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seamist

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About seamist

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Indianapolis, IN USA
  • Interests
    Traveling, reading, sewing, knitting
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America; Princess; RCI
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Southern Caribbean
  1. seamist

    Not Quite Live from The Seaside May 5th.

    Question: Does this include the Thermal Suite or just massages, etc.? In other words, if we have purchased already a Thermal Suite for the cruise are there going to be set times only that we will be able to use it? Thx and enjoy your cruise!
  2. seamist

    Seaside menus, food pics and daily planners from 4/14 Eastern cruise

    Thank you so much for posting all of these! Now I'm getting hungry.
  3. seamist

    Changer to on board shops

    What a fantastic idea! I would so buy Delft and Dutch chocolate.
  4. seamist

    Food,mocktails & menus

    Same thing,can't see anything.
  5. seamist

    Gluten free options koningsdam?

    Will have to report back about this issue and what happened and so forth after sailing, but that won't be until next March!:o I'll just keep reading and researching until then.
  6. seamist

    Gluten free options koningsdam?

    Yep, me too. Our upcoming Konigsdam cruise had me concerned as well. It will be my first cruise with this issue (and it is NOT BY CHOICE!) Frustrating. I too can tolerate a mild amount but if I have too much gluten I am toast. And fortunately cross contamination is not an issue, thank God. But I did call Holland America with my concerns, particularly in the Lido (as DH prefers to eat there most of the time). I was told that due to the cross contamination issues involved around a buffet - HAL cannot guarantee ANYTHING up there would be gluten free. For you celiacs out there - note that! Nothing can be guaranteed up there because of cross contamination issues. HAL said that if that were to be a major issue for you their suggestion would be to stick with the Dining Room or Speciality Restaurants. Given DH's preferences (particularly on port days for breakfast) my question was getting gluten free toast in the lido and just policing myself otherwise. They couldn't guarantee that either. It may or may not be there. They couldn't guarantee it. Ditto with room service. And this came directly from a HAL representative. So then I asked if it were possible to bring my own gluten free bread on board (since I have to have my "toast" in the morning) and I was told that I could! YAY! What I have to do according to HAL is make sure it is store bought (as opposed to home baked) and that it is within the original packaging and that said packaging has not been opened when I board and I am good to go. So, just to insure I don't have to skip my toast in the morning and to insure I can actually get a hamburger with a good bun if I want -- I plan on bringing some bread with me and then keeping it in the fridge in the cabin. I understand they will toast it for me in the Lido (although again if there is a cross contamination issue for you it may not work -- but YAY it will for me since CR isn't an issue). So this is a heads up I guess. Beware the Lido if you have a gluten sensitivity.
  7. seamist

    Turkey (Kusadasi) dropped October

    Yes, have been looking at Butrint as well. Looks interesting. Thanks for the tip on Knossos - would like to go out that way also.
  8. seamist

    Turkey (Kusadasi) dropped October

    Yes, we're on the same cruise and got the same e-mail. Probably a good decision on HAL's part, although I was so looking forward to seeing Ephesus. Gives me an excuse to try again I suppose. Now to figure out what to do in Albania and Crete!
  9. seamist

    Oosterdam Uptown Funk

    You are welcome everyone, glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. Can't wait to sail with them all later this September!
  10. seamist

    Oosterdam Uptown Funk

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp3hnJJ-RaI Officers and crew aboard Oosterdam having a good time over at YouTube.
  11. seamist

    Our thoughts on Koningsdam

    Thx for that information. While I am disappointed regarding no longer being able to sit on the promenade, I am glad to hear you can still walk it at least. It is a part of my daily routine aboard ship to do laps around the ship before bed, not being able to do that would have been a definite deal breaker. It sounds like all newer ships will now be designed this way, but guess since it is now due to more safety regulations, we will have to learn to adjust.
  12. seamist

    Back From Zaandam Circle Hawaii

    Thank you! One thing I forgot to mention. We had the most time efficient debarkation ever! We were off the ship in literally 15 minutes. That is not only a first for us, but I think its a record! We had an early flight scheduled, so we opted for the xpress debarkation, the one where you keep all luggage with you and take it all off the ship as you go. If you have an early flight I highly recommend looking into this option for future cruisers out there.
  13. seamist

    Back From Zaandam Circle Hawaii

    They were throwing hoops like horseshoes or something, cheering each throw, or rolling a ball to a target, cheering with each roll, or yelling over a miss as the case may be. Stuff like that. There was usually one around 10:30 or so in the morning, and a 2nd around 1:30 in the afternoon. They lasted about an hour I think. Just long enough to be an annoyance if you happen to be in the cabin we were.
  14. seamist

