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suzieque

Also Just Back from the Westerdam!!

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We had a great cruise. As Jacqueline pointed out, the pluses outweighed the minuses. Plusses were a fabulous (albeit intensive) itinerary! We found that if you just choose a few highlights that you must see in any city that is far from a port (like on this cruise), you will have a more interesting and relaxing time. We did the research before the cruise, and had pre-booked several drivers and guides in various cities which worked out great for us. We got to see things that were not on the HAL tour itineraries and without a huge caravan of busses!! The port lecturer people on this particular ship were awful. When they were'nt trying to scare people into using only their tours (talking about being on your own & missing the ship stuff...), they were giving out incorrect info on the ports!! The days at sea ( only 3 out of 13) were a needed and welcome respite from the get up at 6am, eat breakfast, get off to see the sights kind of days that most days were.

I actually thought the Indonesian crew was the most friendly of all the cruises I've been on (this was my first on HAL). The European staff was not as friendly, and did not make a point of smiling and saying hi as they passed you in the hallways and public areas. I found the staffs on Princess & Celebrity more open and eager to connect with the passengers. My daughter said the teen group met the first night, then splintered off into groups, so she chose not to go off with any particular crowd. With late seating (8pm) for dinner, we were rarely out before 10-10:15. Saw a few shows, but really just walked around the ship, went to the internet center, looked in the shops and then went to bed early to be rested for the next day!! The cabins were great. The new beds (thick, pillowtop mattresses!!!) 250 count sheets (not changed during the cruise, though!), and the bathroom with tub were very nice touches. Vanity area was too small and much of it was taken up with the TV. I was "upgraded" to an aft cabin. Huge balcony, but NEVER AGAIN will I take that area!! The balcony was mostly open to the above decks, and it was filthy dirty every morning and evening, soaking wet, and unuseable for me, because people on the Lido deck (2 floors up) frequently tossed, dropped or otherwise lost their beer & soda cans, water bottles, and cigarettes which landed on my balcony. Almost got hit in the head twice while sittng out there. Complaints to HAL front desk provide no relief from this matter. Made the balcony virtually a waste and pissed me off greatly!!! The photo staff did a great job, and the food was pretty good. Lido was best. We were at table 91 in the upper dining room, and never seemed to have a hot meal! Everything was lukewarm. The coffee on board was excellent. I am a coffee nut, and brought my own with a French coffee press, just in case it was like the Princess coffee. I was pleasantly surprised!!

Overall we had a great cruise. Each itinerary and group of passengers varies cruise to cruise, so you can never be assured of a fun-loving lively crowd. I felt this group was a bit more reserved; kept to their own travelling companions rather than making lots of new friends and acquaintances, but I too may have been guilty of that as well, as I was not interested in going to a smoke-fiilled bar till the wee hours. I was more interested in the fascinating ports and nearby cities we were to see each day.

If you have specific questions, feel free to respond to this post or e-mail me directly at sprovo@apr.com

Suzie

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Welcome back!! Sometimes "upgrades" are not really upgrades. Sounds like that was your case. Amazing that folks were so careless to allow garbage to fly over the rail of the aft pool. I think the lack of privacy would have bothered me too! Would love to hear of your ports soemtime!:cool:

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Hi Suzie,

Thanks for the info. Can you tell me what cabin number/deck you had and/or the category? We're booked in an aft cabin later this year and this will be helpful to me to know.

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Suzique .... Can't wait until you have time to tell us about your ports!

 

Thanks & Welcome Back! OCruisers

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Southwest,

We had cabin 7128, Rotteredam deck cat.A, NEVER AGAIN. Loved the size, not the dirt, wetness and debris thrown/blown down!!

