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Tom O.

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Everything posted by Tom O.

  1. A lot of people complain of being nickel and dimed for drinks and all sorts of other services. They will point to premium cruise lines that include all those items without extra cost. But those premium cruise lines charge much more for their cruises. What happens there is that the passengers who make extensive use of these services are being subsidized by the ones who use them the least. I would prefer to have a cheap cruise ticket and then later choose what kind of goodies I want on board. I will usually refrain from overspending when I see what the charge is. But sometimes I like to splurge too, but the point is that it will be my idea to spend extra. I will not be doing it just because it is included in the fare, and feel I need to take advantage of it.
  2. Thanks Dave, for that info. Since I hardly ever gamble, I see why I was unaware of these deals.
  3. Can someone explain Casino Offers to me? I am completely mystified by this. I have never received anything like this. This might be because I never go near the casino. I don't enjoy gambling, because I don't like losing money.
  4. Don't know anything about it, but I found this picture on Tripadvisor. Looks terrifying to me.
  5. Thanks for that information. It is an improvement. However, 3 days in advance is not enough time to book popular shore excursions. But it does get you ahead of the folks who don't book until they are on board. And it looks like it still won't work for specialty restaurants
  6. Yes. It will pay for the daily service charge, and any other costs that are charged to your account while on board. It just can't be used to pay for anything that you purchase before boarding.
  7. How odd! When I try to book it for my August cruise on the Zuiderdam, it is $49. No mention of any discount for booking in advance. Do you have more stars than me? I am only 2 stars, maybe that is the difference? Or maybe the discount is only on Pinnacle Class ships?
  8. On most HAL ships the aft balconies are about 2/3rds covered. When you are sitting down sipping your wine, no one can see you. It is only when you are standing at the rail then people above who are also standing at the rail can see you.
  9. Kazu, It seems there have been a lot of threads lately on wine packages, beverage cards, etc. A lot of questions are from people who are new to HAL. This must mean that the HAL website is not doing a good job in making it clear. People who have worked a lot with the website have figured it out, but it is very confusing to others. One thing HAL needs to really improve, is that someone cannot shop for beverages unless there is a cruise booked. Since many cruise lines offer beverage packages (including HAL) as incentive to book, people trying to compare cruises really need to be able to see what the beverage packages would cost if purchased separately. At any rate it is good that people like you can help them understand it.
  10. Every cruise I go on I see fewer people dress up for Gala Night. On my last cruise in Alaska last August, the vast majority of the people were dressed the same as any other night. I used to enjoy wearing a tux, but have given it up, and now enjoy not having to bring any sort of suit along. It is also nice to not have worry if it is going to get wrinkled in a suitcase.
  11. Lots of people walk around the ship with their room wine. I think the main thing is that HAL doesn't want you to bring your bottle of wine to a restaurant unless you pay corkage fee.
  12. You can also go to the CC ports of call page for each port. Sometimes it is possible to arrange tours with people on other cruise ships who are in port the same time as you.
  13. Yes those are the same prices I see for pre-purchase, except that they include 15%. It does look like the 4 bottle package is a better value than the 6 bottle. There is a lot of inconsistent pricing in the liquor dept. Especially since the recent increase in prices. I suggest to take advantage of the the 4 bottle pricing now, before they discover their error.
  14. Kazu is correct there is no advantage to buying the packages ahead of time. And I have heard that sometimes they are out of stock of a certain label, and you should check before you choose which package to buy.
  15. The price I see for the 4 bottle package of cellar #2 is $171.35
  16. First I have to say that the 15% is still charged, but it is included in the price. Here are the prices of the 6 bottle packages. There are 3 levels of quality. Cellar #1 $194.35 Cellar #2 $263.35 Cellar #3 $309.35 There are also 4 bottle and 8 bottle packages.
  17. Good luck, not too many teetotalers on cruise ships. My wife is one though, so I can bring on two bottles for just myself. If you have expensive taste in wine, the corkage fee is well worth it, because the price on board for high end wine is sky high. I don't drink very much wine, and I am OK with the cheap stuff. Two bottles will probably last me through my next 10 day cruise, along with an occasional glass of house wine.
  18. I get what you are saying, but it would probably be difficult for HAL to have different rules for different length cruises. And don't forget you can bring as many bottles of wine as you want if you pay the corkage fee of $18 per bottle. The selling of wine and other alcoholic drinks is a big money maker for cruise lines, it is one of the reasons, the cost of the cruise is reasonable. Some cruise lines, such as Viking Cruises, allow you to bring as much wine on board as you want with no corkage fee. But, the prices for Viking Cruises is nearly 3 times what it cost for a HAL cruise.
  19. I read and reread the quote above from the Know Before You Go booklet. And I interpreted it to say that it would be OK to bring a heating pad "if used with proper caution." Besides, there are exceptions for items needed for health purposes. But I have never tried bringing one on board, so I don't know for sure.
  20. I think the Canaletto is OK, but no better than the regular MDR. So I agree, it is not worth paying extra for.
  21. I am glad you enjoyed your cruise. I have never noticed any HAL ship as being dark. But maybe it seemed that way after being on the Sky. Being a smaller ship and old fashioned is just what I like about ships like the Zuiderdam. I used to cruise exclusively on Princess ships, but changed brands after they started acquiring huge ships. Different strokes for different folks.
  22. Does anybody know if they serve Heineken draft in the MDR. I don't recall ever ordering a beer with my dinner, but I might on my next cruise. I would prefer a draft rather than a can or bottle.
  23. A lot of people just aren't interested in these types of gatherings. While I will usually join the roll call, because this helps in the planning process for the cruise, I won't be attending a meet and greet.
  24. Thank you Ruth for correcting me, once again.
  25. I would love to see the Vasa Museum, but I have heard that there is a lot of stair climbing there. I am recovering from knee surgery and won't know how well I will be able to climb stairs by next August. Right now it would be impossible, but I am hoping to be in much better shape by then. Can you tell me if there were lots of stairs? Is there an elevator?
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