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lovely_serenity

"Live from" ms Volendam to Alaska! My First HAL Experience

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Hi Sarah.

 

Well, I am back from the cruise. Enjoyed it immensely! Your hints were so helpful. Copied your recommendations for the various meals and have to say that I tried many of them. Your family's tastes must be the same as mine.

 

So glad to hear that you did well on your exams. Good for you.

 

Will be doing a review soon. Not that it will compare to yours!!!!!!!!!:D

 

Regards,

Ellen

 

Hi Ellen!

 

I'm so happy that you had a good time! :) (&& btw, thanks for getting back to me ^^). Yay! I'm glad that my hints and stuff was of help! Did you really? :D So you actually ate the stuff I said was good? Did you like them?

 

Thanks! But I've only heard the results of 2/3 exams, still waiting on the third one nervously D: (thank you c: ~ )

 

I will look forward to it (: , I'm sure it will be just as wonderful!

 

Sarah

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Congratulations, Sarah! Have you been in French Immersion? Did you take any other AP exams? My youngest took, I think, 3 AP's, (in the States), and then was able to skip her first year of university in Ontario (they counted it as Grade 13). All the best to you for your future. :)

 

Thank you very much! :) I actually have! Though only in Gr.6 & Gr.7 (late ench immersion), then I quit in highschool because I felt that it'd be impratical to have all of my courses in French ^^".

 

I'm only in Grade 11 (this last school year), so I can't really.. yeah LOL. :P I am planning to do AP Chemistry next year though!

 

Wow, that's awesome! Good on her! :)

 

Thank you! ^^ (and the best to your daughter!)

Edited by lovely_serenity

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This isn't really relavent to anything, but I'm so excited, I wanted to share it with you guys! So here it is, the exam results for my AP French 12 test was released just now and I found out that I got 4/5 on it! :,D Advanced Placement exams are taken throughtout the US and Canada, and 5/5s are basically never received, so I am very proud of my 4! =^^=

 

The way it's scored is:

 

5 Extremely well qualified

4 Well qualified

3 Qualified

2 Possibly qualified

1 No recommendation

 

That exam was brutal too :,( it went from 11:30am to 4:00pm. And part of it required you to awkwardly record your voice into the computer at the same time as everyone else in the room!

 

Long story short, I'm relieved ^^"

 

Congratulations!!

Keep up the good work.

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This isn't really relavent to anything, but I'm so excited, I wanted to share it with you guys! So here it is, the exam results for my AP French 12 test was released just now and I found out that I got 4/5 on it! :,D Advanced Placement exams are taken throughtout the US and Canada, and 5/5s are basically never received, so I am very proud of my 4! =^^=

 

The way it's scored is:

 

5 Extremely well qualified

4 Well qualified

3 Qualified

2 Possibly qualified

1 No recommendation

 

That exam was brutal too :,( it went from 11:30am to 4:00pm. And part of it required you to awkwardly record your voice into the computer at the same time as everyone else in the room!

 

Long story short, I'm relieved ^^"

 

Fantastic result.

Congratulations.

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Thank you very much! :) I actually have! Though only in Gr.6 & Gr.7 (late ench immersion), then I quit in highschool because I felt that it'd be impratical to have all of my courses in French ^^".

 

I'm only in Grade 11 (this last school year), so I can't really.. yeah LOL. :P I am planning to do AP Chemistry next year though!

 

Wow, that's awesome! Good on her! :)

 

Thank you! ^^ (and the best to your daughter!)

 

She had a lot of fun in high school, like I'm sure you are having, but did well, and she was really good in math. Now she is an air traffic controller and has a great life. She still likes to travel with us, so we are really lucky. :)

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Tracy Arm is such a beautiful experience. This means that you will be forced to do another Alaskan cruise that lets you see it next time. But there is so much beauty in an Alaska cruise regardless.

 

You're correct about Sky-Train. It's the only way to get from the Vancouver airport into downtown.

