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  1. Another update: Pacific Dawn, Ovation of the Seas, Noordam, and Nieuw Amsterdam are leaving for Singapore. Pacific Explorer is leaving for Hong Kong. Royal Princess and Diamond Princess are joining the ships mentioned yesterday leaving for Port Klang, Malaysia. Port Klang doesn't have that much space, so I guess they'll probably anchor off shore out there, and there's no hurry for ships to rush back towards their homeports, so...I guess we'll see.
  2. Manila Bay Cruise Ship Update - 5th July 2020. Sorry for the delay in posting the lasted update..., the tax man got in the way.... Manila Bay got some more new arrivals this week: Carnival Dream and Carnival Conquest. Viking Orion has now left Manila Bay is now in Hong Kong: Ships by Cruise Line at anchor in Manila Bay: Princess: Golden Princess. Crown Princess. Royal Princess. Sun Princess. Sea Princess. Majestic Princess. Sapphire Princess. Ruby Princess, Pacific Princess Island Princess P&O Australia: Pacific Dawn Pacific Aria Pacific Explorer Carnival: Carnival Spirit Carnival Panorama Costa: Costa Neoromantica. Costa Atlantica Costa Serena Costa Venezia Costa Mediterranea Holland America: Noordam. Volendam. Nieuw Amsterdam Rotterdam Zuiderdam Royal Caribbean International: Voyager of the Seas Ovation of the Seas Norwegian Cruises: Norwegian Joy Silversea Cruises: Silver Muse Other: Caledonian Sky The ship marked "Zudm 16" is the Zuiderdam and the ship marked "Ov Tend" is Ovation of the Seas.
  3. Just as long as it’s not Royal’s Diamond List New Amsterdam 😇
  4. Yes, in this case it has to be in July. We are meeting a group in Tuscany for a cooking school to celebrate a friend’s birthday that ends July 4 and then exploring the Dalmatian coast with the birthday girl and her family then going to the Balkans. Due to a family reunion we cannot go to Europe before the cooking school and avoid the heat. Yes, there are locations that would give us cooler weather, but we want to travel very lightly so no room for cooler weather clothes. We will be fine, we got around 3 weeks of 40C+ weather every August while living in TN and due to our humidity the heat index at our house in FL has been 40C+ several times this summer even though actual temperatures haven’t gotten above 33C. I don’t call that unbearable....I call it home...lol. That’s awful that your daughter had a heat stroke - no fun dealing with things like that on the road - hope it didn’t interfere with her travels too much. Thank goodness we’ve lived in the heat long enough to understand our limits because it can certainly be deadly. The Italian Lakes area is gorgeous and we plan to spend some time in that area before we fly back to the US. I think we typically plan similarly because if we could have taken the trip we wanted to this summer (which included the cooking school which was pushed to 2021) we would have taken more luggage and spent time in Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, the Baltic area, Poland and the Czech Republic to stay cooler. It is unusual for us to choose to have the same weather on a trip that we would have at home. Thanks for the reminder that I need to check prices on open jaw trips again closer to departure, last time I checked the cost was much higher than roundtrip. Last year, I found open jaw flights were similar to roundtrip.....apparently it varies! I’ve planned several loop trips over the years so that we don’t do any backtracking even when we arrive and depart in the same town. We were in Paris 3 times on one trip in 2015 (unavoidable due to meeting friends and taking various tours) and never saw or stayed in the same part of the city twice. We were supposed to be in Amsterdam 4 times this summer by cruise ship and once by land and weren’t going to repeat anything.
  5. We also cancelled our Norwegian Air flights (full fare Premium) to Amsterdam when NCL cancelled our June Baltics cruise, and received the full refund just over 2 weeks later. The difference between the Norwegian Air and NCL (and other cruise lines) is the volume and costs.
