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LAFFNVEGAS

The LAFFNVEGAS LIVE From the Statendam Panama Canal Cruise

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Thank you for sharing your experience -- I look forward to these posts.

 

Emily

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Yeah, that was from InletCam after she came in this morning. I took this pic on your way out. Didn't know where you were but thought you might like this. I took a few other pix, maybe you're in one.

 

statendam.jpg

 

Have fun.

Thanks for the picture, yes I am sure we were out there, we are in cabin 038 on the Port Side and we stayed out there thru the whole Sail Away, we even had a bit of horn blowing between the Captain and someone on shore with a bull horn. It was a entertaining Sail Away. Our cabin is one of the ones that the Lido jets out over toward the aft.

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Saturday Afternoon April 18th, 2009

Good Afternoon from the Atlantic waters just 10 miles off the coast of Cuba or at least that is what Captain Consen said in his report from the Bridge at 12:50 this afternoon. I laughed out loud listening to him because I was totally alone in the Thermal Suite with the exception of having Spa people brings passengers in for tours while I was relaxing and they were being loud but when I was alone it was relaxing being the only one in there.

 

This morning we slept in till 8 and got up and wandered up to the Lido Buffet for Breakfast, it was starting to get crowded but there appears to be quite a few smokers on this cruise and most are sitting out by the Lido Pool for breakfast. In all honestly I find areas to get far more crowded on the S Class ships than I do on the Vista ships. I think there is just not as many places to spread the passengers around. I guess we are a bit spoiled from the Vista Class and even the R Class ship of the Amsterdam last summer but with the limited space in the Lido Buffet Tom and I both felt they offered less. There were no Pancake or French Toast Specials or any special Breakfast entree like Chicken fajitas like we are accustom to. That was OK I just had a small mushroom and mozzarella cheese omelet and Tom had the basics of eggs, ham and hash browns.

I then headed to the Spa to have a morning of relaxation, I have definitely been to much better run Green House Spas on HAL ships. While not terrible just lacking in attention to detail that both the Eurodam and Oosterdam had. Actually over all I am seeing in the first 24 hours a lacking for the small details that can sometimes be important and when there are numerous ones, the over all feeling can be bad.

 

Let me explain some of my small complaints so far.....

Last night before we went to dinner we had a light that was flickering badly above the couch where we sit and read so I called the Telephone Concierge who said she would send someone right up to fix it, after dinner we return to find it still flickering and called again.We had come back to the room to grab a jacket because ALL of the public lounges are absolutely freezing. We were out and about and when we returned the light was still not fixed. By this morning the light no longer worked at all. I did call yet another time this afternoon and someone finally came to replace the light.

 

In the Spa in the ladies dressing area bathroom there were no towels or paper towels to wipes your hands with when I first got there to go to the Thermal Suite. I left the Thermal Suite at about 1 PM and used the bathroom again and there were still no towels or paper towels.

 

When I checked into the Spa I had a gift card for the Thermal Suite and the gentlemen that checked me in was the Spa Manager and he actually questioned this and said he had never seen one worded like this and was I sure this was for the full 14 days????? He acted as though no one had ever done this before.

 

Then you will all get a laugh out of this, after the third time being interrupted in what is to be relaxing in the Thermal Suite by a parade of people given a tour of the Thermal Suite, they stop to explain about the aroma therapy mist in each shower. Well, that was the first thing I checked when I got in there and neither one had aroma therapy nor was there any type of aroma therapy in the steam rooms. Which one is suppose to have and they explain that when they are giving this tour. Anyway in the middle of their third tour I turned around right after he was explaining the aroma mist shower and said as loud as they were speaking. "Oh By the way...neither of the showers have the aroma therapy mist nor does any of the steam rooms" The guy just gave me a really dirty look and one of the older gentlemen that was in the tour says "Thank You" I guess I have already gotten myself in trouble by complaining lol :D

 

OK So it is now 1 PM and I decided I want a small bite to eat I was thinking nachos but there were no chips the bowel only had crumbs and everything is very picked over. I look over to where the guys make the burgers and there is no one there and there were 3 people waiting to take an order. As a matter a fact everything out there is terribly picked over and only a couple of slices of pizza. I wait for a few more minutes thinking maybe the crew members had gone to refill some of the empty sections. I probably waited 5 minutes, some waiting for burgers left. I finally grabbed a slice of Pizza and then went into the packed Lido and attempted to make a salad although many of the items were also running low. Made a salad, grabbed a tiny tiny glass of ice tea ( I am sure the glasses are slightly bigger for the tea on the Eurodam and Oosterdam) and head back to the cabin to have lunch.

