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About fadeintoblue

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  1. Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. To add a little clarification to my statement about not wearing jeans on other cruise lines and why: I have only been on 4 cruises, 1 Princess 7 day, 2 HAL 7 day, and a 4 day on Triumph from Galveston. The difference in demographics and dress code between three other 2 and Carnival was roughly the difference in a trip to the theatre vs a trip to a movie theatre. I also thought it would be nice to avoid the khakis and button up shirt because that is what I wear to work every day. I feel much more dressed up in nice jeans and a sport coat with button up shirt than I do in kahakis and button up alone.Again, thank you all for your responses. I think I’ll pack a pair of slacks and jeans so that I can make a game time decision.
  2. We’re starting to figure out our packing for a departure next Saturday and I’m considering not packing a suit of any kind and going jeans and sport coat for Chef’s Table, 2 nights in the Steakhouse and formal night. I have been on other lines and cruises and wouldn’t consider this if not for the following. It’s a cruise from Galveston It’s only 5 nights It’s Carnival Any feedback is much appreciated.
  3. I'm booked on a 4 day Cozumel and back trip from Galveston for next month. This will be only my second cruise, the first with HAL last month. We really enjoyed the HAL cruise but looking at the reviews and deck plan I have to say I'm concerned about the upcoming Triumph trip. Seems like: 100% of people hate the traffic flow. Any tips on staying out of the fray? 50% say the boat smells like sewage. Probably no tips on this. 50% say the food is terrible. I can't find anything other than fast casual on the site. Do they not have The Steakhouse or anything else other than burgers, tacos and fast casual? Very little info in the reviews but is there a spa? I don't see anything but a massage room on the deck plan. Could I book a thermosuite / pool package? Is there a formal night on this type of cruise? Thanks for your help.
  4. We saw the ATV parade as well as a couple of buggy parades. 12-24 or so ATV's packed tightly together with a guide at each end of the line. I'm sure the people who do it have a great time but for us it wouldn't compare to the pleasure of discovering quiet beaches and cruising around at our own pace free to stop where and when we want. Most people seem to prefer group activities and that's great, I just prefer to do my own thing. Enjoy your trip.
  5. We rented the cart from Nathan's. You will find several threads in the Grand Turk section under Ports of Call - Caribbean. Cost was 80.00 and while reviews are mixed we didn't have any trouble. They were a couple hundred feet from the port entrance. I wouldn't drive the cart on the beaches as the sand is too soft and the tires to bald but otherwise we were able to traverse all the roads and paths. We also saw some scooter rentals in the same location but I don't know the cost.
  6. We were there just 2 weeks ago and rented a golf cart from Nathan's. We loved being able to drive down different roads / trails and splitting our day between a few different beaches where once there we didn't see a single other person all day. Being able to do that was well worth the price of the cart rental for us. Personally I couldn't leave the cruise terminal area fast enough. Nothing against a beach with bunches of people, clamshells and nearby bars but I got plenty of that on Half Moon Cay. Different strokes for different folks, just thought I'd offer a little different perspective.
  7. Here’s what started as a brief review of my first cruise and my lovely girlfriend’s third. After much research I decided the Westerdam Eastern Caribbean cruise would be a great way to give cruising a try. We embarked on 12/7 for a week of fun. To provide a bit of background we’re in our late thirties and travelled without my teenage son. Embarkation: We arrived at around 12:30 and were through security, the waiting room, photos and in our cabin on the upper verandah deck by 1:00 pm. So far so good. We booked a specific SY cabin and that’s what we received. No offers or upgrades though this may have had more to do with the discount online agency than HAL. A lesson learned there. Suite and service: Layout was great. Some furnishings showing wear but nothing that was too off putting. The bed was extremely comfortable and I slept better on the cruise than I have in years. Perhaps it was the quiet, perhaps it was the motion. Cleanliness on the other hand was a different story. Our room stewards and their service were perhaps the most disappointing area of our entire cruise. On arrival there were stray hairs in the bathroom, a forehead print on the balcony window and a general feeling of neglect. One day there was no turn down / evening service at all. The request for an additional towel had to be communicated each day otherwise it was not provided. Upon return from Grand Turk there was a little sand / shell fragments that unfortunately fell out of a drying bathing suit onto the bathroom floor. These remained on the floor and were still present at the end of the cruise. A telephone request to pick up a couple of dishes we brought back from the Lido and didn't want in the room all night went unheeded until a second call was placed three hours later. A second request was also needed hours later to receive additional ice one day. Cabin carpet was only vacuumed on the last day of the cruise. I've seen on the boards how people rave about their cabin stewards. As a first time cruiser I guess I just don't get it. Other than relatively poor housekeeping and a daily ice delivery I didn't see any additional service. Spa Facilities and Services: We had purchased the Hydro pool / Thermo suite package prior to the trip and found this to be well worth the cost. Additionally my wonderful girlfriend had 2 massages and an acupuncture treatment. I had one massage. She was extremely happy with all services as was I. My only complaint about the spa is the lack of amenities in the changing / locker rooms. I’ve never been to a spa that didn’t include amenities such as cotton swabs, combs, deodorants etc. I think we spent a substantial amount of money in the spa, is a cotton swab and a comb or brush too much to ask for? Maybe it’s a small thing but it definitely creates a perception of austerity. Canaletto: We ate our first night in Canaletto and were extremely