Congratulations and enjoy your cruise!!

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I am following my three HAL cruises (through 1/21) and the prices are not wavering. Where is this sell-off happening?!!

 

I did get the $15pp CO offer for next month's sailing, but I am saving that $840 for an upsell to balcony.

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Spent the money for CO on NS during New Year's cruise.  We were on the ship the previous week for Christmas with fixed early dining in the MDR.  I was extremely disappointed in the service in CO.  The first night, we waited over 25 minutes for someone to take our order.  During the other nights, it didn't get any better.  Service was okay in the mornings at breakfast. 

 

The service in the MDR, on the other hand, was fabulous.  We had a table for two, and our waiter greeted us each night as we arrived and took our orders within a few minutes of our being seated.  He understood that we already knew what we wanted, and he acted accordingly.  In CO, we indicated to the maître d' that we didn't need a menu because we were ready to order.  Even after we said that, he'd hand us the menus, telling us that someone would be with us "in a moment."  That moment extended to 15-25 minutes every night.  Mentioning it after the first night brought no relief.  I was extremely disappointed in the service because we read about how efficient it was.

 

The breakfast, however, was hands down the best we've ever had on any ship.  We were totally spoiled by the delicious food, all of it prepared to order.  All of it, even the little potato cakes, were freshly cooked as we watched.  I wouldn't, however, pay for CO again.  Waiting to be served for that long a time when we were sometimes one of three couples in the room is simply not acceptable when we're paying extra for the privilege.  

 

OP, I can only say that you won't know if this option works well for you unless you try it yourself.  As others have said, though, you're on a ship which doesn't have a dedicated restaurant for CO, a big drawback, IMO.

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7 hours ago, panoramaofthepast said:

I got the same email last week for our cruise on Zuiderdam. I called my HAL rep and inquired about the upgrade; she said it was only an upgrade within the category [ie, a "better" balcony room] - then she said, "let me check on something!" Five minutes later, she was back with the offer of a FREE upgrade to a mini suite [yep! I said free] because apparently prices had decreased and a mini suite was now going for the approximately price I paid for an aft balcony. The change got me some of the Club Orange perks, so we took it. Fast forward 24 hours and another offer comes in, this time an upsell from the mini to a Neptune suite for just about the same cost as we were contemplating for Club Orange [10 day cruise x $25 per person]. Yes, indeed!

 

So in the space of 24 hours we went from a balcony to a full suite and you better believe I am going to enjoy that suite! 

 

WOW.  I'll call tomorrow.  If I can get a deal like that, great!

 

OTOH, even "shrewdly negotiating"  (LOL) a further price reduction in CO to $15/dy/person would be good, too.

 

For reference, I turn a 2* Mariner during this cruise, so paying to have some of the same benefits as a suite person, or a 4* or 5* Mariner, looks good at first glance.  For me the primary benefit of CO is going to be early embarkation and disembarkation.  I drive to the cruise port instead of flying, so in particular, leaving the ship early to begin our long drive back to Ohio would be a huge win for me.  Tough decision to make.  I'll know what to do after I've called HAL on the issue.

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29 minutes ago, neuronbob said:

 

WOW.  I'll call tomorrow.  If I can get a deal like that, great!

 

OTOH, even "shrewdly negotiating"  (LOL) a further price reduction in CO to $15/dy/person would be good, too.

 

For reference, I turn a 2* Mariner during this cruise, so paying to have some of the same benefits as a suite person, or a 4* or 5* Mariner, looks good at first glance.  For me the primary benefit of CO is going to be early embarkation and disembarkation.  I drive to the cruise port instead of flying, so in particular, leaving the ship early to begin our long drive back to Ohio would be a huge win for me.  Tough decision to make.  I'll know what to do after I've called HAL on the issue.

I am only a 2* Mariner, as well, which is why I considered CO. The rest was just sheer luck! 

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14 hours ago, crystalspin said:

I am following my three HAL cruises (through 1/21) and the prices are not wavering. Where is this sell-off happening?!!

Mine have all increased in price.  Holland and Princess.

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Thanks for all the help, guys.  I decided that CO is not really worth the cost for me based on my phone call to the HAL reps today.