 

Ports: In Lisbon, we did it on our own. Shuttle bus dropped us off in the main square. We walked through the pedestrian arches (lovely shops and boutique area) to the tram stop. Took the tram to the Alfama (actually got off too early, and wound up wandering uphill instead of downhill to the Alfama area. Lovely winding streets. Found a delightful man who spoke a little English, who walked my daughter & me down the right path to the area we were looking for!! Then we walked back to the main square and took the hop-on-hop-off bus (blue circuit) to Belem. Went to the Torre de Belem first, walked over to the Jeronimous Monastery, then to the Coach Museum. Within a block was a fabulous little pastry and sandwich place called Antiga Casa dos Pasteis de Belem. Had a delicious sandwich , a couple of strong black coffees and a pasteis de nata (custard tartlet). Then took a taxi back to the ship. It was VERY hot and we had done a lot of walking!!

 

Cadiz: We did this one on our own too. Found a taxi at the port who quoted us 200 Euros for 4 hrs. in Seville plus the ride there and back (about 1.25-1.5 hrs. each way) He took us to a lovely hotel in Seville for a "rest stop" to use the loveliest bathroom in all Seville! and also to see this 5 star hotel. The Hotel Alfonso XIII. Then stopped at the Maria Louisa Park and the Plaza American and Plaza Espagne. Paco our driver was very informative about the history of Seville and the sights. We had decided what we wanted to see, so Paco provided the transportation. On Thursdays there is a huge flea market on Calle Feria, an it was Thursday, so I wanted to go. I have a dear artist friend who uses collage as a medium, so I promised her I'd pick up some interesting items to put in her next piece. Found a couple of hand inked and stamped documents from 1934 Seville, plus some old mortgage loan papers from the early 30's. I'm a realtor so I will have them translated for me, and maybe frame them! My daughter found some old April 1924 and 1934 posters for the Seville Fair (each town has an annual fair). Vey cool stuff!! Then we went to the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, and saw where the Sunday bullfights take place as well as the museum. Then went off to the Mueso de Belles Artes; and excellent art museum with 15th -17th cent. Seville School artists represented (Murillo, Zurbaran and Valdes Leal). The building is a work of art, too!! We then went by the Cathedral and the Giralda. Didn't go in either, because we wanted to spend some time exploring the Barrio Santa Cruz & having a bite to eat at the Hosteria del Laurel. Some remains of Columbus are entombed at the Cathedral. Several people who we met said it was a very impressive Cathedral. For our own personal opinion, we were going to the Alhambra the next day, so we decided to skip this Cathedral! We spent an extra 1.5 hrs in Seville, so we paid Paco an extra 30 Euros (20 per hr after the initial 4 hrs. in Seville). The day was wonderful. We got to see everything we wanted, and nothing we didn't wish to see!!!

Let me know if there are other ports you are interested in that were on our itinerary.

Suzie

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Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your trip. Sorry you got one of the upper aft suites. It can really be a pain when people throw stuff knowing full well where it wil land. We found that on Oosterdam, too.

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We were at table 91 in the upper dining room, and never seemed to have a hot meal! Everything was lukewarm. Suzie

 

Suzieque, we were on the Westerdam for 12 days in June at the same table, 91. Our food was served cold also. I thought the staff would have worked out the problems by now.

 

So we ate in the Pinnacle, Lido or our cabin. After three bad diners we had had enough. I did mention the problem to the maire'd. :eek:

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Lipoppop,

Our busboy Satrio was very good. I think the waiter, Jerry, was overstressed. Never seemed to get the orders straight!! We stayed with the dining room meals only because we were having fun with several of our tablemates! And, our wine steward was excellent.

Suzie

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Suzieque,

 

Thanks for the good info on Lisbon and Cadiz. Very helpful.

J.

 

Dakrewser - thanks for the link to your pictures.

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Thanks for the great port tips, Suzieque. My husband and I are booked on Westerdam 06/08/05, and we were a bit at sea about some of the ports. Our previous trips to Europe were land-based, and we haven't been to Portugal or Spain. We also prefer to get out and walk around a port if possible, and appreciate the advance footwork.

 

We don't have a cabin number as yet - it's still "To Be Assigned". We'll know to look out for cabins in the area you described - that could be a cruise-saver!

 

Vistapat

 

RCCL Legend of the Seas 2003

Norwegian Sky 2002

Celebrity Mercury 2001

Carnival Jubilee 2000

Carnival Elation 1998

Chandris Brittanis 1978

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