    Back From Zaandam Circle Hawaii

    They mentioned that it was the only place they could do them, but I'm calling bull on that one. I counted at least 5 empty venues away from cabins walking around the ship they could easily have been held, most importantly the Sports Deck which is 'hello', where you go to do activities like games and they did go up there for the shuffleboard contest, so I know it was doable. If your cabin is Aft I don't think you will have a problem, very quiet back there.
  15. Finally have some time to sit back and report on our Zaandam Circle Hawaii trip that sailed from Vancouver on 9/20/15. First off, there were ups and downs as is usual for all cruises, but in total this was a great trip. September is a good time to go! At the beginning of our adventure I was not sure what was going to happen. We had booked a flight from Indy to Vancouver via Minneapolis. Upon boarding our flight to Minneapolis, we sat there awhile, then the Captain reported a computer problem they were attempting to fix. More sitting, then he came back on the intercom reporting it could not be fixed, we would deplane and wait for another plane to be brought. We deplaned whereupon the airport shut down for a half hour due to an electrical storm. After all this it became apparent we were not going to make our connection in Minneapolis so we were rerouted to Detroit, then Salt Lake City, then Vancouver. We board (FINALLY!) the plane for Detroit and were doing fine up until it was about time to land then Detroit refused permission to land. It appears they had a runway shut down and couldn’t handle any more traffic. The captain reports via intercom that we only have 15 minutes of fuel left and so will have to divert to Flynt, MI. We are sitting in our seats calculating that we have missed yet another connection, when the Captain returns to the intercom informing us that Detroit has granted permission to land, so we will turn around and land in Detroit. Yeah! Unfortunately we land in a separate terminal from where we need to be to make our connection to Salt Lake City, and naturally, the gate we need to be is on the end of that terminal and we now have about 15 minutes to make it. After a nice refreshing run through the Detroit airport (the phrase “frequent flyer miles” is ringing in my head) we finally make it to the gate with final boarding call being announced. Whew. We arrive in Vancouver with drizzly skies and an empty luggage bin. Yep. No luggage. It appears our luggage wanted to vacation in Seattle instead of Vancouver so we are informed not to worry, the luggage is on its way, and if not delivered to our hotel room later this evening should be delivered to Holland America by the next morning. If all else fails it will be delivered at the next port of call. Being an Hawaii cruise our next port of call would be five days away but who’s counting? But all’s well that ends well and hooray we received our luggage at 2:30 AM the following morning and happily made our way to the Zaandam with DH relieved that he would not have to do the Beaver Cleaver with his underwear for the next several days. Embarkation was a breeze compared to getting to Vancouver. We stayed at the Le Soleil (about a 5 minute walk to the pier) which is a lovely hotel and just walked our language down to the pier in a break between rain showers after breakfast at Tim Horton’s. Within an hour we were on board and sitting in the dining room for a lovely embarkation lunch. DH walked around the dining room and picked out a table that he thought we would enjoy, then walked back up to the desk and asked the Maître D if we could reserve that table for the duration of the voyage? We were informed that particular table was already reserved but there was a better one which we could have. And this is why we love the service on Holland America! We were able to reserve this table for the next 7 days, then being happy with the table and waiter, we then held it for the duration. Perfect. Our cabin was D3331 on the lower promenade which allowed easy access to the promenade which I truly love. The only time we heard anything coming from the Atrium (as this cabin is located right next to it on Deck 3) was when they were having activities out there. (Big Kahuna games contests which got quite loud and the crowd were not terribly considerate of the cabins down there). Now this did present a problem, not so much noise, as running a gauntlet when we wanted to go to our cabin. Being glared out by fellow passengers simply by trying to get through the crowd TO our cabin does not a happy vacation make. And we couldn’t even go around the back way because the crowd was gathered around our door! I will say because of this we could not sleep in if we wanted to, and we certainly couldn’t take an afternoon nap if the time frame happened to coincide with the games outside the door. So, if this would be a problem for you, then Cabin D3331 on the Zaandam will not be the cabin for you. Unless of course they happen to move these activities up to the Sports Deck, which is really where they should be at (and I did mention this to the powers that be to no avail). Other than the above, this was a lovely cabin. Just remember to keep your curtains closed at night! While we tested the window to insure you could not see in during the daytime, (and you can’t unless you put your face right up to the glass), not so in the evening! Since my habit is to walk the promenade at night, I happened to pass one of these cabins a few doors down from ours on the Starboard side which had a couple, eh, shall we say, less than dressed individuals lounging on the bed. And I could see everything, and let me tell you I wished I could NOT have seen everything! :0 There are just some things better left unseen!! I wanted to peck on the window and yell, “SHUT YOUR DRAPES I can see you!” But DH felt it was better left unsaid so I refrained. The next night the drapes were shut and remained so for the remainder of the cruise so I am assuming they got the message, or, perhaps the paparazzi with cameras flashing outside the window might have been a clue? Hmmmmm. I guess we will never know! The only other issue we had with the promenade was the lack of teak deck chairs that usually line