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markwfpb

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  1. This seemed like what we've all been looking for (HAL to take some of the testing burden). Then I put in my zip code (San Francisco Bay Area) to find "no testing sites" within 50 miles. Then I tried my departure port (San Diego) and got the same result. Back to square one. But I assume it will work for lots of others if they have 1500 locations!
  2. If I have the beverage package and order a $15 glass of wine, does it cost me $4 or $15? (I've asked HAL and gotten two different responses!) We're also thinking of taking aboard a few bottles each, paying the $20 corkages and hopefully just keeping the bottles in our room, assuming that's allowable.
  3. Thanks to all of you for this excellent information. I think we'll stick with the bed "pushed together" and if the sofabed is just too uncomfortable (even with the foam), separate the bed into two. And we'll plan to order meals ahead of time if that's the routine. I don't think we'll pay up for a cabana but good to know it's an option. We went ahead and booked a Neptune Suite. From the videos I've seen, it looks like the deck for our cabin type (SA) has a table and chairs plus two chairs with ottomans. If that's the case, I can ask if they could be swapped out for loungers. Or maybe that's just not done - I asked for that one time in the Haven on the Jewel and it was a solid no! I'll buy a fresh set of (small) acrylic paint tubes and pack them unopened in my checked luggage. Worst case, they won't let me take them onboard. The watercolor class sounds very fun. Does HAL have daily listings of these types of classes and other activities they leave on the bed every night like other lines? I've searched for pics of them but didn't find anything. Just wondering if they have yoga, cooking demos, that type of thing. Also, are there movies shown on a big screen or on TVs in the cabins? THANKS all.
  4. Hello, I posted this in the “HAL for Dummies” thread on Monday and it’s been radio silence. Seeing as it’s now the wee hours of Sunday, thought I’d try to get some traction as a new topic so here goes - We're new to HAL, having sailed Princess, NCL and MSC (twice per line). I have a fairly good understanding of the differences between HAL and the others, but have a few specific questions. I've done searches and found bits and pieces of answers but thought it clearest to just directly ask. Looking at Nieuw Amsterdam and possibly a Neptune Suite, if that makes a difference. I've been following the various NA Alaska threads (glad she's sailing!) but these are definite newbie questions so more appropriate to this topic. 1. Are the sofabeds the old-school type with the bar that hits across your back and your head is up in the "sofa" part? OR are they the type where the seat of the sofa lifts out to form half of the bed and the back of the sofa slides down to be the other half of the bed (so you're sleeping longways)? 2. When requesting the special menus I've seen posted (both Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-Free and Indian), do you have to order the evening before or can you just order them when you sit down for the lunch or dinner? 3. Here's a super specific one - has anyone taken watercolor or acrylic paints and small canvases on board? I haven't seen that there would be a issue with it based on the HAL site's banned materials, but thought I'd ask. 4. Lastly, in general, are the pools as much of a zoo when finding a lounge chair as the other lines?! Yes, I know my mileage will vary but want to mentally prepare if that will likely be the case! Thanks for your insights.
  5. Given there's no guarantee of getting a passport back in a timely manner, I'm in a predicament - I have a passport that expires 5 months after my cruise. I'm looking at the October Panama Canal cruise. None of the ports require the 6 month rule. A few require 3 months so I'll be covered there. Would the cruise line (Holland America) still require the passport be good for 6 months or longer? And would they run my passport number at the time of booking so that I'd know I'm out of luck right way - or is it possible to be turned away at boarding?!
  6. We're new to HAL, having sailed Princess, NCL and MSC (twice per line). I have a fairly good understanding of the differences between HAL and the others, but have a few specific questions. I've done searches and found bits and pieces of answers but thought it clearest to just directly ask. Looking at Nieuw Amsterdam and possibly a Neptune Suite, if that makes a difference. I've been following the various NA Alaska threads (glad she's sailing!) but these are definite newbie questions so more appropriate to this topic. 1. Are the sofabeds the old-school type with the bar that hits across your back and your head is up in the "sofa" part? OR are they the type where the seat of the sofa lifts out to form half of the bed and the back of the sofa slides down to be the other half of the bed (so you're sleeping longways)? 2. When requesting the special menus I've seen posted (both Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-Free and Indian), do you have to order the evening before or can you just order them when you sit down for the lunch or dinner? 3. Here's a super specific one - has anyone taken watercolor or acrylic paints and small canvases on board? I haven't seen that there would be a issue with it based on the HAL site's banned materials, but thought I'd ask. 4. Lastly, in general, are the pools as much of a zoo when finding a lounge chair as the other lines?! Yes, I know my mileage will vary but want to mentally prepare if that will likely be the case! Thanks for your insights.
