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  1. Thank you! We're on the Konningsdam in December (can't wait!) and it looks like HAL doesn't offer the e-bike tour for our cruise. 😒 Too bad, it sounds like a blast! FYI, we love our e-bikes, and DH just converted his Mom's 3-wheel "trike" into an e-bike so that she can get up a few pesky hills that are a little too steep for her. Best wishes, enjoy the rest of your cruise!
  2. Loving the narrative and pictures! Was the e-bike tour in Cabo? And was it a HAL ship tour? Looks like a lot of fun! Enjoy!
  3. In our opinion, the Canadian Inside Passage is absolutely beautiful when going south. I'd recommend a roundtrip Vancouver for maximum Canadian Inside Passage. Have you thought about perhaps doing a northbound (usually depart Vancouver, end in Whittier or Seward for Anchorage) followed by a southbound (starting up north and ending in Vancouver)? You'd probably have a few of the same ports but also a few that are different. Tracy Arm Fjord is one of our favorite places to visit, so if your ship takes you in that direction, hooray! If it doesn't, then try the small boat trip from Juneau, it was fabulous this past August. And finally, Icy Strait Point was one of our favorite stops (small town Alaska) a few years back. It needs more than the 4 hour "mini-stop" we got this past August, though! CrewNews, you beat me to it, LOL, I'm too wordy!
  4. Happy birthday(s) to you both and thank you for sharing your cruise with us. We're on the Konningsdam in December and wondered if you would care to expound on your BLEND adventure! I think I'd like to do that with DH, but don't know much/haven't read much about it! Enjoy, and thanks again!
  5. Our family (3 cabins) cruise isn't until April, does anyone know when we can/should request an exemption letter for the youngest in our party (8 y.o.)? First Carnival cruise, thank you for any insights!
  6. Thank you so much for this review. We're on the Panorama in April with a bunch of family members and it will be our first Carnival cruise.....we've sailed mostly HAL and Celebrity, with a smattering of NCL and RCCL in the past. We've never sailed from Long Beach. I noticed that you drove up from San Diego, we'll be driving in from Las Vegas and wondered about the parking at the pier. I've been a little stressed thinking about that, as we'll have 2 cars. How was your parking experience? Do you recommend a particular time we should get there? We'll be staying in Long Beach overnight pre-cruise. Thank you so much!
  7. Oh MYYYYYYY!!!! Wish we'd known that on our end-of-August Alaska cruise! Actually, it's probably a good thing we DIDN'T know that! But I'll be looking during any future cruises! Thanks for the tip!
  8. I agree with all the posters who offered their thanks for an honest review, and I add to their numbers! Thank you very much for your reviews, we followed them eagerly, and it was interesting to read of the differences between your first and second trips this summer. I think we're all anxiously awaiting a return-to-cruising and your reviews filled in some empty spots on our horizons! 😃 Your issues with the PG on your latest cruise sound familiar. We were on the August 21st cruise and while our cruise was wonderful (and a much needed respite from the last year and a half), I had similar issues with the PG. My SIL and I went there for lunch one day and it was nice ......but not top notch like I was expecting. Saving what I thought would be the best for last, I'd made reservations at the PG for the 4 of us for our last night. The PG on various ships has been my favorite happy place, most often just once per cruise, but almost always a fantastic meal. This time, not so much. The haphazard and unexceptional service was the main culprit, IMO. The food was good (sadly, not great) but the service was really lackluster. Plates were "plunked" down in front of us, tableware too. I tried to convince myself that it was just that the staff are so busy or that it was an 'off' day, but after reading your comments, I'm wondering! We have a PG dinner booked on our next cruise and I really hope it's much better than our last experience. Welcome home, GO RAIDERS! Wow, exciting game last night! 😄
  9. This kind of reminded me of our recent pass through TSA in Seattle, post-Alaska-cruise. The lady ahead of us in line was turned away because her name wasn't spelled right on her boarding pass and "she must have typed it in wrong." She said she always flew (whatever airline she was flying) and her information was stored in their system, she hadn't typed it in or changed anything. Regardless, she was sent back to the airline check-in to try to get it corrected. I wondered afterwards if she was able to catch her flight? Computer gremlins at work? Good luck with your checkin, hope that all went according to plan!