the HAL ships. They did have a few but during my daily walks I counted them (both port and starboard side) and came up with a total of 46. That’s it. 46 teak chairs for 1400 people. I went to the front desk to inquire if they were planning to put more chairs out and was informed that they didn’t have any more chairs to put out. Uh oh. Since these chairs are a HAL signature, and one of my very favorite parts about a HAL cruise, I was, needless to say, disappointed that it became a battle on a daily basis to grab a chair out there. But it is what it is as they say and I must say that I do hope this was only a Zaandam issue. The cruise consultant on board did say that she was not aware of any plans to scrap the teak chairs on HAL but Zaandam should at the least be replacing some of these chairs! In any case the Zaandam is a lovely ship with a musical theme (I loved the Atrium organ) on a smaller size which suits us quite well. And so we sat back and enjoyed our lovely sea days for the next 5 days until Honolulu. Over the next 17 days we treated ourselves to the Thermal Suite. The suite on the Zaandam is not quite as large or fancy as the Vista class and higher, but we still enjoy them just the same. It was a bit crowded on this particular cruise, but we figured out that if we hit it early in the morning, or wait until after dinner, we pretty much had it to ourselves. And those ceramic loungers are just not to be beat! I had no problem with the food whatsoever. I have to agree with other posters who suggest that those who criticize the food here on CC must have some fantastic cooks and restaurants where they live and I have to concur. The only complaint (and its just a teensy tiny itty bitty one) that we would have is on this particular cruise we couldn’t find a single pizza anywhere. Zip, zilch, nada. And DH does love his pizza. I don’t think this issue is fleet wide so I’m guessing it’s a Zaandam thing but we never really got an answer as to why. The 2nd thing is the ice cream was never really hard. In fact the soft serve was harder than the hard packed?!? But the soft serve was good, so DH just stuck with that for the most part. The Dive In was wonderful as always and DH replaced his pizza fetish with a newly discovered hot dog fetish so all was good in the end. Ports of Call – Honolulu We had planned to rent a car and drive up to the North Shore on our first day in Honolulu but alas this was not to be. Do not ever plan to rent a car from Dollar or Thrifty in Honolulu as I am not exaggerating when I say this is a frick and frack operation at best. We waited 30 minutes late for a shuttle to arrive (after being informed they forgot, then being informed they were late due to traffic, etc.) Then they get us to the dealership to pick up our car whereupon we wait and wait and wait and wait and wait. After 3 hours had gone by we determined it was too late to even attempt to set out for the North Shore so we cancelled, caught a bus back to the ship, calmed down had some lunch, then salvaged the day by grabbing another bus and setting out for Diamond Head. We had not hiked that yet, and so we capped the day with a hike up Diamond Head and the views (which I had not seen before) were fantastic. A rough start but ended up being a lovely day. 2nd Day Honolulu Having already seen Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri (which I highly recommend) we opted to book a private excursion with “Dolphin Excursions” based out of Oahu. They pick cruise ship passengers up by the Hula Girl next to Aloha Towers and drive you up to where they will be embarking for the excursion, then drive you back to Aloha Towers at the conclusion. Pick up time? 5:30 AM (Yawn). If you want to play with dolphins you play with them on their terms not your terms - silly dolphins. The excursion does include all equipment and a lunch at the conclusion of the tour. We grabbed our gear and loaded up into the zodiac and off we went until we encountered our first pod of spinner dolphins. We dove in and had a wonderful time snorkeling with the dolphins, in the wild, no pools of trained dolphins for me! These were the real deal and it was amazing! On our way back we encountered a small pod of bottlenose dolphins and in we went again to snorkel with them a bit – again amazing! And they capped our return trip by playing with the wake of the zodiac. Beautiful creatures. We also stopped and snorkeled at a reef and then we returned to the ship after lunch and still had time to find a hot spot, check our mail, and do a bit of shopping. Kauai We rented a car here and this time they actually knew what they were doing and we were off in a timely manner. Can’t recommend that enough in Hawaii when you can. We drove up the Waimea Canyon, stopped by Kauai Coffee, went to Poipu Beach, saw the spouting horn, had lunch at a local café. Another lovely day in Hawaii. Maui We took the bus down to Kaanapali Beach and snorkeled there in the morning until a thousand of our closest friends showed up to snorkel with us, then back on the bus, returned to the ship to shower, change and have lunch then back to shore for a great shopping afternoon. Hilo Rented a car yet again (highly recommend) and drove out to the Black Sand Beach (Richardson Beach), went to the Farmer’s Market since it was Wednesday, went out to Big Island Candies, then Moana Loa Macademia Nut Plantation + drove up to see Atsakuka Orchid Farm. Another full day that was lovely – weather too! If you have not done (as we did) Volcanoes National Park then that is a must, at least once, and will be much easier by rental car then by tour bus if you can swing it. Kona Rented yet another car and drove around to various coffee farms (yeah for me!), then off to snorkel at Kahalu’u Beach Park which was fabulous. Note: water shoes are a must here but it is a small beach with easy snorkeling entry and lots of colorful fish and the water is low enough that you do not really need fins. Another great day. Back to the ship and the 5 day return trip to San Diego. Not much to mention here, same great food and fabulous service. The entertainment was good, not outstanding, but good. Now its back to reality and planning our next cruise!
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