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About POA1

  • Rank
    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Interests
    Food, Travel, World Domination & Root Vegetables
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

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  1. We got service on T-Mobile from Bahamas Tel. Watch my Live From thread tomorrow. We'll be there and let you know. In 2016, I had service both on the island and on the ship. I had to go out on deck to get a decent signal, but it was pretty good. IIRC, the signal was better on the side of the ship facing the island.
  2. When our crack team of researchers were doing their extensive 7-12 minutes of scouring the Internet for an old set of deck plans, we discovered the ones we'll use for our Wayback Machine "Then & Now" graphics. You'll note that the old deck plans had little tables and chairs in the diagrams, whereas the current deck plan shows the shape of the room without all the little details. We got to wondering why that is, and then it occurred to us. Cutbacks.
  3. The ship photos above reflect the addition of the new cabins on Deck 10 (Observation Deck) and the addition of the cabana area on Deck 11, the Sports Deck. You'll note that the Observation Deck is located on the Sports Deck. If you ever find yourself lost on a ship, it's just this kind of labeling that messes you up. Deck 10 Forward Then & Now: Deck 11 Forward Then & Now:
  4. Ah yes... They're four years old already. Some were inspired by the switch to Gala Nights from Formal Nights in case anyone reads them and wonders about the context. As a former Boy Scout, I try to Be Prepared. So, I had a new one in the can in case it came up. This particular ditty has been inflicted on Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" by Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne, written in 1945. Gotta Cruise! Gotta Cruise! Gotta Cruise! Oh, the weather is cold and crappy Need a cruise to make me happy But we haven't got one booked Time to look, time to look, time to look Gonna sail the Caribbean And it's pal trees I'll be seein' The water is greens and blues Need a cruise, need a cruise, need a cruise When we finally book our trip We will love getting out of the cold Umbrella drinks by the pool This kinda thing don't get old My skin, it is slowing tanning And my view is so enchanting My vacation is so upscale Gotta sail, gotta sail, gotta sail
  5. Film cameras were still the norm in 2003 when we last sailed the Zuiderdam. At the end of the cruise, I collected everyone’s film rolls and put them in envelopes to send off to the photo processing company. We had to make a stop on the way to the airport to find a mailbox because we didn’t want to send our valuable vacation memories through the security X-ray scanners. We ordered double prints (Remember those?) so that we could share photos among the three couples who went on the trip. (Photo sharing meant ordering double prints in case this whole film thing is an alien concept to you.) DW was very good about making photo albums back then, so we have a nicely organized photo record of our trip. Of course it was in storage, so we got it out when we went to fetch our Christmas decorations. It’s great to have a physical photo album you can flip through. Somehow it seems better than, “Here’s my phone.” Finger-flick, finger-flick, finger-flick. The downside is that you didn’t get your photos in digital format back in 2003 I think you could order a CD of the images, and I may have, but I got rid of a lot of computer disks when we moved to Florida. Since we're on the same ship, separated by 15 years, we thought we'd crank up the Wayback Machine. I scanned a bunch of the photos to put them back in a format I could use here, and we'll try to get the same angle on shots from 2018 for comparison. I'll even throw in some pictures of us - because everybody looks pretty good through a fifteen year old lens. I've taken to adding some silver highlights to my hair. I call it "kissed by the moon." Michelle’s hair color is holding steady. She’s delighted when people mistake her for my daughter. Ch-ch-ch-changes... The big structural changes to the Zuiderdam are the addition of the extra cabins to the aft if the Crow's Nest and the addition of the Retreat Cabana area, which we'll cover in detail later. Here's a set of Before & After pix showing you where the changes occur. Before: After:
