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wdblake

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About wdblake

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    USA
  • Interests
    Photography, snorkling, wildlife viewing
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity
  1. Are they still doing the big spread of appetizers at 4pm?
  2. What movies are on demand for the stateroom TV?
  3. wdblake

    hot tub

    Also one at the back pool.
  4. Can you order off the MDR menu as room service?
  5. Really enjoyed reading your blog everyday.Thanks so much for taking the time to do it .The menus have been very helpful ,will you be posting the menus from the night in Victoria?
  6. wdblake

    Eurodam Tvs

    When they did the upgrade did they upgrade the tvs to flat screens? Do they offer a lot of on demand movies?
  7. Was wondering about the movies and television viewing available on the Eurodam. We were recently on the Koningsdam and the selection was quite extensive. Do you know if the televisions were updated with the recent refurbishment?
  8. wdblake

    Just off the Koningsdam...Wow!!!

    I posted that pool happy hours were from 10am to 11am but really 11am to noon. My bad sorry!!! Still a good deal.
  9. wdblake

    Just off the Koningsdam...Wow!!!

    No the table on the balcony is small. We set every thing on the small table in front of the couch.
  10. We spent the night at the Hilton Garden Inn Dania Beach using the park and cruise package. It is a great location close to many stores and restaurants. It is also right off I-95 so an easy jump point for going home. They have a nice pool and hot tub and with the cruise package you get free shuttle service and cook to order breakfast. The sun was out as we arrived at terminal 26. Embarkation was bit disjointed. First screening, then we had a crowd around two tables to fill out the illness questionnaires which was a bit unnecessary as this could have been done while checking in. A Hal member won't let you up the stairs until you have it in hand. From there you get your sea cards and a number. You sit in the holding area until they call your number then you get to board. From entrance to on board took about an hour. We had lunch in the Lido which is always their best. Sliced tenderloin with mashed potatoes and gravy and fish and chips were our first experiences. Tenderloin was very good but the fish was not cod nor batter dipped so kind of soggy. Luggage arrived promptly, before the muster drill. Muster drill was a little odd as they tell you to go to your stateroom and watch a video. You then proceed to waiting area where they scan your sea cards. Ours was in the second story of the dining room near the back. The captain announces his various instructions while staff demonstrate how to use a life jacket (you don't need to bring yours). Cabin: We stayed in cabin 8193 at the back of the ship. We loved the new cabins! We were very close to the lido market and the aft pool which would become our home. The cabin felt roomy to me as did the balcony. I could sit in the chair to the back and barely reach the glass with my toes. Very nice glassware provided. Lots of plugs both regular and USB. Linens and pillows soft and comfy. Probably one of the most relaxing beds we have had on a cruise ship.Air conditioning was spot on and you could actually make the room too cold, Nice! Shower was the best I have ever had at sea. I have wide shoulders but moved around easily. Nice Pressure as well. The Elemis products were a nice touch.Then we spotted the much maligned toilet. Are you kidding me??? I had no problem sitting on it any way I wanted. Stateroom TV has a nice picture with lots of Movies (inside tip: when searching for a movie go to the All section as there were movies that didn't go into any category). I found the new Harry Potter "Fantastic Beasts" movie that way. There are three comedy channels on demand, Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Parks and Rec. There are four on demand drama series including Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, How to get away with murder and Scandal. You can view menus for both the specialty restaurants and the daily DRM from the TV. The music channels are a complete joke! Wow I get to choose between Easy Listening, Easy Listening 2 and Big Band. Seriously??? I know it is a ship with and older crowd but would it kill you to put a little rock and roll in there? Safe has a little light that comes on which is nice. All in all a spacious sturdy quiet cabin and relaxing home. Ship: We enjoyed the layout of the ship. Never felt cramped. The music themed art was interesting. Some areas could use some more modernizing. First I would get rid of Blend as it is a complete waste of space. In 10 days we saw one small group in there once. I would take it out and steal some space from the tired Ocean bar and add a craft beer bar. Maybe pair with a craft brewery and create signature HAL beers. This would also put it directly across from the Culinary Arts Center which I believe would make a great pairing since may craft beer enthusiasts also love farm to table. If you ever hear that only one gangway is available you might as well wait since the line winds down a long hallway past peoples cabins. I am surprised that they are wasting space and paper for the photo section. Most modern ships have gone to a kiosk system which lets you view and print the photos you want. The promenade has been shortened but it is still very walk-able and goes completely around the ship. They have a walking track but the only problem is they hose down the