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Old February 25th, 2008, 02:59 PM
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Default Benefits of Neptune Lounge

I've read the benefits of the SA category room on Holland's site, one of which is use of the Neptune Lounge. What exactly does that entail? Thank you
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Old February 25th, 2008, 03:19 PM
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Default Neptune Lounge

The lounge provides the services of a concierge, refreshments, a large screen TV, Wi Fi and a small library. Also, a private reception for Deluxe Verandah suites and higher is held there.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 03:48 PM
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Coffee machine where you can have a good cup of coffee, a cappuccino, a latte, regular tea and specialty teas.

At breakfast there will be assorted juices, cold cereal and lots of fruit, toast, bagels, etc.

At lunchtime and for an afternoon snack, there are small open faced, sandwiches, fruit, cookies, squares, tea breads, etc.

Services of the Concierge to book excursions, if you have not already done so on line, reservation at the Pinnacle or the Spa.

There are probably other things but I can't think of them at the moment.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 05:49 PM
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Thank you...are the food choices the same as what you find elsewhere on the ship or are they specific to the Neptune Lounge? Also, I read somewhere that you get a dinner at one of the specialty restaurants on the longer cruises...do you know if that is true? On the Holland site, it says something about a special lunch. Last question (sorry for all of these!)...if we wait to book excursions, are we at risk of them filling up? Is the concierge able to get you into the popular excursions if you wait to book? Thanks again for all of your insights...this is our first HAL cruise and we are traveling with two kids. We just upgraded from VF to SA and are trying to figure out what all the perks are (i.e. I'm trying to make the DH happy to have spent those extra dollars).
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Old February 25th, 2008, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Destin Mom
Thank you...are the food choices the same as what you find elsewhere on the ship or are they specific to the Neptune Lounge? Also, I read somewhere that you get a dinner at one of the specialty restaurants on the longer cruises...do you know if that is true? On the Holland site, it says something about a special lunch. Last question (sorry for all of these!)...if we wait to book excursions, are we at risk of them filling up? Is the concierge able to get you into the popular excursions if you wait to book?
I'll take a stab at your questions even though I haven't ever had accommodations that entitled me to the Neptune.

1. Whether the Neptune Lounge is worth it to you depends on you and what you look for in a cruise. You will get a higher degree of personal service by staying in a suite, and having the use of that lounge, than others on the ship who don't get Neptune privileges. I believe the food in the lounge is pretty much the same stuff that is available elsewhere on the ship, but the lounge offers you a refuge away from the crowds. The food available in the Lounge is really more along the order of snacks ... the same stuff you can get elsewhere on the ship if you look for it. You also have access to an expresso machine as well.

I believe there is also a WiFi signal in the lounge, so you can bring your laptop in there and avoid the crowds at the Explorations Cafe (where the other WiFi signal is located).

But the main advantage of the lounge is the services of the concierge ... not the actual use of the lounge, per se. That concierge can do a lot of things for you ... cash checks, get free DVD rentals delivered to your stateroom, get hard-to-score shore excursion tickets on excursions that are "supposedly" sold out or wait listed, and a host of other things.

So, yes, if having that extra degree of service is important to you, then by all means, get a cabin that gives you Neptune Lounge privileges.

2. I don't know what you mean by dinner at a specialty restaurant during longer cruises. I've never heard of that one before, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. I do know that suite passengers are often invited to a suite luncheon with the officers that may be hosted in the Pinnacle. But as for a free Pinnacle reservation for dinner, if you get that, I would imagine it would be from your travel agent and not from HAL, per se. Often travel agents will give their clients certificates for a "Pinnacle Grill Experience" ... a dinner there one night where the travel agent has picked up the $30 per person surcharge.

3. Shore excursions. Let's just say that as a suite passenger you have a far better chance of scoring tickets through the Neptune concierge for the more popular shore excursions that are technically "sold out." From what I understand, HAL holds back some tickets until the last minute in case suite passengers want to go. But that said, I wouldn't bank on getting shore excursion tickets at the last minute. What happens if the passengers in five or six suites decide at the last minute that they want to go? There may not be enough held back tickets to accommodate them all. HAL offers shore excursion booking right on their website. Once you have a booking number for your particular cruise, you can go on there and see what excursions are being offered in your ports, and their cost. You can book and pay for them right online, which is nice because you get that charge paid off your credit card long before the cruise. Shore excursions can run up the onboard bill very rapidly. I know that I personally prefer to get them booked and paid for long before my cruise.

Staying in a suite offers lots of nice perks, in addition to the Neptune Lounge. These include free laundry and dry cleaning services onboard, a higher degree of cabin service since your steward does not have as many cabins to take care of than the ones on the other decks. You also get lots of special "invites" to various cocktail parties and whatnot ... invites that other passengers often don't receive. These invites translate into a smaller bar tab at the end of the cruise since free drinks are always included in these special functions.

But probably the biggest perk to a luxury suite is its size. You'll have plenty of room to spread out, including a nice oversized balcony to relax on.

But whether or not a luxury suite is worth it to you will depend on what you consider important. Would you rather spend more money on accommodations, even if that means scrimping on other items? If so, then a luxury suite is the only way to go. If not, you may prefer to book more spartan accommodations and then spend with abandon on other things, like shore excursions, etc. Only you can decide what's most important to you.

Whatever you choose, though, have a great cruise!

