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About LoveHAL

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    San Antonio, TX
  • Interests
    Theater, Historic Preservation, Classical Music
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Any cruise with more at sea days than in port.

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  1. My wife and I truly enjoyed the Inaugural Cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. It was quite special and did sail on the initial departure date. Still, the current date for the Rotterdam VII is still close to a year out and things could happen. So in your situation, having no flexibility on a possible delay, I think I would hold off on any booking till much later. Just keep tracking the progress of the ship's build and make a decision much closer in. This certainly will reduce you choice of cabin assignment, but at least you will have more knowledge of the departure date.
  2. This is from an article in Seatrade Newsletter (August 12th) ======================================================================================= The US Federal Maritime Commission initiated a process that may lead to amending its regulations concerning cruise line nonperformance and refunds for canceled or delayed voyages. The FMC on Monday voted to accept the recommendations made by Commissioner Louis Sola in his Fact Finding 30 Interim Report issued in July, which examined the effects of COVID-19 on the cruise industry. The FMC also directed staff to draft a notice initiating a rulemaking. This will solicit public comment, gather additional information and guide the commission as it develops proposed regulations to reflect these changes. Based on the public comments, the FMC will then consider whether to issue a final rule implementing the changes. Nonperformance/refund clarity Sola proposed that when a sailing is canceled or a passenger boarding is delayed by at least 24 hours for any reason other than a governmental order or declaration, full refunds must be paid within 60 days following a passenger refund request. When a sailing is canceled or boarding is delayed due to a governmental order or declaration, full refunds must be paid within 180 days. If, following a declaration of a public health emergency, a traveler cancels a cruise that may be affected by such emergency after the cruise line's refund deadline, but the sailing is not canceled, the line will provide a credit for a future cruise equal to the amount on deposit. In all other cases when cancels and embarkation and sailing occur within the prescribed timeline, the cruise line’s rules for cancellation will apply. Further, Sola proposed cruise lines set a reasonable deadline for a traveler entitled to a refund to request the refund which is at least six months after the scheduled voyage. Refunds should include all ancillary fees Refunds should include all fees paid to the line by the consumer, including all ancillary fees. And they should be given in the same fashion as monies were originally remitted to the carrier.
  3. Had you booked your hotel room thru HAL (obviously more expensive) I suspect you would have your money back. I booked a hotel room via Hotel.com for one night prior to a cancelled Zuiderdam cruise. It was a non-refundable booking and I knew that when I booked. Therefore NO reimbursement from Hotel.com nor the actual hotel, although I was told that the hotel would honor the payment for a year if I should re-book. Of course the chances of me being in Quebec City within the year are zero. Still, it seemed like a very nice offer. I realized that it was a risk I took to save money and never thought to request a refund from HAL. In my opinion, the bottom line is, most of the time you win financially, but there is always a "risk" and I accepted that when I booked the hotel. In reality, it was only about $100 and certainly not the end of the world.
  4. I have to say that over the years, my PCC has been amazing. She constantly goes above and beyond to keep me informed, solve issues, and get things done. Most recently, due to the cancellation of a October 2020 Zuiderdam cruise, she was able to obtain a 100% "bonus" on the portion of the booking relating to the cruise fare. This was immediately transferred an already booked cruise on the Ryndam. Just recently we received a cash payment sent to our Credit Card in the amount relating to our payments on fees, taxes and airfare. So that account has been completely cleared out!!!! On the other hand, a good friend that used the services of a travel agent, is still waiting for a very large refund on a 30 day cruise that was scheduled for this year. I'm not saying that a PCC -vs- a travel agent is always the way to go, but it does seem that I get returned phone calls and responses to my e-mails very quickly from my long time PCC. I am very thankful for all she has done for us over the years.
  5. My wife and I returned home yesterday from the MS Zaandam's South America/Antarctica 22-day cruise. I usually not all that impressed with HAL's mainstage evening entertainment, often finding it dull. BUT, on this cruise, I found the guest entertainers, a variety of singers, dancers, musician, comedian, juggler, and magician were fun and quite entertaining. As an aside, many of the entertainers were from South America. In my opinion, they were far and away the best that I have ever seen on HAL. Again, my opinion only, the Cast Shows were the same old same old... a group of talented singers and dancers that had to deal with less than imaginative choreography and song selection. Of course, the small stage doesn't give much room for the dancers to move around much. There were only four of these shows, so there were plenty of evenings to really enjoy, and I did. The band in the Ocean Bar was quite good, but the BIG win was the Piano Bar, featuring JAMM. He is amazing. He did share that, when the ship went into dry dock in the near future, The Mix/Piano Bar would be enlarged and go to the Billboard on Board style of two pianos (in the few times I have seen the concept, it was mostly "fixed sets" of music and not as much interaction with the audience. The Explorer's Lounge Adagio classical group of Violin and Piano were not the best duo we have heard on the "smaller ships", and certainly no where near the enjoyment of the Lincoln Center Stage groups my wife and I have heard on the larger ships. The number of people that seemed to attend the performances seemed to be far from "Standing Room Only". All of the above is just one person's opinion. But I departed the cruise with a very positive feeling about the post-dinner hours on board the Zaandam.
