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  1. We previously sailed on the Amsterdam and spent many evenings in the Crow's Nest Bar. We booked on the Nieuw Amsterdam for Thanksgiving, so I was browsing photos of the ship. Did they turn the Crow's Nest into the Explorations Cafe? Is there no longer a bar up there???
  2. I understand that this is a "pop up" experience. But, where does it pop up? For those who have done this (and I know this is very subjective), is it work the $49 charge?
  3. We boarded Teeming's Royal Emerald this afternoon for a 9-night cruise through the Netherlands and Belgium. I'll try to post regularly as we sail and do a review when we return. Meanwhile, I'll go ahead and post a description of our pre-cruise planning and Amsterdam visit. Planning and Reservations: In the September of 2018 we started thinking about a river cruise for 2019. After seeing posts about the Neckar from notamermaid on cruisecritic.com, we began to seriously think about cruising from Saarbrücken to Stuttgart with the German line Nicko. One of their ships, the MS Casanova, is only 103 meters long compared to the larger 110-meter ships and the new 130 meter ships that most lines are moving to. The Casanova is one of the few ships that can navigate through the shorter locks on the Neckar River, so Nicko is somewhat unique. Nicko also offers select cruises where they guarantee that English speakers will be catered to on tours and shipboard. The deciding factor for the cruise came when we saw that river cruise newcomer Teeming River Cruises was offering a 9-night Netherlands cruise that ended on the day the Nicko cruise began. A quick check showed that we could board a train in Amsterdam around 8:00 a.m. and arrive in Saarbrücken in plenty of time for the Casanova’s 4:45 p.m. departure. Teeming is something of a wild card, but their prices are very reasonable. Cabins for their 9-night cruise started at around $1,300 per person with the top cabins going for $2,699. Teeming rents ships from Neerlandic for their cruises, and this cruise uses the Royal Emerald, formerly the Scenic Emerald. Given the prices, we decided to splurge for once. We wanted to celebrate the fact that I’m now cancer-free after interrupting last spring’s Douro cruise to come home and have a kidney removed. So we reserved one of the two Panorama Suites on the rear of the ship in mid-October. The suites are 325 sq. ft. (~30 m2) with floor-to-ceiling windows facing aft, and a balcony to the side. At $300 per night, this seemed like a great deal. Teeming has low prices because they don’t offer some of the free amenities that other lines offer. For example, no tours are included. Teeming offers a smartphone app for use that allows users to find their way around the ports and describes points of interest in the towns (without needing internet access). They also offer tours through Viator. In addition, one has to pay for wine, beer, or soda at lunch and dinner. We chose the $129/person drink package (drinks at meals only). Being the nerd that I am I worked this out at $7.59 per meal. With soft drinks at about $4.40 per glass and wine at $5.00, this seems like a good deal. Shortly after we reserved, I happened to notice that the two Panorama Suites didn’t show up on the deck plans on Teeming’s web site. I called the line and was told that they would be in touch. In an hour or so I got a call from Jeff Paglialonga, Teeming’s owner. He explained that the suites had suffered from a significant vibration problem and were not currently usable. He added that while in dock during the winter, the suites would be revamped to solve the vibration issues. He also offered to reserve one of the Royal Balcony Suites so that if we felt that the vibration was still an issue, we could move to the other suite located amidships. In late January we were told that the suites had been successfully refurbished, and Teeming released our hold on the Royal Balcony Suite so that someone else could reserve the cabin. The entire ship was almost sold out in mid-February. There were a couple of changes in the itinerary about 3 weeks before embarkation. The day in Haarlem became a day in Enkhuizen, and the day in Middleburg, Netherlands became a day in Antwerp, Belgium. It's nice that both Teeming and Nicko list arrival and departure times for all the ports they visit. Although we know that they can change, it certainly helps planning—especially with Teeming where tours aren’t included. Air & Train: We made our own air arrangements, flying from Nashville to Amsterdam and returning from Frankfurt with American Airlines where I have miles and gold status. We requested upgrades to business class, and in late January we were upgraded on the Philadelphia to Amsterdam leg of our trip ($350 + 25,000 miles each). We also pre-purchased our train tickets on the bahn.com website. We found an ICE train from Amsterdam to Mannheim leaving at 8:08 and arriving at 12:23 and a regional train leaving Mannheim at 12:39 and arriving in Saarbrücken at 14:14, 2½ hours before the MS Casanova sailed. Amsterdam Precruise: We arrived in Amsterdam late morning on Tuesday morning so that we had a couple of days to enjoy the city before boarding the Royal Emerald on Thursday afternoon. We stayed at a wonderful little hotel we’ve used before, misc eatdrinksleep, just off of Nieuwmarkt Square and a 10-minute walk from Centraal Station. The hotel is an old canal house with six rooms, three facing the canal and three facing the garden. The hotel also has a small bar, the Rosalina that’s open in the evenings. The owners, Rachel and Pepijn are very gracious hosts and they made our stay great. Breakfast is included with bread, cheeses, cereals, eggs cooked to order, and delicious croissants. We’ve done Amsterdam before, so we took it easy and enjoyed waking the city, visiting the Amsterdam Museum, the Maritime Museum, and doing a red light district walk using Rick Steve’s Audio Europe app. We also enjoyed having a coffee at the café at the top of the library with a great view of the old city. It’s probably worth mentioning that there’s a grocery store (Albert Heijn) very close to the riverboat docks. Just past the Doubletree. More later...