  10. We were on the NA in Alaska a few weeks ago and saw some people in the pools. As far as I know, masks are PROHIBITED in the pool, not allowed by any means. But back on once you're out of the pool (and presumably dried off!). 😀 Best wishes!
  11. It has seemed to me that there's no central place to look. On a booking which "perk'd" me gratuities and 2 dinners, the dinners and any existing shore excursion credit shows up on the "welcome" screen and on most pages as "promotional credits." The gratuities show up if you go to the itinerary, just under the promotional credits ("pre-paid crew incentive"). I haven't been able to find the beverage package listed on any of the various pages. On another booking on which we got no perks, the cancellation protection we bought also shows up under the Itinerary page, just above the actual itinerary. Hang onto your paperwork! Hope you're able to find your perks on your booking!
  12. Just wanted to offer my experience on our recent Nieuw Amsterdam cruise to Alaska. I'm not saying this is everyone's experience, just ours! My party (4ppl, 2 cabins) started out our reservations with early Fixed Dining but realized we'd be off ship or specialty dining for the majority of the cruise, so we asked our travel agent to "give up" our fixed seating and move us to Open seating. Several weeks before the cruise, I was really happy to see (online) that I could book our MDR seating for 6pm on the 2 nights we wanted, so I did that! Got a confirmation number and printout. Fast forward to the cruise. Our reservations for the 2 MDR nights that I'd made online weeks before the cruise were nowhere to be found. I got no sympathy on the phone with Guest Services onboard the ship, either, and couldn't rebook anything for either night. So we just did "walk up" and were prepared to argue..............and it ended up NOT being a problem. There was plenty of room and both nights, there was NO line and we were seated immediately. Still, something to keep in mind, especially if the ship is sailing to capacity (ours was not at capacity). As a result of our experience, I find myself unimpressed with the ability to book MDR online pre-cruise! 😃 We will likely try it again in the future but we might remain a bit skeptical until it works!
  13. Can't remember if this was the Cookhouse or not, but as you exit the Adventure Center, it was the first place on the right towards the water. There was a nice bar in there, separate from the food area. The basket of halibut and chips was fresh and cooked to order, then brought to your table (we sat outside near the big firepit you can see from the ship), and everything tasted REALLY good! We had stopped at the oyster bar/restaurant near the museum, but they waved us away to this place when they learned we wanted something other than oysters.
  14. Thank you so much, AryMay! Haven't figured out how to do the @-sign thing, sorry about that! We ended up buying e-bikes a few years back, after the niece and nephew bought some and let us try them. Then my sister in law bought one and we had to fall in line. Love taking them camping and riding all over the campgrounds where we stay. My DB hasn't succumbed yet (LOL) and still rides a regular bike, but I think we're wearing him down. Low tide was really fascinating. We saw so many starfish on the beach, and our guide demonstrated something about them that we didn't know, they have little feeders/suckers on the tops of them. She brushed her hair over the TOP of a starfish and her hair was grabbed! Nothing she couldn't pull away from, but just very interesting to us! I'll post just a few more pics here, one of the starfish and some of the beautiful greenery on the hike, including a mushroom that looks like a McDonald's hamburger bun, LOL! Our guide said it was mushroom season, but I'm not touching 'em. Love mushrooms, but don't know my way around them AT ALL and stay away from the wild ones! Also one shot of a beautiful moonrise as we were sailing away from Juneau. Best wishes!
  15. Finally, Ketchikan, where it looks like I took a lot more pictures than anywhere else. Our bike ride was quite a ways out of town, and we drove a little bit in a gravel lot to get used to the bikes before setting out. Once up onto the main road (where there was some traffic, but not a LOT), we rode about 5 miles to the end of the road, then did our hike. Lots of salmon in the stream, so much greenery! Saw starfish and mussels on the shore (and that adorable puppy). After some drizzle on the way back, we had clear skies for sailing away.
  16. Sitka's up next.............Totem Square and the Pioneer Home, and our neighbor at dock!
  17. So far, so good! Glacier Bay and Icy Strait Point up next........with my favorite iceberg in Glacier Bay, looks like a "pop rocket"? One of those frozen ice cream treats kids buy?
  18. Hope this works. Pictures sailing into Juneau with a moonset/sunrise, then from Tracy Arm Fjord with mountain goats, icebergs and mountain stream, then evening back on the ship before we set sail.
