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About Pettifogger

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  1. MaisonRose: It's unfortunate that you gave up on the fish in the MDR before they served the poached salmon on one of the last days before Fort Lauderdale.
  2. The Prinsendam and the Amsterdam are the ships used for the Grand Voyages and, even when one is not on a Grand Voyage, one gets the benefit of something like a Grand Voyage attitude on the part of the hotel staff.
  3. We very much enjoyed the Canaletto on the Prinsendam, but it was in a somewhat different location than on some of the other ships and quite pleasant. There, while one was dining, it didn't seem to be part of the Lido.
  4. When I was young, which was a long, long, time ago, almost all prices were set. They were also high, partly because there seemed to be less competition then. All one had to do was decide whether or not one was willing to pay the set price. It seems now that most vendors, including local ones, have developed various and sundry ways to entice buyers who are price sensitive with lower prices at the cost of greater inconvenience; coupons, multiple stops, etc., so they can maintain the original prices for those who are not price sensitive. Deciding whether one is or isn't price sensitive enough to endure the inconvenience is relatively easy; some of us are cheaper than others and although we may vary our approach a bit depending on the context, we generally conform to type. Occasionally, one of us will get caught in an unfamiliar market where we assume that the price is set and we pay it, only to discover that others have bargained for a better deal. Maybe a few of us are fortunate enough to know how to benefit from the lower prices while still avoiding the inconveniences; I am not one of them. Some cruise passengers are more likely than others to be enthusiastic about this relatively new marketing environment. Those with more time than money and considerable flexibility, most retirees for example, are likely to welcome it since, by closely following price changes, they can often get lower fares than ever before. Those with less time and flexibility, but more money, are not likely to be enthusiastic about it at all, since, however fair the price they pay, it will often be more than that paid by those with the time and incentive to spend more time shopping for the right deal. Despite the increasing complexity of booking a cruise at a satisfactory price, it seems to me to be much simpler than booking an international fight at a satisfactory price in order to get to the cruise.
  5. Many of us remember the biblical story about the workers in the vineyard who were all paid the same, even though some had worked all day and others only part of the day. Those who had worked all day were "not feeling very warm and fuzzy." By and large, we are free to contract as we wish, but are bound to fulfill our contracts. Some of us are better at choosing our contracts than others. Those of us who aren't, can, if we wish, resent either those were better at contracting or those with whom they and we contracted, or both, but that is unproductive at best and it is far better to learn something about cruise pricing from the experience. If you do and you continue to cruise, you may come out ahead before too long.
  6. We've just returned from our seventh Prinsendam cruise and, until this one, we had never done anything in the Explorations Lounge except walk through it. We must have already vaguely known that there was Adagio music there, a pianist and a violinist, but we had never stopped and listened. This time we did and we were enchanted. It was somewhat like visiting an English country house and, although there was no one listening young enough to be Bertie Wooster, there were couples in attendance who looked like they could have been his parents or grandparents. I enjoyed the music more because each time I had a large cappuccino from the adjoining Java Cafe. We also knew from Cruise Critic that homemade chocolates are available in the Explorations Lounge and we tried them for the first time. They didn't seem to me to be as sweet as commercial chocolates and I had several without being too distracted by concerns about the life expectancy of my teeth. Unfortunately, we made these discoveries two-thirds of the way through our cruise so we won't fully benefit from them until next time. I wonder what else we've been missing.
  7. When Prinendam cruise documents say the "upper dining room", to which of the adjoining dining rooms do they refer, the larger one on the smaller one at the side? Does "upper dining room" imply open or fixed dining? Thank you.
  8. I agree with all the nice things said here about the Prinsendam; I have chosen her for six of my eleven Holland America cruises. But there is another ship in the Grand Voyage class, the Amsterdam. She may not be quite as petite or elegant as the Prinsendam, but my cruise experience aboard her was every bit as grand as those on the Prinsendam.
