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bamelin

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  1. Just to add to my thoughts, When I sailed with Carnival they did some things really nice -- big rooms, comfy beds, nice toiletries for example at ridiculously low prices. The MDR service seemed the same as any other line. Where they seemed to cut corners was the staff ratios, the entertainment and stuffing the ships to the gills with people. I HATED the lines everywhere. It was a mission to get a table in the buffet and good luck finding staff to bring a drink. When I researched HAL I had that sort of vibe (but in different areas -- the same mentality though of cutting back in some areas while maintaining or increasing in others) -- more money is being put in certain areas that cost the line less money (smaller production shows for example), building up small venues where you don't need as much staff. With that said, some of the areas they are focusing on are areas that are important to me -- complimentary good food, more contemporary music venues for example. They do seem to be maintaining staff to guest ratios and not stuffing the ships full of people so as to maintain decent space ratios too. Those are all things important to me -- One of my personal tests of a cruise line is what I call the fresh egg/omelette test. In the morning if I have to wait more than 5 minutes in a line to get a fresh cooked egg or omelette, that's a huge negative for me -- not enough staff. I gather that's not an issue on HAL so I'm happy about that!
  2. I'm gen X and cruise a lot. I've sailed with Princess and Celebrity as well as RCCL and Carnival. I didn't like Carnival at all -- felt crowded everywhere. The staterooms were ok and the price was cheap so I'm actually sailing with them again in December a cheapie 4 day cruise before I get on the Nieuw Statendam for 7 nights. With that said I knew what I was getting into booking the Carnival cruise and made sure to get a balcony so I can chill on the balcony -- the only spot on a Carnival cruise where I feel you get privacy. In the end it was cheaper for me to do a cheapie 4 night Carnival cruise than to get a hotel and food for 4 nights in Lauderdale or Miami. I have never really cared about the production shows (although on Celebrity they were very good) -- much prefer hanging out in a lounge watching a comedian, a piano bar, or a dancing venue with live music. More important than all of that to me though is the food quality in all complimentary venues -- buffet and MDR. That and space ratio on board. My biggest peeve with Carnival was how crowded the cruises feel and the obviously high guest to staff ratio. I like Princess as although the entertainment I found blah, the atrium area is nice, and food is decent. With Celebrity I disliked the feeling of being enclosed (no big open spaces similar to Princess) -- but they did have great production shows and fabulous food. I felt the buffet on Celebrity though closed down to early and late night eat options were blah. Not sure what to expect on my HAL cruise on the Statendam. I've heard the food is really good (some people say better than Princess and Celebrity). I think I'm going to like the small space venues -- wife and I will really enjoy BB Blues as well as the piano bar. Videos I've seen of the buffet it the food looks very good so I'm also excited about that. Thinking about it I will say that the diversity of small entertainment options was certainly attractive to me in making my booking -- I also liked the itinerary which is focused on beaches and ports that you don't really have to spend a lot of money (Caribbean, Turks Caicos, Half Moon Cay, Amber Cove and Key West). Really interested to see how HAL compares to Princess and Celebrity. Truth be told, even average age, Princess and Celebrity seemed to trend older, although I'm heading into the older territory now. Over the last 10 years my wife and I were usually on the younger side of those on board -- to be fair we've always done 10 - 17 night cruises so it's to be expected that we'd be on the young side. We never cared about the demographics as for us it was all about upscale leisure and having time to connect with each other. We have a 1 year old now so I suspect in a few more years I'll have to start going back to RCCL and Norwegian. Not my favorite lines but that's life. We've always preferred ships that are quieter with great food and some decent small venue entertainment in the evening.
  3. Thanks for the input. I do suspect that there may be more families on this sailing (1 week Caribbean - Half moon Cay, Grand Turk, Amber Cove and Key West) in December. I'm actually the one that got my folks into cruising -- bought them a cruise as a surprise on their wedding anniversary 10 years ago or so. They were instantly hooked and have now been on more cruises than I have! We've never sailed together before though so I think it will be really special. They are doing 2 weeks on the same ship (sailing is being sold as either a 14 day or 2 separate 7 days) so they will have lots of quiet time before we get on. I told them they didn't need to babysit but they are insisting at least a couple nights -- so yeah that will be nice. We ended up deciding ont he cruise as our son will barely be 18 months -- I would have preferred taking him on a beach vacation but decided a cruise would be easier on us all, plus knowing that Western medical facilities/doctors are on board.
  4. My wife and I used the self service laundry on Princess and it was a very convenient option -- not sure if HAL offers that though. I've also used Laundry service on Princess where we have Elite benefits -- as others have noticed be careful with "nice" clothing -- I noticed some fading. Standard stuff though like socks, casual cloths, undergarments, etc -- no problems. I'm sure it's the same with HAL.
