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Double D Cruisers

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About Double D Cruisers

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Vancouver, WA
  • Interests
    Travel, photography,
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America

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  1. That is true of many dogs but not all. For example if there are 2 inverted bowls but only one has a treat under it, you can point to that bowl and the dog will understand where the treat is. But certain breeds (pugs for instance) pointing does no good. They are clueless just like a cat. Dogs look to humans for help when they are stymied. However if there is no human around a dog may look to a cow or other animal thinking it could help them too. There are 200+ breeds of dogs. About 90% of todays breeds are only a couple hundred years old. They were "created" by us with selective breeding in the 1800s. A period known as the "Victorian Explosion." We forced powerful changes in the dogs evolution. There are only 10 ancient breeds of dogs and most are wolf-like (Akita, Malamute, Siberian Husky, Samoyed, etc) Those are the dogs helped the nomads spread across continents some 14,000 years ago. There are 10 more breeds that are pretty old. They date back to around 1,000 BC. Pekingese, Pug, Lhasa Apso, and Shiba Inu are examples. All the rest are a result of human meddling. The dog is now the most physically diverse mammal on the planet (but they still behave pretty much the same.) The reason for the diversity: They have a very simple genetic architecture controlling their physical traits. It is easily manipulated by man. 6 of 7 locations in the dogs entire genome (genetic blueprint) explain 80% of a dogs appearance. With all other mammals, physical traits are controlled by hundreds if not thousands of complex variations in its genome.
  2. Yes and no. They have several cruises that are 10 days but they always seem to include a land trip to Denali National Park and then a flight home. Time at sea is still about 7 days on these cruises. As you mention there is a 14 day Great Alaskan Explorer on the Amsterdam in June from Seattle to Seattle that includes no land journey... all sailing. It includes Homer and Kodiak (which other cruises rarely get to) before returning home.
  3. Cheaters gonna cheat. Sad to think some people eagerly seek out the role of "perpetual victim." That way any perceived injustice will give them the excuse to lie, cheat or demand something they have not earned or do not qualify for. This "entitlement" psychosis rarely existed in our parents/grandparents days. It is rampant today. "Hard times create strong people. Strong people create easy times. Easy times create weak people. Weak people create hard times."
  4. There are Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs and Therapy Dogs. Only Service Dogs are not considered pets and only Service Dogs are protected by the Americans with Disability Act according to the Justice Department. Only Service Dogs have protection under law to go wherever the owner goes and do whatever the owner is able to do. The problems is there are dozens of places on the internet selling "fake" certificates, proclaiming your dog to be whatever you want it to be. Yet there is NO official licensing authority that credentials programs or individuals who actually provide the legitimate extensive training of Service Dogs. The DOJ says only dogs can be service animals and they must be specifically trained to help a specific person with a specific disability. Some confusion comes when certain classes of Service Dogs (one trained to aid someone with PTSD for example) is confused with an emotional support animal. One has been specifically trained to help one person and the other has not. Therapy animals are pets with an ability or training to provide comfort to people in general. For example sick children in the hospital. These dogs/animals may be permitted by a particular hospital or other facility to comfort patients but they have no added rights under the ADA to go on planes, in restaurants or on cruise ships. Emotional support pets have no specific training but can provide emotional support to their owner. These owners and their animals have no rights at all under the ADA. These are considered normal pets owned by normal people according to the Justice Department. Until a national credentialing process is developed with a nationally recognized certifying authority issuing a government approved Service Dog License I can see this problem continuing to upset the general population. As usual a few people think they have the right to game the system at everyone else's expense. Reminds me of those who swipe their parent's and grandparent's handicapped parking placard so they don't have to walk a few more steps.
  5. Many HAL cruises includes the Inside Passage but not all. It is one route to get to the glaciers and to where the popular port towns are located. Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Skagway. I have been on cruises that did, and did not include the actual "inside passage." One is is not superior to the other IMHO. I think HAL has 9 ships doing Alaska this year. I think the Oosterdam does not include the inside passage. To us the best part of any Alaskan cruise is seeing the glaciers (especially Hubbard Glacier) and visiting the towns. Depending on the cruise they visit different Glaciers, and different towns, not always the same ones. Luckily it looks like you are visiting Hubbard Glacier which was our favorite. When viewing the Glaciers the Ship's Captain usually has the ship do at least one 360 degree spin so that all get a good view. You are in a great Cabin that is located in my personal favorite part of a ship to be. On a higher deck with a view that faces to the stern. I love to watch and hear the prop wash.
  6. The Signature Beverage Package is listed at $44.95 per day. This price does not include the 15% service charge. Your true cost with the service charge is $103.38 per day if you are traveling with any adult in your state room. If one person buys the package the other adult must buy the package whether they use it or not. Laundry and room service tips are not required however your final bill will show a "Hotel Service Charge" of $14.50/day for each adult in your cabin. It will be $16.00/day per adult if you are in a Suite. This is supposed to cover all tips for ship's service staff. Although this is automatically added to the bill, it is not mandatory you pay it. I have seen passengers at the front desk demanding the charges be removed. Most people agree to the charge because they feel the wait staff and room service staff did a wonderful job and deserve it. If you don't agree ,get the charges removed from your bill. And of course you can tip your favorite people extra cash if you desire. My wife has always tipped in the hair salon if she gets her hair done on a formal night. Other things to spend your money on is the excursions offered at your ports, and purchasing photo packages. The ship has several photographers and will be busy taking photos at your ports or having you pose for portraits on Formal Nights. Most new cruisers end up buying a few photos and going on a few excursions. Before our very first cruise, we went to a presentation given by our travel agency. He said to prepare for your first cruise Step 1 is to get out all the clothes you plan to take and lay them out on the bed. Also get all the money you plan to take. Step 2 is to put half your clothes back in the closet but bring twice as much money.
