Going on our 1st cruise 3/20 - zuiderdam eastern caribbean. I have tried to read all the reviews across several websites and found cruise mates to be the most informative and friendly.
The ports of call are half moon cay, St Thomas and Tortola, Never having been to the caribbean, what is the weather like in March?
Really getting confused on the HAL tipping policy (is there one?)
What is included in the price? We have booked a 'S' suite, I know there are extra benefits but i am unable to ascertain what they are.
Any help offered will be gratefully received.
Re: first timers
We sailed western Caribbean on the Masdam in a suite. We received free laundry service, daily fruit in the suite, & concierge service in the private lounge. The lounge was wonderful as we could get food and beverages there all day. Service in the suite was excellent. We had breakfast in the suite once, with no extra charge.
Re: first timers
Deluxe Verandah Suites
Deluxe Verandah Suites feature two lower beds convertible to a king-size bed, bathroom with dual sink vanity, full-size whirlpool bath & shower & additional shower stall, large sitting area, dressing room, private verandah, sofa bed two persons, VCR, floor-to-ceiling windows.
Approximately 516 square feet including verandah
in addition to janeins post there is also a suite only event almost everyday from a cocktail party to a suite luncheon---tender passes which allow you to go to the head of the line------a place to stay when waiting to disembark -- the ability to keep your luggage til the morning you get off the ship rather then the nite before
concierge service in the private lournge. will book all your excursions and reservations make your reservation in the speciality restaurant etc etc a quiet place to drop in and have a snack -read the paper or catch a nap while watching the news on tv-like your suite isnt good enough
yes there is tipping although the hal policy doesnt make it easy for you to find out
most cruisers will generally tip as follows
cabin attendant 7.00 per day per couple
dining room steward the same as the cabin attendant
asst dining room steward 1/2 the dining room steward
if you use the wine steward on a daily basis 10 to 20 bucks depending on what he does and how ofter
dining room captain -if he puts in a visit and actually participates in the food service and or inquires about your meals 5 to 10 depending on the depth of his duties as it effects you
i always give 5 bucks to the mint guy at the front door to the dining room
when we go in for pre dinner drinks - we go to the same bar every nite and try to get the same wait staff- makes for nice conversation and they will learn your cabin number and your drink so by the 2nd or 3rd nite its like walking into your neighborhood cheers where everyone knows your name i leave 2 bucks per nite
if you are in a suite and use the lounge and depending on what the girls do for you a tip could range from 10 to20
room service -- if the delivery is made by my cabin attendant i dont tip him then but i add 2 bucks to his end of the week tip per delivery- if the delivery is made by a room service waiter then i tip 2. bucks
i realize that there will be posters who agree with my tipping schedule -there will be those who think i am overtipping and there are those who will think i am a cheapskate and last but not least there will be those who insist that you dont tip anyone on a hal cruise
Re: first timers
more off the hal web site
As our guest, your comfort is our priority. The moment you step on board, a white-gloved steward will escort you to your stateroom where you will find all the comforts of home, as well as a few of the surprises that have made Holland America Line the world's finest premium cruise line.
Throughout your voyage with us, attentive cabin stewards provide unobtrusive service, replenishing ice and arranging fresh fruit, turning down beds and leaving Sweet Dreams chocolates. Our gracious crew members dedicate themselves to your satisfaction and are known for impeccable five-star service.
On average, our staterooms are 25 percent larger than on other ships in our category, giving you more room to stretch out. All staterooms include self-controlled air conditioning; a telephone and closed circuit TV; luxurious soaps, shampoos and lotions; music channel system; and 24-hour complimentary room service.
Guests who choose suite accommodations enjoy several additional amenities** – from personalized stationery and luxurious duvets to in-suite afternoon tea and savory hors d'oeuvres – all with the Captain's compliments.
The exclusive Neptune Lounge offers Deluxe Verandah Suite and Penthouse Suite guests a private retreat where they can relax, read and socialize. Guests may take advantage of personalized services from the lounge's concierge, who will gladly make reservations for shore excursions, car rentals, the Pinnacle Grill dining experience and more. Currently available on nine Holland America Line ships, the Neptune Lounge will soon be added to all ships in our fleet.
**Suite amenities vary somewhat by ship and suite category.
Re: first timers
I'll be taking my first HAL cruise in a couple of weeks (also Zuiderdam). My first cruise was on Celebrity, and if the service on HAL is even half what it was on Celebrity, then you will most definitely feel compelled to tip, despite any "no tipping" policy. And it won't be from any pressure applied by the staff. On Celebrity, our wait staff was awesome, even the maitre'd (that I didn't think we would ever have the occassion to even meet) was wonderful - especially to the kids in our group. We never really saw our cabin attendant, but his presence was obvious to us...if we left the room for even a short time, it was tidied up, and fresh water was constant (we could tell by ice in the carafe, no matter what time of day we were in the cabin). We were so bowled over by the service that tipping was the easiest part of the cruise. I have heard and read good things about service on HAL, so I would expect that you will be duly impressed by the service you receive.
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