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About suzannecruisecritic

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Golf, tennis, cooking, reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Holland America
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  1. We were just on a cruise with 3 Croatian ports (Dubrovnik, Split and Korcula) in July/Aug and found that it varied. It was easy to find ATMs at these ports so there was no need for us to get the local currency in advance of the cruise. We booked private excursions in advance and specifically arranged in advance to pay for those in euros so that was no problem. But we found that many shops would only accept kuna so we needed a little bit of the local currency to pay for small things like a drink or snack.
  2. We’ve sailed both. K in Europe and NA in Alaska. Both during July. We found the NA felt much less crowded. For example, there were typically few loungers available at the family pool on the K and there were often dozens of people with pagers waiting for tables at the MDR on the K. The spa on the K was also typically much more crowded. And the theater on the K often had no seats available a few minutes before showtimes. Our experience may have had more to do with the itinerary than the ship. Our Alaska sailing had many more seniors and couples on board while our Europe cruise had an huge number of kids and teens on board (with 3-4 people staying in more of the staterooms than our NA cruise). That being said, I would still enthusiastically recommend the K because I really enjoyed the extra live entertainment venues and restaurants not available on the NA. If you cruise in October when the ship might not be at capacity I suspect it would feel way less crowded than it did in July in Europe. Also, if you cruise off-peak maybe you can get a deal on a Neptune Suite on the K and you would be able to have dinner anytime without a wait at Club Orange.
  3. Hi Ellen, No dumb questions! Everyone is here to help each other out I hope 🙂. Just take a look at the deck plans available on the HAL website to get a better perspective of the locations of the rooms, lounges, etc. Ours was 4211 which was one of the two back corners of the ship on the fourth floor and I assume you’ll find an identical room to ours on the opposite back corner. Which one did you book? I found another photo in my phone to share with you of that equipment that obstructed the view a little. It was really minor because the balcony was enormous but I always think it’s ideal to know in advance. I would book that room again because I loved the spacious balcony. I was told by other cruisers here on CC that all the corner balconies are great but that 4 would be the largest. I found the location to be quiet because there were no lounges right above or below and since we were all the way at the aft (back) we didn’t have lots of traffic of random people walking by the room. We also had no issues with cigarette smoke as we were far from the smoking areas of the ship. Some people think the aft gets more movement/vibration than the center of the ship but we were not troubled at all by any unusual movement and none of us felt seasick.
  4. Hi Vic, I’m so sorry but I don’t know what Strongbow is???
  5. Yes, I still have the receipt in my email so I could double check for you... it was $369 for 2 people (the couples spa pass) for a 12 day cruise. The price will vary by length of cruise and you may already be able to see the pricing when you log into your reservation to buy extras like specialty dining. I didn’t have any treatments at the spa but I used the spa with my pass almost every day and really enjoyed it. The hydrotherapy pool was terrific and they also have a nice steam room, sauna, and those warm chairs in a space with nice views. For me, the spa pass is a better spend than a treatment. My husband had a massage and tried acupuncture on this ship and he thought the services were good but not great and he also enjoyed the spa pass quite a bit. We’ve sailed Celebrity in the past as well and we found Koningsdam to be a good option for those who like Celebrity. I don’t think Club Orange was as good as Luminae but it was very good. Overall I think Celebrity has better “suite benefits” than HAL but given the recent differences in prices between the two cruise lines for dates we looked at I would probably return to HAL because it was many thousands less for our family. The entertainment on Koningsdam (because of the extra music walk venues) was much better than entertainment on Celebrity in my opinion. And in terms of specialty dining, I would recommend that you try Tamarind on the Koningsdam which I think is my favorite specialty restaurant at sea on any line. Like Celebrity, HAL offered free laundry for the higher level suites and they did a great job so you should be able to pack lighter and always have clean clothes (they typically return the laundry the next day and you can start sending laundry in on day 1 if you had some accumulated from pre-cruise travel). Let me know if you think of anything else you would like to know in advance.
