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  1. "Sorta" Live from the Explorer in the Norwegian Fjords Should any friends or family members be reading this and become concerned about the title of this thread, no worries, I am (at least as of this writing) still fully 'live. So wherefore the title? In our BCL (Between Cruising Life), my wife, Jeannie, and I, take great pleasure in traveling vicariously via travel blogs and trip reports, mainly on Cruise Critic. Last year, I decided that I would try to "give back" by posting reports of my cruises. And while I find them a lot of fun to do, I have a problem: due to the speed of my brain and fingers (or, more correctly, lack thereof), I sometimes find that it takes me an inordinate amount of cruising time to do my posts. And let me just say how in awe I sometimes am when reading the reports from some of my CC brothers and sisters who have figured out how to do great reporting while still getting full enjoyment from their cruises. But for my part, I find that by the time that I a) formulate a series of semi coherent thoughts b) hunt and peck my way around a keyboard, correcting enough errors to make it quasi comprehensible c) scroll through my photos (I tend to take an unreasonably large number of photos) and identify those that may be somewhat post worthy and d) wait................................while................................they.........................load............................. enough time has gone by that may cause me to miss out on my beauty nap. Which tends to make me cranky. Additionally, I must be ever mindful of the fact that sufficient attention must be paid to my better half, lest some more interesting options for the day's company happens by. One can never be too cautious. On the last trip we took, which was a Uniworld river cruise in France, based on my previous experiences with river cruising and how much leisure time would likely be available, I made no attempt to report live, but rather waited until I got home and reported day by day in retrospect. While this worked out pretty well, there are some limitations to this approach. In the event that an incisive, pithy, or erudite thought enter my head🤔🤪🙄, the chances of remembering such hours later are slim, the chances of remembering weeks later are pretty much nil. Also, there is no opportunity for spontaneous interaction. For example, if I am already home, and someone should ask me, "who is the chief electro technical officer, and how long will he or she be onboard?".....I dunno. Should someone request that I "please tell Sommelier Freddy that Clarice and Hannibal say hi and are enjoying his recommendation for a nice Chianti"......no can do. So what I thought I would attempt is a hybrid report of sorts, in which I would post a brief note about our activities, and a few snaps, and try to answer any questions. Then when I get home, fill in some of the details and add more photos, quite possibly more than you may wish to see. Hence, "sorta" live. I have invited those on our roll call to join in, hopefully will get some more input. Bob
  2. I have booked a cruise on Meraviglia for next August, visiting the Norwegian Fjords. I suspect that the 1st port stop, described as Hellesylt/Geiranger is actually just dropping ship tour passengers off at Hellesylt and continuing on then to Geiranger for the day. Can anyone confirm this or otherwise? Ken
  3. I have just had an email about a change of itinerary for the cruise I'm taking on Sunday morning. The Star departs from Venice and the first POC was meant to be Kotor, Montenegro, which I was really looking forward to seeing. I had heard the sail in to port is amazing. Now, less than 48 hours before we depart, there's been a change (apparently it's because of an order issued by the Venice Harbour Master) and we won't be going to Kotor at all - we will be making a "technical stop" at Bar, Montenegro - and won't be able to get off the ship at all. So the first POC will be Corfu on Tuesday. Does anyone have experience of claiming any sort of compensation for this kind of change? Last time I cruised with NCL, they changed the itinerary so we didn't sail into Stockholm but went to Nynashamn instead, but at least they put on free coaches to Stockholm so we still got to go there. This time we will miss out on a whole country.
  4. Hey all! Shadowmeboy here! Well we just got back from a Canada/New England Cruise on the Norwegian Dawn out of New York City and of course I took pictures! Do you want me to share them? I thought so! Let's get this trip aboard the Norwegian Dawn started! My wife, Susan, and I, Matthew, love to cruise and do it any chance we can. In 2016 we sailed the Norwegian Sun on a Southbound Cruise from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. You can read the review here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2529761 The Norwegian Sun is pictured below in Sitka, AK. In June of 2017, We sailed the Norwegian Escape to the Western Caribbean. Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2516206 The Norwegian Escape pictured below in Costa Maya, Mexico. In December 2017, We sailed the Norwegian Star to the Mexican Riviera over Christmas. Review: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2581330 The Norwegian Star pictured below in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico In June 2018, We sailed the Norwegian Jewel Northbound Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to Seward, Alaska. Review: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2557365-north-to-alaska-shadowmeboys-jewel-shimmering-pictorial-review/ The Norwegian Jewel pictured below in Juneau, AK from the Mount Roberts Tram In November 2018, We sailed the Norwegian Bliss on a Eastern Caribbean Cruise out of Miami. Review: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2614687-shadowmeboys-blissful-eastern-caribbean-pictorial-cruise-review/ The Bliss docked in Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin islands About us: My wife, Susan, is a school teacher and I work for a grocery store. Susan and I have been married 12 years (June 30th)! Due to her school schedule, we cannot sail as much as we would like. We live in the Pacific Northwest, along the Columbia River on the "dry" side of Washington State among the Apple and Cherry Orchards. Most of the pictures in this review are taken with my Canon Rebel T5 DSLR, My iPhone 10R, Susan's Samsung Moto G5, or canon g7x. With this being an odd numbered year, our June cruise is somewhere other than Alaska. We decided we wanted to visit New England and cruise out of New York City. We cruised along with Trace and Maria, who we became friends with on the 2017 Norwegian Escape cruise! They were happy to come along as they live in Connecticut, aka no major travel to the ship. We then stayed with them post cruise and explored NYC and the other New England states. So we chose the Norwegian Dawn! The Norwegian Dawn anchored just outside the harbor of Newport, Rhode Island. Please feel free to ask questions along the way! I will try to answer them as quickly as I can. This review will be very picture heavy, but I love to relive my journeys through my pictures! I hope you enjoy them as well! - Matthew
  5. We have the drink package as a perk on a Hawaiian cruise in Feb of 2020. I think the agent called it the adult drink package when I made the reservation but now I’m wondering if that is accurate. Can anyone tell me if alcohol drinks are included in this perk for Hawaii? TIA!
  6. We will be in America Samoa for a day in April 2020. We would like suggestions, from those that have been, on things to do or possibly a great tour for the day so we can see the island. Looking for a great experience. Thank you for your assistance!
