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About MobyandDick

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    Many things in combination, such as culture, cooking, theatre, shopping, reading, music
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    HAL, Oceania, Cunard, Royal Caribbean and Azamara
  1. Hi jwh, when you board, please always bring the bottles as hand luggage and all bags are scanned. If you put bottles in your larger bags, which you check in seperately to be brought to your cabin, these bags are put aside after scanning and you will need to claim these later on board as these bags are not brought to your room (scan will show that bottles are inside). We have brought bottles before on board and there is actually someone after security to label/sticker the bottles and who receive payment, which is charged on your stateroom. With the sticker on your bottle, you will bring it to any bar or dining room and you will receive the full service from the wine steward, such as bottled properly opened/presented, wine cooler, glasses etc. Many times our bottle travels from the bar to the dining room or we ask staff to keep a certain bottle in their 'bottle bank". Our motivation to bring wine with us is not to save money, but to enjoy regional wines we purchase before or during the cruise when we hold our own excursions. If you return from your visit in port the same procedure is arranged. I do not recall that there is limit to bring bottles as long as you pay the corkage. Enjoy!
  2. Hi Smurf2017, I am sure that checkin will be smooth for you, for both our cruises the checkin was not bad, staff is friendly, but it was not a relaxed smooth operation. Although the ship does not carry such large number of passengers, unlike RCCL or NCL big ships for example, the number of staff to accept your luggage, or staff providing you with relevant documents, provided bottle necks. I guess that the terminal also contributed to it, as when we left both times from Gran Canaria, the building was relative small and partly made-shift pavillion-tent, with not a logical routing. If you can checkin at home, you have access to relevant documents, including even the health form, so you could fill them in at ease at home. Combined with the advantadge that you have access to the pre-registration line, the checkin went more quickly. You will have a great time, enjoy!
  3. We sailed twice on Pullmantur once the Zenith in 2019 and Horizon in 2018. You cannot compare the ships or service to an American run & operated ships, BUT we enjoyed each cruise both very much and took it for what it is. For dinner are two seatings in the main dining room and most likely you will be sharing a table with other guests. Possibly you may want to check with the dining room manager to receive a table with other English speakers? Staff is extremely friendly – eager to please and we felt that the overall experience was more traditional old-fashioned style from a decade ago. As the ship offers an all-inclusive beverage package, you are not required to pay additionally for drinks, such as pre dinner cocktails, mixed drinks or wine at any time during day or night when a bar or restaurant is open. Even speciality coffees (barrista style cappuchino, espresso, etc., is offered for free and there is even a special coffee lounge), but the coffeebar charges for little snacks and cookies instead. Ofcourse staff will try to sell the extra premium beverage package, but we stayed with the basic drinks and bought an occasional wine bottle for dinner. The dinner menu offers one page with the Pullmantur favourites (which do not change during your cruise) and the other page is daily specials of three starter/main/desserts. Please keep in mind that the ships cater mainly to the Spanish guests, so menu is geared to their taste and most of communication is in Spanish. English announcements are placed after the Spanish ones, but entertainment, music style and atmosphere is focused again on the Spanish clientele. We enjoyed it tremendously though and due to its clientele it gives a buzzing atmosphere. During the week the ship does not have real theme nights other than red*black night etc., but hardly any guests dresses up according the given theme. We do not see any black tie or gala either, just smartly dressed people and as you sail in summer, the clothes are comfortable but elegant. The show is hosted in Spanish and some shows are sung&dance (like ABBA) and therefore the songs are sung in English. One show is a story about a famous Spanish writer and the story is told and sung in Spanish. I saw an that on some previous reviews other cruise passengers left some photos on menus and here is my review: https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=610549 One tip: embarkation is always very hectic and managed differently than in the US. If you can, you may pre-register your embarkation and become fast-laned. Ground staff wanted me to join the long queue but I was determined to join the short fast-lane line and walked over there and was assisted immediately with my documents in my hand. Our conclusion: It is not Disney, Royal Caribbean or Carnival style, the price and value you receive is well balanced and enjoyable for what they offer! Here is a link for sample dinner menu: https://www.pullmantur.travel/en/gastronomy
  4. Hi Francot, I can see Pullmantur offering cruises from Trieste this summer. We have used the public trains a lot in Italy and if you can carry your luggage in/out trains, it is a 2 hours train journey. Please be aware that some stations do not have elevators to all platforms and therefore your luggage needs to brought down by hand on a underground passage to other train tracks. Please have look at the train service: https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html here. Also it depends if you are resting for an overnight from the US in Venice. We stayed at Hotel Arlecchino, which was not far into town and walkable from the bus service from the airport. Also here, you need to carry luggage over 2 Venice bridges, unless you spend extra money for special transfers. For us we did not want to spend a lot of extra money on transfers and "just" walk over. It is up to you and your budget. You will have nice cruise and enjoy it!
