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About ScottishMaid

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Southern California
  • Interests
    Seeing new parts of the world and learning about them, nature, outdoors, hiking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America

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  1. Even though there is a huge volume of water the Amazon is still relatively low at this time of year, as shown by the riverboats beached on the sand in the photo. When we went a second time in March the water level was right up to the retaining walls at Manaus, Paratins etc. Maybe 25 feet higher so a huge increase in volume. There was a big board at Manaus marked in depths. Maybe it is still there - as you exit the ramp from the dock.
  2. When we went there 10 years ago the Captain said we were sailing in an area that was marked as land on the paper chart. The river silt shifts constantly. We were on the Veendam with Captain Albert. Hope all goes well.
  3. Do you like to wander the deck with a pair of binoculars or camera looking for seabirds ? Would you like to attend quality lectures about wildlife, the ocean, how to take better photographs ? Would you like the option of an evening lecture between shows ? Would you like to go to small ports little visited by HAL or other cruiselines ? Would you appreciate that you are getting this at a fraction of the price of a small expedition ship such as Lindblad ? We have been on two Maasdam trips since the new EXC program started, one for 48 days from Fort Lauderdale to French Polynesia via Easter Island, and one for 46 days from Seattle to Alaska and around Japan. In January we are going on the Maasdam around New Zealand. We are going because we appreciate we are seeing some unusual ports and learning a huge amount, including about local culture, history, geology, local foods, at a bargain price and the EXC on the Maasdam may not last much more if not supported. Our experience is that about half the passengers really love the format and were traveling for multiple segments and are returning for more, whereas a small number, mostly non English speakers, enjoyed lying in the sun. However many people were totally unaware of the EXC In Depth program and had booked their cruise last minute through a travel agent or online, assuming the Maasdam was the same as any big new cruise ship. They expected a different experience.
  4. Thank you. This has been great and encouraging news for our January trip on the Maasdam.
  5. Done northbound San Diego to Vancouver twice in spring. Rough on Veendam around Santa Barbara/ Point Conception and rough, cold, windy on Amsterdam before and after San Francisco port call.
  6. Is this Kay, the lady from New Zealand who was formerly an EXC guide on the Maasdam? She is very enthusiastic about the program. Also do you still have Captain Arno Jutten and Hotel Director Florin Dragomir? If not who are the current Captain and hotel director? Enjoying all your information as we will be back on board in January.
  7. We were on the Maasdam for 3 segments over the summer. There was an Orange party on each segment, held in the Crow's Nest at about 9:30 pm. It was well attended - the Hotel Director, Captain, and many staff were there. There was dancing to the DJ's music and the bar tenders wore orange vests and some had orange wigs. Food was passed around, including Dutch buns and other Dutch foods. You had to buy your own drinks but it might have been Happy Hour. It usually was 9-10 pm in the Crow's Nest. There were tee shirts for sale in the shops - orange with the words Orange Party in large white letters. I didn't see many people wearing them. Some people brought their own orange items with them. A few people wore them all day. I thought on the small ship Maasdam it produced a convivial atmosphere between staff and guests. The Hotel Director Florin Dragomir told us he likes to see the guests enjoy themselves. Also it reinforced HAL's Dutch origins.
  8. To clarify what I said in post #44, we were told there may be EXC programs extended to all the ships, but they would not be as "In Depth" as on the Maasdam. I think the intent is to have more speakers than now on the other ships but not as many as on the Maasdam. Seattle has taken note that many people are interested in, for example, talks about volcanoes, or jelly fish, or Japanese etiquette, or how to take better photos or how to cook a local dish.
  9. Thanks for posting this. Dr Peter Carey was the person hired to set up the In Depth program well ahead of the first cruise in September 2018. We had him with us on that cruise to Easter Island and French Polynesia. He has a huge amount of prior experience with zodiacs and on that cruise he was working out how to get the passengers onto the zodiacs. Unfortunately many ports or countries are not giving permission to use the zodiacs. He was not on board our Alaska to Japan and around Japan cruises last summer so I'm glad he's back on board to keep the program going.
  10. When we were on the Maasdam in August we were told that the In Depth program had been such a success that they were going to have an EXC program on all the ships with about 4 speakers/ themes on each. I think they were to be culture, nature, photography and a visiting chef to demo local foods. That seems pretty ambitious to find so many high quality speakers. I think we were told this in answer to a question at a Captain's Q&A.
  11. When you get time please post the names of the speakers. Some of the naturalists have worked for the really expensive small ship lines but said they enjoyed the Maasdam more. Is there Travel Tales in the Crow's Nest at 9 pm? We really enjoyed the chance to hear a personal story from a speaker then ask questions. We heard some amazing stories.
  12. We were recently on the Maasdam in an inside cabin on Deck 3 midship. The internet was fine inside our cabin. We had the middle price package and it seemed to work much better than in the past for email download. I noticed there was a cone on the hallway ceiling near our cabin. I think this is the wifi signal ??
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