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Everything posted by WisRiver

  1. On our two cruises last year on the Oosterdam and Noordam, internet performance was adequate. I use the internet primarily for e-mail and documents. I had to do several video conferences and scheduled them for port days to insure strong land based internet. On the transatlantic in November on the Oosterdam, there seemed to be poor internet in the middle of the Atlantic.
  2. Last year we did a circumnavigation of Australia on HAL's Noordam. The itinerary is about the same as the one posted by strobe1. We started in San Diego and did a 34 day South Pacific cruise to Sydney where we started the circumnavigation. The Westerdam is a midsized sister ship of the Noordam. Both are very nice ships.
  3. When you sail from Rome to Messina, you will sail by the island of Stromboli. The Stromboli volcano has been in almost continuous eruption for the last 2000-3000 years. In 2018 we sailed from Messina to Rome and we could see the erupting volcano from our starboard balcony. Assuming the captain takes the same course, the volcano should be visible from the port side.
  4. The bus station is on Calle 82 about two blocks from where the cruise shuttle drops you in Progreso. Busses run about every 20 minutes and it takes about an hour to reach the Merida terminal near the central square. The busses are clean, well maintained and reliable. Here is a link to the bus company's web site with a map of the route. https://www.autoprogreso.com/en/ I ride the bus several times a month with no problems. You buy tickets at the ticket window in the station.
  5. When are you going to the Blue Lagoon? BL is currently closed because of the nearby volcano eruption. As I understand the highway from Reykjavik is blocked by a lava flow.
  6. I winter in a small village east of Progreso. One of our visiting grandchildren's favorite place to visit was El Corchito. They first visited when the were pre-teens and have gone back as teenagers. You arrive on the north side of the lagoon and pay for transport in a small boat to the dock for the park. I am not sure what is the cost. Here is a recent story about the park. https://www.theyucatantimes.com/2022/09/el-corchito-a-fantastic-ecological-nature-reserve-just-minutes-away-from-merida/ I think it would be possible to walk from the shuttle bus stop from the end of the pier to the park, but I would take a taxi. You walk through the city in neighborhoods with poor or non-existent sidewalks. No food can be taken into the park (they do not want you feeding the animals), but bring your swimsuits, beach towels, bug repellent and reef safe sun screen. Since we live in the Yucatan, I am not sure about excursions from a cruise ship.
  7. We stopped in Brisbane last year. We were a group of four, took a taxi from the cruise terminal and Uber from the CBD back to the ship. Four shuttle bus fares were more than taxi/Uber.
  8. We were at group of six in Barcelona in November, 2023 for four nights before boarding the Oosterdam repositioning cruise. While we were in Barcelona we made arrangements for an excursion to Montserrat through Spain Day Tours. It was a great day. They picked us up at our apartment and dropped us at Plaza Cataluna. You will have to check with them about whether they will pick up at the cruise port. We have used Spain Day Tours on previous trips. They are a reliable company, and provide excellent service.
  9. We have done two cruises, one with stops in Iceland and the other exclusively in Iceland. We did HAL's Voyage of the Vikings round trip that made three stops eastbound and two stops westbound in Iceland. Both legs included a stop in Reykjavik. The advantage to Voyage of the Vikings is the opportunity to stop in Greenland. Last year we did an eight day circumnavigation of Iceland on Hurtigruten Expeditions. We had the chance to see many smaller ports, but also were to revisit Isafjord and Akureyri. We missed Isafjord because of weather. If you have the time, I would recommend the Voyage of the Vikings.
  10. We were on the Noordam last year when it made a stop in Sydney. There was a paid shuttle from White Bay Terminal to Darling Harbor. There was a wait at both ends of the trip. (I heard passengers complaining about the wait). We were a group of four and used Uber without a problem. If time is limited and you want to maximize your sightseeing, I suggest a taxi or Uber.
  11. We were on the Oosterdam for the November transatlantic. We had the premium internet package. With Starlink we had,fast, stable internet across the Atlantic.
  12. Bummer babe, The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town is named for Queen Victoria and her second son, Alfred.
  13. In scanning the MDR menu, there may be sides for another entree that you like. I often ask for a different side, especially if there is a nice rice side. Also, we often ask for a vegetarian main to share at the table such as a risotto. If I order the steak I will get fries instead of the baked potato. The waiters can help you mix and match.
  14. On our transatlantic in November 2023 we used Spain Day tours for excursions in Malaga and Barcelona. They provide excellent service. The only drawback is that they will not confirm a tour until a requisite number book the tour. https://www.spaindaytours.com. Seville is not a cruise ship port. We were supposed to visit Seville when we stopped in Cadiz, but the stop was cancelled because of high winds. If your cruise has a roll call, you will probably find postings from people trying to fill an SDT excursion.