  7. Cruising to South Pacific on Norwegian Jewel We are interested in cruising in the South Pacific. Has anyone traveled there on the Jewel? We are open to all your thoughts and comments. Thanks Wapak
  8. HOLLAND AMERICA BOARD'S FUTURE CRUISE LISTING Updated August 16th, 2019 We all love to hear what cruises you are booked on. I post the Bon Voyage threads 7 days before sailing so, to be included in this, you need to post your details here to allow sufficient time to be on the updated Future Cruise Listing. It’s better to post earlier than later but if it is later please post THREE weeks in advance to make sure it doesn’t get missed. We would also be interested to know if this is your first cruise, your first HAL cruise or if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary. Details needed are in the 2nd post of this thread. Please use REPLY and not QUOTE when posting to this thread. Using 'Quote' makes a very long thread and difficult for others to read. While this list is a lot of fun, please don't mistake it for a Roll Call thread. You can go to the Roll Call Section here on Cruise Critic and find your cruise to sign up there too. That's where your Meet & Greet planning, tour sharing, and other activities specific to your cruise will be happening. This week’s additions and changes are in BOLD and highlighted in aqua (sea colours). AUGUST 2019 Eurodam - 17-Aug-19 - 7 day Alaska Cruizer Bill & Cruizer Diana Rotterdam – 18-Aug-19 – 20 day Icelandic Fjords & Greenland Explorer dfish N Statendam - 18-Aug-19 - 7 day Viking Sagas we're sailing away.... - B2B2B2B2B2B2B following Aug. 4th & with Aug. 25th, Sept. 8th, 15th, 27th & Oct. 7th Empress of the Seas (RCCL) - 18-Aug-19 - 6 night Western Caribbean rafinmd - 1st time as Diamond Plus N Statendam - 25-Aug-19 - 14 day Jewels of the Baltic asebastian we're sailing away.... - B2B2B2B2B2B2B following Aug. 4th & 25th & with Sept. 8th, 15th, 27th & Oct. 7th Cailey53 - 1st sailing as 4* Mariners N Statendam – 25-Aug-19 – 53 days - ? we’re sailing away…. Veendam - 26-Aug-19 – 12 day Voyage of the Explorers JR42 ksmaxey & DW Amsterdam – 26-Aug-19 – 14 day Great Alaskan Explorer StLouisCruisers – celebrating 50th wedding anniversary on board Av8rix N Amsterdam - 31-Aug-19 - 7 day Alaskan Inside Passage crunchii & Zarmengar SEPTEMBER 2019 Oosterdam - 01-Sep-19 - 7 day Alaskan Explorer/Hubbard operakatz Zuiderdam - 03-Sep-19- 12 day Colors of Canada & New England vms & majormomma- mother - daughter trip lynanken Eurodam - 07-Sep-19 - 7 day Alaska Explorer R/T Seattle Gonzowifey - 1st HAL cruise & 1st Alaska Oosterdam – 08-Sep-19 – 7 night Alaska Explorer razzinger – 1st time on HAL & to Alaska, 9th cruise overall N Statendam - 08-Sep-19 - 7 day Norse Legends we're sailing away.... - B2B2B2B2B2B2B following Aug. 4th, 18th, 25th & with Sept. 15th, 27th & Oct. 7th Amsterdam - 09-Sep-19 - 14 day Great Alaskan Explorer IrishSmileyM3 - 3rd HAL cruise, 1st Alaska, celebrating 12.5th anniversary N Statendam – 15-Sep-19 – 12 day Iberian Adventure travelqueen101 - celebrating 60th birthday we're sailing away.... - B2B2B2B2B2B2B following Aug. 4th, 18th, 25th, Sept. 8th and with Sept. 27th & Oct. 7th Zuiderdam – 15-Sep-19 – 12 day Quebec to NYC mamaofami – 60th anniversary trip Amsterdam - 23-Sep-19 - 35 day Incan Empires ArtsyCraftsy woodworker & knitter Veendam - 25-Sep-19 - 23 day Panama Canal Av8rix N Statendam - 27-Sep-19 - 10 day Mediterranean Mosaic we're sailing away.... - B2B2B2B2B2B2B following Aug. 4th, 18th, 25th, Sept. 8th, 15th & with Oct. 7th Eurodam - 29-Sep-19 - 16 day collector R/T Vancouver - Hawaii & Pacific, Mexico pizzadog -celebrating 54th wedding anniversary cemnm18 - celebrating DW's birthday gypsymama5996 Westerdam – 29-Sep-19 – 13 day North Pacific CrossingK rwams – with granddaughter OCTOBER 2019 Rotterdam – 05-Oct-19 – 14 day European River Explorer doncarlos & Fishbabe N Statendam - 07-Oct-19 - 10 day Mediterranean Dream I like vacation - celebrating an anniversary & achieving 3* status we're sailing away.... - B2B2B2B2B2B2B following Aug. 4th, 18th, 25th, Sept. 8th, 15th, 27th N Statendam - 07-Oct-19 - Best of the Mediterranean Dismomx5 - celebrating 35th anniversary on their 4th HAL cruise Koningsdam - 31-Oct-19 - 13 day Passage to America vinonme2 -with sister, DS's 1st cruise, pre-cruise stay in Lake Como & Tuscany for 2 weeks Eurodam - 15-Oct-19 - 4 night Pacific Coastal msmayor - B2B with 7 night Mexican Riviera Koningsdam – 18-Oct-19 – 13 day Mediterranean Legend we’re sailing away…..- B2B2B with Oct. 31st & Nov. 13th Koningsdam – 18-Oct-19 – 26 day Mediterranean Legend & Passage to America Sailingdutchy Vict0riann Cruizer Bill & Cruizer Diana Queen Mary 2 - 18-Oct-19 - 7-night Eastbound Transatlantic rafinmd - B2B2B with Crystal Bach Oct 25 and Crystal Serenity Nov 5 Eurodam - 19-Oct-19 - 7 night Mexican Riviera msmayor - B2B following 4 night Pacific coastal N Amsterdam - 19-Oct-19 - 7 day Eastern Caribbean DFD1 N Amsterdam – 19-Oct-19 – 14 day Eastern/Tropical Caribbean saturn93 Rotterdam – 19-Oct-19 – 32 day Holy Land and Passage to America aliaschief & DWaliaschief Cinder Again Oosterdam - 20-Oct-19 - 17 day Circle Hawaii cat shepard Zuiderdam - 20-Oct-19 - 10 day Panama Canal Sunfarer RetiredNow AMA Amacerto - 27-Oct-19 - 7 day Legendary Danube (Nuremburg - Budapest AZNATIVE2000 - visiting Prague Oct. 21st precruise Crystal Bach 25-Oct-19 - 10-night Enchanting Moselle rafinmd - B2B2B following QM2 Oct 18 & with Crystal Serenity Nov5 Amsterdam - 28-Oct-19 - 51 day Tales of the South Pacific Traveling Dot FlorenceItaly Veendam - 30-Oct-19 - 7 day Eastern Caribbean anderson1203 - first HAL cruise Koningsdam - 31-Oct-19 - 13 day Passage to America we're sailing away.....- B2B2B following Oct. 18th & with Nov. 13th NOVEMBER 2019 Eurodam - 02-Nov-19 - 7 night Mexican riviera dobiemom Crystal Serenity - 5-Nov-19 - 19-night Explorer Combination - Barcelona to FTL rafinmd - B2B2B following QM2 Oct 18, Crystal Bach Oct 25 and with Symphony Nov 24 N Statendam - 10-Nov-19 - 7 day Eastern Caribbean Crazy For Cats the2ofus- B2B with Nov. 17th Judyrem - first HAL cruise, 70th birthday celebration Himself DFWGUYZ - achieving 3* on this sailing Koningsdam - 13-Nov-19 - 11 day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer we're sailing away.... - B2B2B following Oct. 18th & Oct. 31st Celebrity Silhouette - 14-Nov-19 - 8 Day Southern Caribbean Cruisinetta N Statendam - 17-Nov-19 - 14 day Western/Tropical Caribbean taxmantoo the2ofus- B2B following Nov. 10th Volendam – 20-Nov-19 – 30 Night Amazon Explorer Loreto – celebrating 50th wedding anniversary Chergs N Amsterdam - 23-Nov-19 - 7 day Tropical Caribbean Cruise twin - with twin & a friend celebrating the twins' belated birthday grest - celebrating Thanksgiving birthday N Statendam - 24-Nov-19 - 7 day Tropical Caribbean HELENPSL - annual Thanksgiving cruise with Angelo N Statendam - 24-Nov-19 - 14 day Tropical/Eastern Caribbean oldpharmguy Koningsdam - 24-Nov-19 - 10 night Southern Caribbean Seafarer wdw 1972 Crystal Serenity -24-Nov-19 - 7-night Caribbean Cornucopia from Miami rafinmd - B2B2B following QM2 Oct 18, Crystal Bach Oct 25 & Crystal Serenity Nov 5 DECEMBER 2019 N. Statendam - 01-Dec-19 - 7 day Eastern Caribbean deliver42 Eurodam - 01-Dec-19 - 10 day Panama Canal partial transit DFD1 - celebrating birthday Maasdam - 03-Dec-19 - 20 day New Zealand & Pacific VK3DQ - first HAL cruise, with MIL, celebrating 95th (MIL) & 73rd (VK3) birthdays on board N Amsterdam - 07-Dec-19 - 7 day Tropical Caribbean 1ANGELCAT- celebrating with friends - 1 receiving their Platinum medallion sp2 - celebrating 23rd anniversary & sp2's birthday & their 25th cruise Rotterdam - 06-Dec-19 - 15 day Panama Canal sambamama - 1st time on Rotterdam & West to East Panama Amsterdam - 18-Dec-19 - 17 day Panama Canal Holiday Infi Veendam – 18-Dec-19 – 10 day Southern Caribbean Seafarer Holiday Crazy For Cats Zaandam - 18-Dec-19 - 22 day Holiday South America& Antarctica RetiredNow - B2B with 09-Jan-20 Volendam - 20-Dec-19 - 16 night Christmas & New Year hal lover - 1st time on Volendam Westerdam - 21-Dec-19 - 14 day Far East Discovery TN Fem Rotterdam - 21-Dec-19 - 17 day Panama Canal (FLL - SD) dbaudit & Doc Bear- 2nd Panama Canal Koningsdam - 22-Dec-19 - 11 day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer Holiday jagger16 - 1st extended holiday cruise Oosterdam - 28-Dec-19 - 7 day Mexican Riviera LynnObie - 50th wedding anniversary with 3 daughters, spouses & 2 grandchildren JANUARY 2020 Koningsdam - 02-Jan-20 - 10 day Southern Caribbean Seafarer RevNeal Amsterdam – 04-Jan-20 - Grand World Voyage we’re sailing away…. mame42 scluvsrain Scrapnana DeepWaterMariner – 2nd World Voyage N Amsterdam - 04-Jan-20 - 7 day Eastern Caribbean kcohleffel - 1st HAL cruise Volendam – 05-Jan-20 – 77 day Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage Oak Hill Cruisers travellersrest TBcruiserguy N Statendam - 05-Jan-20 - 14 day Tropical/Eastern Caribbean ger_77 - escape from the frozen tundra Zaandam - 09-Jan-20 - 22 day South America& Antarctica 0bnxshs & Missy's Mom – birthday celebration on board & achieving 5* RetiredNow - B2B with 18-Dec-19 bobalink - 1st time on Zaandam & South America N Statendam - 12-Jan-20 - Eastern Caribbean pjck71 - celebrating 25th anniversary & DH's 50th birthday, 2nd time on HAL Westerdam - 16-Jan-20 - 30 day Far East Discovery Collector pictonite Koningsdam - 22-Jan-20 - 12 day Caribbean aliaschief & DWAliaschief Crystal Serenity - 22-Jan-20 - 40-day World Cruise Segment Los Angeles to Sydney rafinmd - B2B with QM2 March 5 Silver Wind - 23-Jan-20 - 11 day Eastern Caribbean Randyk47 Regent Seven Seas Mariner - 24-Jan-20 - 131 day World Cruise ArtsyCraftsy - first World Cruise N Statendam - 26-Jan-20 - 14 day Tropical/Eastern Caribbean forwardho - celebrating birthday on board FEBRUARY 2020 Oosterdam - 05-Feb-20 - 17 day Panama Canal VintageGeo-1st time through the Canal Zuiderdam - 08-Feb-20 - 7 day Tropical Caribbean OVgirl - B2B with 11 day Panama Sunfarer cruise N Statendam - 9-Feb-20 - 14 day Tropical Caribbean Typhoon1 Zuiderdam - 15-Feb-20 - 11 day Panama Canal Sunfarer OVgirl - B2B following 7 day Tropical Caribbean Feb. 8th Eurodam - 16-Feb-20 - 14 day Panama Canal (FLL - SD) RetiredMustang summer slope N Statendam - 16-Feb-20 - 7 day Tropical Caribbean Brewgirl1 - 3rd HAL cruise, travelling with parents & adult children Koningsdam - 23-Feb-20 - 10 night Southern Caribbean Seafarer esimon - Robert, Ellen, Lynn and Will Ohio MARCH 2020 Queen Mary 2 - 06-Mar-20 - 50-day World Cruise Segment Sydney to New York rafinmd - B2B with Crystal Serenity January 22 Zaandam – 07-Mar-20 – 31 day South America, Inca & Panama Canal Discovery kazu Rotterdam – 11-Mar-20 – Panama Canal San D to FLL DeeniEncinitas - B2B with Oceania Riviera – March 30th summer slope Oosterdam - 14-Mar-20 - 7 day Mexican Riviera KroozNut Westerdam - 14-Mar-20 - 14 day China Explorer LTC_Motes - daughter's graduation cruise Koningsdam – 15-Mar-20 – 44 day Voyage of the Americas – (FLL – SD) Overhead Fred – longest cruise ever Maasdam - 15-Mar-20 - 19 day South Pacific madera1 Eurodam – 18-Mar-20 – 18 day Circle Hawaii lakeside42 jeda -celebrating 40th anniversary - B2B with Pacific Coastal Apr. 5th CaliforniaAC - with friends Bill & Di Cailey53 Oosterdam - 21-Mar-20 - 28 day Hawaii, Tahiti, Marquesas Tomndeena crystalspin & dr'spin - belated celebration of dr'spin's retirement at end of 2019 VacationingCharlene Oceania Riviera – 30- Mar-20 – TA Miami to Rome DeeniEncinitas – B2B following Rotterdam March 11th APRIL 2020 Eurodam - 05-Apr-20 - 6 day Pacific Coastal jeda - B2B following Mar. 18th Rotterdam - 06-Apr-20 - 16 day Azores & Normandy Explorer grest Oceania Riviera - 19-Apr-20 - 10 day Monte Carlo - BCN DeeniEncinitas - Christmas present from DH Zuiderdam - 19-Apr-20 - 14 day Passage to Rome kazu - followed by visit to Galicia, Spain N Statendam - 19-Apr-20 - 14 night TA to Amsterdam TriumphGuyAL - 1st HAL cruise, 4th overall - celebrating 43rd anniversary on board Veendam - 22-Apr-20 - 17 day Azores & Normandy Explorer lizzies_mom Westerdam - 25-Apr-20 - 16 day North Pacific Crossing Taters Oosterdam - 25-Apr-20 - 7 day Pacific Coastal lazey1 - 1st time cruising as 5* & in a Neptune wrap around suite MAY 2020 N Statendam - 10-May-20 - 14 day Jewels of the Baltic rwams Zuiderdam - 15-May-20 - Mediterranean Empires gwilli Maasdam - 18-May-20 - 14 day Great Alaska Explorer TomAndJane woodworker & knitter Zaandam - 23-May-20 - 7-Day Canada & New England Discovery BRWolf - (Bruce and Karen) JUNE 2020 N Amsterdam - 03-Jun-20 - 24 day Mediterranean Empires/Adriatic Dream taxmantoo JULY 2020 Zuiderdam - 02-Jul-20 - 24 day Northern Isles & Jewels of the Baltic Lucie73821 N. Statendam- 19-Jul-20 - 7 day Norwegian fjord Bramcruiser AUGUST 2020 Viking Orion - 04-Aug-20 - 68 day Grand Cape Horn Adventure ArtsyCraftsy Zuiderdam - 09-Aug-20 - 10 day Jewels of the Baltic shudie- B2B with Aug. 19th Caribbean Princess - 16 day Greenland & Canada StartrainDD Zuiderdam - 19-Aug-20 - 19 day Viking Passage I like vacation Vict0riann - big birthday on board shudie- B2B with Aug. 9th Queen Mary 2 - 21-Aug-20 - 7-night Eastbound Transatlantic rafinmd - B2B2B with Crystal Serenity 30 Aug and Zuiderdam Sept 17th Crystal Serenity - 30-Aug-20 - 13 day TA Discovery (BCN - Que) rafinmd - B2B2B following QM2 Aug 21st and with Zuiderdam Sept. 17th SEPTEMBER 2020 N Statendam - 13-Sep-20 - 12 night Iberian Peninsula Poulsbo Cruisers - 30th anniversary cruise Zuiderdam - 17-Sep-20 - 10 day Newfoundland & New England Discovery (Quebec to Boston) rafinmd - B2B2B following QM2 Aug 21st and Crystal Serenity Aug. 30th Viking Sea - 21-Sep-20 - 10 days Empire of the Mediterranean (Venice to Athens) terrydtx - 1st Viking Ocean cruise, celebrating50th anniversary Koningsdam - 26-Sep-20 - 7 day Wine and Country & Pacific Northwest crunchii & Zarmengar OCTOBER 2020 Viking Tir – 01-Oct-20 – 14 day Grand European River Cruise (Budapest to Amsterdam) aliaschief & DWaliaschief - 1st Grand river cruise Westerdam - 07-Oct-20 - 37 day Inca & South America Discovery GeorgeCharlie N Amsterdam - 13-Oct-20 - 12 day Mediterranean Romance canadianbear - 1st time in Europe Rotterdam - 15-Oct-20 - 15 day Transatlantic (BCN - FLL) sambamama- 1st time to Africa Zaandam – 31-Oct-20 – 14 day Southern Caribbean Overhead Fred NOVEMBER 2020 Westerdam - 13-Nov-20 - 14 day South America Passage (BA - Santiago) Taters N Statendam - 22-Nov-20 - 10 day Southern Caribbean Seafarer cruiseguy56 Westerdam - 27-Nov-20 - 22 day South America, Antarctica & Solar Eclipse Loreto Zuiderdam - 29-Nov-20 - Southern Caribbean Cruisinetta DECEMBER 2020 N Statendam - 02-12-20 - 11 night Southern Caribbean Wayfarer wdw1972 N Statendam - 02-12-20 - 21 day Caribbean (B2B Dec. 2-23) cate54 - mother & daughter cruise Zuiderdam - 09-Dec-20 - 11 day Panama Canal Sunfarer Mr and Mrs CIQ -retirement cruise grest Westerdam - 19-Dec-20 - 22 day South America & Antarctica Holiday StartrainDD - pre-cruise trip Dec. 13th to Igazu Falls Noordam - 20-Dec-20 - 15-day Far East Discovery LTC Motes - party of 7 NCL Escape - 27-Dec-20 - 7 night Eastern Caribbean msmayor - holiday cruise to celebrate with adult children JANUARY 2021 Koningsdam - 02-Jan-21 - 7 day Mexican Riviera mab4285 - first solo cruise & HAL cruise as an adult Amsterdam - 04-Jan-21 - 128 day Grand World Voyage vinonme2 Maasdam - 04-Jan-21 - 40 day Australia, Indonesia & Indian Collector aliaschief & DWAliaschief - B2B2B with Feb 13th & Mar 4th N Statendam - 06-Jan-21 - 21 day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer/Seafarer crystalspin - with dr'spin, mom & DBr0 & SIL, celebrating 30th anniversary & DB's 60th birthday Koningsdam - 09-Jan-20 - 24 day Collectors' Cruise - Hawaii & Mexico DeeniEncinitas FEBRUARY 2021 Maasdam - 13-Feb-21 - 19 day Papua, New Guinea & Phillipine Adventurer aliaschief & DWAliaschief - B2B2B following Jan. 4th & with Mar. 4th Rotterdam - 21-Feb-21 - 32 day Hawaii, Tahiti, & Marquesas Overhead Fred josumello - first HAL cruise samsonmo MARCH 2021 Maasdam - 04-Mar-21 - 25 day South Pacific Crossing aliaschief & DWAliaschief - B2B2B following Jan. 4th & Feb. 13th N Statendam - 21-Mar-21 - 10 day cruise doone - Friends & Family cruise AUGUST 2021 Oosterdam - 22-Aug-21 - 7 day Alaskan Explorer crunchii & Zarmengar HAPPY CRUISING EVERYONE! Jacqui
  9. We have sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, Princess and RCCL. All had their pluses and minuses. All in all, we liked each of them with our favorites being Holland America and Princess. we have heard many good things about Azamara from fellow cruisers and also on Reviews posted on Cruise Critic. We are two Seniors, ages late 70’s Early 80’s who enjoy quiet dinners, an occasional show and the not too rigorous land tours. my question: is it worth the higher price to cruise with Azamara — better staterooms, better food, more desirable land tours, better service — or should we stick to what we know? These two Seniors would appreciate any comments/suggestions you might have. Thank You Cambriah
  10. We are booked on the Norwegian Gem 14 day cruise departing Boston on Oct. 25, so there are a lot of at-sea days. Does anyone have experience with the kids programs and activities on board the Gem? The kids are 9, 8 and 6. We want to ensure some 'free-time' on board for our daughter and son in law! Thanks for any information and advice. We have cruised before but not with young kids.
  11. Some cruise and land photos from South America Glacier Romanche Glacier Italia And don't forget the Beagle Canal Our most intimate glacier experience was not in Antarctica but in Argentina
