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TAD2005

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  1. My wife and I are currently on the Koningsdam. This is our first HAL cruise, we found the ship to be very beautiful and the service to be very good.

     

    Of the 10+ cruises my wife and I sailed previously (ranging from the 40k to 230k tons, new to 15+ year old ships), we had never been sea sick before. However, we've been sea sick everyday this cruise!!

     

    We sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale on Friday, with a sea day on Saturday. We stopped at Grand Turk yesterday and at San Juan today. When we looked out at the sea, the sea was a bit rough but does not seemed to be that much worse than in some of our other cruises. But for this cruise, we felt the waves much more. I was having trouble on the treadmill and elliptical and the ship kept rocking back and forth.

     

    Though the ship is around 99k tons but as the Koningsdam is a new ship, I would expect the stabilizer technology to be at least as good as the other new ships (we've sailed in 4 different new ships the last couple of years).

     

    Maybe we are just unlucky for this cruise or there's something different about the Koningsdam?

     

    Stabilizers only reduce the side-to-side rolling. They do nothing for the pitching when the ship is climbing over swells. But when stabilizers are deployed, they cause a lot of drag and increase fuel consumption to keep the same speed. However, at this time of year, the Caribbean is usually like a bathtub. We just completed a 21 day circle Caribbean cruise on the Oosterdam, and the seas were like glass. The swells are usually describes as wavelets, maybe 2-4 ft seas. A good way to check for stability is to look at your glass of water at the dinner table. If it is sitting there, dead still, then the fluid in your inner ear canals are not moving either, and your queasiness is not being physically induced. Not being on the K-Dam, however, I cannot judge what you were experiencing.

  2. Someone posted on our roll call that she had read that HAL has a Black and White Ball on New Years. Does anyone know if this is true? I haven't seen anything regarding this anywhere. I'm thinking that maybe she read a very old post, but don't know for sure. Of course, I'm hoping that's not the case because I had not planned on taking a gown for our New Year's cruise.

     

    Not sure about New Years, but some HAL ships still have B & W balls that were not announced before the cruise. On a trans-Atlantic in October 2015, on one of the sea days they announced a B & W ball. We had no prior information that it would occur. It started around 10:00 and went until 1:00am, which is amazing for a HAL ship. Some guests were formally dressed, some not. It didn't seem important, everyone enjoyed themselves.

  3. Just off the Nieuw Amsterdam this Sunday. Had our first aft cabin, 4180. We had booked a guarantee balcony and that is what we were assigned. We really liked it! From VH to VB category, worked for me! My perception was that the interior of the cabin was a little larger than a standard balcony cabin. We didn't mind looking at the wake nor did we mind feeling the side to side motion, in fact my husband said it was like being rocked to sleep. Found the location to be soothing and peaceful when at sea and interesting when we were in port watching the dock activity. We liked that the dining room was just below and easy to get to, and didn't find it too far to walk to the front of the ship either.

     

    We just booked a 21 day Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale Panama Canal cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam, in your cabin 4180. Would you possibly have any pictures of the cabin and balcony ?

    We just got off of the Oosterdam, 21 days in cabin 4174 (similar location to 4180 on the NA) and we loved it. Compared to standard veranda cabins, there was an extra 4-5 ft between the bed and the desk and sofa. Also, the balcony was around 8-10 ft deep, enough room to have 2 full lounge chairs, 2 regular chairs and a small table. There was about a ceiling 40% coverage, and the rest was open. The best part of deck 4 stern cabins, is when you stand at the railing and look down, all you see is water. You are not peering onto the balconies of the decks below, like you do on deck 5 and up. There was an ever so slight vibration, but only when maneuvering out of port. That is understandable because the azipods are directly under you and they are being turned to move the ship laterally away from the dock. Once under way, no sense of motion at all. If we can get a Neptune aft wrap, wonderful. If not, a deck 4 aft on deck 4 is our favorite.

