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Charlene1985's Achievements

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Cool Cruiser (2/15)

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  1. We are booked on a 15 day eastbound Panama Canal transit in January. Why would I book the same thing for next year?
  2. Currently on a 7 day NA Caribbean cruise. There are a fair amount of children but I’m finding the worst behavior coming from the adults who seem set on wearing their keycard on a lanyard. Most of them have zero stars and are probably first time cruises. I was literally shoved by a woman during boarding on Saturday. Just an hour ago, someone grabbed my app-ordered pizza as the clerk was handing it to me. I supposedly ruined someone’s family vacation as I didn’t want to move to the starboard side of the sea view pool so a family could sit together in a row of empty chairs. I hate smelling the cigarette smoke. They needed four chairs and three were empty and I was a solo sunbather. I am learning to avoid deck 9 at all costs. We have a signature suite this cruise and I have spent my days lounging on the balcony instead. Even the excursions are not enjoyable because the other passengers and rude. I sailed Carnival about 15 years ago after I graduated college. And that crowd has nothing on this crowd. Even my husband, who is far more tolerant to other people’s obnoxious behavior said we will never ever book a 7 day cruise again. Especially in March. The Dining Room has been fine for breakfast and the upper level at least during dinner has been fine. Ocean Bar and Pinnacle Bar are fine too. The ship and staff have been wonderful. My first time on NA and the decorations are very nice. Though there are still some plumbing issues, especially on the starboard side, lower decks. Half the public restrooms are out of service. The ones that are usable have very strong urine odors.
  3. I am boarding Nieuw Amsterdam this afternoon. I have a sympathy card for the Captain but would like to address it to him by name. Does anyone have that information? Thank you.
  4. I have a 2409HOB offer. Our last cruise onboard spending was $1284 over 10 nights. We also had HIA. The folio charges were crew appreciation, a few extra dollars for drinks that cost over the $11 amount, shore excursions, a massage for husband, and a few bags of laundry. I had a total of 7 offers in 2023 and 2 so far in 2024. One included an offer for the 12 day Rotterdam cruise on March 23rd I'm currently waitlisted for. <Insert petulant child face> Someone above said they logged in and could see the cost of upgrading on the website. How did you find that info?
  5. I think you probably expected a bit too much wining and dining. When one starts to complain about every single aspect of their cruise, I start to wonder who is in the wrong. Were the 100 or so nights you have spent on a Holland America ship over the past half century more recent in nature? Or did you sail heavily from 1976-1996? I wasn't alive in 1976. I was born almost a decade later and am also a 3 star. But I've never received poor service on Rotterdam or any other HAL cruise. But as someone who works in a customer facing industry, I see how staff goes out of their way to please their polite and pleasant customers and are more or less indifferent to the ones who are rude and dismissive or treat them as inferiors.
  6. We had Stryker as our piano player in 2018 on Veendam. He played and sang The Sound of Silence amazingly well.
  7. Good Morning, What are the chances a Vista Suite would open up 5 weeks before sailing on a Pinnacle Class ship? Are unsold rooms "blocked" in an attempt to upsell to already booked passengers? Is there a way to get wait-listed for a cruise in a specific category? We've never booked last minute like this so I'm not familiar with any process there may be. Thank you.
  8. My husband and I are loyal Holland America cruisers. We enjoy the smaller ships, the quiet, laid back onboard atmosphere, and the food. We both work full time so we can't take advantage of the longer itineraries just yet. But for our 15th anniversary, we would like to take Cunard on a Transatlantic crossing. Our price point would put us in a Princess Grill Suite, and that's similar to the Holland America accommodations we normally book (Vista or Signature Suites). We enjoy dressing up and wearing a suit and tie or tux for him, and long gowns for me will not be an issue. My question pertains to how many evenings of each attire should one bring for a 7 night cruise. We certainly don't want to wear the bare minimum. We are typically overdressed on HAL but we both wear ugly uniforms to work so dressing up is something we both look forward to. Do women wear long gowns every night? Or just on gala nights with cocktail dresses the other nights? What is the typical daytime attire for a North Atlantic crossing? For those of you who have sailed both HAL and Cunard before, can you tell me some of the similarities and differences? Thank you.
