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Shari2

Signature Express Baggage Service

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Hi Everyone!

 

I will be sailing on the Oosterdam in October of this year. This will be my ninth cruise, but my first on Holland America. I have a question about the Signature Express Baggage Service.

 

Has anyone used this? How did you like it? Do you sign up for it onboard the ship or is there a way to sign up online? Our flight was changed, and we will be in port after disembarkation till evening, and we don't want to have to lug our luggage around with us.

 

Thanks for any replies!

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We were on the Oosterdam in June and did the express baggage check. It was GREAT and well worth the money spent for it. Set the luggage out and never saw it until we arrive at the airport at home. Also was great not having to stand in long lines to check in. Got to the airport and went right through security.

You sign up for this onboard.

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Don't know much about the baggage service but I have been on the Oosterdam about 3 years ago. It is a beautiful ship!!! Great beds and great martinis. Service was kind of slow but I think it was because it was fairly new.

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Thanks for the replys, snow to sea, and beachtreat! I'm really looking forward to sailing on the Oosterdam.

 

I think we will go with the luggage service. It sounds like it would work out great.

 

Thanks, again!

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Hi, I sailed on the Amsterdam in June (my first time on HAL as well) and decided while onboard to use the signature express luggage service. I can't speak highly enough of it. I was spending the day in Seattle before flying onto the next leg of my journey in California and not having to cart it around all day allowed me to do so much more in the city than otherwise possible.

Well worth the nominal fee and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

 

Lisa. :)

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Used the service when we disembarked a Carib sailing December 2006 and felt it was money well spent. Signed up on our 2007 sailing, and we were denied participation ... our flight itinerary was identical to the previous year, except that we'd bought two one-way air tickets rather than the roundtrip of 2006. So, that seemed to be the variable that kept us from participating.

 

So, while we all might desire to use Signature Express Baggage Service, any of us can be rejected for reasons unknown to and beyond the control of HAL. The final word, I believe, lies with the Department of Homeland Security.

 

If I recall correctly ... not all airlines participate, but most or all of the legacies do, and the service is available only to U.S. citizens traveling on a passport and flying out on domestic U.S. flights. Further, the service is not available to those flying out of MIA. Also, the earliest flight is either noon or 1PM ex FLL ... but that wouldn't apply for the OP, as that flight seems to be much later in the day.

 

On a Carib sailing, one does see your bags before you get to your home airport. At the pier terminal, I believe passengers must claim their bags in the terminal and, after passing thru Customs, turn them over to the service contractor.

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We also were unable to participate, and we were told the reason was that one leg of our flight involved a non-participating airline (it was a regional carrier for Delta). Very disappointing.... Unfortunately, our local airport is very small, and there are almost no major carriers operating their own flights from our area. We're going to try again next cruise, and see if anything has changed....

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Thank you cruisy girl, camp 637, or-ee-gun, and snow to sea, and beachtreat for all the great information. I'm hoping we will qualify. We have round trip tickets out of San Diego on the same airline so I hope they will accept us.

 

Thanks again, everyone!

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This has always been a great service, especially if you have overweight bags as they aren't weighed and you aren't charged. :)

 

I would really like to hear how things are going with all the new checked bag rules, are people being charged those fees? If so, I would hate to be the person figuring that out as there are almost as many rules and exclusions as there are airlines...

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just one thing I'd like to add to the thread... in my instance the only proviso was that the flight time were after a certain time ( to allow for the baggage to be transported to the airport I presume) and that it were on one of the nominated airlines that were participating.

I am not a US citizen and never was that called into question. So for those traveling on passports other than US ones and within the United States this was not a concern.

 

Lisa.

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just one thing I'd like to add to the thread... in my instance the only proviso was that the flight time were after a certain time ( to allow for the baggage to be transported to the airport I presume) and that it were on one of the nominated airlines that were participating.

I am not a US citizen and never was that called into question. So for those traveling on passports other than US ones and within the United States this was not a concern.

 

Lisa.

Perhaps it varies by ship, itinerary or disembark port ... but I clearly remember the form we received last December on the Amsterdam indicating participants must be U.S. citizens and traveling on a passport/not birth certif and photo ID.

 

The following is from HAL's website:

There are restrictions established for each homeport city.

Restrictions include: participating airlines, earliest and latest flight times, and citizenship requirements.

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This has always been a great service, especially if you have overweight bags as they aren't weighed and you aren't charged. :)

 

I would really like to hear how things are going with all the new checked bag rules, are people being charged those fees? If so, I would hate to be the person figuring that out as there are almost as many rules and exclusions as there are airlines...

