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Everything posted by crewsgirl

  1. I have had Australia/NZ on my bucket list for a long, long time. And I am very close to booking this cruise on the Noordam in 2020, mainly because I want the itinerary that includes Hobart and Picton. The HAL people tell me she will go into dry dock Sept 2019, and I am hoping that refurbishment will make a good difference. So my question is...anybody here that has sailed that itinerary on the Noordam have a compelling reason that I should or (should not) book this trip this week on the HAL Why Not Now sale? Is that the best deal? Anybody ever done the restricted fare? That is a bit worrisome to me, but open to ideas on that. My TA actually said HAL wasn't offering any promos. so I am interested in your ideas to get the best pricing as well. Is there a difference in booking with a AUS TA? I know we can be happy on HAL, we have sailed with them before and been pleased. Wondering if it is worth the splurge for the signature suite vs regular veranda cabin, any thoughts on that? Thanks in advance and happy cruising!
  2. This sounds like a fabulous trip! And I agree, I usually like to stay in an apartment situation before boarding the cruise. 8 sea days sounds like a lot for us. Did you fly direct from LAX to Perth? I am wondering about stopping over in Hawaii for a few days on the way to AUS. Just for a bit of time adjustment. How was the jet lag factor for you guys?
  3. We are also looking at early 2020 for a cruise Sydney to Auckland, I wish we had a month, but we are probably going to be happy with 2 weeks. I would like to do a few days pre cruise in Sydney. Are you planning to do any stop overs on the way to Sydney?
  4. Wanted to circle back after a long break and give a fabulous thumbs up for cabin 7116 on the Koningsdam! The space was great, the balcony was huge, we had wind protection and we had furniture out there including an ottoman. I was very happy with our cabin choice. No noise, no neighbors right across the hallway and easy access to elevators/stairs. Yep, I would vote for this cabin again in a heartbeat on this beautiful ship.
  5. I just ordered online and it was personalized and said it will be delivered in our stateroom when we board. I think we are going to be fine. Cheers!
  6. We are booked in 7116 boarding next Sunday bound for Norway. I'll report back here about the cabin. I am optimistically hopeful and looking forward to our trip!
  7. Can you purchase the beverage cards 1 week before boarding? And have your name on them?
  8. So, freestyling, are you saying this is a free sauna or is it for use only if you are visiting the spa for a treatment? I have never accessed the spa without paying for a service, but that would be fabulous. Is there also a pool for spa users that is private and limited access? We are leaving next Sunday for the Kdam and I am really looking forward to the spa there.
  9. The compression bags have a valve that allow all the air to be removed from the package, it is much more efficient that a regular ziplock in my experience. I don't usually roll them to remove the air because that really will wrinkle all your garments. I press them down uniformly to remove as much air as possible while creating a neat package that goes in the suitcase. Truth be told, I lay down on the compression bag and remove the air. Works great for me. Ha. I will be packing 1 medium size compression bag for our 3 days in Amsterdam before we board the ship and that will occupy my carry on bag. Then, my larger checked bag will consist of 3 different compression bags for the week long trip and shoes will fit in the sides of the suitcase. I am planning to take a soft ultralight down coat with a removable hood that stuffs into its own bag as well. And I will easily be under 50 lbs on the checked bag and I don't plan to do laundry and I take usually 2 tops per day while we are traveling. I always change from daytime to nighttime. For night time wear, I am taking 1 black maxi dress, 1 black jumpsuit, 4 dressy tops, 3 pairs of dressy pants. Does this sound about right ? And I would love to hear your combos for nighttime wear. I am trying to minimize shoes as well.
  10. Does the compression and up making all your clothes wrinkled? I don't press the compression bag all the way down to make it all scrunched and tight and crazy looking. And I lay a stack of clothes together and only fold them over once before putting them in the compression bag, and I haven't found it to be too bad actually. I hang them in the closet as soon as we board and can let them "steam" a bit in the bathroom or press something if I absolutely have to. I like to travel in knits and easy care fabrics as well. No linen for this girl.
  11. Were you on HAL? Good to know about the HoHo, we used it in Barcelona and it was great.
  12. You guys are awesome! Thanks for all the great suggestions and I am looking at the Oslo card right now. Not quite seniors yet....but great to know.
  13. We are headed to Oslo on the Koningsdam in June and while we prefer independent travel experiences, the need to see so much in a short period of time makes me think we need a group tour. Does anybody have any good recommendations for this city? Aside from the ship's tour please. We need to see the Vigeland sculpture garden, the ski jump and the Viking museum. Open to all ideas at this point. TIA.
  14. So, we can be friends! Because I too love the Sauvignon Blanc wines from the Marlborough region....and now, I am looking on HAL's website and a bottle of Villa Maria (750 ml) costs 61.25 and INCLUDES the 15% service charge, and that will be about 6 glasses/bottle or about 10.20 per glass. Have you seen it on the menu for more than that price? I was thinking it was about 9.75...just enough to be excluded from that Signature Beverage Package. But, whatever...I'm going to enjoy my wine on our trip and can do the beverage card for cocktails and a wine package that includes it. I think we will be fine at any rate.
