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About txmrs

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Holland America

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  1. Thanks, Lady Arwen. You have certainly helped to ease my concerns!
  2. We have air reservations through Flight Ease for a late August cruise. I understand that because these are flexible fares, it is possible that the price could go up before the final air change date, 45 days ahead of the cruise date. Has anyone experienced an increase? The Holland rep says that it is very rare but that it could happen.
  3. Thanks. That answers my question. We are only in a lowly ocean-view (but I'll love it anywat because it means I'm on a ship and cruising).
  4. If I'm not mistaken, the View and Veranda does not include gratuties, right? So I'm assuming you had free gratuities from when you previously booked. We are holding a reservation which gave us free gratuities but when I called to switch to View and Veranda a while back, I was told I'd lose the gratuities if I switched. Any hints on how you were able to keep the gratuities? Thanks.
  5. " when the TA makes the charge to AX it must show up as coming from HAL rather than the TA. If it doesn't, no credit will be given." That's a good point to consider. Our charges, even though made through our online travel agent, always show as being billed by Holland; maybe other travel agents do it differently? I guess you could always ask the travel agent how the charge will appear on your statement before making payment.
  6. We did not find the need to call HAL directly. Last week we made final payment to our online travel agent for an October Holland cruise. We had booked the cruise months ago with this agent so it was not a new booking. We split the payment between my Amex Blue Card and my husband's (same account, different card holders). Within 24 hours, we received messages saying that the offer had been redeemed and if requirements were met, the rebate would be credited. It took about 3 additional days for the credit to be posted--$100 for my card and $100 for my husband's.
  7. We were on the Volendam in Feb., 2017 and the tenders took us to Bai Chay Tourist Dock. We also were on a private excursion, a junk boat cruise for the day. I think most of the tour guides pick you up here and transport you by bus to the Tuan Chau pier where you board the junk. This was one of our favorite excursions our 28 days. Halong Bay is so gorgeous. If Holland uses the same procedure on your cruise as on ours, those passengers going on a Holland shore excursion tender from a different location on the ship (because their excursions go directly to the bay) than those who are taking independent excursions. This made it very easy to board a tender and get to shore.
  8. The Vietnam Visa we got on board (through Holland) was a single-entry. It had a "valid from" date and "until" date on it. Each time we got off the ship, Vietnamese authorities stamped the back. It was my understanding that because once the ship entered Vietnamese waters, it didn't leave until after stopping at the 4 Vietnamese ports, the single entry was sufficient.
  9. We were just on the Volendam in February and March, making 4 stops in Vietnam and one in Cambodia. As long as you enter Vietnam on the ship, the ship can arrange your visa. Holland charged $63 dollars each for the Vietnam Visa (versus $130 for a multi-entry one through the consulate in Houston). For the Cambodian visa, we were charged $55 each. Since Holland has your passport info, they complete the paperwork and provide you a form to sign for the Visa--very painless.
  10. We just returned from an 28-day Asia cruise on the Volendam. We went on 10 independent tours (2 of which were 2 days each). My husband had arranged several, others we joined after reading about them on the ship's Roll Call. Sizes ranged from 6 persons to one that was 20 persons but most were under 10. All but one was great. On that one, a couple got in the van the first day and immediately voiced they wanted to be back over 2 hours before the ship was due to depart. This was an overnight tour. Since we weren't the ones who had originally booked the tour, and even though we voiced our concern that there was no need to get back that early, the remaining two couples didn't protest. The end result-- we arrived back 2 1/2 hours before all-aboard time, having missed lunch which was included in the tour price (instead the van stopped at a convenience store and we were allowed to buy junk which totaled what our lunch allowance would have been), and missing one of the stops listed on the itinerary. We will probably never visit that particular city again and felt very cheated that these 2 people had gotten their way. We learned a valuable lesson. In the future, we will arrange all the independent tours we plan to go on and if we invite others to join us, we will ask for agreement before signing up both to the itinerary and to the return time.
  11. Thanks so much BruceMuzz, John Bull, and ROCruiser. Your information has helped tremendously in planning our private tour in Halong Bay. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
  12. Next month we will be on the Volendam which stops near Halong Bay. I know that there were be tenders to port but I have seen conflicting accounts of how the tendering is handled. Does Holland board their shore excursions to Tuan Chau (where the junks sail from) directly from the Volendam, or do all passengers regardless of what kind of shore excursion they may be doing, have to tender to shore? We are planning an early private excursion to Halong Bay but wonder if we will be competing for tender spots with Holland-sponsored excursions.
  13. Thanks very much for your help. Sounds like I can go ahead and book air out of Haneda.
  14. I guess I should have posted in my original message that I had already researched and found that the Volendam will be docking at the Osanbashi port for disembarcation. We can fly from either Tokyo or Narita to our home airport, Houston. United flies from either airport, with similar afternoon departures. I just wondered which airport we could more conveniently access from the port.
  15. My husband and I will be on the Volendam disembarking in Yokohama in March, 2017. Which airport is closest to the cruise terminal and what would be the best means of transportation from the port to the airport?
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