  4. Good idea. Better idea: NEVER have a debit card. I can see no positives, only negatives. If one can afford to go on a cruise, one should not need to have a debit card. I was head of an organization where young members had debit cards...probably all they could get. A hotel made a mistake and they all had their cards double charged and invalidated. Debit cards, in my experience, should only be used by those who cannot pay their bills in full each month.

     

    We don't use debit cards for cruising, but we have one for another source of cash, but not while traveling. However, there are plenty of people who were financially killed by the severe recession, layoffs, real estate bubble bursting, etc, and they are just getting back on their feet. A debit card may be the only thing they have. They should not be looked down upon for using a debit card. If they can comfortably handle the expenses of a cruise, no one should belittle them for using whatever financial payment methods they have at their disposal. I'm for everyone experiencing cruising, however they want to pay for it.

  5. We strangely had our CC's refused while in St. Thomas this last cruise. We checked with the bank while on the ship and the bank said there was nothing wrong with them. When we got home they worked just fine. Have no answer why they didn't work.

     

    When I go on a cruise, I always give my bank the list of countries I will be in and the dates. He makes exceptions in my record so that if my card is swiped in a foreign country, the CC company does not block further use of the card. Because of the rampant cloning of credit cards, and identity theft, banks will block further use of your card unless you inform them in advance of your travel plans. Even though St Thomas and Puerto Rico are part of the US, you are still out of the continental US and CC companies get antsy when they see a charge coming in from those areas.

  6. Just about any portable electronic device built in the last 20 years is designed for 100 volts to 240 volts. So, as long as you have the right plug adapter, your device can plug into the flat blade (US Style) or round prong (European) outlets. I always bring an adapter from European to US adapter and an extension cord for my CPAP machine, which will run on any voltage, including 12 volts DC. I use the 220 volt desk outlet for the CPAP and keep the 110 volt outlets for my laptop charger. Unless you have a real antique electronic device, no step-down transformer is needed. HAL provides a 220 volt hair drier.

  7. We have found the Signature Beverage Package (SBP) to be well worth the cost for cruises of 28 days or less. On the really long voyages, such as your 54 day cruise, it might get to be too much.

    You know the drill..... you're on vacation, and for the first couple of weeks, you pound down 7 or 8 drinks a day. (for the SBP, anything over 7 drinks a day and you are drinking free). As the long cruise settles in, you have all-day shore excursions and you slow down on the drinks. Near the last week or so, you have gotten back to the same routine you do at home. We did a 28 day Med/Trans-Atlantic with Explore-4 and a 21 day Oosterdam Caribbean cruise with the SBP. After totaling our drink consumption from the final bill, we made out great with the SBP. Each of the 2 cruises had us well over the total cost of the SBP. Naturally, if you get it with Explore-4, the SBP is figured into your cruise price. Sometimes it is a wash, sometimes it is cheaper to buy it outright.

  8. We just got off of the Oosterdam for 21 days around the whole Caribbean. We did get the new, much condensed breakfast menu/door tag.

    We never used the right side of the menu where they have the 5 selections. We ordered from the left side, and wrote in whatever we wanted. I ordered hot oatmeal with brown sugar, sausage patties and hot cakes, sliced fruit and berries, chocolate milk, sliced bananas for my cereal. and other specialties. We always received exactly what we ordered, and the room service guy always checked each item with me when he delivered it. Maybe write-ins are OK on some of the ships, the Oosterdam sure allowed it and it was great !!

  9. I was on for the /western portion. Due to Noro we waited in the terminal for a long, long time. I only ate in the MDR and couldn't get waited on. Breakfast was great on Lido but hard to find a place to sit. Lunch and dinner on Lido wasn't so good. Everything tasted like water except the prime rib which was very good. A large group heard me tell the chef the food had little flavor and they all agreed. I cancelled trips to 2 specialty restaurants due to this. I didn't want to pay a premium and have water.