  6. I see elsewhere (not yet on the Saga website) that the revised Inaugural cruise is now for sale via third party, The one immediately after is "The Canary Islands" departing 22nd November, 14 nights, returning Southampton 6th December. The one for sale after that is again to the Canaries, departing 6th December, returning 20th December. If so, the Caribbean and the short break to Amsterdam (which are still shown on Saga's website) are not happening.
  7. today is International Kissing Day and National Fried Chicken Day "I'm not under the alkafluence of inkahol that some thinkle peep I am. It's just the drunker I sit here the longer I get." Meal suggestion for today - Minty roast veg & hummus salad Wine for today - Château Ducru-Beaucaillou St.-Julien vintage 2015 At Sea Indian Ocean Eurodam Eurodam is currently the happy wanderer. Both services show her as being at Singapore Anchorage, but the map from CM shows her off the coast of Viet Nam, heading North East. Maasdam destination Suez Canal eta 7/17 Veendam destination Suez Canal eta 7/17 At Sea Pacific Koningsdam destination Punta Arenas eta 7/5 Punta Arenas Oosterdam Manila Anchorage Nieuw Amsterdam Noordam Rotterdam Volendam Zuiderdam Singapore Anchorage Amsterdam Westerdam Scheveningen NL Anchorage Nieuw Statendam Zaandam Eurodam position according to Cruise Mapper
  8. S'il vous plait, no regrets required Mr. B! Out here, we are free to agree or disagree with each others writings without having to display feelings of sadness 😉 So two more centums from my side if you please: #1 You are correct as to Capt. Albert; his blog is part of the HAL blog - it is listed as a subsection there - and, fer sure dude, he does not write about his experiences as traveling fleet master until he is back onboard one of the dam ships. He does however, when he's at home not doing honey do's for she who must be obeyed, update the "captains from the past," "current captain schedules," and other items on his blog such as HAL's history #2 As far as Captain Mercer, his blog, which goes by the name of "Captain, who's driving," unlike Capt. Appie's, is not part of the HAL blog, nor the HAL website. It has never been and one can't find it under either those two entities unless, of course, I am abhorrently misguided; it is listed as a WordPress blog I happen to disagree that Capt. Mercer is in some way being prohibited and/or prevented by HAL from adding one or more final posts to his excellent online Blook, while in retirement. Amsterdam arrived in Fremantle in the land of Oz on 20 March, disembarked her 2020 GWV guests between 21 and 23 March, and then departed Freemantle with crew only, as well as lots of GWV luggage, for Durban, South Africa with a planned onward voyage to Ft. Lauderdale, according to the captain in his March 23rd. blog, a journey of 35 days. Lookie here please; If there were any concerns about disgruntled pax and potential civil actions by any of them via their legal eagle mouthpieces, the fair master could have easily terminated his blog at that time (23 March) since the 2020 GWV was now officially over and his guests were on their way home, peevish as some might have been. Yet the fine captain chose to keep writing to the delight of his many fans - HAL, btw, apparently did not prevent him in any way of doing this - incl. about HAL's subsequent decision to have him reverse course after calling at Durban, not to go onwards to FLL, pass Go and collect $200 smackers and instead, head back east young man, in order to start disembarking non-essential and ultimately very happy crew in Indonesia and the Philippines. Capt. "M" wrote a total of 7 posts in April and a total of 3 posts in May, his final one on 15 May, exactly eleven days before his relief captain arrived onboard to accept command, allowing Capt. M and his wife to finally go home. So now after arriving home rusticated, he's been "allegedly" placed on some sorta HAL gag order, the infamous "disclosure" in an expired contract, in order to stop him from writing additional posts on his blog? What else is there to say besides what he has written already incl. his posts leading up to Fremantle and the ones after that call? How his flight home went? Did they serve them chicken mcnuggets in-flight? How was the inflight entertainment? What's more uproarious: "Big Bang" or "Two and a half men?" OK, off the box with saponaceous again to stand by ............
