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msmayor

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Everything posted by msmayor

  1. Others may know for sure, but I wonder if it depends on how HAL is selling the cruise...sometimes, two itineraries are sold as one voyage (even two 7-night Caribbean). We did an 11-night on Eurodam which was also sold as a 4-night Pacific Coastal and 7-day Mexican Riviera...but we were booked as 11-night guests. When we arrived in San Diego (the end of the four-day segment) there was no mention at all of us needing to leave the ship or get to zero-count...they said anyone remaining on for the next 7 days was pretty much free to treat this as a normal port stop. We were told we could remain on board if we wanted or come/go freely at the port. We left the ship around 9am to walk around a bit and re-boarded around noon, heading through a different line for 'in-transit'. We didn't even need to do muster drill again. I remember being in our Lido Cabana that afternoon by the pool, our attendant making sure we had a drink before the bars shut down, and hearing the drill over the loudspeaker while we relaxed.
  2. When it comes to 'free drinks' promotions, I tend to do a little fancy math to see if it is worth it. Back in 2017 we had the chance to add Explore 4 to an existing 10-night reservation for $69pp through a reprice of the trip. That was total, not per day...so just $140 to get free drinks for 10 nights, internet, Pinnacle Grill. That was a no-brainer. During that trip we decided to see just how much of a value free drinks really are for us. Receipts were still given for all drinks, and everything was credited off our bill at the end. I saved all those receipts and added them up after we got home. Now, we didn't drink any more than we normally would, so I had a good sense of what our 'actual' beverage costs were and could compare to what the drink package would have cost us. The package would have been a poor value as we only spent about $800 on drinks, or $80/day total. For me now, all I do is look at the price of the cruise with the free drinks...and the price without. If the per person price without is more than $400 less than the price with drinks, I don't want the perk...there's no value for me.
  3. I can't recall if we still had to sign for the drinks, but my husband and I always handed the server a dollar or two at time of order...that seemed to ensure that we were always 'remembered' after a while for refills if we were not sitting at the bar. When at the bar, we always left a more substantial tip if we had a couple of drinks while sitting there. Our favorite servers are always remembered at the end of the trip as well.
  4. I think it's more about how much time one spends in the casino than anything else. My husband and I are not big gamblers by any means, but after our first HAL cruise we got on the 'casino list' and have received offers for the past 6-7 years consistently. We are in the casino every single day of the cruise, always make sure we have them run our card when seated at a table or playing video poker (no regular slots for us). We also get to know the dealers and casino host, and participate in blackjack tournaments. But our casino 'budget' is never more than $100 each per day, and we've never left it all on the ship. 9 out of ten times, our normal 'losses' only come to about $300 or so for the entire trip and most trips we break even or come out ahead. We're pretty disciplined gamblers - entertainment only.
  5. Wow @Crew News, that is narrow. Well, we won't give up our walks, but I have to imagine they won't be nearly as brisk as past trips. How does that deck size work out for On Deck for a Cause?
  6. My only space concern is the outside promenade deck for walking. I've heard it is much more narrow than other ships. One of our cruise standards each morning is a brisk walk on deck, usually at least 10-12 laps. I'm hoping this will still be as enjoyable when we sail NS in March.
  7. This is the size of my balcony on my upcoming HAL cruise...a regular veranda stateroom but one of just two on this ship with a double-wide, extended balcony. My hack will be to pass some greenbacks to my stateroom attendant on day 1 to see about a couple of loungers and a larger table, if they aren't already there.
  8. How far in advance can you add Club Orange to a booking? Gosh I wish my PCC hadn't been let go...I need to find another.
  9. I'm giving some serious thought to Club Orange for our NS cruise scheduled for March 2022. I'm not so sure I care about the upgraded stateroom (I am booked into one of the two aft staterooms on deck 4 with the double-wide balcony), but the other perks are intriguing...especially the idea of the separate dining space for breakfast/dinner. My question is about dinner...if one chooses to eat there every night, do you need to have reservations? Does the same wait staff work there the entire cruise, and can you try to get the same crew each evening as one would in fixed dining in the large dining room?
  10. We've always had pressing included with the laundry package, but dry cleaning is not. My husband always sends every one of his dress shirts out on embarkation day as we unpack so they can be freshly pressed - we leave them for our stateroom attendant when we go to dinner. They've always been back to us by noon the next day.
  11. My husband and I get the casino 'offers' via email fairly often. We are not high-rollers but do enjoy the casino on the ship and spend time there every day of a cruise, and get to know the host and dealers throughout the trip. Since getting our first offer a couple of years ago, we qualify for a casino discount on every cruise we have taken since. It's usually a decent break - at least $300 or more off the fare, and we've always been able to take advantage of any other perks currently offered at the time of reservation. I think the best deal we ended up with was the Zuiderdam partial Panama Canal. We started in a Signature Suite and included was the beverage package, all gratuities and an evening in the Pinnacle Grill. After taking an offered upsell to a Neptune we got 10 nights in a suite right across from the Neptune Lounge for just over $4k.
  12. Half Moon Cay is one of my top destinations...and when I dream of a beautiful beach, that is the one that always comes to mind. Walking along that pure white sand, swimming in that crystal clear water. It's heaven...
