From on Board Harmony

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#1
Sacramento, CA
1,645 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Well, almost. I am in an internet cafe in Ketchikan. Cost here for internet is $8 per hour vs. the very expensive service on board.

We are having an very nice time on the cruise. Departed SF on Sunday, and at sea the last two days, arriving in Ketchikan this morning. Our departure today will be delayed as they have to take on extra water as they are using about 60% more than usual for some reason-must be alot of very clean people on board.

Embarkation was a breeze except for one thing. If you enter the terminal thru the marked entrance there is no one to take your luggage, so we wheeled it way back to check in past security, etc. No one to tell you to check in at curb side through the entrance next door-Don M. please note for your trip. We took the train from Sacrmamento to Emeryville, then Amtrak bus to Pier 39 and a 5 minute walk to the ship. Great way to do it. Arrived at terminal at 11:30 and were on board by 12:15. Had a nice lunch and by then the cabin was ready.

We tried Kyoto the first night and enjoyed it very much. Suggest getting there for reservations at 1:30 first day as the line grows fast. Dining room food and service is very good. Have not tried room service yet. The Bistro is wonderful. Unfortunately, had two screaming kids at next table in dining room at breakfast yesterday. Totally out of parental control and very unfortunate. They were actually blowing whistles and no parental intervention.

The gym is small but well equipped. Unfortunately, the AC is out in the gym for this cruise, so you get a sauna treatment at no extra charge.

The weather here today is very nice. On the way up it was rainy off and on and I heard alot of people were seasick. We were not at all, but there was a noticeable absence of folks in the formal dining room the last two nights.

One note about the Harmony-it vibrates more than any ship I have been on and particularly aft. If this bothers a person, suggest getting a forward cabin.

On to Sitka tomorrow. Will provide some updates as the availability of cyber cafes permit. Pleased to respond to any questions.

Gary
#2
Fullerton, CA
537 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
It sounds like you ran into the "rough patch" of water that often is present along the 120 mi or so stretch from the Golden Gate north.

I'm a little surprised to hear about the vibration on Harmony. When we were on the ship in January it was pretty quiet, although on one earlier trip on Harmony we did notice some vibration when we were in the dining room. On that trip our table was towards the back of the room.
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Mark
#3
Delray Beach, Florida, USA
1,105 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Gary:

We enjoyed reading your comments, as we are sailing on the Harmony in November.

Although other posters on this board advise me that this is not the case, do you notice any diminishing of quality and maintenance since this is the oldest of the 3 Crystal ships?

Please send some of that cool Alaska weather down to Florida! And enjoy the rest of your cruise!

Thanks,
Ilene
#4
87,485 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Gary, glad to hear that overall you are enjoying the cruise.

Interesting about the vibration. We didn't experience any on the Harmony when we went to Alaska and did not experience vibrations on Symphony. Overall, we found these two Crystal ships to be rather smooth compared to say the vibration that we felt on many of the Celebrity ships we had taken in the past. Just goes to show you how one can experience a difference from time to time.

Hope you continue to enjoy the cruise and look forward to hearing more about your cruise when you post again.

Keith
#5
2,941 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
That unairconditioned gym would be a real cruise ruiner for us. We spend 90-120 minutes per day in the gym (excepting busy port days) and a hot environment is unusable. I have faith that they would be finding ways to amply compensate us for a gym that is effectively closed without notice. If I knew in advance that a sailing would not have AC in the gym, I would most defintely not book it.

The Harmony vibration aft bring back fond memories of the romantic sound of tinkling china and crystal in the dining room.
#6
Sacramento, California
284 Posts
Joined May 2002
Thanks for the informative reports. I didn't realize you could board as early as 12:15. I hadn't thought about taking the train to SF. My brother will drop me off at the Harmony on Sept 15 so do we drop our bags at an entrance other than the main entrance? Does the alternative restaurant reservation line open at 1:30 on embarkation day? Are the computer classes worth it and when do those signups begin? Is the internet charge still $1.25 per minute flat rate? I glanced at your sail out on the web camera; it looked like a beautiful day to go under the Golden Gate.
-Don in Sacramento
#7
Sacramento, CA
1,645 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Greetings from Sitka

I will try and answer some of the questions.

Don-You will see three doors at the pier. Drop bags at the middle one and enter at the right one. I have not used the internet on the ship. Much cheaper in town-around $5 for 30 minutes and yesterday was $8 for 60 minutes. I took the Excel class yesterday and it was good although the instructor got somewhat confused.

We are having a wonderful time and it is a great ship. You see a little wear and tear here and there if you look for it, with some chipped paint, etc. But, overall a very classy vessel. Yes, there is vibration and more pronounced at times and definitely more noticeable to more aft. But, it is not a huge deal.

Have done Prego and Kyoto and doing Kyoto again tonight with our tablemates from the dining room. Both are excellent. Yes, you can make reservations beginning at 1:30 first day and then during set hours on other days.

Misty but warm in Sitka today. Went down to the National Park while my wife is off on some boat whale watching.

Glacier Bay tomorrow.