  5. After 5 years, this week I received a personal message from a saved refugee, whose resecue operation we watched while were cruised on the Nieuw Amsterdam/Oct 20 in 2014. Amidst our wonderful Mediterrean cruise, the captain made an at ful sea an emergency stop in the very early morning alongside a little boat filled up with around 50 Syrian refugees. On that morning I made some footage and placed it on Youtube when I was contacted by the saved refugee this week. This person named Khaldoun, has been rescued by the authorities and therefore very grateful to the captain & crew to notify them on their behalf. He is living currently in Norway and is asking me if there are more photos available. Please spread the message and kindly upload your photos, so I can share them again with Khaldoun. Thank you! Short impression of the rescue operation
  6. Hi Lil Pups, we sailed many times in/out there and yes, that is the price. it is not the distance that depicts the price: private taxis are costly in Italy and not all taxi companies are allowed to stop litterally next to the ship (in the port), as this requires a special lisence drivers need to purchase on a yearly basis, hence the price looks 'dear' but you receive the best service. There are free shuttles taking passengers from the ship into a general dropp off area as you are not allowed to walk through the port and from there you can take alternative transport, but with also taking your luggage I do not reccommend it. Also local taxis will charge high prices as they do not want to 'accept' driving you for a short distance. We have also used shared shuttle taxis to the airport once we arrived in port going the airport. They were less expensive but you are going to a hotel so you will require a tailor-made trip.
  7. Hi Susan, we have been sailing with HAL probably as much as you have :-) and always purchase a wine package (from 3 star Mariner start with discount!). These packages were changed in spring 2018 (we sailed on Koningsdam in May) and the packages provide a discount from a smaller/select choice of wines printed a special menu. This means that you receive a smaller special wine list every day and you can choose any wine you like until your package is finished. All wines are within the price range that you will pay. So it is not that are 'stuck' to pre-purchased a number of bottles (white and/or red) but you get the choice of any wine from that particular wine list every day. In fact we liked a certain wine so much, we had it ordered many times. We feel that these packages help us to maintain costs within our budget. Also: if there is wine left, it will keep for the next days and if you decide to move from the MDR to a speciality restaurant, it helps that you tell your wine steward, either the night before or before you go for dinner. On this board I read a variety of comments of experiences about the service of wine stewards. We experienced never a problem on any HAL ship (Nieuw Amsterdam, Volendam or Koningsdam); each and one of the wine stewards were kind, helpfull and informative. They are all proud about their job and they showed it to us many times. I have added a photo of the Cellar Package number 2 (white & red wines) . Enjoy!!!!! Moby and Dick
  8. Hi! Not all taxis pay for a special license to enter the port (annual fees are very high). There are some private companies that refer you to taxis which have this license. www.romelimousines.com/ (bobs limousine service) offer this service and we have used it from/to the ship and airport at least over 3 times.
  9. Be aware Holland America changed its policy for arranged gatherings on social groups! We sailed on the Holland America's ship ms Koningsdam and during a 12 day cruise only 2 GLBT gatherings were arranged. Both were located at the Seaview Bar, which is actually a bar placed at the second level of the mid ship pool. The bar is placed next to the sandwich and pizza buffet, so there is no atmosphere nor a proper place to linger/mingle or socialize with fellow passengers. Actually by 7pm the film, shown on the large screen, takes over the sound and no other kind entertainment is possible. Here is the reaction on our complaint, which came from emailing the presidents office: "In response to your inquiry regarding the frequency of GLBT meet-ups on our sailings, it is true that some of our vessels previously scheduled more frequent gatherings for some social groups, such as GLBT guests or Veterans. However, in order to ensure that all such groups are treated fairly, we have standardized our onboard policy to schedule 2 meetings per sailing. We regret any disappointment this change may cause and trust that you can appreciate the reason for this decision." Although couples of the same sex are accepted on board (staff was delightful), HAL's corporate policy is less open and welcoming by denying any support to arrange any extra gatherings! When we commented on the bad location during our cruise, we were told by the Cruise Director in person that this bar needed the revenue!!! :eek::eek: We have no more comment to add!
