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About Modern_Viking

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Huntsville, AL
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Disney
  1. I suspect DCL starts decorating their ships for Christmas in early November. A surer bet would be to look at the DCL website and see if the cruises you are considering are described as "Very Merrytime" cruises. If so, then I would expect some holiday decor and themed activities onboard. And yes, I think sea days are great on Disney cruises as there are more activities scheduled on sea days vs port days. DCL does decorate the Miami terminal a bit to make it more Disney themed. Still not quite as mych as the DCL buses or terminal in Port Canaveral, but I agree with the previous post that since so little time is spent thete, it makes little difference. So given the choice, especially if the prices were similar, I'd take the 4 night cruise on the Magic.
  2. While not ideally timed for a 3 year old, on the last night of the voyage, starting at I believe 9:30, there is a final character gathering in the main atrium called "Till we meet again." There is an introduction of various characters, and then a little time for meet & greet with photos. I doubt there is a fixed set of characters, but I think Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy are normally there. On my only cruise on the Fantasy, I remember Ariel being there. Perhaps one or two other official princesses, maybe Jasmine or Cinderella, but I am not sure. I don't think Anna and Elsa were there (sorry). The Frozen and Princess gatherings seem to be the most popular, and thus are now (no extra charge) ticketed events. As I recall, Aladdin is one of the main Disney production shows on the Fantasy. So your daughter should be able to see Jasmine on stage, although that isn't a meet and greet. Still, has she been to meet and greets at the Disney Parks (since children that age don't always like being up close and personal with the characters. For the princess meet and greet, it is possible that your daughter might be able to see/watch the 3-4 princesses in the atrium during the formal meet from an upstairs railing. If you think she might like seeing them from another deck, you could try that. Or, if you think she will be jealous of the others getting to meet the princesses, you might want to make sure you don't walk through the atrium during the event. (At least, in my experience most of the meet and greets are in the atrium. Although, I think the Frozen one is elsewhere, perhaps in a dining room outside of regular mealtimes).
  3. knippsel: To avoid being over the engine rooms, which cause some vibration. It isn't horrible, but I avoid it when possible.
  4. This study seems to include some likely truthful data, but seemingly not much useful data. As others have pointed out, it seems like it would be a bad idea for passengers and cruise to spend lots of time in areas that get sooty, dirty, or dusty from the ship exhaust generated by engines, galleys, and laundries. While the study author seems to have selected a seemingly reasonable place to get a baseline reading for airborne particulate matter (PM) while the ships are underway (looks like a good start to me) the only other measurement locations were in the two spots most likely to face high PM readings. I would find value in this "study" if data was collected at least as often in: (1) the main dining room, (2) the main galley), (3) the Lido restaurant, (4) the Lido pool area, (5) on the navigation bridge, (6) in multiple passenger cabins, (7) in some lower deck crew areas like the crew mess and in typical crew cabins, (8) in designated smoking areas like the casino, and (9) in a high-capacity, crew operated laundry room. I wonder if there are more strict rules about air quality in cruise ship galleys and laundry rooms than there are rules about air quality near the main funnel. I know laundry room lint (a type of PM mentioned in this whitepaper) contributes strongly to the risk of onboard fires, so probably there are rules about making sure there are somewhat low lint levels in laundry rooms (even if the way to achieve that is to vent some lint filled air out the smokestack, or to collect the lint using air filters in the room). It appears the author went to great lengths not to collect data while people were smoking or vaping near by. That's good, to a point, but how bad would be data be, in comparison, in designated smoking areas? Could the smoking allowed casino have a higher PM reading than an aft deck while underway? Maybe, but that probably would not be of interest or use to the people funding this whitepaper. I think we could learn much more about the possible risks of sailing on a passenger ship with those sorts of data points. But it would have taken more effort (and probably more cost) to get all that data. And getting data in some of those area would have required the consent of the ship operator (who might try to affect the quality of the data or refuse access). If most or all