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Sonora5

26 days on the Oosterdam-Venice to Fort Lauderdale-Report

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The day before we boarded. The Vaporetto went past the cruise port. Six ship were there.

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This is the NCL Star leaving the Giudecca Canal the night before we boarded the Oosterdam.

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Enjoying your travelogue! We were last in Venice some 12 years ago and stayed at the Hotel Gabrielli a few steps further away from Plaza San Marco than your hotel. Seeing your photos brings back memories. Glad you missed the floods! When we were there I recall seeing all of these "tables" stacked around and thought that perhaps we had missed a performance or something. Turns out they are routinely used during high water as walkways! After looking at video of the recent floods I have to wonder how the locals deal with the frequency of high water (other than just having a pair of hip boots always at the ready).

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We love HAL's Neptune Suite product. The Neptune Lounge is unlike any other perk we have experienced on other lines. Free laundry and dry cleaning (the latter of which I would come to need), free mimosas with room service breakfast, breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, are some of our favorite things. (Cue Julie Andrews).

 

Our cabin, #7058, was very handy to the lounge entrance. We had two stewards, Gede and Rafi, and we met Gede right away. Our room was set up very nicely with fresh flowers and fruit, free sparkling wine and three free bottles of water.

 

Having sailed on Princess the year before, the maintenance on HAL exhibited as a big improvement. The roomy balcony had two loungers and a table and chairs for four. No rust, and it had been recently cleaned.

 

We checked out the lounge and grabbed a snack or two. The Neptune Lounge has a rotating selections of nice snacks. You could really eat breakfast and lunch there-and some days, we did.

 

Our various paperwork items included an invitation to a Mariner's reception in the Crow's Nest. We are experienced enough to know to get there early, and to expect free drinks and appetizers.

 

Off we went.

 

Next: A Sea Day, and the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet

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On the ship looking a the location map. These are the ports on the first leg of the transatlantic. Very port intensive.

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Here is a short shaky video of our room. I didn't show the bathroom but it had a tub, shower and two sinks.

 

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22 hours ago, Sonora5 said:

Embarkation:

 

I was a little disappointed when we walked over to check in. There used to be priority check in for Suite guests, but I guess that is no more. We were told quite sharply that we could wait with the other unwashed masses with less than 4 stars.

 

Fortunately the line was quite short, and we were on the ship quite quickly.

 

 

Sonora 5:  we too, embarked in Venice on the 15th.  When we were there, there was a Priority check-in and used it.  There weren't that many in the regular check in area so it didn't save much time.  We waited with the others for our group number to be called to walk onto the ship.

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The cocktail reception for whatever level of Mariners was nice. Drinks flowed freely. Mostly champagne and mimosas, but a couple at a nearby table fussed a little and got scotch.

 

There was also a reception in the Neptune for Suite guests. We liked the concierges, Karissa and Veerle right away, and we also met some very nice fellow cruisers at the reception. We made reservations for a couple of things and got ready for the first sea day.

 

NB: If you are hoping for a report on the entertainment, then we will be counting on our fellow cruisers to provide, as we did not go to one thing on the Mainstage the whole time.

 

We did go to Lincoln Center several times and very much enjoyed it, except for the ignorant monkeys who walk by chatting loudly during the performance. I don't care if you are wearing a dinner jacket if you cannot behave yourself!

 

We also skipped BB's. We did enjoy the trivia-more on that later.

 

Our first sea day was great. Anne and Eugene did an excellent job with the meet and greet, and we were all happy to meet folks we were doing excursions with. The ship provided minimal refreshments and there was no one present from the staff. I think HAL misses a chance to do a little guest relations here, but that's on them. It was a happy group.

 

We loafed around the rest of the day. With such a port intensive early part of the itinerary, we needed to rest up! We checked prices on the thermal suites-not worth it with so many ports, and tried to find out about the Retreat cabanas, but no one was around upstairs. (We later found out from the concierge that we could have booked a cabana for one day for about $60, but by that point we were no longer interested. I don't think those cabanas get a lot of use).

 

We hung the room service breakfast card and went to bed early.

 

Next: Dubrovnik

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27 minutes ago, colonialinnkeeper said:

Sonora 5:  we too, embarked in Venice on the 15th.  When we were there, there was a Priority check-in and used it.  There weren't that many in the regular check in area so it didn't save much time.  We waited with the others for our group number to be called to walk onto the ship.

There was a priority check in line, but we were told Suite guests were not eligible for it.

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40 minutes ago, ZN1300 said:

Atrium

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There was a lot of discussion about the missing staircase

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Dubrovnik was a repeat port for us. We had gone last year with Princess, and did a private Game of Thrones tour. Unfortunately it was windy and bitter cold and rainy then so Mr S did not do the tour.

 

This year we decided to explore the old City on our own and had a great time. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Several other cruise ships were in. The City was very crowded. We walked around and I tried to find the places we had visited last year. We did find the staircase from the "walk of shame". We also found a marvelous viewpoint and the old churchyard.

 

We then descended to the area where the market is and I bought three flavors of honey. Then back up (and up, and up) the other side to have a beverage at a cafe, and then up and up and up some  more to ride the cable car. The views were worth it but it was a climb.

 

Back to the ship. We had purchased the shuttle bus tickets for $16 each, and agreed that we would have been better off with a cab. We had to stand in line for the returning bus for about half an hour. Cabs are about $10-12 each way.

 

Next: Albania!

 

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