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tsxgray1

First timers on HAL need suggestions

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We are cruising on HAL for the first time on the Koningsdam staying in a Neptune suite.  What are the first things we should explore after boarding?  We would like to also check on reservations for the main dining room -is the Maitre D available during boarding and where?  Where can we buy WiFi?  Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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Your fist stop should be the Neptune Lounge and introduce yourself to the concierges! 

 

They can actually take care a of a lot of things for you right there without having to track down all of the individuals in different departments. 

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Our non-suite routine when first boarding is.....

 

....drop off carry on's in room

....head to lunch in the MDR w/the daily program in hand to study

.....after lunch, tour the spa and buy our passes for the hydro suite

.....confirm dinner table/time and make any speciality reservations (we rarely do speciality but sometime on first evening)...there is a kiosk to handle but, as referenced above, you should use your concierge. 

......tour the ship

......study the wine packages for purchase in the MDR first night (or from bar waiter if he/she is helpful)

......back to room to unpack if luggage has arrived and say hello to room stewards

......muster drill and let the fun begin!

 

as they say, ymmv, but getting "housekeeping" duties out of the way is the goal so that we can focus on the fun stuff......

 

Welcome to Holland America and enjoy the Koningsdam!

 

 

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You choose what internet plan you want from the Navigator LAN page on your own device or a ship's computer. Directions for connecting to Navigator are printed on the pocket map given to you at check-in, and other places.

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For those remain directionally challenged when then get on a ship:

 

One of the early things we do is get our directional signals in order to learn which way to go when we get of the elevators or leave our cabin - even after hundreds of days on board HAL ships we get confused - what visual clues tell us forward, aft, starboard or port - we look for something asymmetrical in the elevator and stair foyers that point us the way we want to turn.

 

There are now directional signs in the carpets and larger visuals indicating deck numbers  and which side has the odd or even number cabins.  They were pretty obscure in the past.  Generally - food activities are in the back (aft) of the ship and entertainment is forward. I also learned to look for the lifeboat stations signs in the elevator foyers to sort out the even cabin numbers from the odd cabin number sides of the ship.

 

HAL puts in a number or art items in these public spaces which is what we often use for our directional cues - which way is the model of the ship pointing, which way is the portrait facing, which side has the flowers or the city tower in the painting -- that sort of thing. On the  older Vista class ships they had these rather hideous  "blue boy" plaster benches which I hated until I realized I could use one of the little blue boys holding up the bench as my directional signal.

 

Yes, our first order of business is to find the location of our fixed-time dining table and see if we can make any adjustments. Then walk around the ship and take early photos of the public rooms when there are fewer people milling around. Then we allocate drawers and closet space so when the luggage comes we know where to put things.

 

And then it is time for the muster and our own sail-away ritual in the Crows Nest - a toast to another great cruise with a Tropa-Mango-Mojito - a tradition that started for us on a spectacular sailaway out of the Sydney Australia harbor and off into the setting sun. And another cruise begins.

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3 hours ago, mdjohn5 said:

Your fist stop should be the Neptune Lounge and introduce yourself to the concierges! 

 

They can actually take care a of a lot of things for you right there without having to track down all of the individuals in different departments. 

 

I agree!   That is why they are there, and it is one of the perks included in your Neptune Suite fare.  The Neptune Lounge concierges can help you with all that, including the on-board app for your smart phones (IIRC it is called Navigator?) 

 

They printed out our airline boarding passes the night before debarkation, too.  We tipped them (cash) for their help at the end of our cruise, as we used them a few times and they were so kind.

Edited by Walfam

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1 hour ago, Walfam said:

including the on-board app for your smart phones (IIRC it is called Navigator?) 

It's not an "app" as most people think of that term. It is just a page on the ship intranet, and the only app you need is a browser. And it works on laptops and tablets, not just phones.

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5 hours ago, tsxgray1 said:

............  We would like to also check on reservations for the main dining room -is the Maitre D available during boarding and where? ..............

 

There is a podium on Deck 2 across from the Pinnacle Grill that handles all reservations for the Specialty Restaurants.  It will be open on Embarkation Day as well as all other cruise days.

 

If you order the bouiliabase in the Sel de Mer, tell your waiter that you would like to have the lobster claw "cracked" by the chef as the small tools provided are inadequate to crack the hard shell.

Edited by Crew News

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Being in the Neptune Suite, you definitely want to meet the concierges -- they can check your dining reservations -- main dining room as well as specialty restaurants -- even make reservations for you.  They can also make spa reservations, etc., for you.

 

Lunch in the main dining room is from Noon - 1:30 PM -- nice civilized way to start a cruise -- no fighting for tables and food in the Lido.

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I am with the others here, go to the Neptune Lounge and meet your concierge staff. They can take care of many things for you like dining and excursion details. Plus the Neptune has nibbles and a divine coffee machine. We have made lunch on our balcony out of Neptune nibbles before. I also like to check the cabin for the bed configuration, sometimes it is off, so when I meet the cabin stewards I can let them know. Gives them plenty of time to get it fixed. I then pack my first bag of free laundry, yeehaw!! After these errands we generally head to the mdr for a leisurely lunch. Then its off to get stuff like spa appts and beverage events booked. 

 

Do remember to print out all your prepurchased dining, excursion, etc details and take them with you. Sometimes the website and the ship are not on the same page so having a hard copy in hand makes life easier for everyone. 

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2 minutes ago, fatcat04 said:

 Plus the Neptune has nibbles . . .

Oh my yes, and they are really good.  :classic_smile:

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8 hours ago, tsxgray1 said:

We are cruising on HAL for the first time on the Koningsdam staying in a Neptune suite.  What are the first things we should explore after boarding?  We would like to also check on reservations for the main dining room -is the Maitre D available during boarding and where?  Where can we buy WiFi?  Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

 

Welcome to Holland America and the Neptune Suites!  Wow. You have really done it right. My advice would be to dump your things in your stateroom and head straight to the Neptune Lounge. Your concierges will be able to help you with all of your questions. 

 

One thing that I would warn you about is to make sure the port attendants direct you to the Suites line when embarking. Sometimes they just pay attention to your Mariner status and  send you in the wrong direction. Have a fabulous time!

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Thank you all for so many great suggestions!  We can’t wait to board!!

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As others have said, make your concierges in the Neptune Lounge your new best friends!  They are wonderful and will help you with any questions, problems, requests. They are amazing and we love them and tip them well!

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