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rafinmd

Around the World on Amtrak, KLM, and HAL

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If only each ship had a couple of exits where there were both manual and power doors.

From your keyboard to HAL's designers' monitors.

 

It's hard enough to get in/out from the promenade when using a cane, but with a rollator it's nigh on to impossible. And that's without a strong wind to fight!

I know I can't get to the Retreat cabanas when I'm on a scooter, as I can't hold the door open and ride the scooter at the same time. So the idea of booking a cabana is out of the question.

Getting out to the Lido aft is impossible when using a scooter, unless a kind stranger comes along to hold the doors. One set of doors typically has an electric eye, so that's all right. But the other set of doors does not, so there a person sits, waiting for someone to come along and help them get through.

 

Even a push button to open the doors from each side would be helpful for people who need a little assistance. Seems like a simple enough solution.

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So glad you had a good day in Astoria, one of my west coast favorites.

 

Nice photos (apricot soup!). How are you liking your stateroom, now that you have had some time to get used to it?

 

Roy,I am really enjoying following you on this trip! In the 90’s my Mom and I went cross country by train twice. Albany/Rensselaer on the Lake Shore Ltd to Chicago. Then the Southwest Chief to Flagstaff. I learned when traveling by Amtrak you can never be sure of time schedules being accurate! We had a grand time. Can I ask how you came to be staying in a suite this time? I have been following your trips for a little while and you mostly stay in insides so I wonder if the difference has had any impact in your overall experience. I have to tell you I had no idea what an Actuary was until I started following your blogs, I had to look it up! I look forward to each days posting.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

We have 2 similar comments here and I won’t try to duplicate my responses but I’ll start with a couple of things here. I ‘ll actually start the “how I came to be staying in a suite” response with a reference to Amtrak. I was almost on the Southwest Chief twice this time; the first was from San Diego in the Spring when I later substituted the Crystal Symphony for my San Diego to Baltimore final segment. For this trip I had actually booked the Southwest Chief to meet the Amsterdam. I first put in a request for the Grand Asia in 2015. There was a blank in the Amsterdam schedule between Seattle and San Diego and an Amsterdam west coast Seattle-Vancouver-San Diego itinerary was not announced until this January. At that time I changed my Amtrak reservation to the Empire Builder to Seattle. I don’t actually do mostly insides; Crystal doesn’t offer them. I do book insides perhaps 25% of the time but most of my cruises are in the lowest category OV cabin, probably the equivalent of about a category H on HAL. When the Amsterdam Pacific Coast itinerary was finally announced I booked OV cabins for Oosterdam Seattle to Vancouver and Amsterdam to San Diego (4121 for the Oosterdam 1-day and 2599 for the Amsterdam).

 

About 3 months ago the Amsterdam Pacific Coast cruise was cancelled for a wet dock and HAL took good care of me. What they had was an SS Guarantee and they gave that to me along with transfers to Seattle, hotels, and a nice partial refund. How could I refuse?

 

Roy,

 

Now that you've had a couple of days, what do you think of the Vista Class? I know it reminds you a little of the Cunard line, would you like to keep cruising them on HAL?

 

I've really enjoyed following along.

 

Carole

 

 

In her talk yesterday Future Cruise Consultant Alex talked about choosing a cabin as Location, Location, Location. I kind of turn that concept sideways:

 

(1) Location - Itinerary: That’s likely my biggest factor. Certainly, I always have a few itineraries that really interest me and that’s pretty much where I start.

 

(2) Location - what ship: Generally I prefer smaller over larger but there are some exceptions. This is my rough priority list:

a)Crystal - larger than #2 but worth it

b) Prinsendam - Significantly less expensive than Crystal but still awesome

c) R class

d) S class while smaller than R-class, R’s midship stairs and lack of dead ends on deck 4 make a difference

e) Cunard QE/QV

f) HAL Vista Signature -Pretty much tied with QE/QV but Cunard’s great enrichment programs make the difference

g) HAL Koningsdam & presumably Nieuw Statendam - bigger than I like but still a great product

h) RCI Vision Class - Primarily for a very nice range of itineraries out of Baltimore.