  12. Recently returned from the 11 day land/sea cruise of the Hawaiian island on the POA. If you are planning to cruise the Hawaiian island I highly recommend adding in the 3 days at the Hawaiian Village Resort if you can. We did our own air transportation so chose to fly in on Tuesday then had Wednesday as a free day to hang out at the resort and get used to the time change. The next 2 1/2 days were filled with tours all arranged by NCL and it's very well organized. We had the same tour bus driver all 3 days and he was great, we saw a lot and learned a lot. On Saturday after your tour they drop you at the pier and we got right on the ship. Your luggage is picked up at the hotel on Saturday and taken to the ship so you don't need to even worry about getting it to the pier. While we are happy to have had the opportunity to see the Hawaiian Islands, I have to say if we were to visit again it would be a land vacation only, we would not go on the POA again. We are frequent cruises and much more enjoy the larger ships (Breakaway, Escape) and all they have to offer. The POA is rather boring compared to other ships, food was good everywhere we ate and the shows were okay. We really enjoyed the These Guys Worldwide Theatre show and when they sang poolside on the last day, they were by far the best show on the ship. If I recall they said they were leaving when the ship docked back in Honolulu, not sure if they plan to return. Daily's attached for those interested. POA Day 1.pdf POA Day 2.pdf POA Day 3.pdf POA Day 4.pdf POA Day 5.pdf POA Day 6.pdf POA Day 7.pdf
  13. Last December we went on a 22 day cruise and 9 nights pre and post cruise visit to South America . The cruise was on the HAL Zaandam from San Antonio , Chile to Buenos Aires Argentina . We took over 10,000 photos on this trip so it will take a while to cull , download , edit and upload to Photo Bucket before writing , so please be patient . It will be mostly in chronological order and will use some photos from our previous cruises to South America . So , bags packed and ready to go ? Boarding passes ? OK , lets go .
  14. A review of the 7 night Inside Passage Alaska cruise aboard the MS Volendam 24/07/2019 – 31/07/2019 I found this forum really helpful before we took this cruise so thought that I would compile a review as it might help someone else. I really enjoyed Oakman58’s recent review too and it was just being published before I started this cruise. My husband and I decided to celebrate our honeymoon with 3 nights at the Calgary Stampede, 9 nights driving through the Rockies staying in Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff prior to our final week on the cruise through the inside passage. It was both our first time to Canada and it was amazing. Just fabulous scenery, atmosphere and friendly people. We spent nearly every day in the Rockies hiking of some sort, so the cruise was the rest and relaxation component to the honeymoon. We were first time cruisers. I had a friend here in Perth who had done this exact cruise 2 years previous and loved it so that was the main reason we chose to go with HAL for our first cruise. We decided to go for the Neptune Suite (I know I know quite possibly ruining future cruising experiences!) and had the explore 4 package thing which included $200 on board credit and a Pinnacle grill dinner and the signature beverage package. I looked up this forum for advice on rooms and a lady on Trip Advisor that regularly responds on forum posts about HAL over there. We went with 7028 on the port side. Embarkation day We flew from Calgary to Vancouver and were booked in to stay at the Four Seasons which included “transfers” from the airport and to the ship. All this meant was a woman with a clip board accompanying us from the baggage carousel to the taxi queue and giving us a taxi voucher to get us to the hotel (obviously if we had of known that we would have sorted it ourselves). Once we checked in to the Four Seasons, we were given another taxi voucher to get to the terminal the next day. We were advised to board at our leisure from 10am. That afternoon in Vancouver I raided Sephora for products you can’t get here, and we picked up wine to bring on board and a few other bits we wanted. We then explored Gastown for dinner. The next morning, we had breakfast in the hotel (not included in the package) and headed for the cruise terminal for about 11.15AM. The Four Seasons was a nice enough hotel. Very expensive I think it was around the $400 mark, we were booked into a standard room but were upgraded to a high-level corner room with city views when we checked in. The PanPacific was more expensive at the time we booked according to my T.A. I had been advised to not bother boarding until nearer 2pm but we were both excited to get onboard and explore and suss the place out. We had a straightforward boarding process from dropping our bags off to checking in and clearing customs; we were in our room by mid-day. Stateroom 7028 Our first impression of the suite was just WOW its huge. There was a bottle of sparkling wine on ice just above the mini bar which is included in the Neptune suite package. Next to that was the Nespresso machine. The mirrored cabinets had glasses and some crockery for use. The suite just has so much storage and space it was great. There were drawers everywhere. The mini dressing room area with the mirrored wardrobes was great for extra space so as not to clog up the bathroom but we found the bathroom to be of a decent size. The shower was amazing. The bath had jets in it, but it was quite small, we never ended up using it. A tip I had from here was to use the toiletry bags that hang to save on bench space and that was useful but there are three shelves on one side of the sink that can be used to store toiletries and a long shelf beneath the sink to tuck things away. The bathroom was the only place that had good light for doing your makeup. The dressing room area was dark yellow light. In the bedroom the mirrors behind the bed were kind of smoked. The hair dryer supplied was terrible – just the travel size one that is normally thrown in for free when you buy a good hairdryer or hair straightener. That was disappointing. There was one plug point (for normal voltage) in the dressing room area so you could plug in other appliances. The other single plug point was by the bed where the Bose unit was. Again, another tip from here was to bring a power board which we used here. The TV was pretty old school and the picture was never clear, but not that big a deal for us as we weren’t there to watch TV but it’s a bit unusual in this day and age. Might be challenging for those with children. When we went out to the balcony there was still a plate with left over dessert on it.. which indicated to us then that the balcony hadn’t been cleaned at all from the previous passengers that morning. At that point our two stateroom stewards called in to introduce themselves. They were both Balinese, so we got chatting straight away, it’s our go to quick getaway holiday destination here on the west coast so we have been many times and knew the areas they were from. We mentioned the plate on the balcony, so they were quick to sort that out while we headed off to the Neptune lounge to meet the concierge. The concierge welcomed us in and introduced herself. We got straight onto making reservations for dinner as we had gone with open dining. We asked for a table for two by a window after some discussions around which floor was open dining and fixed. The Gala nights were for the next night and the Sunday the day where we were going to be in Glacier Bay, so we booked in the MDR for 7:45pm for all the sea days and gala nights and the Ketchikan day where we were leaving port at 6pm. She said there was no guarantee of the tables but that they would try to accommodate us. We booked the Pinnacle grill for our last night on the ship. We had a coffee in the lounge – the coffee in there was very good. Finding good coffee in Canada had been a major challenge of our trip thus far so this was great bonus. We decided not to eat anything there at this point. There was a small Bain Marie which had little sandwich rolls, salad plates and sushi and then another sideboard of dessert plates and biscuits. The lounge is fairly small, one dining room size table for six, one for two people and then two sets of couches and chairs. From there we headed off to explore and get our bearings. We went up a deck and found the spa and gym, so we took a tour. My first impression was that the gym was a good size and well equipped with resistance machines as well as cardio equipment. There are probably 6 cross trainers, 3 bikes, 2 rowers and 6 treadmills around the perimeter facing