  9. The Amsterdam and Rotterdam are OK shapes but we still really miss the Prinsendam. Bigger rooms, sea views in the Pinnacle Grill. My uncle who had given up on HAL came back for her final voyage. Won't see her like again.
  10. If you look at the Westerdam’s interactive map, they list going to Palmer Station, Dallman Strait and Paradise Harbor. Having compared my experience of cruising Antarctica in the Prinsendam to cruising on the Amsterdam. I would say that you will have a nice Antarctic experience unless the weather foul. The Westerdam definitely should be able to cruise Bismarck Strait to pick up Palmer Station staff. They definitely should be able to do Gerlache Strait. But if not they will cruise by Deception Island and King George Island, etc.using the Dallman Strait. Probably won’t go into Antarctic Sound as it is often clogged with ice. As for history, you will get plenty of nice lectures about the history of exploration of Antarctica which is definitely interesting. They won’t be able to sail through many of the small channels such Errera of Lemaire, but you will get some good photos of the Antarctic peninsula. I would go for it as it will be less expensive for a single than going on a small cruise line such as Azamara.
  11. HAL's pricing is FAR more stable and less "dynamic" than others ........ While we do see price updates from time to time, they are less frequent. Try booking a cruise with Royal Caribbean sometimes. Their yield management software makes the Airlines look like Kindergartners. Not only will the pricing fluctuate MULTIPLE times per DAY for the cruise fare, taxes constantly change based on computer modeled occupancy and there is no apparent rhyme or reason as to why a lower category will have a higher price than a higher one. Any "Cruise Planner" purchases you make also use dynamic pricing. Drink Packages can be $85/day on one ship/sailing if bought Tuesday morning, then $57 for same ship/date if bought Wednesday afternoon, and so on for the entire fleet. Same with Shore Excursions, specialty dining, spa treatments and the list goes on. The constantly fluctuating pricing not just for the cruise, but for the ancillary items is what has pushed me away from Royal, it's a huge turnoff to me as a consumer. Sadly Celebrity are going the same direction with dynamic pricing models and increasing fares to a level I just don't find good value anymore. So I guess HAL can thank the Royal Caribbean Corporation for turning me off as a consumer, as my 3 most recent bookings have all been HAL (Amsterdam 2019, Nieuw Statendam 2021 and Volendam 2022). Between the former Explore4 and now Have it All promos, HAL is providing me with amenities I value at a price I am willing to pay on itineraries I am looking for on comfortable, uncrowded ships - win, win, win!
  12. Barbados has served as a point for chartered flights for several cruise lines. Curacao is another location that some lines are using - especially for people who can easily repatriate from Amsterdam as it's easier to get flights there from Curacao. At least in the case of Disney, they had one ship, the Dream that was serving as a staging point - the Dream and another ship would dock and those on the other ship would transfer over to the Dream until the charter flight. I'd assume that other lines are using similar procedures.
  13. I may be biased because Hamish helped with our Vow Renewal last fall on the Nieuw Statendam, but we thought he was great. Just curious, what was it you didn't like about him?
  14. Our last cruise was on the Nieuw Statendam in cabin #6002. There was no partition to the wrap-around balcony, at least on that voyage. We were extremely happy with that cabin choice and enjoyed the extra balcony space. If we cruise again, we'll definitely be looking to book that cabin.
  15. today is Build A Scarecrow Day and National Apple Turnover Day A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me. I'm afraid of widths. -- Steve Wright Meal suggestion for today - Pan-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables Wine for today - Selbach-Oster Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken Mosel Zeltinger Himmelreich vintage 2015 At Sea Indian Ocean Amsterdam destination Singapore eta 7/5 Maasdam destination Suez Canal eta 7/17 Veendam destination Suez Canal eta 7/17 At Sea Pacific Koningsdam destination Punta Arenas eta 7/5 Punta Arenas Oosterdam Manila Anchorage Nieuw Amsterdam Noordam Rotterdam Volendam Zuiderdam Singapore Anchorage Amsterdam Eurodam Westerdam Scheveningen NL Anchorage Nieuw Statendam Zaandam
  16. Amsterdam is now at the achorage off Singapore. Will be interesting to see if our luggage gets offloaded here. I think it's all still a crapshoot as things keep changing. We can only hope! The arrow in the picture is pointing to the Amsterdam. The other blue dot next to her is the Westerdam.
