Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of clothing should I pack? Is
there a dress code aboard ship?
(Holland America's advice.)
Daily life aboard ship and in ports of call
is laid-back and casual. We encourage you to wear whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Sweaters, lightweight jackets, slacks, and sport shirts/blouses are fine for day wear (expect cool, breezy days with temperatures in the 60s). Comfortable footwear is a must, closed-toe shoes recommended. You also might want to bring along an umbrella, light raincoat, and rain hat.
Lastly, if you'd like to jog or
work out in the gymnasium, bring warm-up and workout gear.
Aboard ship the program for the day, delivered
each evening to your room, will announce the suggested dinner dress
for the following evening. Definitions are as follows:
• Elegantly Casual: comfortable,
but T-shirts, jeans, and
shorts are verboten in the dining room;
• Informal: Women, dresses and pantsuits
are suggested. Men, jacket requested (but not required);
• Wizards Night (a.k.a. The Holland
America Formal Dinner): For the old sea tradition of one magical dress-to-the-nines
dinner party, the cruise line requests suits for the men and cocktail
attire for the women. Geek Cruises' interpretation is Wizards Night.
Gentlemen, we suggest you mine your existing wardrobe for a suit (a
dinner jacket is fine; a tuxedo would be extremely wizardly). Ladies,
we look forward to your presence in an evening gown or colorful dress.
We respectfully ask that Geek Cruisers complement
their fellow guests by observing the dress code throughout the evening.
Can the dining room accommodate special
We will do all we can to accommodate any special dietary needs but
we need advance notification. Any special requests, including vegetarian,
fat-free, sugar-free, or salt-free, MUST be indicated on your booking
form. Kosher*, gluten-free, or special medical diets must be pre-ordered
a minimum of 30 days prior to sailing.
(*Kosher meals are prepared off the ship
in a kosher kitchen, frozen and brought to the table sealed in their
original containers. There is no Kosher kitchen on board.)
Is smoking restricted?
To satisfy the majority of the guests on board, there are designated
smoking areas in the dining rooms for cigarette smoking only. Cigar
and pipe smoking is allowed only in specific areas. Our ships do not
have "nonsmoking" staterooms; however, all rooms are thoroughly
cleaned after each cruise to assure your comfort.
What's the tipping protocol?
Tipping is a matter of personal choice and Holland maintains a "tipping
not required" policy. Personnel may accept tips if the gratuities
are offered voluntarily by passengers for exceptional service. The
company forbids its staff from any form of soliciting for tips.
How do I pay for shipboard purchases?
Forget about carrying cash; this is a "cashless society."
At the beginning of your voyage simply provide the purser with your
credit card number or other evidence of how you are going to settle
your account. Simply sign a receipt for each of your purchases as you
go along, then settle your account with one convenient transaction
at the end of the cruise -- using American Express, VISA, MasterCard,
Discover Card, cash, Traveler's Checque, or personal check.
Are shore excursions available?
Yes, and there are many choices in each port. To get an idea of what
excursions are available (and how much they'll cost) hit the name of
the port stop on the ITINERARY page -- this will take you to the Holland
America page listing all of their excursions for this particular port.
You will also receive a detailed booklet
with your cruise ticket describing each shore excursion. Finally, several
port lectures will be held during the course of your cruise to help
you plan your activities ashore. Shore excursions are sold aboard ship
and may not be booked in advance. Due to their popularity, we suggest
you contact the Shore Excursion Office early in the cruise.
Do I need to carry a passport?
No, but you must prove citizenship -- so, a birth certificate (with
photo ID) is necessary if you don't have a passport. However, it's
a good idea when traveling abroad to carry a passport and we suggest
you have one. There are several companies that can assist you in getting
a passport within a week (since the normal channels can take up to
six weeks); let us know if you need help here.
How will we know what is going on?
Each evening, your room steward will deliver to your stateroom the
ship's program of on-board activities available the next day. You will
also receive a daily Geek Cruises program of events. Chances are you'll
have a hard time choosing since so many different activities are offered
On board, what Net connections will be available?
