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Charlene1985

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Posts posted by Charlene1985

  1. 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. 

     


     

     

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  2. 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?

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  3. 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.  

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  4. 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.

  5. 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. 

    • Like 2
  6. 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.  

  7. 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.  

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  8. 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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  9. Received some tragic news from home.  As some of you are probably aware, the Atlanta area suffered major storms and tornadoes this afternoon.  Our lake house was destroyed at 5:30pm about one hour SE of Atlanta.  Our neighbors are accounted for however there is massive damage, no power, and no cell service.  We are disembarking on Saturday and flying home.  Luckily this is our second home so we still have a place to live and clothes, but we are devastated.  Especially being stuck on this ship for another 30 hours.  Therefore I will not be updating this thread as we start figuring out our mess at home when we have more info after daybreak.  
     

    I have appreciated the feedback on this thread. And have enjoyed giving you all some information.   I am so thankful my pet is safe at our other home.  I don’t know what I would do if I also lost her.  
     

    Thank you for being a lovely audience.  

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  10. Again, I’m late.  We are at sea today but this post will be for our day yesterday, in Aruba. 
     

    We woke up and had breakfast in the MDR.  Disappointed to find “powdered” eggs as my scrambled eggs today.  Now in the future I’ll know to order an omelet to get real eggs.  I don’t mind powdered eggs honestly but I don’t expect them in the MDR.  Oh well. Lesson learned.  I’m certainly not starving. 
     

    We did a tour of the island with a beach break.  Husband has been to Aruba before but I have not.  We saw a small church and the lighthouse.  The cacti on the island are beautiful and I keep wanting to touch them.  I have yucca at home and those things are just as violent so I refrained.  We paid the $5 each to climb to the top of the lighthouse.  It was 127 steps and after my husband’s huffing and puffing about not wanting to climb, he built his bridge, got over it, and we climbed.  It took 4 seconds but it was quite narrow.  I sort of have a fetish with tall buildings and towers so if there are stairs, I’ll climb the structure. The view was beautiful from the top but of course it was caged in so pictures were nearly impossible.  After those two stops, we made our way to Eagle Beach for 2 hours.  The beach was beautiful but it was sandy so no fish and poor visibility.  We didn’t buy any sodas or snacks but there was a “food truck” there.  I have no idea what they offered.  We spent the time at the beach chatting with another couple. 
     

    Now let me say this.  I’m not good with strong smells, loud noise, etc.  So this tour was on an open air school bus with loud music, a funny sounding horn, a driver who sang, and it was painted a variety of colors, most of which I have never seen before.  This was not the tour for me.  People stared at us and I felt like the typical American tourist.  I enjoyed the day, but in some ways the embarrassment and high energy made me not enjoy it. The driver was 20 minutes late picking us up (1:05 vs the 12:45 he told us all to meet- and yes, this was a HAL tour). 
     

    We were docked in front of two Royal ships.  Majesty OTS and Harmony OTS.  Harmony is 227,000 gross tons.  She is almost 2.5X the size of Rotterdam.  I don’t like sharing a cabin with my husband half the time.  I couldn’t share a ship with 5,000 other people.  Too much. Too big. But I have a friend that loves them. To each their own.  
     

    We were missing a passenger and we left about 10 minutes late.  Harbor pilot saw us out and we were under way.  My husband says they make an easy $300K a year, at least in the US.  So I figured next life, that’s what I’ll do for a living.  Good money and a horn blast of gratitude from the ship when the job is complete.  Can’t ask for more than that. 

     

     We were slightly hungry so we split a meatball hero (sub/hoagie/sandwich or whatever you want to call them). Since the sign says “sub” I know the NY Pizza name isn’t authentic.  Ha!!  Anyway, it was good and took about 10 minutes to make.  I ordered on the app.  Afterwards, I tried a virgin pina colada which may have been the first time I ever had one.  I’ve had pinna coloda flavored things like ice cream, but I’m not going to lie.  It was really really really good.  Without the rum at least.  I don’t like rum.  Maybe that would ruin it. Or maybe it would make it better?  And as we made our way back to the room to work on our crosswords, we passed a batch of cookies in the Lido.  We each grabbed a Macadamia nut cookie and I asked if I could try a chocolate chip cookie and the lady gladly gave us 2 each.  They were really good too but I was partial to the macadamia one. 
     

