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strickerj

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Everything posted by strickerj

  1. Wow... I mean, I know the onerous terms and conditions that you have to agree to say they can pretty much do anything to the itinerary and you're out of luck, but this sure looks like a bait and switch, especially considering the change appears to be entirely within their control. (If I'm understanding correctly, they received approval from the park service but opted not to finalize the deal?)
  2. There's a thread on this in the RCL forum (https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2706765-glacier-bay-2020/), and from the looks of it, customers aren't happy that no compensation or even change fee waivers are being offered. IMHO, that's pretty absurd considering the Glacier Bay sailings were heavily marketed and command a price premium, and this change seemed to be entirely at the discretion of RCL - kind of reeks of bait and switch.
  3. Thanks for all the great info! I’ll be on Noordam to Alaska in May next year. I was kind of wondering why there’d be a nightclub on board if HAL attracts an older crowd... no surprise it it’s underutilized. I’m curious about the Atrium Bar though - was it changed during the dry dock renovation?
  4. I see there's a recent discussion on messaging in the app, so I'll reply here rather than starting a new one: I assume everyone has to have their own login? Or can you message other individuals on your itinerary with everyone logged into the same account?
  5. I thought so too. Base prices were comparable, but I wanted to select my stateroom to be on the starboard side - the one I selected was around $2000 on NCL vs. only $1600 on HAL. If there was a cheaper room that that met my criteria, I didn't find it. 🙂
  6. I hadn't really thought about it, but I guess that makes sense - it wouldn't be the same clientele as in the Caribbean. That sounds nice... I wouldn't mind trying one of the luxury lines at some point, but we're only in our 30s, so really we're fortunate that we can go anywhere at this point in our careers (much less take my mother in law with us, who has always wanted to go to Alaska). We're also renting a car in Anchorage and going to Denali for a few days afterwards. My parents did a similar trip on Princess but I wanted to take the train to Anchorage all the way from Seward
  7. I also plan to try as many cruise lines as I can, assuming I enjoy cruising. (If not, at least my one experience will be Alaska, which seems best seen by sea.) I was initially interested in Norwegian for their casual approach and because the itinerary included Hubbard Glacier, but they were $400 pp more than HAL despite (I thought) being marketed as a budget line. I’m a little leery of Carnival or RCL because of their “party” reputation. (I’m someone who prefers quiet.)
  8. I haven't been on a cruise but I'm researching extensively in preparation for my first (Glacier Discovery Northbound aboard Noordam on 05/24/2020). I am a frequent flyer and see parallels here to that industry though. It seems all the companies are gravitating to either end of the spectrum - some airlines try to one-up each other with more and more luxurious overseas first class offerings (airlines such as Emirates, Singapore, Cathay Pacific, etc., which would be analogous to Oceana, Seaborn, and Viking in the cruise industry), but at the same time, more and more of the majors (American, Delta
  9. Sorry I can't be much help, but there was another thread where someone got conflicting info on whether the ship was docking at Haines or Skagway, so first I'd confirm your itinerary is definitely Haines. I'll be on Noordam next spring (Glacier Discovery Northbound on 5/24) and its itinerary calls for Skagway. (We're booked on the train all the way to Carcross and the bus back, which I'm quite looking forward to as my parents have done the same excursion and recommended it.)
  10. Looks like it's a money-back guarantee. Prince William Sound is surrounded by mountains and islands so I'm guessing it's typically pretty smooth.
  11. Interesting discussion here. We’re a mid-30s couple with no kids and picked HAL for our first cruise for a couple reasons: - We wanted an Alaska itinerary that included Glacier Bay, so of the mainstream lines, that left HAL, NCL, Princess, and RCCL. - NCL included Hubbard Glacier but was $400 more per person for a comparable balcony cabin, and the same shore excursions were also 30 to 50% more expensive. - Princess was cheaper but we decided we’d prefer to end in Seward rather than Whittier. - The prospect of a traditional, laid back (more adult rather than family oriented)
  12. Agreed. I find it really irritating when I respond to someone by email and they immediately call me. I also work at a kiddie table (AKA open office), where all my colleagues are listening in all the time, and I’m often responding to emails during meetings. Just because I’ve emailed you doesn’t mean I’m in a position to talk. It’s especially bad with recruiters - I sure don’t want colleagues hearing that I’m job hunting, and they still call after I explain this. These guys need to remember that you’re the customer, so they need to work in a way that’s convenient for you, otherwise w
  13. We’re not planning any organized excursions in Juneau - the tram up Mt. Roberts is right by the dock, and there’s public bus service to Mendenhall Glacier. From the look of it, all the towns on the Alaska cruises are pretty small and walkable, but you’ll want to book an excursion to see anything out of town (we're planning on the Misty Fjords cruise from Ketchikan and the White Pass railroad out of Skagway).