     

    I think you referring to the Nov 18th 7 day cruise. This thread's OP was for the Nov 25 cruise for 21 days. We had no boarding delays on Nov 25, and there was no Noro problems on the entire cruise. We ate lunch in the Lido each of the 21 days and always found a few yummy things to eat. Great variety. Our table in the MDR was on deck 3, fixed dining, and our waiter was excellent, always there for us and he knew exactly what we liked (after a few days). You must have been in Open Seating dining on deck 2. Service there is occasionally slow while they wait for the table to fill up. That's why we always pick late seating, fixed.

    Referring to the other post that had toilet problems on the night that they shut down the vacuum system (in the early hours of the morning), we had no problems. We were in the stern of the ship on deck 4.

  10. What is so urgent?

     

    HAL made an error. They are correcting it. Last resort is to challenge the charge on your credit card. Hardly a biggie.

     

    If you used a debit card or a low limit credit card, HAL's double charging could prevent you from paying your bills and causing some charges to be declined until this gets sorted out. Not every guest is running around with an unlimited Amex card. This could be a "biggie" to some folks.

  11. I think the point made about a ship being a target vs safer individual travel is a good one.

     

    I believe that a ship our tour is just as much at risk at some other Med ports as it is in Turkey.

     

    We have no issue with individual travel in Turkey. We feel that it is as safe as travel to most other European cities and as safe as travel to any large city in the US.

     

    We do not wear blindfolds. Terrorism can strike anywhere. New York and Boston proved that. As did London. And it is not only terrorists. Recent history has shown that home grown 'nut bars' can do as much random damage/murders as can organized terrorists.

     

    Yes, terrorism can happen anywhere, anytime. But saying that you have similar chances of being involved in a terrorism strike in Turkey as in New York is ignoring the odds. Turkey borders Syria, and even in Ankara or Istanbul, you are only hours away by car from ISIS held territory. And, there's a hell of a lot more of them in relative close proximity. So, just by sheer numbers and proximity, a random terrorist attack would be much more likely in Turkey or even Europe, than in the western hemisphere. That's why bookings for individual tourism and cruises in the Med area have plummeted, and a HAL future cruise consultant told us on a very recent cruise that HAL is pulling some of their ships out of the Med, and scheduling them elsewhere in 2017.

     

    Yes, the odds of a terrorism attack where you may be touring is extremely rare, but so is catching Ebola, unless you are touring western sub-Sahara Africa, where is was rampant a few years ago.

  12. We were on the Oosterdam from Nov 25 thru Dec 16. My wife's b-day was right in the middle of the cruise, so I wanted to pre-book, online, a Pinnacle Grill dinner to insure we would get that specific date. I did so and was told by Ship's Services that we would receive our 25% 3-star Mariner discount posted to our onboard account after we had our dinner.

    I waited a few days after the dinner, and finally visited the front desk, because I didn't see the credit. They said the credits would be applied to the credit card I used to book the dinners online. I said that was was not what Seattle told me. They would refer this to the Matre'd of the Pinnacle. I questioned him, and he basically said that the 25 % and 50 % Mariner discounts only applied if you booked your dinner while onboard. You were pretty much out of luck if you booked online. I again complained to the front desk, citing what I was told by Seattle. Two days later, I saw the credits appear on my account, and the front desk told me that Seattle told them to apply the credits to my account, and that they will soon have their website setup to apply the Mariner credits when you book online, eliminating all of that back and forth verification between the ship and Seattle. So, check for your Mariner discounts and pay no attention to the Matre'd, at least on the Oosterdam.

  13. Istanbul???

     

    The Russian diplomat was apparently shot during a speech in an art gallery in Ankara.

     

    Ankara is the capital of Turkey.

     

    Cruise ships would find it challenging to dock in Ankara there since it is not a port city.

     

    A cruise ship, docked at Kusadasi or Istanbul, full of American and European tourists is a very vulnerable target. Remember the USS Cole, docked in Yemen in 2000.

  14. Was this the group?

    http://www.nationcruise.com/

     

    I didn't want to break CC rules by getting political, but you got it right !!

     

    My wife reminded me that the logo t-shirts were also worn during regular dinners in the MDR. And they were not quality "Polo" style shirts, just plain old collarless t-shirts. Apparently the Matre'd also caved to pressure by not mentioning it to their group leader.