 

I do not mean to have this post be a complaint thread but like I said it is often the little things that when they build up can give a bad taste in your mouth. If it was only one minor thing or even two, but when there becomes several things one starts to question what the next 13 days will be like. Tom thinks I am blowing things out of proportion but most of the items I mentioned did not happen to him. Although he is a bit upset that he cannot enjoy the Crow's Nest like he likes because it is too darn cold up there.

 

Tonight is our first Formal night and in recent times we have skipped the Champagne Toast but because it is Frans we plan to go. Oddly I had thought all the ships had gone back to the better show times. At least they had on the Oosterdam and Eurodam but evidently not here on the Statendam. Tonights Captain's Toast is at 6:45 and 8:45. With having dinner at 5:45 we will have to go to the 8:45. We will probably be done eating at about 7:10 like last night which then leaves a big open gap of time to do nothing. If I had late dinner I certainly would not want to have to get ready and go to the show at 6:45. The would have been so much better to have been at 7:45 and 9:45 with the shows at 8 and 10.

 

OK enough complaining, it is absolutely beautiful outside an we are having the calmest seas, although the Captain did say tomorrow would not be as good and we would most likely encounter a lot rougher seas.

I am thinking I might book a massage for tomorrow, the spa massage people are not too busy. Not one room was being used but the hair salon part was packed. It is truly amazing how things like the spa are so different when the demographics of age on the ship are very different from a 7 day Vista Class to a 14 day S class. I had asked the Spa Manager when I did check in if the Thermal Suite could get very busy with only having the 5 ceramic heated loungers and he said it it was highly unlikely.

 

Well I think I will read a bit before I shower and get ready for the evening.

 

Signing off from the Beautiful and Elegant MS Statendam.

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Lisa, this is just a feeling I have, but I'm thinking that before the end of your thread (read by thousands of people) and the end of your cruise, a lot of these issues are going to be cleared up;). Excellent reporting, keep up the good work:)

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Okay, in my own defense I have to say that I did know quite a lot of the staff from previous cruises on various ships - then, because of my dear friend Amy, I got to meet and truly enjoy the Cruise Director and all of his staff - and, you know me Lisa: I make friends really easily so yes, I guess that a lot of people on the ship either knew me or knew of me. Now - ask Amy and Shannon about Cheryl (Parker) and they will probably say the same about her. She, like me, makes friends easily and she is a ton of fun to be around (don't know if I fit that category though). One of these days you have to meet Cheryl - you will really like her a whole lot.

 

I hope that you are adjusting to the different deck numbers. I had spent so much time aboard the Amsterdam where Main Deck is 2 and got aboard the Statendam on Deck 5 only to be amazed that that was Main Deck, where my cabin was located. Got in the elevator ready to push 8 for Lido Deck only to discover that Lido was Deck 11 (Deck 11 - on the Amsterdam that's waaaay high up isn't it;):D).

 

Now that you have had a few hours to adjust I hope that you are having a sensational time and when you do find Amy (took me 2 days to find her last cruise - we always kept missing each other) tell her I say "Hi and luv ya".

 

I'm staying tuned for next installment.

 

Love to you both,

 

Valerie:)

Valerie, I am not sure if I mentioned last night that yes we found Amy :) She is great, I am sure we will make it a nightly ritual to stop by and see her in the Library.She said she would see you again on the first of May. To bad our flight is at 11:45 that morning. :o Or we could have seen you.

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I don't know....I think some of the complaints are justified and you have a right to voice them, IMO, especially on a cruise of that length/price.

 

I sure hope the food issues get better, maybe you should try breakfast on your verandah on your next sea day.

 

And those spa tours...ugh! They should limit those to only a certain time of the day. On one cruise my girlfriend and i had late dining, she used the thermal suite while most people were at early dining and it was deserted, no tours, nothing.