  14. Thanks to everyone who has posted here! I happened across this thread while searching for info on HAL's gifts and indulgences - I'm still undecided on ROV since my wife isn't much into hoopla, and we haven't been married that long (coming up on 7 years this fall). I see it's $250 for my sailing as well (next spring to Alaska on Noordam). The other packages aren't ideal either since our fare already includes dinner for 2 at the Pinnacle, and my wife and I aren't champagne drinkers. I was thinking of just getting a bouquet and chocolate covered strawberries a la carte, unless anyone here had a b
  15. Thanks for the detailed review! We’ll be on Noordam from Vancouver to Seward next spring - Alaska has been a bucket list item for my wife’s mother, so we booked a starboard-side veranda stateroom and the inside across the hall for the 3 of us. I’m working on getting them on a floatplane but I’ll go it alone if necessary - I’m determined not to miss that! Is that smaller vessel in Glacier Bay Lindblad Expeditions, or someone else?
  16. +1 for Bad Elf - I’ve had mine for 4 years and it’s been fast and reliable. I import the tracks into Google My Maps afterwards, and also geotag my photos from them in Lightroom.
  17. My dad booked a sightseeing flight out of Talkeetna with a glacier landing on their cruise several years ago, but it ended up canceled due to weather. He was quite disappointed but I think mom was secretly relieved. 🙂 I’m wondering if I can do the Misty Fjord cruise/flight combo and the rest of my family can just do the cruise round trip, with us on the same outbound leg? That’s if I can’t convince them to join me on the flight. (I’m a private pilot myself with about 200 hours in a Cessna 172, so I’m fine with it.)
  18. I figured the desirable ones would fill up early - I went ahead and booked the White Pass Rail Bennet Lake & Yukon excursion. I think we'll just self-navigate to Mendenhall Glacier and Mt. Roberts in Juneau, and we haven't decided on Ketchikan yet. (Well, *I've* decided, but I'll need a couple months to convince my wife to get on a seaplane.) Good idea on using the OBC for gratuities (I assume that's the hotel service charge you were referring to?). I figure I'll use the rest of it on drinks/dining.
  19. Thanks for the feedback everyone! I went ahead and booked with Holland America since it included $400 OBC and free internet, which wasn't offered when I was researching last week so I guess it just got posted yesterday or today. I decided not to wait any longer since it would have been difficult getting flights 30 to 45 days out. This is our first cruise, so I'm excited!
  20. I was thinking of doing both. 🙂
  21. Thanks everyone! So shore excursions booked in advance can't use the OBC (I kind of figured that, actually), but those booked on board can? I definitely want to book the train in Skagway in advance since it fills up, but I'm not set on anything else in particular. (I think we might just go our own way to Mendenhall and Mt. Roberts in Juneau. I wouldn't mind a seaplane flight through Misty Fjords in Ketchikan but I know the Mrs. won't go for that.) If the OBC isn't refundable at the end, then I'll probably just spend the rest of it on an increased gratuity if you can do that - might as well let
  22. Sounds like now might be a good time to book then. I'm leaning toward HA as well. I'm concerned about waiting until winter and maybe saving a few bucks on the cruise but then finding out flights are twice as expensive. One other thing - I see some of the travel agencies offer bonuses including onboard credits. Where/for what can these be used? (I assume drinks and specialty dining, but how about drink packages, onboard WiFi, shore excursions, gratuities, etc.?) Sorry I searched but found dozens of threads that weren't relevant, and I didn't have time to read through all.
  23. Oh that’s a great idea! Hertz doesn’t seem to charge one-way fees; you just get a higher daily rate, so doing that for a day and then a second reservation would be a big savings!
  24. Hi all! I was going to wait a few more years, but my parents came to visit a couple weeks ago, and in discussing vacation plans, they highly recommended doing an Alaska cruise. (They were on Island Princess from Whittier to Vancouver in 2014.) I'm interested in a northbound cruise that includes Glacier Bay and Skagway in May or early June, with a balcony cabin on the starboard side (and possibly an inside cabin across the hall if the wife's parents care to join us), which narrows it down to Norwegian Jewel, Holland America Noordam or Westerdam, or Grand or Royal Princess. So here a
  25. Neat - this is definitely on my bucket list now; thanks for sharing! (FWIW, I'm compiling a map of automotive and aviation related attractions around the world: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NI8bKHv35ikMqHtLv7RtyyS_2BY&usp=sharing. I've added this to it.)
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