  9. I’d like a round trip cruise to Bermuda with a multi day stay. I don’t care which US city it departs from. An Azores cruise mentioned above would be phenomenal.
  10. Cruise Credits Update! We purchased the Vista Suite so we received the standard 10 cruise credits for the sailing, ten bonus credits for the suite, and because we also purchased HIA, we earned 10 spending credits as well. Our folio charges totaled $1280. So we earned “spending” credits by having HIA above and beyond what we actually spent onboard. I still am waiting on a refund for our cancelled Bonaire excursion booked via HAL prior to boarding. I have called and emailed without success. I will give them until the end of February then I will dispute the charge with my credit card company. The clean up at home continues from the tornado. I am still crying about losing some of my beloved trees.
  11. Not that I have seen honestly. Just some dancing type of movement during a few songs at The Rolling Stones Rock room.
  12. Couple of days worth of updates as I fly home. The day after Aruba was a sea day. We slept in a bit and went to the Grand Dutch Cafe for some fancy coffees. The coffees came with a ginger cookie but I liked the biscotti from the Crow’s Nest a bit more. We worked on the crossword puzzles and then grabbed lunch at the MDR. I had the spring rolls and something else but I can’t remember what it was. The spring rolls were good. Obviously my main course wasn’t memorable. Afterwards, I did my run on the running track. It was enjoyable because of the breeze and going in the afternoon was more enjoyable because it wasn’t crowded. My husband decided to donate some money to the casino. Enough to get an offer that night for a free cruise <insert eye roll>. When I finished my run, I found him and sat down to play for a bit myself. Super easy to take money off the room key and there is no service charge. This money does not count towards your onboard spending. We played blackjack and the first dealer was nice and slow. Started with $100 and when I got to $105, I cashed out and went back to my room. It was entirely too smokey. They made you take cash- I would have rather just paid my onboard spending down with my $5 of winnings. Shortly thereafter, the storm stuff at home began and that completely preoccupied our afternoon. Guest services was able to place two phone calls for me and so far I haven’t seen any charges for them. I don’t care if they charge me since it was an emergency. We knew we couldn’t get off at Half Moon Cay, so we did the best we could gathering information, some correct, some incorrect. That night was a gala night and thinking we lost our entire house earlier in the evening, we decided to skip dinner. Around 8pm, someone texted and gave us a glimmer of hope that the debris in the lake wasn’t our house so we quickly got ready since I bought a new dress for the occasion and my husband wanted to wear his suit. We made it to the MDR around 8:45 but our regular table was unavailable so we ate downstairs in open seating. The food was blah but I didn’t really want to eat anyway. The service was good, but rushed since it was so late. I felt bad we showed up late and that I didn’t think about telling the maitre D about our delay and to hold our table. Afterwards neither of us wanted to do anything so we just sat by the phone waiting for news. At 2am a whole bunch of photos came in and showed our house standing. With only a single shutter dangling. 100ft to the right and our trees are snapped like twigs and our dock is completely gone except for the pilings. 100ft to the left my garden lights remained upright and a glass turtle I have in a garden was unharmed. The time stamp showed 6:15 so one of my neighbors must have sent it earlier but with their service being down, it was all delayed. That would have been nice to see 8 hours earlier. Crazy how tornadoes can destroy one thing and leave something else in pristine condition. Thank goodness for insurance. The wifi all evening was good enough to audio FaceTime with my Mom. Which I was entirely grateful for. We did not purchase upgraded internet. The next day, we slept until 10 since we were just emotionally worn out. Went down to get a Tender Ticket for Half Moon Cay. Waited 45 minutes and got on one. It was raining so we went to the lunch pavilion and my husband ate. I still was too worked up to eat anything other than a piece of hot dog roll. My husband said the food was good. But it was crowded since everyone was under the pavilions. Nieuw Statendem was also in port. We returned to the ship around 1:30 and my husband was amazed to see we weren’t anchored. So he did some Googling and found that the ships keep their positions using GPS and thrusters nowadays and it is all automated. We packed up our bags that afternoon and took showers. We went to Ocean Bar to have a drink to celebrate the end of a fantastic cruise and our house’s fate. We went to dinner in the MDR and I had both the tuna poke and beef carpaccio. Both were good but there were onions on the poke. I hate onions. They’re worse than capers. Had sweet and sour shrimp and veggies for dinner and the pear strudel for