of those locations also had equally elevated PM counts I would be very worried. But somehow I would guess that they wouldn't (or at least shouldn't). The information provided does seem to be a potentially valid warning for "patrons and staff who are in the aft areas of cruise ships" for long periods of many days. It probably is also bad news for people who live downwind of ship piers. But it doesn't provide any indication that there is an elevated risk to patrons and staff who primarily spend their time in areas of the ship that other than the upper decks aft of the funnel. Also note there is little to no maritime specific data listed. As others pointed out, there is no data presented like (1) wind speed and direction, (2) speed of the ship (if underway), and/or number of generators running (3) type of fuel being burned, (4) if the ship, while in port, is cold ironing (i.e. using shore power vs. onboard power generation), which I believe the ms Amsterdam could do in some of the listed ports of call, etc. Heck, even the diagrams used to show the measurement points for the ms. Amsterdam and the Emerald Princes are not diagrams of those ships, but of some other HAL ship (the Nieuw Amsterdam, looks most likely to my eye). Granted, I am not an expert in public health, nor do I hold any maritime licenses (i.e. I am not a professional ship's navigator or a ship's engineer). But I know enough to see there is a terrible lack of serious and useful data in this study. This seems to me like a quick first trial (or white paper) done with the hopes of attracting more grant money in order to go off and do a real study. Or maybe it is just salacious enough that the funding parties got what they want and they don't intend or desire to spend the money to perform an in-depth study. Yes, cruising causes pollution. As do many human activities. But this doesn't seem like a careful attempt to get much more than an initial set of possible worst case or maybe just random sample, results.
  5. So, just to try to better understand what you are saying, based on new IMO regulations (which seem to now be official, or are they still in the process of being approved and in more of a final draft state?), while the Zaandam will be able to sail to Antarctica in December of 2019 and January of 2020, and while the Volendam will sail to Antarctica during its Jan 2020 to March 2020 Grand South America cruise, neither ship will be able to said to Antarctica in December 2020 or beyond? (Or really, neither ship could sail there beyond May of 2020, but HAL wouldn't have scheduled them for winter in Antarctica anyway vs waiting until the following summer.) As someone who has toyed with talking a cruise of this sort, but never actually done it I am disappointed. Although, I guess it was never enough of a personal draw to cause me to rush out and book such a trip anyway. Plus, I understand these aren't exactly the safest cruises to operate (largely because there aren't many options for helping a large ship in distress near Antarctica vs. a ship sticking to busy shipping regions).
  6. I would stay far away from HH 375 & 376. They have nearly pointless windows that won't let you see much, and I think they are under the galley. And they, as a previous poster pointed out, are smaller than most Maasdam rooms. Not worth it. If you want to be on Lower Promenade, I would actually suggest a category I inside (just not adjacent to the passenger laundry), and plan to walk outside to the public deck (or go to a bar/lounge/library) elsewhere on the ship when you want to see the outside. You'll save a few bucks, have a slight bigger and possibly quieter cabin, and will get a better view from elsewhere (but with the caveat that you will have to leave your room for a view). All told, I like the idea of an I category, although I haven't actually stayed in one. I have stayed on Main Deck, once in a J inside and once in a C outside. Both fine. You may sometimes hear footsteps of people on Lower Promenade. If you book a J, I would try for port side so you have another cabin under you and not the risk of a machinery space (and the associated noise). In a C, I would want a cabin no further aft than 615. I have also stayed on A Deck in D category outside (good, but I would not want to be any further back than 790 (port side) or 777 (starboard) to avoid being over the engine rooms, and in an E near the forward stairs. The forward cabins rock more and were a little noisier than the E, but are conveniently nearer to stairs and elevators and are cheaper. In general, A deck cabins seem to be slightly cheaper than Main Deck cabins for no good reason (that I can think of) other than certain passengers assuming that being on a higher deck is better or more prestigious or simply slightly closer to the main dining room and lido. These are my preferences; you might have different priorities than me. Still, I would strongly suggest something other than your initial picks (of HH 375, 376) either moving to a probably cheaper inside or an better outside (if a water view is important).