  4. ms Amsterdam Hubbard Glacier Alaska 12:30 - 18:00 ms Eurodam Ketchikan Revillagigedo Islan 07:00 - 13:00 Web Cam https://webcamketchikan.com/mega-view/ Web Cam https://webcamketchikan.com/mega-view-cam-7/ ms Koningsdam Kusadasi Ephesus 07:00 - 18:00 ms Maasdam Honiara Guadalcanal 08:00 - 17:00 ms Nieuw Amsterdam Ketchikan Revillagigedo Islan 10:00 - 18:00 Web Cam https://webcamketchikan.com/mega-view/ Web Cam https://webcamketchikan.com/mega-view-cam-7/ ms Nieuw Statendam Vigo Spain 08:00 - 17:00 ms Noordam Glacier Bay Alaska 07:00 - 16:00 ms Oosterdam Sitka Baranof Island 08:00 - 16:00 ms Rotterdam Oslo Norway 10:00 - 18:00 ms Veendam Halifax Nova Scotia 08:00 - 16:00 ms Volendam Cruising 00:00 - 24:00 ms Westerdam Juneau Alaska 08:00 - 18:00 Web Cam https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/ Web Cam http://webcams.thesnowcloud.com/ ms Zaandam Cruising 00:00 - 24:00 ms Zuiderdam Charlottetown 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  5. We will be arriving in Amsterdam at 10:00 on a Saturday and taking the Train directly to the Port to board HAL Rotterdam. Is there any where around the Port/Train station where we can purchase wine to Carry Aboard? Even at the Airport possibly? We will try to buy some at Duty Free - but just in case, wondered if there might be an easy to access location. TIA LeslieW
  6. August 14 to Sept 3, 2019 It was a great trip, hope I have done it justice here. August 13. Our flight from DFW to Amsterdam was uneventful, which we like. We got through the airport and out to a taxi stand. We took the next taxi and what do you know it was a Tesla! Neat. We had a nice ride to out hotel. We like to stay at Motel One in Europe. Not elegant or spacious, we are there for just around 24 hours, but they usually have nice convenient locations, which this one did. We have visited Amsterdam several times in the past but there are still things for us to see. This time we did not want to rush or be on a schedule so we just walked around the district we were in, found a nice place for an early dinner/late lunch. We sat at the window and watched the bikes go by. We were across the street from the Rembrant House Museum. We did more walking and shopping, had a couple drinks in our hotel's bar and called it a night. August 14.After a nice nights sleep, we were refreshed and ready to go. Our hotel had a very nice breakfast which we took advantage of. After a relaxing morning in the neighborhood we asked the hotel for a taxi for us. This one was not a Tesla, and the driver had to call someone to get directions for our boat. He handed me his phone. I was asked if I was sure we were going on the River Boat Navigator and I had to explain we were on an ocean cruise ship. We got to the correct dock and dropped our luggage and went to the waiting area to be checked in about 11:30.. Checkin was very quick and we were told our cabin was ready, nice surprise. Embarkation was suddenly done. We ran into a couple we had cruised with twice before and set up our Trivia team. We had last been on the Navigator last year after a dry dock and it had just recently had a dry dock Some things that I have noticed since the most recent dry dock: Some of the woodwork in our cabin had been painted, the shallow shelves near the door to the cabin between the bathroom and the closet were gone. After the dry dock last year an addition small set of drawers had been added in the closet, this most recent dry dock changed the original set of drawers and the recently added set of drawers into one set of drawers, basically the same drawer space, but the bottom three drawers each are as wide as the two sets of drawers had been. I missed the shallow shelves outside the closet. I had used this for our privacy/make up room door hangers and the breakfast order door hangers, a place to put room keys. The furniture in Prime 7 and LaVeranda has been changed. The window covering in Prime 7 have also been changed. . The Chihuly glass pieces that had been on the walls at the entrance to Prime 7. were gone, but could not find anyone who knew where they went. If I am remembering correctly, our cabin door did not have the heavy closer that it use to have. When room service came in the morning it was much easier for me to open the door and there was no struggle for the staff member to get hold of the door to walk through than I seem to remember. There is new carpeting through out. And I must admit that the first day as I was walking down the hallway, I thought oh no someone has gotten sick and I stepped over the “mess” only to realize it was part of the carpet design. Odessa, our cabin steward came to meet us and asked it we needed anything. I had called Regents guest services a couple months prior and what I had asked for was waiting for us, with the liquor being delivered that evening.
