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DutchByAssociation

A new HAL Blog! (Yes, I'm a HAL employee!)

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Thanks for your blog. We all like to know the insider stuff.

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Dutch...Welcome to Cruise Critic...Love your blog & thanks for telling us about it..Also Loved your pics of Dozer..Is he a Jack Russel Terrier?..

I have a question about Certified Service Dogs & Service Puppy's in training on HAL ships, but need to give you some background info first..

Our dog "Brandy" is a Registered Therapy dog, & works only as a Therapy dog in our Hospital & one of our schools.. She's not a Certified Service Dog, therefore she can not be taken into many Public places or on Public transportation where "dogs are not permitted"...

However, We have several Certified Service Dogs working with our group..And several of the Handlers (the Dog's Humans) also have a couple of Puppies in training to be "Certified Service dogs"..Every "Certified Service Dog" & Puppy in training according to the ADA is permitted on public transportation, housing, business etc. In addition they wear vests identifying them as such when out in Public..They always are extremely well behaved..They are trained not to bark at strangers or other dogs, sit/stay when told, take care of their bodily functions on command, etc. etc.. Their Handlers take them everywhere on Vacations, on ships, in hotels, Supermarkets, Restaurants etc.The Puppy trainers have them for approx. two years & expose them to many different situations before they go back to school to be trained as a Certified Service dog..

Several years ago, on one of our HAL cruises, we had a "supposedly" Certified Service Dog on board..Their owners took him everywhere, on the ship, but left him with various people when they were in some ports... When the dog was out on the Promenade Deck he would bark at strangers who were walking..We also understood that he barked if left in the cabin alone...The behavior of this Dog really surprised us, as we've never encountered this type of behavior with any Certified Service Dogs which have worked with us...

Now finally to my question: What type of documentation does HAL require when someone requests to have a Certified Service Dog on your ships? Also do you warn passengers in adjoining cabins that they will have a Service dog nearby? We often encounter people who are either deathly afraid or allergic to dogs & we keep them away from them..

 

Thanks again..:)Betty

Edited by serendipity1499

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All of which is a long preamble to my question, which is simply how much stock we should put in your answers, with the understood reservation that everyone makes mistakes. Possible alternative answers would be such things as "I'm an HAL employee so I know many things about how the line works that outsiders don't know, but there are a lot of things I don't know" to "I know almost as much as or more than the average GRM," to "I don't know very much, but even that could be a help to people that don't know anything."

I doubt that any of my suggested alternatives will be just right; I was just trying to encourage you to tell us as well as you can how to weigh anything you might tell us. It wasn't my purpose to put you "on the spot;" if you prefer not to answer my question, please don't.

 

Hi Pettifogger,

 

I appreciate your question and I'm happy to answer. And for the part that I didn't quote, you're exactly right. While our PR dept has given me the go ahead on the blog project and I've checked about some dos and donts, it is important to point oput that any views shared are my own, and I am not a spokesman for HAL, not am I in the PR department. (So that narrows it down a little bit, right? ;))

 

As for the quoted portion...

Probably the closest of the options you gave is:

"I know almost as much as or more than the average GRM,"

 

My background with the company began like a lot of others, in Reservations. I quickly moved up to a more specialized department and do have frequent contact with the fleet, including the Front Office staff among others.

 

I will certainly help where I can. Where I know, I'll say something. If I don't I'll admit it. If I'm pretty sure, but not 100% (we are all human :)) I'll advise of that as well.

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Dutch...Welcome to Cruise Critic...Love your blog & thanks for telling us about it..Also Loved your pics of Dozer..Is he a Jack Russel Terrier?..

 

I have a question about Certified Service Dogs & Service Puppy's in training on HAL ships, but need to give you some background info first..

 

Our dog "Brandy" is a Registered Therapy dog, & works only as a Therapy dog in our Hospital & one of our schools.. She's not a Certified Service Dog, therefore she can not be taken into many Public places or on Public transportation where "dogs are not permitted"...

 

However, We have several Certified Service Dogs working with our group..And several of the Handlers (the Dog's Humans) also have a couple of Puppies in training to be "Certified Service dogs"..Every "Certified Service Dog" & Puppy in training according to the ADA is permitted on public transportation, housing, business etc. In addition they wear vests identifying them as such when out in Public..They always are extremely well behaved..They are trained not to bark at strangers or other dogs, sit/stay when told, take care of their bodily functions on command, etc. etc.. Their Handlers take them everywhere on Vacations, on ships, in hotels, Supermarkets, Restaurants etc.The Puppy trainers have them for approx. two years & expose them to many different situations before they go back to school to be trained as a Certified Service dog..

 

Several years ago, on one of our HAL cruises, we had a "supposedly" Certified Service Dog on board..Their owners took him everywhere, on the ship, but left him with various people when they were in some ports... When the dog was out on the Promenade Deck he would bark at strangers who were walking..We also understood that he barked if left in the cabin alone...The behavior of this Dog really surprised us, as we've never encountered this type of behavior with any Certified Service Dogs which have worked with us...