  6. I agree with others that the bathroom design is odd. I would have preferred a larger shower and no tub. I believe the bathtub did have jets but I never used it. We booked the couples spa pass and really enjoyed the hydrotherapy pool there and we also sometimes showered at the spa. The products in the room were Elemis and I thought they were good quality; I liked that they were large refillable containers rather than tiny sample size. We booked the corner aft Neptune on 4 because it looked like that would get us the largest balcony. The balcony was huge so we really enjoyed that and used it every day; the only downside to being on 4 for us was that we were further from the Neptune lounge and that there’s a piece of equipment (you can see it in my balcony photo) that obstructed our view just a tiny bit. I hope you’ll like the Koningsdam, it’s definitely quite different from the older HAL ships. We liked the variety of specialty restaurants, club orange, and the additional music walk live entertainment venues.
  7. Ellen, we were just in a rear aft corner Neptune on Koningsdam (I think it was 4211) and we thought it was great. The balcony was fantastic. I certainly think the bathroom layout could be much better and the bathtub is a waste of space but I had no trouble showering or shaving my legs in the little shower. We also bought the spa pass (the hydrotherapy pool was really nice) and sometimes showered there too. I’m attaching some photos to help you know what to expect. Club Orange was terrific in my opinion.
  8. We chose the aft wrap balcony Neptune suite on Koningsdam on deck 4 because the balcony was so large. I assume the sofa/day bed in there could have been used as a bed for the third person as it was about the size of a twin size bed. I’m attaching photos of the room and balcony. You can see the daybed under the tv. The only downside to being on 4 was that we were a little far from the Neptune lounge but I think the big wrap around balcony was worth it.
  9. If you call ship services (their phone number is on the HAL website) they should be able to give you exact prices for internet and laundry for your cruise. We’ve done the unlimited laundry on two HAL cruises and were really impressed with how well they laundered everything properly and quickly. We were able to pack a lot less because we used the laundry service every day.
  10. Thank you. We had a blast but it’s also nice to be back home. I posted my review and just got an email from Cruise Critic today saying that it’s been published. The executive summary ... ship was beautiful, food very good, service excellent, entertainment much better than expected, and the only complaint is that the main common areas (MDR, theater, Lido, family pool) are way too small for the number of passengers when the ship is at capacity.
  11. The usual showtimes at the World Stage were 7:30 and 9:30 but not always if I recall correctly. And there were shows most nights but not every night in that space. I just happen to have a photo of one of the show announcements that I’m attaching here for you. That was for a magician who had been on America’s Got Talent and performed twice during our 12 night cruise. His shows were popular and enjoyed by most people we met. The dance show called Humanity was also enjoyed by most passengers. There was a piano man type show that was just awful. Because this ship also had the three additional Music Walk venues, I would say that overall the level of live entertainment was well above what we expected based on prior experiences on several different ships/cruise lines. We went in with super low expectations and were pleasantly surprised. Let me know if you have any other questions.
  12. Hi Cruise Critic Friends! We're just off the Koningsdam a few days ago for a 12 night Adriatic cruise out of Rome. I've submitted a review but also wanted to offer to answer questions since so many in this community have been so gracious in answering my questions about specific ships and were so helpful. I'm attaching a few photos of our room (4211- corner aft Neptune suite) and of the first When & Where which made it home in my suitcase. HAL4.pdf HAL3.pdf IMG_7854.HEIC IMG_7852.HEIC
  13. We just did a similar length trip (12 night cruise plus 2 nights pre cruise). We found the unlimited laundry package on HAL was a good deal for us and allowed us to pack much lighter. Maybe you can find out if NCL offers a laundry package that would work for you. We had laundry done almost day and it was typically returned the following day so we only had to pack for about 5-6 days for our 14 day trip and always had clean clothes. We each took one checked suitcase plus we a shared carry on rolling suitcase with just enough clothes for the 2 days pre-cruise. I generally like to pack mostly blue and white clothes for warmer climates and black and grey clothes for colder climates to make it easier to mix and match tops and bottoms. My favorite travel pieces are my J McLaughlin pants which are a thin synthetic fabric that dresses up or down and are wrinkle resistant so really nice for travel. Enjoy your cruise! 😀
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