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Scrapnana

LIVE from the 2018 HAL Grand World Voyage!

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Re: the packing cubes, is the general consensus that you can pack more into a bag using them? To me the concept seemed like they would be good to stay organized, but might actually take up more space in the bag. Is there some kind of a compression factor at play using the cubes? I’m willing to be converted to the idea of using them ;)

 

I like them for organization and for keeping my items from moving around during transit. The ones I have also have some compression value due to their double zipper expandable design. I use one for undergarments, one for delicates, one for emergency carry-on clothing, one for tops, etc. They are great for quick access and for keeping like items together; I don't have to root around for stuff. When I arrive at my destination I can move the entire cube from my bag to the cupboard and be unpacked in seconds! It also comes in handy when Customs and Security go through my bag.

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The advantage is you can get to exactly what you want without rifleing through. The capacity is no different. They are not the vacuum clothes compressors.

 

If the luggage is just a way to get clothing to the ship and no overlands, then why bother.

 

We always seem to complicate our cruises with pre- and post-overlands, so I can see where the cubes might be handy for that.

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I like them for organization and for keeping my items from moving around during transit. The ones I have also have some compression value due to their double zipper expandable design. I use one for undergarments, one for delicates, one for emergency carry-on clothing, one for tops, etc. They are great for quick access and for keeping like items together; I don't have to root around for stuff. When I arrive at my destination I can move the entire cube from my bag to the cupboard and be unpacked in seconds! It also comes in handy when Customs and Security go through my bag.

 

Thanks, Miss G

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The advantage is you can get to exactly what you want without rifleing through. The capacity is no different. They are not the vacuum clothes compressors.

 

If the luggage is just a way to get clothing to the ship and no overlands, then why bother.

 

I have used the cubes yet, but I do use zip lock extra large bags, from which I can squeeze out the air. The cubes, I think, do the same thing that the bags do: By putting each category of clothing in separate bags, you can pack more and the clothes do not get as wrinkled because they do not move around in the luggage.

 

Also, I find that packing according to category is easier both to pack and certainly to unpack. The cubes have the additional benefit of being able to leave the clothes in the cubes and transfer them to the dresser drawers or shelves. I'm going to use a combination of bags and cubes on our next cruise.

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Checking in to wish you a Bon Voyage and have a fabulous cruise, Kathi. I am following along with you on your blog but can't figure out how to leave a comment on there!:o

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You're right... Haven't seen them at $General. Do you have a Dollar Tree nearby? They seem to have a more varied selection. I found mine by accident during a trip to Canada.

Sometimes Aldi have them on special. They are excellent quality and varying sizes.

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Sometimes Aldi have them on special. They are excellent quality and varying sizes.

 

Ooh! Good to know!

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Wishing everyone smooth sailing and a wonderful trip. Thanks to all who are blogging. I have them all bookmarked and check them every night. Have a wonderful voyage!

Karen

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Sail-Away Day

 

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night and the last time I looked at the clock it was a few minutes after 2 am. Because of this I was able to sleep until about 8 am.

 

Bags were being picked up starting at 8:30 so I quickly packed everything up and had them waiting. They picked them up about 9. I went down to the lobby about 9:20 and once again it was packed. My TA had reserved two meeting rooms in which we could wait but when I checked them there was not one person in either, so I went back to the lobby to wait with everyone else.

 

Promptly at 9:45 they called the first bus (which I was assigned - it was alphabetical). It took a few minutes for us to load and about 15 minutes to get to the port and unload the hand luggage.

 

We were the first group to arrive and the Captain (Jonathan Mercer) and the president of Holland America, Orlando Ashford, were there to greet us. Most of the people on the cruise are 4 or 5 Star Mariners or members of the President’s Club (part of the HAL loyalty program) which means they had a special line dedicated to them. In this case it worked to my benefit to be a 2-star Mariner because my line was much shorter. I walked straight up and was checked in in a matter of moments. Then it was upstairs to sit and wait but it wasn’t long and I was on the ship quickly. I went to my cabin and then to drop off the invitations to the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet for the officers.

