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About JimnKaren

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Spring Hill, FL
  • Interests
    Reading/knitting for Karen, gardening for Jim. Both retired.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    HAL, Princess, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    My driveway

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453 profile views
  1. I gotta agree with itinerary as the deciding factor. Once you are out in the Atlantic, it does not matter which ship you are on. So, the ports of call at either end can make a difference. Sure, money can mean a lot, but if you are in a port at the wrong time for too long (or not long enough), then it doesn't matter. We have crossed on Princess and Holland America. Similar demographics as to the passengers. Celebrity is good, but I am spoiled because other cruise lines have a tendency to discount their fares during the last few weeks. Celebrity does not. I live in Florida and can make it to many ports easily. Not the same if you live in the middle Atlantic states. Keep an open mind (after reading a bunch of posts) and then talk it through. Jim
  2. Zaandam this spring had a solo piano player during the dinner hours. He was good; but no one danced. It was cocktail time. Later - 8:45 or so (right after the first show in the lounge) a musical trio plus vocalist did about three 45-minute sets. More dancing then. It used to be the Neptunes (OMG - remember them?). Some trios were better than others. Some would grant requests and others looked at you like nutso. I don't know who makes the decisions on those things. Consistency should be the rule. It isn't. Ocean Bar will always be a better spot for us rather the "The Mix" or "The Crow's Nest" venues. Once, several years ago, when we boarded and sat in the Ocean Bar as we sailed away, a bar server came up and said, "You want you usuals?" Oh my, Mark remembered us before we had a chance to really see him. One of the great things about HAL voyages! Jim
  3. We used to live in Illinois. We had to fly all the time to get on a ship. The cat and Karen disliked the winter weather and said to moi, move south. We now live on the Gulf side of Florida. Last minute cruise? Yep. Tampa is one hour away; FLL and MIA are 4.5 hours away, Port Canaveral is 3 hours away. Never been to Jacksonville, but that would be about 4.5 hours. If it is a long cruise, we rent a car (using AARP discount) each way. If 10 days or shorter, we'll park near the pier. We used to do the inside cabins, but found that we overslept too often. Now it is ocean view with an occasional balcony/verandah. We always book with our Travel Agent, we keep the money in the community that way. Jim
  4. Our sailaway for our 51-day Tales of the South Pacific is set for 11:00 p.m. I will assume that muster drill will be about 4:30 or so. We will arrive in San Diego a few days early to enjoy the town. It is an option to eat on shore that evening or dine on the ship. If we dine on the ship and order a bottle of wine from the list, my question was whether that would be taxed at the California rate. In Ft. Lauderdale, that is the way it is done - that went into effect a few years ago. Those sailaway drinks got to be a bit more expensive with the 6% tax added. Jim
  5. Gotta go with the demographics. Older is more sedate. Older has a bit more money to spend on a cruise. A more expensive cruise will reduce the number of 'casual' cruise passengers. I gotta agree with LHT28. Jim
  6. Thanks all. That tax stuff would make a $55 bottle of wine a bit more expensive. I'll take one of our carry on wines to dinner. Jim
  7. Lots of discussion about this in our house. At the end of October, we board Amsterdam for 51-day Tales of the South Pacific. We are 4-star, so we get discounts on the packages and those are good prices. However, on a long cruise as what we'll be on, we are going to bring a case on with us. I'll pay the corkage and drink them in places other than the MDR. I am just not sure whether one case, plus a package, plus our two free carry-ons will be enough. Maybe two cases!! Jim
  8. We have been on both ships. We have done the trip from Boston. Great ships - both of them. Really neat ports of call. What you might want to look into is the cost of getting to and from your home. For instance, a flight from Montreal might not have decent connections; whereas something getting to Montreal could be easier. You might consider (if you have the time) renting a car from your home town and drive to Montreal, turn in the car and then cruise to Boston. A flight back to Pittsburgh International should be easy. Compare and contrast (just like the art historians preach). Jim
  9. Sometimes...the folks in Seattle don't understand what customer service can be. We had an "issue" on Zuiderdam a couple of years ago and I contacted guest services and got nothing. I then wrote a letter directly to the Office of the President of Holland America Lines...and waited. I got a wonderful personal, 2-page response and a very nice free incentive for our next Holland America cruise. I encourage you to write directly to the Office of the President and describe as you did here what happened and the response (or lack of one) you received. Without demanding anything, a nice letter just might get you something that you might not expect. Good luck. Jim
  10. Correct, we will be in San Diego until 11:00 p.m. Dinner with a bottle of wine. Will that be taxed at the local rate? Jim
  11. Several years ago, Ft. Lauderdale instituted a sales tax on beverages purchased while the ship is in port. Does that hold for San Diego?
  12. Now that we are retired, we take long cruises (too bad that the cat hates that). As a result, the free laundry thing is good - fewer clothes to take and less work once we get home. Itinerary is the thing for us. If brand X does not go when and where we want, we'll pass. I'll keep looking for whatever gets us going. Next up - 51-day Tales of the South Pacific on HAL. Itinerary - and then the cost - and then the free laundry. Jim
  13. We live in Florida and regularly take cruises one-way. For instance: Florida to Buenos Aires and cruise back; or fly to Vancouver and cruise through the canal back to Florida. HAL air has worked for us. Jim
  14. When we were on the ship two years ago, that lobby bar was never used. Was that still the case? Jim
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