  7. I've done each of those things once. Both worked fine. My decision between the two largely came down to cost (particularly for flights). Flying into/out of Miami seemed a bit simpler, but not much. Flying into FLL gave me more options / flexibility / ability to do things more on my schedule. Overall, I wouldn't sweat the choice much; either will work. If you want more details of what I did, here who are, but as previous posters have said, there are many more options as well. MIA: I flew in the evening before the cruise. I had booked an airport area hotel for the night, in advance at a hotel with a free hotel shuttle. They picked me up at the airport, brought me to the hotel to check in and freshen up. Next, the free shuttle took me (and a few other guests) to a local shopping center / strip mall with a few food options. I ate dinner, then called for a pickup, which I shared with some other hotel guests who had eaten at a different local restaurant. Next day, I ate the free hotel breakfast, packed up, and took the free shuttle to the airport. From there, I took a prebooked Disney shuttle to the port. I had to wait in the airport at least 30 minutes for the next bus, and then 15+ minutes for the bus to fill and depart. I should have just taken a taxi from the hotel to the pier. A taxi would have been a few dollars more, but much faster. Still this worked out. The buses chartered in MIA are not the Disney themed Mears buses like in Orlando, but were clean and effective. And while this hotel had a free shuttle for the airport and the local shopping center, they would not take anyone as far as the cruise pier. (This seemed typical.) They would have booked me a seat on a shared bus from their favorite (i.e. biggest tipping/kickback giving) service, but I didn't take that option. After the trip, I took the Disney shuttle to the airport and flew home. It took a little while for the bus to fill, but wasn't too bad. It did take a while at the airport to reclaim bags put in the "bottom" of the bus. Overall, simple on paper, but not the speediest option. ************************** Second trip, flew into FLL. Took the airport shuttle bus to the rental car center (which is attached to / walkable from only one terminal building in FLL, but not all). Got my car, and got on the Interstate. I stopped along the way for dinner. Having a car I could just pick something from Google maps and take myself. From there I drove to my hotel. Since I had a car, I didn't need to worry about a hotel with a free shuttle. Spent the night. Next day, drove to the downtown Avis/Budget rental car facility that offered shuttle service to the pier (for a built-in $10 fee per car rented, not per person). There was a bit of a wait, maybe 10 minutes, then I took the van to the pier. Beware that much of I-95 and other area freeways give drivers the option of using either free lanes or toll lanes. NOTE: Be sure to plan ahead and program the mapping software in your phone in advance per your preference to avoid surprises. After the cruise, I waited on the pier for the SuperShuttle I had previously booked. Based on my reservation, it seemed like they should have just picked me up, but they didn't. I called just after my appointed pickup time to inquire, and they dispatched a van. Got to FLL, maybe 10 minutes later than expected, but plenty early. There had been other shuttle services at the port who were trying to sell rides (mostly to MIA but also to FLL) to people without reservations, so that could have been an option as well. My luggage traveled with me, with no fuss. ********************** Of the two airports, MIA is bigger, offers far more international flights (especially to Europe and South America), and is a hub for American Airlines. FLL used to be the quiet, little brother airport to the north (with West Palm Beach being the even quieter option further up north), but then the low cost carriers descended on FLL, making it much more crowded, but now offering an increased number of flights to many destinations, often at lower prices than Miami.
