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knittinggirl

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About knittinggirl

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    West Texas
  • Interests
    Travel, Knitting, Needlepoint, Reading

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  1. knittinggirl

    Overwhelmed Newbie to Holland America

    Thanks for the information. Wish I'd known that yesterday when I booked air fare. But HAL doesn't work w/ southwest airlines. I preferred Princess's shore ex on their website because of their outline system, which looks like they'd removed it the last time I checked. However, HAL has been kind enough to send me that information if I contact them about a particular shore excursion. (Royal Caribbean never responded to me.) We have a very steep learning curve w/ HAL's new website. Some things that used to be on the home page are nested. For example, you have to navigate at least to the second screen to get to the contact us page. On Find a Cruise, we now have to go one page below to ask about transatlantic cruises, specific cruises, where that information was available from the top page on the old system. I'm wondering if all the cruise lines are now using the same coding, since many have gone to that horrible find a cruise page. On Celebrity, we have to search for map on one page, and click another page for stateroom prices. Sort of like HAL's page. Back to HAL, I find the map view pretty worthless. With the ports jammed together, it's hard to read. So, I click on list view instead. The other annoying facet of their system is sometimes you must go back to the beginning and effectively start over. To look at shore excursions for booked cruises, you have to pretty much start over, and sometimes their "stone knives and bear skins" lock up. I'd trade their fancy graphics for something that just prints out the information. They don't state which are tender ports on their sales page anymore, but you can find a list here. To me, this is important since we generally don't go ashore w/ tender ports. Too many tender ports means we don't book it. https://www.hollandamerica.com/content/dam/hal/marketing-assets/Accessibility/port-tender-list.pdf
  2. knittinggirl

    Alaska cruise: Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier

    Try a back to back and do both. Last year, we did Glacier Bay on one cruise and Endicott Arm on the second. But we had to spend the night in Vancouver between two cruises, because we started in San Diego and ended in Seattle. Done Hubbard twice the year before.
  3. knittinggirl

    HAL Financial Tips (Transpacific)

    We're coming from the Junior Suites on Royal Caribbean, so we like the SS on HAL. The Vista suites on HAL's smaller ships are comparable to Concierge or Aqua Class on Celebrity (w/o the amenities).
  4. knittinggirl

    HAL Financial Tips (Transpacific)

    I think the SS are our favorite category. On the Noordam, we loved the double toilets and the separate shower. They also offer double Mariner Credit. We like the NS, but usually they are too rich for us.
  5. knittinggirl

    HAL Financial Tips (Transpacific)

    On two of the longer cruises we did (38-Day South Pacific, AU & NZ and 35-day voyage of the Vikings) the segments of the cruises cost more than just booking the longer cruise. We usually book right after they post them to HAL, and sometimes we also ask our Personal Consultant to give us the heads up on a particular itinerary. That's how we got the South Pacific Cruise. We pick our room, and start looking for price drops. We don't get the various promotions, because they usually raise the price when they start advertising the promotion. We buy future bookings (w/o itinerary), then book once we find a trip we like. We seldom book a specific itinerary on the ship. Some of the future cruise employees aren't very good. And once we got stuck in a room w/ a very small balcony (standing room only at one end). We also like to look up shore excursions before we book, and most of the time, Future cruises desk doesn't help with that. I'd rather not pay ship internet for that research. We've never been offered an upgrade in dozens of cruises. We prefer to cruise in Signature Suites, and there's not much room for upgrading w/ them.
  6. We exchange before we leave home. We tip the guides in local currency. When we finish w/ a currency, we exchange it at the front desk toward our onboard account.
  7. knittinggirl

    HAL vs Royal (thoughts on changing)

    Love less wait time at the elevators.
  8. knittinggirl

    HAL vs other cruise lines

    We went on a 14+11 day B2B on the Serenade of the Seas. On the 14-day leg, most were 55 or over, but on the 11 day, the general age dropped to mid-40s. The older passengers could do the 14-day cruise plus the pre-and post cruise travel easier than the with the younger. 11-days is about good enough for working passengers that get only two weeks off a year. We use facial tissues for opening doors and also touching the lotion pump. They usually have a trash can right by the door for disposing of the tissues. I'm pretty sure I can recover from Noro faster than a broken bone.. On our first Voyage of the Vikings, after a couple rough days at sea, we saw a woman with a bruise over most of her face. By the time we got to Boston, she was almost back to normal.
  9. knittinggirl

    HAL vs Royal (thoughts on changing)

    We do miss the coffee pot and tea kettle in Royal Caribbean's JS and up. But we prefer the ships that have a Signature Suite on HAL. After so many years in the Royal Caribbean JS on Radiance, Voyager and Freedom class ships, the Vista suites seem more like Deluxe balconies to me. But I think there's about 30 square feet difference between the VS and the Balcony. We went from a Mini Suite on Star Princess to the Concierge Class on Celebrity side by side. We liked the extra room on the Princess and the superior service on Celebrity Concierge Class. Princess Mini Suite had bulk shower gel and shampoo, one cake of soap and just one tube of lotion. Celebrity had a nice spread of toiletries (as does HAL). The interesting thing was we had norovirus on both of the ships, and it was interesting how they handled it. Celebrity emptied out their library, and that turned into a good place to hang out since it was just outside our door.
  10. knittinggirl

