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Posts posted by cruzingnut

  1. Charles, I'll jump in here in case he's not on for a few days. Town is basically "right there" at the end of the dock. The dock is long so they had a shuttle that only ran on the dock from the ship to the exit at the end of the dock. From there, just walk out to the waterfront/town. Our first time there we found a street that was basically a market and closed to traffic. We like wandering local markets but the last time we were there it was gone. Looks like they had made some street changes and it wasn't there anymore. There are some crafts along the waterfront though, so you shouldn't lack for souvenirs/local craft items.



    Linda R.





    In a few weeks we will be on a cruise to Santa Marta, Columbia.

    How were you able to get from the port to town? Was there a shuttle?

    How did you find getting around town?



  2. It's not money wasted...it's a required thing that needs to be done at that time (Dec.). It's just that the timing is bad in that HAL has to pay for it and not the German company (unless that's in the fine print in the sales agreement). I'm afraid I can't tell you what that requirement is...I don't remember...maybe Copper can chime in?


    Linda R.





    Thank you for the updates.

    I still think that HAL is wasting money on a dry dock for the Prinsendam knowing that she will no longer be with HAL after 6 months and spending money on renting her for those months.

  3. Along with everything people have already mentioned; please know that the cruise line is in touch with "people in the know" about ANYthing that is happening in the are you will be in. So, it's not just HAL trying to keep to safe....there is a whole other entity that is too. I won't mention names, but this is from the Captains' mouth on the cruise we were on. Certainly made me feel a lot safer the time we went thru the Red Sea past Yemen, etc.



    Linda R.

  4. I would like to reiterate what a couple others said: A waterproof (not resistant) jacket is an absolute must. That being said, the usual layering items for underneath are necessary too.




    Also, keep in mind that it will be cool on the ship! So don't just bring clothing for outside wear; be sure to have appropriate wear for on the ship. Our first Vikings cruise there was a guy that had shorts.....that was it....just shorts.... :o




    Linda R.

  5. Both times we did the Voyage of the Vikings (VOV), they had this. 2006 and 2014. We did it the first time and after everyone got in the pool, the crew came out with huge trash buckets and dumped the contents in the pool with us......big blocks of ice! A friend just off the P'Dam said they did the same thing there and even the Captain went in the pool. Remember....the P'Dam's pool isn't covered....:eek: It sounds inconsistent between the ships....that's a shame because it IS an accomplishment!



    AncientWanderer....I agree with you! Cornballs unite!!! LOL! Why not? It's fun to get that stuff.


    Linda R.

    ....who hopes to get yet another Arctic Circle certificate on her 3rd VOV.




    I've crossed several times. In addition to the certificate, there has been a "Swim across the Arctic" activity in one of the ship's pools.

    It is not necessarily held as you cross, and isn't even always while you are still north of the Arctic Circle, but it is always fun. It's usually held in the daytime, but on one cruise it was held, north of the circle, after second sitting dinner---on a ship with no covered pool.

    Talk about getting cold!

  6. We are 5 star also on HAL and Elite on Princess (yay free laundry!). Even with all the changes on HAL, we still prefer it over Princess because it just "feels like home" to us. We sail Princess primarily because I don't fly and live only 25 miles from Ft. Lauderdale, making access to the Caribbean much easier for us. But, if HAL sailed year round from Ft. Lauderdale, most likely we would be on them unless Princess had a better itinerary.



    Food isn't quite as good as on HAL although the Crown Grill steak restaurant is pretty good. We've never been to Sabatini's so can't comment on that. The ships are larger and we generally prefer smaller although we've never felt crowded on Princess. We do like the (surprisingly larger) Regal and Royal ships, probably because we enjoy the large atrium and great seating area on the bottom floor of it. There is also the International Cafe with coffee ($) and free sandwiches, salads, desserts, etc. in the atrium. In the Caribbean they will typically have someone playing the steel drum, someone singing/playing guitar and a classical duo/trio. This entertainment can vary drastically though; on the Regal in Feb. the steel drum guy was terrible/this past Carib. Princess (CP) cruise the guy was fabulous. The singer/guitar lady wasn't good on Regal but was much better on CP. We were frankly confused as to how the entertainment can vary so greatly. In the evenings there was a band for dancing that we found too loud so we went elsewhere.


