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Everything posted by Nang

  1. There will be destination lectures with tips on what to do/see and not a complete focus on HAL tours. Likely there will be a bit of history of the ports but you do not get a history lesson. Fresh flowers do not rock my boat. We have never got them that I can recall but then I probably would not notice unless they were in the way (we don't do any higher than a standard verandah). I have seen jigsaw puzzles on most of our 7 HAL cruises and definitely on our last one May 2019 on the Maasdam. There is at least one trivia every day in my experience and usually 2 on sea days. Don't think the MDR menu is on rotation (we eat there every night) and, if it is, it takes many days to get back to day 1 menu (if ever). I do not take enough notice of the menu to realise if it does or does not reflect flavours of the region when in the med. Other cruises I have done will every now and then have a special local item on the menu (I only notice if it is promoted as such). On a med cruise you will not have many sea days so unless you are addicted to the net or need to do work stuff, I would just use the free wifi off the ship in cafes, etc. Doing the med is my favourite, enjoy.
  2. The ship is fine. The service is great. The food is typical HAL which I have always enjoyed. We had no issues with our cabin and we did not hear of anybody who had anything go wrong of note. The absence of a fridge in our cabin was not an issue that caused me any great concern but given the lack of nightly entertainment I would have made good use of an on demand movie service if it had existed. The 21 day Alaska cruise in May 2019 had a fantastic itinerary, the oldest demographic we have encountered in 7 prior HAL cruises and the ship was oh so quiet and dull at night. No BB Kings, piano guy playing to a crowd of 6 at most, and not many shows/performances worth the effort. Lots of lectures which helped fill the time but only because there is nothing better to do except for the twice per day quiz. We will be avoiding this class of HAL ship in the future unless the itinerary is a stunner.
  3. I am very sorry that your wife fell ill on your cruise and to hear of the sad saga that followed. I hope your wife is now in better health. I have read of similar experiences regarding very high charges for services provided by the company contracted by CMV to manage the medical centre. I assume you were advised of the costs for dialysis in the contract your wife signed but you would likely have been blindsided by the other treatment costs as other CMV passengers have been. I hope insurance has at least partially eased the financial burden somewhat.
  4. The HAL schedule is the only one that matters. Its in your booking on on the HAL website.
  5. Geeze, that is more than twice the cost of a SBP for 2 people, surely there was something else included (or it was for more than 2 people)?
  6. You will not see a discounted drinks package other than as Crystalspin mentioned above. However, HAL do have a fluid pricing and perks approach which sees prices increase and decrease over time and with differing perks (including drinks) included. Just keep an eye out on the HAL website or sign up for emails on promotions and also keep an eye on these boards. If you have not booked and paid upfront a non-refundable fare you should be able to take advantage of any new promotions as they come along, although I am not sure if this is consistent across countries as I have read of UK based passengers not being able to rebook/refare for at least one other line when they have not booked direct with the line. For example, a few months back I was able to refare a 29 day cruise (promotion was Early Booking Bonus) and have the Signature Beverage Package included for exactly the same price.
  7. There was compensation via OBC as a partial refund.
  8. The post is titled "Has this ever happened to you"
  9. Things can go wrong and did, its how the problems are handled that matter from my perspective. I am not sure what else I would expect HAL to do, that they did not. I would not book an inaugural cruise or a pre or post dock cruise, too much chance of problems and preparations for the dry dock interfering with my cruise for me.
  10. Aussies only tip ,in general, for exceptional service unlike in some other countries whose residents always tip unless the service is poor. HAL does not change its charging/tipping policy for Australian based cruises, nor does it change what it is called - tipping = hotel service charge = gratuity. Some lines, eg Celebrity, include the HSC charge in the base price for Aussie based cruises to reflect the Australian culture of not tipping for expected service and avoid a procession of cruisers at the front desk removing the HSC.
  11. Just take the cool beers to any bar and swap them for cold ones, or get fresh ice in your bucket. I do it all the time.
  12. This is correct. A close friend did this on a cruise in September round the Med on the Nieuw Statendam - wife takes medication that does not mix well with alcohol, rang HAL who advised to provide a letter from her Doctor stating this which she did and the husband was able to purchase a signature beverage package for just himself.
  13. Better you know than not know..... We did a 21 day to Alaska in late May and came away underwhelmed. Nothing wrong with the ship, staff or food but no BB Kings was a MAJOR dent in the entertainment. If you aren't bothered by no BB Kings then the entertainment was similar to other cruises we have done except for too much focus on lectures of which we are not fans. Depending on the itinerary, the lectures may be wound back. The ship was very quiet compared to the 7 other cruises we have done on HAL and we will avoid HAL's smaller ships from now on.