    HAL vs Royal (thoughts on changing)

    Rhapsody is a Vision class ship, not one of the ship types I mentioned. It's closer to a Vista Suite. I liked the JS on the Vision Class ships. They're wider than the long narrow Vista Suites, at least the one we used on the Rotterdam. Comparing the floor plans for JS on Majesty and the VS on Rotterdam. I found the JS on Majesty to be wider. JS on Freedom and Voyager Class are closer in square feet to the Signature suites on HAL. Vision Class are about 78,000 tons, while the Voyager class are 137,000 tons, and freedom class is even larger.
  11. knittinggirl

    Price paid for SS now more than NS

    I tried to get the concierge to swap my bubbily, but they refused. Love that TV on the Nieuw Amsterdam. But the TV on the Veendam's. We'd heard the Veendam had a larger Neptune. We liked the Vanity room right off the bed, and it also had a handy sink.
  12. knittinggirl

    Price paid for SS now more than NS

    Neptune has that free bottle of bubbily that we never finished. Free drinks on Embarkation night, mimosas w/ room service, but otherwise nothing. Neptune Lounge has nice snacks all day long, and their concierges are on duty the whole time the lounge is open. Not having to visit the front desk may be worth it! We also had more people to tip.
  13. knittinggirl

    HAL vs Royal (thoughts on changing)

    We're Diamond Plus on Royal Caribbean. HAL generally has smaller ships than Royal Caribbean, but the newer ones are getting bigger. Freedom class is the largest ship we've been on. I think HAL's larger ships, like the Noordam are roughly the size of Royal Caribbean's Vision Class. We enjoyed our lectures, but I don't remember many lectures on the shorter cruises on HAL. We had some good lectures on the South Pacific portion down to Sydney, but no lectures during the 11-day Sydney to Auckland cruise. The cinema was tied up for two out of four sea days due to New Zealand Customs. BTW, EXC is HAL's term for shore excursions. We decided to try out HAL. Basically, we spotted the Voyage of the Vikings 35-day round trip to Europe and decided to try it out. We'd been on some B2B on Royal Caribbean for around 24-days. Advantages for HAL: Laundry special - daily laundry is $7 ($9 for Europe) per day. After 200 cruise points, this becomes free. Last time we were on Royal Caribbean, we had planned to use our Diamond Plus free bag of laundry on day 2 after a four-day pre-cruise train ride, and were told we could only use our free bag on day 4 and get it back on the evening of day 6. Royal Caribbean has the BOGO specialty restaurant discount for only days 1 and two. While Hal has 25% off all specialty restaurants starting w/ 3 Star, and 50% off with 4 star (200 cruise days). You can use it on any day. But we don't see the multiple specialty restaurant specials like I've seen on Royal Caribbean. Dining rooms are much less crowded on HAL. Room service on HAL is still mostly free. Better included hamburgers. Crowded dining rooms turned out to be one of the drawbacks to Royal Caribbean. On our last cruise on the Radiance to Alaska, the dining room was so crowded, we opted for specialty dining nearly every night. We also didn't care for the location of their Brazilian steakhouse. It was accessible only via an outside deck. And I had to visit the restroom on an outside deck in the rain. Aft elevators on HAL. Most ships have midship, aft and forward elevators. With Royal Caribbean, they don't have an aft elevator for passengers. On the back cabins, we must (and have) walked down half of the ship to get to an elevator. No equivalent of a Diamond Lounge on HAL. There Neptune (Suite) lounge is available for suite passengers only. The concierges are working it the entire time it's open, instead of only a few hours a day. No free alcohol in the Neptune lounge except on embarkation night. Neptune suites have really nice real estate, but they generally have fewer perks. They still have breakfast in the specialty restaurants. We tried suites in HAL and Princess last year, and also have tried out Celebrity a few years back. HAL loyalty points are also earned on onboard expenses. HAL offers much worse forced cruise cancellation deals. We had the Rhapsody of the Seas cancelled and were given $400 OBC on any cruise in a suite. HAL cancelled a couple of our cruises on a redeployment, and we were offered $150 OBC on only two cruise options. HAL is not as good at refunding shore excursions than Royal Caribbean. I'd seen a doctor over an ingrown toenail, and they wouldn't refund my EXC. Bad reviews on shore excursions don't get OBC. We had a terrible tour in Boston to Salem where no one could see out the bus. And we missed seeing things mentioned in the description due to poor bus visibility, and no partial refund. I don't think HAL gives free doctor's visits/treatment for norovirus. Royal Caribbean still has the best junior suites we've come across. Love the junior suites on the Radiance, Voyager and Freedom class! No noisy Centrum bands! DH says he likes Holland America better until something breaks. Royal Caribbean seemed much better. Not sure what happened on the air conditioning malfunction I recently read about on Royal Caribbean. DH's feet always stick off the rounded corners of Royal Caribbean's Royal King beds. Beds on HAL are squared off. Hope this helps.
  14. knittinggirl

    Booking future cruise onboard ship

    We get the best choice of rooms by booking when a cruise first shows up. Whatever they have on the ship is usually too late for us. Lots goes into the decision of booking a cruise. There's also other issues, like what type of shore excursions are available, which are tender ports, etc. I asked future cruises for a shore excursion list for future bookings on our 2017 SP, AU & NZ cruise, and never received it.
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