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Retreat Cabanas vs Lido Cabanas

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We have never experienced renting a cabana on HAL. We will be sailing NA in May for 24 days. There are several ports that we have visited previously, and a couple we may want to enjoy some time on a quiet ship. We also have a couple of sea days that would be great, but may be hard to obtain a reservation. I have been reading About the two areas where a cabana can be rented - in the Cabana Club and the Lido. I believe that the Lido is out by the pool and you may be surrounded by quite a number of passengers, whereas the Club is a more private experience?  I am trying to understand  what the key differences are between these two locations - what are the reasons people enjoy one over the other?  Thank you 

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On the Nieuw Amsterdam the Lido cabanas are on Starboard side, down a little distance from the Dive-In burger bar. There is not as much traffic on that side, since the main path from the Lido restaurant to the forward exits is on port side---unlike on the Eurodam. 
I was aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam for 39 consecutive days, and spent a decent amount of time sitting on that deck. I thought that side of the pool area fairly quiet. If you are interested in a Lido cabana, you might find the ones on this ship meet your needs. 

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Thank you Ruth. You always have so much information that I find very useful. I am glad that you found the area to be lower traffic, and your reasoning makes sense. 

Is there a pool area in the Club Cabana area, or just the Lido?  I guess I am trying to understand what the key differences are in the two experiences. 

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We have had a Lido cabana on the NA 3 times and enjoy having a dedicated space for us by the pool. I do not find it very crowded on that side. If you want privacy, there are curtains you can close. There is a double lounger, table and 2 chairs in the cabana, as well as a steward that is just for the cabanas. He/she will get your drinks and actually bring you food to the cabana.  Bottled water and a fruit bowl are set up every morning and sparkling wine and fruit are brought every afternoon. We do tip the steward separately at the end of the cruise. Sorry, we have never had the outdoor cabanas.

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Retreat cabanas are on an upper deck overlooking the Lido pool area.  I believe one of the main reasons some people prefer them is for the quiet solitude.  No foot traffic goes through the area.  Only those who have purchased a cabana are allowed in this section.  You will have two stewards who wait on you hand and foot.  The area opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.

 

We have rented the family cabana twice, since we had four people.  We usually ate breakfast before arriving at the cabana.  Our steward would bring us a mid-morning snack and lunch at whatever time we specified.  About 3 p.m. he brought champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.  The cabana comes stocked with bottled water and fruit.  Those who want to order mixed drinks/nonalcoholic drinks had no problem doing so.  There is a constant breeze which was wonderful.

 

The disadvantage to renting a retreat cabana is if the weather turns extremely windy the cabana area will be closed.  You will not receive any refund for days the area is closed.  The retreat cabanas are more expensive too, so if you're cost conscious, this may factor into your decision.  

 

The Lido cabanas can be hot because the wind doesn't flow as easily in this area.  Likewise, these cabanas are less likely to be closed because of weather.  If your cruise is during a holiday/vacation period (and some states finish school the 3rd week of May) for schools, this area may have a lot of children which can add to the noise level in that space.  Something to consider if you are using the cabana to enjoy a calm, quiet ambiance.  Hope this information helps.

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Thank you both for this further information. Our cruise will be in the Mediterranean 5/10-6/3. I am expecting the weather could be a bit warm, so having shade outdoors is appealing. This is a two 12 day itinerary, so I am not sure how many children to be prepared for 😬.   It is very helpful to know some of these differences that I cannot find in reading descriptions. It is a bit surprising that if the Club Cabana is closed that they do not refund you or allow for another date. It really sounds like both environments are lovely and I am sure that we will want to experience this in person. 

I am guessing that booking at the very beginning of the cruise will be key? 

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I once called 6 weeks before a Caribbean cruise to find all the cabanas had been booked.

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I read that you can only reserve ahead for the whole length of the cruise, and that you need to wait until you board for days/less than full cruise. Is this true?