 

Thanks again for the latest installment, it was the first item I looked for when logging in. The personalized reporting as opposed to a post cruise review really helps with future cruise planning, because the reviews always are more general and overlook the little things.

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Lisa,

shows on the Oosterdam for my 32 day cruise were at 7:00 and 9:00.

.

We are early risers, but by 8:00am, even on the Vista class ship, we had trouble finding a seat in the Lido.Service was also very slow in the outdoor grill.

You are in for such a treat going through the Canal, it will out shadow the problems you are experiencing.

By the way, the public rooms were so cold on the Oosterdam, we had to carry a jacket along wherever we went.

Longer cruising on HAL is so different from 7 day cruises. There will be other things you will notice. Make your own fun because there may be sea days with absolutly nothing to do. That is when you want to get with your Cruise Critic group and party.

Have fun.

Regards,

San Diego Sue

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Lisa, great reports as always. I really enjoy your descriptions, especially the one where you say the mist isn't working. Classic. When we went last year on the Maasdam we were worried about the space as well, but we enjoyed the space and we thought that there was more personal space that we used. To each his own. Sorry to hear that the responsiveness to the basics doesn't seem to be up to snuff this go round.

 

BTW, great to see your Q&A on DBA.

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Lisa:

 

How many passengers are on the Statendam. it is supposed to carry 1258 double occupancy.

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OK "So it is now 1 PM and I decided I want a small bite to eat I was thinking nachos but there were no chips the bowel only had crumbs and everything is very picked over. I look over to where the guys make the burgers and there is no one there and there were 3 people waiting to take an order. As a matter a fact everything out there is terribly picked over and only a couple of slices of pizza. I wait for a few more minutes thinking maybe the crew members had gone to refill some of the empty sections. I probably waited 5 minutes, some waiting for burgers left. I finally grabbed a slice of Pizza and then went into the packed Lido and attempted to make a salad although many of the items were also running low. Made a salad, grabbed a tiny tiny glass of ice tea ( I am sure the glasses are slightly bigger for the tea on the Eurodam and Oosterdam) and head back to the cabin to have lunch."

 

Lisa ... I was sorry to hear of your description above of your experience at lunch at the LIDO grill area. When we were on the msSTATENDAM for our 28 day trip in Feb/March of this year, at lunchtime the grill had specialty luncheons, i.e, Dutch, Filipino, Indian, German, etc. from 12 to 3:00 pm that everyone enjoyed and many passengers looked forward each day to eat their lunch there Then after 3:00 pm the regular Mexican taco bar was prepared. All times the station was replenished constantly. Sorry this was not in your case.

 

As we Cruise Critics are all such HAL lovers, I don't think that constructive criticism to the front desk or Hotel Manager is out of line to complain about this matter. After all, we all do love these "dam" ships and want to continue to have the service we have always been used to.

 

In the meantime I can't wait each day to read your summary of your trip. Continue having fun!!!!

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Lisa, you are right. Small things that can be considered insignificant on their surface are cumulative. Keep adding them up and the cruise experience is diminished. Here's hoping the items you mentioned are soon rectified.

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Lisa--

I am enjoying your reports the trip through the canal (on the oosterdam way back when) was one of our favorites.

I am glad you are reporting the "little things" We were on the same TA with san diego Sue and there were things than started as annoying and continued throughout that 18-day cruise. By mid-cruise i said to DH--"if I have to go to the lido --just shoot me" We do tend to eat at off hours but it was sometimes annoying that things were picked over or removed. One day DH was at a station getting fruit and the crew member just came and took it away as DH was filling his plate.

As a late diner we didn't go to the shows because of the weird show times, if I wanted to get ready early I would pick early seating.

BUT--you are on a wonderful cruise and are going to love going though the canal--eat some of tose Panama Rolls for me!!!

 

PS--I had a cruise-long thermal suite pass on the oosterdam, keep your comments coming about the thermal suites for the smaller ships.