 

1.  They confirmed no separate dining on Nieuw Amsterdam.

2.  The best upgrade they could do was to a VB cabin when the VC cabin I chose for myself at booking was more conveniently located, holds our group of four, and has a larger balcony, hence, why I chose it.

3.  "Priority" disembarkation means that when you show up for your group, which can be at any time, you have priority.  I usually carry my own bags off the ship, and self-carriers are usually allowed off early in general.  In short, no advantage for me.  Besides, HAL ships are not 6k passenger behemoths and so boarding and off-boarding have really not been an issue.  (Aside:  one of the things I LOVE about HAL is that the ship sizes are about right for me...just the right number of people...not too many people...)

4.  The behind the scenes tours sound nice, but are they $350 nice?

 

In short, CO wouldn't have an effect on the way I typically cruise.  I'll give the $350 to my wife so she can spend more during the cruise, or maybe I'll rent a cabana on ship for the week, so HAL will still be getting more money from me, LOL.

 

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Your welcome!  Glad all the info everyone mentioned help you make a decision that is right for you.  Enjoy your cruise!  I'm sure your wife will find lots of ways to spend the "saved" money!! LOL 😉

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Do Neptune Suite guests eat breakfast and dinner in the CO venue on Nieuw Statendam?

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On 2/20/2020 at 3:50 PM, crystalspin said:

I am following my three HAL cruises (through 1/21) and the prices are not wavering. Where is this sell-off happening?!!

 

I did get the $15pp CO offer for next month's sailing, but I am saving that $840 for an upsell to balcony.

Haha, I was sorta joking, but IT HAPPENED! And the $840 covered >half of it.

 

Meanwhile, the All Inclusive Europe sale (all EU cruises in 2021) expires today. For the inside cabin on the NS I looked at, it promises up to $2300 for a fare increase of $2000 -- with a final payment date FIFTEEN MONTHS before sailing! Not happening. The no-perks option has a non-refundable deposit... also not happening. 

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1 hour ago, djhsolara said:

Do Neptune Suite guests eat breakfast and dinner in the CO venue on Nieuw Statendam?

 

Yes. On this ships with a CO venue, that's where NS guests have breakfast and dinner, although if you don't like the space, you can opt for the MDR instead.

 

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9 minutes ago, crystalspin said:

Haha, I was sorta joking, but IT HAPPENED! And the $840 covered >half of it.

 

Meanwhile, the All Inclusive Europe sale (all EU cruises in 2021) expires today. For the inside cabin on the NS I looked at, it promises up to $2300 for a fare increase of $2000 -- with a final payment date FIFTEEN MONTHS before sailing! Not happening. The no-perks option has a non-refundable deposit... also not happening. 

 

HAL is getting ridiculous. I booked a 2021 Europe cruise on board last week. I could not book it without the promo they were offering, which was NOT the "all inclusive" one--it was some other package with SBP and grats  but not the air credit. I told him I wanted the no promo fare, because as I single I am NOT paying $4000 more for what wasn't even worth $2000. Fortunately, I had checked with my TA and knew what the no-promo fare would be. He said he tried, but the system wouldn't let him do that.  I asked if my TA would be able to refare this without the promo, and he assured me she could. So I did the booking to get the OBC. 

 

I just looked at that booking, and final payment was 90 days out. So why is one promo 90 days and another 15 months???? Who is willing to do final payment that far in advance??? I swear, HAL will do anything to grab your money!

 

Today I talked to my TA and because of the fare code the onboard guy used, the only way she can refare me is to cancel and rebook. And I lose the onboard booking OBC, which should have been $500. I am so tired of being screwed over by HAL! The 100% single supplement, the overcharging for the single spa pass, and now this. He NEVER said refaring would cost me the OBC. If he had, I would not have bothered to book onboard. I hope my cancelling takes away any credit he gets for the booking. I rarely book onboard with HAL, so I don't know if this is the usual, but I'm never going to trust an onboard booking agent on HAL again! Why did I waste time on my vacation to get absoultely nothing for it??????

 

Sorry for thread drift, but HAL is dangling too many things with too many different rules!

 

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