  19. Thank you so much for all the nice comments! And @AryMay, great to hear from you, too! Yes, that Antarctic trip was AMAZING, so beautiful and so much to see and enjoy. I think of it often. The hike with Ketchikan Kayak Co was a little more difficult this time than on our last visit (in 2019).....we spent some more time near the shore at low tide and some of those rocks were slippery. But the walk through the woods has a lot of steps (some large, some short) and you really have to keep an eye on where your feet are going. It's absolutely GORGEOUS, though, especially for us southwesterners who don't get to enjoy that kind of green growing things and moisture! I've downloaded a few pix and will post them shortly, I think I have to make them a little smaller (pixels) first.
  20. So happy to hear your PG nights were great. We must have just had an 'off' night. The PG is one of my favorite restaurants, so we'll certainly be back again. Ahhhhh, envy you the Panama Canal trip, such an amazing cruise! Best wishes!
  21. So there have been scads of reviews since the restart and this is just one more, but maybe it will give a little information not given in other reviews, or perhaps just a different perspective. And if not, feel free to pass on by! 😉 We're a party of 4 traveling in 2 veranda cabins on deck 8 (8130 and 8132), all in our mid-to-late 60's. Me an' DH, my DB (demon brother) and wonderful SIL, all good friends. We're pretty boring, though, so there's not a lot about things going on onboard, we didn't go to any of the shows or even to the Crow's Nest. Walked through the casino once, LOL, and appreciated it was smoke-free, but that was it. Flew Southwest to Seattle on August 20th and had a pre-arranged transfer with Seaview Airport Service. Our driver was a little bit late, or maybe we were just a little bit early. Our first flights in over a year and a half, egads, and same with the cruise. We'd booked the Mediterranean Inn in the Queen Anne district and were very pleased with our room. Looked for a restaurant nearby and settled on Sal Y Limon, just up a block. We weren't too sure about having Mexican food in Seattle (we're in the southwest and have some good Mexican food around here!), but Sal Y Limon was outstanding. So much so, that we went back the next morning for brunch before taking our shuttle to the ship! The hotel had an arrangement with a shuttle service, $10pp to the pier and it was quick and easy. Embarkation, easiest I've ever been through. We were probably in our rooms 15-20 minutes after exiting our shuttle! The rooms were great.....except for one "feature" ......we were directly under the sea-view/aft pool deck chairs on deck 9 and they were moved around a LOT. It was a bit noisy, I think they should try some rubber "footies" on the chair legs! Our room steward, Andy, was fantastic, always there and happy to offer his services. We asked Andy to open the veranda doors between our two rooms and that was done while we had a drink on deck for sail-away in the beautiful sunshine. Spent some time on our balconies and enjoyed the beautiful weather and just the feel of being back at sea. It's also been over a year and a half since we've even seen the ocean, and we really missed it. Dinner in the Canaletto and our waitress Phoebe was fantastic, really increased our enjoyment of a great meal. We asked Phoebe how many passengers were onboard and she said about 1500. It was remarkably uncrowded and we felt very safe. Most everyone was wearing masks, but we didn't do a lot of wandering (eg: casino, shops, etc.). Starting and ending the cruise with a sea day was great! While onboard, we drank some (ok, maybe a little more than "some") and played some Double Down out by the pool or in the Lido, went to a couple of EXC talks that were really good, mostly lazed on our balconies and had really nice meals. The guys liked Dive In (and the app worked GREAT for ordering), while the ladies often browsed the Lido at lunch and found some good things to eat......the chicken tikka masala on our last sea day (or was it Ketchikan?) was OUTSTANDING! They had coconut ice cream one day and I indulged maybe a wee bit too much, my favorite and so delicious! We ate in the MDR a couple of times and it was very nice with good service. My only issue is that I'd made reservations for those 2 dinners, PRE-cruise, on the website, and those reservations were nowhere to be found. I couldn't make another reservation, but "walk up" was quick and easy both nights, and we were seated almost immediately. Canaletto was really good, as was Tamarind. We had breakfast in the Lido twice and it was very good. Their "fake bacon" was pretty awful, but the real stuff was good, LOL (I think the former was a turkey bacon or something, not exactly sure!). Mmmmmm, a Nutella and raspberry jam crepe one morning, how decadent! We never made it to afternoon tea ....... and we all agreed that we were never hungry, there was more than plenty of food to eat! I'd ordered a "happy birthday" package for my DB but it wasn't delivered (they don't do the balloons any more.....plastic!) and a visit to guest services quickly took care of that. Port Valet paperwork was delivered on Sunday and that was the most marvelous thing, sign up, no charge, bags checked to your destination and picked up midnight last day, boarding passes delivered. Loved that and it worked like a charm. In Juneau, we took the Tracy Arm Fjord ship tour and it was a marvelous day for it. Sunny and