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If the retreat cabana is booked for the whole cruise, no refund is given if closed for a day due to weather. If booked by the day and it is closed I think HAL would gave to give a refund?  You can't depend on being able to rent by the day as most retreat cabanas are booked before the whole cruise for warm weather itineraries. 

No children allowed in the retreat cabana, so no worries about that!

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Vineyard view,

we were posting at the same time.....

yes, you can only reserve ahead of time for the whole cruise. Family cabanas usually go first. I booked mine in May for an October cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam. 

Totally worth it!

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Okay - thank you. Sounds like my thoughts around choosing several days vs all 24 may be unrealistic. But maybe not if we choose a port day or two!

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4 hours ago, Vineyard View said:

Thank you Ruth. You always have so much information that I find very useful. I am glad that you found the area to be lower traffic, and your reasoning makes sense. 

Is there a pool area in the Club Cabana area, or just the Lido?  I guess I am trying to understand what the key differences are in the two experiences. 

There is no "Cabana Club" or "Club Cabana" on HAL ships. There is, on N. Amsterdam and Eurodam, Retreat Cabanas and Lido Cabanas. The other ships that have cabanas (Koningsdam, N. Statendam, Noordam, Westerdam, Oosterdam, Zuiderdam) have only Retreat Cabanas. There is no pools associated with the Retreat Cabanas on any HAL ship.

 

The Retreat area is much more private and quiet. Generally, the views are much better in the Retreat area. We have had 6 Retreat cabanas, and wouldn't consider a Lido. Too crowded, and can have ventilation issues.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for this clarification.  I was reading these descriptions on a HAL link when I googled it. They were called out in this manner, so maybe it was an old article. I would think that in the Mediterranean ventilation would be a high priority based on past experience so this is good information. Thinking that the wind closing down this area might not be as likely at the time of year as others as well. 

Edited by Vineyard View

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We did the Retreat Cabana on the Noordam and loved it so much we are booking again for our upcoming cruise to Mexico on the Oosterdam. We like the peace and solitude and mostly "child-free" zone. The service was great, and our attendant knew that I wanted sparkling water every day after the initial day and brought it for me before I arrived each morning. The chocolate covered strawberries and sparkling wine were also very nice.  We spent probably 75% of our time in our cabana, and rarely went to our inside cabin room.  One day, the wind was so crazy that we couldn't enjoy it, and it was the last sea day of the cruise, so that was a bummer. We still think it is worth every penny to have nice personal space with a breeze and view. The side facing cabanas have a glass wall, while the aft facing cabanas are open.

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I really appreciate all this continued information. It really sounds like such a welcome space to spend time. We have an aft balcony, so will have some private outdoor space that I am looking forward to. After reading all these posts, I  hope to experience some days in a cabana as well! 

 

We have a very port intensive itinerary - 4 sea days out of 24 (2-12 days). I wonder how that will impact people booking the entire trip vs individual days. 

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We always reserve retreat cabanas as we often travel with other family members. It gives us a dedicated place to meet and gather. The service is top notch and reminds me of the old days of cruising when there was always someone around to bring you a drink! I always feel pampered and as this area is usually above the pool deck and only cabana guests are allowed, it’s never crowded and not quiet. I found the lido cabanas to be a bit hot but we generally sail to the Caribbean. During peak times like holidays they sell out quickly especially the corner ones which are larger and get a better cross breeze. However, we rented a corner cabana for a 10 day Panama Canal trip last fall and only 2 other cabanas were rented for the week although a number of people rented them for sea days. The morning we went through the canal they hosted an event on the cabana deck for mariner members where she me of the officers joined us. I believe they served light refreshments and mimosas? And those Panama buns that many people enjoy. The on,y downside is that there is only a small elevator to access the deck if you can’t climb the stairs and it was only working about Half of the time  on that cruise which prevented my mother from using it. They did give us a partial refund but it was still disappointing.. still, I love the retreat cabanas. We have a corner plus three others reserved for our upcoming or our New Years cruise.

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