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old February 25th, 2008, 09:29 PM
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[quote="Destin Mom"]Thank you...are the food choices the same as what you find elsewhere on the ship or are they specific to the Neptune Lounge?

No, they are not the same as you would find elsewhere on the ship. You won't find the little open faced sandwiches, pastries, tea breads, chocolates, snacks anywhere but in the Neptune. I love the little pecan squares they have. Yummy. We often go to the Neptune and pick up cereal and fruit and a good cup of coffee for breakfast and take it back to our Suite. In the afternoon, I'll drop in for a cup of tea, a piece of fruit bread and maybe a couple of little sandwiches.


Also, I read somewhere that you get a dinner at one of the specialty restaurants on the longer cruises...do you know if that is true?

No it's not true. You will have the privelege of having your breakfast in the Pinnacle Grille, but you will have to pay for dinner or lunch if you want to dine there.

On the Holland site, it says something about a special lunch.

Yes, there is usually a Suite luncheon or a brunch held on the last sea day for guests in Deluxe Suites. The times we have attended they have held it in the Crow's Nest.



Last question (sorry for all of these!)...if we wait to book excursions, are we at risk of them filling up? Is the concierge able to get you into the popular excursions if you wait to book?


I have never had the Concierige book our excursions as we do them on line a month or so before our cruise. On our last cruise I was waiting to speak to the Concierge while she was looking after a couple trying to book excursions. I overheard her say "sorry that's fully booked". If an excursion is booked, there is no way the Concierge can overrule the Shorex Dept., and get you on a fully booked excursion.

A lot of excursions have a limit and once these are gone, there is nothing the Concierge can do, except maybe put you on a waiting list.


You will love your SA Suite - I know we do.


Don't forget the FREE laundry and dry cleaning. Now, that's a perk I really like.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 09:53 PM
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Personally I would rather have a second cruise for the difference in Neptune and regular room and I do not plan on spending that much time in my room on a cruise There are too many good things happening on the ship to stay rooted to my room which is not that much different to the same service in a good hotel.To each is own.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Default Neptune Lounge

I agree with Tennisbum. In 2005 and 2206 we had the Deluxe Verandah Suite. In 2007, we cruised twice for basically the same money. If money is no object, then enjoy the suite and the amenties that go with it. If you want to spend more time on the water then step back, spend less on a cabin and cruise more 8)
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisbum
Personally I would rather have a second cruise for the difference in Neptune and regular room and I do not plan on spending that much time in my room on a cruise There are too many good things happening on the ship to stay rooted to my room which is not that much different to the same service in a good hotel.To each is own.
I'm with you. Also, since I tend to take fewer cruises, but more exotic, and thus expensive ones, I tend to spend quite a bit for shore tours.

So the Neptune Lounge and the luxury suite are far down on my list of priorities ... especially since I spend very little time in my cabin to begin with.

But then I have friends who spend a lot more time in their accommodations. They are seasoned cruisers and a bit older. They also tend to book seven to ten-day cruises to traditional destinations. So, especially when on a Caribbean sailing, they rarely get off the ship and they never do shore excursions. They've seen all those islands numerous times before. At the most, they might venture into port to do some shopping, but that's about it. So, for them, the luxury suite accommodations are very nice, and they make use, and enjoy them, very much.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeDee
[I have never had the Concierige book our excursions as we do them on line a month or so before our cruise. On our last cruise I was waiting to speak to the Concierge while she was looking after a couple trying to book excursions. I overheard her say "sorry that's fully booked". If an excursion is booked, there is no way the Concierge can overrule the Shorex Dept., and get you on a fully booked excursion.

A lot of excursions have a limit and once these are gone, there is nothing the Concierge can do, except maybe put you on a waiting list.
The concierge cannot overrule the shoreex department, that is true. However, the concierge often has a certain number of tickets for the more popular excursions allocated to him or her. If she was telling passengers, "sorry that's fully booked," she obviously knew that she had already sold the limited supply of tickets she had for that excursion to other suite passengers.

The reason I know that the concierge can often "score" these hard-to-get tickets is because I became acquainted with a couple on one of my cruises who were traveling with their young son. They were staying in standard accommodations. The son had met a friend at Club Hal and the friend said that he wanted to go jetskiing in one of the ports. The son told his friend that he did too, but when his dad tried to get tickets for the excursion, they were all sold out and weren't even taking names for the wait list because it was so long already. The son told his friend that his dad was gonna try to arrange for jetskiing independently once they got to the port.

The next day, the son came back to his father wondering why his friend was able to get tickets to the shore excursion when his dad couldn't. His dad couldn't understand it, until he found out that the friend was staying with his parents in a full suite. Dad was really upset and went storming down to the shore excursions office wondering why this other family got tickets, while he couldn't ... despite the fact that he asked for them a full two days sooner.

I don't know what the end result was of his encounter with the ShoreEx staff, but I do know that sonny boy never did get to go jetskiing. All the jetskies were rented out to the cruise ships in port that day and there was no way to book it independently on that particular day. The cruise ships had the availability locked down tight ... so they could charge whatever they chose for the excursion. That's how they make their money.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old March 1st, 2008, 09:08 AM
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We loved the extra perks of the Neptune lounge, expecially that they can arrange anything for you. We never needed to line up for shore excursions or the front office, just went to the concierge.
The laundy service was great and fast, we got reservation in a sold out Pinnacle grill. For us, it was all worth it.
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