  6. Thanks for the tip. I don't know about Michelle, but I loves me some Dutch "health food."
  7. This is our first trip on the Zuiderdam since 2003. As some of you may recall, the Zuiderdam’s interior spaces were originally designed by Joe Farcus, Carnival’s lead designer. It showed. The ship had much more of a Carnival vibe than anything else in the HAL fleet at the time. (Fun fact: The Zuiderdam was designed to appeal to a younger demographic and was going to sail the Caribbean year-round.) My lovely wife put the 2003 Zuiderdam trip together as a 40th birthday present for me. We brought two other couples, neither of whom had cruised before. They got bit by the cruising bug and continue to cruise to this day. Fast forward 15 years to 2018 and here we are on the Zuiderdam once again. In 2003, we were living in Maine. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day early and spent the night before the cruise at the Sheraton Yankee Clipper on Fort LauderdaleBeach. (It’s now the B Ocean Hotel.) This time, we’re already in Fort Lauderdale, so the journey should be a tad easier. We’re traveling with Huskerchick’s father on this trip. He’s been our cruising buddy since 2014, and this will be our fourth sailing with him in recent years. In the past, he’s driven down from Tennessee, but he’s elected to fly in this time. That makes perfect sense because you can’t make the drive in one day, and his return trip would be in the post-holiday rush on the day after Christmas.
  8. * “It’s good to be on a well-run ship” was Holland America’s slogan back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I stumbled across it when I was doing some fact-finding for our upcoming mission. Since I am in my 50’s and was born in the 60’s, I decided it would be a good time to bring the tagline back. Perhaps it’s not as catchy as “Signature of Excellence,” “Savor the Journey,” or “Hey! We got us some Oprah over here” but I like it. It’s direct and to the point.
  9. One BIG FAVOR: If at all possible, try not to quote the whole post when replying to long ones. It’s a lot to scroll though, particularly when we’re dealing with the super-speedy internet at sea. I do realize that there are times when you need to quote a post in order to ask a question, but anything you can do to reduce the amount of extra scrolling would be appreciated. The instructions for partial quoting are at the link below. It's pretty easy to quote just a snippet of a post in the new system. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2613946-reply-quoting-only-part-of-a-post/
  10. 'Twas the night before HAL Cruise, and all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not Poohby. Not spouse. The suitcases packed, we had at least five, In hopes that the Zuiderdam soon would arrive. Good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys & girls, moms & dads, teens, tots, toddlers and wee little shavers! It’s time once again for another research project / trip report from the National Institute of Cheer. We leave tomorrow on our first ever Christmas Cruise. (Yay!) It’s a 10 day Southern Caribbean itinerary that calls on some of our favorite ports: the ABCIslands of Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao. The closest we’ve come to an actual holiday cruise was a Eurodam sailing that ended Christmas Eve back in 2016, but this will be our first one that actually includes the holiday. It’s also our first cruise that’s longer than a week since 2014. (Double yay!) For us, a 10 day sailing hits the sweet spot lengthwise. Seven days is just too short. Don’t get me wrong. We’ll take what we can get, but we prefer 10 or more days. Our itinerary takes us to the picturesque southern Caribbean, where we haven’t been since early 2014. Our port stops are: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Amber Cove, Dominican Republic – A new port for us Kralendijk, Bonaire – One of our favorite snorkeling destinations Willemstad, Curacao Oranjestad, Aruba We have several deep and profound research projects planned for this voyage, covering a broad array of subjects important to you, the VIP cruising public. The Department of Gastronomics will attempt to get copies of all the menus. I don’t know about you, but we like to review menus for our upcoming cruises so we can determine the best days to schedule specialty dining. It also helps you to plan your pairings if you’re bringing your own wine and paying corkage. The Department of Harmonics will explore the music venues on the Zuiderdam: Lincoln Center Stage, the B.B. King Club, and Billboard Onboard. The Department of Theatrics will report on the shows and the clean, bright entertainments available in the main show room, The Mainstage. Our world-renowned Department of Alcademics® plans to research the cocktail menus, wine lists, and drink packages – in painstaking detail. We’re doing this - not because we intend to drink - but rather because people have a lot of questions about the beverage packages and we aspire to perform valuable research, which will enable us to report back to you. Selfless, I know.
  11. It is the Zuiderdam indeed. Thanks!
  12. Thanks, @Copper10-8. We had a tour in Grand Turk, scheduled with a private operator. I found out that he bumped us when I went to confirm last week. Probably because there are only 3 of us and he picked up a larger, more lucrative group. We're going to split up on Sunday when we board. DW is taking excursions and I am taking dining confirmation & reservations. She wanted to know where to go, and you answered the question.
  13. Is the desk for booking excursions still in its usual spot, or has it been moved on ships with the EXC in the Crow's Nest?
  14. I took some photos as you went out of Port Everglades. You may even be in them. Email me when you get home and I'll send them to you. We're back from our cruise on the 26th.