    Did the crossword and showered for dinner.  We ate in the MDR and I had the farro salad which was out of this world good and he had the carrot soup.  His was OK but it wasn’t all that warm.  I had baby back ribs for dinner and a glass of the Pinot Noir.  I’m not a red wine drinker and after half a glass, I remembered why.  It makes me feel awful.  But the main course was great.  It came with spinach, what I can only assume was a spaghetti squash cake and half an ear of corn.  The corn was roasted with something sweet and it was a fantastic meal.  I had the hot fudge sundae for dessert and it came with pistachios.  That was also really good. 
     

    After dinner, we made our way down to The Rolling Stones Rock Room to listen to a 45 minute set.  I think this band is fantastic.  I don’t recognize all the songs but I would hire them to play at an event. After their set, I asked if I could take a picture with them and they happily obliged.  I really like that they are 30 years younger than the songs they are playing.  I wonder how long their contract is and if they will stay on Rotterdam or move to different ships from time to time. 
     

    After their set finished at 10:15, we came upstairs to our room.  I had some work stuff to take care of and we got watching an old movie on the TV that became more addicting than it should have.  
     

    I really liked Aruba.  The view leaving port was absolutely stunning.  I’ve tried uploading a few photos along the way but the cropping mechanism on this website distorts them, so I’ll try again when I get home and have my computer. 
     

    I’ll post about today later or tomorrow.  
     

    But for those of you who like these items, you’ll be pleased to hear we received two tiles this morning as well as our next level mariner pins since we crossed a level during this sailing. 

    • Like 5
  11. Sorry I’m a bit late.  Today’s post will be for yesterday, our Curaçao stop.  
     

    We visited Curaçao in 2015 so we had an idea of what to expect from the island.  Husband wasn’t hungry when we woke up so I went to the MDR by myself.  I had pancakes and the fruit and cottage cheese.  Pancakes were good but nothing spectacular.  I’ve had much worse and I’ve had better.  Our excursion met around 11:30 and before we left, husband grabbed a breakfast sandwich from NY Pizza.  Typical ham, egg, cheese on a bagel.  He liked it, as a NYer myself, it was not your typical “BEC”. 
     

    Anyway, we signed up for the caves and city tour.  Caves were neat- not overly exciting, but their anomaly is that they are above ground.  Learned a bit on how they are formed. No pictures allowed and a few people complained about climbing the 50 steps (which was clearly notated in the tour description).  Took about 40 minutes.  There is an outdoor enclosure with some tortoises and they were more interesting to see than the caves to me.  Rode back to the city and did a walking tour.  Husband is more into history, I’m more into architecture and landscaping so he enjoyed the tour.  I didn’t pay attention and instead looked at the pretty buildings and flowers.  We finished the tour by walking across the floating bridge.  Walking part took 45 minutes.  The best way I can describe Willemstad is “Amsterdam at the beach”.  You’ll see the architectural similarities, and because I didn’t pay attention, I can’t tell you the years it was under Dutch control and briefly, British control, before returning to Dutch control.  But it is very Dutch. 
     

    I know there is great snorkeling just east of the city so we took a cab to Mambo beach.  The hotel I stayed at previously didn’t sell is a day pass but I heard the Marriott will.  There is a man-made breakwater about 200ft off Mambo Beach and there are many tropical fish- sergeant major, blue tang, Angel fish, stopflight parrotfish, rainbow parrotfish, etc.  Lots of sponges on the rocks and my husband said he saw some crabs scampering around.  If you have a banana, you’ll be popular with the sergeant majors.   Admission to the beach was $3.50 each and chairs were $9 each.  It was crowded and dirty.  Not the best beach, but definitely worth it if you like to snorkel.  Go elsewhere if you just want to lay in the sun.  There was a bar. Husband was happy to find some beer only available on the ABCs.  I had a soda. We didn’t order food but there were a few restaurants around.  
     