  15. I think we are opting to use the beverage card as well, simply because the wine I prefer is priced at 9.75 per glass and the signature beverage package specifies that only wine up to $9.00 is included. WHHHAAATTT? Why in the world would they do that? So, you need to beware of the little rules on that beverage package. Give me the card any day.
  16. Hmmm, I am thinking about this same issue. Our flight is not until 5 p.m. on the day we are to disembark in Amsterdam. Is there a luggage delivery service that takes your luggage on the airport for you? We used that in Tokyo last year and it was wonderful.
  17. Yikes, my boots are sooo heavy, I hate to try to pack them. I am interested in other alternatives for good walking shoes. For city sightseeing (my kind of hiking, haha) I have some Ecco mary janes that fill the bill nicely. But, for that waterproof element, I need some suggestions that don't weigh a ton, please.
  18. I use the Ziploc brand too! These are readily available at Walmart, the Dollar Store, Target, Amazon, just about anywhere. And I never use a vacuum to get a good closure and seal. I lay all my tops together and only fold them 1 time, then I do the same with pants and place in the compression bag and gently remove all the air. I don't make it ridiculously tight, but it is amazing what you can get in there. I use them for several reasons: I can actually pack 30% more It allows me to stay so organized, they have different sizes depending on the bag you are carrying and what you need. I can pack my overnight precruise items in a single compression bag and never have to open my other bags if we are doing a few days before we get on the ship. And it is cleaner in the event TSA decides to go through my bag, they won't have their hands on my things. :o:o Unpacking when you get home is a snap. I designate one bag for dirty laundry while on the trip and it stays separate from the other clothing. I have used this method for years while doing business travel and managed to go very efficiently and compactly. I carry the 26"Lipault plume spinner which weighs only 6.6 lbs, my Lipault carry on bag weighs 4.9 lbs. and it is a game changer for us. So easy. I never exceed the weight limits and take lots of clothes, usually more than I ever wear. This year, I splurged and got my husband a set of his own Lipault luggage. I love it. Threw away the heavy old Samsonite we had.
  19. We are excited about heading to Norway on the Koningsdam in June as well, and I am planning to take a pair of fleece lined leggings for the bike ride down the mountain at Flam as well as a raincoat. I am going to tuck in a cashmere sweater to wear with casual knit travel pants in case it is chilly. I usually do knit layers, but I hate to be cold, so I will be digging out a pair of gloves just in case the fjord cruise is breezy. I pack in compression bags and I don't think Amsterdam will be cold at all, so it is a bit more challenging to be prepared for whatever you need. Shoes present the biggest issue for me weight wise in the luggage. I am taking lightweight sketchers for serious walking shoes and probably dressier wedge sandals for evening.
  20. Ohhh, thanks! We did exactly the same in Bar Harbor and it worked out perfectly. Thanks for the info.
  21. We also are planning to visit Stavanger in June on the Koningsdam. Is it possible to walk to the dock if we book the fjord cruise with Rodne? Is this a better cruise that the ship's tour offering? We typically enjoy independent touring unless the ship's time schedule is impossible. TIA
  22. Oh the Hungry Birds tour sounds so fun! Thanks for the tip, I will be looking for that one.
  23. Thank you Ine, I will be making our ticket reservations on Saturday for Anne Frank. We inadvertently missed that on our last visit so this will work very well. Quick question for Amsterdam and Norway. Do I need a power converter or adapter to plug in our devices? Seems like I had one for our last trip and of course, now of course, I can't find it. We are staying at a traditional Dutch bed and breakfast in the canal area if that matters and sailing on HAL's K'Dam. If you have a recommendation I am interested. Thanks.
  24. Good to read this thread. We just tossed this issue around and decided to go a la carte on beverages on our upcoming HAL cruise also. I think we are going to be fine. I think I read that 8 drinks/day is what it takes to "break even" on the drink package. But, honestly, if I drank the limit of 15 beverages/day which is what the package allows, my head would be on the table by 6 p.m., hahaha. And the biggest reason to reject the package is that the wine I like is priced at $9.75/glass and the package only allows beverages up to $9. Why in the world would they do that? That would really make me mad to find out I spent $700 for the week but still was billed because my wine exceeded the allowable charge. So, we are taking 2 bottles of our favorite wine and will just buy drinks as we go...I'm sure it will be less than $700/week!
  25. Waterbug, you are going to love Alaska, its pristine, gorgeous and we had great weather in July when we went there years ago. The glaciers are amazing and I hope you have a lovely trip. I may take your advice and do the repellent spray, its hard to give up valuable luggage space for heavy shoes. I think I have decided on a pair of black booties that will be good for daily wear. Hiking in the city...haha. But, I may check out the goretex per Hoyaheel's recomendation above I pack in ziplock compression bags and carry Lippault luggage, it is incredibly lightweight and I rarely hit 50 lbs. so I am planning to minimize as much as possible. I will have a 25" checked bag and I like to use the smaller carryon Lippault that I will pack just for the 3 days precruise in Amsterdam and then for the trip home in the event of delayed travel. I have a LV large tote that I put all the electronics and incidentals in for the plane. And my absolute other must have is Noise Cancelling Bose earbuds. What are the things that you love most about cruising? I loved our last Viking river cruise....it was so easy-peasy and laid back. This trip on the K'dam with HAL will be a huge ship, so a big change for us.
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