As airlines add fees for 1st and 2nd checked bags and assess higher fees for overweights, I envision this program evolving to take those $$$$$$$$$$ amounts into consideration. None of the airlines currently are in a position to absorb those charges, the baggage contractor isn't going to eat it, HAL won't take responsibility for those charges. Indeed, implementation would be a nightmare, but I beleive the airilnes will want their $$$$$$$$$$$$.

 

I also would like to hear from those who have participated in the program and who would have paid checked bag or overweight fees if they had checked their own bags directly with the airlines.

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just one thing I'd like to add to the thread... in my instance the only proviso was that the flight time were after a certain time ( to allow for the baggage to be transported to the airport I presume) and that it were on one of the nominated airlines that were participating.

I am not a US citizen and never was that called into question. So for those traveling on passports other than US ones and within the United States this was not a concern.

 

Lisa.

Further ... I do not recall the passport/citizenship issue on the form we completed on our 2006 sailing. So, perhaps that requirement is a new aspect of the program. An issue on Carib sailings and perhaps not for Alaska.

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Wow...that's great to hear that you aren't charged for overweight bags with this service, heavenly. Maybe I can get a souvenier or two. :) LOL Thanks again, for the great advice, everyone!

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How much does this Signature Express cost? And do we have to personally take the bags through customs?

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How much does this Signature Express cost? And do we have to personally take the bags through customs?
I believe the current fee is $16/person for a max of 2 checked bags each. Our experience in the Carib was that, yes, we claimed our bags and schlepped them thru Customs before turning them over to the baggage contractor. I don't know how it works in Alaska.

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In Alaska, I just put my bags outside of my cabin door the night before with the correct tags attached ( that they provide) and picked them up off the baggage claim carousel at my destination (LAX). Walked off the ship with my carryon luggage and explored Seattle before catching a taxi to the airport bound for California. Easy.

 

Lisa. :)

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How much does this Signature Express cost? And do we have to personally take the bags through customs?

 

For some peculiar reason, customs varies by port. In Ft. Lauderdale, I had to pick up the luggage in the "warehouse", take them about 75 feet to the customs officer, then another 25 feet to the porters for the service. Didn't see them again until my home airport. In San Diego, they skip the customs step. You just put them out at night and pick them up at your home airport.

 

Either way, it's a great service for the price.

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This sounds like a great service. I'm hoping I'm able to use it on my 1-day cruise from Vancouver to Seattle on the Westerdam in May. This will allow us to stay the whole day in Seattle without our luggage, then catch our 7:45pm flight out. I hope our flight is not considered too late to use the service. I like the idea that you don't have to do the customs step in Seattle, that you just put your bags out at night and don't need to deal with them until you get to your destination airport.

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We also were unable to participate, and we were told the reason was that one leg of our flight involved a non-participating airline (it was a regional carrier for Delta). Very disappointing.... Unfortunately, our local airport is very small, and there are almost no major carriers operating their own flights from our area. We're going to try again next cruise, and see if anything has changed....

I was turned down for this on my last cruise as well. Never did get an explanation. The airline I was on was a participant in the program. The woman at the purser's desk told me it had nothing whatsoever to do with Holland America ... I signed up for the program and they would have been more than happy to let me use it ... but sometimes an individual passenger could be randomly selected by the airline for a baggage inspection or special security search, and then it's the airline, not the cruise line, that will turn them down for participation in the Express Baggage Service program.

 

But when I arrived at the airport, I didn't receive any particular special attention as I went through security, so that wouldn't seem to be the reason.

 

Only thing I can come up with is that I had a connecting flight on the way home from San Diego on that cruise. While both legs were with the same airline, maybe connecting flights knock you out for this particular program?

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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HAL has been offering this service under various names for years. I was traveling with a group of 17 teachers six or seven years ago, and one of our group was notified the night before disembarkation, that she could not participate because she had been selected for special inspection. :eek: She was really freaked, but she simply when through the regular security process at FLL. No big deal, but for her it really was a thrash!:confused:

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Rita, the final word is with Department of Homeland Security ... I'm not certain tht the airlines have any say in the process. And, of course, HAL is not part of the decision-making process either. In fact, any denials are for reasons unknown to HAL and, yes, beyond the control of HAL.

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We did it comming off the Westerdam in February in FLL. The $16 per person was well worth it. PLUS - it got us boarding passes for the flights home.

 

We did have to grab the bags and take them through customs, but dropped them off on the other side and the next time we saw them was at MHT.

 

We connected through PHL and decided to walk from Terminal C to Terminal E for the US Airways Express flight home. Somehow we wound up outside of security and had to go back through to get into Terminal E. The TSA person did not like our boarding passes and we were detained until a supervisor could come look at them. There is no tear off portion on the HAL printed ones - so we had nothing to show we orginated in FLL. He finally let us through.

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