dessert. The pear strudel was very good but a chainsaw would have been helpful to cut the puff pastry. After, we went to Billboard Onboard to listen to some music. My husband must have arranged for it, because they played The Sound of Silence which is my favorite song. They didn’t play it the other night since it wasn’t on the approved list, but I am only assuming he was able to finagle it for me somehow. It has become a tradition to have it played on all our cruises. It was their second to the last song so I got it by the skin of my teeth. A very kind gesture that made me so happy. After they finished, we chatted with one of the players for a bit. He was very happy with his job and how Holland America treats him. I hope that all their employees are as happy as he is. Came back to our room and enjoyed watching the rough seas. My husband is a boat enthusiast and was like a kid watching the wake we were throwing out. And so excited we were cruising at 21 knots. The rough water woke me up around 3am. And I watched the water again. Cruising to me isn’t about stuffing my face at the buffet or getting drunk. Or even about the ports. I like to reflect about how this is how most of our goods get to us. How this was the only method of travel until airplanes. I like how the Promenade Deck allow you to experience the water and the cruise for what it is: a ship in the middle of the water. Yes, it has great food, pretty flowers, piano players, etc. But more than any of that, I still love the nautical aspect the most. We woke up around 6 just as were were coming into port. We docked at pier 19 and the sheer tightness on getting docked with ships all around us was fascinating. We came in bow first and rotated 90 degrees to be starboard side to. The stern of the ship was astonishingly close to the bow of a city block sized RC ship. We showered and ate breakfast at 7:45. Finished at 8:45 and disembarked with our own luggage at 9am. In the Uber by 9:20 and at FLL at 9:40. Currently on a 10:45 flight back to ATL. Despite the news from home, which had absolutely nothing to do with HAL, this was by far the best cruising experience I’ve had. The food was not as good as expected or as good as previous HAL cruises but I never left a meal hungry. The ship is beautiful and the staff are hard working individuals who go out of their way to make our journeys memorable and enjoyable. I can’t help but believe there are staffing shortages in some venues. If there was anything I could change, this would be it: We would have posed more for the photographers. It was fun looking at our photos at the photo shop. We didn’t buy any but it was nice to look at them last night just the same. Just scan your room key and they pop up via face recognition. I also forgot my digital underwater camera battery charger. The flowers I had pre purchased and delivered to the room on the first day lasted until this morning. I tossed them because they were lilies (I have a cat) but they had life left in them. I brought the vase home since I assumed it was mine to keep. If not, I guess they’ll bill me. I hope they don’t ban me for theft. The vista suite was perfect. I wish all ships had that option. The size and storage was exceptional. Our location was quiet. And the decor was modern and elegant and nothing was mauve. Why do so many ships have mauve sofas? We are already thinking about what we want to do for our next cruise. There are two itineraries on Eurodam and two on Rotterdam that interest us for next Jan. Once I get settled, I’ll type up an entire review. I hope this thread gave you some ideas of what to expect on Rotterdam and from Holland America in 2023. Did I observe things I didn’t like? Yes. I saw a bartender make a new drink in a dirty glass (refill) stir it, and then use the same stirrer in someone else’s glass without washing it. I saw seats get wiped down with a cleaning rag and then the same rag used to wipe down tabletops. That is gross to me. Two of my beach towels were stained when I unrolled them. One was an old stain that looked like mustard. The other was fresh looking and still sticky when I accidentally touched it. The pool towels were quite stained up as well. Nothing that would warrant a complaint letter. Accidents and oversights happen. And I’m coming back from this cruise a bit more humbled than when I started.
  13. Quick update. We live very remote, like down a gravel road to a dirt road to a long driveway. Many trees down but someone was able to walk to our house. The house was spared. The debris and the intact roof that was found in the lake was from our dock. That is in a million pieces. We lost a big beautiful loblolly pine and most of our yard is a mess but spared. The power is off and my parents are heading there now to take a closer look. We have very old trees that are gorgeous and thankfully most of them survived. For both the sake of our house below them and for their beauty. We are fortunate. Our neighbors are too. One eyewitness across our lake says a small tornado came between my house and another house and that’s the line of trees down. Thank you for the well wishes.
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