  13. The price of everything is going up - I've heard of some areas where plywood that was once $25/sheet is now $100/sheet...supply and demand. Cruising is no different. There were some reasonable deals out there 6-8 months ago, if you were booking way in advance. The 11-night my husband and I booked on HAL gave us an oversized balcony stateroom, free drinks, on board credit, wifi credit...and is $4k. We booked last fall for March 2022. That same trip today with similar perks is $1500 more.
  14. While I've never sailed on Disney, this statement applies regardless of the line when it comes to a guarantee stateroom booking. Make sure you can be happy with the worst stateroom in the category you book. That doesn't mean you WILL get the worst, but the possibility exists. Example - If there are solid-wall balcony staterooms in the category, and you would be very disappointed with a solid wall, don't book a guarantee in that category.
  15. When the Signature Package hasn't been included as a free perk, we've always used the beverage cards for our bar purchases. SO much easier this way - no need to keep all the receipts to check against the stateroom account. All my husband does is keep the newest receipt that has the 'remaining balance' on the card so we know when to re-load. We never need to worry about spending it all either...whatever was left on the card at the end of the cruise was credited back to our account.
  16. Doing a full-transit is on my bucket list, but we won't be able to take that time until retirements. Doing the 10-night partial was a way to experience the canal now. It remains one of my most favorite cruises ever...I read Path Between the Seas in preparation and it truly did enrich the passage. I woke at 4:30am to get out on our balcony while we waited our turn to begin the transit through Gatun, and spent most of that phase through the locks wandering all over the ship to see the locks from different angles. It was a thrill! We remained on the ship because we wanted to experience the trip back through the locks. It's an itinerary we'd repeat again in a heartbeat.
  17. Once we experienced the unlimited laundry, we always opt for that on any HAL cruise we take. It cuts down on the amount of clothing we need to pack and my husband loves having crisply pressed shirts to wear at dinner/in the evening. Even better - most of the clothing we pack is clean and just needs to be put away when we get home. Very little laundry to deal with at the end of vacation!
  18. I don't think there will be any issues with requiring a vaccine...it's not that much different from requiring a Yellow Fever vaccine for certain itineraries. It's not that much different from requiring a passport to go to certain places. Cruise line requirement or not, I won't go until I am vaccinated. I want to protect my self from more serious illness in the event that there is an outbreak.
  19. I think the idea of pent-up demand is real. I also think that there are many who have already rebooked / been cancelled / rebooked / repeat that they may be on the sidelines after the second or third cancellation, waiting to see just when things will start up again. I have a sailing booked for March 2022 with fingers crossed it goes, but I can tell you - I am chomping at the bit to get back on the road or on to sea. I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that as soon as ships start sailing, good staterooms will be hard to find everywhere.
  20. This is one big reason why, when my husband and I sail on HAL, we always buy a future cruise deposit for $100pp. That allows us to book our next cruise when we're ready with just that certificate as the deposit. Good for four years, if we never use it the $100pp is refunded back...but we've always booked within 12-18 months for the next trip. It's how we booked our March 2022 trip. Last fall, it was nice not to have to pull any funds out of our account to deposit a nice 11-night trip. We always, always book refundable deposits. I know it may cost us more on some lines, but I'm not willing to take the risk.
  21. I'm not even sure that anyone can ever say that a cruise is completely safe. How many times have we heard about Norovirus infecting groups of passengers on a sailing that affects the ability of the entire ship to enjoy a 'normal' cruise? For a period of time I recall consistently having to fill out a health questionnaire and being asked if we had any nausea or digestive issues in the past 48 hours, or fever. How many times have we read about the inaccuracy of these questionnaires, because people would rather skirt the truth that lose thousands on a vacation? We can only be guided by our personal gut feelings on how safe WE as individuals feel a trip is for ourselves. What feels safe for one may feel very risky to another.
  22. My very first balcony stateroom was on Westerdam...we were on deck 5 aft, smack in the middle of the stern. I don't recall any unusual motion during that trip, and I can be pretty sensitive to it ( we were in an aft on Eurodam two years ago coming down the west coast and it was rough for the first two days). We absolutely loved the deep balcony on that deck and with the overhang, it was usable regardless of the weather.
  23. As others have mentioned, even in what you would think could be the calmest waters, you cannot predict. I recall a very early cruise my husband and I took out of Port Canaveral, on the first night the Captain warned us that 'crossing the gulf stream' we would encounter very rough water, and should make sure all our belongings were secured overnight. It was indeed rough....and on every cruise since out of FL ports we've never had seas that rough. Been to the Bahamas when motion could easily be felt...and also when the sea was flat-calm. I've never seen water so still in the middle of the ocean since. It's just a roll of the dice.
  24. I can't think of any restriction that will keep me off the ship...as long as I've been vaccinated, I'll happily accept whatever restrictions there are. I will make sure I have a nice balcony to enjoy...and if I can't get off this ship because I don't feel like booking a ship excursion, no big deal. I cruise for the relaxation, and most ports...if we are going to get off and tour, we take a ship excursion anyway. Just get me on a ship...
  25. I'll tell you what really made me chuckle...the other day, a brochure from HAL arrived to advertise the 2021 Alaska and Yukon season. "Look dear, a magazine of trips no one is going to be able to take at all..." 🙂
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