  8. From my observations, it is not the size of the ship that matters. What definitely matters is the strength and direction of wind, the port layout, the port facilities, and perhaps the strength of the thrusters on the ship (and maybe if it has azipods or the like). On one 9 night HAL Caribbean cruise, we missed 2 out of the 6 planned ports. We missed Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk. (Sound familiar?) For the first, high winds and choppy seas prevented safe tendering. As for the second, Grand Turk is a rather flat island that provides a minimal wind break. We had a strong crosswind when approaching the pier via the narrow channel. When we approached, based on the crab angle needed to keep the ship (ms Maasdam) from drifting, we couldn't fit along side the pier in the available space. If the captain had continued the attempt, the bow would have been in the pier and the stern on the reef. We turned, hovered for about an hour, then left for a day at sea. The captain later said there was no tug service available there, and if there had been, we might have had a chance to make it in. Maybe. I don't remember him commenting on thrusters, but if the Maasdam had stronger bow thrusters and asipods, that might also have helped a little. Still the funnel especially (and the superstructure in general) was acting as a big sail, catching the wind and blowing us away from the pier. During the same cruise, we made it into San Juan seemingly with no problem. That harbor is well sheltered by mountains that block the wind. Thus, there didn't seem to be a problem with docking. We also made it to St. Kitts (barely, per a brief conversation I had with the Captain in the Lido that afternoon). Evidently he needed one or two (I forget) tugs and the full power of the ship to get to and stay alongside the pier. There, there was plenty of room to maneuver, and drifting a bit would not have put us on a reef, so a much safer place to be and thus OK to be a bit more adventurous trying to come alongside. Later in the day an MSC ship docked on the other side of the pier. They made it, but seemed to have great difficulty. That ship lost lots of paint (seemingly down to bare metal) on the hull where it scraped up against the pier while trying to position itself. I didn't see any significant dents in the hull, but lots of missing paint. Their wake also caused problems for us (the captain came on the PA to apologize for the vibration from running the bow and stern thrusters to keep us in place while the other ship's wake pushed us away from the pier). That trip we also made it to St. Thomas (specifically Crown Bay, another well sheltered pier) and Sint Maarten. Te seas where certain choppy the whole time, but not all that rough. But there was a strong wind the entire time, and that seemed to be the problem. Heck, even in Port Everglades we needed two tugs to pry us away from pier 19 due to the wind out of the north. I don't think a bigger ship would have been any better. A bigger ship might have been worse, in fact (more sail area to catch more wind and less room to maneuver due to being longer and wider). Truly huge bow thrusters might have helped, but I don't know if such things exist on cruise ships. Some friends on that same cruise stayed on for the next 7 days (for back-to-back sailings). They said during the following week the weather improved, the wind calmed, and they made all 4 planned ports.
  9. Thanks for the info. I also am not a fan of either "Triton" or "Trident" being the name of the next DCL ship. Hopefully that is just the project name. And while it seems traditional for a class of ships to be named after the first ship in that class, not everyone does that. Since ~2001, Holland America Line (HAL) has introduced the "Vista class," "Signature class," and "Pinnacle class" but none of their ships are named Vista, Signature, or Pinnacle. So, maybe DCL will do something similar. As the Twitter discussion in the linked page mentions, there are three ships planned for the new class. Also, it will be the third set of Disney ships. Trident is a three pronged item, and Triton starts with "tri" as well, so this could just be a placeholder name for the three ships in the third class. Granted, if King Triton were chosen to appear on the next DCL ship as either a statue on the stern or as a statue in the lobby, that would be fitting, I think. Ariel is already in the lobby of the Disney Wonder, so fitting to have King Triton in the Lobby of Disney ship, take 5. And DCL seems to alternate between male and female characters in the lobby of the ships, so next in the pattern would be male (plus an art deco interior style). The 6th ship would then have a female lobby statue and art nouveau interior design. Speaking of which, I wonder if the lobby of the 7th ship might have a couple in the lobby artwork. Maybe Cinderella and Prince Charming? Belle and the Beast? If so, I wonder if the interior design might be more modern, and a departure from the existing two styles. I am not sure it would make sense to have the ship interior be half art deco and half art nouveau. Or maybe DCL has something completely different in mind. Well, I guess we wait until the annual stockholder meeting and for the 2019 D23 Expo to hear more.
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