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Alaska back-to-back cruise questions


mma1

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Hi,

We just booked a back-to back cruise on the Zaandam in late August (round trip Vancouver). I have a few HAL back-to-back cruise questions for cruisers who have done them.

 

What will they have the b-to-bs do in Seward? Does everyone have to get off the ship for a given amount of time? Will we need to check in again and get new room cards? I assume we'll have to go to a second muster drill (even thought I love HAL, I really love how Princess does them in lounges rather than on deck...). Will the menus for week two be the same as week one? Will the entertainment, at least that provided by the ship's singers/dancers, be the same both weeks? Will trivia questions at least be different? (Yes, we love trivia contests even though we never won once on our 10 day Volendam cruise in 12/06!) Are there b-to-b pros or cons I haven't thought of?

 

Thanks!!

Margaret (Andy, Bert and Vincent)

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Hi,

What will they have the b-to-bs do in Seward? Does everyone have to get off the ship for a given amount of time? Will we need to check in again and get new room cards? I assume we'll have to go to a second muster drill (even thought I love HAL, I really love how Princess does them in lounges rather than on deck...). Will the menus for week two be the same as week one? Will the entertainment, at least that provided by the ship's singers/dancers, be the same both weeks? Will trivia questions at least be different? (Yes, we love trivia contests even though we never won once on our 10 day Volendam cruise in 12/06!) Are there b-to-b pros or cons I haven't thought of?

 

Thanks!!

Margaret (Andy, Bert and Vincent)

 

This is our first b2b so I'm not sure if I have answers for you. I just know what has been shared here on CC. Is your cruise really a b2b or is it a 14-day cruise? On a true b2b you have to get a new cruise card and attend the muster drill. There is some confusion on whether we will get a new cruise card since our cruise is advertised and sold as a 14-day. I guess we will just have to find out when we get there. You will have all day in Seward so you can do just about anything that you want. We have booked the 11:30 am 6-hour Kenai Fjords cruise with Renown. You can also book the cruise through HAL. I am sure that the menus, entertainment, and trivia will be the same. Just think, you could win every trivia contest (I love them too) if you just remember the answers! The special entertainers might be different since they sometimes change from week to week.

 

I hope this helps.

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You will get a different key card which will be placed in your cabin the night before you dock in Seward. You will need to vacate the boat for at least a little while. The menu may b slightly different, but not much. Same with the entertainment.

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We did this last summer and it is two cruises. The menus will be the same and most of the entertainment will be the same. We had to do the muster drill for both cruises. You get a new cruise card. The timing in your ports and scenic cruising will be somewhat different so you do see different aspects of the inland passage and College fjord. The weather won't be exactly the same so phots canlook different. And you might get rain one way but then you have another opportunity for no rain the other direction. The ship offers tours for the b2B people one of them being the Kenai fjords cruise.

We really enjoyed doing that B2B.

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We did a b2b cruise in Alaska and it was considered two separate cruises with two separate cruise dates and two separate ship bard accounts. I know we got off the ship in Seward, but don't recall being told that we had to. I thought it was our option to do so.

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Hi,

Thank you for your responses. Judy, we booked it as a "single" 14 day cruise (we didn't book two 7 day cruises). Let us know how your cruise goes!!

Margaret

Ours is a single cruise with a single booking number, too, so I don't know how that affects things like the cruise card and such. It might be treated as a single cruise or a b2b by the ship. I think this is the first year that HAL has offered this as a 14-day cruise. I'll be sure to report back on CC about how it goes. There are several of us on CC doing the 14-day.

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We have done back to back and never got off the ship which was the Veendam. We just went to a lounge and met someone from Immigration and showed them our passports. Just enjoyed being aboard and doing laundry. We were in our home port so did not wish to disembark.

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We just went to a lounge and met someone from Immigration and showed them our passports.

I would be surprised if passengers had to go through Immigration since they're already coming from a US port.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if they had to go to another muster drill, though.

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I am under the impression that the US Coast Guard mandates life boat drills and there has to be one at least every 10 days. On some of our longer cruises we have had several lifeboat drills and they were not b2B cruises. On 7 day b2b trips new cruisers must attend but pax in transit frequently do not. I am anxious to see how many drills we have on our 15 day to Hawaii. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks,

GN

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We're on the same cruise as Judynorth. We booked ours as a fourteen day cruise, used a single $100 deposit per person, have one booking number, on the HAL website the cruise itinerary shows as a single cruise, and the shore excursion area shows as a single fourteen day cruise. We have a guarantee cabin and are hoping that will stay the same for the whole cruise. Also we always buy the laundry package and I'm hoping we will also be able to do that for the entire cruise. Also, that any drink cards will be good for the whole cruise.