 

By then it was after noon and time for lunch in the Lido. I had some very good roast beef and fruit and blueberry bread puddingfor dessert. Once I had my meal I needed to explore the ship. The other HollandAmerica ships I have been on were laid out very similarly to the Queen Elizabeth so I very quickly learned my way around. This ship, being a totally different class and being smaller, has things on different floors and in different places and in some cases there are dead ends.

 

After walking around for awhile I went back to my cabin and one of my suitcases had arrived. I decided to do something totally different and start unpacking (I am terrible about procrastinating when it comes to unpacking). I was very pleased that I completed one suitcase on the first day.

 

Time to do more exploring. I finally found the library and had a hot chocolate (still haven’t warmed up completely from the cold weather at home). It was then time to get ready for the muster drill. I always like to find my muster area in advance. There were many people sitting nearby waiting for the drill so I sat with them. About that time the captain came on to explain the three-part drill. First two parts are basically to alert the crew and the third part is for the passengers. When he went over it he did not mention about going back to our cabins (I had hoped that maybe HAL had done away with it since my last cruise). So, I continued to sit. When the announcement was made to go back to your cabins, most people continued to sit. I went to the elevators (I knew I couldn’t climb a number of flights of stairs) and waited. An elevator never came so I was a very bad girl. I went outside with the others. Of course, nobody said anything because by that time there were at least 30 people at each of the stations. Muster drill dragged on and on. Since your keycards are now scanned (instead of them calling roll), I hoped it would be much shorter but it ended up only about 5 minutes shorter.

 

Back to my cabin after the drill and another of my suitcases had shown up. Trying to atone for my misdeed in the muster drill, I unpacked that one as well.

 

By then I needed to do some more exploring before coming back to get ready for the evening. Shortly after I returned my room steward, Wayan, knocked at the door with my third suitcase in hand. Since he placed it on my bed it was either unpack it or sleep around it, so I unpacked it. Never have I ever had all my luggage unpacked on the first day!

 

We were scheduled to leave at 8 pm and the sail-away party was from 7:30-8:30. I decided to go to the party and skip dinner in the dining room. The party had appetizers and (free) drinks. I had a margarita and a rum punch! In my defense, they were small and fairly weak (the way I like them). At 8 pm I went out by the Sea View pool to watch the sail-away from Port Everglades. This was the first time since 2013 that the Amsterdam left on her world cruise on time. It was a tad chilly so there were only about seven of us out on deck.

 

I then had dinner in the Lido (really good pork ribs) and returned to my cabin to work on the blog. There was no show tonight just a movie. There was also no trivia.

 

Tomorrow is a sea day and our first Cruise Critic Meet and Greet.

Edited by Scrapnana

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Don't you love the anticipation when embarking for such a grand cruise as this.

You may even learn to like being unpacked the first day!

 

Have a fabulous time.

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Enjoy your first CC Meet and Greet today Kathi!

New adventures with new friends!

Those cabin photos in your blog are great too!!

Denise:)

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You may even learn to like being unpacked the first day!

 

It sure was nice to wake up with everything unpacked and not tripping over suitcases!:D

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At Sea – January 5, 2018

 

A very busy sea day. First activity of the day was to meet with those interested in the “Sitand Stitch”. I had been told by a rep at HAL headquarters that they were no longer organizing a set time for this. Turns out they actually are – at least on theWC. Our Cruise Critic roll call had set one up for 10 and HAL’s was at 10:30. One of the ladies went down to check it out and it turns out that they are once again making blankets for Project Linus. It would have been nice if we had been told about this in advance. I have a feeling that most of us from the roll call will continue our own since we brought projects to work on.

