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TAD2005

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  1. The shipyard may be state owned, but as you said earlier, it is operated by Vigor, which is a private company and owns several shipyards.

     

     

     

    Another thread on this has a close up, and there is a hole in the ship's side. It is not too bad, probably a 1 meter square patch (hole is much smaller, but as you know, you've got to get back to "fair" steel), something I think Vigor in Ketchican could do, but the ship has sailed as far as I know, and most likely will do some temp repairs until they can remove the cabin walls in way of the repair and get a good fire watch, but the patch can be done at any dock, and would most likely be a permanent repair. Crane support, class welder, a dock arm and 6-8 hours later its done.

     

    Photos on KTUU Anchorage website.

     

    On the Celebrity board, there is a close up pix of the gash. The outer hull was ripped open, you can see a grey inner plating, and there's a smaller hole in the middle of it all with fiberglass insulation sticking out. So, this is much more than a cosmetic scrape. Another post said they moved the ship to another dock, cancelled all tours, and let the passengers roam around the town for 2-1/2 hours. They also had a welding crew come by and weld a plate over the opening. Then, the US Coast Guard approved the ship for departure. It arrived safely in Vancouver.

  2. We had lived for many years on Great Bay Beach in St. Maarten, right across the bay from the Pointe Blanche cruise ship terminal. Around 5 pm, we would sit on our patio and watch the many ships depart and we would hear them blowing their horns as they departed the dock. Disney would do their usual "When you wish upon a Star", and occasionally "It's a Small World After All". Princess would always blow the notes of "The Love Boat" opening theme. Other ships would do the "Shave and a Haircut...." and ships would respond with the "Two Bits". We loved that almost every day in St. Maarten. One time in 2005, we had 9 ships in port, which required 3 of them to be anchored in the harbour, one of which was the Queen Mary. We had a rule of thumb, when there were more than 3 ships in port, we cancelled all plans to walk to Philipsburg, or other places on the island. Nothing like 8 or 9 ships, with 2000+ passengers, effectively doubling the island population for 8 hours.

  3. We have always enjoyed the piano bars (and players) on the Vista class ships. We will be on the Oosterdam soon and the regular piano bar has been transformed into the Billboard Twin Pianos. Will they have 2 pianists for every session ? How do they handle requests shouted out by the customers seated around the pianos ? Just because they have 2 pianos, doesn't mean they must have 2 pianists every night. One very talented person could fill the bill very nicely.

    For those CC members who have been on the O-Dam since the April 2016 drydock, what was your experience in the new Billboard Dual Piano bar ?

  4. We had a guaranteed VD cabin on a Vista class ship (Zuiderdam). About 25 days out we got our assignment. It was still VD, but fully forward on deck 6, (6006). Our TA thought that since we booked and fully paid 13 months in advance of the cruise, and we were both 3-star Mariners, we should get a little bump in category level. HAL changed our assignment to a VA cabin, mid-ships on deck 5, immediately next to the mid-ships elevators. When we got the change, we checked it out on the various sites that have cabin pix. On Vista class ships, deck 5 mid-ships cabins have an extremely shallow balcony because of the narrowing of the deck at that point. Also, much worse, the big orange lifeboats are right under your balcony. Yes, your view straight out to the sea is not obstructed. But if you go out onto the balcony, and want to look down at maybe some dolphins swimming alongside, or a sailaway concert on the pier, you can't see a thing, due to the lifeboats suspended there. Also, the glass outside elevators could look directly onto our balcony and into the cabin. We complained to our TA and she apologized for requesting the move, and she had us moved back into the deck 6 forward cabin, which was perfect.

    Rule of thumb... just because a cabin has a higher classification with HAL, doesn't always mean it's superior to what you had. Check first, and YES, you can get a guaranteed assignment changed if you or your TA has a legitimate reasoning. HAL never admitted to us that deck 5 mid-ship balconies are partially obstructed, but because they so easily moved us back to the original assignment indicates that there have been other complaints about partially obstructed views in a VA grade cabin.

  5. HH's are usually the Crows Nest early and late and Ocean Bar early only. The SBC cannot be used at HH. When we had the SBC on the "O" they allowed us doubles in our drinks and counted them as two drinks.

     

    For 24 days it may be worth it!

     

    With cost of $44.95pp Per day I think 7-8 drinks and it pays for itself. Of course at HH two drinks of $8 each costs $9, there's your deal but single shots. We enjoy a bourbon or two on the rocks in the evening.

