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Kirsten T

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About Kirsten T

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Feeding Hills, MA
  1. We booked in advance with Your Lucky Tour for our March Zuiderdam cruise. This was 2 weeks ago and we did dock in Costo Rica; we ended up having a private tour with Eduardo and our driver, Alexander. We did the Tortuguero Canal with lunch tour and it was fabulous. Eduardo is really responsive to email, and was waiting exactly where he said he'd be with a sign with my name. The minivan was air conditioned and very comfortable. We started by driving along the coast to the canals, and had a small boat to ourselves with an excellent guide. He got us within feet of a 3-toed sloth, monkeys, iguanas, egrets and other beautiful birds and gave us a lot of great information on the canals and the general area. Next we had a drive through the countryside to a fruit stand. Many locals were stopping buy to get fresh boiled corn, which they were cooking on a wood fire at the front of the stand. Very cool! Then we had lunch at The Red Snapper, an open air restaurant overlooking the harbor. The made us really refreshing fruit and ice drinks - we chose watermelon and pineapple, both delicious. We had chicken, fried plantains and rice and beans, all terrific. Then we stopped at a local grocery to buy coffee, which was amazingly cheap. Eduardo suggested using a credit card to avoid getting change in local currency. Then he dropped us back at the terminal in plenty of time. This was an excellent tour, and both Eduardo and Alexander were friendly, caring and very professional while still treating us like family. They are great hosts and can tell you a lot about life in Costa Rica as well as showing the natural beauty and tourist sites. This was far less expensive than a ship excursion and we got much more personal attention. I can't recommend Eduardo highly enough - I hope to do a different tour with him next time!
  2. I’m on Zuiderdam- she’ll be sailing with crew only to anchor somewhere in the Bahamas after we debark. The crew will be enjoying the passenger sail away experience from the lido deck courtesy of management, so everyone try to enjoy their special sailaway. I’m hoping to be flying home at 4:15 but I’d love to see them enjoy the experience all of us look forward to. They more than earned it on this cruise. cheers, Kirsten
  3. Thanks for the info-glad you’re having as good an experience as possible. I’m on Zuiderdam, arriving back at Port Everglades tomorrow as scheduled. We are also happy with the way the crew is handling everything. We’ve had a good cruise and are hoping for an uneventful disembark. I wish the same for you!
  4. Onboard Zuiderdam - still doing the canal transit tomorrow but Panama will not allow shore ex. Skipping Colon. No word yet on Costa Rica. Captain just announced that HAL at this time is not planning to suspend ops like sister line Princess. Had no problem with docking in Aruba or curaçao, skipped half moon due to 50 knot gusts. Crew is sanitizing continuously, no self serving of any food, no salt pepper sugar on tables. But still a very enjoyable cruise so far.
  5. Onboard Zuiderdam now. Yesterday's drill was same as always; standing under the boats with everyone else. No change.
  6. I’m onboard Zuiderdam now. Although the ATK logo is still on the BB King sign, there has been no mention of ATK at all. It’s disappeared completely.
  7. I use ThinkSports non-nano zinc product, works great even though it makes me look a little like Caspar the Friendly Ghost. (They say it gets clear after rubbing but it never goes entirely invisible for me.) There's a list on snorkelandfins.com that's pretty helpful. https://www.snorkelsandfins.com/reef-safe-sunscreen-brands/
  8. In my experience the servers are more likely to give you a large than a small portion of anything. And they'll happily add to it if you'd like more. One thing I also really like about HAL is the many items already plated that you can just grab. Sushi, some of the salads, fruits, desserts and in the AM, yummy yogurt parfaits are in small "grab and go" plates or containers, which cuts the lines down. Pre-made sandwiches and chips were in individual wrapper bags. Wish Celebrity did more of that.
  9. Having done it twice, I'd say my favs were Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Skagway and if done in daylight, parts of the inside passage. Both trips were on Princess, once southbound Whittier-Vancouver and once in the opposite direction. On the northbound trip we tacked on a Denali land package but did it through Alaska Rail, not Princess. If you're the DIY type, check out the packages available at alaskarailroad.com - their travel planners were super to deal with, very patient and knowledgeable (at least they were 8 years ago.) I know I'm in the minority on this, but I think the best scenery by far is on or near the coast. Denali and the train trip up had its moments and I'm glad we did it once. The second time we spent extra time on our own in the Kenai Peninsula and a few days in Vancouver which, IMO, I thought were both more spectacularly beautiful and interesting than Denali, which has a more austere beauty. I'd suggest really looking at the places first, to decide what you want to see and do, then start looking at how to get there. The cruise lines push Denali hard, but there's a lot more to Alaska, and a lot of ways to see it. I'm hoping to get back to Kenai Fjords maybe next summer; Alaska's really expensive, but totally worth it. Whatever you do, you'll enjoy it!
  10. The Port of Tampa Web site has a schedule page - click on your day/ship and a pop-up will tell you the terminal and any info relating to the departure. It's one of the better port sites out there. https://www.porttb.com/cruise-schedules
  11. We used Uber from FLL to the Embassy Suites in January, and it couldn't have been easier. Pickup locations are between terminals 1 and 2, or between terminals 3 and 4. We came in on Southwest so we walked out of the baggage area in Southwest's Terminal 1 and turned right. EVery sign had "Ride Sharing" with a picture of a cell phone pointing you in the right direction. Between T1 and T2 there's an area where cars pull out of the main drive and into a separate pickup area; we just waited there for our driver. Uber's app is also pretty good in describing where the pickup points are at FLL. If you go to the airport's site on broward dot org, there's a map and detailed instructions. Or Google "broward airport ride sharing" and you'll go straight there. We'd had enough bad experiences with taxis recently at FLL that we gave Uber a whirl and were very satisfied. We'll never do a taxi again.
  12. We debarked Celebrity Silhouette January 11th at T18. When we got to the arrivals hall there was a sign for Mobile Passport right in the center of the luggage area, but it was blocked off. After waiting in the regular line line for about 30 minutes I noticed they did eventually open it, possibly after they had enough Homeland Security staff. They did seem a bit understaffed but it took a total of 45 minutes from walking off the ship to walking outside, which wasn't too bad. There are no customs forms anymore unless you've exceeded the limits. They did slap our passports on the scanner but that was it. We said Hi, he scanned the docs and in 20 seconds we were done.
  13. Just left S yesterday - ship crew said it was a whole-ship charter, supposedly a bank. Saw signs at Terminal 18 for RBC-Royal Bank but not sure if that's the one chartering or not.
  14. DINING: CEL SLCT means you have Select dining. You choose the time you wish to dine. It's like Anytime Dining on Princess, which is what I think you mentioned in your original post.
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