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DougK

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  1. DougK

    Glacier Bay

    I'll totally second this post. If you're interested in wildlife, Glacier Bay has innumerable possibilities--but you have to spend the time sitting and looking. If you do, there's no telling what you'll see. On my trip last month, I saw a first for me: two moose swimming across the bay right by the ship. I had to do a double take to figure out what they were, since I totally wasn't expecting that. Otters or sea lions are much more likely...
  2. It all depends on your definition of "walkable" which really varies a lot from person to person. As TravelerThom says, the walk from the dock to the inner city in Vienna is about 2 miles, and can be rather pleasant--and like him, I also enjoyed a walk around Prater Park. Nuremberg is tougher, but still walkable for some--at least based on where we docked on our Scenic trip last fall. It was about a 3-4 mile walk to both the old town and the Nazi Documentation Center (and another couple of miles between those spots). With a full day there and pleasant weather, I chose to walk and quite enjoyed my day, but I fully understand that the idea of walking a total of 10 miles is insane to most people.
  3. I won't guarantee that this is the same for the Christmas Market cruise, but my experience last fall was that Vienna is pretty easy to get around. Scenic ran a shuttle from back and forth from the ship to the city (I think it was somewhere around Schwedenplatz)--but only after tours had concluded. If I were you, I'd sign up for the Natural History tour, but let the cruise director know that you're only going to go on the bus, and not actually tour the museum. That will give you transportation to one side of the inner city, and then you can leisurely walk around, see the sights, and eventually make your way to the shuttle pickup point on the other side of the inner city. And don't feel bad about skipping a tour. Just because it's "free" doesn't mean it's the best use of your time. I know many people religiously go on every tour, but others skip some or all. I think my wife and I only went on one tour, and we enjoyed ourselves greatly exploring on our own at our own pace. As the cruise director told me on the first day, "it's your vacation and you should do what you want to." Scenic offers included tours, but won't be offended if you skip some/all.
  4. Hmm... seems like HAL must not care all that much about this "rule," if they don't have it on their website and don't have it in materials provided to passengers. It seems like the only way a passenger would know is if they happen to read the appropriate thread on Cruise Critic, and we all know that only a small fraction of passengers are on CC. And even there, there's no statement by HAL, just a thirdhand statement that HAL once answered a question that way on another site several years ago. It may be best practice to carry on soda, but I'm hard pressed to view it as a rule unless HAL actually communicates it to its passengers.
  5. That FAQ, and the luggage tags, only mention alcoholic beverages. I've searched, and can't find any mention of non-alcoholic ones (e.g., soda and water). Given how hard it is to find anything on the HAL web site, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a rule saying that soda/water have to be carry-on, and I'm just missing it. But I'd like to see a pointer to it.
  6. Where are you seeing those rules? I can't find them.
  7. There apparently was a problem with one of the engines on the Coral Princess, which meant the ship couldn't go at normal speed. As best I know, they managed to fix the problem sometime during the cruise, as there were no more delays. And yes, I was very pleased with Jayleen's customer service. I'm quite looking forward to our trip with her a week from now.
  8. Yes, I took that quote from HAL's website, from the Know Before You Go page (https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/faq/know-before-you-go.html) under Cruise Preparation / Clothing. A very similar statement can be found in the FAQ (https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/faq.cruise-preparation.is-there-a-dress-code.html).
  9. My experience on Scenic last fall was that WiFi was way better than ocean cruises. I think there were a couple of periods where it was spotty, but overall I don't remember having any issues with it on an ongoing basis.
  10. I'm guessing that was a while ago. Orca Enterprises was sold in 2016, and I think Captain Larry has retired.
  11. There has been a steady slow change in dress codes over the last 25 years (and probably longer, but that's when I started cruising, so it's all I know). 25 years ago, there were three types of nights, called formal, informal, and casual. Formal recommended tuxedo and gown, although there was acceptance of dark suits. Informal required jacket and tie, and the requirements for casual were about the same as gala nights require now. And this dress code was required throughout the public venues of the ship in the evening. It should also be noted that there was essentially no alternative if you wanted to eat--not only were there no specialty restaurants, but there was no dinner in the buffet. Maybe you could get room service. Over the years, things have gradually relaxed, both with the merger of formal and informal (and fewer men wearing tuxedos), and with more being allowed on casual nights. Plus the dress code was limited to the dining rooms, and there became a dinner alternative in the buffet. And now the "gala" requirement is down to a collared shirt. There are some who long for the old days, and would still have you think you need to dress up. But there are others, including me, who are happy to dispense with a dress code. For those who think it's a step down, it's worth looking at which lines led the way in going casual: the deluxe, small ship lines (e.g., Azamara, Windstar, Oceania) which haven't had a jacket requirement in ages, if they ever did.
  12. This advice is long outdated. The dress requirements for Gala Nights are now pretty simple: "On Gala Nights in fine dining restaurants, collared shirts and slacks are required for gentlemen. For ladies, elegant dresses, skirts, or slacks are all acceptable." So a jacket isn't required, and it's minimal dressing up--even with packing light, you should be able to meet the requirements. So feel free to eat wherever you wish. And outside the dining areas, the dress is the same on Gala Nights as any other night. You don't need to scurry back to your room--enjoy the shows, lounges, etc.
  13. I took a look last night, and the NA unfortunately was following the map: headed west from Glacier Bay and out to sea, then south past Sitka. Oh, well.
  14. That's a pity. The Yum Yum Man will always have a soft spot in my heart, based on my last HAL cruise (a decade or so ago). We took our nieces on an Alaska cruise. Of course, my expectation was that the high points would be seeing whales and watching a glacier calve, and other natural wonders. But, as it turned out, I think the single thing they most enjoyed on the whole cruise was the Yum Yum Man (I believe his name was Iz). Kids, go figure...
  15. Is there any update on the status of the Yum Yum Man in 2019? Has he appeared on the Nieuw Statendam yet, or has he disappeared from other ships? I'm going to be on the Nieuw Amsterdam in a few weeks, and I'm hoping he'll be there...
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