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OBC Pre Cruise Usage

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Usually cruise with Celebrity, Princess and  RCCL. In each case we've been allowed, even encouraged to book excursions,  prior to the cruise, using our OBC.

Have HAL cruises booked for June and December 2020. Went to book a tour on the June cruise and found I had to place the charge on my credit card. Contacted HAL, since we have $500 OBC on this cruise and was informed, by a supervisor, that we cannot used OBC until booking an excursion once onboard.

Just wondering why this is so on HAL but apparently none of the other major cruise lines? Not a complaint - just wondering.

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It’s called On Board Credit for a reason on HAL - it means you have to use it on board.

I have no idea why it is the way it is on some cruise lines and not on HAL.  

I think they call it OBC for a reason?

 

 

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I agree that this is stupid, especially when it comes to not being able to pre-book excursions.  IMO it is a bad deal for us cruisers and also the tour planners.  I WISH HAL WOULD CHANGE THIS!  LET US PRE-BOOK excursions using OBC!!

 

I am writing this comment after every cruise on the post cruise surveys.  I hope that others will do the same and maybe we can get it done.  Its a hassle for us to rush onboard and get a tour booked before they sell out.  Plus on some tours (the ones we REALLY want to do), we end up paying cash for them prior to sailing and sometimes then end up with excess OBC while on the cruise.

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53 minutes ago, PROCRUISE said:

Usually cruise with Celebrity, Princess and  RCCL. In each case we've been allowed, even encouraged to book excursions,  prior to the cruise, using our OBC.

Have HAL cruises booked for June and December 2020. Went to book a tour on the June cruise and found I had to place the charge on my credit card. Contacted HAL, since we have $500 OBC on this cruise and was informed, by a supervisor, that we cannot used OBC until booking an excursion once onboard.

Just wondering why this is so on HAL but apparently none of the other major cruise lines? Not a complaint - just wondering.

I agree - it's ONBOARD credit.  Credit you are given to be used onboard.  

 

Each cruise line can set up their parameters for it's use.  HAL chooses to use it as worded - onboard.

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It is interesting that Mariner Star Status can be increased by "Onboard Spending" that includes excursions and other pre-cruise purchases, but OBC cannot be used before being 'onboard'.

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Celebrity only adopted that policy less than 3 years ago.  It is a nice feature.  The caveat is that you can only use Celebrity-provided OBC in advance (not any that's provided by a TA).  Hopefully HAL will come around to it eventually, but that would involve them changing their website, which was a big cluster when they did their last update.

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53 minutes ago, bEwAbG said:

The caveat is that you can only use Celebrity-provided OBC in advance (not any that's provided by a TA). 

That's what we ran into when we pre-booked excursions on our Princess cruise a couple of years ago.  We wound up having to pay a small portion of of our pre-booked excursions (the amount of the TA's OBC).  So we had a little OBC to actually spend onboard.

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We are usually Princess cruisers trying our first HAL cruise this September because of a unique itinerary.  We too were disappointed that like the other lines, OBC could not be used in advance to make excursion reservations.  It is not the ultimate deal breaker, but it is one small negative for HAL that factors into future decisions as to which cruise line we will sail with.  

 

For those who maintain an attitude of "It's called OBC for a reason" - well, that's the kind of business approach that fails to adapt and keep up with the market.  "We've always done it that way" is the kind of business strategy that can end up measuring a business for its coffin.  Not a prediction in this case, but every company needs to keep an open mind about its business practices.  If something is a negative that can be easily changed, why not?

 

Don

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7 hours ago, Mud_Shark said:

We are usually Princess cruisers trying our first HAL cruise this September because of a unique itinerary.  We too were disappointed that like the other lines, OBC could not be used in advance to make excursion reservations.  It is not the ultimate deal breaker, but it is one small negative for HAL that factors into future decisions as to which cruise line we will sail with.  

 

For those who maintain an attitude of "It's called OBC for a reason" - well, that's the kind of business approach that fails to adapt and keep up with the market.  "We've always done it that way" is the kind of business strategy that can end up measuring a business for its coffin.  Not a prediction in this case, but every company needs to keep an open mind about its business practices.  If something is a negative that can be easily changed, why not?

 

Don

Very True!  One must keep up with the competition in virtually every business.  Plus, IMO, allowing this would actually help HAL's operations, as the tour desk and tour providers would have a better idea of demand for the various tours, prior to sailing.  They could then make arrangements to add more capacity to high demand tours (where possible of course).  Plus, less onboard work for the tour desk staff.

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This is a non-issue for me. I prefer buying excursions and other items in advance with my credit card. If I cancel them (and I often do), I quickly get a refund on my credit card. I prefer saving my OBC for expenses on the cruise. I rarely have much OBC anyway, so there is never an issue of me not using it up.