QM2 has an uncertain place in the list. It doesn’t particularly impress me as a cruise ship but it’s Transatlantics are fantastic.

 

3)Location - which cabin on a ship does make a difference but it’s far less important to me. Going back to the real estate analogy for a moment for the same price you may be able to get a basic house in a nice neighborhood with great schools or a mansion in a slum. While I have never been on a cruise ship I would compare to a slum I think the analogy holds for me and I prefer the better “neighborhood”.

 

My suite on the Oosterdam is GREAT. I especially have enjoyed the tub with the whirlpool feature. I must say I love the suite but I’d give it up in a heartbeat for an inside on the Prinsendam.

 

Whogo, I kind of stumbled on the calendar idea by accident. I must have seen one many years that attracted me many years ago and somehow the idea took hold to the point where I count on it now.

 

RuthC, that sounds to me like a good idea. Having dealt with Cunard's electric doors I think I could live with having trouble to get onto the promenade deck but having to wait for someone to help me get back in would be an especially royal pain.

 

Roy

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The Amsterdam is at sea from Seattle to San Diego. The Prinsendam is in Santander.

 

Friday brought weather a lot nicer than Thursday. When I went to the lido for coffee and to check our position we were a little south of Sam Jose and the Promenade deck was open allowing me to complete a full 5 mile walk. While it was still cloudy the clouds were thin enough for some clouds to show through with nice colors about a half hour before sunrise.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dawn0929.jpg

 

The Promenade deck on the Oosterdam is nearly identical to her Cunard cousins and as I walked I snapped a few photos of the forward, port, and aft portions of the walk. On Thursday’s walk I had seen a lot of red primer paint along the edges of windows; this morning the red was all white with “wet paint” signs appearing frequently.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/promenade.jpg

 

I had 2 main activities for the day, packing and the Mariner brunch. The Medallion ceremony began at 10:30 with a number of bronze (100 days sailed) and 1 silver (300 days) given out bu the Captain and Hotel Director. Four and five star Mariners were also recognized as well as the people with the most cruise days. In an impromptu move at the end of the ceremony one of the hosts asked for a show of hands of people going on to the Amsterdam. While I’m sure only a very small percentage of the people on the ship were doing that, I think almost half of the people who sail enough to be at the ceremony raised their hands.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/medallion.jpg

 

The ceremony ended about 11 and the group moved back to the dining room for the brunch. I opted for the pot roast which was very well done. I left the brunch just in time for Captain Willems final noon update. We had sailed 728 miles since Astoria with 284 miles remaining. We should pass Los Angeles about midnight, pick up the pilot at 5AM and be docked at 7.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/brunch.jpg

 

The afternoon was mostly spent packing and writing and as of dinner I had everything not needed overnight packed. The weather turned beautiful with people enjoying themselves on the aft pool deck.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/aftpool.jpg

 

For my final dinner I was at a table with equally split between Americans and Canadians but I am the only one leaving the ship in the morning. I went with the raspberry soup, oven roasted chicken, and mango blueberry crisp. The sun had set by the end of dinner but I had my first moon sighting of the trip off my balcony.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dishes29.jpg

 

The evening’s main entertainment was comedian Kellen Erskine. Sadly, I was not really a fan. My big bag went in the hallway about 10:45.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/bagaway.jpg

 

My parting shot comes from conversation I heard at the Mariner Brunch and later verified. After I disembark the Amsterdam she was supposed to call on Bali but that call is likely to be cancelled as there are massive evacuations in the area due to volcanic activity. Not only will this be a disappointment to the continuing Grand Asia passengers but a large percentage of Holland America crews are from Indonesia. May the effects of this activity turn out to be less severe than expected.

 

Roy

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See you Sunday Roy in San Diego!! Enjoy visiting your sister and nephew!

Will be watching you and The Amsterdam

sail out of our Harbor!!

Live reading every morning your blog. Will enjoy the continuation!

Prayers go out to all the crew with families in Bali!

