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lovely_serenity

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

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It has been years since we were on Cunard.

Our first cruise(s) was a back-to-back on the Cunard Countess -- an 18,000 ton ship with no stabilizers. 14 days out of San Juan and nearly every day was a port. We Loved It!! It took me years to get DH off the buses, planes, train and cars going through Europe and the British Isles (and a few other places). I started hating living out of a suitcase for 3 weeks. Once I got him on the ship -- we was sold!! Unpacked and saw many ports.

We have also sailed on the Cunard Princess -- another 18,000 ton ships -- Egypt and all through the Med -- wonderful.

We have also done the QE2 -- transatlantic ( a couple of times) -- loved it.

Just wish Cunard would come back to the Caribbean -- we would be back on her in nothing flat!!

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By the way, do I have any Cunarders reading my report? It'd be nice if someone could give me some advice for my first Cunard cruise!

 

Sarah,

 

First: I have LOVED your blog of your Volendam cruise. Thanks!

 

Second: We (DW and I) have only been on Cunard's QM2, which at the time (2006) was the largest cruise ship in the world. The Queen Elizabeth is smaller, about the size of the Vista Class HAL ships if I understand correctly. That means it is still larger than Volendam.

 

We found Cunard to be white-glove first-rate service, if perhaps not as personable as HAL, but excellent overall. It was very much more formal back then, IIRC. We did the 6-day trans-Atlantic, and four or five nights were formal (including a Black and White Ball night.)

 

The public spaces on QM2 were large and not as cozy as HAL ships, but the smaller Cunard ships may be different.

 

Bottom line: Any day at sea is better than any day at work. Cunard is a wonderful experience, but somewhat different that HAL. I think (and hope) that you will enjoy it.

 

Dave

Edited by RetiredMustang

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It has been years since we were on Cunard.

Our first cruise(s) was a back-to-back on the Cunard Countess -- an 18,000 ton ship with no stabilizers. 14 days out of San Juan and nearly every day was a port. We Loved It!! It took me years to get DH off the buses, planes, train and cars going through Europe and the British Isles (and a few other places). I started hating living out of a suitcase for 3 weeks. Once I got him on the ship -- we was sold!! Unpacked and saw many ports.

We have also sailed on the Cunard Princess -- another 18,000 ton ships -- Egypt and all through the Med -- wonderful.

We have also done the QE2 -- transatlantic ( a couple of times) -- loved it.

Just wish Cunard would come back to the Caribbean -- we would be back on her in nothing flat!!

 

I totally know what you mean, we really had a cruise drought before our Celebrity cruise. Until then, we were just doing land vacations, which were so very exhausting. It took so much more planning, as well as physical exertion. Really, land vacations are so non-relaxing, but fun nonetheless. Once we had experienced that Celebrity Alaska cruise, we were addicted. The wonderful service, the relaxing style, we couldn't get enough of it!

 

I am seriously looking forward to Cunard because of all the videos I've watched & things I've read! (I look forward to lots of accents :D) how very fancy~

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By the way, do I have any Cunarders reading my report? It'd be nice if someone could give me some advice for my first Cunard cruise!

 

 

Yes, there is an ongoing thread for Tips, tricks and advice for my first Cunard Cruise over on the Cunard Board, it's been going since 17th August, hurry over before it disappears. There is some awesome advice there.

Edited by candle in the wind

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Sarah,

 

First: I have LOVED your blog of your Volendam cruise. Thanks!

 

Second: We (DW and I) have only been on Cunard's QM2, which at the time (2006) was the largest cruise ship in the world. The Queen Elizabeth is smaller, about the size of the Vista Class HAL ships if I understand correctly. That means it is still larger than Volendam.

 

We found Cunard to be white-glove first-rate service, if perhaps not as personable as HAL, but excellent overall. It was very much more formal back then, IIRC. We did the 6-day trans-Atlantic, and four or five nights were formal (including a Black and White Ball night.)

 

The public spaces on QM2 were large and not as cozy as HAL ships, but the smaller Cunard ships may be different.

 

Bottom line: Any day at sea is better than any day at work. Cunard is a wonderful experience, but somewhat different that HAL. I think (and hope) that you will enjoy it.

 

Dave

 

Dave,

 

Thanks! And I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

 

I am very much looking forward to the "white star" service that they are famed for, as well as the overall fanciness!

 

Amen to that. I'll be skipping a good 8 days of school during this trip. Any sea day is better than a day of school :D.

 

I definitely hope I'll enjoy it too! Thanks!