  17. Dave, are the 2 Neptunes on the Sun Deck the only SCs on the Nieuw Statendam?
  18. There will be many world cruisers who will disagree with my post that follows, I suspect. During my Golden Anniversary World Cruise on the Amsterdam, I received enough pre-cruise and during the cruise gifts and kept them to fill two storage tubs full. I enjoyed getting them--at the time. But, what do I do with them? Some are absolutely lovely, useful--and have been used--some, one has to wonder why did we get that--with the most memorable in that category of a blank cruise journal which was the last gift we received! When I look at those two storage tubs, I wonder: how much of what I paid for my cruise was for "stuff" that now sits in storage tubs? I know I collected enough "stuff" during those 113 days that I had to buy a HAL bag from the ship's store to pack the stuff to get it home. (Maybe that's the idea? Increase shop sales?) I suspect that most of us who are able to take a world cruise or more have more than enough "stuff" already. Maybe when cruising--and specifically world cruising--begins again, someone in Seattle will take a look at this.
  19. First...I have cruised a lot...on 9 different cruise lines...and a lot in Europe...on four lines... ALL cruise lines do a lot alike--they take you to various ports, provide food in a dining room or specialty restaurants or in the buffet, have nightly shows and other entertainment and activities, provide various services, offer shore excursions, have spas, pools and casinos...and so on... The differences are often subtle...and tend to go unnoticed by many... That said, let me say I LOVE Celebrity...and prefer it to other lines for a variety of reasons (though I think Oceania is also a good choice, but it tends to be a bit pricier and it's small ships are quieter). The main thing I love about Celebrity--which some people may or may not notice...is that its ships are more spacious--better space-per-passenger ratios. The result is that many venues are more accessible--much easier to get a seat for the nightly shows, for example--with no need to show up way before showtime as on a lot of other lines...bars are also less crowded, same with the pool deck, etc. Service tends to be a bit better with a better crew-per-passenger ratio... As far as the differences between cruising Europe as opposed to the Caribbean or Mexico, the itineraries tend to be more important--most are cruising to tour and experience the history, art, architecture and culture rather than to just head to a beach and enjoy the sun as tends to be the case in the Caribbean...Likewise, the ship's amenities tend to play a secondary role...You will find yourself touring for long days in port...so, when you get back to the ship, you just want to have a leisurely dinner and to lounge in a relaxing bar...so, you don't need waterslides and zip lines and rock climbing walls, etc. On Celebrity, the balcony cabins are quite nice...ample space with a nice little sitting area (a sofa and coffee table or a loveseat and coffee table depending on the category). All of the balcony cabins are fairly similar--the main difference between the "standard" verandahs and the Concierge or Aqua class are in the amenities, not so much the room...Aqua eats in its own dining room, for example...Past that, the only real differences between different balcony cabins are 1) some are "obstructed view"--but don't worry much if you got a really good price--the obstructions are little more than a lifeboat or stanchion BELOW the level of your balcony railing--it's definitely live-able for most of us...or 2) Certain cabins--mostlyu the ones on the slant have BIGGER balconies...and some of those are even lowly standard obstructed view verandahs! Okay, I will assume that this...or something similar...is your itinerary: Day 1, Sat, Sep 18, 2021 SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND Departs: 4:00PM Day 2, Sun, Sep 19, 2021 AT SEA Day 3, Mon, Sep 20, 2021 OSLO, NORWAY 12:00PM Day 4, Tue, Sep 21, 2021 OSLO, NORWAY 4:00PM Day 5, Wed, Sep 22, 2021 COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 9:00AM to 7:00PM Day 6, Thu, Sep 23, 2021 AT SEA Day 7, Fri, Sep 24, 