     

    You'll love the "O", enjoy.

     

    We've had the SBP twice, once with Explore-4 and once when we purchased it. One of our cruises was a B2B and the other a Collector's Cruise, both around 30 days. In both cruises, we had a single booking number for the entire cruise. So, in the case of the purchased SBP, we were required to buy the package for the whole cruise. I would assume that if you had 2 separate booking numbers, you may be able to buy the SBP for one of the two legs. Check with Ship's Services.

     

    We have found that with the cost of drinks being around $7.50 and beers around $6.50, plus specialty morning coffees, wines with dinner, a few drinks after dinner, and a bottle of water for bedtime in the room, we easily exceeded the 6 or 7 drinks per day, and that is the break-even point. Anything over that, and you are saving money with the SBP. We usually book cruises with many sea-days, so naturally, the drink count will go up. We also found that we could order doubles in all bars with no problems. The bartenders don't seem to pay any attention to that 5 minutes between drinks rule. And with the SBP, you can order during HH, you just can't take advantage of the $1 second drink. But, with the SBP and 15 drinks per day, who cares ?? We usually avoid the bars with HH, going to quieter locations pre-dinner. The HH bars are usually jammed.

     

    Bottom line, if all you drink are a few glasses of wine at dinner, and maybe a specialty coffee, tea or hot chocolate in the morning, then the SBP would not be worth the price. Go over one of your past cruises, and price out your daily beverages of all types, from early morning to bed time. If you approach or exceed 7 drinks (unless they are all water or cokes) then the SBP is for you. And you won't have the panic when you see your final bill and wonder how you could have drank that much !!

  6. HH's are usually the Crows Nest early and late and Ocean Bar early only. The SBC cannot be used at HH. When we had the SBC on the "O" they allowed us doubles in our drinks and counted them as two drinks.

     

    For 24 days it may be worth it!

     

    With cost of $44.95pp Per day I think 7-8 drinks and it pays for itself. Of course at HH two drinks of $8 each costs $9, there's your deal but single shots. We enjoy a bourbon or two on the rocks in the evening.

     

    You'll love the "O", enjoy.

     

    We've had the SBP twice, once with Explore-4 and once when we purchased it. One of our cruises was a B2B and the other a Collector's Cruise, both around 30 days. In both cruises, we had a single booking number for the entire cruise. So, in the case of the purchased SBP, we were required to buy the package for the whole cruise. I would assume that if you had 2 separate booking numbers, you may be able to buy the SBP for one of the two legs. Check with Ship's Services.

     

    We have found that with the cost of drinks being around $7.50 and beers around $6.50, plus specialty morning coffees, wines with dinner, a few drinks after dinner, and a bottle of water for bedtime in the room, we easily exceeded the 6 or 7 drinks per day, and that is the break-even point. Anything over that, and you are saving money with the SBP. We usually book cruises with many sea-days, so naturally, the drink count will go up. We also found that we could order doubles in all bars with no problems. The bartenders don't seem to pay any attention to that 5 minutes between drinks rule. And with the SBP, you can order during HH, you just can't take advantage of the $1 second drink. But, with the SBP and 15 drinks per day, who cares ?? We usually avoid the bars with HH, going to quieter locations pre-dinner. The HH bars are usually jammed.

     

    Bottom line, if all you drink are a few glasses of wine at dinner, and maybe a specialty coffee, tea or hot chocolate in the morning, then the SBP would not be worth the price. Go over one of your past cruises, and price out your daily beverages of all types, from early morning to bed time. If you approach or exceed 7 drinks (unless they are all water or cokes) then the SBP is for you. And you won't have the panic when you see your final bill and wonder how you could have drank that much !!

  7. To the comment regarding entertainment, I would add (IMO) the decline in the piano bar entertainers with the switch to dual pianos. With the new set-up, none of the world's best piano bar players want to sign on for a contract. The re-formatted ships unfortunately end up with new-to-HAL piano players, who are so over-programmed with what they must play that all the spontaneous fun of the piano bar is gone. Their genres are boringly limited to the same songs night after night. I find they have little to no "real" engagement with the audience and rarely know enough other songs to take requests as in-depth and diverse piano bar players typically can do. However, I do enjoy the extra size and roominess of the new piano bar - a lot more fans are accommodated. Hopefully HAL will re-visit this dual piano concept and bring back the fun of a real piano bar (and 5-star piano bar players) in the new roomy space!