  7. Thanks for starting this thread - it's just what I was looking for. My partner and I are on the verge of booking on HAL for the first time. We've sailed twice each on Princess, Norwegian and MSC. And we're thinking the overall vibe will be more like MSC or a little bit of Princess, not as action packed as NCL. Quick question - is there a daily listing (printed or via the app) that details when/where the meetings are held along with other activities? Also curious - since this is 2021, are they actually still called Friends of Dorothy and not LGBTQ, etc.?! THANKS!
  8. I don’t know if the names of all involved have been released, but two have been - a couple who lives about a quarter mile from us here in Napa, CA. They sound like they were wonderful, giving people. So sad. https://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/napa-couple-killed-in-alaska-plane-crash/article_33ee0f8a-9201-5192-968e-34d3af3fa8c8.html#tracking-source=home-breaking
  9. Thanks for all the input! The chill and rain (and sleepy - or even totally asleep - ports) aren't an issue for us. So, we're going to take a wait and see approach. Sounds like any significant price drop would happen after the 60 day out final payment and more likely, a couple weeks after that.
  10. Thanks to you both for those insights. Sounds like NCL wouldn't just bail on Alaska and hightail it to the Caribbean. (But I do wonder where the Encore will be between its final 10/23 arrival in Seattle and first 11/14 departure from Miami since the Panama Canal was canceled) Given that only one(!) of the twenty four cabins we're interested in are booked, I may continue to just monitor prices. I know they don't do huge discounts, but seems like prices may budge a bit since we're already less than three months away.
  11. After two other cruises we booked for October '21 were each canceled (Panama Canal and Hawaii POA), we've been eyeing the Encore to Alaska. We're feeling the fatigue (as most have0 watching our cruise plans evaporate so have been hesitant to book again till they actually start sailing (and prices have been steady). The cruise is less than three months away and the cabins we've been looking at (Haven 2 bdrm with either balcony or large balcony) just aren't getting booked. In fact, only one cabin shows as occupied out of dozens. A quick glance at other cabins around the ship show a ton of them avail as well. So - I know anything can happen these days, but historically - does NCL simply cancel a cruise if it will be half empty? I get that they have staff, port commitments, etc., but wondering if it's likely they'd cut the Alaska season short by two or three weeks and move on?! Thanks for any experience you have in this situation.
  12. I just booked Pride of America for October '21 and did a fairly extensive search on suite cabins. It's a super expensive cruise but with the current discounts and an extra 10% off from a cancelled cruise, I figured now was the time to go for it. I found that youtube is your friend. So many passengers have shot short videos of their cabins, you can see nearly any cabin you want - or a duplicate one next door or on the other side of the ship (refer to deck plans). Pay close attention to where the windows face. Some have a view of the deck from the side not straight on. There are even a couple porthole views which are fun but I'd prefer a full door view. From what I found, many of the balconies are "enclosed" like the old days. There are some with huge decks that extend way, way out. So if you spend your time in the cabin, your view is of the deck, not the scenery. But if you'll be outdoors more, the big deck would be amazing. Some even have hot tubs, but not on deck 13. In the end, I opted for a cabin with a small deck. Now we'll see if she actually sails!
  13. Wow WillCruiseForMoney, I would not want to fly through SLC and sit through a layover just to be farther away from Honolulu for the final flight!
  14. Thanks sugcarol and don't-use-real-name. After more research and what you've pointed out (and since this is for one of those big birthdays), I think we'll do our own plane tix. When I saw the NCL air price, it took me a bit to realize that was the average for the two passengers (with one being free) not their price for the one paying passenger - so the airfare didn't seem to be such a bargain!
  15. I'm close to booking the Pride of America for mid-October. Circling back to the original poster's point about price, I'm wondering about the flights that NCL offers (currently 2nd passenger flies free). Flying to Honolulu isn't cheap of course but if I'll be in a middle seat on an indirect flight, I'll factor two full airfares into my overall decision. If people do use NCL's flights, is there a way to "game the system" - figure out which airport to fly from with the greatest change of a direct flight? I'm in the SF bay area so have SFO, OAK, even SMF within a couple hours. Thanks for an insight!
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