Denise:)

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Thanks for taking the time to reply to my question about the roomette size on Amtrak. Since this next trip is just myself, it will be fine - not sure how comfortable it would be for two on a cross-country journey. Did look at the larger rooms, but the cost was too significant for this trip. Appreciated your comment about how you planned to stow your luggage. Very helpful for someone who tends to "overpack". It's often the details that can make a good trip a great one.

 

Really enjoying your posts. Thank you.

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Thank you for your posts & taking us along on your journey.

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Thank you all.

 

Day O6, Saturday, September 30, 2017, Disembark Oosterdam, San Diego

 

The Amsterdam is at sea from Seattle to San Diego. The Prinsendam is at sea from Santander to Lisbon.

 

When I went up to the lido for coffee a little after 5 there were lights close to the ship and my GPS indicated we were 2 ½ miles from the dock. I took an abbreviated 5-lap walk on the Promenade deck and as I walked 3 deckhands were aft on the deck waiting with coiled rope and a line gun. On my final lap we were approaching the dock and I had hoped to see the gun in action but the throw was right on the money. Wifi had been horrible Friday evening but was working well in the early morning and finished my posting about 7. I also checked on the Amsterdam on Marine Traffic and it was about 375 miles away.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/linegun.jpg

 

My final breakfast was primarily french toast enjoyed on the aft deck on a somewhat hazy morning. I used most of the rest of my internet minutes until about 8AM.

 

My yellow 3 tag was estimated to be 8:15 to 8:30 and was actually called a few minutes early. There were no formalities as I left the ship, no immigration (done in Astoria) and I was surprised to see nobody with customs. I just picked up my big bag and headed out of the terminal.

 

My yellow 3 tag told the port people I had a transfer to the Sheraton Marina hotel but I told them I had family here and would not be using it.

 

There’s an area in the lot for private pickups and there were several benches where I could wait while my nephew arrived. When I disembarked the Zaandam here in April I had been planning to meet my brother (from DesMoines) as well as my nephew but with just a few days to go he had a bad fall and fractured his leg. He encountered several complications and just was cleared to begin walking earlier this month. He did make it this time although he has a massive protective boot on his left foot. Between my nephew, my brother, my bags, and his walker we pretty well filled up the car. It was probably about a 20-minute drive to their house.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/lastlook.jpg

 

Keith and Tracey have young twins, about 15 months old but appearing younger since they were 2 months premature. They started their lives with far too much time in the hospital but are doing fine now, 2 bundles of energy. We hung out in the family room most of the day watching baseball and football on TV, just going out at lunch for pizza. After a dinner in their back yard patio Roger and I headed out for out hotels.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/grandpa-carolyn-mom-andy.jpg

 

I think I’ll use San Diego’s Sheraton Marina hotel as my parting shot. Roger dropped me off at the hotel and I went in to register. The clerks seemed to be in no rush to process the guests in front of me and I decided it would be wise to visit the toilet first. It was broken/closed. I went back and registered and headed for my room. The key didn’t work. I left my bags at the door and then went to find a working toilet and get a new key.

 

This time the door opened. The room was full of somebody else’s stuff. Back to the front desk where as I got a new room the clerk addressed me as (I assume) the person who was already in the room, but finally I had a place to stay. Any warm fuzzy feelings I might have had evaporated pretty quickly when I found out I had to pay for internet. I kind of expect that on a ship where satellite is required but not so much in a hotel with a fiber optic connection.

 

Well, I think I remember someone on Cruise Critic asking for my opinion of the hotel. I’m sure your experience will be better than mine–it almost has to be. A once in a lifetime hotel experience, I certainly hope.

 

Roy

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You would expect hotels with computers to simplify checking-in would be much more efficient. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Looking forward to hearing about the next leg of your journey. D🛥

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Yikes on your hotel experience Roy.

 

Hopefully the rest of your stay is much smoother.

 

Enjoyed your posts and while normally it is sad to get off, you have huge adventures ahead of you and more ships.

 

How wonderful:D

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Yes Roy that was me asking about the hotel. You're right not a good start. I always thought that all hotels had free wifi, I think that's the first time I've heard of having to pay for it. Hope the rest of your stay there is better.

