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About Mary229

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Geology, rockhounding, classical music, hiking, novice birdwatcher

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  1. Mary229

    New Cruiser - extra charges?

    You can bring a cash payment to be applied to your account.
  2. Mary229

    Why book direct and then transfer?

    One thing my sister has told me and she has owned a very large agency for over 30 years is that all sources have access to the same programs and discounts. If I find something being offered online she can talk to her HAL rep and secure the same deal for me, 90% of the time. She only asks that I transfer prior to final payment and prefers I transfer prior to any large payment. As far as programs being canceled, I always make the smallest deposit possible and seek out low deposit deals. If there is a change forthcoming I am happy to ditch the deposit in favor of a better deal. It all comes down to dollars and cents once I have made the decision what cruise to choose.
  3. Mary229

    Why book direct and then transfer?

    My sister is my agent so that explains that. I always get the best direct deal I can direct. As often as not when I transfer she is able to add some group perk to my profile. So i bought on Black Friday with HALs special and she even was able to add another OBC to my cruise. Then I get the shareholder benefit.
  4. We had a lanai on the VOV/Rotterdam in 2017 about 40 days. We made the smaller space work for us. We loved being near sea level and had wonderful iceberg viewing. I am a walker so being able to step out on the promenade for an afternoon stroll was a bonus. My husband is more social and enjoyed visiting with passerbyers. We never liked balconies as we felt they are too isolated and would rather sit on deck to visit. The lanai is sort of a compromise - step out on deck and have a little social life too. In the future I would opt for a larger cabin.
  5. Mary229

    Upgrade email

    Good to hear. I am sailing a few weeks after you and am looking forward to an upgrade. Never tell the husband
  6. Mary229

    Help? Will we like HAL?

    I like HAL’s food service above Princess. All around, quality, service and selection. HAL is generally less densely populated than Princess, be it the room size or public rooms, I don’t know but it is never as crowded. Princess has more nightlife than HAL if you book shore excursions through the cruise line I found princess has more variety especially for active folks. I like biking what HAL excels at is enrichment programs and port intensive itineraries. I don’t think either of those would necessarily standout on a Caribbean cruise.
  7. Mary229

    I feel bad for crew members sometimes (first post)!

    I have only met a handful of miserable crew members. Most I have met enjoy the adventure of travel and meeting people as much as passengers. Of course the work is tiring and the hours long but I think they know they are appreciated. There are always miserable people - passenger and crew.
  8. Mary229

    Why did you decide to retire when you did?

    My actual health costs are 5% of what premiums would be for a high deductible plan.
  9. Mary229


    I was on the Zaandaam in 2016 for a long cruise and everything was functioning beautifully
  10. Actually the cruise was advertised as “sold out”. I understand the marketing and pragmatic considerations but I was stunned by the amount of offers. Usually I get one, maybe two offers.
  11. Yes, sold out is such a soft term. I got two offers on the VOV. I negotiated the second one and got it. It was a mystery to me as how this could happen on a “sold out” cruise.
  12. Generally lunch room service is not available during embarkation day. I have never sailed in an upper tier suite where there may be a different experience
  13. Mary229

    Why did you decide to retire when you did?

    I will never fully retire unless my health turns. I can schedule my work time. I tend to work very part time most of the year and take at least 2 months vacation a year. I have enjoyed good health all of my life so I have no problem paying medical costs out of pocket. (Please do not nag me about all of the horrific possibilities, I am a grown up and can assume whatever risks I choose)
  14. Mary229


    I would not be directly above or below any entertainment venue. I always prefer to be sandwiched between cabins - cabins on top of me, below me and on the side of me. I have have been in adjoining cabins with no problems
  15. Mary229

    HAL vs other cruise lines

    I like HAL as it has in the past catered to an older, quieter clientele. I have not been on HAL’s newer larger ships so I am speaking from my experience on the traditional smaller ships. There are fewer amusement park amenities than the big ships. They do have superior enrichment lectures. The ships tend to quiet down much earlier than other ships. For example, on my last cruise I was the last person in the pool at 9 o’clock.