Dumb question from a potential first timer

Jan 31st, 2010, 07:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Dumb question from a potential first timer

OK we are contemplating a cruise. I never thought we would but we are.
It is a Holland America cruise starting in Amsterdam (close to home ).

Now for the dumb question.

Do the prices they quote include food? I expect to pay for drinks but do we pay for food too on board? I have no idea about these things, such an innocent for one so old.

Any further tips for potential first timers are welcome
hetismij is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
Yes food is included except if you decide to go to their 'specialy restaurant'. There is a charge for that. And food is available 24 hours a day, you have to try to go hungry! They have a restaurant you go to and a buffet which has breafast, lunch & dinner also - if you want to go there instead. At the buffet there is always coffee, hot & ice tea, water and on some ships lemonade. (There is orange juice at breakfast.)
Go to cruisecritic.com the most complete web site there is for cruising. You can ask questions here, look up ports and their board has all sorts of things! It is very safe to join if you want to go to their Roll Call. This is where people going on the same cruise can 'get togehter' and email each other & set up a meet & greet!
Be aware you will become hooked on cruising!
bonniejns is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 10:41 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Thanks for that! What a great site cruisecritic is too.

We are still umming and ahing about it but it does sound very attractive.
I am a bit scared to be honest. I shall spend some time looking at cruisecritic and see if I can be won over
hetismij is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,875
What you prepay includes the room with steward service (usually twice a day) - and then look into daily schedule, there are "free" and "charge" restaurants on each ship. You can eat as many times as you want in the buffet, or B, L, D in a restaurant.

Drinks: usually coffees and teas, water all day, juice in the morning, lemonade or iced tea at lunch are free. Sodas are not free.

You do not tip every time, and don't leave tips on your bed unless you really want to. You will get a statement on the last day with tips included, usually $10-12 per person per day.

You can either pick a cabin or get a "guarantee" when the ship will assign a cabin number, most likely what they cannot sell.

You can get offshore on your own, or buy a tour from the ship, or make your own tour reservations.

If in doubt, don't take a long cruise, only 5-7 days. I was afraid to get on a cruise, now I always check if I can take a combo: few days pre-cruise on my own, then the ship. It's only difficult to make the decision, after that it's easy
Dayenu is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,320
Hi Het,

It's not a bad idea to take a cruise now and again.

My Lady Wife and I will be on the Prinsendam this October.

Our last cruise was around 1985.

ira is online now  
Feb 5th, 2010, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 3
First, you'll love cruising.

Some advice. Book your shore excursions ahead of time (at least for your first cruise). Sometimes they fill up. If you take a cruise sponsored excursion, they make a total effort to make sure you get back to the ship on time (we once had a car accident on a minibus). If you didn't book with them, they will NOT wait for you.

Attend all the "info" lectures. There's usually one each night to tell you about the next day's stop.

Be open at meal time. We've made friends at meals that made the trip even better, and we've eaten across from people who didn't talk at all. Make the effort to be friendly.

Explore the ship on your first day. They're huge. You'll get lost. It's good to know your way around.

On the last night, you pack your bags and put them in the hallway so the crew can have it at customs in the morning. Hint: Put ON the clothes that you plan to wear the next day AS YOU PACK. It's really easy to forget something. I thought I did a really good job one year only to learn the next morning that my SHOES were in the suitcase, which was long gone. I went through customs barefoot.

Be careful about charging things to the cabin. It adds up quickly. Read everything you can before you go and you'll have a pretty good idea in advance of what it will cost. Enjoy.
gearheart is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,739
Rather than find out what is included, you should find out what is not included.

Depending on who you deal with, some TA quotes the tax and port charges as extra. Some discount hoouse even charge you an administartion fee. So when you book, comapre and make sure you are comparing the same thing. Same itenary, same cruise one week later and the price is totally different. Even all the cabins have different categories. Although the cabins are called the same name, inside, balcony etc, the location makes a difference so when you comapre price, make sure you are comapring category and not inside to inside.

The tipping is extra. I won;t say it is complusory but in rality, it is. It's about $10 a day. Then there are the "extra" tips for spa, room services, drinks etc. Don't feel being nickled and dimed. It is the way it is. It's either that, or they charge more and then the price looks too high and is not attractive.

Drinks, shore excursions are not included. That's go without saying. Premium coffee, soft drinks, juices are not included. Breakfast juice is included but not at any other time.

Regular cofee is free all the time. Water is free, but not bottled water. Soft drink is never included.

Good luck and enjoy your trip!
Eschew is offline  
Mar 25th, 2010, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,965
Different things are free on different cruise lines. Generally all your meals are free at either the main restaurants or buffet areas.

Room service is free on some, but not all, ships.

All ships now have specialty restaurants, cafes and food kiosks that aren't free. In addition to the restaurants that charge extra, you may have to pay for specialty ice cream, sushi, espresso, etc. Some are free some of the day but charge later.

Free beverages also vary by line. Generally you will have to pay for alcoholic beverages, colas and bottled water. Most lines provide some combination of free tea, coffee, lemonade and tap water. Most lines have soda cards you can buy for unlimited sodas during the cruise (about $10 per day) and drink packages that can save you money.

Using the spa to work out is free but spa services aren't free.

Excursions are also extra. We have yet to take a cruise excursion. We either go on our own or book our own excursion locally (it's significantly cheaper and usually better).

Often the crew push drinks, special programs and other fee services so it pays to have an idea what is included and what isn't.
bdjtbenson is offline  
Mar 29th, 2010, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 13
Thank you for replying to my question about Route 66!

Unless you drink alcohol, you should never be thirsty or hungry on your cruise. My last crusie I pack a case of Dr. Pepper in a hard sided suite case, that was a few years ago, but it was acceptable then. I also bought soda along the way at ports we stopped at.

Usually cheaper off the boat then on the boat.

Then unless you want to wait several hours to get off the ship once your ship docks for the final time, request a first in line to get off the ship. These are reserved for people who have flights to catch and so on.

My husband and I didn't know that and once we arrived at the port of Galveston, we were scheduled off the ship like 3 hours after it docked! We had to drive back to WI and those 3 hours meant a lot!

We talked to someone and they were able to get us off the boat within the first hour.

I hope this helps, if you have other questions feel free to let me know.

Thanks again for responding to my question as well!
Cdsieg is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 10:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Thank you everyone for your most helpful answers. We've decided to put the cruise off until next year now. Hopefully then we will be able to make it though.
hetismij is offline  
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