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gjkov

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Everything posted by gjkov

  1. We’ve also had no problem with husband’s Cpap on the ships. Convenient outlet right next to the bed and no adapter needed. We asked our TA to request distilled water and it was waiting in our cabin on arrival.
  2. We’ve really enjoyed your commentary and photos. And appreciate the fair and balanced review. Thanks for sharing! Safe travels to you two. I’m sure Gucci will be thrilled to have you home!
  3. TC you are spoiled 😀 And C suites on Mariner are PH. We love Mariner and find the E and D suites (we like Concierge benefits) to be perfectly acceptable size wise. But like many others prefer the shower only to tub/shower.
  4. Can we expect the same kind of weather and seas for the same itinerary in November?
  5. We have our first Princess Cruises coming up this year. How do we know if our trips use the Ocean Medallion?
  6. Spoiled dogs indeed...there’s no better kind! Here’s our Milo enjoying an escape from MN winter at the gulf coast. Off topic I know....
  7. The only Regent cruise port I see is Tirana. It is the capital and largest city in Albania. I’ve never been there by cruise ship, but just to visit our daughter who spent two years in Albania with the Peace Corp. The capital city was only beginning to be transformed in the early 1990’s, but from contacts she still has there, we understand it’s become quite vibrant. Tirana is not on the coast, but about an hour from the port of Durres. And my understanding is the roads have improved greatly over the last 15 years! The National History Museum would be a great place to visit to understand the turbulent history of the country. There’s also a rich archeological history in Durres, so if you don’t want to travel far, that might be an interesting choice. I also see there’s possibly an excursion to the town of Kruja. We weren’t there, but the small towns surrounding the capital are generally full of delightful and interesting people. And tourism is a very important part of the recovering economy of the country.
  8. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and advice! We’ve booked the French Balcony cabin closest to mid ship on the Violin Deck (325), while our friends have the BA cabin next door. So we’ll be able to see and experience them both.
  9. Has anyone stayed in both C (French Balcony) and BB (Outside Balcony) cabins? While subjective do you believe the extra space of a BB cabin is worthwhile? Does the stated square footage include the outdoor balcony? Violin vs Cello deck? Location on the deck? Port or Starboard? We’ll be doing a Christmas Market cruise on the Danube, our first on a river ship. So any information or guidance about cabin selection is greatly appreciated. Judy
  10. At the risk of comparing anything on a non-luxury line on the Regent boards, we sailed for the first time on a Holland America this fall and they had a great venue, Lincoln Center Stage. A wonderful quintet played a variety of classical music which we enjoyed every night after dinner. They also had jazz, blues, rock and roll, sing along piano bar, solo piano for easy listening as well as the main stage shows. There was something for everyone! We enjoyed the musical offerings on Regent, but would very much enjoy if classical music was an option.
  11. I agree with this wholeheartedly! There are so many wonderful coffees and everyone should drink what they enjoy in the way they enjoy it. We enjoy many coffees from around the world, but current favorite is a medium roast from Kenya. In Kenya nearly all coffee beans go through a double fermentation process. Makes a very smooth brew.
  12. Great photos Jackie! You have to go to neighboring capital city St. Paul for good Mexican food. Minneapolis is pretty ho hum for Mexican, though many other awesome restaurants! I don’t think you’ll find any good Mexican at the airport. But if you’re in concourse E, pick up pastries at The Salty Tart. I don’t know what airline you’re flying, but the Delta lounges aren’t bad at MSP. Certainly much better than they used to be. And I’ve heard good things about the Escape Lounge for AmEx Platinum folks, though I can’t speak from personal experience about that one. There’s still some construction happening, but there’s been some other very nice changes to the airport in general over the last year. I was favorably impressed when there last in October. Enjoy your last last couple days!
  13. Love the Country Fair photos. So much fun! Regarding turkey...Jackie I agree about making a whole bird and not just the breast. We have both white and dark meat lovers in our family, so not really an option anyway. But flavor wise it makes a huge difference! And if you really want flavorful poultry, roast any whole bird breast side down. You won’t get a “bring to the table to carve” quality, but much more most and delicious meat. Too bad you won’t have more time in Minneapolis you could enjoy some good Mexican food. We have a large Latino population in MN. And as a result, any number of wonderfully authentic Mercados and Taquerias. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
  14. I’m just catching up. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! We live just West of Minneapolis and while it’s pretty chilly, there’s no snow on the ground and outlook is no snow before you stop in our fine city (or at least the airport). Hope the seas have calmed and you enjoy smooth sailing the rest of your trip.
  15. As I pulled a laundry mark tag off a T-shirt that I missed on the ship I thought I’d like to add a thought to my review about the laundry service on Zuiderdam. It was wonderful and at $77 for unlimited laundry the entire, was an incredible bargain! I sent out laundry nearly everyday and it was always returned by the next day (a couple times later the same day). But I told DH to not get too used to such beautifully pressed shirts because that would not continue beyond the ship. Knowing what I do now, I would certainly scale back my incessant overpacking.
  16. We do the same. But with enough in the carry on for several days, just in case. We’ve been very fortunate to have never had luggage problems (knock on wood) in 40+ years of travel, but you never know. I always breathe a sigh of relief to see our checked bags, do a little happy dance inside and go shopping for some souvenirs.
  17. Having been in both a junior suite on RC and just off a Signature suite on HAL I can tell you they are very similar. I would rate the Signature suite just a bit nicer, perhaps slightly bigger. The bathroom is bigger, with double sinks and both individual shower and tub with shower. The suite was very comfortable and well appointed. There is not a walk in closet in the Signature suites, but three large reach in closets, two with full hanging space and one with shelves. 6 fairly narrow drawers in the vanity and two nice size drawers in the desk.