bright, absolutely beautiful. The little boat was a surprise, much smaller than I'd expected, but it handled the trip just fine, was very stable and handled our route perfectly. I'll try to post a few pictures soon. It's a long day, though, a 7 hour round trip Juneau. Saw seals and mountain goats and beautiful scenery and icebergs and some calving and that gorgeous glacier in the sunlight. The captain and crew (one fella!) were great and kept us well informed. Although a very nice thought, the "snack" served was pretty minimal (a turkey sammich and Funyuns in our bags, with an apple and a bottled water) and we ended up ordering a pizza or two when we got back on the ship late in the day! Glacier Bay was overcast and drizzly and foggy but you can't predict the weather. We were just grateful we'd had such a great day outside of Juneau! Just realized, looking at our pictures, the coconut ice cream was our day in Glacier Bay! I remember now that DH and I both saw bears on the shore in Glacier Bay, one was chasing the other. DB says if we don't have any pictures, it didn't happen, LOL, but it was so far away that we could only see it with the binoculars. Our stop in Icy Strait Point was good and bad. We'd visited in 2019 and had a fabulous time there and were hoping to go out with the same group from Glacier Winds, but they'd had some medical issues the week before and had to cancel. While we were sad about that, we drowned our sorrows in shopping and bought several lovely things from one of the nice little shops there. We also had a very nice meal of halibut and chips at their little restaurant. Finally, the gondola, completely NEW since we'd been there in 2019, was a lovely little ride through the forest, and we finally realized what it was for......it's for passengers at the new dock (also completely new since 2019). Icy Strait Point is a place we'd like to spend more time at (especially out on the water!), and a 6pm-10pm stop was pretty minimal. But fresh air and a beautiful evening, we enjoyed our brief visit. We'd never been to Sitka before and enjoyed our time there. The shuttle buses were quick and efficient, and dropped us off in the middle of town. We walked around, took pictures at Totem Square and more at St Michael's and the Pioneer Home, bought some great chocolate (Theobroma? wow, thanks to whomever mentioned it during one of the earlier reviews!), and ended up back on the ship in the afternoon for a hot stones massage. Ahhhhhhhhh. Last port of call, Ketchikan, a bit drizzly but still a really nice day. We'd booked with the Ketchikan Kayak Company again, same as 2019, and did an e-bike and hike. That was a lot of fun, but the hike through the forest and down to the shore ended up being longer than the bike part of the day, so the bike portion was hurried. The company has faced tough times..... previously 20 employees, now 4. We were glad we could put some money into their coffers with our visit, and we really enjoyed ourselves. We got to see a lot of salmon in the mountain stream, starfish during low tide on the shore.......and an adorable little German Shepherd puppy out with her "dad" (who was clamming). She deserted him to come check us out, and she got more than her share of pets. Our last sea day was spent entirely in relaxation mode, sitting on the balconies, watching dolphins and sea birds and yes, whales (even several breaches, but they were quite a ways away). We had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill that night and everyone enjoyed their meal but I came away disappointed. The food was good but the service seemed lackluster, even haphazard. I'm thinking the staff are just spread really, REALLY thin and they don't have time for the pleasantries or niceties. Disembarkation, with Port Valet, was seamless, and we were soon at the airport for our flight. Our bags met us at our destination! Easy peasy and we really had a marvelous trip. I'd spent a lot of time agonizing over the cruise before it happened (eg: are we CRAZY doing this in the middle of a pandemic??? what in heaven's name are we thinking???? what if any one of us test positive right before the cruise???), but it all went like clockwork. The ship never seemed crowded (except that one night in BB King's and we didn't stay long), most everyone seemed to stay masked, the elevators were almost always just the 4 of us, the crew was happy and you could see the smiles in their eyes, and we were extremely happy and lucky to be some of the few on this abbreviated season's sailing. So far, no issues upon our return home and I think we're all really grateful and borderline teary-eyed to have visited Alaska and had a cruise on a 'dam ship again! Just a few other things, the Navigator App is kind of hit and miss, with the Chat function being mostly a miss for us. But for requesting laundry to be picked up, or ordering a pizza or a burger at Dive In, OR looking at today's menu to see if it sounds appealing, checking our statement? FANTASTIC, really loved it. Re: Port Valet, a real boon! We were on a nonstop flight but heard other guests mentioning that the bag tags only show the first stop/leg (eg: someone traveling to Denver via SLC only showed SLC on the tag and they were concerned), but guest services said they were checked all the way to their final destination. Something to be aware of, there were a lot of concerned people in line that day! Overall, the trip was really what the doctor ordered, for all of us. And I hope there are many more to come!
