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About DeirdreTours

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  1. DeirdreTours

    Is Club HAL always this anemic?

    We did a transatlantic in 2010 with only 17 children on board (2 were officers kids). There was only one staff person, but she was absolutely amazing. The teen section was open till 11 each night. The two younger age groups were combined- so there was a 3-9 year group and a 12-18 year group. The staff person took the younger kids on adventures around the ship-- one we saw them all dressed as pirates parading through the lido demanding snack booty (led by the staff person). The staff person had a good bit of leeway to tailor the experience to the actual kids on the ship for example rearranging the age groups to let the 12 year hang with the teens w/ parent permission and allowing an 18 year to hang with the teens (the 12 year old and 18 year old were both ours, we also had a 6 year old in the younger group). We were absolutely wowed by the experience. However, around 2013 the HAL experience changed radically. Kids just stuck in HAL room watching movies. Zero flexibility. Insisted that we "sign" out our 11 year old in person rather than have her meet us (which meant we could not go to a show or dinner without leaving in the middle). Very few activities. More like over cautious nannies than a fun club. Thankfully, our children have aged out of HAL. I used to rave to people about our kids experience in HAL, but now I warn them to not expect much more that limited hour baby sitting.
  2. DeirdreTours

    Half Moon Cay Clamshell

    Is it now $40 for a clamshell? My last HAL cruise was November 2016 and it was $19.99.
  3. DeirdreTours

    Bad call hal

    I agree completely! I can't understand why so many people take such pleasure in belittling the OP's disappointment.
  4. DeirdreTours

    Neptune Suite - How perky are the perks?

    It may have changed since our last cruise, but we have done this on at least 6 cruises. That is, booked two rooms (typically a verandah and an inside directly across) and then, once onboard, switched occupants at the front desk so that the kids are in the inside and spouse and I are in the verandah.
  5. We sailed on the Eurodam November 22-28. This was our 4th time onboard the Eurodam (2009 Transatlantic, 2011 Carribean, 2013 Thanksgiving). We have also sailed on several other HAL ships-- The Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam have been our favorites. However, this cruise we were quite surprised by major changes in the food choice and quality. The MDR steak, for example, used to be a thick, flavorful cut of moderate quality-- on this cruise the cut was much different; thin and tough with a grainy texture. Choices in the Lido at dinner were much fewer than in the past (we recall the full dinner menu being available in the lido, now just a couple of main courses). And, much to my disappointment, there was no bread pudding during the entire cruise! Though they did still have the tasty raisen buns. The other thing we noticed was that the staff wasn't very happy -- for the first time I heard crew members openly complaining about management onboard the ship. Are these food changes system wide? If so, when were they implemented?
  6. DeirdreTours

    Murderous Looks On The Dance Floor

    I am a terrible dancer, Mr. Tours is a rather good one. He dances a couple with meoo and a couple with each of our daughters. I have never noticed anything approaching a "filthy look" from anyone, at anytime, on the dance floor. On the other hand, I am not at all sure I would notice the looks of strangers.
  7. DeirdreTours

    QM2 transatlantic crossing with kids - what to expect?

    We are taking our third family crossing in August. Our two girls, now ages 12 and 16 went across with us in 2012 and 2013. They both had a great time, though neither much cared for the children's programs offered. They went to the club once or twice to meet the other passengers their age and then mostly did activities with the kids they met or, sometimes, with us. They both also LOVED the evening balls- putting on beautiful dresses and dancing to a live orchestra was a real treat. The older one also went to the disco. The younger joined me for tea each day and took the improve/acting lessons with me. Although there were less kids than some other cruises we have been on, the kids we met were interesting and from all over. My oldest daughter still keeps in touch with some of the people she met on the QM2. I did notice that the teens did join up together in groups of a half dozen or so, but I did not see any ugly behavior or hear any complaints.
  8. DeirdreTours

    Differences in balcony cabins & comparison to HAL's

    On the Queen Mary 2, the balcony cabins are slightly smaller than the balcony cabins that we have had on Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam.
  9. We are booked on the Nieuw Amsterdam for spring break with our 10 year old, 15 year old and 22 year old. They have all sailed HAL multiple times and the younger two love it (our 22 year old son tolerates it every couple of years in the name of family bonding). When we sailed on the Eurodam for Thanksgiving 2012 there were about 150 kids on board, my kids were not thrilled with the crowding (they prefer about 20-30 kids). My guess is that the 7 day spring break cruises will have 50-75 kids per week.
  10. I have been on 12 HAL cruises in the last 5 years and the M&G has varied greatly from cruise to cruise. On one memorable cruise in 2011, it was a reception in the piano bar with champagne, mimosas and tray passed tidbits. The captain was in attendance along with the hotel manager and several other officers. Other cruises have been cookies and coffee in a corner of the crow's nest.
  11. DeirdreTours

    TA's From & to NYC & the Continent

    We have done the Cunard QM2 crossing twice, once 2012 and then agian in July 2013. We have also done a 13 day crossing from FLL to Barcelona on HAL. Cunard is not officially any more formal, but guests seem more likely to follow the dress recomendations. The food on HAL is a little better (dining room very similar, buffet is much better on HAL). The beds on HAL are better. Activities are better and more varied on Cunard. This can be especially important on a crossing as we must fill those sea days somehow. We LOVE the dancing on Cunard. Overall, the lines are not that dissimilar.
  12. DeirdreTours

    Disapointed with 5 Star Mariner Program

    Oh, you seem to be right-- this is my own fault for visiting to catch up so rarely....
  13. DeirdreTours

    Disapointed with 5 Star Mariner Program

    I am baffled that so many posters are "grateful" for this or that benefit and willing to chastise others for being "ungrateful". My purchase of a cruise is a simply a consumer transaction; I weigh the price against the product and make a decision. Yes, mariner benefits go into that equation--Why wouldn't they? Those benefits affect the total price and satisfaction of the trip. Of course, some benefits I value and some I don't, Just as some activities on board are valuable to me and others aren't. If other cruisers choose "gratitude" for mariner benefits instead of evaluating those benefits in the overall purchase price, that is their choice. But to suggest that others adopt their viewpoint seems pushy and yes, condescending.
  14. DeirdreTours

    Favourite "other" cruise line? And why?

    Cunard-- The beautiful ballroom dancing (with serious dance lessons during the day to prep you), the outstanding musicians, the wider range of activities. HAL has a much better buffet food venue and sometimes better dining room menu.
  15. DeirdreTours

    First-timer TA questions

    I can't be of much help with many of your questions, but I can say that bookings have been weak this year and that good sales will continue to pop up. Highly recommend a site called *************.com for getting the best price once you have settled on a particular sailings. Tuxedos are rented on board, you can also get by with a dark suit.