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Hi Lisa,

Enjoy the trip. You are right about the Air Conditioning. You should avoid the aft Lido on the starboard side, the AC is VERY powerful, especially when the forward doors to the pool are kept open. Thursday evening we ate our dinner in the Lido and we had to go to our cabins and put on our windbreakers because it was soo cool. This was the only night we ate in the Lido because the dining room had the Master Chef dinner. You'll find there are some sections where the AC is very strong, one night in the Lounge we were frozen, two nights later we were sweating.

If you are in the Lido on the port side please say 'Hello to Firman from Brenda and Auntie Vera, we didn't get a chance to say goodbye to him on Thursday evening, he was an excellent assistant waiter, and the ladies loved him because he was soo friendly and cute. You could also tell him that 'he's the top banana' for me.

Thanks, I look forward to hearing more, I only wish I could have stayed on board.

Bruce

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I'm flying in an electrician to fix them

 

Good to hear. It's about time that someone did it.

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Saturday Afternoon April 18th, 2009

Good Afternoon from the Atlantic waters just 10 miles off the coast of Cuba or at least that is what Captain Consen said in his report from the Bridge at 12:50 this afternoon. I laughed out loud listening to him because I was totally alone in the Thermal Suite with the exception of having Spa people brings passengers in for tours while I was relaxing and they were being loud but when I was alone it was relaxing being the only one in there.

 

This morning we slept in till 8 and got up and wandered up to the Lido Buffet for Breakfast, it was starting to get crowded but there appears to be quite a few smokers on this cruise and most are sitting out by the Lido Pool for breakfast. In all honestly I find areas to get far more crowded on the S Class ships than I do on the Vista ships. I think there is just not as many places to spread the passengers around. I guess we are a bit spoiled from the Vista Class and even the R Class ship of the Amsterdam last summer but with the limited space in the Lido Buffet Tom and I both felt they offered less. There were no Pancake or French Toast Specials or any special Breakfast entree like Chicken fajitas like we are accustom to. That was OK I just had a small mushroom and mozzarella cheese omelet and Tom had the basics of eggs, ham and hash browns.

I then headed to the Spa to have a morning of relaxation, I have definitely been to much better run Green House Spas on HAL ships. While not terrible just lacking in attention to detail that both the Eurodam and Oosterdam had. Actually over all I am seeing in the first 24 hours a lacking for the small details that can sometimes be important and when there are numerous ones, the over all feeling can be bad.

 

Let me explain some of my small complaints so far.....

Last night before we went to dinner we had a light that was flickering badly above the couch where we sit and read so I called the Telephone Concierge who said she would send someone right up to fix it, after dinner we return to find it still flickering and called again.We had come back to the room to grab a jacket because ALL of the public lounges are absolutely freezing. We were out and about and when we returned the light was still not fixed. By this morning the light no longer worked at all. I did call yet another time this afternoon and someone finally came to replace the light.

 

In the Spa in the ladies dressing area bathroom there were no towels or paper towels to wipes your hands with when I first got there to go to the Thermal Suite. I left the Thermal Suite at about 1 PM and used the bathroom again and there were still no towels or paper towels.

 

When I checked into the Spa I had a gift card for the Thermal Suite and the gentlemen that checked me in was the Spa Manager and he actually questioned this and said he had never seen one worded like this and was I sure this was for the full 14 days????? He acted as though no one had ever done this before.

 

Then you will all get a laugh out of this, after the third time being interrupted in what is to be relaxing in the Thermal Suite by a parade of people given a tour of the Thermal Suite, they stop to explain about the aroma therapy mist in each shower. Well, that was the first thing I checked when I got in there and neither one had aroma therapy nor was there any type of aroma therapy in the steam rooms. Which one is suppose to have and they explain that when they are giving this tour. Anyway in the middle of their third tour I turned around right after he was explaining the aroma mist shower and said as loud as they were speaking. "Oh By the way...neither of the showers have the aroma therapy mist nor does any of the steam rooms" The guy just gave me a really dirty look and one of the older gentlemen that was in the tour says "Thank You" I guess I have already gotten myself in trouble by complaining lol :D

 

OK So it is now 1 PM and I decided I want a small bite to eat I was thinking nachos but there were no chips the bowel only had crumbs and everything is very picked over. I look over to where the guys make the burgers and there is no one there and there were 3 people waiting to take an order. As a matter a fact everything out there is terribly picked over and only a couple of slices of pizza. I wait for a few more minutes thinking maybe the crew members had gone to refill some of the empty sections. I probably waited 5 minutes, some waiting for burgers left. I finally grabbed a slice of Pizza and then went into the packed Lido and attempted to make a salad although many of the items were also running low. Made a salad, grabbed a tiny tiny glass of ice tea ( I am sure the glasses are slightly bigger for the tea on the Eurodam and Oosterdam) and head back to the cabin to have lunch.

