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Everything posted by danacline

  1. Thanks! I'll take a look at those. We've done a few HALs but either inside or regular balconies.
  2. Do any of HAL's ships have balcony cabins or suites with a hot tub on the balcony? Kind of hard to tell from various web sites. Thanks!
  3. Thanks again! I have been interested in MSC since the Seaside was announced, thinking the design was quite unique. Since we usually travel in an inside cabin, I can see where that experience may not be as good as balcony or suite. However, that gives us more money to spend on excursions. Sadly, I don't see any itineraries they do that really call to me. Our future cruise plans include at least one Oasis-class with balcony, a British Isles cruise (MSC has none, but Princess looks good there), a Panama Canal cruise (HAL for that, unless we do the Carnival 9-day out of Galveston), and an Antarctica cruise (looks like maybe Celebrity there, unless we get a last-minute deal on Ponant or something). We'll eventually do another Med cruise, but with the airfare, it would need to be longer than 7 days. Our 12-day on NCL Spirit was pretty awesome, despite being their oldest ship, smallest inside cabin with 4 adults. The price and itinerary was awesome there. Still, not sure we would ever do NCL again, although we docked next to the Breakaway and it looked almost as large as the Liberty. And I love the Peter Max hull art.
  4. Wow, that looks awesome. I forwarded the info to sister-in-law. I know that MSC does (or did) let you transfer your level from another cruise line, and we got ours transferred because we were originally booked on the MSC ... Seaside(?) for last Halloween before switching to the Liberty out of Galveston. My wife has 54 days on Princess, so that might help. Did you book through them, or use a TA? Was that a 1-week, or longer?
  5. Thanks for all of the feedback. Not sure we will ever do this, especially once sister-in-law finds out how much booking one of those suites will cost. No interest in MSC, but Celebrity is a possibility. I'll investigate further. And I'll also ask on the HAL and Princess forums, and will report back here if I get anything positive.
  6. We parked next to the Allure last week in Cozumel. While there, we noticed some balcony cabins had hot tubs. We were on deck 11 of the Liberty, and these cabins were at about the same level. However, none of the deck plans I see mention a hot tub. Can any of you tell me what category these cabins are? And whether Oasis might have similar cabins, especially after the upcoming refurbishment? Do any other Royal ships have balconies with hot tubs? (I assume if Allure did, all Oasis-class ships will). And if you know of any other lines (Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, HAL) with balcony hot tubs, please let me know. My sister-in-law has decided that's what they want on our next shared cruise. Thanks! Dana
  7. That's weird, presumably a typo somewhere. I returned from Liberty just a week ago. We had the 2 device package (daughter's phone, my laptop) and by booking in advance, I believe the total was around $17/day.
  8. We're booked on Liberty for Halloween. I had been told that we could not bring on any water or soda, only the one bottle of wine per adult (max 2 per cabin). Since you didn't mention it, can I assume they let you bring on the water?
  9. I, too, was disappointed in my recent Eurodam cruise. All the kids had gone back to school, so it was mostly elderly guests. We fit that description but are more active than most. Our cruise seemed pretty dead in the evenings - hardly a soul out after 10 or so. Food was OK, but best food we've had over cruising career has been on Carnival. Go figure.
  10. As an aside, owning 100 shares of Carnival gets you benefits on Carnival, Holland America, and Princess (plus their other brands whose names I can't remember). 100 of RCL gets benefits on Royal and Celebrity, and their other lines. Same with NCL stock. However, 100 shares of Disney doesn't get anything.
  11. Pre-purchase? Guess I should have looked around on the web site more. Hopefully I can "post-purchase" and have it shipped. No, we didn't have a bad experience - it was a cruise, after all, and very relaxing. I am just used to having more to do.
  12. Well, we loved Alaska, and other than the lack of night life, love HAL as well. However, most cruises for the rest of my life will not be the 7-day Caribbean ones. We're looking at stuff like another Med cruise, Antarctica, Panama Canal, and a European river cruise. HAL's Antarctica is 22 days, while Princess and Celebrity have 2-week cruises there. I only have 3 weeks vacation a year, so the 22 day one is out. No, the Captain did not come to the Meet & Greet - just me and my wife. I posted on the roll call that the Captain came with champagne, so we'll see if I get any response from the roll call.
