November-December Round Trip Transatlantic

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#41
Central Maryland
18,869 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Nothing terribly unusual about the morning. I took my walk on deck 5 and while I watched for a sunrise it was too cloudy. I mostly worked on packing until the first “Conversation” at 11, Paul Deegan with “Frozen: The Ancient Path to a Himalayan Kingdom”.

The final team trivia was not kind to Fifty shades of Gray Hair. We ended up just above the middle of the pack. Each player on all 11 teams was given visors and pens and the winners also got tote bags.

The 2:15 Conversation was Phil Bey on his travels with Queen Elizabeth II. That was closely followed by a boat building competition in the main pool. This is apparently done just on transatlantics; not sure if it is just the Westbound or not. There were about a dozen boats of widely varying sizes and designs, all but one of which floated reasonably. Along with an overall winner there were several categories. The judges were 2 of the entertainers and the Security officer. We were almost close enough to the Bahamas to see land as the launching ended.

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https://getawaysfrom21044.files.word.../12/winner.jpg

From 4 to 6 it was more packing along with watching my favorite non-Crystal ship sail from Port Everglades on a Holiday cruise. A Farewell “wave” was held on the pool deck at 6 with Amber and the Band providing music and culminating with a massing of the ships crew around deck 9.

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.word...2/farewell.jpg

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.word...12/theband.jpg

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.word...12/thecrew.jpg

Dinner was hosted by Kaitlyn Carr and Rikki Jay. The final evening I went for 2 of the classics, the chicken consume and chicken breast, along with Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Packing was completed just at 11.

I’ll take my parting shot from today’s worship service. Not to pass my beliefs off on others I’ll just say that I do like the thought, which would be appropriate for an interfaith service as well as an interdenominational one: Religion is a candle inside a multi-colored lantern. Everyone looks through a particular color, but the candle is always there.”

Roy
#42
Central Maryland
18,869 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
My final morning on the Odyssey came with it’s highs and lows. I was out on deck 5 about 5:10 and walked until we were in the harbor.

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.word...2/arrival1.jpg

I think we were originally slated for terminal 4 but we actually backed into terminal 21. A white pickup truck on the dock indicated the line handlers were ready for our arrival.

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.word...nehandlers.jpg

The disembarkation information had indicated “Breakfast 7-9 in the Colonnade”. It said nothing about coffee and going up to the Observation Lounge about 6:10 was greeted by a totally blank space, no trace of the steward who had been so faithful during the crossing. Going down to Seabourn Square there was already a long coffee line at 6:15. I decided to wait until breakfast.

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.word...coffeeline.jpg

Once 7 came breakfast was not the same. I sat down at a table with no waiters scurrying around. A crew member asked about drinks and I inquired about the possibility of an omelet. He checked and reported that much of the crew was still undergoing immigration checks. Also unexpected was that the buffet serving dishes were turned around so we could not help ourselves.

We were supposed to be out of our suites by 8. As I left for the club the bow camera showed the 17th street bridge on it’s hourly opening. My pink 4 tags had an 8:15 estimated departure availability but my car reservation was at 10 so I was in no rush. I picked up my stuff and left at 8:30. Terminal 21 is clearly designed for more than 450 people and the luggage was well spread out. Mine was at the far end of the hall, closest to customs.

There are now 3 lines, a mobile passport lane, a general lane, and a Global Entry lane. The general lane had a line of perhaps 20 people, barely making a dent in the waiting space, but I headed for the Global Entry Line. My NEXUS card was readily accepted (I was asked about the card but don’t think I actually had to show it), and there was one person ahead of me in the line. I was through the process and in a taxi at 8:45.

I will spend most of the next week in the Orlando area but stopped short for a couple of days in Lake Wales. One of my favorite Florida spots is Bok Tower Gardens and I can see the tower from the Hampton Inn parking lot. In the evening I watched the Odyssey head out to sea.

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.word...6/12/adieu.jpg

As a parting shot, this will conclude my regular posting on Cruise Critic. Much of the next week will be family time but there will be a few reports at http://getawaysfrom21044.wordpress.com.

Roy
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Currently enjoying:
Grand Alaska Volendam-Denali-Westerdam

Index to active Crystal Roll Calls
Limited View Cabins

Future cruises:


7/18/18 Volendam/Westerdam Alaska >>> 8/10/18 Crystal Symphony Panama Canal
11/10/18 Grandeur of the Seas Southern Caribbean
1/4/19 Prinsendam Grand South America
4/21/19 Nieuw Statendam Transatlantic>>>5/9/19 QV Kiel-Southampton>>5/12/19 QM2 Brugges-Gurernsey-New York
10/18/19 QM2 NY-Southampton>>Bach Rhine>>Serenity Barcelona-Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale
1/22/20 Crystal Serenity LA-Sydney>>>3/6/20 QM2 Sydney-New York
#43
11,000+ Club
11,243 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
Roy,
Thanks for your TA B2B reports! Welcome back to the States. Enjoy your time with family during this holiday season. Amtrak back to Baltimore later?
Next for us, Serenade 10 day Caribbean Jan. 13 from FLL.
Rick and Deirdra
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#44
Central Maryland
18,869 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Thanks Rick and Deirdra. I'm actually flying home. I can't remember exactly why right now, but I think it's because I finalized my Christmas plans a bit too late to book the train. That Serenade cruise sounds very nice. The Vision and Radiance classes have their differences but I like them equally.