  9. I have always assumed that, as an ocean view or veranda passenger, the Hotel Director was beyond my reach. I don't mind that because I believe that he is ultimately responsible for our cruise experience, that he has a lot to do and that he has a Guest Relations Manager to deal with complaints. But that leaves passengers dissatisfied with the GRM's handling of a complaint with no recourse but a letter to Seattle after the cruise is over and that's not what the passenger wants; they want their cruise fixed. I once came very close to asking to see the Hotel Director. I wouldn't have done it in the hope that he would reverse his GRM; I think that happens too rarely to bother even hoping for. My purpose would have been to both show that I had tried everything I could to get relief on the ship and not to preserve my complaint until after the cruise in the hope of retaliating against the GRM and to give notice to the GRM that the dispute wasn't over. Fortunately, in my case, it became unnecessary. It has occurred to me that there might be a partial solution to the problem of dissatisfied passengers seeking access to the Hotel Director and not getting it. If, at the end of an unsatisfactory conference with the complainer, the GRM were to hand him or her a triplicate form which the complainer could complete and leave the original and triplicate with the GRM, the triplicate to go to the Hotel Director, and keep the carbon duplicate to mail directly to the appropriate department address in Seattle, which would appear on the form, when they get home after the cruise, it would establish a detour in the path of appeal around the Hotel Director. It would not entirely placate the complainer, because his or her cruise would not be fixed on the spot, but it would at least show them that their complaint was alive and well and would be addressed. If the complainer persisted in demanding to see the Hotel Director, he or she could simply be told that appeals from the GRM are not part of his job; all of them go directly to Seattle. (Perhaps they could be routed initially to whomever supervises GRMs; that might appeal to outraged complainers.) It would be better if the routing was such that this multitude of complaints didn't go to whomever supervises Hotel Directors. If the forms were numbered, it would be easier for Seattle match them up. The provision for the complainer to directly mail a duplicate would reassure him or her that his or her complaint would not be lost somewhere before it got to Seattle. I doubt that very many are, but I wouldn't be surprised if every once in awhile a really devastating criticism wasn't lost and those are the ones Seattle most needs to see. This suggestion was hastily formulated and obviously needs considerable work, but the disgruntled passenger who wants to see the Hotel Director but can't seems to be a persistent problem that needs to be minimized as soon as it can be.
  10. For several years I have had the perhaps fanciful notion that I was in some minuscule way helping Holland America manage it's cruise line. (I didn't stop to think that I was about as helpful as a few thousand others.) Onboard, I would scratch one and two word notes on the back of those "move your clocks forward (or backward)" cards and save them to use in completing the surveys. But after my most recent cruise, I was not sent the e-mail survey. (I was sent one after the cruise before.) I don't know why; I've never given all 9s, but I'm sure there are lots that are meaner than mine.) When I was younger, I was generally paid for my advice, although often grudgingly. As I have aged, even though my advice is now free, those requesting it about anything have thinned out. Holland America was about the last. Although this development is somewhat humbling, I can now look forward to carefree future cruises on which I shan't have to try to remember the names of exceptional employees until I can get back to my cabin and jot them down. (I could have carried a pencil and paper with me everywhere on the ship, but, since it was just a hobby, I didn't think it was necessary.) And since Holland America must receive maybe a thousand or so completed surveys every day, I have to admit that it is likely to get along fine without mine.
  11. For me personally, and I do not urge this view on others, the joy of a Grand Voyage is not any of the extras, but the fundamentals; that is, the selected officers and crew. If there were no extras at all, I'd still want to book any Grand Voyage with an itinerary I wanted.
  12. Ruth C.: It seems to me that you answered your own question; the cruise was on a ship that's frequently used for Grand Voyages, the Amsterdam or the Prinsendam, but wasn't one of the Grand Voyages. However, it was a grand cruise/voyage. There were none of the pillow gifts or other extras of a Grand Voyage; but I assumed that there was a considerable overlap with the selected officers and crew of the Grand Voyages. After several such cruises, I still have no idea how much overlap. SilvertoGold: I also once had a cabin on the Amsterdam within a few feet of the then Hotel Manager's cabin/office and he never said hello to me either, but I assumed that it was because he was totally preoccupied with running the hotel aspects of the cruise and the very happy results indicated that he was. I hope I get to enjoy a cruise like that again.
  13. It seems to me that in the most recent mailing I received from Holland America the Grand Voyages were differentiated somewhat more from the other cruises than they had been in past mailings. I think there are prospective passengers who have the time and money for one month segments of Grand Voyages who have not yet discovered them, so I'm glad they'll have an increased chance to do so. Of the five best cruises of my life, three were one month segments of Grand Voyages; one was a cruise on a Grand Voyage ship that was not designated a Grand Voyage, but was a grand voyage; and the fifth was on another cruise line before I discovered Holland America. I wish there were a few more Grand Voyages.
  14. If a pleasant and engaging wine steward were to make sure one was aware that he was not charging something that should be charged, a bottle of wine, corkage, etc., especially a day or two before the end of a cruise, and one suspected that he might be hoping for a larger tip as a result, what should one do?
  15. luvcruisin': Thanks for the tip about extra mango on the pancakes.
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