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About ArtsyCraftsy

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Bellingham, WA
  • Interests
    lace crochet, paper crafts, music composition, PEO, cooking, collecting cookbooks (~ 4100 so far)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Regent Seven Seas, Holland America (so far)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Everywhere 😊

Recent Profile Visitors

662 profile views
  1. Here’s the schedule for Skagway. I usually just google ”(port name) cruise schedule.” https://www.skagway.org/sites/default/files/fileattachments/convention_amp_visitors_bureau/page/33137/2019_cruiseship_schedule_8.5x27.5.pdf
  2. I’ve purchased wine packages on all 3 of my HAL cruises, each on a different ship and it worked the same way all three times. I always ask to have it delivered to the room, but that doesn’t seem to play any role in how or where you select your individual bottles. When you board, there should be a card in your cabin verifying that you have the 6-bottle package at whatever cellar level you chose when you ordered it (Cellar 1, 2, or 3). I usually select Cellar 3 as it gives me the greatest flexibility of choice. At some point, you’ll select your first bottle. You can do this in the dining room on the first night and they’ll bring it right to your table. That’s what I usually do. I believe you may also request it at one if the bars (I’ve never done it that way) and I *think* they can deliver it to your cabin. If there’s wine leftover after dinner, you can ask that they store it for you (it will be marked with your cabin #), or you can have it delivered to your cabin. Another way to request a bottle for your cabin is via your concierge or butler if you’re in a Neptune or Pinnacle Suite. If you start by having the bottle delivered to your cabin and then take it to the dining room, there shouldn’t be an issue with paying a corkage fee. Whenever you ask for a bottle as part of your prepaid package, they record it, so they have a record of which bottles and how many you’ve requested/obtained so far. If you show at the dining room with an unopened bottle, they’ll check to see if it’s one that you requested/obtained earlier. I usually request a red for my cabin on the first day and replenish as needed. I also request bottles in the dining venues that I have stored from day to day. Also, if you get a bottle in the Main Dining Room and have it stored for later, you can then request it in any other dining venue Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto, etc), and they’ll retrieve it for you. If you’re so inclined, I highly recommend attending the wine tastings. It’s a great way to sample a range of available wines and also to get acquainted with your sommeliers. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  3. I live about 50 miles from the Vancouver (BC) cruise terminal and about 100 miles from either of the two Seattle cruise terminals, so I look for cruises that embark from there as much as possible. I can take Amtrak -- the train stations are in the middle of town in both cases -- and then taxi (or Uber in Seattle) to the terminal. Saves me a lot of aggravation and stress, for sure. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  4. Thanks, GrammieK -- It could be that it was the policy on this particular cruise -- short 7-day Alaska r/t out of Seattle -- with mostly families and couples -- but I did ask specifically if there was a policy that restricted solo travelers to dining solo and was told that there was. This was after 4 requests to share a table (3 dinners, 1 breakfast). I'm encouraged to read that this is NOT the norm on Oceania in general -- and if I decide to give them another try I'll be sure to book something during the normal school term and longer than 7 days. 🙂 I'm not sorry I tried them -- several friends had encouraged me to do so as I'm a bit of a "foodie" and wine enthusiast (not an expert by any means - just an avid student). And the food was indeed spectacular. It appears I may have encountered a non-normal situation due to the timing. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  5. With the exception of the smaller/older Seven Seas Navigator which has some ocean-view cabins, all cabins on all other Regent ships are balcony cabins, the smallest of which is sized about the same as HAL's Vista Suites on the Rotterdam (Regent at 301sq ft vs HAL's 294-337sq ft) or a Signature Suite (273 sq ft + on the Eurodam). As far as I can tell, the solo pricing structure applies regardless of cabin category (I've been booking a Concierge Suite on Regent -- it's the smallest size cabin but it includes a few extra perks: 1-night hotel stay pre-embarkation, laundry/pressing, earlier booking window for excursion and dinner reservations, concierge service, etc. Also, remember -- I take longer cruises -- 28+ days usually -- and that makes a big difference in comparative pricing. Oceania -- As I said before, the food on Oceania is amazing, spectacular, wonderful. And I think for families and couples, it's probably a perfectly fine cruise line/experience. For me, though, there were two major issues, one of which I hope would most likely be rectified via a refurb later this year: the ship - the Regatta - looked worn and "shabby" in all areas -- and in a Penthouse Suite, there was only a single US-standard electrical outlet in the entire cabin on the opposite side of the room from the bed/nightstand. I needed an outlet by the bed, and the butler assisted in getting one of the large heavy "transformer" gizmos with a single plug (running an extension cord from the provided outlet was not permitted). Had I know ahead of time that this would be an issue, I could have requested this before boarding. The other issue -- which may be of no consequence to anyone else, but it's a big deal for me -- was their policy of not allowing "random table sharing" in the Grand Dining Room. If a solo shows up for dinner alone, they're seated alone, no exceptions. I