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Konigsdam 11-day Southern Caribbean - My View

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9 hours ago, POA1 said:

Roger - My apologies. I accidentally posted my Live From stuff to your thread. I reported it, so hopefully Walt will delete it for me. I had too many tabs open. 

 

Just a note that the 10-11 Day menus are not the same as the 7-day cruises except for the two Gala Nights.  First Gala night is the silver menu and the second Gala night is the Gold.

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2 hours ago, RW_MI said:

 

How was the pho?  I love pho - did you have it in the MDR or Lido?

 

It was not the traditional pho I have been eating in Vietnamese restaurant.  The MDR served a few veggies and chicken with a coconut flavored broth poured over them that tasted good to me.  All HAL soups are a pureed broth of varying flavors that are meant as an appetizer.  Whenever HAL offers a named soup, I disregard the name and just read the contents on the menu.

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5 hours ago, Msrigby said:

IMHO this is a Petri dish.  Just watch the folks handling the food. I stopped grazing there after numerous folks were observed scooping up chips by hand while strolling by. 

 

I observed a male sort through the cookies with his hands to find one with just the right amount of chocolate chips.  My chocolate chip cookies come from the Explorations Cafe.

 

FWIW I have not seen Taco chips in the Lido Market yet.  The only chips I have seen on board are served in the NY Deli with their sandwiches.

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Just a quick note, utensils/napkins are not on the Lido Market tables for diners after 2:00 PM.  Wrapped utensils are not available at the waitstaff stations either.  Forks can be found at the Sweet Spot and paper napkins by the ice cream.  I think there are fewer waitstaff in the Lido during the lunch period and they cannot keep up with passengers returning from their excursions.

Edited by Crew News

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Current internet download speed with the surfing package is 0.72 mbs and I have not had any lost connections (so far).

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47 minutes ago, Crew News said:

 

Just a note that the 10-11 Day menus are not the same as the 7-day cruises except for the two Gala Nights.  First Gala night is the silver menu and the second Gala night is the Gold.

 

I was comparing them to your 10/11 night menus on your site. I know they're from last year, but the Day 1 & Day 2 starters and main courses are almost completely different on this cruise. The desserts are pretty much the same and there is one or two dishes that carry over, but that's about it. I haven't seen a mention of the Culinary Council and there is usually one member featured on each night's menu.  I was just wondering if you saw big changes as well.  Thanks!

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32 minutes ago, POA1 said:

 

I was comparing them to your 10/11 night menus on your site. I know they're from last year, but the Day 1 & Day 2 starters and main courses are almost completely different on this cruise. The desserts are pretty much the same and there is one or two dishes that carry over, but that's about it. I haven't seen a mention of the Culinary Council and there is usually one member featured on each night's menu.  I was just wondering if you saw big changes as well.  Thanks!

 

I emailed you with a suggestion to compare my current and your menus to see any correlation.  I will send you the Mariner's Lunch menu, too.

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On 12/15/2018 at 6:53 PM, Crew News said:

 

.................................

I think I will have to conclude that the uniformed officer that would not let me photograph our roll call members receiving their Mariner copper medals was in fact the Mariner Society Rep............................

 

 

 

There is no such function on board as the "Mariner Society Rep" - The Mariner Society activities are run from inside the Front Office so the officer you saw was more than likely a Guest Services supervisor or the Asst. GRM

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On 12/14/2018 at 9:13 AM, Crew News said:

Not sure this occurred on drydock but there is a motion sensor next to the bathroom door that turns on a low-lumen path light mounted on the bottom of the closet across from the bathroom.  All you have to do is get near the bathroom door in the dark to activate it. This dim light remains illuminated for sufficient time to return to bed. 

 

We do not have this feature in our NS.

 

WRT your comment #62 re the aloofness of the ship’s crew... in one of my early notes I had written:

 

“There is somewhat of an air of “I-can’t-give-a-dam” about this ship that we can’t quite put our finger on.  It is certainly a different atmosphere and climate than we experienced on our last voyage on this ship.”

 

It’s interesting that you have also noticed this.  Personally I believe that climate starts from the top and trickles down.  I once had an “interesting” interaction with the Captain many years ago, so I am inclined to think that this is where it originates.

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Just a note on your same-day laundry service comment... although our items go out early morning we don’t receive the finished product until late afternoon the following day.

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15 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

 

We do not have this feature in our NS.

 

WRT your comment #62 re the aloofness of the ship’s crew... in one of my early notes I had written:

 

“There is somewhat of an air of “I-can’t-give-a-dam” about this ship that we can’t quite put our finger on.  It is certainly a different atmosphere and climate than we experienced on our last voyage on this ship.”

 

It’s interesting that you have also noticed this.  Personally I believe that climate starts from the top and trickles down.  I once had an “interesting” interaction with the Captain many years ago, so I am inclined to think that this is where it originates.

 

When I asked my Room Steward about the different locations, he described the locations of the sensors in the other room categories.  I will ask him again about NS locations.  It only works when the room is in total darkness.

