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Everything posted by Moriah

  1. Oops, my previous reply quoted the wrong post, sorry. NO, HAL does not supply K-cups because the machines in the Neptune Suites are not Keurigs. The coffee pods are much smaller size - like the kind used in a Nespresso machine. The coffee is excellent, but it makes an espresso sized serving. I make mine into Americano by adding hot water (through same machine) and I think the coffee machine in the suite is one of the best things they've added in the last couple of years, but if you like a big mug of coffee, you are going to be disappointed.
  2. They are more like Nespresso machines NOT keurigs. They do not use k-cups so bringing your own will not be useful. You could presumably bring your own espresso-type cups (the kind Nespresso machines use would probably work) but why would you do this? Your cabin steward will bring you as many coffee pods as you could possibly drink, and IMO it's really good coffee.
  3. Actually I've been on that Tracy Arm catamaran excursion twice (once from the Volendam and once from I-can't-remember-which ship, possibly a Vista) and both times we arrived in Juneau at 1 PM and the ship stayed until 9 or 10 PM. OP, check the times on your ship's itinerary to see what applies to your particular cruise. Nancy is right, if you arrive in late afternoon it might be a tight fit. Also, of course this is never, ever a guaranteed experience, but... the first time I went to Tracy Arm we saw HUNDREDS (nope, I'm not exaggerating) whales!!!! The guides on our catamaran were completely blown away along with the guests. The whales were jumping and playing and there were three different kinds. The Orcas were in groups - it was absolutely awesome and amazing!! So you might get lucky too. That Tracy Arm excursion yielded FAR, far more whale viewings than any of the many actual whale watching excursions I've been on! Alaska is like Forrest Gump's "box of chocolates".... you never know what you're going to get!
  4. Just wanting to clearly answer your question here. The Tracy Arm excursion takes place while the rest of the guests on your ship are on their way to Juneau. No back-tracking.
  5. The Tracy Arm excursion is the absolute BEST thing you can do on an Alaska cruise, in my humble opinion. I have cruised to Alaska every summer since 2004. If the Koningsdam is offering an excursion that leave the ship (you get on the catamaran while at sea, near the opening to Tracy Arm. The K-dam is too large, I believe, to actually cruise into the arm), that is, as I said the BEST excursion and you should grab it. It fills up. The ship will leave you, as said, near Tracy Arm, to go exploring on your catamaran in the morning, and you'll be brought to Juneau to meet your ship in the early afternoon and still have plenty of time to do whatever you want in Juneau including a whale watch excursion. Some of the smaller HAL ships actually go into Tracy Arm, eliminating the need for the separate excursion. But either way - GO to Tracy Arm. It's amazing and awesome.
  6. No, why would you need passport photocopies to embark? I have been on too many cruises to count have have never needed a photocopy. You need your actual passport... the photocopies are for you - in case you lose your passport, it's easier to get a new one if all the info is right there, but no, you don't "need" photocopies (unless there is something I don't know and for some obscure "type of cruise" the photocopies are a thing?? Yes, I do the same in hotel rooms, cruise cabins, and on longer flights I wipe down my seat area, the table and the touch screen and seat belt. I get some looks but who cares. Also never get sick! :)
  7. You are right to bring the photocopies of your passport. They are what will help in the event you lose your passport, although I would imagine the passport card would as well. If you are going to Europe or anyplace other than Canada, you need your actual passport and not just the card. For Alaska cruises I bring only my passport card, and leave my actual passport at home, since the only foreign country we visit is Canada. I keep my driver's license in another wallet in case I lose the passport card so I can still fly home! 🙂 I love that you bring wipes to clean - I bring Clorox wipes and I wipe down the cabin and bathroom as soon as we arrive - thought I was the only one! 🙂 Gloves are great idea.