 

Our first Meet and Greet was scheduled for 11. We had about 200 people sign up for it and we had about 200 attend (some who signed up did not appear while we had a number who hadn’t sign up come). We were pleased that Captain Mercer came to welcome us. HAL provided coffee, tea, and cookies. People who had been talking on line for months got to meet in person and sign up for activities like a slot pull, mah jongg, water aerobics, etc. We had a chance to thank Kathy who had put together a beautiful photo book with maps, activities, and photos and info about many on our roll call.

 

Then I had lunch in the Lido and talked with one of the ladies on the roll call until she left for watercolor class. Since the weather had improved with a temperature of about 70F and partly sunny skies, I sat out by the Sea View pool and read my book. Although there were a few people in bathing suits, I did not see anyone actually get in the pool.

 

It was then time for Arts and Crafts. HAL hired two very industrious ladies to be in charge. They presented us with a long list of items we are going to make on the sea days over the next four months.

 

When I returned to my cabin, I had a very pretty flower arrangement. No one else I talked to later received one so I am not sure why I got it. I also received a nice calendar from my travel agency with the port days indicated and a space to write our own activities.

 

Trivia was next. I played with two couple from the roll. We came in second with 14 out of 17 and the winning team had 15.

 

1. What drink has the most recognized smell?

2. In what town is “The Simpsons” set?

3. Name Titanic’s two sister ships.

4. Which designer introduced the “little black dress”?

Back to my cabin to get ready for dinner. A few minutes after I arrived there was a knock on my door and I had a delivery of chocolate covered strawberries from my travel agency.

 

Before going to dinner I sat and listened to the pianoplayer, Jamm. He was playing Billy Joel hits.

 

I am at a table for eight but I believe there are only seven of us. Three couples and me. Turns out one of the couples is Cyndi and Ed from Williamsburg who I met on the South Pacific cruise in 2016. Small world!

 

 

Abba Fab was the entertainment tonight. As the name implies, they are an Abba tribute band. I had seen them on the Westerdam in 2016 and they always put on a good show. A great ending for a busy day.

 

When I returned to my cabin I had another gift. A very nice HAL messenger bag. Only problem it has the name of the wrong ship and wrong cruise. I wonder if they got ours???

 

Tomorrow we are supposed to be in Grand Cayman but the captain has already warned us that it may be too rough to tender. We shall see.

 

 

 

Trivia answers…

1. Coffee

2. Springfield

3. Brittanic and Olympic

4. Coco Chanel

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At Sea – January 5, 2018

When I returned to my cabin I had another gift. A very nice HAL messenger bag. Only problem it has the name of the wrong ship and wrong cruise. I wonder if they got ours???

 

Our bags have the correct ship and cruise - interesting!

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Congrats on unpacking and getting all settled in so quickly.

 

Enjoying your posts and following along here and on your blog.

 

Sounds like your Meet and Greet went well. Very nice that Captain Mercer attended, indeed. :)

 

Sounds like you world cruise is off to a lovely start :)

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Kathi,

 

Now that I'm on regular wifi, I will be able to comment more. :D

 

I can't believe you 'cheated' on the muster drill, I've often been tempted to - deliberately - especially when my cabin is essentially in the same location every cruise.

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Love the Trivia questions, so long as you also give the answers, that is. Hope that becomes a regular part of your reports.

Sorry to hear that Debbie didn't resolve her differences with HAL to remain the Piano Bar musician for the World Cruise. But then, I suppose the Piano Lounge (it was never a Piano Bar on this ship) has also been switched to Mix?

 

Are Meet & Greets planned for every segment of the cruise? I'll be interested in knowing if those on the entire cruise, or even multiple segments, go to more than one Meet & Greet.

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Lunch at the Terrace grille. Fantastic Guacamole, Cannonball burger, fries with dive in sauce! Life is good!

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Enjoyed reading your blog this am with my coffee!

Have a great day and maybe they will give you the right bag with the name of the ship!!!

Take care

Denise:)

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