out to sea with weight machines in the centre and a free weights area off to one side. The far side of the room had floor space for the various classes scheduled for the week. The Spa tour went through some of their treatments and specials for the week. We then got to the thermal suite. We had pre-purchased a couples pass for the week. They told us again that they only give away 20 passes for the week, so it won’t be too crowded (more on that later). There are only 5 loungers and one spa pool that would comfortably fit one couple. There is so much wasted floor space in that room where they could have either had more loungers or a much bigger jacuzzi/mineral bath. We booked in for 75minute massage package for the next morning. We then went through different bars and food options on deck 4 and 5. The Lido was serving lunch that day and we hadn’t eaten yet so decided to try it out.. and that was the last time we ate at the lido all week haha. It was chaos. Lots of people don’t know how to queue and the wait staff didn’t appear able to keep up with clearing the tables and resetting them again. There were two sides to the restaurant but appeared to be serving the same food on both sides. I wouldn’t be keen on buffets anyway, but this was hard work. We ate outside where it was quieter. We headed back to the room and the luggage had been delivered, I think this was around 2pm. We unpacked (I was dying to do this after moving around every 3 days prior to this). We headed back to the lido pool area and had a drink there, testing out our signature beverage package cards! The weather was good in Vancouver that day, the sun was out. We explored the rest of that deck and went up another level to the sports courts and walked around the deck. The spa was having a draw for $500 credit at 4.30pm so we decided to go there for that as you had to be present to win. We were out of luck so headed back to the sea view pool to take in leaving Vancouver. It was quite lively out there with music and special cocktails. Everyone taking pictures and chatting. We headed for our own balcony then for awhile to just enjoy the scenery as we sailed out of Vancouver. There was a cocktail party in the Neptune lounge that evening from 6.30pm. Our dinner reservation for the first night was 7pm so we only had a half hour to mingle in the lounge. It was quiet in the half hour we were there with guests from 4 staterooms. We got chatting to a nice couple from Vancouver with 250+ sea days celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary. They gave us a good run down on the ins and outs of the ship to get the best out of it and the Neptune suite so that was cool. There was a bit of a line up at the MDR, but we were at the top in a minute and we were led to our table. We were thrilled we were on a two-top right at the window at the back of the ship. This ended up being the table given to us every night we dined in the MDR just the two of us. The waiter and sommelier were really good and attentive. We found the service in the MDR to be really attentive. I can’t remember now what we had but I know we enjoyed all of our meals in the MDR. Once or twice my husband chose the fish dish and found it to be a bit on the blander side but overall, we would give our evening meals a solid 8/10. We had the signature beverage package and found there were quite a few options for nice wine in the $11 and under price range including a French Cotes de Provence Rose and Chilean Sauv Blanc. We ended up in the Crow’s Nest that night for a few more after dinner but had a relatively early night having had quite a few drinks over the day. When we got back to the room, they had spread rose petals all over the bed and floor and made two swans out of the towels in a love heart. Leaving Canada Place. 25/07/2019 Cruising the Inside Passage We had a couple’s massage book for ~10am. We both woke up pretty dusty after the wines so gratefully hit the Neptune lounge coffee machine for a fix when we woke up. We could have used the machine in the room, but we were only 3 doors down from the lounge and the coffees were so good there. The lounge has food available all day long. They had mini servings of bircher muesli every morning, so I grabbed two of those to enjoy with coffee on the balcony before heading to the Pinnacle Grill. There were pastries, muffins, fruit, yogurt and other light breakfast items in the morning. As part of the Neptune suite you get to have breakfast in the PG between 8am and 9.30am. The menu is huge, and you can order as much or as little as you want. They would start you off with coffee/tea and offer mimosas or juice and then a selection of pastries while you were waiting for the breakfast. This first day I think I had a smoked salmon eggs benedict which was great. Service was pretty good in here as there are a limited number of guests. We went for the couple’s massage then which was 75mins of bliss particularly as we were a bit hungover! We used the thermal suite afterwards and had the jacuzzi to ourselves for 10-15mins and then used the loungers to relax for a while. Later during the day there was a knock at the door and Bagus delivered us a plate of chocolate covered strawberries and a note from the cruise director wishing us a happy honeymoon which was a nice gesture. That evening was the first Gala night. Fresh flower corsages were included for us which was nice. The concierge took some pictures for us and we went to the Ocean bar for pre-dinner drinks. The chairs by the window are comfortable here with great views, we liked going here before dinner for a drink. We both dressed up, I was in heels and a cocktail dress and himself had a dinner jacket on. We got quite a few comments – people asking us if we were on honeymoon etc! I think we must have stood out a bit with the corsages and I would say less than 25% of the people I seen that evening were wearing suits or cocktail/evening dresses. The only tuxedo’s I saw were a few gentlemen I recognised from the Neptune suites. We got chatting to the couple we met on the first night and they said that people tend not to dress up for the gala night anymore. We went in for dinner at 7:45pm and were escorted to the table we had the previous evening which we loved. Teddy and the sommelier Ivan were straight over with menus and taking our orders. I can’t remember exactly what was on the menu, but I know we enjoyed it. We were probably closer to 10pm by the time we got up to the Crow’s nest on the top deck. They tended to have a DJ on at that time and happy hour. The place really filled up and the dance floor was busy. We got chatting to two other couples travelling together from NZ and Canada and ended up on the dance floor with them, it was some craic altogether. I don’t think we finished up until near 2am that night. I vaguely remember getting back to the room and there being an elephant on the bed and as it was gala night there were truffle chocolates left out for us with the when and where fold out for the next day. 26/07/2019 Juneau 1pm – 10pm. At about 10am a small boat pulled up alongside to collect passengers heading off on the Tracy Arm Inlet Excursion. We had ordered room service for that morning. Like the day before I grabbed coffees and some small bircher mueslis from the lounge. Room service arrived; everything was still hot. I went with salmon again, but the other half had gone with the steak which was just huge. When we docked our side of the ship was facing out to sea which was nice. There were 3 other ships docked in port. We arrived early about 12pm. We had a small lunch in the Neptune lounge (every day there were several salads, mini sandwich rolls, sushi etc we never had lunch at any of the restaurants other than here) They announced people could get off about 12:45pm. We had booked Harv and Marv’s whale watching tour independently after researching tours online and were due to be collected at 1:30pm so we decided to go have a wander through town. There was nothing appealing about Juneau. Jewellery shop after jewellery shop. We headed off on the tour bus then as planned just after 1:30pm. Only 10 people were on the small boat which was great for being able to see at all times and for taking pictures. We got quite a show and seen 6 whales and some seals. The bus drive on the way back stopped at a bridge with a nice view of the glacier with wildflowers in the foreground. We also seen numerous eagles and stopped for better pictures. We had initially planned to go up on the cable car/gondola for a look out over Juneau and do the walk from the gondola up to the peak but decided against it in the end. Earlier that day we pre ordered room service off the MDR menu to arrive at 6.45pm, to save time having to change for the MDR. Our intention was to eat on board in the room and then head back into town for another walk around and maybe a drink in one of the local bars. As we were quite underwhelmed with Juneau, we enjoyed a lovely 3 course meal on our veranda and the sunset as we departed. Impressive display by the humpback whales on our tour with Harv and Marv. Views from our veranda. 