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Everything posted by Oregonpoppa

  1. We've cancelled our May 23 Zaandam cruise (New England/Canada). We'll probably be celebrating our 59th anniversary in our apartment ordering take-out if things don't improve by then.
  2. We're booked on HAL's Zaandam on May 23 from Boston to Quebec and disembarking in Montreal. It's a pretty popular route with lots of sailings during the year, especially popular during the fall colors months. Cruise Critic shows lots of similar cruises right on its main page links.
  3. We used Uber to the port. There were 10 of us, so there were three calling Uber. All got picked up within minutes and the cost was a bargain. On the other hand, you can run into lots of delays afterward getting from the dock to anywhere. There were six ships that arrived the morning we got back. Not only did we wait more than an hour in the heat for the Budget shuttle (others waited just as long for their shuttles), but when we finally got to the Budget office there were at least 50 others waiting for cars. We waited an hour and a half there before getting a car. They only had two at the desk (only one if one went on break or had to attend to returns). You would think they'd know how many ships were coming in and staff accordingly. It isn't as though Ft. Lauderdale isn't used to ships arriving.
  4. We were on Eurodam with our kids and grandkids during the Christmas to New Year week a couple of years ago. There were more kids than usual and the ship had some special programs for them...but I never felt the children were ever a problem or a constant presence. Our youngest grandkids were 8 and 11 and they preferred to hang out with the family rather than at Club HAL. We seldom saw children around after the early main theater show.
  5. We'll have RoadScholars on our Zaandam cruise the end of May. I doubt we'll be able to tell them apart from everyone else, including my wife and me. Since they schedule full activity days, they'll probably even be asleep before us.
  6. It's been a looong time since my tour of duty in Spain (Franco was still in power), but that time doesn't compare with how long those historic sites have been around...and I doubt the distances between them have changed any. You have to figure it'll take an hour at least each way, leaving you 6 hours in Sevilla. We lived in an apartment complex close to Maria Luisa Park and Plaza de Espana, which isn't too far from the center of town...but if it's a hot day, it can be a tiring walk. The Giralda (I'm assuming that's the cathedral you're talking about) is in the center of town and the Alcazar not far away . If you just want to say you've seen these places, fine, but not if you want to absorb much of their history and beauty. Take out another hour or so for lunch and you'll really be cutting things short. Maybe someone who has taken such an excursion can give a first hand review, but to me, trying to appreciate Sevilla in such a short time span isn't optimal. You'll also be bumping into siesta hours. And getting everyone back to that "central location" for pick-up for the ride back to Cadiz for a 5 p.m. sailing could prove interesting.
  7. In October of 2018, escrow closed on the sale of our house and we were scheduled to move into our brand new apartment the next week when we were suddenly informed the building wouldn't be ready until mid-November. What to do when you're suddenly homeless? Find a cruise to fill some of the time, of course! Checking all of the cruises, we found a 15-day cruise on Volendam down the Pacific Coast and through the Panama Canal. Our AAA agent quickly booked us into a Dolphin deck mid-ship outside cabin. Although we were a bit concerned about the cabin (our previous cruises had all been verandahs), it all worked out just fine. In fact, seeing the walls of the locks just a few feet outside the big windows added a whole new and unexpected dimension to the canal crossing. We were so pleased with that cabin that we booked the same cabin on Zaandam (Volendam's sister ship) for a Boston to Montreal Cruise this spring. We still would prefer a verandah on some cruises, but were very pleasantly surprised with some of the advantages of Dolphin Deck. Dinner was no problem since we never choose set seating arrangements.
  8. We had a Dolphin deck cabin on Volendam a year ago and I was surprised that the magnets didn't work.
  9. Our family of 10, including kids and grandkids, took an end of the year cruise a couple of years ago and did the Everglades excursion and transfer to FLL. The kids had 5 and 7 p.m. flights and couldn't check their bags yet. We thought we could all enjoy lunch together, but they had flights from different terminals and all the "decent" eateries were after security. Not only was there a severe lack of food options pre-security, but the one greasy spoon was jammed. And there were no areas where we could even all sit and socialize...in fact, we couldn't find any vacant seats anywhere at all! Rather than taking a late flight to the west coast, my wife and I had decided to stay over night at a hotel near the airport and catch an early flight the next day. This worked out great. We took Uber from the airport to our hotel, had a relaxing dinner and an early bedtime. FLL is, indeed, a miserable place to get stuck for hours.
  10. There's no problem getting a gallon bottle of distilled water delivered to your cabin. Just ask for it at the main desk or order on the phone. Same thing goes for extension cord...front desk or your cabin steward.
  11. It has been my understanding that if you prebook, you are also pre paying; whereas, if you book aboard you can apply your onboard credit. Am I wrong. My practice has been to try to book all my special dinners as soon as I board, if possible, along with first night reservations for the MDR. On an upcoming cruise I have onboard credit for two PG and one Canelleto dinners (each). We tend to have early dinners, so I'm not expecting any problems. Should I?
  12. Haven't been on the Rotterdam, but am getting used to the outlet situation after dealing with it on three previous cruises on other HA ships. In each instance, all I had to do was ask either the desk or the cabin attendant for an extension cord. I have the same CPAP challenge as you. By the way, you can also order distilled water from the desk. It'll be a gallon bottle, with a charge, of course.
  13. We always make reservations with the head guy at the MDR entry. We tried to make a reservation according to the book with a staffer elsewhere on the ship once and were told our desired time wasn't available. So we just went to the MDR at our desired time and were immediately led to a table. We're always asked if we want to sit at a table with others. And in our experience, they usually wait until the table fills before taking orders.
  14. Zaandam, May 23-30, 2020. Boston to Montreal. Fourth HA cruise. Celebrating 59th wedding anniversary. Oregonpoppa and Mrs. Oregonpoppa
  15. Looking at another aspect of the complaint..... Last year, we booked Panama Canal cruise very late a nd got a Dolphin Deck port hole midship cabin on Vollendam. We liked it so much, especially going through the canal, that we requested the same cabin on sister ship Zaandam on a cruise next spring. Vacations and journeys are what you make of them. The cruise is more important than the cabin. And a bird in the hand...etc. Especially if you're getting a discounted fare!
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