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

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

That's really great. We paid $69 for the classes on Oceania. Do they give you your own workstation and let you actually prepare a few dishes? If so, then Hal is offering a real bargain.

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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.

 

Our first Princess cruise was a re-positioning cruise from San Francisco to Vancouver c: on the Diamond Princess. I was like.. 9 years old ^^. It was for like, 3 nights I think? Our first Alaskan cruise however, was on Celebrity! It still reigns as one of our favourite cruises ever. That one was 7 nights.

 

I don't think we've ever done land tours. Like, ever. Are they fun?

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We were younger when we did the land portion. It was long days on the buses and trains.

We enjoyed it -- beautiful scenery. Saw lots of wildlife.

I would recommend doing it while you are young. Now we would never consider doing it at our ages.

Fun -- yes and no. As I said we enjoyed the scenery -- but we tired of the long days. Back then there were not a lot of choices for the lodges at night -- many times we arrived late at night -- grabbing dinner and getting little sleep before we had to be early and on the road.

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

 

How would I hurt myself? LOL I'd blow up from over ingestion? ;) I should ask my Dad about taking me (at some point in time) on Oceania!

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

 

Oh yeah! I remember seeing them on the daily On Locations everyday! They looked interesting, but I never knew how much they were per person :0. It's okay, I was never awake early enough for the majority of them ^^" lol

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We were younger when we did the land portion. It was long days on the buses and trains.

We enjoyed it -- beautiful scenery. Saw lots of wildlife.

I would recommend doing it while you are young. Now we would never consider doing it at our ages.

Fun -- yes and no. As I said we enjoyed the scenery -- but we tired of the long days. Back then there were not a lot of choices for the lodges at night -- many times we arrived late at night -- grabbing dinner and getting little sleep before we had to be early and on the road.

 

Our family's actually the indoors-y type, so we rarely do the type of trips where we're moving around non-stop ^^. I'm one who loves scenery & stuff, but the rest of my family doesn't really feel the same way. We've done road trips before, but that was when I was a little kid. Nowadays, not so much. Maybe with age, laziness comes too ;). If you gave Mom & Dad the option between road trip and cruise, cruise would be the obvious answer haha.

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Oh yeah! I remember seeing them on the daily On Locations everyday! They looked interesting, but I never knew how much they were per person :0. It's okay, I was never awake early enough for the majority of them ^^" lol

 

The cooking classes are usually on a sea day -- staring around 11 AM. At the end of the class you get to eat what is prepared and they serve everyone complimentary wine.

Then there are the cooking demonstrations. Also held on a sea day and these are free. One of the chef's shows how to make 2 dishes. You are also given the recipes if you want to male them at them. On most ships you also get to sample one of the recipes.

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Our family's actually the indoors-y type, so we rarely do the type of trips where we're moving around non-stop ^^. I'm one who loves scenery & stuff, but the rest of my family doesn't really feel the same way. We've done road trips before, but that was when I was a little kid. Nowadays, not so much. Maybe with age, laziness comes too ;). If you gave Mom & Dad the option between road trip and cruise, cruise would be the obvious answer haha.

 

I know what you mean. I love the outdoors but my DH -- not so much.

When we were younger we used to do land vacations -- all over Europe, etc. Then I finally got DH off the buses, trains, planes and cars -- living out of 1 suitcase for 3 weeks at a time -- and onto a ship. He was sold on cruises. We also used to take all day excursions. Now with DH taking so many medications (and our ages) we can't do them any more. Short excursions only when we are in new ports or when HAL finally offers something different.

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How would I hurt myself? LOL I'd blow up from over ingestion? ;) I should ask my Dad about taking me (at some point in time) on Oceania!

Well, you'd pretty much go nuts just photographing all the food, never mind eating it.

 

Anyway, I don't want to hijack this into an Oceania thread. I just wanted to mention that they're kind of known for the food thing. I'm not sure there'd be enough in the way of activities for someone your age but I could be wrong about that. Their cruises are port-intensive so you might spend a lot more of your time off the ship than on other cruise lines.