Also, I book through a TA, and cannot even see my OBC until I am on board.

But, I understand why some people would not like to charge up their credit cards, unnecessarily. I suspect that the ability to use OBC for pre-purchased items will not come about until HAL makes some major renovations to its computerized billing system and web site.

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1 hour ago, Tom O. said:

This is a non-issue for me. I prefer buying excursions and other items in advance with my credit card. If I cancel them (and I often do), I quickly get a refund on my credit card. I prefer saving my OBC for expenses on the cruise. I rarely have much OBC anyway, so there is never an issue of me not using it up.

Also, I book through a TA, and cannot even see my OBC until I am on board.

But, I understand why some people would not like to charge up their credit cards, unnecessarily. I suspect that the ability to use OBC for pre-purchased items will not come about until HAL makes some major renovations to its computerized billing system and web site.

Problem is when you have lots of OBC and other perks, such as free grats and free Pinnacle meals on top of it (I know, its a rough life).  You need to book excursions to use up HAL's non-refundable OBC.

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I am not a proponent of this HAL policy because it causes people to have to play games with their shore excursions by booking online, then cancelling either just before the cruise or right after boarding, then booking inboard using OBC.   For some very popular tours, you may be placed on a waiting list using this tactic.

However, from a business point of view, it makes sense for HAL's bean counters.

They want you to use your cash to buy as much as possible before the cruise, like drink packages, shore excursions, internet, wine packages, and specialty dinners.   Then, when you board, the OBC is used for the HSC, shop purchases, drinks, etc.   This is the same reasoning that HAL charges a $10 per day premium if you wait to buy a drink package onboard using your OBC instead of using your own cash to buy it online, before the cruise.

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Sorry for reviving a month old thread but I was searching on ways to use our OBC once my DW asked, "WTH are we going to spend $900 of OBC on?"

 

It definitely looked enticing when booking but we aren't waiting until we get on board hoping our excursions are available.  I guess we can do the drink package once on board and try to book some speciality dining if those are available.

 

That and lots of t-shirts and mugs!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Alibaster McGillicutty said:

Sorry for reviving a month old thread but I was searching on ways to use our OBC once my DW asked, "WTH are we going to spend $900 of OBC on?"

Gratuities are a good chunk of change off the top. Specialty dining, as you say, is always an option. 
When there's still quite a bit of money left, there's always fine jewelry in the shops. 

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Does HAL do a "Behind the Scenes" tour"? We did that on Princess (Ultimate Ship's Tour) when we had OBC to burn.

Nice problem to have!

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47 minutes ago, RuthC said:

Gratuities are a good chunk of change off the top. Specialty dining, as you say, is always an option. 
When there's still quite a bit of money left, there's always fine jewelry in the shops. 

 

Mrs. Ali McG deserves some fine jewelry

 

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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.

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2 hours ago, Tom O. said:

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.

 

There is a gentleman who previously posted that HAL is now allowing usage of OBC three (3) days prior to sailing date. He stated he would report back after his February cruise. Would be nice if he is correct. No problem spending OBC prior to sailing with any other cruise line that I know about.

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10 minutes ago, PROCRUISE said:

 

There is a gentleman who previously posted that HAL is now allowing usage of OBC three (3) days prior to sailing date. He stated he would report back after his February cruise. Would be nice if he is correct. No problem spending OBC prior to sailing with any other cruise line that I know about.

I did this last week, as did someone else. We provided an update in another thread. We could book shorex three days in advance by phoning the shorex dept and booking them over the phone. The tickets arrived in our cabin on embarkation day and showed in our itinerary also on embarkation day. 

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6 minutes ago, Alberta Quilter said:

I did this last week, as did someone else. We provided an update in another thread. We could book shorex three days in advance by phoning the shorex dept and booking them over the phone. The tickets arrived in our cabin on embarkation day and showed in our itinerary also on embarkation day. 

 

Sorry I missed your follow up. Thank you so much for your information. Happy future cruising too.

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22 minutes ago, Alberta Quilter said:

I did this last week, as did someone else. We provided an update in another thread. We could book shorex three days in advance by phoning the shorex dept and booking them over the phone. The tickets arrived in our cabin on embarkation day and showed in our itinerary also on embarkation day. 

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

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It might work for specialty dining. I didn’t try as I already had that booked and paid for months prior to the cruise. Since we had about $550 in non refundable OBC, I used most of it for the shorex.

 

As for it not being enough time, at least it’s an option now.  If there is a tour you really want to do, book it and pay in advance to be sure to get it. For us, in the Caribbean, it really didn’t matter. We would have been content to stay onboard or just poke around on our own. 

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