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I'm curious about the Microsoft courses being offered on the Nieuw Statendam. Is it necessary, advisable, or even possible to book the classes in advance? Is there a schedule for the specific classes? Any feedback re other cruisers' experience with this would be much appreciated.

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My experience with the Microsoft classes, the latest being April 2019, is that you cannot sign up in advance.  The classes are listed in the daily program, and some are repeated.  They are very popular, so show up early and stand outside the door (usually locked until class time).  Seating is limited.  I found them to be very helpful, depending on the instructor.

Edited by ArizonatoFlorida

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HAL sent out an email recently about new things going on, including information about the "Microsoft Studio." It sounds like they are updating the classes, although it could look new to me because it's a few years since I went to one of them. One thing the website page says that's interesting is that they will offer some open time outside of classes. They've gone to using Surface laptops now.

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/onboard-activities/cruise-activities/digital-workshop.html?camp=CME:20191015_HEP1946MCN&rmid=20191015_HEP1946MCN&rrid=753058302&lid=art1mcncta&CID=HEMZ19105704

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I found computer classes on a ship to be a bit of a health risk.  A crowed small room with everyone touching the mouse and  keyboard at great length.  You can easily find similar lessons on the internet at home.  Try YouTube.

 

igraf

 

 

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1 hour ago, igraf said:

I found computer classes on a ship to be a bit of a health risk.  A crowed small room with everyone touching the mouse and  keyboard at great length.  You can easily find similar lessons on the internet at home.  Try YouTube.

 

igraf

 

 

 

You can download the "takaway" sheets from HAL's website. I looked at only one so far, and it was very basic. 

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I just returned from a cruise on the Zuiderdam. This was my first HAL cruise, and I consider the MS classes to be the BEST onboard experience of the cruise. I wanted to try HAL because my friend has gone on many and has told me about the learning experiences, such as lectures, but I was unaware they offered MS classes.

 

Our instructor Erika trains the other instructors for Microsoft, so I believe they follow a similar plan on all ships that have these classes. She told me this partnership is only for HAL.  I hope this is helpful:

1. There are at least six different classes, possibly 9 or 10. They offer them more than once, in case you have a conflict with another activity. One of the classes is called "Studio Time," essentially practice time, where you can also get individual help or advice from the instructor.

2. The classes are what I consider "relevant" - they are themed around what interests the passenger demographic, and especially around travel. In fact they describe them with these terms - travel, explore, create, share! They are also updated fairly regularly, as I learned this series is new.

3. Every class I attended was FULL and there were folks sitting or standing around the walls of the room. I learned to show up early and still did not get a seat every time. The instructor was very gracious and welcomed even those who came late or just wanted to observe.

4. The classes were simple and user friendly for any level of expertise. These are not classes like Power Point, which would require some expertise with MS and a lot of time. For example, the first class I took was about feautures of Windows 10 that are not commonly known. I've been using Windows for over 20 years - Windows 10 for the past I don't know how long, but I didn't know the things Erika shared in this class.

5. She was able to address the needs of the least experienced as well as the most experienced, and do so efficiently. She covered her whole curriculum each session without rushing, and she answered any and all questions. She even accepted questions specific to our own use. The sessions lasted about 35 minutes, but there was time after each for further questions.

6. There was a class on how to collect and store various formats of information (photos, documents, websites) while planning a trip. There was another on journaling while ON the trip - adding photos and sharing the work with others. I took one on Safety/Security, and learned so much in that one. I think I took one more but cannot remember at the moment, and there were several I did not take because I didn't have time, such as photo editing.

 

I just went back to look at your post, and see I did not address your questions (sorry):

a. You cannot book the clases in advance, even while on the ship. First come, first served.

b. The schedule comes in the daily schedule you recieve in your cabin each evening, or you can see it on the free HAL on board app (if it works for you!) I went to the studio on the first day I believe - or it may have been the first class, and I asked the instructor to see the schedule. They don't have a handout, but she allowed me to take photos right off the pages of HER schedule. It seemed like an Excel document.

 

This reminds me, several times during the cruise I requested something and staff told me they don't offer it becuase HAL is committed to reducing their use of paper,  but you will SEE all the marketing and promotional documents they will bring to your cabin each day, lol!

 

I hope you get to attend a class and really enjoy it!

 

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Thanks so much for all the information, folks! I will definitely take my disinfectant wipes with me.  I'm not surprised how popular the sessions are but it's reassuring to know they're worth getting there early. Looking forward to taking in a few of these classes.

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I have attended all classes over the past years. One way to avoid germs if that is a concern is to bring one's own computer or surface. I have done this the last couple years. There is room to sit at the sides or back and work on your own devise. Enjoy!

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More info - you can go to the HAL website and search for Microsoft handouts. You will find all the printouts they provide.

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24 minutes ago, cruisinteach2 said:

I have attended all classes over the past years. One way to avoid germs if that is a concern is to bring one's own computer or surface. I have done this the last couple years. There is room to sit at the sides or back and work on your own devise. Enjoy!

 

Good that they let you do that. I haven't done many of the classes, but for the photo ones, the teacher pre-loaded his/her photos and had everyone work with those, so it was difficult to do the lesson if not on their computers. I travel with a laptop and would prefer to work on that instead of the ship's computers. That way, I have the "product" of my lesson to review at my leisure without having to go to the computer room to practice. 