  14. Not a fairy tale for us on the Maasdam 21 day Alaska cruise May/June 2019. No BB Kings was a real downer but known before we booked. I could walk up to the the Ocean Bar 10 minutes into 4:00pm happy hour and get a seat every day - never been able to do this on any of our other 7 cruises. However the Crows Nest was busy at the same time but it seems happy hour types were way down in number. Piano player was lucky to have 6 people every night and by 10:00pm it was regularly a 0-2 person crowd. Yes the late show had a reasonable number but it seemed they all headed straight to their rooms when it finished. The Crows Nest had a DJ (the Cruise Director) from about 10:30pm or a bit later in the Crows Nest. His audience was maybe 4-6 people at the bar and most nights nobody on the dance floor with the exception being a group of 4-6 teenagers who made a brief appearance every 2nd or 3rd night. However I should note that the Orange Party was well attended early in the night. I did not find a bar open once in 21 days beyond midnight (and I did look). I am not suggesting this is the norm for HAL but it was quiet enough for us to decide to steer clear of HALs smaller ships in the future (unless its a bucket list itinerary not available on larger ships). I do understand that HAL are now marketing the Massdam as an exploration type experience and highlight the zodiacs that can be used to explore "remote locales" however as far as I could tell they did not once get wet on our cruise and we were in Alaska?????
  15. A bucket contains 5 beers and is $29 for 12oz and 30 for 16oz plus 15%service charge - for the smaller beers it is about a $1 off per bottle while for the 16OZ its a bit better and close to 1 free beer. Happy hours its buy get next one for $2 (plus 15%) The most up to date prices I know of are in http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Ocean-Bar-Menu.pdf - don't forget to add 15%
  16. Saw this on the HAL website for Aussies - book 2020 Alaska, Europe, Canada and New England cruises with a $AUD100 deposit and receive a signature beverage package https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/deals_AUD/summer-exploration-event.html Not sure what other countries might be included or how much the fares have been adjusted from Explore4.
  17. There is no $ advantage to buying before you get on board that I am aware of but others will correct me if I am misinformed. After 8 cruises I have bought quite a few thousands of $s of beverage cards and can recommend them for the convenience of not having a LONG list of purchases on our account at the end of the cruise but other than that there is no realistic benefit for me.
  18. Fried, poached, boiled, scrambled or still on the shelf? 🙂
  19. I have just booked a tour to Luxor from Safaga with Ramasside Tours. The process was very easy and very prompt - all done in under 2 hours of my first email to them and the price was great. I dealt with Nada Yehia who was super efficient and professional. Can't wait for the tour.
  20. We did a 20 day cruise with our 2 1/2 year grand daughter last year (and mum and dad). GD had an absolute ball and she was a huge hit with staff and passengers. Not sure our daughter would have enjoyed it anywhere near as much without our support (aka baby sitting) but they loved it and we are all cruising again next year when the GD will be 4. I expect she will love HAL Club.
  21. Taxi rates out of the port are outrageous. In Sept last year it was a set rate 35euro one way or 50euro for a round trip to the Plaka (they would return at a set time). Walk out of the port and catch a taxi on the road and the metered fared fare was less than 12euro (same on return).
  22. Agree with the entertainment comparison that has Celebrity clearly in front and also with the buffet being better on HAL and dining room food food similar (although the DW has HAL clearly in front on the latter). The HAL burgers are way in front while Celebrity hot dogs are better. Pizza quality variies significantly on HAL with the New York pizza clearly out pointing Celebrity Solstice pizza on our onlt Celebrity cruise this month. What did surprise me was the lack of service regarding keeping tables clean and tidy at the outside bars on Celebrity. On HAL staff have an almost manic clean up attitude to ensuring tables are clear and clean whilst on the Solstice it seemed they hardly ever did it - ashtrays full, table tops dirty and empty cans/bottles/glasses seemed to be the norm. One afternoon on the Solstice I had 5 beers and all the bottles remained on the table until after I left - this would never have happened on HAL in my experience. I would gladly sail Celebrity again but we will look to HAL in the first instance.
  23. If $s are not a major issue its hands down the Koningsdam all day every day for us. More live music (including the Rock Room), more dining options including the excellent Tamrind and New York Pizza and you will be hard pressed to notice the extra passengers.
  24. Nang

    Hawaii Advice.

    Not meaning to be rude at all but the first step in researching what to do should probably be determining what ports you are visiting. If as noted above you are visiting Lahaina just exploring the town on foot is a great day. If you are into music/bars I can recommend the Hard Rock Cafe (it is more retro than most and has some good old photos) and Fleetwoods (bar owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac - its has some great memorabilia in the "shop" downstairs and the bar walls upstairs). A tour to the volcano and lava flows from Hilo was a great day for us. From Lihue we did a zipline tour. If you are a little adventurous and reasonably active it is a real blast and the views were truly amazing but don't do if you are afraid of heights.
  25. After searching here for 30 minutes I decided it was best to ask my question ... Can somebody who has toured the Missouri please advise what access you get to the ship with the general admission Mighty MO ticket? I understand there are free guided tours which we will take advantage of. There is also an additional fee Heart of Missouri Tour ticket that provides guided access to the engine room and gun turret #1 and a few other areas. Can these areas be accessed "on your own"? If not can we access on our other gun turrets? TIA
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