    We left around 4:30 and a 15 minute cab ride later, we were back at the ship.  I downloaded my underwater camera pics to my phone and then went to the jogging track for my run.  Because the cool people were still off ship, the early birds were eating, the track was nearly deserted.  I ran and one lady walked so it was more enjoyable than it had been on previous days.  And the view of the sunset and Curaçao was phenomenal. 
     

    We ate at Tamarind as part of our HIA package.  I am an Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food junkie.  I love it all.  It was some of the best red curry chicken I have had.  I also had the lobster potstickers and husband had baby back ribs.  We split our appetizers.  Other people ordered two apps around us, but I feel funny doing that, so we just split the two between us.  I had the crab fried rice as my side which was great.  I had mango sorbet for dessert and it was a little tart for my liking.  I think the only disappointment was not having a plum wine available.  But the decor is beautiful and the venue overlooks the Sea View pool.  Service was great too.  Tables were set up outside but we opted for indoor seating.  I believe the cruise director ate a few tables down from us. 
     

    At 10:15 we made our way to deck 11 to watch the sailaway.  No harbor pilot needed and we used thrusters to rotate 270 degrees which was quite impressive.     The water was beautiful and you could see the pilings under the pier.  The spotlights turned the water a most amazing shade of aqua.  It was such a beautiful color it didn’t even seem real. I was pleased to see many of the off duty workers using the running track, basketball court, and outdoor exercise machines.  We didn’t want to intrude on their free time so we left a few minutes after sailaway.  I’m glad they are able to use those areas at night instead of being confined to crew areas inside. 
     

    We called it a night around 11pm. 
     

    As you can see from this thread, we are sort of boring people when it comes to entertainment.  We are quite active during the day so the few activities that are offered at night aren’t really interesting to us.  But that is NOT disappointing to us either. But if nightlife is important to you, I can see where one could be a bit bored. 
     

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  12. On 1/9/2023 at 10:33 AM, hmorrow said:

    We board on the 8th of March.  Love crab cakes- sorry to hear they were bad, as well as some of the service in the dining room, and the moldy grout on a 14 month old ship.

    All suprising. We're on deck 6, aft cabin. Do you think we'll hear the music from the music walk?

    Still looking forward to our trip!

    You won’t hear the band in the aft. We are deck 6, in the middle of the vista suites and I haven’t heard a single thing from above, below, side to side, or the hallway.  We hear a few people on their balconies but nothing terrible.  We do not have a connecting room.  We met the couple of one side of us- they are on for 21.  I am 95% certain the room forward of us is empty.  No signs on the door, the room has never been cleaned as we walk by, and we’ve never seen anyone at the railing. 

    • Like 2
  13. Today marked the halfway point of our voyage. 5 nights down, 5 nights to go.  It was a sea day.  
     

    We were planning on going to breakfast in the MDR but husband didn’t sleep well so when the alarm went off at 8, he decided that he needed some more sleep.  So instead, I got up and did my run on the jogging track.  When I finished, a man who was sitting on a nearby bench asked how many times.  I said 72, I think. May have been 71 or 73.  He said he counted 69.  I wish I knew he was counting so I didn’t have to do it myself. Ha!! 
     

    Husband met me at the Explorations Cafe in the Crow’s Nest for a cappuccino and biscotti.  Grabbed the crosswords and enjoyed all of the above on our balcony for a bit.  Took a quick shower and went to the MDR for lunch. Since I was planning on having pancakes for breakfast, I decided on the chicken and waffles.  Waffle was great. Chicken was greasy but had a great flavor.  Service was excellent.  Afterwards we made our way to the sea view pool. It was crowded but we found two loungers next to each other without having to wait.  The music was the perfect level for me- which was audible but not loud enough to make conversing hard.  We stayed for about 3 hours then made our way back to our room.  
     

    Before dinner last night, we sent out two bags of laundry.  Nothing fancy, just swim cover-ups, workout clothes, socks, etc.  Everything came back beautifully washed.  No missing items. My husband now expects me to do our laundry with such care.  I asked if he was going to hire a chef to make us the qualify of meals we’ve been receiving onboard and he changed his tune quickly. 
     

    We did some “research” on the available itineraries next Jan-March. Noticed Rotterdam doesn’t sail for about 6 weeks from mid Feb to late March.  I’m assuming that is some scheduled maintenance.  But disappointed to see only a few possibilities to sail her again that would work with our schedule. 
     

