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"First time cruisers on HAL!"

Discussion in 'Holland America Line' started by ckillens, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. ckillens

    ckillens Guest

    Hi everyone....

    My fiance and I will be getting married on October 27 of 2007 and we are planning a honeymoon cruise on the Noordam leaving from NYC on October 31st. As first time cruisers, we are extremely exciting, but we have a few questions. We are both in our 30s and want to know exactly how much fun and romance we are going to experience as husband and wife.

    1) Excursions? Is it better to go through HAL or find local attractions/tours on your own?

    2) Sea sickness? Does it really matter where on the ship your room is located?

    3) Dining time? Is it more beneficial to eat earlier or later?

    4) Arrival? When is a good arrival time for check in if the ship is departing at 4:45 p.m.?

    5) Departing? We are planning on having a limo pick us from the dock in NYC to bring us back to Albany, when is a good time to have the limo there waiting if the boat is arriving at dock around 8:00 a.m.?

    If anyone can think of anything else first time cruisers need to know, please let us know.

    THANK YOU Very much

    Chris & Jen
     
  2. alisha_d

    alisha_d Guest

    congrats on gettin married.

    1) Excursions go through HAL it's better I found goin my first time on a cruise which was last year.

    2) sea sickness if its there it doesn't matter where ur ship is. If you find urself gettin sick from it go to the front desk and ask for a seasick pill they were right away i only had to take one.

    3) Dining time? between 5-7 that way you have the sunset which is beautiful.

    4) arrival? well if ur in a hotel once it's check out go to the ship then you will just wait a while as when we got there it didn't take long to get on the ship and walk around to find out where things are.

    5) departing- that one i'm leavin up to you. find out how much it costs per hour for the limo then go from there.

    All i can say is you guy's are gonna have a great time. I was scared for my first cruise but once i went it was amazing. I'm going on my next one Jan 2008 Have a blast.
     
  3. suer182

    suer182 Guest

    1) Excursions? Is it better to go through HAL or find local attractions/tours on your own? If you book with the ship and the tour has a problem, like flat tire, the ship will wait for you. If you book on your own and encounter a problem....get that wristing moving to wave good bye and get that credit card smokin to pay for your flight to the ship.

    I suggest a morning tour if you do it on your own. You do save a few bucks.

    Arrival? When is a good arrival time for check in if the ship is departing at 4:45 p.m. I get there about 11:00 am, board the ship and start enjoying.

    Dining time? Is it more beneficial to eat earlier or later? That is up to you. Many people like late so they dont have to rush back from a port to shower and change before dinner.
     
  4. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Congratulations on your upcoming marriage.

    What a wonderful honeymoon you will have on the really beautiful Noordam.

    We just returned from 11 days aboard and had a truly fantastic time.

    Dining time is a personal preference. We always select 8 P.M. seating as that gives us time to come back from a day ashore and relax before we have to shower and dress for dinner. We enjoy a cocktail in one of the lounges before dinner and this gives us time to listen to some music, chat with folks we have met and enjoy a drink before going to dinner.

    We had a car company picking us up from the dock when we returned to New York. We told them what time the ship was due in/what date. They checked to be sure the ship had arrived. We knew we would be in the first disembarkation group and told them we would call them when we had an idea what time that would be.

    We called at just the time they called our disembarkation number and then again when we had collected our luggage and we were outside and ready to get going. It worked out great. We waited outside for them only 5-10 minutes.

    As to seasickness.....Thankfully, we are not terribly prone but now and then feel the need for preventative medication. Very rarely but nevertheless....... You should speak with your doctor(s) before you leave and see what they suggest you use. Many people swear by bonine (meclizine). They start dosing the day before they board if they knew they have a tendency to become ill. The ship's stabilizers are so good that truly most people never are adversely effected by the motion of the ocean. Some people say that 'sea bands' are wonderful. They are wrist bands that work on accupressure. Seeing as there is no medication involved, they are safe for everyone. There is nothing that can hurt you. They can be found in Walgreen's/CVS type stores in the aisle with dramamine and bonine etc

    If you think of any more questions, ask away. Surely someone here can probably help.

    Lucky you to have your wonderful marriage to look forward to and a fantastic cruise on that fabulous ship.
     
  5. ckillens

    ckillens Guest

    Thank you for replying to our questions. The infomation was very useful. We are very excited for the trip. If you have any other suggestions on how we can really enjoy our first cruise, please let us know...thanks again!

    Chris & Jen
     
  6. ckillens

    ckillens Guest

    Thanks for replying to our email...we never thought about the local tours and the possible problems that could occur. We definitely will think differently about signing up with Hal rather than local tours. If we wanted to do any flying, we would have flown somewhere for our honeymoon. Thanks again for the warning!

    Chris & Jen
     
  7. ckillens

    ckillens Guest

    Thanks for replying to our message. We appreciate any advice you can give us for our first cruise. Considering it is our honeymoon, we want nothing but ease and relaxation. We are looking forward to taking this trip. If you have any other advice on certain topics we may have neglected to mention, please let us know!

    Thanks again!

    Chris & Jen
     
  8. gruff

    gruff Guest

    There is a point to be made about disembarking:
    If the ship's penultimate port is a U.S. port (I believe yours will be San Juan - U.S.), you will usually go through immigration in that port. That being the case, you will have only customs in N.Y. If you can pack with restraint (the laundry and dry-cleaning is excellent on the Noordam - and they also run one or two "specials", which are very reasonable) you will be able to do an "express" disembarkation (you must handle your own luggage), you will be off the ship before 8 AM.
     