 

Sarah

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Yes, there is an ongoing thread for Tips, tricks and advice for my first Cunard Cruise over on the Cunard Board, it's been going since 17th August, hurry over before it disappears. There is some awesome advice there.

 

Might you be referring to my thread that you've posted on on multiple occasions? ;)

 

Sarah

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Of course, Cunard questions on the Cunard board.

Well I can't help it, I'm one to get as much info as I can and if need be, from non related sources :D.

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Videos of the Musical Performers On Board

 

 

So finally, I've found the time to cut and upload the videos onto Youtube, so please watch them!

 

*Watch them in HD, it's way better! :D :D :D (though I had to reduce the quality to let it upload, or else it'd take way too long), so watch it in HD & large player, not full screen ^^"

 

So here are a few clips of the musical performers singing/playing! Each video is just over a minute long, okay? So don't expect too much (: it's just supposed to give you a taste of how they sounded since I couldn't describe it through text.

 

Here's a video of the Neptunes (the awesome sounding guy on the cello(?) with a woman on the piano) performing!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZbA960QO-U

 

Here's a clip of Piano Entertainer Don: (the super entertaining dude)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJTQRdXYRic

 

Here's a clip of Adiago (violin player + piano player):

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-IGutfjVIc

 

Here's Guitar Vocalist Marie:

 

performing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjT4ndqMqKE

 

and "Jason Mraz - "I'm Yours":

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgCSIImnk_E

 

 

 

I hope you guys like it! :) perhaps I'll upload a few more videos!

Edited by lovely_serenity

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Thank you. Really loved Adiago :)

 

You're welcome! :) && me too! They were one of my favourites!

 

You know honestly, I wish more of my previous readers would come watch those clips because I worked pretty hard to cut & upload them for you guys :( & I remember there were some people before that really wanted to hear them!

 

.____.

 

Thank you though (:

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Appreciate you posting the links to the musical videos, viewed them in anticipation of our cruise next month.

Thank you.

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I read through page 15 and then decided to read the rest at a later date. Yes, you do write well, and your photos are outstanding.

 

We were on the Kobe to Vancouver Volendam Trans-Pacific last April.

 

Your food looks better than ours was. For example, one evening the menu included roast duck. Without a specific designation, we assumed it was duck breast. Not so, it was leg. I see yours was indeed breast.

 

The pianist and violinist in the Explorer Lounge were the same as yours. They were fine and had a very good 60 minute show in the theater one afternoon which was very enjoyable, but their music in the lounge seemed to have the piano overpower the violin too often. The quartets we have heard on the larger ships have been better for us.

 

I was sorry to read that our piano bar performer, Steve, was not on your cruise. Steve organized a guest talent show for one afternoon, which I believe, turned out to be excellent. Perhaps this was, in part, because I sang 'Ol Man River. But there were other performers who were even better. The audience of about 300 seemed to enjoy the show. Steve did a very good job organizing and being Master of Ceremonies for the show.

 

Unfortunately guest talent shows seem to have mostly disappeared from cruise ships. There are mostly Karaoke contests remaining. OK, but I do not think contests, with winners and losers, are for the better.

 

I have a review posted on CC.

 

Bob :cool:

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Appreciate you posting the links to the musical videos, viewed them in anticipation of our cruise next month.

Thank you.

 

No problem :) & thank you for watching them! I hope you have lots of fun of your cruise and I hope you come tell me all about it afterwards :D.

 

Sarah

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I read through page 15 and then decided to read the rest at a later date. Yes, you do write well, and your photos are outstanding.

 

We were on the Kobe to Vancouver Volendam Trans-Pacific last April.

 

Your food looks better than ours was. For example, one evening the menu included roast duck. Without a specific designation, we assumed it was duck breast. Not so, it was leg. I see yours was indeed breast.

 

The pianist and violinist in the Explorer Lounge were the same as yours. They were fine and had a very good 60 minute show in the theater one afternoon which was very enjoyable, but their music in the lounge seemed to have the piano overpower the violin too often. The quartets we have heard on the larger ships have been better for us.

 

I was sorry to read that our piano bar performer, Steve, was not on your cruise. Steve organized a guest talent show for one afternoon, which I believe, turned out to be excellent. Perhaps this was, in part, because I sang 'Ol Man River. But there were other performers who were even better. The audience of about 300 seemed to enjoy the show. Steve did a very good job organizing and being Master of Ceremonies for the show.

 

Unfortunately guest talent shows seem to have mostly disappeared from cruise ships. There are mostly Karaoke contests remaining. OK, but I do not think contests, with winners and losers, are for the better.

