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About TAD2005

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Central Florida
  • Interests
    Cruising, website design
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Windstar
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe, Caribbean

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  1. Your ship will anchor in one place, almost equidistant from Athinos dock and the dock below Thira (Fira). The ship will not move once anchored. If you book a ship tour, they will put you on a specific tender which will take you to the Athinos dock. That is the only dock on that side of the island that is accessable to tour buses. The road goes all the way down to the dock. If you do a DIY tour, or private tour, your tender will take you to the dock below the town of Fira. From there you have 3 ways to get up the 800 ft cliff to the town, walk, donkey ride, or cable car. But, if you want to go directly to Oia, the best way is to take a regular tender from the ship to the Fira dock. When you get off the tender, you will see big signs for ferries to Oia. The price includes the ferry to the dock at Oia, plus the short bus ride from the Oia dock up to the town. Also included is the bus ride back to Fira, but you wanted to bypass the return bus and do the hike back to town. The price is around 25 Euros per person for the ferry and bus. You will have to buy a cable car ticket to get from Fira back down the cliff to the Fira dock for the tender ride back to the ship. The long line for the cable car ride back down the cliff is the worst part of the day. depending in the number of ships in port that day, you may have a 60 - 90 minute line to wait in to get to the cable car boarding station. If you decide to walk down the steps, be very careful of the passing donkeys and also watch where you step, because there are lots of piles of donkey poo on the steps. We did exactly this DIY tour in October 2017 on the Westerdam.
  2. We are on the Rotterdam in Oct 2020. I saw the HAL "Ships at a Glance" chart which shows Billboard Onboard will be in place and performing by Dec 6, 2019. But to totally gut the Mix area and install Billboard, it would take a week or 2 in drydock. I checked with HAL's Ship Coordinator for the Rotterdam, Kelli Gould, and she said that there are no drydocks scheduled for the Rotterdam through the end of 2020.
  3. That is annoying. For some strange reason, that gas station or company is not doing the "settlement" on that day's transactions in a timely manner. They delay the settlement for a few days, so the initial hold sits on your account until they run the settlement.
  4. The double asterisk ** refers to the entire paragraph. Any kids under 18 years old must be supervised by an adult, so all of their onboard spending will go onto the adult's cabin account. There is no credit card hold for kids under 18, but all of their purchases will go on the adult's card. And, if your "under 18 year old" is a big time spender, HAL will add more hold amounts to the adult's credit card to make sure there is a sufficient reserve to pay the bill at the end..
  5. The credit/debit card hold is $60 per person, per day for cruises from 1 to 25 days on HAL ships. Cruises 26 days and up, the hold is $30 per person. per day. We have used various credit cards for our past cruises, and the hold usually hits the night after your embarkation. In all of our cruises, the hold has dropped off of the card by the 5th or 6th day. The hold does reduce the total available credit on your card for as long as the hold is in place. Credit/Debit card holds are almost universal in a purchase where the actual total charge is unknown. All the way from a simple gas station to a cruise. When you slide your card into that gas pump, the station has no idea if you will be pumping $5 or $500 into your car/truck or boat. So the station puts an authorization hold on your card for some crazy amount, to make sure you have sufficient funds on the card. As soon as you put the nozzle back into the pump, the station knows exactly what your purchase is, so they drop the hold and charge the actual amount of gas pumped. Very easy for a gas station. But for something like a rental car, hotel or cruise, you can keep adding more and more items onto your account and your final balance is unknown. So, to protect themselves, these companies put a guestimated hold on your card that the average person charges. Cruise lines, in particular, were left holding the bag in years past, when people would pay their basic fare, with little or no reserve. They would provide a credit card number, but when the cruise line hit the card after they left the ship, they would find that the charge was declined. The unpaid balances were in the area of $500, so it was not worth going to court to collect it, but during college spring break season, there would be a considerable number of unpaid balances. To fix this, all cruise lines started the authorization hold process, or requiring an equivalent amount to be deposited in cash when you board the ship.
  6. Yes, you can carry on as much water or soda as you can handle, in any port, but the key word here is "Carry" on. You are not supposed to put any beverages in your luggage, or even wrap a 24 pack flat of sodas with duct tape and hand it to the porter. The porters at cruise terminals are as bad as airline baggage handlers. The bags are all stuffed into huge metal cages with hundreds of pounds of luggage on top of your bag. That whole cage is fork-lifted into the hold of the ship and distributed to your cabin. HAL x-rays every bag looking primarily for prohibited items, (knives, guns, drones), but they also pickup cans or bottles of liquid. On the x-ray they can't tell if your six-pack wrapped in your underwear in your luggage is soda or beer. And the bottles of liquid may be vodka or water. So they have to set aside every bag with cans or bottles of liquid and page you to come and open your bag. That could cause a huge delay getting luggage distributed, so HAL has a flat rule that anything can or bottle of beverage you bring must be carried on as part of your hand carry bags.