  7. When I go on the Roll Call for Holland America's Nieuw Statendam on February 16, 2020 it indicates there are 0 people yet when I enter the roll call a number of people's comments show up. Shouldn't the number of people already on the roll call be indicated instead of a "0"?
  8. According to a ships-in-port site I just found, an MSC ship will be arriving in Geiranger 2 hours after the Nieuw Statendam. I'm also finding reference that HAL doesn't get to use the Seawalk so I guess we'll be tendering. So, circling back to the original question, if we anchor at 7am and have to tender, do you think we will we be off the ship in time for a 9am independent excursion?
  9. It's been quite a few years since my last cruise, and this will be my first on Holland America, on the Nieuw Statendam. We'll be porting in Geiranger one day in June, and we'll be the only ship in port that day. I'd like to arrange an independent excursion, but I recall from previous cruises that guests with ship-sponsored excursions get priority in getting of the ship. With a port time of 7am, what time can I reasonably expect to have my feet on shore?
  10. Posting this on the HAL forum because I am looking for HAL-specific advice. My family will be visiting Santorini at the end of June next summer on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Our plan is to go straight to Oia, explore for a while, and then do the 6-mile hike to Fira where we will eat/explore and then return to the ship. I am debating whether or not it is worthwhile to book HAL’s “Transfer to Oia” excursion so that we can be on an early tender. We would then ditch the tour at Oia and make our own way back to the ship. I understand that the shore excursions tender first to a separate dock at Athinios, where buses are waiting to take them to Oia. Then the ship moves over (correct?) and the non-excursion passengers tender to the dock below Fira, from where they either take the cable car up to Fira, or a boat straight to Oia. If we don’t book the shore excursion, we would definitely take the boat to Oia. Our top priority is getting to Oia as quickly as possible, so as to enjoy the town before the crowds descend and to begin our hike before it gets too terribly hot. There will be four ships total in Santorini that day, nearly 8,000 passengers total, but HAL is first to arrive at 8 a.m., one hour before the next ship arrives. This will be our first cruise on HAL and I have no experience with its tendering procedures. My question is, how much earlier will we get to Oia on the shore excursion (bus from Athinios) than we will if we wait to tender with everyone else and take the boat from the regular dock? We are NOT suite passengers and have no status, so we won’t have any priority on the tenders. I have only tendered once (from Celebrity in Juneau) and will admit that I hated the process of standing in line for a tender ticket, so that is a consideration as well. I realize that some of this will depend on how quickly the boats are loading up and leaving for Oia, but I would really appreciate any advice/insight that others who have done this with HAL in Santorini can provide. It would cost significantly more to book the excursion, but it would be worth it to us if we can get at least a one-hour jump on the rest of the hordes descending on Oia. But any less of a time advantage would probably not be worth the money. What should we do??
  11. Does anyone know if there are charging USB ports in the nightstands on the Nieuw Amsterdam? I thought I saw this somewhere but not I'm having a hard time using the search function within the boards. Thanks!
  12. There was a post about noise on the Amsterdam - Barcelona live thread a few days ago. found it;
  13. My next cruise will be 7 nights on Nieuw Amsterdam for Christmas (12/21 - 12/28). Though I've cruised many times before, this is my first Holland America cruise and my first Christmas cruise. Is there any way to know ahead of time which nights throughout the week will be Gala nights? Do you think one will be Christmas Eve or Christmas night? I'd like to be able to plan dinner outfits for the week 🙂
  14. Hello, we are on the 7/25/2020 Alaska cruise with a pre- cruise extension in Denali. Looks like we are flying into Fairbanks. Does anyone know how long the trip is from the airport to the park, and what the method of transportation is? In my experience asking Viking does not always provide the correct info. Did Amsterdam to Budapest this year with the extension in Prague and was told transportation from Budapest to Prague would be by train when, in fact, it was by motorcoach.