was told that if I wanted to share a table with other passengers, I needed to make those arrangements prior to coming to dinner and request a table for the appropriate number. I pursued this all the way to the Cruise Director level (I was told that's where such decisions are made). The only time random table sharing is allowed is in the specialty restaurants (Polo Grill and Toscana) -- due to the smaller size, they want to maximize the number of guests served at a time, so sharing tables makes sense there -- but not in the main dining room. The thing is, if I wanted to eat alone, I'd eat in my cabin. There was a "solo meet and greet" the first night, but no one else showed up for it and it was never listed again in the daily bulletin. I don't "do" bars/lounges, and my attempts to make small talk before the shows and enrichment lectures were met with stony silence -- not the friendliest folk I've encountered on my previous 4 cruises. I don't expect to be "entertained," but I also don't expect to be marginalized. Other issues were more related to the fact that it was a shorter cruise (7 days) in the summer with a lot of multi-generational families onboard. There were issues with under-supervised kids running amok creating havoc, sometimes cheered on by the various older family members who really should know better. Given the price (Oceania's not-as-generous single supplement puts them at or above Regent's price for a similar cruise), plus the fact that Oceania is "a la carte" as opposed to Regent where everything is included in the fare, I'll stick with Regent -- and Holland America, when the itinerary/pricing works out. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  6. I don't use a travel agent; I book directly with the cruise line (Regent Seven Seas). I just can't wrap my head around the idea of handing complete control over something that big to someone else to act as a go-between between me and the cruise line. I'd rather deal directly with the cruise line myself. I may be missing some perks/etc. by not using a TA, but I'm a nervous enough traveler as it is, and using a TA would only add to the stress level for me. I got most of the info re: insurance from reading Cruise Critic, including the names of two companies that seemed to have a lot of happy customers. I had such a good experience with tripinsurancestore.com that I've stayed with them for all subsequent cruises. My two policies for the world cruise are with Travelex and TravelGuard. I'm covered for 100% of the cost if I have to cancel. This will be my first world cruise. I also have a 68-day "Grand Cape Horn Adventure" on the books for late 2020 (also Regent -- starts in Los Angeles, all around South America include the Amazon, ends in Miami), and I'm getting ready to book the Regent 94-day Grand Arctic Adventure for mid 2021 - R/T from New York through the North Atlantic to Murmansk, Russia, then back around to the Baltics, and finally back home. That's the year that the insurance prices will go up for me -- I turn 70 in 2021. If my health holds out, I'll keep going. If not, I'll adopt a couple of cats and call it a day. 😉 Lana in Bellingham, WA
  7. I enjoyed Lincoln Center Stage on the Eurodam while waiting in the lines that formed nearly every night to get into the Main Dining Room. Seriously, they were quite good, but I felt kind of sorry for them as the noise from impatient passengers often drowned them out. They were gone by the time I finished dinner each night (I tended to eat early, finishing between 7:30 and 8:00). I just checked and it doesn’t look like Lincoln Center Stage has been added to the Amsterdam yet, but I’ll pay attention to the Where & When for any classical music offerings. I like most kinds of music if it’s well done, but my background is in classical music. I’m definitely looking forward to the Amsterdam this fall (35-day Incan Empires, sailing out of Seattle on Sep 23). It’s a wonderful itinerary -- an area where HAL excels -- and there’s an active roll call. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  8. I haven't been a HAL customer long enough to be able to compare the "old days" with today (earliest HAL cruise was Sep 2017), and I thoroughly enjoyed my cruises on the Amsterdam and Rotterdam (1 each -- I have another 35-day cruise on the Amsterdam this fall); not as much on the Eurodam as it was just too big, too many people, too crowded, and the food was ... OK ... MDR was fine, but the Pinnacle Grill was such a disappointment that I probably won't be booking any dinners there on my upcoming cruise. All that aside, I've pretty much switched over to Regent Seven Seas as their fare structure for solo travelers is much better that HALs, and their all-inclusive fares brings the overall price competitive with HAL for longer cruises. Again, I'm talking about their SOLO traveler pricing -- the supplement is much less than the 100% HAL charges, and with the inclusion of specialty dining, all wine/beer/alcohol/coffees/etc. plus gratuities, excursions, and Internet -- all things you have to pay extra for on HAL, the Regent fare can actually be cheaper. Add to that the ship size (500-700 passengers) and food quality (excellent) and it just works better for me. I tried Oceania this summer -- food was spectacular, but it was not a good fit for me. I'm also looking at HAL's trend toward larger ships -- if the Eurodam at 2100 passengers felt too big, there's no way I'd be comfortable on any of the Pinnacle-class ships. I'm willing to give the Maasdam a try at some point, but it's going to have to be a stellar itinerary. I'm not sure HAL knows who they're trying to target as far as market is concerned. There are a lot of us "baby boomers" that are coming into our own these days who enjoy quiet elegance and minimal silly distractions that so many other cruise lines use to attract younger passengers/families (more power to them -- it fills a niche in the market). I don't need constant entertainment, but I do appreciate an atmosphere that cherishes older passengers. I'd like to grow old gracefully, and I'd like to do some of that growing on a ship that values my business. I'm not sure HAL does. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  9. Yikes! Yeah, that kid of sucks. I have a couple more "big" cruises either currently on the books or will be booked next week, for late 2020 and mid 2021, but I have a little time before I have to worry about the insurance for those. Lana (just double checked the limits on Travelex and Travel Guard: Travelex is $50K but Travel Guard is $100K)