 

I do not mean to have this post be a complaint thread but like I said it is often the little things that when they build up can give a bad taste in your mouth. If it was only one minor thing or even two, but when there becomes several things one starts to question what the next 13 days will be like. Tom thinks I am blowing things out of proportion but most of the items I mentioned did not happen to him. Although he is a bit upset that he cannot enjoy the Crow's Nest like he likes because it is too darn cold up there.

 

Tonight is our first Formal night and in recent times we have skipped the Champagne Toast but because it is Frans we plan to go. Oddly I had thought all the ships had gone back to the better show times. At least they had on the Oosterdam and Eurodam but evidently not here on the Statendam. Tonights Captain's Toast is at 6:45 and 8:45. With having dinner at 5:45 we will have to go to the 8:45. We will probably be done eating at about 7:10 like last night which then leaves a big open gap of time to do nothing. If I had late dinner I certainly would not want to have to get ready and go to the show at 6:45. The would have been so much better to have been at 7:45 and 9:45 with the shows at 8 and 10.

 

OK enough complaining, it is absolutely beautiful outside an we are having the calmest seas, although the Captain did say tomorrow would not be as good and we would most likely encounter a lot rougher seas.

I am thinking I might book a massage for tomorrow, the spa massage people are not too busy. Not one room was being used but the hair salon part was packed. It is truly amazing how things like the spa are so different when the demographics of age on the ship are very different from a 7 day Vista Class to a 14 day S class. I had asked the Spa Manager when I did check in if the Thermal Suite could get very busy with only having the 5 ceramic heated loungers and he said it it was highly unlikely.

 

Well I think I will read a bit before I shower and get ready for the evening.

 

Signing off from the Beautiful and Elegant MS Statendam.

Lisa, the Statendam seems to have more issues than any other HAL ship I've been on. Glad it isn't just my imagination...and for some posters that just think it "lightbulb issues" you need to read it closer. I've commented on a few threads about the Statendam and what my thought were and you think I called someones mother a name. I like the itinerary so I am doing it in Oct. That said it things remain the same I think I will be avoiding this ship in the future. Hope things go better for you and thanks again for taking us along!

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Hi Lisa,

Enjoy the trip. You are right about the Air Conditioning. You should avoid the aft Lido on the starboard side, the AC is VERY powerful, especially when the forward doors to the pool are kept open. Thursday evening we ate our dinner in the Lido and we had to go to our cabins and put on our windbreakers because it was soo cool. This was the only night we ate in the Lido because the dining room had the Master Chef dinner. You'll find there are some sections where the AC is very strong, one night in the Lounge we were frozen, two nights later we were sweating.

If you are in the Lido on the port side please say 'Hello to Firman from Brenda and Auntie Vera, we didn't get a chance to say goodbye to him on Thursday evening, he was an excellent assistant waiter, and the ladies loved him because he was soo friendly and cute. You could also tell him that 'he's the top banana' for me.

Thanks, I look forward to hearing more, I only wish I could have stayed on board.

Bruce

Bruce we met Firman on the Port side this morning in the Lido :D Very nice guy and Iggy is on the other side. I will definitely tell him he is the "top banana" :D

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Saturday Evening April 18th, 2009

Good Evening CCers,

Tonight was our first Formal night of this 14 day cruise and lots of interesting observations. As I have reported we have early Fixed Dining and I would say that only about 65% were in the early dining and from what we could see there were probably at best 10 men in Tux of which Tom was one of them. Now I will say that those coming from the early show heading to dinner far more of those men were wearing a Tux. I do not want this to turn into a thread about dress code just stating an observation. I would say that this was probably right up there with the least amount of people dressed formal as we often see in Alaska. In recent times the most dressed were those on the Eurodam for the Holiday cruise. There were even people dancing in the Ocean Bar in jeans and t-shirt. They were actually very good dancers.