    Showered and went to dinner.  First we stopped at Ocean Bar and had a drink. I’m not a big drinker but decided on one of their speciality cocktails and it was pink and very pretty but I can’t remember the name of it to save my life.  We both had the sushi trio which was just as good as the sushi we get in the sushi restaurant we go to at home.  I had halibut which was very dry and he had chicken with gnocchi which he said was the best meal yet on the cruise.  We split a hazelnut cake and I thought it was wonderful. He didn’t like it.  
     

    I wanted to walk around the ship a bit and take photos of the art and such but decided to save that for another day.  A lot of people at the orange party on deck 2.  Orange is my least favorite color, so I tried my best with a pink and gold dress which was the closest thing I brought to orange.  I had no idea an orange party was a thing so I wish that was communicated a bit more clearly from HAL.  I still wouldn’t have brought anything orange but I would have appreciated knowing about it. 
     

    We listened to a few songs on the Rolling Rock room.  The band was great but we called it a night when they took their 10:15 break.  
     

    Would it be appropriate to have my picture taken with them one night (obviously not when they are playing) but when they take their breaks?  I feel awkward asking and don’t want to be a pest. 
     

    Came back to find two towel animals.  
     

    All the workers on this ship work so hard to make sure we have an enjoyable experience.  It also makes me feel embarrassed because I know they work 8X harder than I do at my job and they do it with smiles for 8 months straight.  I am grouchy after an 8 hour shift.  I’m sure it happens, and I haven’t seen it, but I don’t think I would ever be able to watch a passenger berate any of these workers.  They do an amazing job. 
     

    Tomorrow is Curaçao. We spent a week in Curaçao about 8 years ago and I’m hoping we can snorkel at the resort we stayed at.  There is a public beach nearby but I don’t know if we’re allowed to be in the water in front of the hotel.  The fish there were amazing because they would feed them bananas and the fish were so plentiful.  Especially if you happened to steal bananas from the breakfast buffet.  

    • Like 5
  14. Day 4 complete.  Today was San Juan instead of the scheduled sea day.  
     

    Made it to MDR for breakfast around 9:00. We were seated in the same section as our first morning and the service was lacking.  Received water when seated and asked for coffee.  Waiter came for order and we asked for coffee again.  My fruit and cottage cheese “appetizer” came and asked for coffee again.  Finally someone came with it.  I asked for sweetener each time we asked for coffee. Breakfast came.  Asked for sweetener again. None came.  So now I will bring my own that I grabbed from my dessert coffee this evening.  The two seem very disorganized and I noticed a few incorrect orders being delivered and sent back at the tables around us.  I am assuming they are new which is understandable and my “complaint” won’t make it to anyone other than this forum.  I was new at my job once too. 
     

    Ran on the running track today.  It was hot but the breeze helped.  There were a few other people on the track but thankfully we all moved in the same direction and passing was easy.  But 72 times around was boring.  Almost as boring as a treadmill. 
     

    Got off the ship for a few hours.  Didn’t do much of anything and we were back onboard around 3 or 4.  We normally don’t eat lunch but we were both hungry when we got back and decided to split a margarita pizza. I liked it. Certainly not my beloved NY pizzeria pizza but good. It only took about 10 minutes. We ate on the balcony and worked on our crosswords.  My husband was excited to listen to Regal Princess’ The Love Boat toots at her departure.  
     

    He watched a football game and to avoid listening to him yell at the TV, I sat on the balcony for a bit. We showered and made our way to the MDR for our fixed late seating. I had the eggplant hummus which was mediocre and the spaghetti and oil with shrimp which was fantastic.  He had a Caesar salad and the steak and fries.  He said his was just OK.  Our waiter is wonderful.  He’s attentive and the service is efficient without being rushed.  
     

    We came back to the room after dinner to do some work stuff we should have done today with better cell service.  But the WiFi was good enough to get it done. And still was good enough to “call” my cat on the pet camera. 

     

    Tomorrow is a sea day as we make our way towards Curaçao.  And tomorrow I am determined to try the pancakes for breakfast.  