  10. Wendy, I had to get two separate cancellation policies for exactly that reason. Travelex and Travel Guard each cover a maximum of $50K. Since my World Cruise fare was more than that, the amount was split between the two companies: $50K from Travelex, and the remainder from Travel Guard. So I'm covered for the full amount. I don't know if this would be an option for you in Canada, though. I'm still working out the details of the medical policy. I currently have GeoBlue's Trekker annual policy that covers any and all trips of 70 days or less each. Obviously, that won't work for the world cruise, and their next policy is for ex-pats, with slightly different coverages and limits. I'm working with the guy who worked out my cancellation insurance to come up with a solution that will cover what the Trekker plan covers ($50K medical expenses; $500K evacuation to my home). Lana in Bellingham, WA
  11. Lots of questions there -- I'll try to focus just on the insurance questions. I'm currently booked on the Regent Seven Seas 2020 World Cruise (131 days) so I'm dealing with this at the moment. There are two types of insurance you need to consider: 1) Trip cancellation insurance -- what happens if, after you've paid your fare, you can't make the trip? Cruise contracts offer a sliding rebate depending on how close you are to embarkation but let's say your house burned down or you were in an accident the day before you were to leave. How do you get your money back? 2) Medical insurance -- what happens if you get sick on the ship and need medical care in the ship's medical office? Are you covered for expenses incurred onboard? How about if you have to see a doctor or go to a hospital in port -- are you covered? How about if you need to fly home for treatment? And worst-case scenario, what about if it's an emergency and you need to be medically evacuated from the ship in the middle of nowhere? A LOT depends on your particular circumstances -- your age, employment status, current insurance, etc. I'm retired and on Medicare -- Medicare doesn't cover me outside the US, so I need to carry separate medical insurance when I cruise. If you're still employed, your specific employer-funded insurance may cover you outside the country with some limits, or you may have another policy that provides some coverage. Just make sure it's enough to cover the worst-case scenario (medical evacuation from a ship can cost over $125K). Also, some credit cards have built-in travel insurance, but again, there may be limitations on total amount. World cruises tend to be pricey -- especially for the cruise lines you're considering (Viking and Oceania). The Regent world cruise is a huge investment for me -- and I want to be protected in case the worst happens. I had to split the coverage between two policies: there's usually a limit as to what a single policy will cover and my cost exceeded that limit, so ... two policies. I'll be working out the details of the medical insurance in the next month or so. The Regent world cruise includes free onboard medical -- anything they can do onboard will have no charge associated with it. So I need to make sure I'm covered for the more serious stuff. There are also some special limitations pertaining to pre-existing conditions that may cause problems -- there's a "window" within which you have to purchase your medical in order for pre-existing conditions to be covered based on when you booked your cruise. I'm well beyond that window but it shouldn't be a problem for me. There are a couple of good travel insurance companies who specialize in cruise travel that are excellent at sourcing the best policy(ies) for your specific situation. I use TripInsuranceStore and have been very happy with them. I think that's all -- sorry for the length, but as I said, I'm right in the middle of sorting all this out for my cruise next January. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  12. So there's still hope. 😊 I'll see what's possible when I talk to my RSSC guy on Wednesday. In any event, we can get together for lunch *somewhere* -- their hotel isn't far from the cruise terminal so it should be a relatively easy drive/etc. I haven't seen them in person in over 15 years although we do video chat about once a week, so it will be nice to have a chance to visit a bit while I'm "in the area." Thanks! Lana in Bellingham, WA
  13. That would be great, but given the scheduling, I don't think it's possible -- The Mariner docks in Singapore at 1:00pm on March 18. There's an "event" for the "full world cruise" guests that afternoon and evening. On March 19, we leave Singapore at 5:00pm, so I was looking at having them visit for lunch. If it doesn't work, that's OK -- we can arrange lunch somewhere close by (they're staying at the Marina Bay Sands hotel which is not far away from the cruise terminal). So we'll work something out. Thanks for the suggestion -- something to keep in mind for the future. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  14. Oh, I didn’t think of that, and it is, indeed, the beginning of a segment. I have a note to ask my RSSC cruise consultant about it on Wednesday, but I suspect you’re right.
  15. Excellent! Yes, I expected to be charged for the meal so that's no problem. I'll be talking with my RSSC cruise guy later this week (to book the 2021 Grand Arctic Adventure), so I'll ask him about getting the form. Thanks!! Lana in Bellingham, WA
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