27/07/2019 Skagway 7am – 9pm. Due to the warm weather early in the season the musher camps were closed the first week of July on the glaciers and the excursions were cancelled. You could still do a helicopter flight seeing trip with a walk around on the glacier. We had both done proper glacier flightseeing and hikes in New Zealand previously so were happy to find something else to do. The appeal was to see the huskies. Instead we hired a car and drove the Klondike highway ourselves. We hired the car through Avis in Skagway. I think it was about $160US for the day including insurance. Most of the cruise ship tours involve getting on the train with a stop at Caribou crossing which is a very fake tourist set up from what we seen (and going by reports from a couple of passengers we spoke to that evening who did the tour, the organised lunch was meant to be awful which I also read on a recent review on here). We went to see Emerald Lake and made a stop at the Yukon suspension bridge just to have a look. I think they charged $20pp person to walk across it. It wasn’t that amazing a feat to see really. Our day of driving was a mixture of overcast rain and minor sunshine, so I don’t think we got to see it at its best. We went off the beaten track a bit though down Tagish road to the Southern Lakes resort and restaurant. I am so glad we did; we were the only people there and had one of the cheapest (during our 3-week trip) but most lovely lunches. There are quite a few walks around there and they have canoes and kayaks for rent. This part is back in the Canadian Yukon. It’s funny it was probably one of the things we liked best about the Alaskan cruise was the day we drove back into Canada. We left Skagway in the car about 9.30am and got back around 4pm. Before leaving that morning on our way to Avis we had a look around town and went to get a coffee in one of the cafes. The wait staff were dressed up in clothes from the mid 1800’s. I don’t understand why that would be appealing to tourists, just seemed very fake to us and unnecessary. We headed up to the spa for a quick dip in the Jacuzzi and then called into the Crow’s nest for a drink before getting ready for dinner. It was meant to be a takeaway drink, but we got chatting to an Australian couple we met in Jasper. The Crow’s nest is a great spot during the day for the views with plenty of seats by the windows, not just for the late-night drinks. We had dinner reserved that night in the MDR for 7:45pm and were still seated when we departed Skagway at 9pm. https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Southern+Lakes+Resort+%26+Restaurant/@60.2796092,-134.6510264,10.54z/data=!4m11!1m2!2m1!1sreastaurants+along+tagish+road!3m7!1s0x0:0xc2ac86414a634f32!5m2!4m1!1i2!8m2!3d60.1646571!4d-134.3760967 http://*****/ The suspension bridge Emerald lake Views over southern lakes – down Tagish road Volendam in Skagway 28/07/2019 – Glacier Bay 8am – 6pm We ordered room service breakfast again and by this stage discovered the baked honeyed ham. This was a winner on the breakfast menu for us. We ate breakfast around 9am on the veranda, the temperature hadn’t quite dropped yet as we were only starting into Glacier bay. Fast forward to 10:30am and we had beanies and jackets on. They open the bow of the ship when in Glacier bay. We went down there for a little while and they brought out pea and ham soup for everyone. Really tasty. There is a Glacier bay national park guide on the ship describing the glaciers and points of interest over the tannoy and it was also played through the tv in the room. We headed back to our veranda then as we had just as good views of the glaciers from there and it was less crowded. The when and where had approximate times listed for when we would be passing key glaciers so that was useful to make sure you didn’t miss anything. We used the gym in the afternoon and the thermal suite afterwards. It was quite busy. The spa pool was freezing though. We let one of the staff members know and then a few of them came in and out testing the temperature. It was another 30minutes or so before they said oh its broken, we will have to get someone to look at it. We had afternoon tea ordered to the room for about 3pm. This was a plate of sandwiches, some quiches and then small deserts. It was a nice novelty. They have afternoon tea daily in the MDR too. From about 4pm onwards the Neptune lounge changes over the food to cold entrees, things like crab mayonnaise and bread, chips, dips, olives etc. We got some of these about 6pm while we were getting ready for dinner. The second gala night was scheduled for that evening. New passengers boarded in Skagway the day before. The concierge in the lounge gave us corsages again (apparently you get them for just one of your gala nights and because there were new passengers on board there were corsages ordered for them and she had some spare). We went for pre-dinner drinks in the ocean bar and were seated at our usual table in the MDR. That night during dinner we seen humpback whales which was a real treat. Dinner was fabulous, surf and turf sort of affair. After the dessert they brought out cake for us with Happy Anniversary written on it (I guess they meant honeymoon ha) and a few of the waiters gathered round to sing while they presented it, it was a nice touch, but we were mildly embarrassed! We met our new friends again later that night in the Crow’s Nest for after dinner drinks. When we got back to our room two truffles were left with the when and where for the next day. The seagulls came so close to the balconies and clearly were used to getting food. There was a family 2 doors down from us who were annoyingly letting their children feed them from their hands! 29/07/2019 – Ketchikan 10am – 6pm We had breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill and organised to join our friends for dinner that evening in the MDR. The instant messenger on the navigator app was handy for messaging people without needing the paid internet so we were able to communicate with our friends for dinner plans or meeting for a drink. We had planned to do the Deer Mountain Trail, but it was really overcast and spitting rain, so we were not overly enthused. On a clear day you can get amazing views apparently. We caught the local bus instead to the Totem Bight national park. The bus service is hourly. There is a guide map to the meaning of the Totem poles but even taking your time to read them all and stop at each one you are done in 30mins max. We walked around the shoreline a little and then got the bus back to town, which was an experience in itself in terms of people watching. We hopped back on board to grab some lunch in the lounge and then went off again for a wander to see the salmon trying to get upstream and a wander through Creek Street. It was nice to see this, and it is quite a colourful town but still quite touristy. Probably our favourite port of the 3 stops. We seen Bagus during the day (our stateroom steward) and cheekily asked where do we get more of those delicious truffles? He said he would take care of it. That evening we were a party of 6 for dinner and were seated by the window in the same area we had been all week just one table back from our usual one. It was good having the same sommelier and waiters. After dinner we headed to the Crow’s Nest for happy hour and the music. Happy Hour didn’t mean much to us with the SBP but for the others it was good. We were actually able to order them drinks some of the time. If the waiters thought it was odd how many drinks we were ordering they never said 😊 When we got back to the room that night there was a white chocolate bowl filled with all sorts of different truffles left out for us! Eagle we came across, watching the salmon Creek street 30/07/2019 – Cruising the inside passage We had breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. The bircher muesli is really good as are all the egg benedict options, the omelettes and the “hearty skillets. Everything is customisable and there appears no limit to the sides you order. It was a relatively overcast day until the afternoon where we could appreciate the scenery more and wrap up to sit outside on the veranda. In the Neptune lounge they offered us the use of the internet complimentary if we wanted to check in online for flights. All luggage was to be placed outside your room by midnight. We were given colour tags to put on the bags and advised we could depart at our leisure by 9.30am at the