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HAL Advanced Dining Reservations

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So, we're cruising with HAL in June and just had specialty dining open for reservations online.  We were hoping to use our OBC to pay for the specialty dining, however it looks like you're charged online immediately upon booking a reservation.

 

We called cusromer service about this and were told that HAL keeps a certain number of reservations open for those who want to book upon boarding the ship.  For those who may have done it this way, did you have any luck getting the dining times you wanted? I'm imagining fighting through a mad rush of people boarding the ship only to find out all the reservations are already taken.  

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It would depend on the cruise, (and length of the cruise) and number of specialty restaurants.  On longer cruises we've never had any problem getting specialty dining reservations for the times we want.  Of course there are more days so more choices.  I imagine on shorter cruises there may be more trouble, but I would be willing to bet that if you call the first day you can get what you want.  

 

What ship?  The smaller ships have fewer specialty restaurants.

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38 minutes ago, Cruising-along said:

It would depend on the cruise, (and length of the cruise) and number of specialty restaurants.  On longer cruises we've never had any problem getting specialty dining reservations for the times we want.  Of course there are more days so more choices.  I imagine on shorter cruises there may be more trouble, but I would be willing to bet that if you call the first day you can get what you want.  

 

What ship?  The smaller ships have fewer specialty restaurants.

Thanks for the information.  We'll be on the koningsdam in june for an alaska cruise for 7 days.

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One time I forgot to book specialty restaurants before we left home.  When we got on the ship -- among the first since we were in the PS, no reservations left -- even our concierges couldn't get us a reservation.

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2 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

One time I forgot to book specialty restaurants before we left home.  When we got on the ship -- among the first since we were in the PS, no reservations left -- even our concierges couldn't get us a reservation.

Thats kind of what I'm afraid of happening.  I'm tempted to just book and pay now, but we have a $600 obc and i don't know how we'll use it all if i don't put it towards dining.  Pretty much everything else is already paid for.

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2 hours ago, nickel-and-dime-me said:

we have a $600 obc and i don't know how we'll use it all if i don't put it towards dining.

You can probably spend more of it if you go to Sel de Mer instead of the PG. 😀 Also, since SdM is ala carte I think you don't have to pay in advance.  Pretty sure that's how it was when we were on K'dam in 2016 anyway.

Edited by catl331

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If you definitely want to eat in one of the Specialty Restaurants on a particular date and time, I would book in Advance.  When I tried to book onboard, the only times I could get were 9pm, nothing before then.

 

That is a heavy OBC.  Is any portion refundable?  It can go towards the HSC and for laundry so you go home with clean clothes.

 

It sounds goofy, I know, but I needed to buy some wine to take home in my suitcase one time to use up my OBC.  I gave it as gifts later in the year.

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12 hours ago, nickel-and-dime-me said:

Thanks for the information.  We'll be on the koningsdam in june for an alaska cruise for 7 days.

Ah, for a 7-day I agree with the others, I would book ahead of time.  At least with the Koningsdam you have more (and better IMO) specialty restaurants to choose from.  We were just on the K for 26 days, great cruise and ship.  We loved the Tamarind especially.

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4 hours ago, catl331 said:

You can probably spend more of it if you go to Sel de Mer instead of the PG. 😀 Also, since SdM is ala carte I think you don't have to pay in advance.  Pretty sure that's how it was when we were on K'dam in 2016 anyway.

You're right.  Sel de mer is still a la carte so maybe we just splurge a little there.

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3 hours ago, lcand1923 said:

If you definitely want to eat in one of the Specialty Restaurants on a particular date and time, I would book in Advance.  When I tried to book onboard, the only times I could get were 9pm, nothing before then.

 

That is a heavy OBC.  Is any portion refundable?  It can go towards the HSC and for laundry so you go home with clean clothes.

 

It sounds goofy, I know, but I needed to buy some wine to take home in my suitcase one time to use up my OBC.  I gave it as gifts later in the year

Its promotional OBC so i dont believe its refundable.  Looks like the better bet is just book in advance.  

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19 hours ago, nickel-and-dime-me said:

So, we're cruising with HAL in June and just had specialty dining open for reservations online.  We were hoping to use our OBC to pay for the specialty dining, however it looks like you're charged online immediately upon booking a reservation.

 

We called cusromer service about this and were told that HAL keeps a certain number of reservations open for those who want to book upon boarding the ship.  For those who may have done it this way, did you have any luck getting the dining times you wanted? I'm imagining fighting through a mad rush of people boarding the ship only to find out all the reservations are already taken.  

 

My recent experience on the Eurodam:  I wanted to book Sel De Mer.  Reaching the podium to do so, my preferred time of dining was 8:00.  Not available, I was told.  The later times were booked online, "but we have seatings available for 5:30 and 6:00."  I registered my displeasure with this and clearly indicated by my verbal comment and non-verbal actions that I wouldn't book it at all.  Suddenly, a 7:30 reservation "magically" appeared.  I accepted. 

 

There is no disagreement, based upon my observations, that the night(s) that Sel de Mer is available as "pop-ups" in comparison to the nightly PG patronage, the restaurant is significantly busier.    

