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About Mtn2Sea

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Enjoy your cruise! I really like all the background information you provide in your review.
  2. Your lobster lunch looks really good! I guess I’ll try to enjoy my ham sandwich at lunch today while dreaming about returning to Maine. Thanks for your thorough review.
  3. Looks like a great itinerary. Looking forward to your review and observations.
  4. Bon Voyage! Hope you have a great trip.
  5. Don’t assume the ship will provide the necessary visa for an overland excursion. I haven’t been to the areas you mentioned, but on this year’s world cruise we took several overland excursions. Although the excursion booklet that was mailed shortly after booking stated the ship would take care of the visa for entering Jordan (visa only required for the overland excursion), we attended an EXC overview early in the cruise where the statement was made that we were responsible for the Jordanian visa. When I went to the excursions desk later that day, the staff member repeated that I was responsible for the visa and offered to read the notice in the booklet. When I stated that this was the only excursion I purchased over the phone because I wanted to specifically confirm that the ship would get the visa, I was told I was given misinformation, but they could pull the tape of the conversation. I returned to the cabin to review the booklet. The notice under this excursion began by saying passengers are responsible for visas. It continued, however, and stated that for U.S. citizens the ship would arrange for the visa. I returned to the excursions desk and showed the same staff member my copy of the booklet. She began reading the notice out loud. As you may imagine her tone changed when she got to the second half of the notice. I was told they would need to check things out and I would be contacted. After waiting a month or so without hearing anything, I returned to the excursions desk and spoke to a different staff member, who repeated that visas were the responsibility of the passenger, but the ship would take care of this one. At that point, I thought everything was set, but there’s more to the story. The day before we were to begin an overland excursion in India (HAL is clear you must get an Indian visa), I was told we would need an Oman visa in order to fly from Oman to Jordan (the flight was part of the excursion). We only had a couple of days between India and Oman. Luckily, I was able to take our ID photos, photos of our passports, and complete the online application that afternoon. After dinner we found a letter in our cabin that the photo shop would take ID photos and the front desk would take it from there, but I had already filed our application by then. While in India I received an email notification that our visa applications had been approved. As I stated at the beginning, don’t assume anything when it comes to visas. BTW, while HAL overland excursions are outrageously priced, they are definitely a first class experience.
  6. Enjoying your review! We stopped in Picton earlier this year on our cruise and you’re right about the beautiful countryside. Looking forward to more of your review.
  7. The Captain just announced that, due to the highly unlikely ability of our passenger having survived going overboard in these cold conditions, the rescue center that oversees these matters has released the Amsterdam from the search, so we are about to turn around and resume our journey to Ft. Lauderdale. We are still several hours away from the search area. I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the family/friends.
  8. Just a few minutes ago, Captain Mercer announced our ship, which left Bantry, Ireland late yesterday afternoon for our transatlantic leg of our cruise is turning around to the area near where a missing passenger was last seen on board. Seems surreal.
  9. So sorry to hear this. My deepest condolences to his family.
  10. A few days ago at the Q&A session on the World Cruise, Orlando Ashford indicated “we’re looking at” bringing on a smaller ship as a replacement for the P’Dam. He stated, however, the ship would likely be in the 1000 to 1100 passenger range.
  11. Muster drill has been completed and was pretty effortless compared to some. Still waiting for four large suitcases to be delivered - don’t know where all of our stuff is going!
  12. We went to Cuba on the Veendam (11 day cruise) two months ago, which included stops in Cienfuegos and Havana. For our Cienfuegos stop, we took a ship excursion to Trinidad and found the bus trip more interesting than our destination. The thing I remember most about Trinidad is the poverty. In Havana we also took a ship excursion that involved visiting a neighborhood art center and touring around the city. That evening we experienced the Tropicana show. Our day in Havana was the highlight of our cruise. We have some friends who went to Cuba on NCL the week prior to our cruise, visiting only Havana. They had a totally negative reaction in contrast to ours. I don’t know if NCL is different or our friends just ignored the people to people requirement (they seemed surprised when I explained it), but they simply walked off the ship and wandered around Havana. Their reaction to their visit was “never again,” so it’s a little strange when we encourage others to go to Cuba and our friends say don’t bother. IMHO, if you only like to visit nice resorts on vacation, consider a different cruise, but if you like to explore the world, go for it. We found the Veendam was fine except for one thing. The same two elevators (the ship has a total of eight) were out of commission for the entire cruise and other comments I’ve read on CC indicate this isn’t an isolated issue. We had no problems with our balcony cabin and I thought the food was very good. The ship is definitely smaller than the Koningsdam and doesn’t have the more contemporary feel about it like the K; however, we like that.
  13. Thanks for the comparison. How did you like Havana?
  14. Yesterday I completed the check-in on my iPad for our cruise later this month and everything went fine until it was time to print the boarding pass. The box you click on to print was absent. Knowing HAL’s website has some kinks, I went to my laptop (Windows Exployer) and had no problem printing the pass.
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