    Most importantly, we are able to find quiet places to hang out during the day as we are not interested in sunning. There are more offerings for entertainment but we don't go to many of them; only occasionally. I can't speak to the shore excursions as we rarely take them, even on HAL. We prefer doing our own thing unless something very unusual is offered or if we are in a location that we feel it "wiser" to go with the ship.



    Regarding crew: We haven't had any cases of rudeness or anything like that. It seems that a goodly portion of the crew are from Eastern Europe and, particularly on our most recent cruise on the Carib. Princess, we really enjoyed them. Very personable...we actually had a blast with our cabin steward. All cruise lines seem to be cutting corners/changing things and it is happening on Princess too.



    You'll find the population on Princess to be "older"; not quite as much as HAL but mainly during the time of year when the kids are in school.



    Finally (are you still reading?), the difference between the perks: You know what we get on HAL; on Princess we don't get 50% off wine packages, coffee or specialty dining. I do miss that as it kills me to pay close to $40 for a $9 bottle of wine. Really, it's cheaper to just bring that bottle and pay the $15 ($18?) corkage fee as it comes out cheaper! Now, it takes 150 days/15 cruises to get to Elite on Princess. There are a LOT of Elite on pretty much any cruise, even the 7 day. Laundry typically takes up to 3 days to get back to you. Priority tendering is non existent due to so many Elites, even on the 7 days cruises. That doesn't seem to happen on HAL; only on the long trips when half the ship (LOL!) qualifies for it so it basically doesn't happen.


    I guess I'll stop there but if you have any questions, please ask. I'll answer what I can.


    Linda R.


    I am a 5 star Mariner on HAL and am becoming increasingly disgusted with the new President's vision. I'm thinking about sailing the Island Princess in a couple of months. For those of you that have done both lines, can you please highlight the differences? I sailed Princess last in 2002, when it belonged to P&O. I found the British crew somewhat rude, especially the purser. Beyond that it was a good experience, but slightly less enjoyable than HAL.

  7. I'm going to chime in here (been reading the whole thread). We did a B2B (5/26, 6/2) on the CB this year. I've been on the Regal/Royal several times so feel I can make a comparison regarding the buffet. There is no comparison....the buffet on CP is nothing like the other ships. We usually have lunch in the buffet; it's just easier and with more choices than the dining room. But, this time, we ate in the dining room the whole time. I found the hot food in the buffet to be mainly of a "stew" type variety. Not a lot of choice of veggies either. They did have a huge round of beef a couple times but it looked awful; maybe it was the way they were "carving" it? I really was quite surprised that I couldn't even find plain old roasted chicken to make a salad with as I usually do when I can't find anything else. I'm not into sandwiches (especially with one lousy slice of meat in them) so that wasn't an option either. We went into the other area that becomes Planks and the seafood restaurant and while there is a ton of seating in there, the food didn't vary at all. Same thing every day.



    I seriously found the differences between the CB and the Royal/Regal buffet setups to feel like two different cruise lines, definitely an odd thing. Won't stop we from sailing on the CB though; she's the only game in town this summer and we do like to get away. I won't starve (there's always the International Cafe! :)).


    Linda R.



    Can you detail a bit how the food in the new buffet sucked?



    I ask because we board in 2 weeks and are only planning to eat in the buffet, not going to a dining room at all. We did that on the Regal in March and it worked out great, am hoping for the same experience on the CB.

  8. Oh, that was great! Thanks for posting the link! We sailed from FLL to Rome in 2001 on her on a 16 day transatlantic. A good number of those "first port visit" plaques were from that trip. Brings back memories watching this of how it used to be although much looks the same as it does now. Anyone else remember the Java Bar with the free cappucino? The Java Bar was in the area where the wine bar is now (across from the theater).




    The Astrolabe does still work, to an extent, but not like it used to with all the parts whirling around. Be there at 4PM in the afternoon when it still plays a different song each day. I never did count how many there were but there are a few at least.




    The Amsterdam is my favorite ship with 589 of my HAL days spent on her. :)



    Linda R.