  15. We were also onboard for the whole 21 days. Here is our comments and points on the cruise:

     

    Tampa port is great !! Short lines, fast luggage delivery, easy parking if you drove. Disembarkation was also a breeze. A note to remember at Tampa..... After you have collected all of your luggage, flag down a porter. He will take your bags and escort your party to a special "Porters Only" exit line, which totally bypasses the long lines waiting to clear immigration. We had 1 family in front of us, so it was well worth the $20 tip to the porter.

     

    We had a stern cabin on deck 4. Grade VB, it was easily 6 ft. longer than all other veranda cabins, and the balcony was at least 10 ft deep from door to railing. Good cabin attendants. The towel animals were there, every night, but not up to the quality of prior HAL cruises. Occasionally, they forgot our breakfast order door tag, but a call to the front desk fixed that. The new breakfast order form was in use. The selections were considerably smaller than last year. However, I would write in my special selections, such as pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, and they were delivered on-time and exactly as ordered. A small gratuity to the room service person was appreciated.

     

    Smoking on the balconies. We don't smoke, but others were, and we saw no signs or messages anywhere about balcony smoking. Twice during the cruise, the ship was being fueled while in port. There were special PA announcements advising passengers to not smoke on their balconies "during the fueling process, but only on the starboard side of the ship". These announcements gave the impression that it's OK to smoke on the balconies except when the ship is being fueled. So I don't know when their "no balcony smoking" policy takes effect.

     

    PA announcements. During the day, there are many announcements coming over the PA systems, but they cannot be heard in the cabins, unless you prop your cabin door open. Only announcements of an emergency nature, like muster drills, are heard in the cabins on the little speaker near your bed. I asked the front desk if there was a particular TV channel we could tune to that would carry the general announcements, especially the ones announcing the color codes for disembarking. They said that was a sore point between Seattle and ship's operations. They didn't want to install a switch or volume control on the in-cabin speakers because guests would shut them off and you would not hear an emergency message. But it would be so easy to carry the PA announcement audio on one of the service channels on the TV, like the weather or ship location channels, which at present, have no audio. If a passenger was interested in hearing the announcements, when they hear the chimes, switch in the TV. The front desk said they would pass my suggestion onto Seattle.

     

    Food and service in the MDR was the usual good to very good. No duplicate meals, and the menu selections and variety were good.

     

    We ate dinner in both the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto. Also lunch in the Pinnacle. The extra tariff ($20) for a large (12 oz) lobster tail got me a fairly tough one, but my wife said the $5 lobster tail add-on was much better. There must have been multiple complaints about the tough 12 oz lobsters, because the Pinnacle did not charge me the extra fee, even though I ate the lobster. Canaletto was delicious, as usual, and their suggestions of pairing the appetizer, small plate and large plate selections is just that, a suggestion. You can order anything you want, individually, with no concerns if your table partner wants something different.

     

    The Lido buffet was also good, with lots of varied selections for every taste. Pizza was always there, and they were the usual Double Pepperoni, 4-cheese, and "the Works". Breakfast omelettes and eggs Benedict could be ordered with real eggs, not the liquid eggs that they have in pitchers. The Dive-In burgers, hot-dogs and fries were their usual good quality. The longest wait time for the little beeper to signal your order is ready was about 15 minutes, and that was high noon on a sea-day.

     

    Music entertainment. I agree with Redneck-Bob. BB-King lounge is very good, but they play the same sets every night. Not much variety in selections. The Billboard-Onboard is, IMO, a very poor substitute for the intimate piano bars of the past. There were male & female dual piano artists during the first days of the cruise. But the female left mid-way, and the male player was not very good by himself. She was replaced, but later in the cruise. The selection of songs played was preset, but they did have the last of their three, 45 minute sets designed to accept requests. The area is triple the size of the old, intimate piano bars, and there is no longer a wall separating the piano area from the casino. It's all one huge room. I don't think we will find Jimmy Maddox playing on one of these "Dueling Pianos". A shame and hopefully HAL will realize that Billboard-Onboard was a big mistake. But, due to the much larger area, they can serve many more guests, and naturally, many more drinks, which I think was the whole idea in the first place. Smaller, intimate piano bars do not generate sufficient income. These days, every square foot on a ship has to generate it's own income. JMHO

    On the Lido deck they had a guy playing a steel-pan-drum along with a sideman from noon to about 2pm. Talented person, but he also played the same sequence of songs every day. After a few days, I knew what song was coming next.

