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Everything posted by 3rdGenCunarder

  1. On Cunard, the CD is now "Entertainment Director," so perhaps they were trying to get a more modern term. (Maybe getting away from images of Julie McCoy?) Heaven help us if HAL turns over CD tasks to the Event Planner. The ones I've seen have been pretty bad. At a cooking class, the Event Planner couldn't even give out the recipe cards without a major kerfuffle.
  2. Not having the cupcake tea is no loss. The cupcakes were very pretty, but very little flavor beyond sweet. Just different food coloring in the icing. On one of the Vistas they served afternoon tea in the Ocean Bar. Less room, unfortunately, but I liked the setting better than the MDR for tea.
  3. Contact Cunard about this. There may be different Customs/Border control issues for passengers leaving the ship as opposed to just spending the day in Halifax.
  4. The full transit is much better. The partial goes in through three locks, turns around, and goes out again. The full transit includes all of Lake Gatun and then the "Cut," the channel cut through mountains. Beautiful scenery, and it helps you understand the incredible undertaking it was to plan and build the canal. Of course, the full transit is a bit more complicated, as it's a one-way trip, rather than beginning and ending at the same port. Christmas on a ship is special, and the full transit makes it even more so. When I did a partial transit on Zuiderdam a few years ago, I was standing at the railing, watching the "mules" pull us forward. A woman next to me commented, "Well, it isn't very pretty." I don't know what she thought it was going to be, but I wanted to scream, "It's a bleeping technological wonder, it doesn't have to be pretty!" Maybe if we'd sailed through the Cut, where there's lots of vegetation to see, she'd have been happier.
  5. Funny, I was thinking about "savor the journey" this morning, and I agree with your meaning. But HAL's cuts mean less to savor. So what should the new slogan be? "Leave your brain [at home], take your wallet" ?
  6. DH's rule was flat if you're going to wear a waistcoat (vest). Pleats otherwise. I like the look of narrow pleats (which means more pleats). And yes, double cuffs--I've never seen one that didn't have double cuffs. It's difficult to tell quality when you can't look at and touch the shirt. I've seen some expensive ones that were poor quality. Make sure it's returnable in case you don't like it.
  7. I guess HAL figures you can just go to the computers in the EXC area in the Crows Nest (on the ships that have that) and look up whatever you need online. Or use your own phone/tablet/device after buying their internet plan. After all, they don't have to pay you anything if you do that, so they're saving money. Anyway, they hand out those oh-so-useful port maps so you can find their "partner" shops (can anyone say kickback??). What more could you possibly want???? Sightseeing info? Nah, nobody wants that... I can't believe they'd get rid of the Cruise Director. Doesn't he/she manage the entertainment? OK, so production shows are going away, but at least for now they have individual entertainers. Isn't the CD the one who acts as liason between visiting performer and entertainment staff--backup musicians, lighting and sound techs? Who's going to handle that task? I know not to expect too much from HAL, so I make sure I do plenty of research in advance and take along my own entertainment--ebooks, knitting, etc.
  8. Wow, that is very different from my experience. For $150, they should make an effort. When I did the tour, staff were waiting for us at each stop and ready to talk and answer questions. The best bit was when we got to the cold stores, the guide opened the door and inside was a waiter with flutes of champagne. A cute touch.
  9. That's so nice! DH and I got the same cookbooks, but it was OK. The extra one was a good souvenir for a friend.
  10. Well, I'm going to try it on Cunard in June. They don't do "World Club" discounts on wine or wine packages, so I won't be risking a big tax hit on just one bottle or a glass or two.