    • Like 3
  15. 1 hour ago, REOVA said:

    You are the market HAL is marketing to with Pinnacle class ships and the direction they wanted to go a decade ago. And its what's ruining HAL (KIDDING 😁)

     

    We've sailed many lines (mostly HAL) and nothing ruins a conversation than hearing people complain about "what used to be".  (It's just below discussions of what ailment we now have 🤪).  But it's human nature, when having experiences, to compare one day or time to another. (My DW wishes to be back 40 years ago). Sometimes we forget that the opportunities that give us experience is more important than minor difference we may have each time. We won't control a company, but we can control how we react and handle an experience. With cruises there will be differences in ships, crew, procedure, experience, just within HAL or between passengers on the same ship. 

     

    We've watched people complain about music at the pool (too much noise) and others complain about pool being too quiet with no music. We've seen guests berate crew for not doing things the way it was done before, and guests provide friendly tips and reminders about how they would like things done. We have friends that left HAL for greener pastures, some came back, some didnt. Our first World Cruise we heard lots of complaints. Our second, we noticed differences....but we were able to have another experience that so many can't (or won't). 

     

    I do hope you continue to enjoy cruising with HAL and they evolve to give everyone the experiences HAL has provided for years. We continue to look forward to its evolution and returning to longer itineraries (for those of us that want that) and hope the service and food dips recover from the problems every cruise line is having currently. 

     

    But we cruise with open eyes and try to act like it's our first time (which is never easy to accomplish). 

     

     

    At least we still dress up for dinner.  Dress and heels for me, pants and button down collared shirt for him. Suit and tie for gala night and long gown for me.  
     

    I try to make up for my disgusting sweat drenched appearance after using the gym everyday.  😂 

     

    In all seriousness, I know everyone has different priorities.  But right now, I think HAL is perfect.  We sailed Veendam and I loved her (except the shower curtain and tub combo). But we just said tonight at dinner that next January we will probably try out the Sea of Cortez sailing on K-Dam.  I showed my husband a Eurodam sailing, and he said “But it’s not a Pinnacle class ship”.  
     

    Other than the smoking allowed in the casino on Rotterdam, this is by far the best ship I have ever been on for what I like to do and have going on around me.  I love the decor, the areas, our cabin, the dining room, the running track, etc. 

     

    HAL knocked it out of the park for us.  

    • Like 8
    • Thanks 1
  16. My husband and I are below the target age for HAL but we will probably never sail another cruise line (we have been on AMA for river cruises in Europe). I am 37, he’s 51.  
     

    Currently on Rotterdam and we both said last night how we will be hard pressed to find a more beautiful ship. We like the traditional feel of HAL, we like the more mature demographic, and we like walking the Promenade deck.  We are still vacationers because we work.  We both travel for work and sometimes in the same month I can find myself in Europe, South America, and Asia.  Other than Australia and the South Pacific, there aren’t many places I haven’t been to.  Because of my job. But because I travel so much for work and am on the go 15-18 days a month, I find myself wanting a more relaxing experience I couldn’t get on Royal or (gasp) Carnival.  
     

    We like the music walk and band on Rotterdam (this is our first cruise post COVID and our first time on a Pinnacle class ship).  Personally, if I never see live theater again, I could not care less.  I want good food, a nice gym (love the jogging track on Rotterdam), and a clean cabin and ship.  So far, we have had nightly turn down service, which we asked for.  I want a pool that isn’t playing loud music or filled with people having chicken fights. I love the Crow’s Nest, and I love eating in the MDR.  
     

    We are fortunate that price increases can be tolerated to keep service the same as other expenses rise for the cruise lines. I’m not at the stage in my life where I can cruise for more than 14 days at a time (10-11 is ideal once you consider a day to leave and a day to relax getting home).  We get 35 days of vacation annually.  I don’t want to spend 30 of them on a cruise ship as we also ski and sometimes just have a week or two at home and not travel anywhere. So for now, we’ll be annual cruisers avoiding school holidays.  If HAL can keep offering a relaxing (for me that equates to quiet) ship, with 10-11 nights of sailing, a good crew, above average food, and crossword puzzles, I will gladly give them some of my hard earned money each year. 
     

     

    • Like 18
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