  8. I'm leaving tomorrow for Seattle, and Monday I board our Alaska cruise. I wish I found packing "tedious". Instead, I find it a little stressful. Not usually, but for Alaska, I do. Somehow I keep thinking I need clothes for all four seasons even though we'll be there only 2 weeks. Alaska can be so cold I wear long underwear, and so hot I wish I'd brought shorts (I never do). It's the one destination I don't only bring carry on luggage for. all the winter coats and hoodies and shoes and such... well... I bring a suitcase. Just put it in the car a few minutes ago. Feel like I need a drink now. Tedious would definitely be an improvement over all this stress over whether I packed the right stuff!! 😀 and the embarrassing part is I've cruised to Alaska more than 15 times... shouldn't I have it down by now? 😫🙄
  9. Kdam, in my opinion is a bit large for Alaska. You won't have the wrap around deck that you probably came to love on the NA (well, it's there, but not the same... and especially in Alaska, I would think you'll really miss it), and in you won't be able to get as up close and 'personal' with the glaciers simply because of the size of the ship. The "newness" won't really wow you... NA is fairly new as well, and in fact, if I had a choice I would go even smaller - down to Vista class or smaller, for Alaska.
  10. Pools are small - a "lap" is about a stroke and a half. These pools are not really meant for fitness or exercise type swimming.... How long is your cruise? On my one week Amsterdam cruise last summer there was one spinning class. I don't remember how many yoga classes, but I believe at least 2.
  11. I absolutely love this post - thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts. You are SO right. I have found that an attitude of gratitude goes a long way in erasing any of life's little irritations, whether on a cruise or on land. One of my favorite things to do is make sure I think every single crew member I pass - especially the ones hard at work polishing and cleaning and scrubbing to make the HAL ships spotless and shiny and gorgeous. When I stop on the stairs or on the deck to thank someone, they always light up and you can see in your faces how much it means to them that a guest has noticed and appreciated their hard work. I just say "Thank you for making the ship so clean and beautiful" and then I carry on my way. That's all it takes. And here's the thing -it does more for me than it does for them! I am uplifted just by the act of appreciation! When I see guests who are out of sorts over something, I try to be compassionate and think they must have had very, very high hopes for their vacation and really needed for things to be perfect. If I see them abusing a crew-member, however, I will always try to speak to that crew member later to offset that. I believe that only unhappy people mistreat others. Oh, didn't mean to ramble on, really just wanted to thank pstoker for this very uplifting post that made my day.
  12. I usually book my next cruise while on board a cruise, because I get so excited, and sad to disembark... I find the Future Cruise Consultants on board HAL to vary in quality as far as the knowledge and help they provide, but I usually am able to choose what cruise I want to do next and put down a refundable deposit, along with whatever the best promotion they are currently offering is - usually some OBC, or whatever. Then I transfer the bookng to my travel agent. It used to be that I could do that anytime before final payment, but now the rule is you have to transfer your booking within 60 days of making it. Still a pretty reasonable amount of time. Then the TA usually adds whatever perks she can (more OBC!!) to HAL's offer, and I'm all set. I still watch the new promotions as they come out, and if the price of what I've booked goes down, my TA has always been able to rebook me at the new HAL promotion price. Yes, that means wiping out the OBC or whatever other perks were offered initially, so it always has to be weighed carefully. The TA OBC will remain constant. I like that the TA is the one that calls HAL to negotiate this for me and I don't have to do it myself, but that's just me. This system has worked well for me. Some people just adore their HAL cruise consultants and some swear by just using their TA. In the end we all want friendly service, the best possible price on our cruise, and to be kept abreast of possible improvements on that.
  13. It's just semantics really. That beverage package you have is a "promotion". It was probably available during certain dates. It's the way these things work, and I agree it's a little crazy, but it's at least consistent. To us, it seems like you just want to pay more and get a different room and leave everything else alone, and I totally agree that seems logical, but that's not the way they do it. Instead, they knock you off your previous booking altogether (including the drink package) and rebook you at whatever best price for the room you now want is, with whatever promotion is available. You are right, no logic, just annoying, but it's the way it is.
  14. Yes, it's annoying, but when you change your booking to a different promotion you lose all the perks of the promotion you had before. It's happened to me as well. You just have to choose whatever seems to be the best deal. If it were me, I'd stick with the Lanai and all the perks you were originally offered, but in my opinion, a Vista suite is not an "upgrade" from a Lanai, so that's just me... YMMV!