2021 AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS 9:00AM to 8:00PM Day 8, Sat, Sep 25, 2021 BRUGES,(ZEEBRUGGE),BELGIUM 9:30AM to 6:30PM Day 9, Sun, Sep 26, 2021 PARIS (LE HAVRE), France 8:00AM to 10:30PM Day 10, Mon, Sep 27, 2021 SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND Arrival: 6:00AM It is not my favorite itinerary...but, OTOH, for me ALL of the European itineraries are pretty nice...I'd take any of them... For this one, my first bit of advice is to fly into Heathrow EARLY...Spend at least a couple of nights in London so...1) You'll get a chance to see it and also to enjoy it...and 2) because, after flying all that distance and losing all those time zones, your mental clock will be off and you will need time to adjust, recuperate and rest. Then head down to Southampton the day prior to the cruise. It's a fairly long ride from London to Southampton and London traffic can be horrific. In Southampton, we've always stayed at the Holiday Inn on Herbert Walker--which is right next to the cruise terminal and also has a nice shopping mall across the highway... but there are other hotels in the area as well. I wish the ship spent two days in Copenhagen or Amsterdam instead of Oslo--because there is much more of interest in those cities...Oslo is a nice, pleasant town, but not really the highlight of the itinerary. Copenhagen is outstanding with a lot to see. Make sure you fit in a canal boat ride at some point, walk the Stroget, have a beer at picturesque Nyhavn. My wife loves the Glyptotek Museum (Art--lots of Rodin) and there are some nice palaces as well. Amsterdam has a lot as well--squeezing it all into one day is hard. I recommend getting a private tour or joining one on the Roll Call here on cruise critic--The Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum both often have long lines and require reservations...a good tour guide can arrange priority visits for you...and there is so much more...You'll really want to go back for an extended stay. Bruges is the most charming and picturesque little city in Europe. You will never forget it. They say Paris for LeHavre--but Paris is really a VERY long bus ride away. We actually took a tour into Paris last visit to LeHavre--mostly because we hadn't been in awhile and we've been to the area around LeHavre a lot...But there really wasn't much time to see much of Paris. Consider instead visiting Rouen and Giverny or a tour of the D-Day beaches and WWII sites or spending time in Le Havre and Honfleur... Enjoy the cruise...and then schedule your next European cruise!
  20. You're welcome, but I hope you do realize that's not a current pic of Amsterdam's Marshaling Area so there are no 22 Project Linus boxes. I worked the entire 2016 Grand World Voyage onboard her, as well as partial 2017 (where I met Sir PMP) and 2018 GWVs. I took this pic on the very last night of the 2016 GWV just prior to arriving back at Ft. Lauderdale/Port Everglades when, as ship security officer, it was my responsibility to pick up the PE pilot in the Marshaling Area and escort him up to the bridge to liaise with Captain Mercer
  21. We have considered HAL to be our favorite cruise line for many years. I have to tell everyone my patience with HAL is wearing thin. It may not be "All their fault," but I am still waiting for the refund of taxes, port fees, and return air from Amsterdam for our April 6 cruise that was canceled in Mid March. Mid March to July 4 is getting close to FOUR MONTHS. Received the FCC on May 7. We are booked on the Antarctica sailing over the coming holidays. We went with the "Non-refundable deposit (FCD)" as on our end this cruise was going to happen for us no matter what (Pre-Covid of course, and our insurance would cover a cancelation due to our own illness or covered reasons...). Final payment has been pushed back to October, but I REALLY STRONGLY do not want to send HAL another penny until there is some assurance that this cruise is really going to happen (and I don't think it will). I wish they would offer (like the RCCL companies) to let people move their bookings to a similar cruise the next year. Would take that offer in a heartbeat at this point. Sorry to be a downer...