Holland America has equipped its ships for Internet connectivity. For
a fee, which varies based on usage, you have two of choices: 1) The
Internet Cafe has about a dozen PCs which anyone may use; if you've
brought your laptop, and it's equipped for wireless connectivity, you
should have no problem connecting up with the wireless network; or
2) most cabin rooms are equipped with a dataport which will
allow you to connect your laptop to the Internet.
What if I forget my toothbrush?
Holland America's Tradition of Excellence means providing guests with
every convenience, evident in the wonderful gift and luxury items in
our duty-free shops. And if you forget to pack something, our on-board
shops are well-stocked with all the essentials -- from suntan lotion
and toiletries to books, magazines, and film. All purchases on board
are assessed in U.S. dollars.
What about my laundry?
Complete laundry, pressing, and dry-cleaning facilities are available
on board. Ironing rooms, coin-operated washing machines, and dryers
are also available for your use.
What if I need to call home?
You will have access to both outgoing and incoming calls through the
on-board satellite communication telephones. Your documentation packet
will contain detailed information, including the phone number for your
ship at each specific location.
Will I get seasick?
Probably not. All Holland America ships are equipped with stabilizing
"fins" that counteract more than 80 percent of the roll of
a ship, so motion sickness, which used to be a problem on the high
seas, is now relatively uncommon. However, the cruise line also dispenses motion
sickness pills, at the front desk, for free, to anyone in need.
Will my PC work aboard ship?
Each stateroom is equipped with 110-volt, 60-cycle alternating current.
So most hair dryers, electric shavers, portable computers, and other
small appliances not exceeding 500 watts (110 volts) may be used in
the stateroom outlets. Having said that, many staterooms have only
one outlet, so we suggest you bring a power strip!
My significant other is doubtful about
cruising with a ship full of geeks, but I want him/her to come along
with me. The ship holds about 1,800 people and only about 200 of
that number will be Geek Cruisers, including their non-geek spouses,
friends, and family members. So, actually, it's the geeks who will
be in the minority. Your spouse will have plenty of company.
Is there separate pricing for non-geek
Yes. Anyone who is not planning to attend our seminars will not have
to pay the conference fee. Cruise rates, however, are the same for
all passengers based on double occupancy. Cruise rates are available
on our CABIN CONFIGURATIONS
page, which shows per-person pricing by cabin category.
Are there activities scheduled for non-geek
participants while we geeks are in classes?
Geek Cruises does offer an occasional activity for non-geeks. In addition,
Holland America provides constant activities on board the ship. During
our seminars, non-geeks can swim, lounge, play in the game room, indulge
themselves at the spa, watch movies, go shopping, work out, play shuffle
board, and much,
much more. Holland America also offers children's programs
for kids 5-17, so there's plenty for everyone to do.
Are there any special accomodations made
for children? Oh yes! Tons of accommodations!
For wee little ones, Holland America provides
diapers, formula, baby food (you even can request a specific brand
for each of these items), and crib. Other things you think you'll need
can be provided by Holland America, too (it's for this reason they
charge $399 per child under 2 years of age).
And, for about $7/hr., one can get babysitters
-- just about anytime (as the off-duty staff does the sitting).
For kids 5 and up, Holland America has an
entire program for children. Called Club Hal. Check out Holland
America's Website for Club Hal details.
How do I obtain airport transfers if I
don't participate in your Fly-Cruise plan?
Taxis are plentiful between the dock and
the the Seattle airport. Transfers to the
ship can also be purchased from Geek Cruises; and/or you can also buy a transfer
on board for your return to the airport.
How much time do I need to allow for embarking
For arrivals and departures in all ports of (dis)embarkation, it is
recommended that if you haven't purchased Holland America's Fly-Cruise
and Tour Plan you need to allow three (3) hours for transfer between
the local airport and the pier.
When may I embark the ship?
Holland America Line cruise ships depart at 5:00 pm. Embarkation commences
at Noon. Guests are requested to be on board at least one hour prior
to sailing time.
Holland America also provides their own