 

BTW, your 60D has pretty good IS (image stabilization) and with at big ABS-C sensor size, you should be able to pump up the ISO to a fairly high level. You probably didn't need the monopod unless you were trying to support a particularly heavy lens.

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I know what you mean. I love the outdoors but my DH -- not so much.

When we were younger we used to do land vacations -- all over Europe, etc. Then I finally got DH off the buses, trains, planes and cars -- living out of 1 suitcase for 3 weeks at a time -- and onto a ship. He was sold on cruises. We also used to take all day excursions. Now with DH taking so many medications (and our ages) we can't do them any more. Short excursions only when we are in new ports or when HAL finally offers something different.

 

We do often do land vacations as well (ie. around the U.S., Europe and Asia), like staying in a certain city for ~a week. They always take extensive planning for tourist attractions and stuff. They're really tiring too ^^". We kind of alternate between cruising and land stuff. For instance, last year we tried our first all-inclusive resort vacation! It was an interesting experience staying in the same place for a week with accommodations similar to that of cruises, but we ultimately decided that cruises>all-inclusive resorts, unless we book a resort with more starts next time o_o. 3-4 star resorts still can't compare to the quality of cruising.

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Well, you'd pretty much go nuts just photographing all the food, never mind eating it.

 

Anyway, I don't want to hijack this into an Oceania thread. I just wanted to mention that they're kind of known for the food thing. I'm not sure there'd be enough in the way of activities for someone your age but I could be wrong about that. Their cruises are port-intensive so you might spend a lot more of your time off the ship than on other cruise lines.

 

BTW, your 60D has pretty good IS (image stabilization) and with at big ABS-C sensor size, you should be able to pump up the ISO to a fairly high level. You probably didn't need the monopod unless you were trying to support a particularly heavy lens.

Hehe :D most probably.

 

If the price is right and location is good, my dad would probably go for it! Maybe I'll get to go on one in the future!

 

Thanks! :D && Yeah, that's true, but I actually use the monopod when I'm taking a video where I pan the area! I'm pretty sure my hands are like, shaking too much without it ^^" and just saying, my 77mm lens is pretty heavy D:

 

(My macro smaller lens is 50mm, not heavy at all)

Edited by lovely_serenity

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We do often do land vacations as well (ie. around the U.S., Europe and Asia), like staying in a certain city for ~a week. They always take extensive planning for tourist attractions and stuff. They're really tiring too ^^". We kind of alternate between cruising and land stuff. For instance, last year we tried our first all-inclusive resort vacation! It was an interesting experience staying in the same place for a week with accommodations similar to that of cruises, but we ultimately decided that cruises>all-inclusive resorts, unless we book a resort with more starts next time o_o. 3-4 star resorts still can't compare to the quality of cruising.

 

There was a time when we would go to London for a couple of weeks -- so much to see there and in the surrounding areas.

Back in the 70's we did an all-inclusive resort. They were much in those days. We got pretty tired of the same food for breakfast and dinner every day. Lunch was not included. Nor were any drinks -- alcoholic or non-alcoholic -- included in the package.

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There was a time when we would go to London for a couple of weeks -- so much to see there and in the surrounding areas.

Back in the 70's we did an all-inclusive resort. They were much in those days. We got pretty tired of the same food for breakfast and dinner every day. Lunch was not included. Nor were any drinks -- alcoholic or non-alcoholic -- included in the package.

I've never been to London, but I will for sure go there somewhere in the future. I look forward to it very much ^^~

 

Our all-inclusive was in the Dominican Republic and we paid to be in the special "Club Premium" that Barcelo had which included all drinks (local and imported) and my parents & brother loved it. They had around 7 different restaurants that you could choose from for dinner, so it was never a bore. For lunch and breakfast, the Club Premium had their own little food area which was exclusive to the club (food wasn't bad, good, not great). There was also the normal buffet lunch in the only buffet in the resort. (An alternative was the burger/taco shack island located in the middle of the pool; which was pretty cute). My parents said, that hd they not been part of Club Premium, they'd be lined up at the random crowded bars around the resort getting semi-diluted local crappy drinks with rum. They said it made a huge difference being able to drink familiar brands such as Kahlua, Bailey's etc. (Mom liked martinis and stuff). My sister and I drank virgin drinks =^^=. My did get kind of bored and tired of being in the same place, but it wasn't to the point that it bothered us. We found this kind of vacation to be one of our most relaxing ones (as opposed to running around touring cities and tourism sites : tiring). Our all-inclusive was the everything included type, even flights. We booked with Air Canada Vacations and got special rates because of Dad :)

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The newer resorts offer so much more than what we had.