For the last 5 years I’ve been saying 2 things: My cruise line of choice, hands down, is Crystal and (2) my favorite non-Crystal ship, hands down, is the Prinsendam. I’ll do a bit of a comparison of those ships with the ones I’ve recently sailed, Seabourn Odyssey and Queen Elizabeth. While QM2 does function as a cruise ship, I look at it mostly as a ship uniquely suited to crossing the North Atlantic.

Before going into details I’ll revisit my 2 long held beliefs. (1) Favorite cruise line, hands down, no change there. (2) Favorite non-Crystal ship, the Prinsendam. I’m retiring the second hands down. Prinsendam, overall, slightly edges out the Odyssey as my favorite non-Crystal ship.

1, Check-in. I claim to follow a religious leader who said “as you’ve treated the least of these, you’ve treated me”, and I try to live that way. Tied for 3rd are HAL and Cunard. On each I’ve encountered long lines at the terminal checking in far more people than they have the staff to handle. It’s not entirely a matter of ship size; I’ve encountered these lines on Prinsendam which carries fewer passengers than either Crystal Ship. I now have the record with both companies to get priority checkin, but it should be easy for everybody. Tied for first are Seabourn (based on my very small sample) and Crystal. In each case we typically have security screening in the terminal but then go directly to the ship where full checkin is done by ship’s crew in one of the public rooms and there has always been ample staff allocated to the task to make it painless for everybody.

2. Room turnaround:
(4) Odyssey - Rooms are not available until 2PM on embarkation day. At least some of the hallways leading to the rooms appeared to be closed off. We were requested to vacate our rooms by 8AM on the last day. There was a place to leave bags until the rooms are ready. Also, the only option for the first and last meals was the Colonnade.
(3) Crystal - Rooms not available until2PM but it is easy to drop a bag off in the room before that. Disembarkation instructions said nothing about a need to vacate room before leaving the ship. On embarkation day the Dining Room is open until 1:30 and the Trident Grill all afternoon, but the Lido buffet is closed. On disembarkation morning all dining venues are available.
(2) Cunard - Rooms are available on embarkation but must be vacated by 8:30 when leaving. Only the Lido buffet is open on embarkation day (except for Grills) but both the Lido and Restaurant are open the final morning.
(1) Prinsendam - Rooms are ready on boarding and may be occupied until we leave the ship the last day. Both the dining room and buffet are open for both the first lunch and the final breakfast If HAL can do this why can’t others.

3. Walking
(5) Odyssey - just a short section around the aft of the ship, falling short even of the 15,000 ton Wind Surf.
(4) Queen Elizabeth - Very nice but a little below the others because the view is obstructed going around the bow and it’s pretty narrow in some spots.
(3) Prinsendam - A pure delight
(2) A step up from the Prinsendam in elegance
I’ve exhausted my 4 ships without a number one. I’ll break my own rules; number 1 is Queen Mary 2. A step below Crystal’s decks in elegance it more than makes up for that small shortcoming in practicality. QM2 provides far more suitability in a much greater variety of weather conditions with a bulkhead around the bow that can be closed off in high winds to make moving around it easy, high enough above the water to be less suseptable to spray and with double doors with an air lock which makes access much easier in windy conditions. A deck truly appropriate for a North Atlantic Ocean Liner.

4. Dining

(4). Odyssey - Very nice but two for me critical deficiencies. First, no choice of fixed dining. Also, way too late for my liking. It starts in the morning with only room service for coffee before 6, and nothing more than pastries before 8 most days. Dinner is the real challenge and several factors conspired to make it very undesirable for me. Starting out late, I found the dinners also very long, typically 90 minutes when dining alone and 150 minutes at a hosted table. Then follows a late show. I found it especially awkward to be at a table hosted by an entertainer and say “no, I missed your show”. Finally, a little administrative item on the Odyssey. Notice of time changes was very inconsistent. I pretty much said I would watch the late shows on nights where we gained an hour. One night it was in the Herald, a second the Captain mentioned it at noon. On the other 3 I saw nothing until there was a card on my bed after dinner. One night my hosted dinner ended about 9:40. I wanted to watch at least a little bit of the show and went right up to the Grand Salon, leaving by 10. When I got to my room, the card was on my bed and I returned for the rest of the show.
(3) Queen Elizabeth - Overall, very nice. A little bit less extensive menu than the other ships but still plenty of good choices. Could be downgraded slightly because the assignment of fixed vs flexible depends on cabin grade but Britannia Club is less expensive than any of the others than HAL.
(2) Prinsendam - High quality food and attentive service.
(1) Crystal - All the above plus the ability to order anything off menu with a day’s notice (I believe also on Seabourn). The Maitre’d is especially good at matching people up, will make changes if the very rare instances where things do not work out, and the staff is generally very quick to intervene when things go wrong.

Roy
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Currently enjoying:
Grand Alaska Volendam-Denali-Westerdam

Index to active Crystal Roll Calls
Limited View Cabins

Future cruises:


7/18/18 Volendam/Westerdam Alaska >>> 8/10/18 Crystal Symphony Panama Canal
11/10/18 Grandeur of the Seas Southern Caribbean
1/4/19 Prinsendam Grand South America
4/21/19 Nieuw Statendam Transatlantic>>>5/9/19 QV Kiel-Southampton>>5/12/19 QM2 Brugges-Gurernsey-New York
10/18/19 QM2 NY-Southampton>>Bach Rhine>>Serenity Barcelona-Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale
1/22/20 Crystal Serenity LA-Sydney>>>3/6/20 QM2 Sydney-New York