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About cartervan

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    West Virginia
  • Interests
    besides travel, gardening, reading, singing in choirs
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Mediterranean. No, wait, Alaska. Hmm, no, New Zealand-Australia......

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  1. They must be sending it out kind of randomly. We were on the Zuiderdam in October and have an Alaska cruise on the Westerdam booked for July, but we haven't received any surveys.
  2. Both wonderful itineraries. So do one this year, and the other next! I do go along with what most people are saying--go to the Baltic first.
  3. We were just on the Zuiderdam where we had an unexpected extra "sea day" because of a cancelled port. We ended up watching "Crazy Rich Asians" in our stateroom and enjoying it a lot. Free movies on demand--very nice. There seemed to be a pretty extensive selection.
  4. I was very interested in your review because we were on the same cruise with you. Funny thing--I also had problems with my "sea pass" card the first time I tried to use it. My picture did not show up--only a "blank wall" they said! It was kind of annoying to have to go stand in line at the passenger service desk when all I wanted to do was unpack and settle in. Was there a second Mariners Reception? We missed the first one because it was over before we boarded, which I thought was disappointing--not many "perks" for three-stars really. Oh well, we enjoyed our cruise very much. All the ports were wonderful. There was a lot of "tendering", but I thought it was handled very efficiently. I plan to write my own review soon.
  5. Keep up your interesting reports! Enjoying your perspective.
  6. Happy anniversary MAMAOFAMI, and thank you for your "live" reporting. I am very interested in your posts because we, too, are boarding in New York on September 27! ( SJSULIBRARIAN - I haven't seen your name on the Roll Call. You should join us. We have a Meet and Mingle set for Sunday, Sept. 29 at 11 in the Billboard Onboard area.)
  7. Crazy For Cats--thanks so much for posting that! We took a Norway Cruise on the Koningsdam a year ago and thoroughly enjoyed seeing that "review" of our trip along with all the inside info.
  8. We also are Trivia players from way back--but recently the biggest threat to enjoyment of the game is Google. We pointed out to the CD on a recent cruise (not HAL, by the way) that some teams had cell phones out and were looking up answers. His reply was basically--oh well, it's just for fun. But what's the "fun" in that?! And speaking of cheating--we were on another cruise where the team sitting at the bar always got everything right (the bar tender was giving them the answers!) We've also been playing when well-meaning "passers-by" would lean in and give us an answer. Completely ruins the game! No wonder they've quit giving out real prizes.
  9. We've been fortunate enough to travel a lot and our friends always ask us which places are our favorites. We never can come up with a definitive answer. We've been to every U.S. state at least twice and we have a beautiful country. But since we retired (nearly 20 years ago) we've visited about 40 countries --mostly thanks to cruising. We've enjoyed every place we've been. But I think the stand-outs from all the cruises is Australia-New Zealand (HAL Statendam); trans-Atlantic and back to back Mediterranean (HAL Noordam); the Baltic (on Celebrity Constellation); and Norway (HAL Koningsdam)....oh, and the British Islands, and Alaska and the Caribbean..... Did I mention that we loved them all?
  10. The review I wrote about our April/May Rhapsody cruise has just been "published" in the Cruise Critic Review section. I avidly read all the Rhapsody reviews in anticipation of our cruise, so I felt like I should add my impressions for others who want to know what to expect, or compare my opinions with theirs.
  11. We just got home from a lovely TA/Mediterranean cruise on RCI. In one port we were docked right next to the Veendam, and looking across at that familiar "black bottom" and wrap-around deck I had the oddest feeling of nostalgic "homesickness" for Holland America. We are 3-star Mariners but we've sailed on several different lines--usually choosing our cruises by itinerary and how it fits into our schedule. We always enjoy ourselves whatever cruise line we are on but there is just something special about the ambiance aboard a Holland American ship that we miss when we're on some other ship.
  12. We just got back from 21 days on the Rhapsody starting in Tampa with an April 27 TransAtlantic back to back with Barcelona to Venice. We've been on many cruises--mostly on Celebrity and HAL as well as NCL and Carnival, but this was our first time on RCI. We choose our cruises for itinerary and price and this one fit that criteria, hitting several ports that were new to us and ending up in Venice where we had never been. The crossing was smooth and we were blessed with beautiful weather most of the time. Overall we had a wonderful time and I want to write a longer review when I get the laundry done, the garden weeded and the house dusted. But in the meantime just a few quick comments on some of the things we liked and disliked. We really liked the food, and the way the Windjammer is arranged. The crew was wonderful. We went to almost all the shows and enjoyed them all, as well as all the live music all over the ship. We realize that the Rhapsody is not typical of all the glitzy mega ships in the RCI fleet, but it is a beautiful ship and very well maintained. We did have a few things that we were not so thrilled with. On the TransAtlantic portion of the trip there were many activities, but we were disappointed that there were no lectures on the history of the areas we were going to visit. There were interesting talks on "forensics" (?) and astronomy--but nothing about Spain or the Mediterranean. In fact, there was not much help or friendly tips on the ports at all unless you were going on official Ship Excursions. I thought there could be better use of the venues. For instance, the "Shall We Dance" lounge is a lovely, comfortable spot--but mostly used for art auctions and bingo, while the popular Trivia games were mostly in the Schooner bar which is a noisy and busy hallway, basically. And I liked the Royal Crown area a lot, but for the whole TransAtlantic it was largely taken over by Diamond+ overflow. In fact we were told that we could not stay there when we went up to the bar to take advantage of an advertised special price on martinis. Why have a special price on a drink in a place you cannot sit and enjoy it!? Anyway--more comprehensive review to come. If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer.
  13. Thanks for your review! We were on the May 11 Mediterranean cruise with you and I am just getting ready to post my own quick reactions along with a longer review later when I get time. It is interesting to see another perspective. I also really enjoyed the parade of flags--really special. I agree that overall the food was wonderful. But we went to almost all the shows and thought they were very entertaining. Different strokes for different folks!
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