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Everything posted by iflyrc5

  1. Thanks for your great review - we board the Volendam on July 27 for 24 days going to Greenland and Iceland. Looking forward to being back on that ship. Can you please comment on the selection of books available in the library.
  2. When we were cruising shortly after my wife's knee replacement we used ziplock bags and filled them with ice. Staff was happy to fill them for us.
  3. This is for folks that have sailed on HAL ships under the new wifi programs of Surf, Premium and Stream plan which began recently. Can you view YouTube videos on the Surf plan? Now that HAL has eliminated a Catholic Priest on most cruises we will need to go back to our Covid process of seeing Mass online via a YouTube video.
  4. My wife and I are both AARP members so we can each purchase them so can save $4,800 per year.
  5. We are sailing on the the Volendam in July/August and wondering who are the current Captain, Hotel General Manager, and Cruise and Travel director. Just wondering if it is officers we have sailed with in the past.
  6. I contacted AOS and they said they had nothing to do with it and have priests available. I talked to our Parish priest who does HAL cruises as a working priest about this and he also said that getting priests is not an issue. He told me their cabins are small interior cabins that are used for the guest entertainers so by not have a priest it does not free up a cabin for paying guests so it can't be a money issue.
  7. It is interesting about the tendering process being used - from your description a first time HAL cruises that purchased the Club orange or a Neptune Suite gets priority for tendering over a long time HAL cruiser with thousands of dollars spent over many cruises. I can understand President Club members first but Club Orange and Neptune folks before 5 star is just not right. BTW - thanks much for your posting - we have 7 friends onboard with you - you may know Bob and Judy G as they have done the World.
  8. We were on the 10 day and 11 day Caribbean doing B2B2B2B
  9. In January/February 2024 on the Rotterdam we filled the BB King "church" for Saturday evening Mass.
  10. Are folks able to watch YouTube videos on the Surf package? Now that they are limiting the Catholic Priests on the ships we may have to attend Mass via YouTube like we did during the pandemic.
  11. We get the AARP and Teacher Credit through our TA and had it for 3 cruises this year and already have it on 4 cruises for 2025. I did have to call the Mariner society about the Teacher credit on one but they took care of it in just a couple of minutes. It had to do with the verification - it seems that even though you have qualified as a retired teacher you have to requalify which makes no sense since once you are a retired teacher you are always a retired teacher unless you go back into teaching in which case you still qualify.
  12. Why did these OBC not qualify. We booked a 45 day for the fall of 2025 when on board earlier this year and got the Teacher and AARP OBC - Waiting for closer to the cruise to get the Stock OBC
  13. Yes - my wife and I are both members and each of us can get 5 each month.
  14. Here is the message I received from the HAL office of the President. Thank you for contacting Mr. Brett Swofford Mr. Swofford has reviewed your feedback and asked me to respond on his behalf. We appreciate your outreach about religious services and chaplains on our ships and for sharing your concerns. We have recently reviewed our programming and made the decision to prioritize spiritual care for our longer cruises, for cruises where guests are further away from home, and for cruises over religious holidays. We will continue to have a priest on board to provide daily mass for all trans-ocean crossings, and cruises to Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. On Grand and Legendary Voyages, services will be held by a Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister, and Jewish Rabbi. On Christmas and Easter, both a Catholic Priest and Protestant Minister will lead services on all ships, and on Holiday Cruises over Hannukah, a Jewish Rabbi or Cantor will lead services on our cruises. For all other cruises, to serve the spiritual needs of our guests, we provide congregation-led interdenominational services on Sunday mornings and congregation-led Jewish Shabatt services on Friday evenings. Your comments are welcome, and we will certainly incorporate them into our planning processes. We do appreciate your input regarding this important aspect of our shipboard schedule, and again, we sincerely apologize for your dissatisfaction. Thank you once more for contacting Mr. Swofford. Feedback from our Mariners is vital in our mission to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences, every time, and we hope to share many more voyages with you. Sincerely, Bella Smith Special Advisor Office of the President
  15. Below is the response I received from HAL Ship Services. Thank you for contacting the Holland America Line. Beginning in 2025, we will no longer provide a priest on every cruise, instead prioritizing pastoral care by providing daily Catholic mass on ocean crossings and cruises to Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand where guests are further from home. We will also begin providing a Catholic Priest and Protestant Minister to lead services over Christmas and Easter, as well as a Jewish Rabbi or Cantor for our holiday sailings over Hannukah. In addition, we will continue to have a priest, rabbi and Protestant minister on every Legendary and Grand Voyage. With Warm Regards, Ship Services 450 Third Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119 www.hollandamerica.com
  16. The Philippines proudly boasts to be the only Christian nation in Asia. More than 86 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. Therefore, this policy change impacts many HAL crew members.