 

It's great having a dad...with parking priviliges at YVR. Parking there would have ended up costing you the equivalent of the cruise itself. I hope dad's Father's Day gift was a good one. Peter

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She had a lot of fun in high school, like I'm sure you are having, but did well, and she was really good in math. Now she is an air traffic controller and has a great life. She still likes to travel with us, so we are really lucky. :)

 

(I am :p, lots of great friends ^^) Really? That's so fortunate! Math is my least favourite subject LOL. Still, I do pretty well in school too. :D (4.0 GPA) My friends think my study methods are nuts, I can study for 6-7 hours straight. Sometimes I forget to eat o_o LOL.

 

Woaahh~ that sounds awesome! I'm happy for her! ^^

 

That's wonderful that your daughter still likes to travel with you, it must be great to still spend lots of time with your kid! I know I'm still going to travel with my mom & dad when I grow up!

Edited by lovely_serenity

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Tracy Arm is such a beautiful experience. This means that you will be forced to do another Alaskan cruise that lets you see it next time. But there is so much beauty in an Alaska cruise regardless.

 

You're correct about Sky-Train. It's the only way to get from the Vancouver airport into downtown.

 

It's great having a dad...with parking priviliges at YVR. Parking there would have ended up costing you the equivalent of the cruise itself. I hope dad's Father's Day gift was a good one. Peter

 

Indeed, last time I was there, we successfully pulled up right infront of it. The weather was cloudy though :/ luckily no rain. Well, not "forced" per say :D, food is food, and I will always love it. Anywho, next year I'm going on the Disney Wonder in August to Alaska (for the 4th time) for a family reunion. All of my relatives from the Lower Mainland (ie. Vancouver and all the other cities surrouding it) plus some from China/Hong Kong will be coming together to do a family cruise :) I am very much looking forward to it!

 

I am not kidding you when I saw I could almost become a tour guide of the majority of Alaska ports o_o LOL. I've so far been on 3 Alaskan cruises and have hit nearly all of the ports (not the ones like Anchorage and Homer though. Only round trip cruises). Literally, I have visited all possible round trip ports o_o

 

The Canada Line Sky Train is indeed the most convenient method.

 

Yeah! We are very lucky to have Dad work at Air Canada. He is precisely the reason that us kids have been blessed with so much travelling priviledges (with the special employee flight discount stuff). Indeed, we did :) we also took him out for dinner and paid for it ourselves!

 

Sarah

Edited by lovely_serenity

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Though I am on page 13 of the thread but I wanted to Thank you Young smart lady as you do not know how much your posts have helped us to get ready for our cruise on 31st July.We are a group of 30 people going.

 

You are such a bright kid and we wish you the very best in life!!

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Though I am on page 13 of the thread but I wanted to Thank you Young smart lady as you do not know how much your posts have helped us to get ready for our cruise on 31st July.We are a group of 30 people going.

 

You are such a bright kid and we wish you the very best in life!!

Aw, thanks! :) you are too kind. I would be very pleased if my tips and whatnot were to aid you in anyway shape or form.

Wow, that's a huge group! Is it with family or friends?

I hope you have a wonderful trip nonetheless! ^^

&& thank you very, very much (: If at any point in time you have a question or are wondering anything, feel free to ask! I'd be happy to answer it to the best of my abilities.

Edited by lovely_serenity

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Just in case you guys are curious, here are some of the dresses I wore during the cruise :)

 

Non-formal:

 

9266007879_8c4311b2b7_b.jpg

 

9266007657_248e1826a1_b.jpg

 

Formal: (plus the blue one to the right ^)

 

9268788836_bd01a17c21_b.jpg

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Hi Sarah,

 

You have truly inspired me to plan a trip to Alaska. I have thoroughly enjoyed your travelogue and beautiful photo's. I felt as if I were right along with you and your family on your cruise! Thank you for that. Travelling with my family is one of the greatest joys of my life. (We just returned from a fantastic family trip to Italy.)

