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About AlexanderIII

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. Two questions: (1) I read somewhere there is live piano music in the Ocean Bar? Can somebody provide some info, when does the pianist play, how is the music, can you hear well or you need to sit closer to teh piano, etc.? (2) Impressions about the World Stage shows? Read reviews saying productions are so-so. An curious whether you agree, disagree, why. Thanks in advance to anybody who can provide more info.
  2. Fellow cruisers, I booked a cruise on the Nieuw Statendam (NS) in December. My new girlfriend and I are in our early 50s. This is her first cruise, my sixth. When I booked the trip, I reasoned the NS is a new ship and assumed it must be an improvement over other Holland America ships. I like Holland America for being classy but not arrogant, offering a calmer, quieter experience. My last cruise on the somewhat smaller Nieuw Amsterdam (NA) was very good. The atmosphere on the NA was subdued and I felt the ship needed a slight "party buzz" (just a little, nothing Carnival like) and also felt what the ship offered in entertainment was just enough. The NA's elegance and other elements of the cruise made up for that slight gap in entertainment. Overall, I love the NA and would cruise again in an instant! However, since I made the booking on the NS, I read reviews that were not quite as praising of the ship. In particular, passengers said entertainment was lacking, and some said it was less than that on the NA. The following four criticisms from experienced cruisers caught my eye: - One said Holland America did away with Broadway-like shows, and whatever they replaced them with was sub-par: not enough and not quite entertaining. - Another wrote there were not enough music venues. The two main venues -- the BB King and the Rolling Stones -- were crowded since many passengers would tend to congregate there, thus lessening the experience. - A third complained about the music played in the back of the ship, or anywhere else for that matter, as not being lively. - A fourth complained the NS felt too "plain" (I guess he meant lacking in elegance) and worse, there was practically nothing to do on ship. This is a long way of saying I am concerned. I want to give the NS a fair chance, but must admit the reviews have made me nervous. I suppose I can enjoy a beautiful ship even if there is nothing to do on it, but I am coming with a new girlfriend and hope for at least some "buzz." Can anyone please share their experiences with respect to entertainment on the NS? Thanks in advance.
  3. Hi fellow cruisers! I frequently see good deals to Florida/Bahamas from Baltimore -- the most convenient port some 45 min. away from my home -- on the Grandour of the Seas. Let me preface this post by saying I am a 50-year-old man of relatively modest means and price is very important to me. But so is the ship. I now plan to treat at least 4 of my aunts and uncles on a cruise together with my girlfriend, and need an honest assessment of what should I expect on the Grandour. My ideal ships are mid-to-large, or large newer elegant ships with all the bells and whistles (say Celebrity Silhouette or Anthem of the Seas). But those kind of ships I can not always afford so I have to make compromises. In particular, I am concerned that the Grandour is: (1) Worn out (2-3 years or so before retirement) -- outer appearance, lounge chairs, carpets, venues, etc. (2) The quantity and quality of entertainment -- which can be a deal killer. (3) The staterooms are not as big and functional. (4) The variety and quality of the food. (5) Activities on the ship and number of venues. (6) Ship stability (78,000 tonns). In other words, I want to avoid a "motel" experience packaged as a "hotel" experience. Perhaps it is harsh how I am approaching the opportunity to cruise on the Grandour, but something tells me to seek more detailed opinions of others before I treat at least 5 people to a cruise and feel not happy with the experience. Thanks in advance for reading this request and potentially answering it.
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