decks the night before which makes walking a little slippery (buy a squeegee guys!). Dining: Our Mantra was no dining room! We stuck to Lido Market, NY deli, Dive in, Dutch Cafe and Room Service. Lido Market: Needs better labeling. Usually there are only four small plaques for the entrees with little notation about what the sides were. At one point my DW asked what was in the stuffed potato to which she was told "potato". We were like yes we get that but what is it stuffed with? "Potato" Food was hit and miss. I fail to understand why they make premade sandwiches when you can just have a sandwich station and build your own. The pasta and Asian stations are good and offer a lot. The salad area looked good but we never tried it. Carving station was good but a little heavy on the lamb and rotisserie chicken. The breakfasts offer standard fare but the omelet station was great. Lots of ingredients to choose from including steak and they do a great over easy eggs. If you go to Homestead you can request Eggs Benedict. Some were good and some were just OK. Room service: Is top notch. The best thing from their anytime dining was the roast beef panini. Lots of roast beef! The best part is you can get the dining room menu delivered to your room. You have to order within the first hour of it opening but you can set a delivery time. Usually we said deliver at 6:30 pm and it would arrive on time or just a bit early. They put a metal warming plate under your dinner plate to keep things hot. Sure beats two hours in the dining room. Room service will also come a remove your trays when finished. Meals came with a small vase of fresh daisies. Getting room service your first and last days on board is problematic since they are slammed. Dutch Cafe: You must go here at least once if not many times on your cruise. The best thing to get is the snack tray available 4:30 to 8 pm. It contains three Bitterballen which are like balls of meat and mashed potatoes deep fried in a nice crust. There are three spicy spring rolls filled with meat and cheese. Finally you get three of what they call cheese souffle which are actually like a flat cheese sticks filled with gooey cheese. There are three dipping sauces...mustard (good w/ Bitterballen), sweet chili (good w/spring rolls) and mayonnaise (your guess is as good as mine). All this stuff is delicious!!! You must have it!!! We tried the ham and cheese it was not all that. Very little ham. Very friendly staff. Pinnacle grill: Food was delicious. We had the lobster bisque which was very creamy. My DW and I split the crab cake appetizer and they were very good as well. We both got the 10 oz filet which was cooked perfectly with a choice of sauces. Dessert was an epic fail. Our Chocolate molten lava cake had apparently gone dormant years ago since there was no gooey lava in the center. The cake tasted like a chocolate pudding. Now here is my biggest issue. My DW and I like to eat at a good pace and get out but the Pinnacle enforces a ten minute downtime between each dish. I really don't need ten minutes to reflect on what I just ate. Later we found out the Pinnacle meal delivered to your stateroom is only $15 a person and includes anything off the menu you want. So lets see I can get my complete dinner in my room for $30 or sit for two hours in your restaurant and pay $70 for the same thing. Looks like room service Pinnacle grill on any future sailings. Kudos though to Martin the manager of the Pinnacle grill who helped expedite our service and worked above and beyond with other customers to provide the best service possible. New York Deli: One our favorite stops where we ate most of our lunches. First out I got a Reuben which was tasty but a little lean on the meat, later I corrected the problem by asking for extra meat. They also don't over kraut it. My DW got the signature pizza which she said was good with a white sauce and spicy. Other that that I tried the meatball sandwich which was blah. I tried my first bbq pizza and was surprised how good that was. Best of all you can build your own with whatever sauce or toppings you want. My wife ordered the Bronx (meatlovers) but used white sauce instead and added extra cheese. Pizzas usually cook faster than the sandwiches. Dive In: Cannonball, Cannonball, Cannonball !!! This wins hands down best burger at sea. A juicy not greasy patty with bacon, caramelized onions, and Gruyere cheese. They use their Dive in sauce but I found it subtle and did not overpower the burger. Bun was perfect and never got soggy. This burger puts most land based restaurants to shame. And did I mention the cheesy fries? OMG do you want a little fries with your cheese! Delicious! Need a fork to eat these bad boys. Fries are crispy and cooked just the way you would want them. If you miss this place you will want to throw yourself off the boat (so don't miss out). Billboard Bar: Wait, what?? We were talking about food? We are :). Happy hour here is from 4pm-5pm every day. They put out a buffet of yummy appetizers. The are usually two kinds of bruschetta , olive plates, small deli meat plate, small cups of cheese, Then a hot app side that changes daily. The have delicious empandas, spring rolls, dumplings, cheese souffles (similar to dutch cafe..like a flat cheese stick), chicken skewers, etc. You can make a meal right there. Speaking about happy hour... Happy Hour: 4pm to 5pm in the billboard and the crows nest. Buy one get the next for $2. Any drink on the menu. Billboard has the buffet , crow's nest just doles them out. Had numerous Weng Wengs which have seven liquors mixed with fruit juice in a large glass. Happy hour price for two was $11.21. Regular price $17.83. Martini's same price. Some sea days they have a 10am to 11am happy hour at the pool bars. Check ahead to be sure. BB King Blues bar is awesome. Blues and classic rock and R&B to get the guests dancing and clapping their hands. Very talented performers with lots of energy. They change up the sets so they don't play the same stuff over and over. Dueling piano guys were not impressive. They cover a number of tracks but since they are only using pianos seem limited to what they could perform. Might be your cup of tea if you like sing a longs. Didn't attend the Lincoln center but heard they were good. Skipped the shows. Went to movies under the stars and enjoyed that. Most they show are on your stateroom TV as well. We watched the Accountant with Ben Affleck which was pretty good. Comfy chairs with blankets. Popcorn passed out. Skip the snacks at the NY Deli they were a joke. I ordered wings and nachos. I got a cardboard box with two skimpy little wings and a dipping sauce and a cardboard box with some round chips and flavorless cheese sauce. They showed Dr Strange, the Patriot, The girl on the train, the accountant, a Jackie O biopic (not available on the stateroom tv) and some movie about an aspiring opera singer who had no talent, Hot tubs were amazing. Nice and hot! We go at our secret time at 7pm when most people are eating or at shows, I like that they are only built for two so my DW and I can enjoy our privacy. No need to worry about lounge chairs as there are plenty of them and in ten days I saw no walkers looking for chairs.We chose to sit on the upper deck at the aft pool facing the ocean. You get awesome breezes that way. Get the phone app since it is the only way to access your stateroom account. I had trouble setting it up so Vincent, the best guest services guy ever, helped me to set it up. All staff were friendly and helpful and are the best staff at sea! I won't go into too much port details except for three. Amber cove: Alright Amber Cove you made me a believer. Prior to the cruise we had debated whether we would even get off the ship. Man made park, Meh! I was majorly proved wrong. While Turks and Caicos pool area could be hot Amber Cove was a little slice of heaven. Nice breezes and an open pool area that lets you enjoy the scenery. Little birds flitting about singing. Lounge chairs that sit in the pool to keep you cool. Enjoyed a nice four hours here before having to leave. The Carnival Conquest pulled up at noon which I knew would turn this peaceful sanctuary in to Spring Break 17. Party on Carnival dudes! Bonair: Get of the ship, packed with your snorkel gear.start walking right until to end in a casino, turn left go to next street turn right and walk to the end of the street (less than a mile) you will come up to a wide metal gate with small signs in dutch. You have arrived at the Plaza Resort. Day pass is $10 a person which gets you a chair and a drink. They have a coral reef right off shore where in waist deep water you can feel like you are in an aquarium. Hundreds of beautiful multi colored fish scoot by so close you can almost touch them. Bring water shoes so you can walk along and stick your face in the water. Aruba: Get off the Ship. Walk across the street to the local bus terminal, Take a bus to the "Amsterdam Manor". About $2.50 a person. This is the better part of Eagle beach (the most beautiful beach in the world in my opinion).The bus will announce Eagle beach before this but it is an area that offers less facilities. The Resort we stay offered day passes for $15 a person which is a bit high but you get two chairs under a nice large palm frond umbrellas, changing rooms, shower, wifi and a bar which will give you free cups of ice water. The chairs are spaced nicely so you have some breathing room. Get here early as the good seats get gobbled up. Bus stop is right here and runs every 10 minutes except Sunday in which they only run every 20 minutes. If this is too pricey start walking left and you will pass group after group with less expensive options. But these are a shorter walk from the resort than the Eagle beach stop. Debarkation. Self debarked. Waited in Billboard lounge to get off. Started close to on time. Usual cattle drive but moved consistently. Used the TSA app but don't know if it was all that faster. Hotel driver was already outside got to the hotel and on the road in record time. Not to ever be missed Sunrises and Sunsets at sea!!! Stunning!!!
  11. wdblake

    Koningsdam delivered

    This person posted menus from a 10 day cruise on a different ship. My wife and I are trying to figure if the menus are similar . http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/specifc-cruise-lido-and-mdr-menus/hal-caribbean-menus-2015/ We are mostly focused on the Lido Market.
  12. We have read a number of posts that people had to stand outside at the port to wait to board. Does anyone have a suggestion of a good arrival time to avoid this? Would like to be on board as early as possible.
  13. Is the Pinnacle grill lunch available any day or only on sea days? This guys has posted menus are they the same as the Koningsdam? http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/specifc-cruise-lido-and-mdr-menus/hal-caribbean-menus-2015/ Can you get eggs benedict in the Lido cafe for breakfast? Can you get the MDR menu as room service?
  14. wdblake

    Bonaire Plaza Resort Shuttle

    Does the Plaza Resort still offer free shuttle service from the cruise ships?
  15. It's called a Kindle paper white. Taken on many Caribbean cruises. No problems.
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