  22. Actually we are planning both, Celebrity Reflection British Isles Cruise from Amsterdam, and then traveling to Southampton for the Queen Mary TA on Aug 15.
  23. Happy Independence Day (U.S) today is Alice in Wonderland Day and International Cherry Pit Spitting Day Anything free is worth what you pay for it. Meal suggestion for today - Hamburgers and Hot Dogs on the Grill Wine for today - Drouhin Oregon Roserock Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills vintage 2016 At Sea Indian Ocean Amsterdam destination Singapore eta 7/5 Eurodam destination Scheveningen eta 7/5 Maasdam destination Suez Canal eta 7/17 Veendam destination Suez Canal eta 7/17 At Sea Pacific Koningsdam destination Punta Arenas eta 7/5 Punta Arenas Oosterdam Manila Anchorage Nieuw Amsterdam Noordam Rotterdam Volendam Zuiderdam Singapore Anchorage Westerdam Scheveningen NL Anchorage Nieuw Statendam Zaandam
  24. We don't know what is going to happen to the Mediterranean cruise season in 2021 - just for the record. Based on how things were planned for this year, the Sep 13 cruise on the Getaway is one of the best options of the 2021 season overall. The itinerary is excellent for this area. I don't know your travel history, so let me assume you have not been to Florence. If so, I would leave the ship in Livorno (after exploring the area) and take a train to Florence (for two nights), then I would continue to Venice or Rome (or to France) - depending on travel plans. As to the ship, the Getaway had been #1 in NCL fleet before they expanded the Vibe ($$$ sun deck) closing off the loveliest free sun deck - a typical cruise lines' greediness you must be familiar with as you cruise on RCI and Celerity. So the ship's rating has suffered a small damage due to that loss. But it may not be a loss for you if you are willing to pay extra for a quiet sun deck experience (no pool). as of now, the Vibe passes are available on the ship only. Getting the Vibe pass is the first thing to do once on board. You must be in the first group to board. NCL experience is rather expensive. If you want to enjoy the ship you'll need to cruise "like Norwegian". That means enjoying the ship in its fullness. Spa on the Getaway is a mile above anything available on RCI, Celebrity or Princess. It's a must. Reference: Best Spa on Cruise Ships It's important to understand this cruise line specifics: unlike on many other cruise lines, specialty dining on NCL is a norm, while "included food" is an addition. So please make sure you have at least three extra charge restaurants reserved in advance (Moderno, Le Bistro, Cagney's). You won't be able to use the pool due to post pandemic limitations, but the water slides are superb and pretty safe post pandemic. Entertainment on the Getaway cannot be compared with the Oasis class ships, but it likely to be above anything on Princess or Celebrity. Back to your cabin. best balcony cabins on the ship: 9718-9732, 9118-9132 with extra large balconies. "Standard" balconies on this ship are rather small (think of Royal Princess). There is no "cruise line" to recommend as we cruise on the ships, not cruise lines. Cruise line is nothing, cruise ship is everything. As you can see, I take it seriously. Other options with similar itineraries: Nieuw Statendam - Sep 29 - Very good itinerary Different itineraries: Vision of the Seas - Sep 11 - Superb 12-day itinerary from Barcelona to Barcelona (touching Greek islands) NCL Spirit - Sep 24 - Beautiful 10-day itinerary from Barcelona to Venice Jewel of the Seas - Sep 23 - Barcelona to Barcelona - very good. Happy cruising!
  25. Two or three come to mind: Climbing up to the crows nest on the old HAL New Amsterdam (mid-1980's) to see Haley's comet; Lying down on the Helipad on Oasis of the Seas watching the total solar eclipse; and sailing around in circles off the coast of Cuba during hurricane Dorian watching the most spectacular sunset we've ever seen.
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