 

At the lowest levels of the crew, the crew seems almost as happy as the crew on the Westerdam and goes out of their way to accommodate every request.  I first noted a sense of "indifference" and/or "aloofness" of the ship's officers (with exceptions of course) on the Zaandam last May in Alaska but this is more evident.

 

I sensed something was amiss when three of the four aft elevators were shut down after the Muster Drill.  Ships officers were present at the Muster Drill on Deck 3 MDR and allowed so many disabled passengers to wait so long to share the only elevator.  Able-bodied passengers walked up to the Fourth floor and filled the only elevator on its way down to serve all of us waiting on Deck 3.  Whatever HAL Supervisor either authorized, or just turned a blind eye, should be removed.  It is certain that the movement of luggage could be delayed a few minutes to allow those on scooters and walkers to return to their rooms after the Muster Drill.

 

I observed uniformed officers, some senior, standing in a Lido Market line and not speaking to a single passenger on numerous occasions  Not at least "faking" that you consider each guest a VIP and asking, "How is your cruise going?" while an omelet is being cooked, does a disservice to the HAL brand  and ultimately to the value of my CCL stock.

 

IMHO every HAL Captain should stress to the staff:  Protect the HAL brand by not doing stupid things that may anger potential returning customers and Promote the HAL brand by making each guest a VIP even if you have to "fake" your commitment.  At every Mariner's Luncheon, the Captain declares that without guests, they could not continue to sail.  Just words?

 

I watched, who I think was the Captain, (I was not permitted in the Mariner Society medal ceremony, don't remember seeing the normal staff lineup at the Mariner Luncheon, nor did I see him at the 4&5 Star Mariner reception) in the Lido for breakfast one morning and he spoke to not a single passenger.  As stated earlier, this has been the case for his staff as well. 

 

Enough of my soap box.  I could care less if any ship officer asks how I am enjoying my cruise but to first-time cruisers, it could be positive action to convince them that HAL is a guest-friendly line.  Guests that feel like they are a VIP boost sales and ultimately my CCL stock value.

 

In a previous post, I stated that my impression is a snapshot in time and the next cruise may find changes that will not support my current impression.  For the sake of my fellow CC members sailing on the Konigsdam, I hope change happens.

 

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59 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

Just a note on your same-day laundry service comment... although our items go out early morning we don’t receive the finished product until late afternoon the following day.

 

Today was the first day that my laundry was not returned on the same day.  Maybe I jinxed myself by posting the same day service.

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Another sunny day in the Caribbean as the ship docked at a cargo port and not at the dock I remember downtown. 

 

Having a later excursion let me enjoy fewer guests in the Lido Market and no lines for food.

 

As one of the early arrivals for my "Discover Dominica" excursion, I was privileged to not ride the bus but rather the third row of a 12-passenger van built for 12-year old people with short legs.  During my five hours of sharp curves and narrow roads from one side of the island to the other, we stopped for about 1.5 hours.  Included was a hike over uneven steps up to see a waterfall and then another stop down to over hundreds of steps to see another waterfall.   Our driver told us that the roads are so steep that all vehicles need new brakes every three months.  The guide that alternated between the bus and our van told us that Dominica, like many other islands, suffers from the loss of students that leave for higher education and never return.

 

The last hurricane destroyed the hydroelectric plant and there are broken pipes near the lakes at the top of the hills.

 

With another winding bus ride scheduled for St Thomas, I will have accumulated almost 20 hours of bus seat time on roads not fit for safe use..  Our guide today stressed that all Dominica drivers have Phd (pot hole dodgers) degrees.  That sounds true for other island drivers, too.  No more Caribbean bus rides for me, maybe just a beach chair under an umbrella.

 

More tomorrow.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Crew News said:

At the lowest levels of the crew, the crew seems almost as happy as the crew on the Westerdam and goes out of their way to accommodate every request.  I first noted a sense of "indifference" and/or "aloofness" of the ship's officers (with exceptions of course) on the Zaandam last May in Alaska but this is more evident.

 

Enough of my soap box.  I could care less if any ship officer asks how I am enjoying my cruise but to first-time cruisers, it could be positive action to convince them that HAL is a guest-friendly line.  Guests that feel like they are a VIP boost sales and ultimately my CCL stock value.

 

DH and I took our very first cruise in April on Westerdam (the Pacific Coastal you organized the meet and greet for, Crew News, but we were among the folks that missed the time/place change that happened because of the Mariner luncheon so didn't get to meet you) and that was one thing that he immediately noticed, and did not like. Regular crew were friendly and professional, but anyone whose uniform got a little fancier couldn't be bothered to even smile or say good morning. We did comment on this on our post cruise surveys, and hopefully HQ will take note. We are sailing on Kdam next month and really hope that will be different. We don't need to be treated like VIPs but basic civilities like acknowledging passengers/customers should be normal.

 

 

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I am not sure where this culture of aloofness with HAL Captains and officers came from, but I have observed it for a number of years.

Seemed to have begun around the time the Captains cocktail reception was eliminated, ostensibly due to germs from hand shaking.