  15. I loved reading this! I've never cruised on NCL and probably never will. All the things you mentioned are things I love about HAL. It's always nice to know someone new is appreciating them as well.
  16. Woo hoo!! What fun to wake up and see this post! Thank you kazu!!! I can't believe we're finally in the last week's countdown till sail-away. I know many people on these boards have done veeeerrrry long cruises - some 4 months long - but for me, this 2 week cruise will be my longest ever! I've reached 4 star mariner status just doing one week and 10 day cruises for the last 15 years. So I'm really looking forward to this "long-for-me" cruise, especially to my favorite cruising destination and on my favorite ship!!
  17. Oh, this is good to know. I wasn't sure if the Vista ships had permanently closed those saunas. Probably saw them closed one day, as you mentioned. They are not part of the Greenhouse Spa, which is the reason they are not included in the tour, probably. Also good to know the spa showers are simply open to all. I wonder why that's the policy, since the spa is a "separate" business from HAL.
  18. Yes, 24 hours is $25 if I remember correctly. I'm not sure if it applies to a calendar day or a 24 hour period starting from when you buy it.
  19. I agree. My first time on HMC was in 2006 and I've been nostalgic for that experience ever since. I've been back every year since, and in my opinion it's a little worse every year. First they added more cabanas, then they built larger cabanas, then a bar, and on and on it goes. Now a pier. I admit the tendering to the island was my least favorite aspect, and the one year that choppy conditions didn't even allow us to have our day in paradise I would have welcomed the pier, and yet... I'm not usually a person who doesn't like change, but HMC was really perfect... until it wasn't.
  20. No, the saunas and steam rooms are part of the thermal suite. There used to be "public" saunas at the entrance to the spa on the Vista ships, but if I"m not mistaken, those are no longer there. Showers in the locker room are not really "free to use". I think it's understood that they are for those using the spa in some capacity - perhaps for those who just had a massage, in addition to those who have passes to the thermal suite... but I don't think they are meant to be just open to all. They are normal size shower stalls... not really bigger than what you have in your cabin.
  21. I seem to remember they took in the cushions from our cabana loungers after "closing" in the evening on Eurodam. There wasn't much point going to the cabana just to stand there. If you can see the fireworks from the cabana, you will have an even better view from the top decks of the ship.
  22. Pinnacle Grill on Zaandam is lovely, but keep in mind it has no windows. So make your reservations for after dark so as not to feel you are missing any scenery or anything!
  23. I'll be on Amsterdam for two weeks leaving August 12, and on impulse I went ahead and bought the premium internet in advance online - because as already mentioned, it was a scant few dollars more than the "surf" would be on board. I just wanted to have one less "administrative" thing to deal with when I embark. As for laundry, I don't see any benefit to buying it in advance since it's no sweat to just mark on the first laundry slip you send that you want unlimited. Unless, as VMax mentioned, you just want to prepay as a budgeting tool.
  24. I am very happy I went with PG to Tahiti, even though I really love HAL. THe PG only holds about 300 passengers and for me, doing the islands in what amounts to a nice sized yacht, was just wonderful. The PG just slipped into small bays ... it really is a great experience IMO. I can't think of a single "con", actually...except perhaps the price, but keep in mind they sell you a package that includes airfare from the States.
  25. I would say it's a lot nicer than a "large hot tub" (my opinion :)) My only gripe with the hydropool on the Vista ships is that it's an inside location with no windows or view. The ones on the smaller ships that really are like "just a hot tub"(not even large) at least are situated where you have breathtaking views out the bow and starboard sides of the ship. Anyway, all that said, the Oosterdam spa is really lovely, and as you've been told, getting the pass lets you use the hydropool as well as the ceramic loungers (which DO have a great view). When you embark go directly to the spa -- they will be running tours all the way through to muster drill. Once you've seen the facilities you can decide on the spot to get the pass (or not) and sometimes they have embarkation day specials for couples. The price varies with the length of the cruise.
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