  15. Hi. is there music playing on the lido deck either a band or DJ ?
  16. Had the Cruise & Travel Director on Nieuw A last month. Although she (Rebekkah) was very good, taking away a specialized position like EXC Guide, announced with a lot of hullabaloo along with the EXC program not too long ago, is another example of "dumbing down"
  17. My wife and I sailed on the August 31 Nieuw Amsterdam Alaska cruise, roundtrip from Vancouver with visits to Tracy Arm Inlet/Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and Ketchikan. I'm not writing a full review, but I wanted to share some notes and impressions from the cruise. This was not our first Alaska cruise. My wife and I took one on Princess in 2002, and I did two previous Alaska cruises in the 90's, one on Celebrity and the other on RCCL. I've been on many cruises but only once on HAL, and that was almost 25 years ago. It was the first time on HAL for my wife. EMBARKATION We took a taxi to Canada Place from our hotel, arriving around 11:00. The taxi waited in a long line in the parking garage to drop us off -- we should have left the taxi outside and walked. Embarkation was very quick and organized, with lots of staff directing people. We were able to board and go to our stateroom immediately after checking in and clearing Customs, so we were in our room before noon. The MDR was open for lunch from 12:00-1:30, so we ate there. Our luggage was delivered to our cabin around 2:00. CABIN We were in an aft-facing verandah cabin, #5191. The cabin was nice, with plenty of storage, a decent size bathroom with a tub/shower and handheld showerhead. Some of the space for hanging items was short, but I discovered you could fold the shelves up to make more space. Our cabin steward Jalu ("Lu") was very good. The balcony had two chairs with separate foot rests and a small table. The TV didn't appear to work correctly at first, but that's because you have to watch the entire safety presentation (just a few minutes) before you can access the menu. There was a limited selection of live TV, but we only watched the news once in a while to keep tabs on Hurricane Dorian (we live in FL). DINING Prior to the cruise, I made reservations in three of the specialty restaurants, Canaletto (first night), Pinnacle Grill (mid week), and Tamarind (last night). Once on board, we decided to try Tamarind on the second night. We had our other dinners and lunches in the MDR. Pinnacle and Tamarind were very good (Tamarind was better the first time), Canaletto was good but not great, and the MDR was pretty good. On Gala Nights people were not as dressed up as I've seen on other cruises. We had breakfast delivered to room each morning (including the last morning, which most cruise lines don't do). There's a limited selection of hot and cold items. A couple of mornings the order wasn't quite right, and a couple of times breakfast came either early or late, but overall it was fine. As with every other cruise line I've been on, there's an order tag you can hang outside your door before you go to bed. ENTERTAINMENT By far the best entertainment was the band at B.B. King's Blues Club, and we enjoyed that almost every night. We sat at the bar and got to know the bartenders (Jeffrey, Alan, and Luis). One night we listened to the dual piano players. They were good, and drew big crowds, but they didn't really play off each other like we've seen at other dueling piano shows. We were planning to listen to them a second time, but there were no seats available so went to B.B. King's instead. The only Mainstage shows we saw were the illusionist Leon Etienne and comedian Lamont Ferguson (two different shows). They were both good (the illusionist was better). My wife "volunteered" at Leon's show. They did a combined show the last night but we didn't go. Unlike some other ships we've been on, you didn't really have to get to the theater too early -- there were plenty of open seats up front even when the shows started. Bar service in the theater was more limited than what we've experienced elsewhere, and non-existent once the show started. The Orange Party was held at B.B. King's one night. Most people did not wear orange. The only differences between that night and other nights at the club were that the cruise director and some other crew members were dancing, the bartenders were wearing orange hats, and they were serving snacks. INTERNET AND WIFI I purchased the Premium Internet package before the cruise, which you can use on multiple devices but only one at a time. The service was pretty slow and unreliable, definitely not worth the money. I also signed up for AT&T's 30-day Cruise Plan, which gave me 50 minutes of voice and unlimited text on the ship's cellular (no data). They have a more expensive plan that provides some data and unlimited voice. One of the reasons I did this is because we spent a few days in Vancouver before the cruise, and I could use the Cruise Plan there (Canada is not included in my home wireless area). The HAL Navigator mobile app was useful. You don't need to buy an internet plan to connect to the ship's WiFi, and you can view the schedule of events, restaurant menus. and make dinner reservations (for specialty restaurants). You can also send messages other people who have the app (I didn't try that). If you do buy an internet plan, you can use the app to connect. I use NordVPN whenever I'm on a public WiFi network, and I limited success getting it to work with the ship's internet. The Navigator app doesn't work correctly when you're connected to a VPN. SHORE