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Hi folks,

We are booked for a 14 day Alaska on the Veendam sailing out of Vancouver on August 8, 2008. This will be our fifth or sixth cruise to Alaska, always up and back.

All of our previous cruises were b2b, this is the first booked as a 14 day single cruise. On the previous cruises, both Princess and Hal kept us in the same cabin. The key cards were changed in Seward.

Gettin off the ship in Seward is your choice. We have done the excursions and we have opted to spend the day in Seward exploring the Sea life center and local cafes and internet cafes. All very enjoyable.

Hal just bends over backward to make this a smooth transition. They kept the Pinacle open for breakfast for b2b passengers so you could sleep in if you wanted and still get a late breakfast. The new key cards were in the cabin, and we did have to check out on one and back in on the other. US citizens did not have to go through customs. The whole process was very well handled and went smoothly at all times.

Seward is a small port, so we were not fighting any crowds or congestion. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. We just had a lazy late breakfast and did not get off until the disembarking passengers were done.

The first time we did this there were about twenty five other couples doing the b2b thing. We became the roundtrippers, and nearly a clique unto ourselves.

Most times the trivia questions were changed, as the b2b crowd seemed to love trivia, and we demanded that they change the questions. Trivia is bloodsport, and we like to win, but, even more, we like the challenge, so new questions are a must. Not a problem, HAL has tens of thousands of trivia questions.

We intend to do this cruise every year as long as the money and the health holds out. We go to Vancouver a day early, and stay an extra four days to attend the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival and the Merry Night at the Opera in Vanier Park. It is a wonderful combination of wilderness and entertainment, not to mention the exquisite restaurants.

Happy sailing to all.

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BumperII, we are arriving in Vancouver 2 days before the cruise and are staying at the Best Western Downtown on Drake. Since you have been to Vancouver a lot, can you recommend some nice places to eat while we are there? We haven't decided exactly what we will try to see since we just have one full day and the afternoon before and then the morning before the cruise begins. I assume that morning will be pretty much a loss since we will have our luggage with us. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.:)

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We have done quite a few back-to-back Alaskan cruises -- last one was in 2006 when HAL did not offer them as a single 14 day cruise -- they were 2 separate cruises. We did not have to go through immigration in Seward -- that day was our own to do as we pleased. But we did have to follow the breakfast times that was in place for the other disembarking passengers -- which included the Pinnacle Grill -- it was not open for late breakfasts -- it closed at 8 AM!! We always stay in suites.

We never had to report to a lounge and show anyone our passports -- Seward is an American port.

Now that HAL has started to allow people to book these cruises as a one 14 day cruise, you should not have to be issued new ID cards. This is something new that HAL has started this year as HAL has discovered that many people do like to do back-to-back cruises. As for the lifeboat drill -- you will probably have to attend the second as well. In Seward, one time we had it at 7:15 and another time it was at 8 -- all depends on the ship.

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BumperII, we are arriving in Vancouver 2 days before the cruise and are staying at the Best Western Downtown on Drake. Since you have been to Vancouver a lot, can you recommend some nice places to eat while we are there? We haven't decided exactly what we will try to see since we just have one full day and the afternoon before and then the morning before the cruise begins. I assume that morning will be pretty much a loss since we will have our luggage with us. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.:)

 

Places to eat?

 

Get on the sky train to the seabus for Lonsdale Cay Market place. Lovely second floor restaurant with outdoor seating options. Tambora??

 

Granville Island Farmer's market, foods from all over the world. At least twenty different kinds of hot dogs or sausages, salmon burgers, halibut burgers, just let your mind wander.

 

Chinatown - Floata takes a little finding as it is on the third floor. Taxi drivers all know where it is.

 

Gastown - a must see. Just find the steam clock and there are any number of restaurants and bistros. We ate outdoors at the Water Cafe.

 

Vera's burger shack several locations, good burgers made to order, all freshly ground beef.

 

Memphis Blue's BBQ on Broadway. Great pulled pork, mob scene at supper time.

 

The only disappointment was the worlds biggest pancake place.

 

These are all "peasant food" places. We are and will always be budget challenged, our idea of five star dining is the sausage gravy and biscuits at Bob Evans. We preferred the Gumbo Shop to the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans.

 

If you are interested, Land Sea Tours uses small jitney buses, about sixteen passengers or so, big sight seeing windows etc. They do seven or eight tours including a day of cruise trip that tours the city and drops you off at the cruise terminal. Driver - Tour guides are college educated and have great lines of baloney and local humor as well as information. We have done them all, and had a great time.

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