latest. We booked another round of massages and used the gym and the thermal suite where we were assured the spa pool was repaired. It was so busy though and with the spa pool really only big enough for 2 people it’s just awkward when other couples get in while you are there. I don’t believe they only give out 20 passes. After Skagway the thermal lounge was always busy. Although with only 5 loungers that is not hard. Before dinner we seen humpback whales again. Such an amazing sight to see. A dinner at the Pinnacle Grill was included in our package and we saved it for the last night. It was probably our most disappointing meal. Judging by a large party seated next to us they were unimpressed. For us it was just that the starters came out cold and it took forever for them to come over to take our order. My husband had ordered the lobster bisque, I think I had a tart of some sort. They apologised profusely topped up our wine and went to make new starters for us. The service was slow the whole evening. The large party next to us while seated at the same time, were only served their starters as we were finishing our mains. We both ordered steaks with a couple of sides. They were cooked as we requested but we had steaks as nice in the MDR on the previous gala night. The table next to us (they were so loud and wanted everyone to hear obviously) complained that 3 of the steaks were not cooked the way that they wished them to be and 2 of them were the wrong cuts, rib eye instead of fillet or something. The waitress (the same ones who work there at breakfast) was apologising for her mistake in recording the order, but they were really annoyed and didn’t want to wait for new ones to be ordered. The maître D came down about 10minutes later (he should have been over straight away) to try diffuse the situation but they were just so riled up at that point demanding a refund of the $39pp to dine at the PG. The desert we chose was a deconstructed Bomb Alaska and it was delicious. We headed off then to meet our friends for a quiet farewell drinks in the Crow’s Nest. By this stage we were over all the food and drink so wanted to take it easy knowing we had a full day of travel the next day. That evening in the Crow’s Nest there were a lot of the officers which we hadn’t seen really at all during the week. As we moved into the open waters around 10pm it became a lot rockier and the fog was thick, so the foghorn was going every 5 minutes or so through the night. As with the previous night when we got back to the room Bagus had left all sorts of chocolate treats out for us. Earlier that day we made sure to tip him and his assistant for looking after us all week. 31/07/2019 Arrive in Vancouver at 7am. We had our last breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill around 8am. They were already starting to announce which group colours could depart. We said goodbye to Fritz in the lounge and the two room stewards Bagus and Adi and headed off with our hand luggage about 9:15am. It was a quick process through immigration and our bags were waiting for us in the terminal. We got a taxi with the suitcases back up to the four seasons and asked the concierge if he would take our bags for the day which he did. We walked down to Stanley park for a few hours and had lunch before heading to the airport to make our way back to Australia. And that is pretty much our cruise review. We really enjoyed the cruise experience and were happy that we chose Holland America. I will summarise the main points again; Neptune lounge So handy for coffees and light meals throughout the day instead of having to make your way to the Lido or the MDR or one of the cafes. They change the food around 3 times from breakfast to lunch from 11am to canapes and Hors D’Oeuvres after 3pm. The concierges are great for reservations and any queries on your account or general information. Main Dining room Thoroughly enjoyed all our meals in the MDR. We were on level 4 on table 124 by the window at the stern. We tipped the sommelier and waiter well after our first meal. They looked after us well all week. We also tipped the maître D on the second last day to thank him for giving us the same table all week. The Pinnacle Grill Breakfast and dinner Breakfasts were good. It’s a massive menu with so much choice and no limits. Table service is good. As mentioned earlier it was nice to try it for dinner, but the service was slower than in the MDR and our starters were cold which didn’t happen any other evening in the MDR. The sommelier was also much slower getting around the PG than in the MDR. The Lido Based on our one visit I would describe it as chaotic. The one lunch we had was nice, but I cannot fairly comment on the food quality and choice over the week. Signature Beverage Package As I have seen other people here say, do the math before and work out if you think it is likely to drink 15 drinks per person. As was explained to me the speciality coffees were unlimited and not a part of the 15drinks. Bottled 500ml waters were also not limited. We got this as part of a full package through our TA. Being inexperienced we followed our TA’s advice and she encouraged us down this path. I don’t think we got anywhere near the value of it. Probably the first night we had about 9 drinks each over the day but for the other day/nights it was <6 so we offered to “buy” drinks for our friends here and there. Typically, if you just have 1 drink pre dinner and split a bottle of wine over dinner it might work out cheaper to just buy as you go. Thermal Suite pass I imagine on the bigger ships the thermal lounge is a much better experience as the mineral spa looks to be more of a swimming pool than a jacuzzi. Pre cruise it cost $139 per couple and onboard it was $159, I think. We had one of the days where the jacuzzi was too cold, another day where it was completely full and we couldn’t use it at all and on two of the other occasions we felt under pressure to only use the jacuzzi for 5-10mins as there were other people waiting to get in. The loungers are really relaxing, and we enjoyed using them but there are no guarantees you will get one at the time you go. Like I mentioned before there is loads of wasted floor space in there, they could have fit another jacuzzi or two more loungers in. The Spa – Services The two massages we had were great and incredibly relaxing. Both times we took up offers where they reduced the prices to try and encourage passengers to use the spa so I would say wait until you are on board to book. While using the spa and the thermal suite they give you towelled robes and slippers/pool shoes. There are showers and saunas in the women’s change room area and mirrors with a hair dryer. The gym Lots of cardio equipment and weights through the centre. The gym was surprisingly busy any time we used it no matter what time it was. The cardio equipment was the most used from what I observed. They run several classes a day from spinning to yoga etc for an extra cost. There was also a personal trainer available too, again for an extra cost. Entertainment The main shows are on at 7pm and again at 9pm most nights. We looked in once or twice, but nothing really appealed to us. Just the way our dinner reservations where we weren’t going to be able to make a full show. We didn’t feel we had that much free time to fill either that we wanted to get to one of the shows. With having such a nice room and veranda we were happy entertaining ourselves there or using the thermal suite and then listening to the live music at the Mix bar or Ocean bar pre dinner and the DJ up in the Crow’s nest after dinner. Talking to others on the cruise it didn’t sound like the entertainment was that great. The pianist though that played in the Mix bar I think it was attracted a good crowd each evening. The casino we just passed through – not our scene. Stateroom 7028 Massive room, very spacious and comfortable bed and pillows. Lighting in the dressing room could be improved and a decent hairdryer would not go amiss. Location is good for being near the lounge and not too close or far from the stairs. The main downside is directly opposite is as service room/lift for the staff. Early morning (like ~ 6AM) I would wake up to the rattle of cups and cutlery and hear that door open and close. If you are light sleeper, I would bear this in mind, there wasn’t a morning where I didn’t hear them. Otherwise though we couldn’t hear our neighbours through the wall. The balcony is huge and also very private from your neighbour although you can still have chats if you wish across the balcony! Laundry This was included with the suite and was so useful. Even just for ironing shirts and dresses. They usually returned the clothes the same day if they were collected in the morning. Thank you for reading!