     

    Entertainment in the "Main Stage" (formally Vista) was good, but we only saw 3 shows, a comedian, a magician, and a variety act.

     

    The shore excursions were good and varied. We really enjoyed the Catamaran sail and lobster lunch (I like lobsters) booze-cruise in Antigua. Well run, excellent crew, varied free beverages, not the usual compulsory Rum Punch, but a whole bar of possible drinks and beers. And, getting off of the Catamaran at the beach stops couldn't be easier. They actually "beach" the boat, and lower a forward stair. You walk right onto the sand, barely getting your feet wet. You could also simply dive off of the boat. Well worth the money.

     

    The port stop at Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala was pretty much a waste. If you have already seen the Mayan ruins, the other shore excursions were of no interest to us. We did visit the huge local craft market, right next to the ship at the port. It was in a big steel building, with aisles of booths of local (and Chinese-made) items. They had a decent steel-drum band playing.

     

    The cruise was a "Collector's Cruise", actually a B2B. The first 14 days traveled the eastern and southern Caribbean. Then we had a turnaround in Tampa, where around 450 of us stayed on for the next segment of 7 days, visiting the western Caribbean. The turnaround in Tampa was spoiled by CBP demanding that ALL passengers, even those "in transit" and not leaving the ship for Tampa tours, must disembark the ship. They demanded that HAL get the ship down to "Zero Count", before we could re-board. So, the in-transit passengers were told to wait until all departing people left, around 10:00am, then we all had to get off the ship and pass through immigration and customs, even though we were prohibited from bringing anything off of the ship. We had to stand around in the luggage area of the Tampa port for about 45 minutes until the ship reached "Zero Count". Naturally, there's always one or two passengers who somehow don't get the message and they have to locate them and boot them off of the ship.

     

    The overall food and bar service was good, but during the 7 day leg of the cruise, the MDR service got much slower, and the same for bar service in the lounges. It appeared that the waiters and bar service people were under-staffed. The Lido pool area (under the moving roof) bar service was slow at times and it appeared that only 2 waiters were walking around taking drink orders in the afternoons from hundreds of passengers.

     

    When we boarded the ship on Nov. 25, the ship was in the process of being decorated for the Christmas/holiday season. The decorations were very nice and they played Christmas/holiday music on the PA systems in public areas of the ship. Very nice, and puts you in a holiday mood. But, right after the turnaround in Tampa, a large (200 plus) group boarded the ship, and all of a sudden, we had rock-n-roll music in the public areas, including the Lido deck. A few guests, including me, called the front desk, asking why, 2 weeks away from Christmas, the holiday music is stopped and replaced by rock-n-roll. The office responded to me that they received some complaints saying that the holiday music was "offensive to them" and demanded it be taken off. Apparently HAL caved to the politically correct pressure from this group and killed the music, along with the very pleasant holiday mood onboard. A lot of people complained to the front office and after a day or so, the holiday music was restored. The holiday music was in no way religious. Mostly "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" type of music. Rudolph is offensive.???... give me a break !!!!

     

    Additionally, members of this group felt it was OK to ignore the "suggested" dress code for Gala nights, by wearing their logo t-shirts in the MDR. I totally understand that dress code requirements are pretty much gone on most cruise ships these days, but a little respect for fellow passengers would be nice to at least put on a collared shirt. We didn't need to have a group's logo emblazoned to us while eating dinner.

     

    Overall, a very great cruise and we took full advantage of the Future Cruise Consultant and booked another 21 day cruise next year. We got $700 in cabin credits, plus a $100 P/P deposit. Nice deal !!!