 

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1 hour ago, cruisinteach2 said:

I have attended all classes over the past years. One way to avoid germs if that is a concern is to bring one's own computer or surface. I have done this the last couple years. There is room to sit at the sides or back and work on your own devise. Enjoy!

 

 

I don't go to all the classes but I have been to a few - especially when I switched systems.

 

In the old days I took my notebook, now it's the Ipad.  In either case, it was no problem to take my own device.
 

I think they actually expect it in these days 😉 

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On 10/20/2019 at 12:50 PM, igraf said:

I found computer classes on a ship to be a bit of a health risk.  A crowed small room with everyone touching the mouse and  keyboard at great length.  You can easily find similar lessons on the internet at home.  Try YouTube.

 

igraf

 

 

While You Tube is great at times, I find the ability to actually ask a question or get clarification on something from a Live Person better. Especially when learning totally new stuff on computers. 

 

Many years ago I attended one of these when Windows 7 was just out. I did not primarily attend for the class, but to get access to a computer with USB and Flash Card slots. Both the DW and I had gone nuts with our picture taking and after a week pre-cruise and half way through the cruise, we had just about filled our 4 and 8 GB camera memory cards. So I needed access to a computer so I could off load all the pictures onto a USB Stick. It took almost the full class time to move 90% of the pictures off the cards so we could continue taking pictures. 

 

And surprisingly I found that I liked the Windows 7 interface enough, that when we got home I initiated an upgrade cycle for our home systems. 

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2 hours ago, drowelf said:

While You Tube is great at times, I find the ability to actually ask a question or get clarification on something from a Live Person better. Especially when learning totally new stuff on computers. 

 

Many years ago I attended one of these when Windows 7 was just out. I did not primarily attend for the class, but to get access to a computer with USB and Flash Card slots. Both the DW and I had gone nuts with our picture taking and after a week pre-cruise and half way through the cruise, we had just about filled our 4 and 8 GB camera memory cards. So I needed access to a computer so I could off load all the pictures onto a USB Stick. It took almost the full class time to move 90% of the pictures off the cards so we could continue taking pictures. 

 

And surprisingly I found that I liked the Windows 7 interface enough, that when we got home I initiated an upgrade cycle for our home systems. 

 

Now they probably have all the ports disabled because everyone is so afraid of viruses. One of the reasons I travel with my laptop is to backup my pictures.

 

 

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3 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Good that they let you do that. I haven't done many of the classes, but for the photo ones, the teacher pre-loaded his/her photos and had everyone work with those, so it was difficult to do the lesson if not on their computers. I travel with a laptop and would prefer to work on that instead of the ship's computers. That way, I have the "product" of my lesson to review at my leisure without having to go to the computer room to practice. 

 

I have Windows 10 on my Surface Pro so it has the photo editing program. When in class I use my own photos to practice with the instructor. "Kills 2 birds with 1 stone" -- I learn about the program and edit my pictures!

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23 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Now they probably have all the ports disabled because everyone is so afraid of viruses. One of the reasons I travel with my laptop is to backup my pictures.

 

 

Probably so, but this was back in 2010/2011 timeframe and I was not about to drag the 12+ pound beast I had then around on vacation. It was bad enough when travelling for work and had to lug 2 of the beasts around. 

 

Today its a different story. In 2013/2014 I got a small ASUS (6-7lbs) netbook for taking on vacation and now use a Lenovo 330 (4 lbs) on vacation, which is much more manageable. 

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1 minute ago, drowelf said:

Probably so, but this was back in 2010/2011 timeframe and I was not about to drag the 12+ pound beast I had then around on vacation. It was bad enough when travelling for work and had to lug 2 of the beasts around. 

 

Today its a different story. In 2013/2014 I got a small ASUS (6-7lbs) netbook for taking on vacation and now use a Lenovo 330 (4 lbs) on vacation, which is much more manageable. 

 

When the publisher I worked for in the '80s first got computers, we had a few shared PCs and a compaq portable. If you've ever seen a "portable" sewing machine, which fits into a case instead of a piece of furniture, that's what it looked like. And it was easily as heavy as a sewing machine. It's amazing at how much smaller computers have become while being able to do so much more. 

 

Cunard got computers very early on, before the ship had internet for passengers. I remember that you could buy a diskette for $1 in the bookshop if you wanted to save what you had done on the computer. Then they blocked all the diskette drives and usb ports because of potential virus issues. 

 

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I wear latex gloves and a mask to class. Then I shower afterwards and spray myself down with Lysol. 

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5 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

When the publisher I worked for in the '80s first got computers, we had a few shared PCs and a compaq portable. If you've ever seen a "portable" sewing machine, which fits into a case instead of a piece of furniture, that's what it looked like. And it was easily as heavy as a sewing machine. It's amazing at how much smaller computers have become while being able to do so much more. 

 

Cunard got computers very early on, before the ship had internet for passengers. I remember that you could buy a diskette for $1 in the bookshop if you wanted to save what you had done on the computer. Then they blocked all the diskette drives and usb ports because of potential virus issues. 

 

When my husband started programming (back in the Dark Ages), a computer filled a room!

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2 hours ago, Jammu2 said:

I wear latex gloves and a mask to class. Then I shower afterwards and spray myself down with Lysol. 

:classic_smile::classic_smile:

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