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About Dr.Dobro

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America

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  1. In 2016, we took Koningsdam Rome to FLL (first U.S. visit) and hopped over to Zuiderdam for a Caribbean cruise. We had asked at the front desk about how close the two piers were and if we could just walk. They kindly offered us a free transfer. They put us on a HAL transfer bus going to the airport, and they dropped us off at Zuiderdam on the way out of the port.
  2. Did 14-day Alaska in September 2017. Two sunny days. Remainder were cloudy, foggy, rainy, with a few real drenchings. I would not do it again.
  3. My wife, who is a nurse, has a t-shirt that reads "YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID ….but I can sedate it."
  4. The ceremonial Dissolving of the Bleach Tablets and Stateroom Wipedown.
  5. Highlight the text, copy it (CTRL-C) and paste it (CTRL-V) into a blank Word document. Change font size, style and color as desired.
  6. I was on the Zaandam in Antarctica last winter. The good news is that internet service was about the same in Antarctica as it was elsewhere, and we were as far north as Rio on the east coast and San Antonio on the west. The bad news is that internet service on the Zaandam was the worst I have encountered on any HAL ship, encompassing more than 300 onboard days. Let me be clear that I understand completely the limitations of ship internet, and I use a lot of workarounds (loading pages to read offline, composing offline and pasting into e-mail, logging on at low-traffic times, trying different locations and so on). So I am not complaining about general slowness; it has been that way on every ship. The Zaandam was far worse than the norm. Maybe they've done something to straighten it out since then, but it was a pain throughout the trip. Laundry service was uniformly excellent, both in Antarctica and other places.
  7. You might see some games here and there if the ship version of ESPN carries them, but you certainly will not see the full range of games. We were on the Koningsdam trans-Atlantic during the 2016 Cubs-Indians World Series and could see none of the games. I asked the CD before Game 7 if there was anything he could do to get just that game on TV, and he said no. The previous year, in Australia on the Volendam, we were able to see the entire 2015 Mets-Royals series. In South America last winter I saw more than enough cricket and soccer to last a lifetime.
  8. Go here: https://www.cruisecritic.com/rollcalls/?cruise_line_id=21&ship_id=128&sailing_date=201809 Three roll calls to look at and/or post on.
  9. Old English teacher trick about ITS and IT'S: Think of the apostrophe as the dot on the letter I in "is." And I mean that it's an old trick, not that I'm an old teacher.
  10. In Timmer's blog, he notes that a complaint on the current Maasdam cruise is " scheduling major talks during times many of us are off the ship." I wonder if this means that they are not taping talks to be shown on stateroom TVs. This was one bad thing about our cruise on the Koningsdam, when they claimed that the newfangled TV system would not allow taping and broadcasting of talks.
  11. From our Holland America (Zaandam) cruise, Feb. 2018: We arranged a trip to Bertha's Beach and Gypsy Cove through Patrick Watts. He was waiting as promised at the dock and as soon as the other couple who shared our driver came off the ship, we were on our way. Our driver was Dave, a former Royal Marine from Liverpool who was among the 40 or so defenders of the Falklands when the Argentines invaded in 1982. He had lots of great information about the 76-day war. It was about 45 minutes on asphalt and gravel roads out to Bertha's Beach, where we saw hundreds of Gentoo penguins up close, walking among them on the beach and the adjacent grassland. There were no roped-off areas or other restrictions; we were out among the birds. Then we went to Gypsy Cove, where two large groups of Magellan penguins were down on the beach below a viewing area; we could not go down there because of possible mines left over from the war. We also got a tour of battle sites, monuments and points of interest around Stanley. Cost was $130 per person. We found this tour preferable to Volunteer Point, which involves two-plus hours each way, much of it off-road over rough terrain (although you do see the larger king penguins at Volunteer, and if that is a must for you, you should do that). But we were very, very happy with our experience and can recommend Patrick highly. He said he does not contract with the cruise lines at all because he wants to give people a good experience at a more reasonable price, and he said he hires only experienced drivers. We saw first-hand evidence of this when a 10-passenger van got stuck in the sand approaching Bertha's Beach, with clients on an official Holland America tour, We spoke to some of them back on the ship; they were not pleased at the distance they had to walk from the spot they got stuck. The van eventually got winched out by an independent jeep driver (unsure if it was one of Patrick's or maybe Estancia Tours), but the van did not proceed to the beach to get the passengers. It stayed where it was and the passengers had to walk all the way back. Patrick struck us as a tour operator with integrity and we are pleased to recommend his company.
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