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Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

Minneapolis...
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Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

We will be on a Holland America and will be bringing several bottles of wine aboard. Since we only drink one glass of wine at dinner are we allowed to bring a glass to our table to drink with dinner? We really don't need a bottle at dinner and don't want to pay the corkage fee.

How strict is Holland America about searching luggage for liquor in luggage? I've heard of rum rummers. Do they work? My husband enjoys a drink, but ship prices are high. I do not drink hard liquor and buying a bottle is more than he would drink.

Chatham, Ontario
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1. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

Please be willing to pay the corkage. Your wine waiter will store the bottle appropriately so you can finish it the next night, or later that week if you prefer a different bottle/variety/white-versus-red.

If you dine in the main dining room (as opposed to Pinnacle, Tamarind or Canaletto) **chances are you won't be charged the corkage anyway** IME. The main dining room sommeliers are remarkably flexible about the charge...especially when you tip them, and offer them a taste of the bottle. (Sadly, wine waiters are mainly expected to educate their own palates these days. )

I have brought cases of wine aboard without hassle. Every year, I worry HAL will revert to the harsh practices of the other lines due to abuse of the policy.

Will you be stopped and locked in leg irons in the brig if you do this? No.

Will a couple hundred of your fellow passengers see and notice? Yes.

Will some of them, like me, be embarrassed for you? Yes.

Will some of them think, "Look, those people are smart, they're avoiding the corkage"? Hmmm...Things are changing among all cruise lines and their passengers. Anything is possible.

Edited: 22 November 2012, 14:12
Minneapolis...
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2. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

Is a wine waiter different than the waiter who brings your food? Since we don't have an assigned dining time we will probably have different wait staff each night. Since our gratuities are billed to us at the end of the cruise ship, I am confused as to when you tip the wine waiter. What is the appropriate amount to tip the wine waiter? Do you tip the wine waiter each time you have a glass of wine from your stored bottle? We haven't cruised much and have never brought a bottle of wine into the dining room - I hope these questions do not seem silly.

Chatham, Ontario
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3. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

Correct: the wine waiter will not be your food waiter. The wine waiters cover a larger area of the dining room - more tables - than the food waiter (who will have an assistant).

HAL operates on a computer system - when the maitre d' asks your name, you get put in the system and any info on file pops up for the staff.

SO: first night, first words, ask your waiter to send over the wine waiter/sommelier. Tell him you will want your own wine each night, that it will likely only a glass each, etc. When you get to know the sommelier on the first night, he **should** make sure you are taken care of the rest of the cruise, and that any stored bottle is brought to your table ASAP, by putting the info into the computer!

I tip the wine waiter who opens the bottle, when they open the bottle. Yes, gratuities are added to your account, but like in a restaurant, there is usually a golden moment when the cork is being examined to pass a cash tip.

If you find a serving team you like - or a dining room location that's interesting - you can ask to be seated in that section. If you like to eat at the same time every night, it's even possible - depending on your preferred dining time - to make a standing reservation.

Consensus from "experts" (not me) - in open seating, service is better at tables for 2.

If the service on night 1 and 2 stink, by all means simply bring a glass for each of you from your cabin. You might even wish to sweetly tell the maitre d' WHY as he seats you. (I sure would.)

I have never had anything but superb service in the HAL dining room. I'm not the type who flashes huge cash tips nor demands service in a loud voice. It just happens. But, I think the key is being there that first night (not in one of the alternate restaurants) and telling the wait staff what you're going to want. Sadly, I've heard of people who get off on the wrong foot, and it never gets better, and I think it all has to due with embarkation night.

People who suddenly look for the wine waiter on night 3, thinking a drink would be a good idea tonight, will find him backed up with orders from his "regulars".

Edited: 24 November 2012, 14:15
Minneapolis...
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4. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

Thank you! Your experienced information is so helpful.

Fonthill, Canada
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5. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

I have read these replies with interest, as I haven't ever received an answer except for the rules posted on the Holland America website.

We are sailing on the Eurodam on January 26-February 2, 2013 and our travel agent has informed us that we will be able to bring on a bottle of wine each to take to our stateroom and IF we decide to take it to the dining room, then there is a corkage fee of $18.00.

I have read that you CANNOT take a glass of wine with you to the dining room as you will be discreetly told that it must remain in your stateroom.

Our last 2 cruises were on the Princess line and we were able to walk out of the stateroom with our glasses of wine and were never questioned on this.

Every cruise line is different and it gets very confusing.

Edited: 19 January 2013, 17:14
Chatham, Ontario
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6. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

I don't think you'll be asked not to bring in the wine, Louise, discreetly or not.

But, the staff will know, because the cabin wine glasses are different from those in the bars, and the ones in the dining room are different again.

And, as I said, some of us passengers will also know and cringe.

If HAL were like other lines and x-rayed bags, and called people to the "naughty room", and confiscated bottles, I might feel differently. But, HAL treats us as adults able to live by the honour system, so I try to act accordingly.

Yes, every cruise line *is* different with these rules. But, for me the differences is what makes cruising interesting. I hope you like your HAL cruise as well as Princess, or maybe a bit better.

Minneapolis...
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7. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

We did drink our own wine in our cabin and also before dinner while lounging on the promenade. No one paid any attention to it. Our cabin steward saw that we had red wine and, without being asked, brought us red wine glasses. He replaced them with clean glasses every day. We did not bring a glass of wine into the dining room, but I did see a couple people do so. Also, there is not a one bottle per person limit. We brought 4 large bottles. I saw one person bringing a case - I don't know how many bottles were in it, but I'm sure more than one bottle per person.

wirral
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8. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

a case is either 6 or 12 bottles usually.

Chatham, Ontario
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9. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

As I said above, I've brought multiple cases aboard: 36 bottles is the record.

Obviously, not a 7 day cruise.

And no, we didn't drink all that wine ourselves. We had a roll call of over 60 friends, and were hosting parties.

10. Re: Holland Amer - wine in dining area? liquor question

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