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Everything posted by mrmoviezombie

  1. Bamboo Room Restaurant Haines AK https://binged.it/30Mt01r Best halibut we have had anywhere The rail really is good, but save it for a cruise that stops in Skagway, which is just about all of them. You'll be back.
  2. My advice is stay in Hanies. It's a quirky little town that hasn't been overrun with cruise ship tourists yet. Do the river rafting excursion in the morning, see the town in the afternoon. Skagway is an over rated tourist trap. (but the rail trip is nice).
  3. Do check with HAL on pricing a pre-cruise hotel, that usually includes the transfers. Both airport to hotel and hotel to ship. When we come in a day or two early to Amsterdam that has always been a very nice private car.
  4. One thing to note, those pre-cruise spending amounts don't count until after the cruise. They don't credit mariner points as you spend. They are only tallied up at the end of a cruise.
  5. That's what's confusing people, it's two different things. Read closely for the "in-depth" part. EXC is the shore excursion program on all ships. https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/onboard-activities/cruise-activities/explorations-central.html Discover the connections that unite us across borders and cultures. Explorations Central™ (EXC™) is immersive onboard programing designed to make your journey more engaging, vivid and meaningful. From EXC Talks,™ to EXC Encounters™ to a chat with your EXC Guide™, you’ll feel the spirit of a region come to life. EXC "in-depth" is the extra enrichment program on Maasdam. https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/news/2018-press-releases/news-20180215-MaasdamItineraries18.html Quote "From September 2018 through April 2019, EXC In-Depth Voyages expand on Holland America Line’s exciting Explorations CentralTM (EXCTM) programming by creating a total experience on board and ashore. " I cannot find it now, but one of the contracts I read said that EXC (and the shore excursion they offer) was a separate company not related to HAL.
  6. We used the public transit. It's been a few years but my memory of it was it being quick and easy to get around. The only issue was getting turned around on a bus to subway switch that had us going away from town until we realized and switched over to the other direction.
  7. We were also on the first 21 day loop. Outside of the extra talks, and certainly in Alaska, the EXC concept only looks like a lot of branding and nothing else has changed. For example, there wasn't any difference in the excursions that I could tell. Also, a lot of the talks overlapped with the port days and were not repeated on Sea Days, so it wasn't possible to attend them. On one of the early sea days the geologist only had one 45 min talk. That doesn't seem like an intensive enrichment program to me. For the new port stops, most were excellent. Port Alberini and Astoria were great, both were big enough to have interesting things going on. And hadn't been overrun with cruiser tourist traps, as the Astoria bus driver said, "No diamonds international here". And we got lucky with weather and visiting when a local market day was setup. The rest you have to like the sleepy, small town Alaska vibe.
  8. And we can't wait for you to get here 🙂
  9. Hmmm... That sounds like just the deposit. Two people at $600 for 21+ day cruise? Yeah, moving around a full refundable deposit happens all the time.
  10. +2 to Haines. We now pick cruises that stop at Haines rather than Skagway. We loved the float down the river. It's a nice quiet gentle trip. Also check out the American Bald Eagle Foundation, it's small but good.
  11. Of course a profit seeking corp would never do anything that would make it more money... https://apnews.com/99d1e11177f44ae1b99c14979695ec37 "The court filings said the monitor found that Carnival and its subsidiaries repeatedly falsified records, as recently as September 2018, when an engineer on Holland America’s Westerdam ship falsified maintenance records to make it appear he had cleaned and tested equipment when he had not. The same ship, according to court filings, dumped 26,000 gallons of grey water into Glacier Bay National Park in September 2018."
  12. Just what jurisdiction do you think applies at sea? Do not make the mistake in thinking that most of your home country legal protections apply in international waters, they don't. Especially on ships flying a flag of convivence. And any of the real legal protections you might have are probably waived by the contact you signed to get onboard. I'm fairly certain that they could serve water and call it alcohol, the only consequence would be bad reviews.
  13. You can actually buy the tickets online ahead of time. https://www.ns.nl/producten/en/meest-gekocht/p/enkele-reis Just pick the date, start and end of the trip. And either have them on your phone, or print them out. Really cheap, We recently did that for our Schiphol to Amsterdam trip. 4.50 euro one-way. Only had to scan the ticket at the exit gate at Amsterdam Centraal Make sure you select one-way, it defaults to round-trip (meaning same-day) round trip.
  14. One last thing that no one has mentioned. At a lot of places now the CC machine asks you for which currency to do the transaction. Always pick the local one, that way your CC or Bank controls the exchange rate. If you pick the USD option then the merchant's bank is doing the exchange, usually at a very poor rate.
  15. Was that just moving a deposit? Or was that the full final payment amount transferred to the new cruise?
  16. I've found the easiest way to find the interesting repositioning cruises is to filter for a specific ship, and then follow them forward or backwards in time. You will see them do multiple laps in some part of the world, then you see the repositioning cruise to somewhere else, and then the set of laps it does in that new place. And so on. Following the ship gives you a different perspective.
  17. The iamsterdam website is your friend... Public transit in Amsterdam is really easy with a day pass. More specifically for the OP http://oldhollandtour.com/ Hop on Hop off: Cheese, Windmills & Dutch Villages
  18. Has anyone considered the possibility that the person with the DVD was a night owl, and called at midnight for guest services to come pickup the DVD? Hence it's entirely reasonable that someone was assigned to go knock on a cabin door at that time of night? The only issue being a transcription error and not being extra careful for that at that time of night.
  19. Almost certainly depends on the exact set of offers that apply for the specific cruise you are booking. Some stack, others don't. Sometimes the OBC offer on the booking they show you on board included the assumption that you will buy and book with a future cruise credit, other times it's a promotional OBC that applies to the cruise that they are trying to fill. The main advantage I see of future cruise credits is the reduced deposit, so that's useful to have on any booking on or off the ship.
  20. I've not upgraded with FF miles. But paid to upgrade to premium economy seats. Both before and after paying to have the flights ticketed. Most airlines require you to actually pay HAL for the flights before you can use the locator code to pick seats or upgrades. I'm fairly sure it was only one that let me do it before, and that might have been only picking the seats. Note also you have to get the actual airline locator code from the flight ease website, it's listed with each flight, the code that you usually see is actually HAL's and the airlines don't know anything about it. And you might have several different ones if it's complex multi-segment flights that you booked.
  21. Depends on the airline. Usually not. I have had success with paying for premium seats, but not with economy to business upgrades.
  22. It depends on the room. Some rooms to still have angled mounting that allows access. You will still need to bring a universal remote to switch inputs.
  23. We took a cruise on the Prinsendam last year, on that cruise a couple with a toddler was able to obtain some "unofficial" baby sitting. I believe it was via the front desk from some staff looking to earn some extra money.
  24. If you are going to use your carriers plans while in port, make sure you keep the phone in airplane mode while on the ship. Especially if you turned on data roaming to take advantage of your carrier travel plan. Otherwise you might get a nasty surprise when sailing between ports. The ships now mostly have a local "Cellular at Sea" service that gets turned on anytime the ship is far enough away from the land based cell towers. It used to be just voice, so not a big deal, but now they magically support text and data as well. So your phone might silently connect and transfer a bunch of data. Which means you might be billed at really high rates without any real warning.
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