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WriterOnDeck

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Everything posted by WriterOnDeck

  1. I think the ship layout and size affects the ability to have a party. On the Zuiderdam the Lido pool area only holds about half the passengers, it seems. Almost impossible to find a seat and to move around during the first hour. And the audio system is so bad in that area that everyone around me quit trying to hear if they won anything, as we couldn't understand a single announcement. It is what it is. But the people who went (including us) really had a great time, and the free drinks were a nice touch.
  2. You've obviously never been to the Texas State Fair, which has had that for years. They deep fry everything -- including butter one year.
  3. Any word yet on the hull cleaning process, Rich? I hope it doesn't affect your NZ ports.
  4. I love following your trip, Rich. And I'm glad to hear they are offering creative writing and drawing. Can you tell us who the instructor for each is? Thanks!
  5. I use PIA (Private Internet Access). I haven't had problems connecting, but I don't use it a lot. Lately, as we are sailing across the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to Guam, the internet service has been notably slower. Just my experience.
  6. My experience of late has been that many captains tend to stick with a certain ship for the 3-month rotations. Chantel (FCC) was on the Zuiderdam for the holiday cruise. As the partner of a HAL captain, she frequently sails with him (although he wasn't on that cruise). If you follow regular bloggers, it's easy to learn who is where. I solved the problem of "advertising" you are away from home on social media by selling my house! I realize it isn't practical for everyone. 🙂
  7. I've frequently streamed Netflix with the premium package. I engage my VPN after signing onto the ship's wifi in order for Netflix to stream to my location. But no real issues. Just FYI.
  8. I agree that StarLink is a huge improvement (spent 10 months on HAL ships in 2023, 7 pre-Starlink). If you want to work or play from your cabin, just keep in mind that the signal may be poor at your desk. I found that on the Zaandam, (perhaps the magnetic walls played a role). I had a router just outside my cabin, but hardly any signal inside. It isn't always easy to find a place to work in the public areas, and your fellow passengers will not appreciate you zooming or calling from those areas. All that said, it's much better than in 2011, where I recall that I paid $250 for 1,000 minutes of VERY slow service. Popped on briefly to get email assignments, logged off to work, then back on to submit work. I think I went through 3,000 minutes on a 45-day cruise.
  9. I did a partial on the Zuiderdam in late December and just completed a full, also on Zuiderdam, last week. Shouldn't be any problem.
  10. We’re Having a Grand Time Aboard the Zuiderdam Day 22, 2024 Grand World Voyage Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024; Panama Canal If this cruise gets any more “grand,” it may be the death of me. If it’s not a port day with lots to see and do, it’s a party or special event aboard the Zuiderdam. There’s hardly any time to catch my breath (or catch up on blogging). (continue reading and see the photographs of all the parties at www.WriterOnDeck.com)
  11. One consideration for HAL as to the ship class is that the R class has fewer balconies to sell at higher prices. The Vistas have fewer ocean view. I'll leave it to the accountants to figure the break-even points. I was on the Zaandam for the Grand SA/A in the fall and on the GWV now on the Zuiderdam. There are things I like better about each ship, and those pretty much balance out for me.
  12. It's a Grand Asia with some of SA added in. I like it! Especially if they add more new Asia ports.
  13. Pete, as I read the survey (and re-read to check), it seemed HAL asked about a RETURN to NY, not a departure. That would probably place the ship in a spot to do NE/Canada or Northern Europe (which the Zuiderdam has done after the WC). Just nitpicking, I know!
  14. I was on the Zaandam (deeper draft than Zuiderdam, although the latter is bigger) which entered the Amazon on Dec. 1 (the first cruise ship this season). Had we been 2 days earlier, we couldn't have gone. But we did fine -- passing over one sandbar with 1.1 meters to spare! When I was there with Pete a week ago, water levels were much higher. Its no longer an issue. Enjoy!
  15. I've been to Devil's Island twice in the past two months with HAL and it was never required. Like others, I suggest you go ahead and get the YF vaccination, as it will last you a lifetime and you never know when a country will start to require it. Better to have the vaccine when you can than wait until your doctor won't suggest it and risk getting yellow fever, I say. It looks like it pays to shop around for a better price. If you are looking at longer cruises that could require it, it's only a rounding error in relation to the full cost of the cruise, and you can amortize it over your life of cruising! (I'm the queen of finding ways to justify spending money.)
  16. I inquired, as the Navigator was updated to show that we would skip 2/13 instead. But that is Mardi Gras! I sent a note via the Navigator that they should rethink, as there are many sea days around that time and does it matter? Someone from guest services called to say that they now moved the "skip day" to Feb. 12. (Sorry, Abe.)
  17. It would be hard -- there are things I like about each one. I'm considering writing a blog about that. I like the smaller size of the Zaandam, its cabins with more storage and its use of the Crow's Nest with its dance floor. I like the music venues on the Zuiderdam and its no-smoking policy in the casino, to name a few things that pop into mind.
  18. Sorry I wasn't clear. I think the vast majority of world cruisers want to go to faraway places, and are adventurous. But there are those who don't go ashore sometimes because they have been in these ports so many times.
  19. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t go on world cruises for far away places. If you just want to stay onboard and bask in the sun, do months of Caribbean B2Bs.
  20. Guam and Saipan are on this year’s world. I’m not sure I agree with your last statement. There are a lot of adventurous people on a world cruise. Many may not go ashore simply because they have been to these ports so many times.
  21. We on the current world cruise will visit Japan and China. One issue is that the world cruise usually starts in early January. I assume for those who want to escape winter in the US and Canada. Staying in the northern hemisphere won’t be that warm. I’m expecting Japan in February to be cold this year. You can’t just head right there in January. (Hence the Amazon this year?)
  22. My main response is why not more new ports. I guess one of the disadvantages of taking multiple grand cruises is that soon they repeat. If you start in January, you won't go north. Only so many ways to circle the globe. But still -- can't we have more new ports even on similar routes? Three head south to Antarctica and Santiago, Chili, before heading west. One goes south around Australia, two north. Two south around Africa, two through Suez to Med. One goes to northern Europe. And one is eastbound, ending in San Diego.
  23. The latest blog! Fishing for Notorious Piranha Along the Amazon River Posted on January 19, 2024 by Jo Johnston Days 13 & 14, 2024 Grand World Voyage Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 15-16, 2024; Parintins and Santarém, Brazil I’ve always believed that success in fishing is mostly a matter of luck. After today I think experience must play a role. As we all were dropping lines with raw meat on a hook into a small tributary, it was mostly the boat’s crew who caught the piranhas. (Continued at https://www.writerondeck.com/2024/01/19/fishing-for-notorious-piranha-along-the-amazon-river/)
  24. Over Christmas the only thing I got that my sister (3*) didn't was an invitation to the small medallion ceremony -- I think because they asked everyone with 5* or with a platinum medallion (700 real days) or sometime like that. She got invited to everything else.
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