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About Hlitner

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    30,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    New Cumberland,PA, USA
  • Interests
    International travel (77 countries at last count(
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Hlitner

    Experience with infants on HAL

    The pool issue is actually on nearly all cruise lines except Disney and some RCI ships. It is because of a US Public Health Service rule pertaining to the quality of the pool water. Even adults who need diapers are not supposed to use a ship pool. We once met some cruisers that brought along a tiny blow-up toddler pool (not sure if they were successful in using it) planning to use it somewhere on the ship. If you are cruising in the Caribbean you can certainly take the toddler to a beach which is always an interesting experience 🙂 Our Grandson has his first "beach day" at 15 months....and it was fun. Hank
  2. Hlitner

    Tours from the port

    Although we are not fans of HoHo buses, Genoa is an exception to our rule. Using the HoHo is a great way to deal with the steep hills that climb out of the port area :). If you plan properly, you can still do a lot of walking but keep it to even surfaces or downhill slopes :). Hank
  3. Hlitner

    Please sell us on the Rotterdam

    The best thing we can say about the Rotterdam is that she is relatively small :). Once HAL "destroyed" some of the ship by replacing the aft pool with a human bird bath (so they could cram in additional cabins) they lost our support for the vessel, Consider over 1400 passengers with a single pool! Put a few teens into that pool, splashing and playing, and it can make for an ugly scene. Hank
  4. Hlitner

    Experience with infants on HAL

    Most cruise lines (Disney is a notable exception) do not permit children in programs until they are at least potty trained :). As to bringing an infant on HAL, one parent once told us that it was like having over a thousand grandparents. Most folks do like babies until they start to scream :). As to caring for your toddler, you must remember to bring along everything that you will need to care for your toddler including a decent car seat to use at ports. Just like at home, caring for a toddler on a cruise is a 24/7 job and you will have to do it all! Having an extended family on the cruise can make it fun since parents and grandparents can take shifts, giving the others some relaxing time on their own. Also keep in mind that HAL does not permit toddlers to go into any of the pools....even if wearing swim diapers (which do not work). Hank
  5. Hlitner

    Qsine, Murano or Tuscan Grill?

    Agree that Murano is all about "fancy" and elegant. We love fancy and elegant :). It is our 2nd favorite (Aqualina on the Azamara Journey is #1) restaurant at sea. We are now expanding our horizons to more luxury lines looking for the holy grail of on-line dining :). If we ever book a cruise on a ship with LPC we will look forward to giving that a try :). For now, given the price increases at X we continue to look at more luxurious lines where we expect better value. Hank
  6. Hlitner

    Shopping onboard- Tissot watches

    Tissot is a decent brand. But we would not purchase that, or any other decent brand, on a cruise ship. There is no "after the sale" service if things go wrong. You will be on your own with the watch warranty service. If you purchase at home you have some recourse to go back to the store... and in many cases you can even return items if there is an issue. The other issue is price! Do some online and local research before your cruise and learn the prices (and terms) for the item you are seeking. In many cases you will find the price onboard is actually higher or about the same as you can get from some shops (and online sellers) at home. These days there are some amazing online deals from very reputable jewelers which often beats what you get on cruise lines with some promise of after the sale service (if needed). Hank
  7. Hlitner

    Reasons to love Celebrity

    Wonderful post :). Sometimes those of us who have a lot of cruise experience (we have been cruising extensively for about 45 years) forget how some of these little things can make a difference. The problem we face is that it is impossible not to compare today's Celebrity with yesterday's Celebrity :(. I think that there are times when it is best not to know what you are missing. Hank
  8. Just a tip,,,,especially for young cruisers. Using a credit card, and paying off the total balance when due, is a clear patch to building a good credit rating which can serve you well in the future. Using cash does nothing to improve one's credit rating. If you have the cash, why not use your credit card and then just pay it off as soon as you get the statement...before it incurs and extra interest. Hank
  9. Hlitner

    Tips for flying with Spirit Airlines

    Had to laugh at the topic, "Tips for Flying with Spirit." When it comes to that particular airline we have zero "spirit" and our tip would be to fly with another airline.....ANY other airline. 28 inch pitch seats probably qualify for torture....worse then waterboarding. Hank
  10. Hlitner

    HAL transfer from FLL to MIA

    We would prefer your B2B :). Hank
  11. Hlitner

    HAL transfer from FLL to MIA

    Then its a terrific deal. But hard to understand why a transfer to nearby FLL is the same price as to MIA...which is over 30 miles. We just came off a Princess cruise where they also charged the same ridiculous $19 per person transfer price to FLL (we took a taxi for less then $15 for the entire taxi). I do not completely recall the price of the transfer to MIA but thought it was something like $29 per person. Uber would charge about $35-$40 (for an entire car) for that same transfer. Hank
  12. Hlitner

    Edge Overpriced???