  17. I have not received a response from HAL yet or Gus. Below is the letter I received from the AOS and from that it appears that a shortage of priests is not the reason behind the policy change. If HAL does not change the policy I guess we will be forced to look for Mass on YouTube and purchase the premium internet package. Thank you for asking. I’m very sorry to report that Holland America is changing their policy on having priests onboard. Here is a note from our President, Capt. George P McShea, Jr. Our long-standing cruise line partner Holland America Lines (HAL) has advised AOS-USA that they are scaling down the assignments of Priests to their vessels. Effective immediately HAL will no longer have priests on the following cruises: • Caribbean • Alaska • Mexico • Canada/New England • Europe Priests already assigned to one of the above HAL cruises will be allowed to complete their ministry. Should an already assigned priest not be able to complete his assignment, AOS-USA will not be allowed to back fill the assignment. HAL will continue to assign priests on the following cruises: • Hawaii • Ocean Crossings • Panama Canals • Asia • South America • Australia/New Zealand • Grand • Legendary • All cruises crossing Christmas & Easter We all know the value of having a priest onboard. Our cruise ship priests have brought the Eucharist to Catholic crewmembers who spend months at sea away from families and the formalities of their religion; Priests have performed burials at sea, counseled crew and passengers after deaths or catastrophes onboard, conducted ecumenical services for passengers of all faiths as requested, and many more unseen services. This year we were looking at over 300 priest assignments with HAL. We estimate in 2025 that number will be less than 100. AOS-USA will continue our ministry to cruise line crews and passengers and continue to work on establishing and strengthening our relationships with all cruise lines going forward. Through the intercession of Servant of God Brother Marinus, may God help us in this challenging time. George So, as stated above, this is effective immediately, but those sailings which already have priests assigned, will not be affected. In Our Lady Star of the Sea, Doreen Doreen M. Badeaux Secretary General Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America 1500 Jefferson Drive Port Arthur, TX 77642-0646 phone: 409-985-4545 fax: 409-985-5945
  18. If you are upset with this policy change I suggest you do what I did and contact the President of Holland America at gantorcha@carnival.com I did this yesterday and awaiting a response.
  19. I just emailed the President of HAL as to why HAL has changed this policy - interested to see if I get a response.
  20. I have seen postings on several social media sites that HAL is starting to reduce the cruises that will have priest on board. This included not having priests on Caribbean, Alaska and cruises in Europe. I have a request into HAL ship services and AOS for a confirmation of the situation.
  21. We are booked in January and they did the opposite - cancelled the ABC and substituted western.
  22. It has been 2020 since we were on the Volendam - Are there any USB ports in the cabins on the Volendam?
  23. Yes the Rotterdam has steps across the aft end of each pool. They can be very slippery and often people sit on them making it difficult to enter the pool.
  24. Correct - I checked with several offices at HAL and they say that you can only get the $30 credit if you purchased the internet when on board. I agree that over the last 5 years the 5 Star benefit keeps getting less and less. Between HIA and club orange people can now buy their way into the benefits rather than those of us that have spent thousands over many cruises.
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