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Ken the cruiser

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Everything posted by Ken the cruiser

  1. Has anyone heard when HAL is going to post their Summer and Fall 2021 cruises for Europe and the Transatlantics?
  2. I wanted to give you all an update on the food in the MDR and the evening entertainment so far on the first 13 days of our cruise. First, the food in the Maasdam MDR has been great every night and we have found it to be just as good if not better than the other cruises lines we have recently sailed on. As far as the evening entertainment in the main theater, it has also be great every night! No exceptions! Over these first 13 days, we have had 3 comedians, a mentalist and a variety of singers, all of which have been top notch! But I must say Patrick McMahon, a guitarist and singer, that was on stage tonight from Western Australia was simply fantastic!! So, with our cruise only a third of the way over, we have no problem saying HAL is definitely hitting a home run so far with us regarding the entertainment, the in-depth EXC lectures and the food on the Maasdam. What’s also interesting is that there are no art auctions or Peter Maxx presentations, BBC Earth, Club HAL or music walk venues anywhere to be found on the Maasdam. However, they do have a Lincoln Stage type setup in the Explorers Lounge in the evening for those that enjoy classical music. In other words from our perspective, it’s a lot like the HAL we remember back when we first started cruising with them in 2012.
  3. Went on a 7 hour tour today on a crocodile safari and had a great time! Saw some crocodiles in the wild as well as several kinds of birds and a wallaby. We humans are so easily entertained! Tomorrow we arrice at Townsend where we’ll be on a 7 hour tour to a UNESCO World Heritage Rain Forest. Hopefully we’ll see all kinds of cool animals and plants.
  4. For example we went to a talk last night given by one of the guest lecturers about the indigenous people in the northern tip of Australia just south of PNG which was quite interesting.
  5. Something tells me the list I posted are just some of the planned talks. With 14 sea days on this 30 day cruise, with an average of 4-5 talks on each sea day, I’m sure there will be some cultural lectures thrown in there along the way. At least that’s the hope. The movies so far on our first 2 sea days to get us warmed up for the adventure have been Australia and Crocodile Dundee. Both were fun to see again!
  6. We did the HAL 22 day one on the Zaandam in Jan 2018 and were simply wowed by all the various animal life, not only around the Antarctica peninsula but also on the Falkland Islands as well as in SA. We just wanted to do it one more time before they stop the “drive by” cruises in the Antarctica and also to Greenland starting Jan 2022.
  7. We were booked on the Jan 2021 Antarctica cruise, but jumped ship over to the Princess Coral when we found out X only sails for 2 days in Antarctica waters whereas Princess and HAL sail for 4 days there.
  8. Thanks! We figured this is our one big go around Australia plus we had a bunch of OBC, so we have 8 hour HAL tours booked in practically every port except Komodo Island. The other nice thing about this cruise is there are 1-2 sea days between ports to recover from those long excursions! It’s funny, we did’t used to like a lot of sea days. But the older we get, the more we are starting to appreciate them on longer cruises!
  9. Thanks John! That sounds like another cool lecture to look forward to! Just came from an evening lecture on Big Birds which was very interesting as well.
  10. We noticed that too as it would be nice to hear about Australia history and aboriginal culture at some point on the cruise. As a side note Dr Peter Carey, whom I believe was the first Director of the In-depth EXC program, left the ship in Sydney and Chris Cook, a naturalist, is now the new Director of the program. In the first Storytelling Meeting we went to with Chris last week, he did mention Dr Carey was retiring, so I guess you could say we were on one of the first cruises Dr Carey was on promoting the future Maasdam In-depth EXC program (Antarctica, Jan 2018, on the Zaandam) and his last on the Maasdam (Auckland to Sydney on the Maasdam). He was definitely one impressive guy that knew his stuff! I still remember him saying on the first day we boarded the Maasdam when we saw him by chance on the promenade that he was upset that HAL is taking the “In-depth” out of the EXC name and implementing it fleet wide. Maybe these more nature-based lectures and Port-to-Table discussions under its new management as of this cruise are the beginning of the new “more general’ EXC program. I’m not complaining, as the lectures have so far been very interesting on our circumnavigation cruise, but rather just stating an observation.