    When it comes to pricing, it is a big cruise industry with many options. So consider that we have a Seabourn cruise booked that costs us about $460 per passenger day. Seabourn is an all-inclusive all suite line generally seen as being in the ultra-luxury niche of cruising. If we look at a simple Sky Suite on an S-class ship in the same market (Alaska) it prices out over $600 per passenger day with a drink package and pre paid gratutites. So doing a side by side comparison, X is charging over 40% more, per passenger day, then a small ship luxury line. Now consider on Seabourn you will get better quality booze and wine then on the Classic drink package of X, and you can use your booze to wash down things like Caviar (no extra charge). And dining is at a far higher quality then you get on X. Now if you start looking at the Edge Pricing for small suites, it is often near $600 per passenger day (including drink package). You could compare a Sky Suite on X with a regular balcony on a line like Crystal (a sky suite is a few feet larger) and find that its actually less expensive to cruise on Crystal then Celebrity once you get to the X suite category. We have cruised on Celebrity many times and we have cruised on Crystal. There is just no comparison between the lines. X is a decent mass market line but does not match up with the luxury lines on much. Consider that the Celebrity Serenity has a passenger space ratio of more then 70 while the Edge has a space ratio of 45. Just fruit for thought. Hank
  13. Hlitner

    HAL transfer from FLL to MIA

    That sounds like an error on the posting (HAL has lots of issues with their web site). If you can get a transfer from Port Everglades to MIA for $19 you should book it and make sure to print out a copy of the reservation and price :). Hank
  14. This entire PCC thing has become more myth then fact. PCCs are simply reservation clerks who have X number of cruisers as part of their work assignment. We were 4 Star Mariners long before we ever heard from any PCC because we do not book cruises directly with cruise lines (why pay an extra 7-10%+ to do that). But about 4 years ago we had to cancel a HAL booking (the first cruise we have canceled in over 100 bookings). The cancellation triggered multiple phone calls directly from HAL wanting to know why we canceled and was there anything they could do to get us change our mind. At the time part of our reasoning was the smoking policy (which has since been changed for the better). For about a year we received some phone calls and e-mails from our newly assigned PCC until I finally asked her "why should I book with you and pay more then if I book elsewhere?) Her response was that I could book with her and then transfer the booking to a cruise agency to get additional perks. Yes, that is true but it means giving up some leverage with our favored cruise agencies and there is no reason to book with our PCC and then go through the hassles of transferring. On our last HAL cruise this became a topic at a large shared dinner table. One lady kept saying how much she liked her PCC and she would not save that much using a cruise agent. When we explained that we have saved $3000+ on a HAL booking done elsewhere there was some surprise by that lady. She had no idea since she had previously only used a local TA who would give her a bottle of wine! Another reason we prefer cruise agents is that they deal with all the cruise lines. Our next 4 cruises are with MSC, Seabourn, Princess and HAL! Although we always shop around for the best deals, most of our dealings are with a single agent/agency since they usually have the best deals. We are talking about saving $1000+ on nearly every booking! Our cruise agent understands the entire industry, has contacts at most of the cruise lines. She also is able to discuss one line vs another in terms of quality and value. Another big selling point is that our cruise agent works for us...rather then the cruise line. Hank
  15. Ahhh, but they have truly speeded up the Internet (on only some ships) and it is wonderful. As part of their Ocean Medallion upgrade, they also implemented something they call "Medallion Net." With all the rewiring and fiber optics, things really improved. And now, there is a satellite option for cruise lines (if they are willing to spend the money) that gives the ships much more bandwidth. We think that RCI was the first to upgrade their service on their Oasis Class ships. Princess has gradually been doing it with their fleet and we just experienced the result on our 2 Regal cruises (both within the past 2 months). Because it was still a work in progress, Princess gave those in the Elite (and we think Platinum) categories unlimited internet on a single device. Since DW and I are both Elite we both got this freebee (which has previously been limited to a few hundred free minutes per cruise). The Internet was fast, very fast for a ship but not up to land based standards. I was able to easily browse the web, stream videos, stream Sirius XM music all day, etc. We did daily facetime with our grandchild and it worked just like on land. My e-mails would update and d/l in seconds rather then in minutes or longer like on HAL. So, much faster Internet is here and available for the cruise lines willing to spend the money. But those of us that know and love HAL are also cognizant that HAL is traditionally very slow to move forward in many areas with technology being a real big problem. It is also the only cruise line among the many we cruise, that does not give lots of free Internet time to their frequent cruisers :(. And some lines do not try to rip-off their cruisers with ridiculous Internet pricing. MSC (a line that is quickly growing and will soon have about 29 ships) sells Internet based on data amounts (gigabytes) for very reasonable prices (they do not allow video streaming from sites such as Netflix). Less then $10 per day can get you nearly unlimited Internet and apparently its pretty fast (we shall soon find out as our first MSC cruise is coming up). Consider that on HAL a $10 investment in Internet will get you less then a half hour....and it can take 5 minutes to just connect to a web site or your e-mail account :(. Hank