surprised / impressed with both the service and the quality of the food. So much so that we returned a few nights later. The service at our second meal was also excellent though the food was not quite as good. The service we received in Canaletto was the best we received anywhere the entire cruise. Both the waiter and sommelier were wonderful. Pinnacle Grill: We ate in the Pinnacle both formal nights and the final night of the cruise. Our first experience the food and service were both very good. The second night a neighboring table received our appetizers and we later received their entrees. No harm was done and everyone was very nice. The final night was as good as our first night with the exception of the scallop potatoes which weren’t as good. As a side note we brought our own wine on board and the sommelier here was a bit of a prig about uncorking for us and not selling us a bottle. Nothing overt, just a general attitude but a night and day difference between him and the young lady in Canaletto. We never ate in the MDR so I can’t comment on that. Lido for breakfast was good, and the service was always pleasant. For lunch sandwiches were generally good but they were out of croissants the first couple of days that I tried to get a sandwich made with one. Hot entrees were basically banquet food quality. Not terrible but nothing to get too excited about. Desserts were also a bit of a disappointment as most of the ones we tried looked good but were relatively tasteless. Room service: We tried this one night and the order arrived minus an entrée. A call to room service and this was quickly rectified. Breakfast deliveries were all on time and very good. I couldn’t have been happier. General observations: There were children on board, not dozens but I’d say a dozen or so that I noticed. Of them there was only one that seemed to be running amok. He seemed to be in the Explorations café 3 of the 4 times I was there or at the Lido pool whenever we walked by on the way to the spa. We laughed it off but some parents/ grandparents just don’t seem to have any regard for others. The counterpoint to this was a family of four with 2 young children that sat beside us in the Pinnacle on the second formal night who were very attentive to and had the most well behaved children. It was truly a joy to watch. I was surprised the Culinary Arts Center / Queen's Lounge is not used for more cooking classes. Only one on a seven day cruise and it was for a Caribbean dish I didn't wish to learn about. I personally was looking forward to taking some classes. I attended a couple of demonstrations and while pleased to pick up the recipe cards thought the demos themselves were pretty weak. We enjoyed the casino a few times and the BB King show a couple of nights in the Queen’s Lounge. As for ports we had a great time on Grand Turk tooling around in our golf cart from Nathan’s, enjoyed St. Maarten in our rental car from Coastal though I would have loved a few more hours there. San Juan has never been one of my favorite places but old town is much nicer now than it was several years ago. Half Moon Cay was a nice break. It feels a little like a movie set but a nice relaxing few hours. In reading the above it sounds like we had a terrible time and were miserable. Nothing could be further from the truth. We really enjoyed our cruise. As a first time cruiser I may have had a few expectations that weren’t met but that’s probably more my fault than HAL’s. I loved the Westerdam and think she is a beautiful ship with a wonderful crew. We enjoyed being on board, most meals and the common areas. When we pulled into the different ports next to the Carnival Breeze or the Celebrity don’t remember the name I was thankful to be on the Westerdam and not one of the others. So the big question: Would I cruise again? Yes. Would I cruise on HAL? Absolutely. In fact we were already talking on the flight home about a Med cruise in the spring.
  8. I apologize if this has been asked previously. Where would one find what events are scheduled on their cruise and where would you sign up for those that are appealing? Thank you
  9. Probably a dumb question but where on the HAL site do you find the Hydrotherapy package? I've looked all over in the Indulgence and spa areas but don't see it. Thanks for the direction.
  10. Thank you for posting this heart breaking news as well as the link to the petition. I'd never have known otherwise.
  11. I booked through a discount TA found through a compete for your cruise site, a move I'm now regretting. Communication has been horrible. It took me 4 emails and the same number of messages over 8 days to receive a confirmation of the booking. Final payment was charged last week without notice etc... I was originally hoping for a reasonable up sell offer to a Neptune Suite (we booked a SY) but even if HAL offers it I don't think the agent will pass the info on to me in a timely manor if at all. It really is true, you get what you pay for. Sorry about the rant, on to the original purpose for my post. Part of the deal included an amount of OBC from HAL and some from the TA. How would I know if these have been applied to my account? It's on the confirmation from the agency in the notes section but that's the only place I see it. Thank you all as always for your great advice for those of us new to cruising.
  12. It appears that if you purchase the PG dinners as a package you can't actually make the reservations ahead of time and must wait until you are on board. Perhaps this is HAL's way of filling the less popular dining times while still drawing the same revenue from those of us that prefer a more choice dining time.
  13. We're on a December cruise and planning to pick up wine at Total Wine on the way from the airport. This is our first cruise and I'm wondering what I'll need to do in order to get our wine on board. Probably 6 or so bottles. Should I just bring a collapsible bag with me to load with wine and carry it on the ship? How do others handle getting their wine from the store to their stateroom? Thanks in advance for the advice.
  14. Looking at one of the 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruises from FLL. I know it's not like Alaska but is there any reason to choose one side or the other in a SY cabin? Thanks for the help.
  15. Thank you all for the responses. Sounds like if we can make a guarantee SY work that'll be the way to go. Once we get everything firmed up I'll be sure to add our names to the roll call.
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