 

Back to Alaska. Since you have sailed there on HAL, Celebrity and DCL, can you tell me which line is your favorite to cruise to Alaska? You had mentioned Celebrity earlier, but I see you are returning to Alaska on DCL. We have cruised DCL 3 times and it is by far our favorite line. Our children are 29 and 24 and our 24 year old loves DCL, Our 29 year old hasn't been able to join us on our 3 DCL cruises. In fact, neither of them will be able to join us on the trip to Alaska. :(

 

We are looking into a cruise tour so we can see Denali. Have you done that on any of your trips? (Anyone else done this on any lines?) We want to take a 3 or 4 day land tour and then a 7 day southbound cruise.

 

As far as cruise lines, as I mentioned, we love DCL. We have also cruised Celebrity, RCCL, NCL and Carnival. Out of those, we disliked Carnival and would not book them again. I have friends and family who have sailed Celebrity, Princess, RCCL and HAL to Alaska and all have been happy, so I just don't know what to do. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

I am so looking forward to seeing Vancouver on this trip. Last summer, DH, DD and I sailed DCL from NYC up the coast to Eastern Canada. It was beautiful! I have heard wonderful things about Vancouver as well.

 

Sarah, thank you again for your wonderful trip report and congratulations on your AP's. You seem like an extremely intelligent young lady!

 

Judy

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Hi Sarah,

 

You have truly inspired me to plan a trip to Alaska. I have thoroughly enjoyed your travelogue and beautiful photo's. I felt as if I were right along with you and your family on your cruise! Thank you for that. Travelling with my family is one of the greatest joys of my life. (We just returned from a fantastic family trip to Italy.)

 

Back to Alaska. Since you have sailed there on HAL, Celebrity and DCL, can you tell me which line is your favorite to cruise to Alaska? You had mentioned Celebrity earlier, but I see you are returning to Alaska on DCL. We have cruised DCL 3 times and it is by far our favorite line. Our children are 29 and 24 and our 24 year old loves DCL, Our 29 year old hasn't been able to join us on our 3 DCL cruises. In fact, neither of them will be able to join us on the trip to Alaska. :(

 

We are looking into a cruise tour so we can see Denali. Have you done that on any of your trips? (Anyone else done this on any lines?) We want to take a 3 or 4 day land tour and then a 7 day southbound cruise.

 

As far as cruise lines, as I mentioned, we love DCL. We have also cruised Celebrity, RCCL, NCL and Carnival. Out of those, we disliked Carnival and would not book them again. I have friends and family who have sailed Celebrity, Princess, RCCL and HAL to Alaska and all have been happy, so I just don't know what to do. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

I am so looking forward to seeing Vancouver on this trip. Last summer, DH, DD and I sailed DCL from NYC up the coast to Eastern Canada. It was beautiful! I have heard wonderful things about Vancouver as well.

 

Sarah, thank you again for your wonderful trip report and congratulations on your AP's. You seem like an extremely intelligent young lady!

 

Judy

 

Hi Judy!

 

First and foremost, Thank you for your nice and long, thoughtful post! :)

 

You are too kind ^^ thank you for those wonderful compliments! I'm very happy to heafr that you enjoyed reading my report! Hearing even one person say that makes me feel like the whole thing was worth while. (:

 

I seriously agree with you that family vacations are the best vacations! I can clearly see the difference in the amount of family time spent together on the trip and after it. Seeing as 3/5 of us have jobs, and another 3/5 of us has school & church etc. the amount of time we all actually spend as a whole family is quite minimal :/

 

Oo, where in Italy did you go? :D was it for a cruise or was it strictly land-based?

 

Regarding HAL vs DCL vs Celebrity to Alaska, I'd have to say that DCL and Celebrity did a much better job. The food was better as well as the service. And the dishes weren't so hit and miss on the taste :/ Although this rating is coming from someone who has only been on one of each, I don't know how reliable that can be ^^' When going on cruises, the cruiselines only provide an idea of what your outcome will be like. In actuality, it's really the luck of the draw which gets you your whole experience. Each ship's crewmembers make a huge impact on your vacation and they are periodically switched! So one can never predict how their trips are going to go :)

 

Yes! Next year I will be going on my 2nd DCL cruise. It'll be a family reunion type thing and around 17 other relatives of mine will be joining us! It was actually a choice between DCL vs HAL and I told my relatives to choose DCL :P because it was better for Alaska. The 5 of us will be the only Castaway Club Members there next year ;) the rest of my relatives have never been on DCL before. We all booked rooms on the same deck too! :D looking forward to it big time!