 

I have a review posted on CC.

 

Bob :cool:

 

Hi Bob :)

 

Thank you very much for the nice compliments! Hopefully you'll enjoy the rest as much as you enjoyed the first 15 pages! ^^

 

I see, you were on the cruise right before ours, right? How was it? Did you get sick & what was it like having the code red-like health situation on board? Did it put a damper on your cruise?

(Lol sorry so many questions)

 

Did your food taste good though? Because looks can be deceiving haha. On multiple occasions, I noticed that my food looked more appetizing on camera than in real life! :D (how sad you didn't get duck breast :( it was so darn tasty)

 

Oh is that right? I loved them! (But we never got a theatre performance from them though). Personally, I never thought that the piano overpowered the violin (on my trip anyway) in any sort of fashion. I thought they complimented each other quite well. But maybe that's just me.

 

Oh interesting, I feel like we missed out now lol. I'm sure your rendition of Ol' Man River was awesome haha. That sounds like so much fun! But I'm not sure we'd have as big a turn out as you did. Every night, our theatre seemed to be pretty thinned out. We were only allowed to use the lower deck of the theatre, and even then there weren't many that turned up. Everyone was evenly spaced out.

 

I cannot agree more about the lack of talent shows. They'd be way more fun.

 

I'll definitely search for it!

 

Sarah

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Hi Bob :)

 

Thank you very much for the nice compliments! Hopefully you'll enjoy the rest as much as you enjoyed the first 15 pages! ^^

 

I see, you were on the cruise right before ours, right? How was it? Did you get sick & what was it like having the code red-like health situation on board? Did it put a damper on your cruise?

(Lol sorry so many questions)

 

Did your food taste good though? Because looks can be deceiving haha. On multiple occasions, I noticed that my food looked more appetizing on camera than in real life! :D (how sad you didn't get duck breast :( it was so darn tasty)

 

Oh is that right? I loved them! (But we never got a theatre performance from them though). Personally, I never thought that the piano overpowered the violin (on my trip anyway) in any sort of fashion. I thought they complimented each other quite well. But maybe that's just me.

 

Oh interesting, I feel like we missed out now lol. I'm sure your rendition of Ol' Man River was awesome haha. That sounds like so much fun! But I'm not sure we'd have as big a turn out as you did. Every night, our theatre seemed to be pretty thinned out. We were only allowed to use the lower deck of the theatre, and even then there weren't many that turned up. Everyone was evenly spaced out.

 

I cannot agree more about the lack of talent shows. They'd be way more fun.

 

I'll definitely search for it!

 

Sarah

 

Sarah,

 

The captain made the correct calls to control the illness. We hade to wait about three hours after we arrived at the ship terminal before boarding. DW stayed in the terminal, but I boarded a free bus which delivered ship passengers to a very nice large Kobe department store. Buses arrived later to take us back to the terminal.

 

We shortly boarded the ship, but had to wait in the Lido until our cabin was fully cleaned and made ready. The continued health precautions were not really bothersome, especially considering their purpose. All were continually encouraged to wash hands and use the sanitizing dispensers. The "code red" was lifted after about 8 days, but then reinstated two or three days later. But no, these things were not negative for our 17 day cruise.

 

Our main dining room food was , over all, so-so. At least I thought that. It appears to me that all cruise lines are economizing on food. We do not eat for quantity, but for quality, so we do miss the quality we recall from previous cruises. We have cruised on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and HAL. We suspect they have all cut back.

 

I talked to the pianist one time and suggested that she might reduce her volume a bit. Maybe she did. I am not a true musician, but our daughter is a violinist. Well, after years of study and a college degree in classical violin, she now plays mostly old time country fiddle music. Her group, The Wilders from Kansas City played all across the country and Europe. Their last gig was in Canada in a Calgary festival, I believe.

 

They tell us "You can't take it with you." so we booked a Neptune suite, which was generally nice.

 

On earlier cruises, all had guest talent shows. After three or four cruise, DW talked me into joining them. They were fun, but then karaoke contests seemed to completely replace talent shows. They are OK, but one is limited to the karaoke CD's available. Plus most running the show will not adjust for the singer's pitch.

 

Now I quit. If you want you can read my Volendam review.

 

Bob :cool:

 

We do have another HAL cruise booked on the Noordam for October 31. This, as many other of our cruises have been, is a Trans-Atlantic. We enjoy these, and have the time because I am retired.

 

Bob

Edited by Bobblsc

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