Just got off Volendam. If you are a coffee drinker and couldn't get your morning coffee until 9:30 AM, how would you like it? Not much, I'll bet. Well, my wife doesn't drink coffee, but she really wants her morning Diet Coke. Not on Holland America! You can't get a coke until the bars open.
When we embarked, we purchased the soft drink cards, thinking we could use them 24 hours a day. WRONG! Really, would it cost HAL to just increase ticket prices $10 and have open fountain drinks available?
Just about everything else about the ship and crew were GREAT! But come on, give the girl her soft drink.
Sorry to hear about the restrictions on the Diet Coke (or time you can
get it).....I empathize with your wife. Even though , I'm a Coffee
drinker, I have two friends that can't get moving (happilly) without
their Diet coke.
It's been 5 years since I cruised.....Question.....I thought soft drinks
are fee...I know ALL cruise lines cut back on some amenities, but
could you share some of the "surprises"... like Drink tickets?
Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but we had free cappucino, free iced tea, etc. etc. What else do you need to pay for? MAK
I appreciate your reply, and yes, I'll be posting a review of the trip soon on the Alaska site as well as here.
Yes, recently the cruise lines have required passengers to either purchase soft drinks at the bar, just like you would for an alcoholic beverage. What is available is a "Soft Drink Card", with which you can present it for a soft drink. Last year Carnival's card was unlimited soft drinks for about $20, but, as I understand it, a family would buy just one card, and then go to different bars to get multiple drinks, thereby cheating the cruise line. HAL sells their cards for about $18 for 20 drinks. Each time you present your card, the bartender punches it. We, as a family of four, each bought one card and ended up with about 20 drinks left over. Of course, had my wife been able to get her morning coke, there would have been fewer left over.
I don't want it to appear that this soft drink issue ruined the cruise. Far from it! It was a great trip! The crew and wait staff were very friendly and helpful, and the different musical groups in each bar were terrific! My daughter especially like Barry Blythe, the piano man, in the Piano bar.
More about this in my review.
In all my years of sailing with HAL and that's over 25 years, soft drinks have never been FREE. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and iced tea are free and sometimes (if the staff remembers ) they will serve free lemonade in the morning around the pools.
You can still get free cappuccino/latte in the dining room at dinner, but since the installation of the Exploration Cafes, these speciality coffees are no longer FREE in the Explorers Lounge.
Fruit juices are still free at breakfast but if you want a juice from a bar, you have to pay for it. It's always been this way. I can't remember if they have juice at lunch in the Lido. Let's put it this way - anything you get from the Bar (except water ) you pay for - anything from the Lido and dining room, except soda and liquour/wine is FREE.
My wife and I were on the Zuiderdam a few weeks ago. Here is how we obtained soda in the morning. We would go up to the Lido, get breakfast and flag down one of the waiters. He would then get us a Coke and Spirite and punch our cards so we were able to fulfll our morning sode need .
ms Zuiderdam - May 2006
Carnival Mardi Gras - July 1991
RCCL Viking Serenade - November 1994
Carnival Pride - September 2004
We always had ice in the cabin and the last thing at night before we went to the cabin we got a couple of cokes "to go". Also, we had sodas left at the end of the crusie so we got all of them (6) and gave then to the cabin steward who was most appreciative. As a side note, I had taken a small Renuzit room freshener and did not want to bring it home he also was delighted to get that.
My wife also has to have here diet coke in the morning. And it is for that reason that we always have a six pack or two in our cabin and fresh ice at night. In fact we usually go the extra to have a refrigerator in the cabin. We have found that it is best to plan for all eventualities...
Yikes ! I know many people won't think this is a "big deal", but I totally understand! I HAVE to have my diet cola, just as some HAVE to have their coffee!
I always carry two 6 packs of bottles onboard in a small carryon and then use it to carry home all the "goodies" I buy in port.
I'm glad the rest of your cruise was great. Are you going to post a review for us?
Fern, what are you doing over here on the HAL boards? Of course what am I doing here? Well, good reason, we are taking an HAL cruise in Novermber. As for the soft drinks, being I probably don't drink 2 a year I find this really funny, but those who don't drink coffee or wine would find my complaints pretty funny as well.
I personally am a Diet Pepsi person and wish HAL had Pepsi but on our very first cruise I bought a card then found out about the coke. But I do know for a fact you can get Coke in your cabin 24 hours a day, just call room service and they can stock your mini frig with it too.
Must have been a ship-specific thing or a new policy -- we were on Rotterdam last summer and had no problem with this at any time. Breakfast with Diet Coke, I love it and could not have done without it.