 

Now finally to my question: What type of documentation does HAL require when someone requests to have a Certified Service Dog on your ships? Also do you warn passengers in adjoining cabins that they will have a Service dog nearby? We often encounter people who are either deathly afraid or allergic to dogs & we keep them away from them..

 

Thanks again..:)Betty

 

 

Hi Betty,

 

I appreciate the kind words and feedback. Your question is detailed enough I would want to refer you directly to the Access and Compliance team who know this information inside out.

 

I don't have access to the department list from home, but calling Reservations (877-SAIL HAL) you can then ask to speak with Access and Compliance.

 

Trust me when I tell you that they know all of this various information inside out!

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Thanks, Dutch. You're off to a geat start with your blog. I'll look forward to checking it every day or so when I'm home and not off on one of your grand ships.

 

Hi DFD.

 

You're on one of the ships right now? Glad to hear. I hope your cruise exceeds your expectations!

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"B",

 

A recent thread here on CruiseCritic once again brings up the subject of show times. Sometimes they are early others they are an hour later. Do you know what factors go in to setting these times? Or why there is sometimes a difference between one ship and another with perhaps similar itineraries?

 

Thanks...

 

Rochelle

 

Sometimes special events, dates, guest entertainers are all factors for this scheduling, but even moreso it's all based around guest feedback.

 

A lot of comments came in about dinner then the show made everything end so late it didn't work. So everything moved up a little.

 

But the dining times stayed the same so there WERE some conflicts...

 

I don't know the status, other than to say the Entertainment division (Cruise Director, etc) onboard are given a little flexibility... maybe 30 minutes either way if I remember right... based on events and guest feedback as the cruise is underway.

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Thanks so much for doing this great blog. I loved the pictures of the different cabins and can't wait to read more.:D

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Thanks for the Blog --- not being all that technically oriented, I don't know how to actually use it to ask you a question or clarify an issue. Can you help?

 

Next HAL cruise is on Volendam -- Kobe to Vancouver. Just found out (via Cruise Critic, not HAL) that stop in Russia has been eliminated from the schedule. Any poop on what is going on and how the itinerary will be altered?

 

Having been with HAL for about 7 years (15 cruises) we are true lovers of what the company offers us. Thanks.

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Thanks for the Blog --- not being all that technically oriented, I don't know how to actually use it to ask you a question or clarify an issue. Can you help?

 

Next HAL cruise is on Volendam -- Kobe to Vancouver. Just found out (via Cruise Critic, not HAL) that stop in Russia has been eliminated from the schedule. Any poop on what is going on and how the itinerary will be altered?

 

Having been with HAL for about 7 years (15 cruises) we are true lovers of what the company offers us. Thanks.

 

You, or your TA if you have one for that cruise should have got an email or fax about the itinerary change. If I recall correctly though, that stop was replaced by another port in Japan. Amori if I'm not mistaken.

 

Your dedication to HAL is very appreciated!

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Thanks so much for this cool new blog - like I needed another site to feed my cruise addiction! lol!

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Thanks Dutch. Have been hearing a lot about HAL offering perks to their most loyal clients. Do you know when they will begin? We are booked on the Grand Med Black Sea Cruise. :)

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Thanks Dutch. Have been hearing a lot about HAL offering perks to their most loyal clients. Do you know when they will begin? We are booked on the Grand Med Black Sea Cruise. :)

 

Haven't heard anything official yet, but I believe I've heard that the target goal is this summer.

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Haven't heard anything official yet, but I believe I've heard that the target goal is this summer.

 

Of course since you're on a Grand Voyage, the ship will still be taking very good care of you in other ways :D

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Of course since you're on a Grand Voyage, the ship will still be taking very good care of you in other ways :D

 

Thanks much!!!

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Thank you for taking the time and effort for your amazing blog and for sharing it with us. I can't wait to get back aboard a HAL ship.

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Hi Dutch,

 

Thanks for anwering passenger questions!

 

We have a good friend who is wheelchair bound and has to bring along an aide, along with his wife, to help him. He would definitely need a roll-in shower large enough for the aide to help him. He would also need to be able to maneuver around the stateroom, ship, get on the decks in his wheelchair. Also, he would need to get off at the ports in his wheelchair. He normally uses an electric wheelchair which he can handle himself but could bring a manual one if the electric chairs are too heavy to get on and off the ship at ports.

 

Can you answer these questions? We'd love for our friends to join us on a future cruise! We leave this Sunday for the Veendham cruise out of Tampa. Can't wait!!

 

Thanks,

Linda

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All HAL ships are equipped to handle people that are unable to get out of their wheelchairs.

 

Please contact Access and Compliance and they can provide more specific details of any ship, stateroom and accessible feature.

 

They can be reached at: 800-547-8493

Their hours are Mon-Fri 8am-5pm PST

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Hi DBA: This will be our first HAL cruise, on the Zaandam. We like early dining and they told us there was a wait list of 150 people already and it was closed. Does this happen often or just on this cruise? I know we have aywd so we can eat anytime but like the traditional dining, having the same waiter and tablemates, especially on this 15 day cruise. We are going to still see if we can change once on ship, any suggestions?