  16. I checked a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to FLL in Sept 2017. With Explore-4, it would have cost $5000 for a veranda, including port taxes. Now, with Ex-4 dropped, the same cabin is $3990, which is almost exactly what the SBP would cost me for the 21 night cruise. So, yes, it is a wash.

  17. Unfortunately a lot of people will use the legitimate ADA rules to scam the system. It is not as prevalent on cruise ships as it is on the airlines. Most airlines will charge anywhere from $75 to $200, each way, to have a pet under your seat in front of you, in a carrier. Sometimes the charge for an in-cabin pet is more than the ticket for the human. So, people will go on Craig's list or E-Bay and buy a vest and phony doctor's note and they are set to go. The American Disabilities Act has not been updated for a while, so the current rules prohibit the airline (or cruise line) from asking what disability you have that requires a comfort or service animal. All you are required to present at boarding (plane or ship) is your doctor's certification, which may be legitimate or phony, no one actually checks. The boarding agents don't want to take the chance of a law suit by offending a legitimate passenger with a service or comfort animal. But the airlines are getting fed up with emotional support dogs, cats, chickens, snakes, pot-bellied pigs, etc, many of who are obviously just trying to avoid the kennel fees and the airline fees to transport a pet in the cabin. The cabin crews report having to clean up animal feces in the aisles and chase loose animals when their passengers fall asleep and the animals run loose.

  18. On many cruises to the Med, Middle East, India and Far East, your passports are always held for part or all of the voyage. It speeds the clearance of the ship, because they send this information ahead of arrival to the port agent.

    Also, if you have ever stayed in many hotels in Europe, Middle East and Asia, they will always ask for your passport for registration, and they may keep it for your entire stay. They will give it back on your departure, AFTER you have paid your bill. Just a little insurance you don't skip out, stiffing the hotel.

    In the normal Caribbean ports, the ship will rarely hold your passport. Just a colour copy in your travel bag is sufficient along with a photo ID.

  19. Same thing happened to us, but we had a VD grade guarantee. We booked a VD guarantee, but 14 months early, with full payment at time of booking. About 2 weeks before sailing, our TA told us that out guarantee was finally assigned, but still in a VD grade cabin, VD-6006. Our TA felt that because we booked so far in advance and paid in full at that time, we should get a better offer on the guarantee. HAL agreed and assigned us VA-5098, which is right next to the outside glass elevators, and right above the lifeboats. Armed with lots of advise from CC and pictures from other websites, we realized that our "upgrade" was far inferior to the original cabin we had. Our TA disagreed and said we were getting an upgrade from VD to VA and we should take it. Thanks to some kind folks on CC who told us that these "VA" cabins used to be VE because of their very narrow balconies (4 ft depth, forget about a lounge chair) and also had a wonderful view of the lifeboats below. We pitched a fit with our TA, and HAL put us back into VD-6006 and we loved it. A nice balcony and a beautiful view. We were told that it is very rare that HAL will reverse a guarantee assignment, so from then on, we NEVER select guarantee, or as HAL describes it, "Let us select your cabin for you"

  20. We were on a Round the Horn cruise on Princess over Christmas and New Year's. The weather on either side of South America was warm, bikini at the pool type weather. However, cruising the Beagle Channel we froze our tushies off. We had packed for both cold and warm climates, and we are sure glad we did. The temps out on the open decks were around 0 C (32 F). This was in 1999. I guess you never know what kind of weather you will run into so close to Antarctica. Have a great cruise, and check out the penguins.