  13. We last cruised the Volendam back in 2002. Since then, we have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, and NCL. When my sister-in-law expressed an interest in an Alaska cruise, a check of itinerary and prices pointed us to the Eurodam, round-trip from Seattle. We ended up in 3 veranda cabins (wife and I, SIL and her husband, nephew and his fairly-new bride). Us old folks got cabins next to each other and had the steward open up the barrier, while the newlyweds were on the other side of the ship. The end result was a wonderful cruise, but I don't think HAL ships fit our lifestyle any more. We had rain in Sitka, but all the other ports were either sunny, partially cloudy, or occasional drizzle. Glacier Bay was sunny all morning. Apparently this was a major contrast to the previous week, where they were fogged in and couldn't see much. We saw sea otters, a bear, and once a pod of about 8 whales surfaced about 100 feet off our balcony. Sadly, the chef that does the hands-on cooking classes was absent for our week (8/16-8/25), so there were no classes. There were a couple of demos - one on salmon, one on grilled cheese, one on "meat-less Mondays". We were looking forward to trivia. On previous HAL cruises, we played and won Dam mugs (M-Dam for Maasdam, V-Dam for Volendam, and R-Dam for Ryndam). This fit the initials of 3 of our 4 kids. Sadly, there were no Dam mugs as trivia prizes. In fact, no prizes at all. Also, no Dam mugs in the gift shop. Sadly, I have to deduct points for this. My nephew's wife has various food allergies - gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, but they did not contact the cruise line in advance about this (Important: People, please read your cruise contract to get info like this in advance). She did talk with the staff as soon as we got on board, and our waiter Aldi and assistant David were able to help provide her with dining room dinners she could eat. They definitely went above and beyond, and we made sure to tell the Food and Beverage Director how helpful they were (when we saw him in an elevator). All in all, the food was great. We had a set of menus from the cruise two weeks before, so had an idea what was available. About the only thing missing was biscuits and gravy for breakfast. The entertainment, sparse as it was, was good. The comedian was excellent, and the magician also good (but too much dancing, not enough magic). Sadly, they scheduled the crew show for 10:30 at night, and I doubt very many people attended. Unlike our previous HAL cruises, this ship was dead after about 9 at night. BB Kings had a good crowd, but the Crow's Nest was empty. Only a dozen or so people showed up in the Lido for the late-night feeding (10:30 - 11:30). We had a roll call of about 36 people, but only my wife and I showed up at the Meet & Greet party. That was disappointing, so I posted on the roll call that the Captain showed up with a case of Champagne and we each got a bottle to take to our cabin. We'll see if anyone complains. After sailing exclusively on Carnival, HAL is now my sister-in-law's favorite cruise line. I think my wife and I want something a little more lively, more like Royal or Princess. We probably will end up cruising HAL again, as we like their Panama Canal partial transit itinerary, and their ships can fit through the old locks.
  14. You might give HAL's Ship Services a call at 800-541-1576. 7-5 Pacific time, M-F.
  15. From what I gathered on another thread I started about this, you cannot sign up until you board. There are two types - one is an actual hands-on class and they charge for it, the others are more demonstrations and are free. This should be available on all HAL ships. The web site has a list of the possible events (assuming you can find it).
  16. We have 4 kids. On several of our cruises, we had inside cabins next to each other (some connect, some do not). Usually the wife and girls in one, me and the boys in the other. 4 in an inside cabin can be done. We did Europe in NCL's oldest smallest ship, and by then my son was 6'2" and daughter almost 6'. It was cramped, but we were there only to sleep. My son and I took all our showers up in the gym, so the girls were able to monopolize the bathroom.