EXCURSIONS AND PORTS The only shore excursion I purchased from HAL (before the cruise) was the Tracy Arm Inlet tour. The ship passes through Tracy Arm Inlet on the way to Juneau, so you board the tour boat directly from the ship in the morning, and then board the ship directly from the tour boat that afternoon in Juneau. Overall we enjoyed the tour and are glad we did it, though it was expensive. We were supposed to meet at 8:15 in the theater and leave at 8:30 -- we didn't actually start leaving the ship until 9:15 (we could have used the extra sleep :-). We did two other excursions with local operations in Skagway and Juneau. Skagway and Juneau have become incredibly touristy since our last visit, with many blocks of nothing but jewelry stores and other typical tourist traps. Ketchikan had a bit more character, and the tourism was more integrated and not as in your face as the other ports. Glacier Bay was awesome. We spent quite a bit of time there, and they brought a naturalist on board to narrate. DISEMBARKATION We chose one of the early disembarkation groups (but not self-disembarkation) that was supposed to disembark around 8:30. Our flight from Vancouver was at around 12:30. We heard our group called a few minutes after 8:00, but we weren't quite ready to leave. When we arrived at the disembarkation point on the ship at around 8:20, we were told we were mistaken, and our group hadn't been called yet (other passengers verified that they also heard our group being called). Once they called our group (again), we got off the ship, claimed our bags, and cleared customs pretty quickly. There was no wait for taxi, and the ride to the airport was uneventful. The lines at the airport were short, and we were at our gate an hour or less after we disembarked. There was only one other ship disembarking, the Golden Princess, so that's probably why it went quickly. CONCLUSION We were happy overall with HAL and the cruise, and we definitely try HAL again. We did both get sick (colds or flu) a few days into the cruise, but this didn't appear to be a widespread problem, and we were still able to enjoy our trip.
  18. I recently wrote to HAL regarding some of our experiences on our Voyage of the Midnight Sun cruise from Amsterdam to Norway and return and received an interesting reply. (It was not a complaint letter, just sharing some observations that went beyond the routine survey). One thing I mentioned was that I heard rumblings that they were doing away with the EXC Guide position and that there was even speculation that the Cruise Director position was being eliminated. In the reply I received, this was what was said: "...we recently evolved the Cruise Director position into the Cruise & Travel Director as a result of listening to our guests." I find it interesting that they take one of the busiest people on the ship and add duties to his or her position (I hope they at least get more salary). On our last cruise the EXC Guide did all the port talks in English and Dutch - something the Cruise Director could not have done. Also, the EXC Guide was outstanding, she really helped us enjoy our experience in Norway by giving us extremely useful information. I'm not sure if this move is good or bad, but thought I would just put it out there.
  19. I am booked on a TA with NCL Getaway from Copenhagen to NOLA next month. I booked a tour with them for the Rotterdam port for a tour of Amsterdam. They will transport you to Amsterdam, guide you to a boat ride and leisure on your own for 3 hours. NCL shore excursions staff do not know where you will be dropped off in Amsterdam following the one hour boat ride on the canal. Does anyone know what part of Amsterdam you are dropped off in or the name of the area for the canal tours? Tazzy0831
  20. Hi, does anyone know if the tables are the same in the dining room as Koningsdam? I really want to make sure we have a window this time. We didn't have one in Norway and it was really disappointing! I looked on halfacts, they only had Koningsdam. Thanks for any info.
  21. Nieuw A's Crow'as Nest as of August 2019 - The "Explanations" Cafe on the starboard side has been removed, is now the shorex counter, and has been combined with the Crow's Nest bar on the port side
  22. Hi, we will be sailing Viking (Basel-Amsterdam) but this question probably applies to any cruise line. Viking includes wine/beer at lunch/dinner but no other alcohol unless you purchase a "package" for $160 pp I believe. Otherwise you pay as you go. This isn't a Caribbean cruise so my sense is that we will not be on the ship drinking that much (outside the dinner hr) so pay as you go is probably the best choice. My calculation was if drinks are say $10 a drink and if we each average 2 drinks per day that amounts to $140 pp vs the $160 with the package. Sorry sounds trivial but just asking... Thanks
  23. The Happy Hours are usually at the same time in the same lounge, but there may be another time in another lounge. Sometimes there is one later in the evening, like 9:00 or 10:00 PM. I haven't been on the Nieuw Statendam (just the 'old' ones), so don't know where they are held on that ship.
  24. The included transfers are only to/from the embarkation/disembarkation airports, in the cruise you are looking at those would be Amsterdam and Basel. I am not aware of any line that includes a complimentary transfer to Zurich, though a number of lines, including Crystal, offer a pre-/post-cruise package, at an additonal cost, in Zurich that would include the transfers.
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