     

    We agree. And we only had a single piano and artist on the Zuiderdam last Oct/Nov. We had Paul C. McD on the first leg (7 days) and he was excellent, spontaneous, full repertoire, and very accommodating to guest requests. He could play anything from the 30's to the 80's. Then, his contract ended and a new guy came on board. I won't mention the name but it begins with "T" and that should stand for Terrible. All he could play was Beatles and Johnny Cash. Requests were trashed, he walked in, sat down and started playing. No "welcome folks", nothing. we may as well had a CD player back there. We agree, bring back real talented "Piano Man' or Women.

  8. There's a reason why people complain that the AC in their cabin doesn't work. And sometimes it's caused by people opening their balcony door and propping it open with a chair. That loud wind tunnel you feel and hear is sucking passageway air into your cabin and out to the sea. The open door totally wipes out the AC system for all cabins in your area. Your balcony door should be open only when you pass through it entering the balcony or leaving it. Please do not prop it open.

  9. On HAL's website, the deck plans for the Oosterdam still show a Terrace Grill, where the Dive-In should be. Is HAL's deck plans out of date, or has the great hamburgers of the Dive-In not yet made it to the O-Dam ?

     

    Also, did HAL create the New York Style Pizza stand during the recent Dry Dock in April, or is pizza still the three standard varieties of cheese, cheese/pepperoni, and The Works, handed out by the slice in the Lido ?

  10. Back before 9/11, we were on the Norwegian Crown, (now the Balmoral). We dined one evening at the officer's table, where we met the ship's Chief Engineer. Because I also carried the title of Chief Engineer, (but not a ship, it was for a television network), we struck up a nice conversation with him. He offered us a tour of the Engine Control Room and the full engine room. This was in 1998, when tours like this were allowed. We saw the many diesel/electric generators, the drive shafts, powered by huge electric motors. Azipods were not used on this ship, it was conventional diesel/electric drive and rudder. We also saw the desalinization plant, the waste water plant, and the electrical distribution. There was only DW and I on this tour, so it was very personal. We were issued hearing protection due to the unbelievable noise of the huge diesel engines. Many work stations in the engine room had playboy calendars hanging. We also saw the captain's quarters and the bridge. We will never get a tour like this in today's world, and, it was totally free !!

  11. I think you are on our cruise July 23rd to August 4th! we are on deck 4. I am hoping the farther down we are from the stacks the less exhaust smell there will be!

     

    We have been on the Zuiderdam and Oosterdam in deck 4 stern cabins. Because deck 4 is at the absolute rear of the ship, when you stand at the railing of your balcony and look down, all you see is the prop-wash and water. Stern cabins on decks 5, 6, 7 & 8, look partially down on the balconies below them, due to the tiered structure. We always choose deck 4 on Vista class ships. Being so far down from the stacks, we have never seen crud or smells from them.

  12. We were on the Zuiderdam in October, which had a drydock the previous April. The Lido had a large, heated pizza stone in one location on the port side, and they offered continuous offerings of cheese, cheese w/pepperoni and what I call Garbage Pizza, the Works. You could take just a slice or the whole 12" pie. Usually, if you wanted a whole pie you had to wait for a new one to come out. Pretty decent pizza for a cruise ship. The crust was too thick to be considered NY style, but it is far from Chicago style deep dish. No special orders, what you see is what you get. We will be on the Oosterdam this fall, and she also had a drydock session in March. We are anxiously waiting for reports on the pizza station.

  13. The travel agent arranged for our family of 30 to have fixed dining but I am starting to freak out because outside of probably the 1st night and the formal nights I am not sure I can get all 30 to eat in the main dining room. I have a feeling each night I will have at least one table worth of people opt out and choose the buffet. (Like any large family-not sure how long we can stand spending that much time together) For those that have had a fixed tables did this present any issues.

     

    We have been told by some matre'd's that is you inform them that you will not be using your fixed, assigned table due to a Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto dinner, you are OK. But if you just don't show up, for multiple nights, they will eventually assign that table to people on the waiting list. However, if you have five 6-tops for your group, and only 2 at a table are missing, you will probably get away without losing your table assignment.

  14. Then I follow-up with an email to HAL thru Contact Us to make the identical request. Between the TA request and the email, have had great success in getting tables I like.