  9. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    On the 11 Day Noordam cruise, you will report to Immigration twice. First in ST. Thomas and then later in San Juan. As stated above, because your last port before returning to New York is San Juan, a U.S. port, you will not have to pass through Immigration again when you arrive in New York.

    You will complete a Customs Form which you give to the Official as you depart the terminal.


    You are sure to have a wonderful cruise. Noordam is a fabulously beautiful ship with a great crew.
     
  10. ckillens

    ckillens Guest

    Thanks for replying! Does anybody have any advice about using travelers checks???

    Thanks again!

    Chris & Jen
     
  11. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Travelers checks (American Express Brand ---- I can't speak for any other company's checks) are cashed easily at the Front Office on the ship.

    I have never heard of any store which does not accept them assuming you have ID with you.
     
  12. pormond

    pormond Guest

    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Such a perfect way to celebrate it with a cruise!!!

    Why not just use your "debit" or "credit" card Vs Travellers checks? I have always found Traveller's checks to be cumbersome. You have to first go to the bank and get them. Then go through the hassle to cash them. Most store clerks eyes roll in the back of their heads when you present a Travellers check - because they aren't sure how to process it. Your not always going to get the correct exchange rate. If they are lost or stolen - you better hope you retained the ID # of the checks and the phone # to call - so you can report them. It takes time to get them back, and your out the money during that period. VISA debit or credit card - are accepted virtually everywhere. You will get the correct exchange rate all the time. Lastly if there is a problem - VISA or your bank will work with you to get it resolved.

    Good luck - Patricia
     
  13. ckillens

    ckillens Guest

    Thanks Patricia for your great advice. We are just going to keep everything on the credit card. If you have anymore suggestions please let us know!
    Thanks Again,
    Chris and Jen
     
  14. Calgon1

    Calgon1 Guest

    Since you're going to be relying on your credit card, I strongly suggest you contact your company and speak with a customer service rep. Let them know you're going on vacation, and which days you'll be in which ports. Make sure they reject any charges which do not match (date and place) with your itinerary. As a double check, mail them a copy of the itinerary and your advance dispute for charges outside the date/location envelope. This way, you'll minimize the potential for fraudlent charges from the port after you've gone....
     
  15. sage

    sage Guest

    Great advice Calgon. Thanks for reminding everyone.
     
  16. ckillens

    ckillens Guest

    Does credit card fraud happen a lot once you leave a port?
     
  17. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Calgon's advice is good but a little risky.

    There have been times when for various reason, ships have reversed the days in certain ports or have been in port on a different day. Not often but it does happen and then you could have trouble using the credit card yourself.

    We always tell our credit card company we will be cruising and on what dates we expect to be away from home but we don't detail the exact itinerary.
     
  18. ckillens

    ckillens Guest

    I never thought by signing up with cruise-addicts that we could get such great advice! For first time cruisers, you guys have been a great help! We are both sponges for information so no matter how small, any info would be great. We still have a few more questions on small things, such as tiping on a 11 day cruise. Who do we tip and how much is the norm? We know that tipping is already automatically taken out but for personal service we plan on giving a little extra. Unfortunately (a very bad habit!) we are both big soda drinkers! We pass on coffee but pass the Pepsi please, how does the soda cards work and does anyone know the price? Last question for now... We are both casual dressers. Suits for formal night and the Pinnacle is a must, but for the main dining room will a button down shirt and slacks be ok? I know the Lido is ultra casual but what about everywhere else? Thanks again for all of your help and making our honeymoon very special!
    Chris and Jen
     
  19. electra711

    electra711 Guest

    Hello everyone!

    I'll be leaving for my first cruise ever on 6-29-07 to Alaska on the Amsterdam. My biggest concern is the daytime dress aboard ship. I'm thinking that jeans are a bit too casual (except for the day we cruise Glacier Bay). Also, how is the temp inside the ship? Are my feet going to freeze wearing sandals? Will I need a warm wrap on the formal nights? I live in San Diego and find even summer evenings here can be cool (especially along the coast). I've read that the average temp around Juneau at that time is 65. I understand the layering thing, but will a light sweater over a sleevless top be enough? I'm afraid that light fabric pants might not keep me warm. Also, is it very hard to navigate in high heels?
    This is a wonderful website, so full of great information. Looking forward to your advice (and my cruise!).

    Thanks so much!
     
  20. plainjane

    plainjane Guest

    [quote Calgon1]Since you're going to be relying on your credit card, I strongly suggest you contact your company and speak with a customer service rep. Let them know you're going on vacation, and which days you'll be in which ports. Make sure they reject any charges which do not match (date and place) with your itinerary. As a double check, mail them a copy of the itinerary and your advance dispute for charges outside the date/location envelope. This way, you'll minimize the potential for fraudlent charges from the port after you've gone....[/quote]

    The part about getting the credit card company to reject if the dates don't match the island I do NOT agree-especially a fall cruise-twice we have visited islands on differant days then we were supposed to because the captain was going around storms. If the OP does what you say-and they will find their credit card will be rejected-if the schedule is changed.

    To the OP-yes-let your credit card company know you will be in the caribbean during the dates-but don't specify islands and dates.

    You can always check charges on your card when you return home and dispute any you did not make.
     

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