  11. Thanks for the info. So here's yet another thing that HAL does inconsistently.
  12. Not sure what you mean by double standard. If you mean because they're two parts of Carnival Corp, each line has always been allowed to make its own rules about dress. I think Cunard's situation is that there are fewer ships and just enough of us eager (or at least willing) to do the formal nights, that they can still require it. It's possible that being in Europe more than the US is part of it. And possibly longer cruises attract "veteran" cruisers who still appreciate dressing for dinner. For QM2, all those transatlantics mean sea days--plenty of time to "primp" for dinner, so why not? Formal nights are part of Cunard's identity. Cunard also gives passengers special things to do on formal nights. There's a bunch of captain's parties for all passengers (split so not everyone goes to the same one). Then there's a party for World Club, and then a party for platinum and diamond World Club. If you're going to go to a reception with officers in full formal dress, you want to meet that standard. (Or at least, Cunard passengers do.) Cunard captains often include a compliment on how good everyone looks when they do their remarks at the parties. HAL has so many more ships, especially based in the US, that they can't require more than the "smart casual" if they expect to sell cabins. Even when they had formal nights, enforcement at the dining room varied, so you never knew if dressing "under" the dress code would get you turned away. So many people weren't following the dress code that HAL gave in and went to the vague "gala nights." There's nothing "gala" outside the MDR on HAL. Sometimes a reception for NS and PS, but nothing that a lot of people are attending. I think the "captain's toast" in the showroom is gone now. I do dress above the "casual" code of HAL's Gala nights, but not in an evening gown. Alas, my "posh frocks" only sail on Cunard these days.
  13. (bold is mine) That's true of so many cities. You need to pay attention to where you are any time you're traveling.
  14. I don't think Juneau's taxes extend that far. But considering how long I'll be in Canadian waters, I guess I'll be paying their taxes.
  15. 650 days is a long way out for excursions to be listed. Are the tours you're seeing available to buy or are they what's listed in the port info? The port info list is not definitive. There could be some shown that won't run for your cruise and there could be some additional ones.
  16. That's good. I looked but I couldn't spot anything that looked like a safety harness. Is that the gray straps that look like suspenders?
  17. Just remembered that Alaska doesn't have a state sales tax, so I guess I just have to wait until I'm out of Canada to buy my wine.
  18. I like that the crewman standing in the railng-less balcony is wearing his pfd.
  19. It's always the "innocent" who suffer in an accident.
  20. Question about sales tax. If you do an inside passage cruise, you're in "territorial waters" for the first 24 hours or more. So do you have to pay sales tax (or Canadian equivalent if you're still near Vancouver) if you buy wine after sailing on the first night?
  21. I did the tour on Zuidy back when they were first offering it. There was just one little notice in the when & where (or whatever it was called back than) on embarkation day. Easy to miss. Fortunately, I had read about it here (thank you, CC!) and went right to the front desk to sign up. It was fascinating and we thought it was worth the price--think of it as an excursion for a sea day.
  22. You may take a bottle with you to your room, but I'm pretty sure you have to get it at the dining room, not through room service.
  23. I know it's a long list of ports, but it would help if you could ask some more specific questions. Have you looked at what HAL offers? Are there any you think you want to do? If you go to Skagway, I think the White Pass & Yukon Railway is a "don't miss it" excursion. If you go to Tracy Arm and there's the option to take a small boat ride closer to the glacier, that's supposed to be wonderful. Somewhere along the route, take a whale watch excursion.
  24. So they should stop pretending they haven't.
  25. So we have two different versions (from HAL) of what Gala night is supposed to be. What HAL says people "usually" wear is wishful thinking. "Usually" implies that most people are in cocktail or formal wear. And the silly line "dress to impress" can be taken to mean cocktail or formal wear--if that's what you want it to mean. I think all of this verbiage is an attempt to mollify people who want a true formal night. But then you get on board and this expectation doesn't come true. Real formal nights where everyone follows the dress code are part of what makes Cunard special. I love formal nights on Cunard. But I don't expect that on HAL. HAL can say "usually...suit or tuxedo..." and "dress to impress," but the reality is that there is little that is formal or "gala" about HAL's gala nights. As slidergirl pointed out, all HAL is asking for is collared shirt and slacks for men. I don't think that evokes any grand tradition of cruising, and it doesn't impress me. If that's the sartorial bar HAL wants to set, that's fine with me. Their ship, their rules. Maybe HAL should just give up the pretense of gala night and go smart casual every night.
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