     

    How far out from your cruise do you make your table number requests through your TA and directly to "Contact Us" ? Is it near final payment day at 75 days, or more ? We are around 150 days out.

  15. We were on a 29 day HAL cruise recently. On my on-line checkin screen, they prompted me that I should register my credit card for the $870 per person hold ($30 per day X 29 days). I thought that I may use OBC for a lot of that hold, so I called HAL and asked about this. I spoke with 4 different people, the last was a "supervisor" and they said I was wrong, they wanted $1740 per person hold, based on $60 per day. I reminded all 4 of those HAL agents that because my cruise was longer than 25 days, the hold is $30 per day, per guest. I even referred them to my check-in financial page and the FAQ "Credit Card Usage" pages on the HAL website, and they still refused to believe me. I gave up, registered my credit card on-line, and when I boarded the ship, the front desk said my credit hold of $30 per day was exactly right.

    Don't rely on what Seattle tells you, believe what is in writing. Or ask past HAL guests on CC, you will usually get the straight story.

  16. It is true that the closer you get to sailing day, the fixed dining availabilities are very limited. If you book early, you can usually get a fixed assignment, early or late. Your TA or PCC can handle this. You also must specify what kind of table you want, 2, 4 or 6 top. On most ships, the lower floor MDR is for As You Wish, while the upper level is fixed. However, guests that notify their waiter or matre'd that they will be dining elsewhere the next night (specialty restaurant or Lido), they will utilize your table for As You Wish guests. Actual table assignments are usually given on-board, and you will see it on your room key/guest card. Some CC posters say that your TA may be able to get you a particular table if you request early.

  17. as previously mentioned, it is the required VAT charge.

     

    $7 daily fee bumped up to $9 would a 33% VAT. $20 per-bag fee bumped up to $30 is about a 46% VAT. The EU VAT rates vary, depending on the country and item or service from 10% up to 23%.

     

    So, unless HAL is tacking their own fees on top of the VAT, the difference in on-board laundry fees cannot be attributed to the VAT. Plus, non-EU persons can get the VAT refunded at most airports. I've never seen an offer to apply for a VAT refund on a ship. If VAT was the reason for higher laundry fees, why not would purchases in the gift shops on-board also be hit with a VAT ? Why would only laundry service be subject to the VAT ?

  18. We are taking two grands on a 14 day Norway cruise this summer. i knew we would need the unlimited laundry service so, I just called sips services. i told the young lady that I wanted to pre order the service as I had been told that it would be cheaper then waiting till we board. She replied that "no, the price is the same and it will be $98." Well a quick calculation told me that was $7/day. So, I said that since i had her on the line I would like to pre order the service. Done! Do you think the girls in the office don"t know about the increase in Europe?

     

    We read on CC that the unlimited laundry service was $9 per day in Europe. So, we called Ship's Services and purchased it ahead of time for $7 per day. Just to check, when we got on board, we visited the Front Office, and asked for the package and were quoted $9 per day. This was a 26 day Med/TA, Athens to FLL cruise.

    There's a lot of things that HAL's agents will tell you that are different when you board the ship. Generally, the actual reports you get from recent cruisers on CC are a lot more accurate that what you get from HAL on the phone. It appears that the officers and department heads on the ships have a lot of leeway in setting policy.

     

    I never did understand why it costs more for HAL to do guest's laundry in Europe than North America. They certainly don't bring on cheaper laundry room staff when they reach the Caribbean. Even the "by-the-bag" rate goes from $20 to $30 when in European waters. CC members have suggested that many people who board a HAL ship in Europe have been on land tours for many days prior to the cruise, and they immediately send everything they have down to the laundry the first day. More expected usage.... higher cost. I don't know, but either way, it's a wonderful service !!

  19. We were on a 26 day Med/TA last October and the on-board purchase cost of the unlimited laundry package was $9 per day for the cabin. It's NOT a per-person rate, it's for the cabin. The on-board rate is $7 per day in North America and the Caribbean, and $9 per day in Europe. No idea on South America, Asia, and Pacific. However, if you call Ship's Services before your cruise (more than 3 days out), you can get the $7 rate by prepaying.

     

    It is true that you cannot use the laundry service on the day before your disembarkation. They can't guarantee to get your laundry back to you that same day, and that is also the day you must pack up and have your luggage outside by midnight. So, technically, they shouldn't charge you for the last day, because you are not permitted to use the service. But, it's only $7, the cost of a cocktail.