  5. Yeah I found the room service menu's they look great. And if we can also get MDR dishes delivered, even better! One of my fondest memories on a cruise was having a New York Sirloin on the balcony while sitting in shorts and a T shirt. Total being spoiled!
  6. Thank you Daisyloo Poking around I found the room service menus: http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Room-Service-and-Breakfast-Card.pdf And Breakfast Card: http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Room-Service-Breakfast.pdf It appears we can get steaks or lobster from Pinnacle Grill or a Bento Box from Tamarind delivered to our room for a small fee -- we will DEFINATELY use that option -- fabulous! Thanks for the heads up re our child. I've cruised lots pre children so I figured yeah no good taking him to the Specialty Restaurants. How about to the MDR? Is that more acceptable? I don't want to be relegated to the buffet or room service the whole cruise hehe. My folks will likely babysit 2 nights so wife and I can go out for specialty dining and shows, but we'd like to bring him with us to the MDR too 1 or 2 nights. We actually are doing a cheapy 4 night Carnival Cruise (Carnival Victory) just before we get on the Nieuw Statendam. I'm not a Carnival fan at all but had a casino rate offered that made it cheaper than staying at a hotel in Miami or Lauderdale for the week. I'm REALLY excited though to try the Nieuw Statendam -- will be my first HAL cruise. I've sailed multiple times with Princess, Celebrity, and RCCL as well as once with Carnival. I swore I'd never do Carnival again but they made me an offer I couldn't refuse lol. Really no such thing as a bad cruise but there are definitely huge quality differences when you jump up to the premium adult cruise line (Princess, Celebrity and I hope HAL).
  7. Any suggestions? Will be on a 7 night cruise. It's possible our 1 year old will be with us although I may be able to get babysitting from other family members on one or two nights when we try specialty dining. I've never sailed with HAL before. I watched some videos online and think I want to try the Asian place (Tamarind) and Pinnacle Grill. Not sure about the Italian place as I see it gets mixed reviews. Will we get dirty looks if we bring our kid with us? Any other complimentary food items specific to HAL that I should make sure I try/don't miss out on? The burgers in the videos look really good lol. Since we will have our 1 year old with us we may have to use the buffet a few nights -- do they serve some of the same dishes as the Main Dining Room? Can we get MDR as room service instead if we need to stay in? On Princess I've always been able to get them to deliver MDR food to my stateroom by calling Room Service and just asking (unadvertised benefit YMMV). Not sure how HAL handles it.
  8. I was never really big into the production shows -- I tended to prefer to go back to my balcony after dinner and enjoy a glass of wine. With that said, on Celebrity I made an effort to go to the shows -- they were/are top tier quality. I'll actually be trying HAL for the first time in December on the Nieuw Statendam. I enjoyed the piano bar on RCCL and loved the jazz/blues group in the atrium on the Royal Princess -- so I'm looking forward to seeing how HAL's new focus on small venue entertainment pans out on my cruise. For reference I'm in my earlier 40's and my spouse late 30's.
  9. Yeah for 3. Although the baby will only be 18 months around then. I did end up upgrading to a balcony... Came out to 1250 CAD (945 USD). The thing is we have a second 7 night cruise the week after on Nieuw Statendam... I booked this 4 day one to extend our vacation or seemed really cheap for 3 especially with the 500 USD on board credit.
  10. Just a heads up, Carnival keeps your casino play on file for a VERY long time. I last cruised with Carnival in 2013 -- I'm going on a one week HAL cruise on the Nieuw Statendam in December 2019 and decided it would be nice to extend the vacation a little. I didn't want to spend a lot more so I was looking at 3 and 4 day cruises with Carnival, RCCL and Norwegian. Found a 4 day cruise on the Carnival Victory and low and behold I was eligible for Casino rates -- Hot Streak Bonus offer. Comes with $500 USD on board credit. The cruise itself only cost $974 Canadian for an inside or $1250 Canadian for a balcony (total for 3 guests). Also include Drinks On Us for booze in the casino. It seemed like a very good deal -- I couldn't believe it at first when I read over the specifics. Is there anything else I should know about this deal? Ironically I barely gamble anymore so I suspect this will be the last time I get offered a crazy casino deal like this. Just posting as I haven't sailed with Carnival in 6 years and they were still offering casino rate. I did do a Princess cruise in 2016 so maybe that kept my casino info active?
  11. Ah i see now, duh! Thanks you so much, greatly appreciate it.
  12. @Maggie North I thought the diagram on the site is showing the standard inside room. @RoyalVisit thanks!
  13. Was the tv right across from the bed?
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