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DutchByAssociation: You have such an engaging way of expressing yourself, that most of us are glad you undertook this challenging task. I hope you won't abandon it after reading this post and other similarly testy ones.

I realize that some passengers on ships that look like they've been painted by a dozen intoxicated teenagers, each with a can of spray paint of a different color, might prefer flexible dining because they don't know in advance whether they'll want three martinis before dinner or four.

But my experience on HAL has been that most of us have aging bodies that don't metabolize alcohol as well as they used to and it takes us forty minutes to imbibe our first and only drink while boasting about our experiences in the First World War and then we 're ready for dinner with familiar companions and a familiar waiter.

But HAL, which is so exceptionally passenger oriented in so many other ways, seems to me to be surprisingly unwilling to make it easy to elect fixed dining. On my last cruise, at embarkation, they honored my request to change to fixed dining, but gave my wife and me a table just outside the kitchen where the employees, on their way into and out of the kitchen, flowed past us like the Mississippi River after several days of heavy rain. Fortunately, we were joined at that table on the second day by two charming ladies, one of whom was not inclined to take no for an answer and had us moved to a nicer table.

I suppose that it's possible that complaints similar to mine come from only .1% of the passengers and the other 99.9% of the passengers say that they wouldn't accept fixed dining even if the alternative was that they would have to go hungry. Then HAL might reasonably say that they just can't afford to maintain fixed dining for a handful of us who will just have to decide whether we want to give up all the other things we like so much about HAL if we insist on being able to book fixed dining.

I don't know whether or not you individually have been aware of any passenger dissatisfaction with the difficulty of getting fixed dining, but if you have been, I'd be very interested in knowing whether, so far as you know, HAL believes that as many passengers as they can hope to please are happy with the current situation or whether they are giving any serious consideration to changing it.

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DutchbyAssociation, I enjoyed reading your blog. I know the area where you live. My son lived in Lakewood several years ago. I stayed with him and dil when my first g-daughter was born. He now has 6, 5 adopted. He came to WA via Ft. Lewis. He now lives in Woodinville, moving recently from Redmond. I love the state of WA. It is so beautiful. Adopting your dog was a gesture of love.:) We cruised to Alaska last June-July on the Westerdam , a gift from our son and dil for our 50th. We are cruising again in Sept., same ship and suite. You are right, once you are in a Deluxe suite you are so spoiled. Right now time is crawling, can't wait for Sept. I will enjoy reading your updates and more pictures of your dog. Looks like he enjoyed the recent snow you had.:D

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Thank you so much for offering this informative blog and being willing to answer our questions.

 

So, here's mine:

 

Any plans in the works to change the smoking policy onboard HAL ships?

 

Thanks!

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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Hi Dutch, some questions (if you can answer) please?

1. Any plans of adding the Canaletto Italian retaurant to a corner of the Lido on the "S" and "R" ships?

2. What is the general thinking behind decreasing (by quite a few postions, compared to what it used to be) of the Cruise Activities (former Cruise) Staff, the addition of the "Event Manager", the other new positions (Party Planner, Tech person, etc) and the subsequent reorganization of the CD and that staff's responsibilities?

3. Any feedback on the "silly" (for lack of a better word) new "audiance participation" games like "Make that bed" (forgot the other two, believe one was a "golf shot") during the evening show on embarkation night?

4. Are the cabanas on one side of Lido deck by the midship pool on Eurodam here to stay and are there plans to expand them to the other dam ships? Not talking about the Retreat cabanas! In other words, has there been positive feedback on those pool side cabanas now that Eurodam has spent some time in the Caribbean sunshine

5. There have been some 'rumors' about new uniforms (have seen the new Front Office uniforms on Eurodam, more like land-based hotel staff compared to traditional 'out to sea' uniforms) for staff including doing away with the "whites" for officers/ Can you confirm or deny or is that still super secret, 'if I tell you, have to kill you' stuff?

Thank you Sir! Keep up the good work!:)

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Hi DBA: This will be our first HAL cruise, on the Zaandam. We like early dining and they told us there was a wait list of 150 people already and it was closed. Does this happen often or just on this cruise? I know we have aywd so we can eat anytime but like the traditional dining, having the same waiter and tablemates, especially on this 15 day cruise. We are going to still see if we can change once on ship, any suggestions?

 

You can certainly see if its possible to change once onboard, but one thing to keep in mind is this:

How far in advance did you book?

 

There are benefits to booking a lot closer to time of sailing (Prices) but there are also benefits to booking as far out as possible even if it means you aren't able to get the best possible prices (Better chance of getting the EXACT room you want, and being able to get the EXACT dining time that you want.)

 

Almost any sailing available to book is open a MINIMUM of 1-1.5 years before sailing. That means even if you think 4 months ahead of time is a long way to book out, there's a good chance people have been booking this cruise for 8-14 months longer than when you did.

 

Especially on a 15 day cruise though, easiest way to manage eating at the time you specifically want to (since there can be some late ports of call, etc) is to go ahead and do the Open Dining on the lower level of the dining room, the Lido, and if you wish to a few times, the Pinnacle Grill.

 

Have a wonderful time in Hawaii!

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