     

    You can send out as little as a pair of socks or stuff the bag full. If you have more, ask for another bag. In most cases, the laundry is back in your room by 4:30 or 5:00pm the same day, providing you get it to your cabin steward early, like before 9:00am.

     

    Excellent service and we would not cruise without it.

  20. On some Collector's Cruises and Back-2-Backs (B2B), you may be expected to participate in a muster drill before departure. Even if you are a transit guest and had a muster drill when you boarded. Depends on the ship, sometimes all passengers must attend, sometime only the new guests coming on-board.

    When this happens, you will have an earlier "Back on Board" time. In Rome, on a Collector's cruise, sail-away was 17:00, but the Back on Board time was 15:30 due to the muster drill for all passengers, even transits.

  21. I'm also on IE11 and Win 7 - no problems. I see you're still on W7 - I hate to go to W10. I heard on a computer radio call-in show that W7 will still be around until 2017 or 18.

     

    Windows 7, Win-8 and 8.1 will be around as long as you want it to be. To avoid the pesky MS notices to upgrade, and the automatic downloading of Win-10 onto your computer, without your approval, just go to control Panel, Windows Updates, and select "Turn Automatic Updates on or off". Select "Check for updates, but let me decide to download and install them". This will prevent MS from automatically loading the basics of Win-10 on your PC.

    Win 7 will have extended support by MS until Jan 2020. Win-8 until Jan 2023. MS must provide security updates to you up to those dates.

     

    MS support for Win-XP ended years ago, but some people and companies still use it. You are severely limited in any new programs, but the basic OS will continue to run. Win 7 & 8 will be the same, operating well into the 2020's.

  22. Anyone know if the players are Blu-Ray although I am assuming not. Any experience with ship DVD Library as to ease of checkout, variety, etc. Dies the Eurodam pipe in any special video entertainment to the room TVs? :)

     

    Mike sailing May 18 first timers!

     

    The Vista Class Zuiderdam, last Oct/Nov, had very old DVD players that connect to the flat-screen using composite video/audio. So, the basic of basic. I tried to find an HDMI connector of the TV to play the DVD in my laptop, and into the TV..... forget that !! And Blue-Ray... no way !!

     

    The room TV was a 22" flat-screen. They had 4 on-board movie channels, cycling every 2 hours. Plus BBC, CNNI, CNN, DW, ESPN, FOX News, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, bow and stern cameras, 2 HAL channels for shore excursions and promotion, and a position channel showing present location, current weather, temp, sea conditions, etc.

     

    The DVD rental program is slow and annoying. You get a catalog in the cabin of movie listings, a decent selection of all categories, and you have to call or visit the front desk and request the DVD by it's number. They have no check-in / check-out computer system. You should give 3 or 4 options to them, not just one. They have to run into the back office and dig through the DVD file cabinet to find your selections. If they have it, you get the first one on your list that is available. If they don't have any of your options, you have to go back to the catalog and start over. They have no way of telling when the DVD will be back, and they can't reserve it for you. It's a crap shoot every time you request a title. If you select one over the phone, and they have it, they will send someone up to your cabin with it.

    During the "Ask the Captain" session, I asked about the agonizing DVD selection/retrieval process. I said it sure wastes a lot of front desk personnel time. He agreed, and he said that they slowly will be switching to a video-on-demand system. But, on the Zuiderdam, he had no target date.

    There is also a 2-day limit on a DVD loan. They really don't bug you. But when I borrowed the full box set of the Sopranos, six seasons, 30 discs in the set, I got a call to return it. You can't watch that whole box set in 2 days, even on a Trans-Atlantic crossing. They relented and said "send it back when you are done".

     

    I realize that you asked about the Eurodam. All I had was my recent experience on the Zuiderdam.

  23. That's a great idea. I always thought that even with a substantial OBC from whatever sources, they still wanted that locked-in guarantee that there will be sufficient funds. I would assume that if you started to seriously deplete your OBC, early on in the cruise (casino, expensive excursions), you would get a call from the front office asking you to restore that balance.

    I was on a Windstar (Windsurf) cruise and they wanted the usual cash deposit or credit hold. I was prepared to give them the cash deposit on boarding day, but I also wanted to purchase their unlimited beverage package. When I did that, they said that the cash deposit, which was supposed to be around $1000, could be reduced by the amount of the beverage package, which was $756 for both of us. I don't know if that would work on HAL.

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