 

For me, I don't want to book most special services prior to boarding, other than specific shore excursions.  My reason is I want my on-board credits to be easily applied to these extra cost items and not have the possible hassle of having what I paid prior to boarding being applied to my account as a credit.
.  

Edited by rkacruiser

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If you prepay for your dining, you could book an excursion or two after boarding. That would burn up a lot of your OBC. Or you could buy a beverage package after boarding.

We like to eat early and we usually don't have any trouble getting reservations. But we prefer to book ahead of time, because we are real fussy about which days to eat at the specialty restaurants.

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Thanks for the responses all.  I decided to go ahead and book the specialty dining in advance and pay now.  One less thing to worry about when boarding.  I'll find something else to spend the rest of the OBC on.

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7 hours ago, nickel-and-dime-me said:

You're right.  Sel de mer is still a la carte so maybe we just splurge a little there.

 

This person said it's no longer a la carte...Not sure if true or not.

 

 

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2 hours ago, nickel-and-dime-me said:

Thanks for the responses all.  I decided to go ahead and book the specialty dining in advance and pay now.  One less thing to worry about when boarding.  I'll find something else to spend the rest of the OBC on.

 

We're sailing Eurodam to Alaska on June 13th but we still can't make reservations online.  Each time I select a date for the restaurant a screen opens with the following weird message

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-02-07 at 10.23.17 PM.png

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8 hours ago, DivotMaker said:

 

We're sailing Eurodam to Alaska on June 13th but we still can't make reservations online.  Each time I select a date for the restaurant a screen opens with the following weird message

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-02-07 at 10.23.17 PM.png

Our sailing is one week before yours and the specialty dining reservations just opened up for us a few days ago.  I'd keep checking on it as it seems to be somewhat random when it shows up for any given cruise date.

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DivotMaker,

Last week I was finally able to make reservations for my August 9 cruise. But I got a similar screen  as you when I clicked on the Available Dates section. However, if I clicked on Buy Now, a screen opened up that allowed me to choose a day and time and complete the reservation.

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3 minutes ago, Tom O. said:

DivotMaker,

Last week I was finally able to make reservations for my August 9 cruise. But I got a similar screen  as you when I clicked on the Available Dates section. However, if I clicked on Buy Now, a screen opened up that allowed me to choose a day and time and complete the reservation.

 

Ahh, thank you, that worked!

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On 2/7/2020 at 8:24 PM, DivotMaker said:

 

This person said it's no longer a la carte...Not sure if true or not.

 

 

 

Hi, I'm sailing on the 5/16/20 Alaska on K'dam and it is 40$ flat fee to book in advance. From what I was told it is no longer a la carte unless it's the pop up.

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10 minutes ago, Snowerin999 said:

 

Hi, I'm sailing on the 5/16/20 Alaska on K'dam and it is 40$ flat fee to book in advance. From what I was told it is no longer a la carte unless it's the pop up.

Who told you that it's a la carte for the pop ups?  I booked Sel de Mer for our April sailing on the Noordam (pop up) and was charged $49/person.

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2 minutes ago, Cruising-along said:

Who told you that it's a la carte for the pop ups?  I booked Sel de Mer for our April sailing on the Noordam (pop up) and was charged $49/person.

Sorry, my error! As per the HAL rep I spoke to last month, in the past it was a la carte for both, then HAL changed to fixed pricing for the ships with permanent restaurant but continued with a la carte for "popups." But now, as per your post, I'm assuming that they recently changed the pop ups to fixed pricing as well. That's great but I wonder why it's 9.00 more expensive? I know the menus are slightly different...maybe that's the cause. 

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3 minutes ago, Snowerin999 said:

Sorry, my error! As per the HAL rep I spoke to last month, in the past it was a la carte for both, then HAL changed to fixed pricing for the ships with permanent restaurant but continued with a la carte for "popups." But now, as per your post, I'm assuming that they recently changed the pop ups to fixed pricing as well. That's great but I wonder why it's 9.00 more expensive? I know the menus are slightly different...maybe that's the cause. 

I wondered too about the $9 difference!  

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3 hours ago, Cruising-along said:

Who told you that it's a la carte for the pop ups?  I booked Sel de Mer for our April sailing on the Noordam (pop up) and was charged $49/person.

 

I booked the Se de Mer pop up on the Oosterdam in the Mexican Riviera. We will be dining on March 3. And we paid $49. as well.

 

L.

 

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3 hours ago, Snowerin999 said:

then HAL changed to fixed pricing for the ships with permanent restaurant but continued with a la carte for "popups."

 

Incorrect information from Seattle (again).  The “pop ups” have never been a la carte - I’ve been on the ships with them and dined there each time and they are always the fixed price.  

 

The only ships that ever had the a la carte price were the Pinnacle Class (Koningsdam and N Statendam).

 

The only “addition” In cost is if you order some of the “extras” like Fruits de Mer.

 

It’s been $49 for the pop up dinners since Sel de Mer was instituted (unless I missed a price increase 😉 )

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