  15. This was our 5th time on the Pride. Boarding in Baltimore is so easy, we were on Lido within 15 -20 minutes of parking the car! Rooms were ready at 2. Will share my thoughts on this cruise and then post some Bermuda pictures. Muster Drill was around 30-40 minutes by the time you wait for everyone. Way to long to be standing together in the heat. Dive-In Movies: Some movies were shown as early as 6pm. Lido is not dark enough and is too noisy to enjoy the movies later but 6 was way too early. It was Dumbo for kids but still, would be nice to have them in one of the closed areas. Lido: I have some pics of the wonderful, delicious cakes they put out at lunch time. As much as we usually love eating in the Dining Room, we found service a little slower and meals taking over an hour. So we ate more times on Lido. Same choices as dining room but also much more! We enjoyed it better, more relaxing. Cereal was still in the little boxes. Fun Shops: They increased the tables of jewelry in the Diamond store and put the $10 table in the fun shops. The watch sale was in the hallway where they do the Gold by the Inch. Last day the 2 for 20 tees were set up in the Atrium lobby. People were 5 deep at this table! lol Pictures: Previous cruises had the photographers set up for elegant nights only. On this cruise, they were set up to take "Casual Pics" every night of the cruise. They were really pushing the large canvas prints at 59.99 but included a free 8/10. 8x10's were 21.99 and 5x7's were 2 for 9.99. Wallets 4 for 9.99. When pictures are taken, ask for the card for free wallets. You will receive 4 wallet size pics for free. Got this for each pose we purchased. Rooms: Our room steward, Salman, offered both morning and evening service. We chose morning only and ice but if you would like both, it is still available. Someone asked about notepads in room. There was a small note pad about 3"x3" with maybe 10 sheets and a small "mini-golf" pencil. Announcement (mostly annoying) cannot be heard in the rooms. Shower was nice with good water pressure. I think they could use a grab bar for seniors. Bathroom is equipped with bar soap, shampoo and conditioner. We bring our own. Beds and pillow very comfortable as always. Decks: We like sitting out on Deck 10. Heading to Bermuda there were so many chairs being held with bags and towels that somedays it was impossible to get a chair. We like to sit out after dinner also. Carnival must prefer you go the shows and the bars because at 5:30 they start stacking the lounge chairs on Deck 10. If you are already in a chair they will allow you to stay. Sitting on the Serenity Deck in the evening is impossible because people would sit in the chairs, seating areas, after getting out of the pool or hot tub. Chairs were always wet so you couldn't sit out in the evening. Comedy Club: They have expanded the seating area in Butterflies so it is easier to get a seat now for the comedy shows. Pier Runners: The Pride carriers around 2500 passengers. Why is there always 15-25 people who can just not be back on board in the stated time? It is rude and inconsiderate when more than 2400 people can follow the rules and be on board when told. The boarding time in Bermuda was 11:30 but there they were running at 12:45! IMO these people who arrive after the requested time should be fined when there S&S is swiped after the allotted time. It would teach them to be on time! Maybe $20 added to each person's card for being late. Just my opinion. Posts: I will be posting pictures after I give some info on the port of Bermuda. Included are pics of Bar Menu, Kids Club itinerary, Sample Menu and TV Channels. Bermuda: This was the most beautiful port we have ever been to. When the boat docks at Kings Wharf at the Royal Dockyard the Starboard side is facing the dockyard. There is a free shuttle that you can take to go to the buildings around the dockyard. Clocktower Mall, Glass blowing factory, Craft Market, etc. Bermuda is expensive because they have to import everything - they have no natural resources. We were told cost of living is 50% higher than NYC and 75% higher than most of the US. A loaf of bread was $7.00, gallon of gas on this day was over %=$8.50. We did the Carnival Excursion of Hidden Hideaways and Famous Homes. This was great! Guide was informative, funny, friendly. Boat ride was nice with a great breeze. Left side of top deck was best for picture taking. The other tour we did was with Bermuda Byways with Heidi. Our 6 hour tour took 7.5 hours and we saw most of the Island. Again, great tour with lots of history of the Island. Questions: If you have any questions, please ask. I will now try to post pictures, wish me luck!
  16. Hi all, First time cruising down in New Zealand and I have a few questions and couldn't find too much in the search and hopefully someone with mroe experience or a local Kiwi/Aussie could give some help. Normally I try the roll call but since so few of us are on those for non US cruises, trying my luck here? My itinerary is as follows: Day Cruise Ports Arrive Depart Mon Auckland, New Zealand (EMBARK) --- 6:00 pm Tue Bay of Islands, New Zealand 8:00 am 6:00 pm Wed Tauranga, New Zealand 6:00 am 5:30 pm Thu Napier, New Zealand 9:00 am 4:30 pm Fri Marlborough (Picton), New Zealand 8:00 am 6:00 pm Sat Akaroa, New Zealand 8:00 am 6:00 pm Sun Dunedin (Port Chalmers), New Zealand 8:00 am 6:00 pm Mon Cruise Doubtful Sound --- --- Cruise Dusky Sound --- --- Cruise Milford Sound --- --- Tue At Sea --- --- Wed At Sea --- --- Thu Sydney, Australia (DISEMBARK) 6:00 am --- Do you know which ports are tender ports? I was thinking I'll book the cruise excursions for those and I was trying to check and on the board, it says Auckland is a tender port which suprises me being such a large city but that doesn't affect me so much. Do you know about the others? Next, what are some of the recommended excursions? I have two little ones, a 2 year old and a 5 year old so somethign that is family friendly would be awesome. If you have any must dos or good for them, please share! It says we arrive at 6AM Sydney, does anyone know if a 12:00PM flight is catchable assuming no special priority disembarkation or would we need that? Lastly, I have seen reviews that the 8th floor being aboe Bliss is a horrible level. Are there any other places that would not be recommended to book? Thanks! Yi
  17. Hello, can someone please help us out of the differences in food quality in the free dining on norwegian vs royal caribbean and the shoreexcurions on norwegian vs royal caribbean , and holland america- we did holland america and the tours were fantastic- did royal car for europe and vendors not so great for tours- hoping norwegian is better
  18. Does the Pride still have the French door balcony cabins?
  19. Hi, I know what Norwegian has promised to pay refunds and credits for the restriction to Cuba sailings - I'm just wondering if anyone has received the 50% fare credit yet and I had a few questions: 1) Was the 50% based on fare, taxes, and any other fees paid? 2) Was it off the entire fare for all travelers in the party? 3) Does anyone know if the "future" cruise credit is limited to a dollar amount, number in party and/or to certain destinations? Thanks so much!
  20. This thread can go on forever. Nothing can change the already configured "Encore" which was built/designed by people smarter than us. Sorry folks. As a solo traveler (most of the time), there are only "Studio Cabins" available on the Breakaway Class and + (minus Joy). I don't want to speak for the entire clientele in the Studios, but I must say that Spice was a great place to hang out away from the kids. The Grotto (on Escape) was perfect to cool off. With the elimination of that space on new/impending ships to dry dock, well, who knows. Replacing calm spaces with Laser Tag for an up charge is beyond me. Let me get this straight...Laser Tag (a game which includes guns and shooting people) overrides basic deck space for the average person. Hmm. I kinda get the Go-Karts (for those who want to pay to partake), but I just have a hard time with "Laser Tag" taking space based on today's societies attitude with guns, etc. Nuff said on that and PLEASE this is just JMO! Vibe: A general advertisement on their website says this: Found on board Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Getaway, Vibe Beach Club is one of the cruise line’s hidden gems. Vibe Beach Club is an all-adult (age 18+), limited access lounging and sunbathing oasis. If you search deeper, you may find this: The private whirlpools offer quiet and deep relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. Norwegian also limits the number of passes that can be purchased to enter Vibe Beach Club in order to ensure tranquility by never allowing the club to feel overcrowded. There are plenty of cushioned chaise lounges and chairs and a full-service bar for ultimate relaxation. These first-come first-served passes must be booked through Guest Services once you board, so it’s a good idea to go straight there on embarkation day. Huh? How deep do you have to search to find out that it costs $$$ and you pretty much have to be 1st in line and RUN to a destination to obtain these passes? What about people who aren't on CC and saw the glorious advertisement for the "Vibe"? Poor saps 😞 It's all good. There will always be a cabin waiting for me somewhere throughout the cruise industry, and NCL will not miss me and my measly Studio. LOL! 🙂
  21. Well, we’re just waiting to disembark the Pride and I just went through our S&S account. Looks like even with our AARP 10% discounted gift cards paying for it, we didn’t quite break even on Cheers. Needed another 6-8 drinks over the week. We started out drinking pretty heavily (for us), but started feeling kind of ragged after two sea days of that. My husband, particularly, cut back his day drinking quite a bit by about Thursday. In the future we won’t be getting the package again. We liked the flexibility of trying new things we might not have otherwise and the convenience of prepaying. But — for these moderate drinkers — it started to feel like an obligation to try to get our money’s worth. No regrets at all! But it would make more sense for us to just prepay shipboard credit and save some money from the full Cheers package. Your mileage may vary.
  22. The “Orange Party,” now apparently a regular event on all dam ships. It is basically an onboard celebration inspired by King’s Day, the Netherland’s national holiday. Orange is the color most associated with the Netherlands and the House of Orange, Holland’s royal family. The event took place in the BB King’s Blues Club with the band of the same name providing dance music and there were Dutch-inspired appetizers, beer, cocktails, plus a festive display of national pride with a sea of orange!
  23. We won't have a drink package on Pride of America. We aren't big soda drinkers, but at $7.95/day we figure it might be worthwhile. What is the charge for a soda on-board? If we even drink two/day definitely worth it if the sodas are $4-5 each.
  24. Back to back from Boston to Montreal, then Montreal to Boston is OK. Back to back Fort Lauderdale to Montreal, then Montreal to Boston violates the Passenger Vessel Services Act which forbids a foreign flagged carrier (HAL) from transporting passengers between US cities without a stop in a FAR foreign port which means outside North America and the Caribbean.
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