  10. Hi! There a are a lot of great tips left from other passengers and placed under the "Destinations", which you can find when you click on on the research button (right next to the CruiseCritic logo). Look for 'Gribraltar' and info will be provided. Depending on your budget, interest and time frame, there are plenty of choices. :):)Enjoy! here is a link as well: https://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=144 https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/shore-excursions/excursion/953/
  11. It was free and open to all passengers and arranged in the morning of the second sea day later on in the 12 day cruise.
  12. Special BackStage Tour and Meet the Performers & Back stage staff May I takean opportunity to add more depth in to the current conversations as we were onthe Koningsdam from May 1 -12 and during the last sea day, an activity wasplanned to have a look back stage and to meet the performers and back stagestaff. The 45minutes session was led by the cruise director Ben and all singers, dancers andback stage staff were personally introduced, Q&A were arranged and in smallgroups were taken behind the scenes. If I rememberwell many questions were also asked about how shows would evolve and frommemory this is what I remember: - RWSEntertainment Group (New York and London office) is hired to arrange productionshows, so HAL (as many other companies) outsource the entertainment (like Casinoor Spa services) - RWSis in charge of scouting, hiring and training all performers for each show, soif performers would like to join any HAL ship, they need to audition to RWS (bysending in a recording is a modern means, also auditions are held around theworld to present oneself in person) - Newshows are presented to the management of HAL and evaluated, possibly alteredbefore going live to the ship’s audience. This can be lengthy process as it wasof HAL and RWS to come up with the new stage, which is called “Key Hole” stageas there are only two small access points versus a traditional stage. - Shipclasses may receive different style of shows: for example Koningsdam/Pinnacleclass ship has a different stage and requires a different show set up than sayNieuw Amsterdam or Volendam. - Eachshow has a certain life time as a lot money (up to half a million US$ incl.royalties) is invested and probably runs for about 3 years and then will bereplaced by a new created show. - Eachproduction receives a high controlled quality check and during its life of productionthis control will be maintained: staff divides responsibilities to keep thehigh standards up: quality of singing, acting, dancing, costumes, etc. - Someof the performers were actually involved in working out the scripts of thedraft shows of this new Key Hole stage concept and turned it into the currentproduction. Possibly some of them will take the shows to the Nieuw Statendam. - Atthe Koningsdam the entire stage area is wireless connected: not only the largeled screen but also other lights, sounds, effects and there are camerasdirected on the stage or behind stage, so that the show is performed toperfection and nothing goes unnoticed (see photo) - Thetechnical crew kindly provided some insights by simply pushing buttons from onetablet, while he was sitting with us in the audience - Thereare 2 dressing rooms: one for the women, the other for men and both are verywell organized, there is also a schedule per show which costumes are worn (seephoto) Personally I can vow that a tremendous amount of energy, talent, money and time is spentto make our evenings more entertained. Therefore I cannot imagine that showsare being cut away by HAL. I agree that more HAL shows should be introduced duringone cruise and considering the costs of not only performers, but alsoproduction & royalties costs, is it up to HAL if they would like to invest?
  13. Hi Wishing a Star, We have sdeparted many times from Rome and soon we will do so again soon. Normal taxi's rate for airport transfers is over EUR 120 at least, if note more (metered). Pre-arranged transfers work with a pre-set rate, where if you select to share, it means that the company arranging the transfer, will select which time will work best for all travellers. For example, we arrive at 09.30 AM and were informed that our shared transfer departs at 12noon. Thsi is done normally on smaller passenger vans, so 4-6 persons will be sharing. This is for our taste too late, so we re-booked a private transfer with them. We rather wait near the ship, although Citivecchia does not have a real passenger terminal and ships are located over a larger port area and pavillions / tents are there to give some cover. HAL will also offer transfers via big busses and they also wait & collect .Most flights will arrive from North America very early so I imagine that they start leaving earlier than 12noon. There are plenty of companies out there and we prefer to spend EUR 120 on a private transfer. To return we take always the option for a shared ride, as than everyone will leave at the same time anyway and we never had to wait longer than 15 mts (to fill up the passenger van).
  14. Thank you for trying, it is much apprecaited, really!
  15. We did not select the cabin, we were offered but declined sorry But we are on the ship soon and will enjoy the cruise :cool::cool::D
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