  21. Bummer - some of my best pics at St. Martin were of the KLM 747 coming in - first at a distance, then some closer then right overhead. :eek: Sitting on the beach it seemed to be landing right on us. Later when a 767 took off we very judiciously waited on the beach side of the road - well back - and still got sand blasted. :o

     

    I work within a stone's throw of the giant 747 assembly plant and it is mostly switched over to 777 and soon 777x with maybe two 747s a month and those freighters not passenger models. Time and technology march on. The new composite fiber wing facility for the 777x is amazing. :cool:

     

    The 747-8 assembly line guys just got a reprieve. UPS just ordered 14 new B-747-8F freighters at a list price of 5.3 billion. For freight, you can't beat the good 'ol 74's. Similar to the demise of the Boeing 727, the "three-holer". Because of the noise of the old Pratt JT8-D engines, they were banned from overflying the US. But many freight companies still use them as long as they just enter and exit US airspace at Miami. Amerijet is one freight company that still flies the 72 without the mandated hush kits. They fly into St. Maarten every day. Sitting at the Sunset Beach bar, you hear this huge roar, and look, figuring it's a 74 or a 76, and it's the mighty Amerijet 727 screaming out of PJIA in it's climbout.

  22. Be very careful with the V cabins on the Veranda deck. Cruise Deck Plans warns that this range of cabins (V5051 to V5140) are directly above the lifeboats, hanging one deck below. If you are sitting in your cabin, looking straight out, you don't see the boats. But, if you are out on your balcony, and looking down, all you see are the tops of the big orange lifeboats. Some CC members consider these cabins as "partially obstructed". HAL considers it an upgrade because they are mid-ships cabins and on a lower deck, and less susceptible to ship motion. But the VE grade cabin you had on the Navigation deck is also close to mid-ships, but also close to the elevators.

    I was offered a VA cabin on the Veranda deck on the Zuiderdam, over a VD cabin on deck 6. When I saw the cabin, I said "no way". The view on the balcony, looking down, was big orange lifeboats and the balcony was notably less deep than my original VD cabin. I stayed in the VD cabin.

  23. I have watched a lot of YouTube videos and certainly have to agree with you about the morons. I have often wished I could visit the beach area to watch them from a safe distance but from what I read, the large planes from overseas don't start arriving until the afternoon and it would have been cutting it too close to the ship's departure time to depend on getting a taxi back in time.

     

    You are correct... the earliest large plane that arrives is right after noon. Most of the US and Canadian flights (Delta, AA, United, WestJet, JetBlue, etc) are quick turnarounds. They arrive between noon and 3:00pm, unload, take on their fuel load, reload pax, and head back north. As long as the crew can perform the round trip in under 9 hours actual flying time, and 14 hours total trip time, they are OK with the FAA. Obviously, flights that cross the big pond (KLM, AF, Caribair) cannot use the same crew for the return flight. So they get a layover, and the previous day's crew takes the ship back to Europe. Most departures, North America and Europe, are totally gone by 7:00pm.

    Even though the 747's will be phased out, Air France still flies an A-340, which is a wide-body, 4 engine transport, that makes the round trip between CDG and SXM daily. With 4 engines, they don't have to concern themselves with ETOPS (Extended Range Twin-Engine Operations) which requires twin-engine jets to stay within 120 to 240 minutes of a suitable airport.

  24. As a retired airline pilot, I've landed 757's and 737's into Princess Juliana countless times. There's absolutely NO danger at all landing there, with any size transport aircraft. except the A-380. The only real danger at that airport is to the morons that hang on the fence at the business-end of the runway. During a takeoff, they get sand-blasted, stones and rocks hurled at them, and some get blown off the fence onto the road. One person got blown off the fence, and cracked her head on the curbing. She suffered a severe concussion. She got a lawyer and sued the airport. They showed pictures in court of the many warning signs all along the fences and the judge threw the case out.

    Runway 10 there is 7546 ft long, with adequate overrun. The reason most pilots land so close to the border fence is because of the old aviation saying.. "any runway behind you is useless". Takeoff is interesting because you have some small mountains across Simpson Bay. So, once you have cleaned up the aircraft, (gear up, flaps partially retracted) you make a climbing right turn for a normal departure. Contact San Juan Center and you are on your way. No big deal !!

    But contrary to the many TV shows that claim that SXM is one of the most dangerous airports, it's all hype. It's only dangerous if you have had too many beers at the Sunset Beach Bar nearby, and get blown off of the fence.

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