  7. Yes indeed. Thanks for the clarification. Medicare Part C (supplemental) does/may cover some/all portions. I am retired military so in my case Tricare for Life (supplemental) would pay for all health care to include air evacuation to "the safest closest place" if I were anywhere in the world. However, I may have to pay out of pocket, and the be reimbursed later.
  8. Thanks for the information. Did not know that. Was speaking of military service dogs and assumed the ADA had something similar. And if not why not? It seems without clear guidance, regulations and certification, rampant abuse of the term "service animal" will remain unchecked. If I were an agency or a professional conducting these valuable animal training programs I would certainly welcome an accreditation and official recognition of my program. Does the ADA not want scrutiny? "Privately trained so no paperwork exists". You can't cut hair these days without a license, but you can train and sell "service dogs" to vulnerable people without any over sight? It's a service dog just cuz I say its a service dog? Sounds like the ADA needs to run a tighter ship (for the good of the disabled.) All of us are either disabled now or will be disabled in the future (unless we get run over by a bus and die first.) I want to know the ADA has their act together.
  9. Alaska's inside passage is the one cruise you should take if you can only do one. The waters are usually calm if you are worried about sea sickness. In fact more people take an Alaska cruise than any other cruise destination. There is an app that shows where all the Cruise Ships are located on any given day. Between May and October it seems most most all the them are doing Alaska. Over and over ships do this 7-day cruise for about 14 weeks solid. Then they all disappear, scattered to various other parts of the world until the next May. We have been 3 times. It has been different every time. If we can't do a long Cruise in any given year we will at least do a short 1 week cruise (Alaska or Mexican Riviera) to get the cruise-bug out of our system. Best time to go is maybe late June-July when the bears are are active. If you want to take an excursion to see them getting salmon out of the river. Otherwise anytime. Be aware that it rains a lot around Ketchikan. The Ketchikan Peninsula is a rainforest, just not a tropical one. Averages 165 inches a year. We have always been lucky and visited on a dry day.
  10. Any dog specifically trained and certified by a recognized authority can be a service dog. Anyone owning such a dog (helps with mobility issues, seizure warning detection, alerts to danger) is aware of this and has the necessary paperwork and license that comes with such an animal.
  11. I agree that "emotional support dogs" are not service dogs. They have no special ability. They have not had the months/years of training and evaluation by professional trainers that a true "service animal" has. Seeing eye dogs, military sentry dogs and police dogs are true service animals. The typical owner of an emotional support dog has not been to a simple obedience class let alone the months of training with their dog that a blind person has had. Travelors should make a choice. Do I stay home with my beloved animal or do I take a cruise. Life is full of choices. Its not cruel or unusual punishment to ask them to make that choice. Your so called "emotional wellbeing" does not give you the right to deprive the rest of the passengers and crew of theirs. If you need emotional support bring a 2 legged friend.
  12. Check to see if you don't have some sort of medical coverage from a credit card you use or from your existing health plan or from Medicare. However Medicare will only cover you if you are in the U.S. or one of its territories. They won't cover health care if you are on a cruise unless you happen to be in US waters. Other than that, ask your travel agent. They can offer plans to cover both trip cancelation coverage along with medical coverage including Air Evacuation to a medical facility or even back to the U.S. if medically necessary. The plans we bought in the past had both trip cancelation, medical insurance and even lost luggage.
  13. Under those circumstances the bartender was acting in the passengers best interest whether he had reached his 15 limit or not. Not to mention HAL's liability issues if this passenger fell down the stairs and it was shown the bartender had knowingly served a passenger when significant impairment was obvious.
  14. QUESTION: Is it 15 total beverages or 15 Alcoholic beverages and unlimited "other" beverages? There has been wide spread confusion on the "15 Beverage" issue for years. Bar tender to bar tender, even beverage manager to beverage manager you could get a different answer. The correct answer is you are limited to 15 Alcoholic beverages. I had HAL send me a letter on official letter head confirming it. Below is a portion of that correspondence. "Thank you for your recent correspondence with Holland America Line regarding our Signature Beverage Package and Elite Beverage Packages. You are correct in believing if you were to purchase either of these beverage packages, that they would include unlimited non-alcoholic beverages and bottled waters 500ml and under." I am bringing this letter with me on my next cruise.
  15. Your Beverage Package may be "grandfathered" to the $11.00 price. In 2014 I bought the Signature Beverage package when it would pay for drinks up to $7.00. Several months later in 2015 when I actually took the cruise the drink prices had increased and now the SBP covered drinks up to $8.00. They honored the price I had paid and gave me no hassle at all. Hopefully the same will apply to you. Incidentally the price for the SBP ($44.95 per day (each) plus 15% service charge) has not changed price since at least 2014, even though covered drink prices went from $7.00 to $8:00, to $9.00, and now $11.00.
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