  9. I've found that during any cruising in cooler areas of the world that it tends to be cooler ON the ship also. So, I have tended to take appropriate clothing for that. You will probably have some days that are "warm", but I wouldn't bring a lot of clothes for that. Iceland, in my experience, has ranged from 40's with wind/rain to 70 and sunny one time. Average for Akureyri in August is 51.



    Hope this helps a bit.

    Linda R.

  10. Thanks again for taking us along! Will you be blogging from the ship after dry dock? I'll be curious to hear about the changes. I just hope they don't take that great place to sit across from the Ocean bar (between the two shops) away. I saw on the deck plan for after dry dock that was showing another shop in it's place but when I asked Chrystal about it (on Grand Asia), she said she didn't know anything about it. I just hope it wasn't one of those "pat answers" like the standard "we've never had that happen before" one.


    Linda R.

  11. I have a couple questions for you. 1) Steve and Wendy; you mention them and geocaching. Can you ask them what their geocaching name is? We geocache and ran into a couple that are hosts that do also but don't remember their names. Our geocaching name is "diveduo". 2) Would you ask Barbara H. if she will be on the Vikings this year out of Boston? I love her; she is a veritable fount of useful information and is a great person to boot!


    I've been following along the whole way with you and enjoying it very much! Thank you for sharing with us. We'll be on next year so we might run into you then.


    Thank you,

    Linda R.

  12. Buyer beware when you are at sea and have no way to check on the "art" that Park West sells. As has already been said; Google them and see what you find. Thankfully, they are not as prevalent on HAL as they were; hopefully they are dying out as people get wiser. Does anyone seriously think that one piece of artwork that is supposedly worth $20,000 would really come down in price and end up at THREE pieces for 4 or 5K together is real? I've seen it and thankfully, no one fell for it...that time at least.


    The old saying goes "If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is".


    Linda R.

  13. Thanks for the information Ine! I am aware of the 2 months in advance availability for tickets for the Anne Frank house. Regarding transportation in Amsterdam, I'm thinking we would just be taking trams to get around. Are there tickets just for trams available? Trying to make my way through all that transportation information is a bit difficult. We don't need train to/from airport or any ferries so just want the tram tickets.



    Linda R.



    No need to buy ahead, just do it at the station. Absolutely make reservation for AF house 2exactly 2 months prior! (Think about time difference your place and Amsterdam).

  14. I'll be following this thread as I have reservations for an overnight stay in Amsterdam during our 2 days in Rotterdam in August. Plan on Anne Frank house and a canal cruise. I keep seeing good comments about Lovers so will probably go with them.


    Interested in the reply to the train question; buy ahead of time or wait until arrival in Rotterdam.


    Looking forward to our stay in Amsterdam; the last time we were there (Amsterdam overnight) both my DH and I were sick and didn't get off the ship.


    Linda R.

  15. I just found this and really enjoyed it; thanks so much for the thorough posting! We just booked the Amazon for 11/19 and haven't sailed on her in many years. Actually, since that back part of the Lido was open with canvas covering, it was that long ago. We went on many Grands on her and found her to be sort of like a "comfortable old slipper". I don't mean that in a derogatory way at all...just that she is very comfortable with a relaxed atmosphere...a good thing!


    I'm glad to see that the comfy seating is still there; we had chairs we sat in in Explorers over the years and the staff said they said that they should just put plaques with our names on them. :cool:


    Thanks again!

    Linda R.

  16. I guess I'm in the minority with the internet issue I was having. I did find it worked better on port days when I was onboard and most people were off.


    How is the internet handled on the other ships since, apparently, this unlimited business is only on the Regal right now? What do Elites get for internet on other ships? Is it the same as Platinum?


    Thanks Gloria for the congrats on reaching Elite! We are happy with that and have been spoiled with having laundry on HAL for years. I do realize that it will take a while at times to get the laundry back; that's no problem. Just glad to have it!


    Linda R.



    It is only on Regal, offered as a make-up benefit due to how FUBAR the launch of Ocean Medallion has turned out.


    As for the OP, sounds like just dumb luck each time you wanted to log on. Yes it could be due to others' failure to log off, but don't blame automatic updates as any attempt at those would almost certainly cause the device to drop connection, even at the fastest satellite internet speeds.

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