  7. The original post on this thread was about having Amazon deliver to a cruise ship. Considering that there is no lobby on a cruise ship that is accessible by a delivery person, and the ship's agent is not in the business of handling deliveries for passengers, this cannot work. Where would one stand outside the terminal waiting for an Amazon delivery ? How long would you have to wait ? Would port security even allow an Amazon delivery vehicle into the port ? Some comments on this thread talk about Amazon delivery working at the hotel before your cruise. Yes, that would work out. They would come into the lobby and ask the front desk to page the guest to the lobby to receive the shipment. That would work, but not directly to the ship.
  8. The Rotterdam has all kinds of beer in bottles or cans. They also have Heineken and other draft beers. The prices are usually around $7 for a 12 oz beer. US Domestic beer is cheaper, imports are a little more.
  9. You can't beat the one-way international fares on Flight Ease. We are flying one-way from Tampa to Amsterdam, business class. The best fare I could get on many sites was $2300 to $3100. The fare on Flight Ease is $1130 per person. Domestic flights, do not have such a huge difference in price. But domestic or international, the big advantage is you can get a confirmed reservation, with seat selection when you book, but you do not pay for the flight until you make your final cruise payment, usually 75 days out. If you book directly with the airline, or a 3rd party booking company, you pay for the air when you reserve it. If you have to cancel the cruise for any reason before the 75 day date, you get all of your cruise fare money back, but you will be stuck with the air ticket if you buy it on your own. If you use HAL's Flight Ease, when you cancel the cruise, the air is also cancelled with no loss of money.
  10. It sounds like you are asking for fixed dining, early seating, and a table for 2. That is not anytime dining. Your table for 2 will be ready and waiting for you every night of the cruise, and you will have the same wait staff every night. No lines, no reservations needed. We always do the same thing, but in late seating (sometimes called Mail Seating). We get the e-mail address of the Ship's Coordinator for the ship we will be on. Ship's Services can help you with this. Go onto HAL Facts dot com, and checkout the PDF of the MDR, upper level for the Oosterdam. Pick a list of 5 or 10 tables that will work for you. The PDF has table numbers on it. Send that list to the Oosterdam's Ship Coordinator about 3 to 5 months out, and you will almost always get one of the tables you select.
  11. On many cruises, the "Friends of Bill W Meet" meetings are well attended, so they are scheduled every day. The LGBTQ meetings are initially scheduled daily, but if no one shows up, then they are cancelled for future dates unless requested. They will not tie up a meeting room for one person or no persons. You can't just look at the daily program and when these meetings are not scheduled, automatically assume that the ship is being "non-inclusive". It's simply a matter of supply and demand. If nobody comes, then no meetings. If people complain, then they will schedule a room for the meeting. If attendance is still one or zero, then they cancel again.
  12. It doesn't matter if it's stated policy or not, it's common sense. Cases of soda, sitting in a soft-sided bag (one person suggested a Dollar Store zipper bag), placed in the huge steel cages that are used in most US ports to transport your luggage from the drop-off point to the hold of the ship, by fork lift, have hundreds of pounds of luggage in them. You have plastic water bottles or flats of soda in your bag, being squashed under the hundreds of pounds of luggage. What happens when one or more of those cans or bottles ruptures, spilling your precious, sticky soda all over your fellow passengers luggage ? Nothing more annoying than getting your luggage in your cabin on embarkation day and your bag and clothes are soaked with water or sticky soda, just because you wanted to avoid having to hump it onboard in your carry-on bags. If you want to avoid the cost of a Quench water & soda package or buying your sodas onboard, then you should carry it on, and not jeopardize other passengers luggage. It's common sense and courtesy.
  13. The generic holiday music was not continuous. There was a Frosty the Snowman type of song interspersed between 5 or 6 contemporary rock-n-roll selections. That was acceptable and not overbearing. With the holiday decorations, it added a nice holiday touch to the cruise. In the last week of the 21 day collector's cruise, all of the holiday music stopped.
  14. All HAL ships have an air-conditioning/heating system that has a continuous air flow from the ceiling vent. The setting of the thermostat on the wall will determine if that air flow is cool or warm. There is no "Fan Off" switch like you have at home. That constant flow keeps fresh air circulating through your cabin. It's up to you if that circulating air is warm or cool. And do NOT prop your cabin balcony or Lanai door open for some fresh sea air. That will allow the humid sea air to be sucked into the cabin ventilation system and it will wipe out the cooling for many cabins in your area who are on the same system.
  15. I always had a good laugh way back in the 80's and 90's when cruise directors were giving the stock standard speech to a show room full of guests who were about to disembark in a US port. He would say "As you leave the ship and enter the terminal, you will see lines and lines of luggage. You will also see US Customs agents with their drug sniffing dogs going up and down the lines of luggage. If you see one of the dogs stop at your bag, you better hope and pray that the dog simply lifts his leg and pees, and moves on". That was always good for a good laugh, especially on cruises returning from Jamaica.
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