Gary
#8
87,485 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Gary, enjoy Glacier Bay. As many times as I've had the opportunity to view Glacier Bay, I find it breath-taking. It is always a special day to be out on deck with fellow passengers and crew. The sights and of course the sounds are outstanding. Have a great time and enjoy the rest of the cruise.

Keith
#9
Sacramento, California
284 Posts
Joined May 2002
Thanks for the answers to my questions. I will plan to arrive around noon on the 15th.
Is it still true that the only way to make glaciers calve is to turn your back on them? At least you still hear that incredible sound. Good luck with the rest of your cruise.
-Don in Sacramento
#10
Sacramento, CA
1,645 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Hello from Skagway-There is another way to make the glaciers calve-just head to the men's room for a minute and it happens. We had a great day yesterday at Glacier Bay and on leaving the bay, we encountered a bunch of whales and the Captain brought the ship in very close and turned the engines way down and we sat there for more than an hour and watched them including a pod of 7 or so whales having a great time out there. Almost did not want to depart for dinner (but we did).

We are in Skagway today. We rented a car from AVIS and drove about 75 miles into Canada to Carcross and Emerald Lake. Weather better over that way but encountered major fog as the clouds were so low through the mountains.

We continue to enjoy Harmony very much. My wife says there is no way she is going back to our old brand. I asked her to keep an open mind!

On to Juneau tomorrow and an all day nature cruise-lunch thing sponsored by our travel agency affiliate company.

Gary
#11
San Francisco, CA
1,148 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Originally posted by Donaldm
Thanks for the informative reports. I didn't realize you could board as early as 12:15. I hadn't thought about taking the train to SF. My brother will drop me off at the Harmony on Sept 15 so do we drop our bags at an entrance other than the main entrance? Does the alternative restaurant reservation line open at 1:30 on embarkation day? Are the computer classes worth it and when do those signups begin? Is the internet charge still $1.25 per minute flat rate? I glanced at your sail out on the web camera; it looked like a beautiful day to go under the Golden Gate.
-Don in Sacramento
We just got off the Harmony last Sunday, and the current internet pricing is $15 for 30 minutes, and I believe $25 for an hour. If you buy the time and don't use it up during the session, you "lose it"; it doesn't carry over to another session.

Regards,
bldsld
#12
316 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Regarding the "carry over" of internet charges on board ship, I had the opposite experience from bldsld. I purchased two separate thirty minute segments while on Symphony this month. In both instances, I did not use the thirty minute block at one sitting and the time was carried over for me. I simply went back to the internet the next day with no additional charge. There was also a five minute warning when I was at the end of my time.

Kay
#13
Sacramento, California
284 Posts
Joined May 2002
Thanks for the comments on Crystal's internet policies and rates. If you can carry your minutes over, then 42˘ per minute is not a bad deal compared to the main line cruises which I believe charge 50˘ - 75˘ per minute. Of course, they are all much higher than Radisson/Silversea which only charge during download times. I will check this out when I board the Harmony.
-Don in hot Sacramento
#14
San Francisco, CA
1,148 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Originally posted by kjeffr8212
Regarding the "carry over" of internet charges on board ship, I had the opposite experience from bldsld. I purchased two separate thirty minute segments while on Symphony this month. In both instances, I did not use the thirty minute block at one sitting and the time was carried over for me. I simply went back to the internet the next day with no additional charge. There was also a five minute warning when I was at the end of my time.

Kay
That was definitely not our experience. We were actually warned by the front desk to use our minutes, as there would be no carryover. Accordingly, we never purchased more than 30 minutes at a time. (BTW, the connection was good, even during most sea days).

Wonder why we were given different information?

bldsld
#15
316 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
bldsld asks me why we received different information regarding internet charges. I never asked anyone on Crystal about carryover charges but just went on the internet one sea day because of some info I needed. I assumed that I would lose my unused minutes and was most surprised when I went back a second time to find out the minutes had been banked for me. What about the rest of Crystal cruisers out there? Did I just get lucky or was bldsld given wrong information?

Kay
#16
Sacramento, CA
1,645 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Hi from Juneau-While in Skagway yesterday I went into the Seaport Internet place and it was only $5 per hour and what you don't use you carry over to one of their other locations. I am using my remaining time at their location in Juneau now. Great price and service-their computer system tracks your usage minutes.

We were told there was no carryover on the minutes onboard. Use your 30 minutes in one block or you lose it. They were very definite about it.

Weather very nice here today and had a nice tour out to an island for lunch.

Sea day tomorrow then on to Vancouver.

Gary
#18
Sacramento, CA
1,645 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
I guess convenience is everything for some and that is understandable. In Vancouver yesterday internet cafe prices were $2 per hour and here in Vicotria today it is $3 (and that is CDN).

We continue to have a wonderful time on Harmony. Food and service has been excellent. Day at sea tomorrow enroute back to San Francisco.

Gary
#19
Delray Beach, Florida, USA
1,105 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Gary: We look forward to your trip report when you get home. (Unless our computers are underwater from Hurricane Frances!)