The check-in process was quite smooth compared to all of the other check-ins that I have experienced. The only downside was walking from the HAL check-in location to the Security checkpoint right into the wave of disembarking passengers. I had to wait only a few minutes before the Security folks as me step forward. My carryon bag was opened and some of my A/C adapters were confiscated although all met the HAL adapter requirements. Identical adapters also in the bag were not confiscated. It was not worth arguing with a contractor. I will go to Security and attempt to get them back. No adapters or extension cords were confiscated from my check luggage as they were in San Diego. That latter is why I pack adapters and extension cords in both luggage categories.
I took my seat in the Suite Guest/4-Star Mariner row of seats a few yards from several hundred passengers facing me a few minutes after 10:00 AM. A member of our roll call stopped by to talk about my ship's tour scheduled for this afternoon and soon four other Suites guests joined the discussion. Boarding was at the stroke of 11:30 AM and I was the first passenger to board the ship. I was in my stateroom at 11:37. My luggage was on the bed when I returned from an Asian lunch in the Lido Market at 1:00 PM.
The walking tour with my roll call members grew to nearly 20 with other first-time HAL cruisers joining us. We got the full infomercial from the Spa folks to include a pitch by the Dermatologist who vowed that we could be ten years younger in just a few minutes. With the exception of the Private Party Crow's Nest, Retreat Cabanas, and the closed Deck 3 Vista Show Room doors, the tour hit all of the public areas of the ship.
The Crew Safety Drill was almost painless and quick with the stateroom cards being scanned for all arriving passengers. I did see a good number of walkers, wheel chairs, and scooters which indicated no active process to allow them to attend an alternative drill elsewhere on the ship.
In spite of the late arrival, the ship managed to depart on time.
Changes that I noticed today: New elevator interiors, glassware in the Lido Market are now plastic, "On Locations" are now "Where & When" with a new format, MDR tables have new table number markers that include the name of the waiters serving each table, Lido Market tables now have the name of the server responsible for each table, stateroom cards are now scanned as part of the Passenger Safety Drill, all electrical adapters/cords in carry-on luggage are confiscated and sent to ship's Security (I will plead my case tomorrow), new folders on your bed during evening turn down (Where & When, Breakfast Card, and promotions), invitations and dining reservations now in very small envelopes, lots of USB ports around the staterooms (bedsides, desk, new literature in staterooms (Room Service menus, DVD list, welcome booklets, etc,), HAL Security is now located before entering the gangway, and new Alaska shopping bag.
Internet prices are $250 for 1000 minutes, $175 for 500 minutes, $100 for 250 minutes, or 75 cents per minute.
The weather is wonderful with blue skies, bright sunshine, and puffy clouds at 9:00 PM.
Photo Reviews -OR--Menus, On Locations, and More
Oosterdam - Alaska - May 2008 (7 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - May 2009 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Eastern & Southern) - Feb 2010 (14 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2010 (7 days)
Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera - April 2011 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - Sep 2011 (B2B 14 days)
Noordam - Caribbean Seafarer - Mar 2012 (11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2012 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Southern) - Dec 2012 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - May 2013 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal Sunfarer- Nov 2013 (10 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - Jul 2014 (B2B 4 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Dec 2014 Caribbean - (East-West 14 days)
Noordam - Pacific Coastal - May 2015 (5 days)
Noordam - Alaska - May 2015 (B2B 14 days)
Oosterdam - Southern Caribbean - Nov 2015 (11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Pacific Coastal - Apr 2016 (5 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Alaska Inside Passage - April 2016 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - Nov 2016 (10 days)
Noordam - Alaska - Jun 2017 (Northbound includes Denali) (12 days)
Veendam - Caribbean - Dec 2017 (14 days)
Zaandam - Alaska - May 2017 (14 days)
Nieuw Statendam - Caribbean - Jan 2019 (14 days)