  17. To answer the few above questions... Yes, all web sites should work on all browsers. In an ideal perfect world. However, and this is a big however, the standards don't stand still. Flash worked great, back in the day, for visuals and videos. It turned out to have security issues, so the newer HTML standards added the ability to show videos. Many web sites have phased out Flash, others have not. Same thing with Java applications, Java applets, JavaScript, style sheets, and anything else. The days of "display-only" web sites are mostly gone - most web pages have more code in them than text. That code has to follow a standard, and the browser has to be able to correctly implement the standard. Browser manufacturers are trying to juggle many things, only one of them being "compatibility". There's also "security", and "privacy" (not the same thing), OS compatibility, hardware/graphics differences, etc. That's why it's always best to keep on top of updates to your browsers, and keep other browsers handy just in case you find something that doesn't work, or behaves weirdly.
  18. Several things to consider. Many web sites use popups, so those won't work right if you have turned off popups (and some sites will tell you to turn off popups). Also, the issue is probably the browser. New PCs come with Microsoft Edge as the default browser. It's gotten better lately but still may have issues. Alternately, hit Start/Run and enter "iexplore" to get IE 11. You can download and install either Chrome or Firefox, and either of those usually work on more web sites than the default browsers. I think Chrome and Firefox are both available for Macs but as I'm not a Mac person, I can't swear to it. In any case, if you have issues with ANY web site, try one of the other browsers. For instance, I had no issues printing my luggage tags and boarding pass from Chrome.
  19. 33 years ago, we took a China tour with my mom. She told us to bring plenty of snacks as she was unsure what quality of food they had. Flying back, we breezed through customs in San Francisco with 4 bulging suit cases and 4 carry-ons. Then we got to the food/drug checkpoint. They asked "do you have any fruit". I replied we still had a small bag of dried apples left over from the trip, that we had purchased at a supermarket in Denver. From his expression, you would have thought I was bringing in drugs or something. I offered to give the apples to them (we had no further need for them) and that horrified him as well. They didn't fine us, but certainly put the fear of (California) government in us. Australia is a special case. They not only do not allow food, but in general anything organic is prohibited. This turned out to be an issue when my wife and daughter cruised to Sydney, as they had bought tourist stuff on the various Pacific islands that Australia didn't like (carved coconuts, woven reed hats). I sent a dozen little glass bottles with them, and asked them to collect sand from every island beach. They did manage to get the customs people to let them bring them, by showing they were sealed and were for a collection. But it was a close thing.
  20. We sail on the Eurodam in just 3 weeks. One of the things we're looking forward to are the cooking events. Sadly, I don't see much information about them in this forum, so consider this an ask. I hear we cannot sign up for these events until we board? Are they crowded? How often were they held? Were they well done? Which event was your favorite? What other questions should I be asking?
  21. Maybe someone can answer this. I recently read here that the Eurodam was no longer showing movies in its theater. As I remember, the theater is also the location of the test kitchen and cooking events. Does this mean that more theater time will be devoted to these events? We're on the Eurodam in ... ~44 days? so looking forward to it. Hopefully we'll have good weather too.
  22. As one who has been there, done that, a couple of things. We're booked on the Eurodam in August, and Liberty for next year's Halloween. We sailed on HAL early on, and RCL only once so far. I think I like RCL better, especially since the recent changes to HAL ships. Being in KC, we can easily drive to Galveston, but Florida is a bit of a stretch (done it twice so far). Carnival also sails from Galveston. Princess and HAL used to but I don't think either does any more. If you have decided that cruising is your preferred vacation method, consider buying stock. If you get 100 shares, of either Carnival or RCL, you get cabin credit on every cruise (that includes HAL, Princess, and Carnival for Carnival, RCL and Celebrity for RCL). Plus, prices are down now to the lowest in the last few years. For us, we certainly enjoyed both, but I think everyone enjoyed RCL more. More to do. HAL is more elegant, however. I think any cruise is better than no cruise. Our best cruise was on the oldest, smallest NCL ship still sailing, 4 of us in a tiny inside cabin, and the worst food of any cruise. What made it best? Itinerary...14 days Barcelona to Venice. And the sangria - they did that right.
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