  11. Here is a list of the lectures that are scheduled to be provided on this circumnavigation cruise.
  12. Had a great time on our excursion to the Blue Mountains on transition day today as the weather was beautiful. Of course a cruise out of Sydney would not be the same without a picture of the Sydney Opera House.
  13. Well, we did some searching on the HAL website last night on Club Orange and found the Sep 2019 news release which pretty clearly outlines the OC perks. So if you’re interested in the details, you may want to read that news release if you haven’t already done so. But for us as 4 stars who like booking vista suites, we think we’ll pass.
  14. I’m hoping the in-category cabin discount would rather be where you could book the OV cabin you wanted, but only pay the price that is equivalent to the cheapest cabin in the category. For example if the price difference was $15 pp/day, then you would only be paying a net price difference of $10 per day for the other CO perks. Then if your loyalty status was between 1-3 stars, it may be worth it. But we agree with you, at 4/5 star, it still wouldn’t be.
  15. And your point with regards to this thread if in fact HAL does remove the hand sanitizers from everyday life on their cruise ships is?
  16. That’s fine. People, as on this thread, can come up with all kinds of reasons for either using or not using hand sanitizers as has been proven by many threads on this subject. And that’s fine. The bottom line for us, we’re gone if HAL makes the fleet-wide decision to put them away until a noro outbreak. Any BTW we have never cruised on any cruise line in the last 8 years that didn’t have sanitizers available onboard, so I would like to know what cruise lines Donald says CDC studied to come to the conclusion he referenced they did.
  17. If you book fixed seating in the MDR, there would be no dining perk other than the special entree or dessert that would change daily. At breakfast in the MDR there would be a CO express line you can use. The only other additional perk I can see, and I don’t know if it is even real yet, is the in category upgrade perk which I don’t believe applies to cabins with suite in the name. I will need to see the T&C before making a judgement on that perk. Other than those I’m not seeing any others, but remember it won’t be implemented on the Maasdam until tomorrow and we haven’t received any info in the cabin about CO yet.
  18. Give me a break. So what they are saying is people are stupid. So cruise lines like HAL save some money and put those sanitizer dispensers away until a certain percentage of the stupid people start showing up at the Dr’s office complaining of being sick. Then and only then strategically place them around the ship so as to scare folks into washing their hands. The day HAL starts invoking that practice is the day we stop booking HAL cruises.
  19. We’re on the Maasdam from now for the next 32 days and the hand sanitizers are all over the place.
  20. Power strip update. Talked with our steward and the power strips are NOT in every cabin. Then we talked with some nice folks at breakfast who are in an OV and when they asked their steward about the shortage of plugs in their cabin, a power strip with the HAL logo suddenly appeared the next day. So if you find your cabin has an insufficient number of plugs like they did, you may want to mention something to your steward.
  21. Believe it or not there is a power strip with a HAL logo and 5 available ports on the desk. One port is used by an extension cord they have plugged into it to power the frig next to the sofa. Not sure if it’s used in all cabins for this, but it has come in very handy for us. I just looked around and there is just one plug, used by the extension cord, and one over the sink in the bathroom. That’s it and there are no USB ports. I’ll ask the steward if the extension cord is in every room later on this morning.
  22. Travel router placement hint. All of a sudden today the Maasdam WiFi link to our router kept jumping in and out, causing intermittent connection issues. Up until now we had not had any connectivity problems storing the travel router on the counter above the tv. To make a long story short this new connectivity issue disappeared when we moved the router closer to the hallway door. Just another tidbit in case you’re bringing one and run into connectivity issues.
  23. I realize that. But I was referring to the specific perks that come along with purchasing the CO package. There isn’t really all that much incentive for us at the 4 star level because we already get most of the “priority” stuff that also comes with CO. We also usually book a vista suite (so no category discount there) and an early fixed seating table for 2 in the MDR (so no CO express line needed). Now if we booked an OV and could get the most expensive OV cabin for the cheapest fare in the same OV category, that may be an incentive if it made a big enough dent in the $25 pp/day CO rate. And if we weren’t 4 star it might be nice to get those few extra priority perks, especially if there are multiple tender ports like the cruise we’re on now.
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