The menu tonight was the normal menu you find on any first formal night with Rack of Lamb and or Beef Wellington and the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and the Four Mushroom soup just to name a few items. After dinner we stopped by the Pinnacle to make reservations for lunch tomorrow which means I do not plan to really have any breakfast, or at least not much. We stopped by the Pinnacle at about 7:30 and was surprised it looked almost totally empty so all those empty table during early dining were not eating in the Pinnacle. My guess is the Lido may have been busy tonight.

We then went to the Ocean Bar we need to get caught up on having drinks in honor of good friends. So Tom had a Wang Wang for Karin and I finally tried a Mango Daiquiri for Colleen. Karin I even had a sip of Tom's Wang wang and it was a good one, you would approve. And yes I enjoyed that Mango Daiquiri. The after watching couples dance and watching the Gentleman Dance Hosts Dance with several ladies we headed to the Showroom at about 8:30 for the 8:45 Captain's Toast. this group likes to hit the Showroom early to get a seat. It was already packed so we grabbed a seat down front on the left of the stage. It is always entertaining and interesting listening to captain Frans Consen. Tonight had to be a first, Captain Consen was almost done introducing the Officers and he was in the middle of introducing Savannah Rye our Cruise Director when he looked down and saw us and stopped what he was saying and said "Oh Hi Tom and Lisa and gets this big grin on his face that Frans does so well. Then says now where was I, those are my friends Tom and Lisa, everyone was laughing. I have to admit that really made us feel very special.

Frans told us again that there was going to be a lot of motion to the ocean tomorrow and was warning people to be very careful walking around the ship tomorrow. So I am thinking that I may not go to the Thermal Suite tomorrow because the only time I have ever been a bit motion sick was in the Thermal Suite on the Ryndam several years ago and ironically it was after Frans said the same thing.

We of course stayed to watch the show this evening which was The Hits of Broadway, The Designs of Mackie. We had not seen this show before and thought it was very good and I really did love the costumes. They were beautiful, I would say they were right up there with the Eurodam costumes and dancers and singers. It was actually a very entertaining show.

Earlier today we received the form to confirm our number of days with HAL, now I am not sure if anyone has mentioned this and I first noticed them doing this when we went on the Eurodam in December. They now not only ask how many days but also want you to confirm how many cruises. I almost wonder if when they do come out with the new Mariner rewards that it will not some how be linked to the number of cruises as well as the number of days. In our case this cruise gives us 154 days and 21 cruises with HAL. Now thankfully we have not gotten the form about disembarkation yet. On a 7 day cruise it seems they give it to you about day 1 or 2 and we always comment that is just wrong. Hopefully we have several more days before we have to think about getting off.

I guess that is all I have to report tonight.

Signing off from the Beautiful and Elegant MS Statendam.

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Oh I wanted to add one other funny little tid bit that just struck me funny and i am sure many did not eve notices. But while waiting for the Captain's Toast to begin they are playing recorded music from the actual Sound tract of several musicals and they were playing a few songs from My Fair Lady which is one of my favorites, then the next one up was Jesus Christ Superstar :D I just thought that was a rather strange mix of music and it gave me a bit of a chuckle ;)

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I am so enjoying your posts. Thank you for taking the time to do this. Makes me feel a bit like I am there. :)

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Ruth and I sincerely hope that you two have a wonderfull vacation.

 

I will be emailing you when you get back to get some information on visiting vegas.

 

Have a great cruise

 

Ruth & Jim

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It's interesting that we found the most niggly little disapointments on our repositioning Panama Canal transit on the Volendam in October 2007. I wonder if HAL schedules different supplies or crew numbers on these cruises. As I wrote in our review then it wasn't awful but just not up to the standards that we expect on HAL.

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Hi Lisa,

Greetings from Vegas where it has actually turned into fabulous weather here. I love following your live thread as this Panama Canal cruise is one on our "bucket list". Just finished reading and catching up on it since you left...

 

I look forward to your future posings... Enjoy your cruise..:)

 

Pam

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