  18. Because I need to still do some work when traveling, we purchased the premium package for $189 for our recent (October) 11 night cruise. DH and I shared the package, which meant only one of us could be online at a time, but that worked well for us. We rarely experienced any problems with the speed or connectivity. Occasionally during “high usage” mid day times on sea days. It was certainly slower than our service at home, but that’s to be expected with any satellite service. I was able to email, upload and download documents with minimal issue. DH did some video streaming and reported it acceptable as well. Beyond that we found the complimentary HAL app to be very nice! It has a chat feature to allow you to communicate with your travel companions (or anyone onboard) without internet access. Also access to a few internet sites, link to dining (times, menus, etc), and “What’s Happening” which was basically a digital version of the daily schedule. I found myself using this feature often.
  19. We’re just off Zuiderdam and while I agree there were both fancy and more casual dress on a Gala Night, it definitely skewed to the fancy. There were some tuxes, many nice suits or sport coat and slacks on men and many women dressed in beautiful attire. We enjoy dressing for dinner on the ship, so we were glad to see some glamour, but not alienation of those who chose to dress down a bit. And for those who didn’t want to engage in a Gala, there was always Lido or room service options.
  20. My DH and I just arrived home from our first HAL cruise, Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale on Zuiderdam. We’ve been land travelers for many years, and only recently started cruising. This is cruise #3...the first a multigenerational Alaska Cruise on Royal Caribbean and the second a transatlantic on Regent. Obviously two very different experiences, but both good for the audiences we were traveling with. The HAL cruise added a new dimension to our cruise experiences. All in all we had a very good time. It was difficult not to compare the cruise lines and respective experiences at least a little, but we tried to look at the new cruise line and ship for their own merits. The service was excellent...from start to finish...in every venue! The crew appeared to be genuinely happy to be there and their inevitable response of “my pleasure” seemed genuine. A number of crew members (beyond our cabin stewards and MDR waiters) got to know our names and greeted us warmly whenever we saw them. That made for a more personal experience. Our Signature Suite was lovely, spacious, well appointed and always taken care of by our wonderful stewards. We were especially impressed by the number of outlets and USB ports. More than enough for our purposes. The separate shower was pretty tight, but tub shower was nice. We both liked the double sinks, bath amenities and huge bath towels! I liked the vanity for doing my hair and make up. The balcony was very spacious, though the weather was too cool most of the trip to make much use of it. The food ranged from acceptable to very good. We enjoyed the dinner experience in the dining room most evenings, but were happy there was a casual venue at the Lido, on a couple nights we just felt like having a quick bite. We enjoyed coffee and fruit each morning in our room, followed by breakfast some days at the Lido and others in the dining room. Both were good, with plenty of choices. Lunch was either at Lido or Dive In. The burgers at DI were amazing! And the salad bar was fresh, with so many delicious choices. I also loved the made to order pasta and DH enjoyed the carved meats. We both loved all the delicious breads! If we had one food complaint it would be the temperature of food in the dining room at times. It wasn’t always as hot as it should be. One thing I liked very much was the crew in Lido serving most of the food. Many less hands handling utensils! And much of what was self serve was already plated. Entertainment was quite good, with many different venues for different tastes. We most enjoyed Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard. Excellent musicians in both! The main stage shows were hit or miss for us. We loved the Planet Earth production! The Zuiderdam dancers/singers were sometimes very good, sometimes a little off. We enjoyed some movies and especially the BBC Planet Earth documentaries. The screening room was great! But you needed to arrive early because it usually filled up. We missed having a lecturer....DH especially likes that. The interdenominational church service on a Sunday at sea was so well attended we had to bring in more chairs. Two ministers on board did a great job with the service. I’ve read comments from those who don’t like the changes in the Crow’s Nest. But we thought it was a warm and inviting space, though it could get very crowded on sea days. But since there were so many public spaces, we never lacked for a place to sit, read or just watch the world go by. The interactive maps in Explorer were fun and we often saw them being used. Gale force winds forced us to miss the port at Charlottetown PEI, which was disappointing. But we appreciated that the captain put the safety of the passengers first. We liked his daily reports but appreciated that there were not announcements continuously throughout the day like there were on Royal Caribbean. We enjoyed a Q and A with the captain as well as a couple personal interactions and found him friendly, humorous and above all, capable. The cruise director Sabine was very personable and approachable. And her staff seemed to follow her lead. We took a few HAL excursions and did our own thing in a couple other ports. The excursions were very well done, with excellent guides. Perhaps we were fortunate in that regard. I’d highly recommend “Intimate Look at Acadia National Park” in Bar Harbor. We appreciated that there was generally some form of shuttle transportation in most ports for those who wanted to explore on their own. Based on this experience we wouldn’t hesitate to sail HAL again. Judy
  21. What’s App has always worked well for us, on several different cruise lines. We’re sailing for the first time with HAL Oct 13 and I imagine it will work the same. Great for text and phone calls. You just have to have the app on your parent’s phone.
  22. I’m also wondering about anyone’s success with the “Best Price Guarantee”? I’ve just submitted a request after finding a lower priced tour that appears to be identical to the HAL tour we booked at Prince Edward Island. We’ll see what happens. I suspect there will be some reason why it isn’t exactly the same. But we might be surprised....
  23. I have limited experience since our upcoming cruise is our first on HAL. But after we booked through our TA, I went to the website menu, “already booked” and then “manage my booking”. Once you are registered you can login and choose “Book flights and travel” and choose your flights through Flight Ease. Payment was made through our TA at final payment.
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