  22. Just a quick note, thank you for the Daily and good wishes to all. Have a house full of guests .... or it really just SEEMS that way when it's normally just the 2 of us in our little home and the in-house population doubles with the addition of my brother and sister in law! Headed to the airport in a few short hours for our flight to Seattle, and then onboard the NA tomorrow! Hoping everything goes well, and hopes and best wishes to everyone on the care list and celebration list. Probably won't be checking in after this, as we don't have the internet package and aren't bringing the computer. But will check back once we're home, probably around the end of the month, as we're spending 2 nights post-cruise with nieces and nephews in Oregon. Hey, we're so close, why not? Haven't seen them in over a year, so excited! Best wishes to everyone!
  23. Thought I'd pipe in with our experience in Vegas. Out of umpteen million CVS's in town, only THREE do the rapid antigen test. Made an appointment at the one closest to us (still far away), as soon as appointments opened. A week later, got a text and an email that they canceled it due to "temporary closure." Scrambled and managed to find another CVS and made the appointment, on pins and needles the whole time waiting to see if IT would be canceled, too! Thankfully, it wasn't. Making the appointment online, only a few questions to answer and a little information to input (name, phone number, address, that sort of thing). The confirmation text said we could upload our insurance card, but I never got around to doing that. Arrived at the building where the testing takes place. The actual CVS is kitty-corner across the street, while THIS building is just a big empty space (not sure what used to be there). Handwritten sign to come in, so we masked up and walked in. BIG empty space, 3 employees behind plexiglass shielded desks. Mike went to 1 desk and I went to the other. They took my driver's license and corrected my birthdate that I apparently input incorrectly. They never asked, nor did I offer, my insurance card. Mike's person looked at his card but didn't appear to do anything with it. We each did our own swabbing after it being explained to us, to circle in each nostril for 15 seconds. After the first few seconds on the first nostril, I realized they weren't setting a stopwatch or anything, so I counted in my head. Finished the process, stuck the swab in the little vial the employee was holding and that was that. Thanked them, walked out and headed home. We were only halfway into our drive (maybe 15 minutes?) when Mike got a call and his results were negative. I fretted another 5-10 minutes until my call came in. Good thing I didn't swipe the calls away as unknown numbers! Got home and set up a My Chart account for me (Mike already had one), logged on, printed out our results and we're good to go. YAY, rapid antigen test and YAY CVS!!! In contrast.............. because of the canceled appt we'd had, we'd set up ANOTHER appt with the Health District when they opened their schedule. It happened to be earlier the same day, before our CVS test and the website didn't say anything about what KIND of test it was. Our intent was to cancel the CVS test if the Health District test came back in time (we're still waiting!). We were there at our appointment early Wednesday morning, and the nurse said "72 hours" for the results. So it's pretty obviously a PCR test. Got home to an email from the Health District that said due to a backlog in testing, it could be up to SEVEN DAYS before the results were available. Sure glad that CVS came through for us! We fly to Seattle today and board the NA tomorrow!!!! Best wishes to all!
  24. OK, that was an AWESOME read. My brother and sister in law are here for our flight tomorrow and boarding of the Nieuw Amsterdam on Saturday, and I read it out loud to them, MUCH laughter ensued. Thank you for the review. The guys MIGHT decide to give this a try. The girls? No way, we're smarter than that! HAHAHA! Thanks for a good belly laugh, glad you're having a good time. Best wishes to the medical evacuee, hope all's well.
  25. Got our Covid tests back, we're ALL negative, woohooo! Now to the packing, we fly out Friday morning to Seattle. Very relieved, here. Garlictown's meme brought tears to my eyes, so beautiful. Best wishes to all!
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