Even though I partially handicapped, I know we would get bored staying in the resort area all the day.

If the resort we had chosen had had such upgraded packages available, we would have jumped on it.

Many hotels that we book for pre-cruises, we always go for the Concierge or Club levels.

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Thought you might enjoy this exchange on another thread. I posted the first and Melanie (?) posted the second:

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by LVSue

This is not to say that this menu will still be in effect when you sail, but it comes from a May 2013 AK cruise. The charming 17-year-old poster had pix and posts of every menu imaginable, and toward the end, for us over 21, she posted the entire drink menu. Enjoy.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...841439&page=27

 

Thanks for the link. As it's been a few years since we cruised on HAL, I found it very helpful.

 

The 17 year old certainly is charming and sounds as if she really was enjoying herself! Loved her comments!! Please thank her for me!

 

 

So consider yourself thanked.

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Thought you might enjoy this exchange on another thread. I posted the first and Melanie (?) posted the second:

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by LVSue

This is not to say that this menu will still be in effect when you sail, but it comes from a May 2013 AK cruise. The charming 17-year-old poster had pix and posts of every menu imaginable, and toward the end, for us over 21, she posted the entire drink menu. Enjoy.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...841439&page=27

 

Thanks for the link. As it's been a few years since we cruised on HAL, I found it very helpful.

 

The 17 year old certainly is charming and sounds as if she really was enjoying herself! Loved her comments!! Please thank her for me!

 

 

So consider yourself thanked.

 

To be honest, I was pretty touched when I read this comment =^^=. I appreciate that you think my report is good enough to recommend to others ;) and thank you for taking the time to come extend her thank you to me!

 

I feel very happy being thanked, (: as well as being called charming ^^~

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I actually haven't posted here till now because I'm not quite finished. (I think I'm savoring it and I don't want it to end.) but I thought I'd better post the thanks before I forgot it. :rolleyes:

 

And my thanks, too!

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The newer resorts offer so much more than what we had.

Even though I partially handicapped, I know we would get bored staying in the resort area all the day.

If the resort we had chosen had had such upgraded packages available, we would have jumped on it.

Many hotels that we book for pre-cruises, we always go for the Concierge or Club levels.

 

That's a pity :/ you know, that was also one of our concerns too! We were worried that we'd get bored staying in the same place for a whole week.

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I actually haven't posted here till now because I'm not quite finished. (I think I'm savoring it and I don't want it to end.) but I thought I'd better post the thanks before I forgot it. :rolleyes:

 

And my thanks, too!

 

LOL That's so nice ^^ savour it like food :p. It's cool, tell me what you (will have) thought about it once you've finished!

 

(Btw thanks for doing that! :)) && no problem! ^^~

Edited by lovely_serenity

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That's a pity :/ you know, that was also one of our concerns too! We were worried that we'd get bored staying in the same place for a whole week.

 

Today's all inclusive resorts are way different than what they were back in the 70's.

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Back in the 70's -- no drinks included.

Same offerings for breakfast every day.

Only a couple of choices for dinner -- and they were the same choices each evening -- got boring.

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Back in the 70's -- no drinks included.

Same offerings for breakfast every day.

Only a couple of choices for dinner -- and they were the same choices each evening -- got boring.

 

You guys should totally try an all inclusive now! They're really fun & relaxing! 5 star ones seem more fun though ;)

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Just saying guys, there is a strong glimmer of hope regarding another cruise for me in the near, yet distant future ;) and of course I'll be sharing it with you guys! Look out for a trip report that is somewhere along the lines of "Live from" _____ with lovely_serenity or something ^^. It'll be another "1st _____ Experience as well.

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