  6. Just off the Zaandam's South America/Antarctica 22-day adventure. The Orange Party was held on one of the final evenings of the cruise at 10 pm. Band, dancing, officers etc. About half way thru the cruise the gift shop started offering Orange Party Tee Shirts, Hats, and a few other items. Most were offered at 2 for $20. The event is fun and it seemed that everyone in attendance had a wonderful time. While it isn't necessary to wear orange, why not "get in with the party" and dance. The late night start is probably set (10pm) to permit late seating passengers to have dinner, catch the show in the show room, and then move directly to the Orange Party.
  7. Or, you could order the drink (s) at a bar and bring them up to your cabin verandah.
  8. Hard to believe it has been a year since the Premier Cruise. It was an exceptional experience. Have already booked passage on the Ryndam's Premier cruise. Have no idea of itinerary nor pricing, but want to be part of the excitement of a new ship. Happy Birthday Nieuw Statendam! May you continue to have smooth sailings and happy passengers and crew.
  9. My opinion; the luncheon really this isn't a big deal, BUT it is a Mariner Perk. There usually is a greeter at the dining room entrance, and I have seen times where they check the invitation. I always bring mine with me. So, letting your guests know about the perk for Mariners shows them HAL does value it's Mariners. It just might encourage them to return for another HAL cruise.
  10. $359 (just over $50 a day) for a 7-day cruise and you are looking for On-Board Credit or a cabin upgrade because of missing Half Moon Cay? Wow.
  11. FYI, I booked space on the Ryndam's inaugural voyage on May 14, 2019 thru my personal cruise consultant at HAL using a previously purchased Future Cruise Deposit. At the time, no price, cabin assignment, specific date (but know it is May, 2021) nor itinerary. The previous Ryndam was our first HAL cruise (2002) and we were on the Premier Voyage of the Nieuw Statendam. So I knew that we had to apart of the special cruise of this Ryndam. We do know that the itinerary will be Western Europe, but are looking forward to learning about the length and ports of this "Maiden Voyage". The point being, to the best of my knowledge, HAL has been taking "reservations" on the Ryndam's maiden voyage for some time.
  12. Well, the title that got your attention! I started cruising when I was 17 years old, realizing how fortunate I was to have this wonderful experience. In 2002 I discovered Holland America on a 7-day Alaska cruise. Since then, HAL has been my exclusive cruise company (35-cruises, five star mariner). Why? A quality product for a reasonable price. I have always started every cruise with a positive attitude, and realized that not everything can be perfect. Regardless what we do in life, things can go wrong. Gosh darn, they don't want to give me TWO main courses for dinner. The prices on drinks have gone up. They no longer provide this or that. The ships are showing wear, or I hate the larger ships. Soon after my first HAL cruise I discovered Cruise Critic. It was a place to share information and, meet people prior to the cruise , and on occasion, save some money on private excursions. Roll Calls have been a wonderful resource for me. BUT, it seems that over the past few years, Cruise Critic has turned into a place where many people have become so negative about seemingly everything HAL management does. In my opinion, the enjoyment and benefit of this Forum has declined significantly. Sure, not everything is perfect, but there are a number of Cruise Critic members that seemingly NEVER have anything positive to say. You know who you/they are..... "Orlando is trying to ruin the company"; "HAL is nickel and diming us"; "They are taking away....."; How can I sneak on alcohol or will HAL carry on my cases of waters/soda? At the end of the cruise, why doesn't HAL pay me back in cash the on-board credit that they didn't buy, but that HAL as given to them? , and so many other things. The irony is that they seem to continue to cruise with HAL (how else would they know what is going on now?). They continue to look for the cheapest fare (nothing wrong there), but still expect all the things they got in the "good old days". My question is, if it is so bad, why complain so much? Why not just spend your travel dollars elsewhere? Or, is it just fun to complain?
  13. Not sure which ship you booked for 7/14 Alaska, but looking at HAL website today, there are two ships sailing that date out of Vancouver. Pricing for inside guarantee is either $325 or $345 per person (plus fees/taxes) or just about $50 per person per day. At that price, I certainly can understand providing free gratuities of $14.50 per day (bringing your daily cost for lodging/food/and other available services down to around $35 per day. It seems like you got a great deal on a last minute booking. Enjoy the deal, keeping in mind that HAL is a company that, to stay in business, does have to make a profit. Something to learn from the experience, book with a HAL agent or TA rather than on-line. This way you get to talk to someone and confirm what you think you have. You also get a name of someone if there is a problem.
  14. Pertaining to gratuities, the above answer is incorrect. While I do not know about casino credits, On-Board Credits can certainly can be used for Hotel Service Charges (gratuities).
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