The contrast to Celebrity as well as Cunard and even Princess is very dramatic and a rather sad statement of near contempt for their passengers.

 

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The Konigsdam uses two gangways while in ports.  At one of the gangways, some of the ship's officers are gathered on the pier to wave as guests pass down the gangway.  This is the first cruise that I can remember observing this.

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2 hours ago, foodsvcmgr said:

I am not sure where this culture of aloofness with HAL Captains and officers came from, but I have observed it for a number of years.

Seemed to have begun around the time the Captains cocktail reception was eliminated, ostensibly due to germs from hand shaking.

The contrast to Celebrity as well as Cunard and even Princess is very dramatic and a rather sad statement of near contempt for their passengers.

 

On our first Celebrity cruise a number of years ago, DW and I were in line for our morning coffee at Café al Bacio when a senior  officer stepped in line behind us and started chatting away. He was very pleasant and seemed to be genuinely interested in what we had to say. It was only when the barista addressed him as Captain that we realized who he was. For the remaining two weeks of the cruise, we often saw him getting a coffee there, chatting with passengers and café staff alike. Since then, we've found the same welcoming attitude with all the Celebrity officers we've sailed with. Not to say that we haven't run across some very pleasant officers on HAL, but in general we've found them less amiable than their Celebrity counterparts. 

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The day began in bright sunshine with temps predicted in the mid 90's

 

Just completed my brief excursion up the hill via airport-shuttle type van.  Hurricane damage is still very evident to include the destruction of one of the middle schools near the city harbor.  Our guide pointed down at the roofs as we drove up the mountain side being of two colors:  red and FEMA tarp blue.  He told us that none of the resorts will be open until next tourist season.  The educational TV station towers at the top of he hill are just twisted metal.  Some downtown stores are still shuttered but the street vendors are out in full force trying to bring in badly needed money to the island.

 

It was nice to use a phone again and being away from downtown and the only ship currently docked, the reception is great.

 

More later.

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5 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

On our first Celebrity cruise a number of years ago, DW and I were in line for our morning coffee at Café al Bacio when a senior  officer stepped in line behind us and started chatting away. He was very pleasant and seemed to be genuinely interested in what we had to say. It was only when the barista addressed him as Captain that we realized who he was. For the remaining two weeks of the cruise, we often saw him getting a coffee there, chatting with passengers and café staff alike. Since then, we've found the same welcoming attitude with all the Celebrity officers we've sailed with. Not to say that we haven't run across some very pleasant officers on HAL, but in general we've found them less amiable than their Celebrity counterparts. 

 

That is good to hear about Celebrity.  As I posted previously, I have only noticed the change in two HAL ships:  Zaandam last May and this ship.  Staff comes and goes so maybe it will be better on the Westerdam in June.

 

Just a note that the incoming Hotel Director for the Konigsdam was a Culinary Operations Manager (COM) with me in Alaska a few years ago and  he was personally serving the pea soup on the aft Lido Deck.  He might be able to influence the culture during his tenure on the Konigsdam.

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One of our many times in Dominica we also docked at the Port of Woodbridge Bay instead of in Roseau.  We had complimentary buses to take us into Roseau.  We did the falls excursion.  Ours was a hard climb down the slippery hill and back up from the falls.

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I ate dinner at the Tamarind this evening and decided to describe the differences from my last Tamarind visit on the Nieuw Amsterdam.  In preparation for my visit, I downloaded the menu from the Navigator Dining menu online only to discover that the online version is old.

 

Appetizers and soups are now combined into the Appetizer portion of the menu.  Most items are the same with a change in the soups and sushi deleted.  The Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water entree designations are no more.  The wasabi sorbet is gone and replaced with thyme sorbet.  Only two of the previous desserts remain  I will do a line by line menu compassion soon.

 

I have the new Tamarind Beverage Menu.

 

Tablets are now in full use in the Tamarind by the waiters.

 

The shrimp chips (much larger) and dips are still served but in new bowls. 

 

I had the option of sitting at the sushi bar since it was empty and remained so throughout my dinner. 

 

The mango dessert was nice and quite a visual show. 

 

The promised kitchen tour did not make it on the Where & When for tomorrow, our last sea day and Gala Night.  Our roll call luncheon plan is to gather in the MDR hallway at 12:30  on Deck 2.

 

More later.

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Did you notice by any chance if during the drydock they installed outside seating at Tamarind, like they did with Nieuw Statendam?

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3 hours ago, Despegue said:

Did you notice by any chance if during the drydock they installed outside seating at Tamarind, like they did with Nieuw Statendam?

 

I shall find the answer for you.

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On 12/17/2018 at 10:26 PM, flyrobinfly said:

 

Regular crew were friendly and professional, but anyone whose uniform got a little fancier couldn't be bothered to even smile or say good morning. <snip>   We don't need to be treated like VIPs but basic civilities like acknowledging passengers/customers should be normal.

 

 

I'm on the K'Dam in 16 days... I'm not shy.  If I'm greeted with such indifference - I will say something... "is it really that hard to smile and say good morning."  Basic Civilities, as you say, is part of the business!!!

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