 

We rarely actually book land tours during our cruise based vacations. If we fly somewhere else for a cruise, we usually just go run around doing tourist stuff :) and then hop on the ship, cruise and then go home ^^" so unfortunately, I can't provide any insight on that.

 

My parents have been on more cruises than I have. They've cruised Celebrity, DCL, RCCL, Princess, NCL, Carnival and HAL. (I haven't been on NCL before). Their # of cruises also exceeds mine as well. From their experiences, they disliked NCL and RCCL the most. They said NCL's food was bad and lacking & RCCL is so-so but nickel&dimes wayyy too much. They were actually disappointed in this HAL Alaskan cruise because they had said HAL in Europe was AWESOME. They were kind of unhappy that the awesomeness was lacking in this trip (food wise & service wise). My only Princess cruise was just okay and my few Carnival ones were not bad. Mom says Carnival has the best desserts in al of the Seven Seas though ;).

 

When you visit, make sure to check out all the touristy Olympic stuff! :D and eat Chinese food in Richmond! (where YVR is located), it's the best!

 

Thanks again for, well, for so many things! For your kind words, for reading and for commenting so thoughtfully ^^~ !

 

Sarah

Edited by lovely_serenity

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Hi Sarah,

 

You have truly inspired me to plan a trip to Alaska. I have thoroughly enjoyed your travelogue and beautiful photo's. I felt as if I were right along with you and your family on your cruise! Thank you for that. Travelling with my family is one of the greatest joys of my life. (We just returned from a fantastic family trip to Italy.)

 

Back to Alaska. Since you have sailed there on HAL, Celebrity and DCL, can you tell me which line is your favorite to cruise to Alaska? You had mentioned Celebrity earlier, but I see you are returning to Alaska on DCL. We have cruised DCL 3 times and it is by far our favorite line. Our children are 29 and 24 and our 24 year old loves DCL, Our 29 year old hasn't been able to join us on our 3 DCL cruises. In fact, neither of them will be able to join us on the trip to Alaska. :(

 

We are looking into a cruise tour so we can see Denali. Have you done that on any of your trips? (Anyone else done this on any lines?) We want to take a 3 or 4 day land tour and then a 7 day southbound cruise.

 

As far as cruise lines, as I mentioned, we love DCL. We have also cruised Celebrity, RCCL, NCL and Carnival. Out of those, we disliked Carnival and would not book them again. I have friends and family who have sailed Celebrity, Princess, RCCL and HAL to Alaska and all have been happy, so I just don't know what to do. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

I am so looking forward to seeing Vancouver on this trip. Last summer, DH, DD and I sailed DCL from NYC up the coast to Eastern Canada. It was beautiful! I have heard wonderful things about Vancouver as well.

 

Sarah, thank you again for your wonderful trip report and congratulations on your AP's. You seem like an extremely intelligent young lady!

 

Judy

 

 

Our first cruises to Alaska were on Princess. The first time we did round trip from San Francisco -- 14 days.

The next time we did the land portion first and then a 7 day cruise. We did the 5 day land tour. Again -- on Princess.

I recommend doing the land portion first as the days are long on the buses and train. Then you can rest up on the ship before flying home.

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Personally, I just go with whichever line offers me the best food LOL. I too have been on Carnival twice when I was younger. And my parents (who actually remember their experience) agree that Carnival has the best desserts.

 

Regarding food, I actually like the super gourmet-y kinds of foods, as well as simple ones. It depends on which taste better to me c:

You'll wind up hurting yourself on Oceania. The food is so good and they even have cooking classes!

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You'll wind up hurting yourself on Oceania. The food is so good and they even have cooking classes!

 

HAL also has cooking classes -- $29 per person.

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