Allan

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Yes Roy that was me asking about the hotel. You're right not a good start. I always thought that all hotels had free wifi, I think that's the first time I've heard of having to pay for it. Hope the rest of your stay there is better.

Allan

 

In FLL at Hilton Marina: rewards member - free wifi, otherwise there is a fee [don't know how much - as I get the perks]. I don't remember if that was also true in Albany, NY as I was also on perks. :D

 

You tend to ignore that stuff/fees when you are not affected. I always stay in my 'rewards' hotels.

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We have stayed a number of times at various Sheraton hotels -- members of their rewards program. Internet was free for members.

Hope you luck improves.

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You would expect hotels with computers to simplify checking-in would be much more efficient. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Looking forward to hearing about the next leg of your journey. D🛥

 

 

Mistakes do happen like this, when I worked front desk it was embarrassing but easy to fix. Computers aren't always right. :)

 

How was the Sheraton, my mom and I are staying there pre Oosterdam in January.

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GOOD MORNING ROY!

As always coffee in hand and reading your adventures!

Looking forward for your send off today!! Will be at Island Prime for happy hour and a early dinner to watch you leave the port!

Those little babies are so cute! Thank you for the pictures! Sad with the Sheraton with all the mishaps. We stay at Hilton’s due to awards with free WiFi.

Bon Voyage today Roy!!!

This is your start to a wonderful journey!

Denise:)

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GOOD MORNING ROY!

As always coffee in hand and reading your adventures!

Looking forward for your send off today!! Will be at Island Prime for happy hour and a early dinner to watch you leave the port!

Those little babies are so cute! Thank you for the pictures! Sad with the Sheraton with all the mishaps. We stay at Hilton’s due to awards with free WiFi.

Bon Voyage today Roy!!!

This is your start to a wonderful journey!

Denise:)

 

I did go to the front desk this morning and get the charge reversed. I'm not sure they had to-the login said "free to members who book through starwood.com" so it isn't really clear they were obligated to cover a stay booked by HAL but it usually seems to be free to all members. The catch-22 for some of these programs is to get the internet covered I need my member number but need to get on the internet first to find the number.

 

Just fixed my signature for the Grand Asia. Crystal World Cruise is now on my radar.

 

Roy

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I did go to the front desk this morning and get the charge reversed. I'm not sure they had to-the login said "free to members who book through starwood.com" so it isn't really clear they were obligated to cover a stay booked by HAL but it usually seems to be free to all members. The catch-22 for some of these programs is to get the internet covered I need my member number but need to get on the internet first to find the number.

 

Just fixed my signature for the Grand Asia. Crystal World Cruise is now on my radar.

 

Roy

 

Good to hear Roy - on both the charge reversal AND the new signature :D:hearteyes:

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Good to hear about the hotel.

Looking forward to today and your wonderful adventures ahead!

Hope boarding today will be a piece of cake as was your departure from The Oosterdam yesterday.

Denise:)

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Onboard, hadn't realized port had wifi or I'd have posted sooner. Off to dinner momentarily, still no luggage.

 

Roy

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Onboard, hadn't realized port had wifi or I'd have posted sooner. Off to dinner momentarily, still no luggage.

 

Roy

We’re having dinner across the bay and we thought you were leaving at 4? Disney left on time at 5. Are they waiting for passengers possibly where flights were delayed?

Such a beautiful day with a nice breeze. Hope bags are in your room after dinner for you!

Take care and enjoy your cruise!

Denise:)

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Onboard,.... ...still no luggage.

Oh-o. That doesn't sound good. Usually the luggage is delivered before muster. I can't recall a time I haven't been totally unpacked before muster.

Hope yours arrives quickly. Please do let us know!

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Roy -- hope your luggage is in your cabin by after dinner. It is a worry.

Several times we have not gotten our luggage until after lifeboat drill -- and we stay mostly in the PS. Once we didn't have 2 pieces of luggage until after dinner. I hate unpacking on a full stomach.

Keep us updated.

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