  15. I do not remember if there was a shuttle. We were a group of four so we took an Uber to the Museum of Brisbane in City Hall. After shopping, sightseeing and a river cruise, we had a delicious dinner along the river and took another Uber back to the ship.
  16. On our drive in a rental car to Seal Bay we saw no kangaroos. However, we did see several koalas in trees along the highway. You have to keep an eye on the trees along the highway.
  17. We were on a Holland America cruise in November, 2022 that stopped in Broome. There was s shuttle offered by the city that took us from the pier (about three miles from the city center) to the main shopping area. Broome was hot and humid. We did not find any excursions that interested us. We took the shuttle into the city center, found a shady place to have drinks and snacks, and went back to the ship. Some people did pearl shopping. The Pearl Luggers museum is near the city center.
  18. Drivers from the United States do not need an international drivers license. I think the cost was about $100 US including refilling the gas tank. The roads are well maintained, little traffic and easy to drive on, except for being in a right hand drive car. We paid extra for an automatic transmission.
  19. Last year we were in the same predicament, sold out tours on Kangaroo Island. We were a group of four. We rented a car from Seafront Connect, a short walk from the tender port. Our original plan was to rent the car and drive out to Flinder's Chase. Our arrival was delayed for five hours due to high winds and rough seas. After we tendered in, we had only about five hours on shore. We rented the car and drove out to Seal Bay. You will be driving on the "wrong" side of the road, but there is not much traffic.
  20. We have booked an SS guarantee on the Noordam for travel in March. We like SS cabins. We had an SS on the Zuiderdam in 2019, and were not disappointed. The extra size of the SS cabin is quite noticeable. We were in a veranda cabin on the Oosterdam last month, and we wished we could have found an SS cabin. Veranda cabins are smaller than an SS and usually have smaller verandas. Why would you have to pay more unless you are moving up to a Neptune?
  21. We cruised to Australia last October on the Noordam and Brisbane was our first port of entry to Australia. It did not take much time to clear immigration, 10 minutes or so. We did not do an excursion and we walked off the boat about an hour after docking. We took a taxi into the city center, toured the City Museum, did some shopping, walked down to the riverside and took a boat cruise. We had a nice dinner along the river, and took an Uber back. Our departure was not until midnight. It was about a ½ hour drive from the cruise terminal to the city center.
  22. We did the 13 day coastal express, Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen last year. While most port stops are 15-30 minutes long, it seemed like everyday there was an extended 3-4 stop in cities like Tromso, Trondheim and Kirkenes, In addition there are several excursion booked through Hurtigruten where you leave from one port and rebound in another port. For example, the excursions to the North Cape and in the Loften Islands were the hop-on, hop-off type.
  23. From Wikipedia: "American mahjong is a form of mahjong standardized by the National Mah Jongg League[12] and the American Mah-Jongg Association.[13] It uses joker tiles, the Charleston, plus melds of five or more tiles, treats bonus tiles as honors, and eschews the chow and the notion of a standard hand. Legal hands are changed annually. Purists claim that this makes American mahjong a separate game. In addition, the NMJL and AMJA variations, which have minor scoring differences, are commonly referred to as mahjongg or mah-jongg (with 2 Gs, often hyphenated)" The easiest way to tell if you are playing American Mah Jong is the use of joker tiles and a card describing winning hands. I have seen people on board playing traditional Mah Jong with their own sets.
  24. We were on the Noordam last fall on the San Diego/Sydney and circumnavigation of Australia cruise. Mah jongg was scheduled every afternoon in the Half Moon roomon deck 3. HAL provided four sets. Passenger were playing American Mah jongg rules and brought their own 2022 cards. In addition there were two more MJ sets in the game area of the Crows nest on deck 10. In October, 2021 we were on the Rotterdam transatlantic. HAL had four sets available and we played in the MDR on deck 3 next to the bridge players. We will be on the Oosterdam this November. I am fairly sure people will be playing MJ.
  25. We stopped in Halifax of a Voyage of the Vikings. We, a group of four, had booked no excursions. There were several taxis outside the cruise terminal who offered trips to Peggy's Cove. I do not remember the exact price but it was extremely reasonable. Since we had our own cab, we moved at our own pace. It was about an hour's drive. Our driver was an Iraqi student studying marine engineering at Dalhousie University. He was an excellent local guide. He suggested a stop at the cemetery for the Titanic victims. We were in Peggys Cove for about two hours, and dropped outside the Maritime Museum in Halifax. We had time to walk back to the ship along the waterfront boardwalk with a stop for some fresh oysters and mussels at a harbor side cafe. We had great weather.
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