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About xlxo

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    HAL, Princess, Disney
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  1. https://www.hollandamerica.com/blog/topics/news/holland-america-line-extends-temporary-pause-of-its-global-ship-operations-for-30-additional-days/ Due to the continued port closures and travel restrictions surrounding global health concerns, Holland America Line has made the decision to extend its pause of global cruise operations for an additional 30 days, cancelling sailings scheduled to depart through May 14, 2020. Guests currently booked on cruises from April 14 through May 14 and their travel advisors will receive notification from Holland America Line in the coming days regarding options for selecting either a Future Cruise Credit for 125% of their booking value plus an additional $250 shipboard credit or a full refund. A message from March 17...
  2. If you want to see Orca's in the wild... two suggestions to research. make a trip over to Steveston and check out https://vancouverwhalewatch.com/. There is a downtown shuttle to take you to the Steveston departure point. The Steveston departure avoids the rough waters and long ride around Stanley Park and the airport. The Prince of Whales offers an Orca Whale watch with Victoria combo. https://princeofwhales.com/whale-watching-adventure-tour/vancouver/ultimate-day-tour-to-victoria/
  3. Just found a published fare grid... it states it's $8.95 from SFO to Powell station by BART.
  4. Sorry everyone.... yes, I was trying to say to take the BART from the airport to PARC 55. According to google maps... it states the ride from SFO to Powell station is $2.60 on Google Maps. I too thought it was low, but the BART fare calculator does not appear to be working for me. https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/SFO+International+Terminal,+California,+USA/Parc+55+San+Francisco+-+a+Hilton+Hotel,+Cyril+Magnin+Street,+San+Francisco,+CA,+USA/@37.6918147,-122.4967347,12z/am=t/data=!3m1!5s0x8085808f62f1a7d5:0x64dca8539e1a07d0!4m18!4m17!1m5!1m1!1s0x808f779a0a110afd:0x42d1681344b3dc1a!2m2!1d-122.3900538!2d37.61496!1m5!1m1!1s0x808580858a853597:0xf36fa59e8a02cca4!2m2!1d-122.4090609!2d37.7848243!2m3!6e0!7e2!8j1578744000!3e3!5m1!1e1
  5. For most... I would say take the BART subway (30 min) that departs from the cruise terminal and has a station (Powell) across the street from the hotel. My fav way to get there for $2.60. Question for any SF locals... is the Powell station elevator working? For the last 3 years I go there for Spring visits... the elevator is broken.
  6. If you have chance, switch to the NCL Bliss. The sistership Bliss includes Glacier Bay, the Joy does not. I feel Glacier Bay is important for a first time Alaskan cruiser.
  7. Not sure what dates you are travelling... I went to booking.com and found my fav San Francisco hotel on April 23 is $275 for a test night at the Parc 55 (part of the Hilton chain). You might want to compare this hotel and those around Powell Station to your airport selection. land at SFO BART subway to Powell station quick luggage drag out of the station to the Parc 55 across the street. Back-up plan is the Hilton a block away. sleep $13 taxi, or luggage drag onto the F Line street cars to the cruise terminal the next morning. Powell station hotels also have the benefit of being the terminus to the cable cars! Also a short walk to Chinatown for Dim Sum and fortune cookies.
  8. I did the go karts on the sistership Joy last month. $15 for 8 laps... hopefully you don't have a slow driver in your heat that slows all those laps down. Very hard to pass Bliss track is redesigned on the Encore that has the track 13 feet over the edge to allow for better passing. book your go kart EARLY when you get on the ship. Spaces fill up and your race time can be cancelled if the track is wet for safety. This forces everyone to be racing at the later part of the cruise and risking a sell out. they do run two seater carts at certain times of the day for families. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ncl+bliss+gokarts
  9. If you get to Vancouver, there are several train opportunities to explore... Canada Line to/from airport subway Expo Line to/from the suburbs West Coast Express to Coquitlam, returning on the Millenium Line $35 Amtrak train to/from Seattle Stanley Park has a Heritage train Confederation Park has a mini train running on the weekends Bear Creek Park has a mini train in Surrey Squamish offers the West Coast Heritage Park http://wcra.org/
  10. Depends... IMO.... Holland America is top. Glacier Bay is the main reason with access. Glacier Bay offers at least FOUR glaciers with your all day sailing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa2KHtpT1lk Holland America best ship for the upcoming seasons is the Koningsdam (launched in 2016) for size and Pinnacle class experience. I'm hoping to check it out for 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adcXWuFxTFg Princess rates best for families and is second with the most Glacier Bay access. The limited number of Vancouver 7 return trips with Glacier Bay is a weakness. I'm so in love with the Royal Princess on my last trip. Medallion class ships (or upgraded) are great for large groups as you can track members with the RFID chip cards. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTQHbR4Zano https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUZlp4Z6UlI Disney for the kids programs. There's so much pixie dust, they will have no idea where they are sailing. It's also the priciest. Tell the kids your are seeking Queen Elsa of Arendelle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s08Rg6KW1uQ NCL for the gokarts and megaship experience with the Bliss. I would say food may be a weakness here. I wonder if they have Mr. Sexy Legs in Alaska https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGO5swTZtBc You might find the larger ships offer more different programs for different ages in your large group. What you'll find in the above list is each cruise line has a different target age market. You will not find water slides and outdoor theatres with Holland America.
  11. I was on the sister ship Joy last month.... $15 for 8 laps. If there's a slow driver... your laps will be slow as there is little opportunity to pass. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bliss+go+kart If you are in Vancouver, make a pre/post-cruise reservation at TBC or Speeders include gokarts on your trip. Book your gokart early on the cruise. If the weather is windy/stormy... the track is closed and the reservations bunch up at the end of the cruise.
  12. You don't need to eat dead frozen crabs... For King crab seekers with a large group of 6 to 8. I strongly recommend a pre/post-cruise visit to Vancouver premium Chinese seafood restaurants (Dynasty on Broadway, Kirin, or Sun Sui Wah). Crabs harvested in the winter are kept in hotels to meet you during the cruise season. Just point to the one you want as your dinner date, pose for pictures and then flavoured up for your table. Please don't ask for boil and butter. I recommend "Vancouver style" with garlic, green onions, deep fried, baked Alaskan combo's. http://www.followmefoodie.com/2014/04/dynasty-seafood-restaurant-alaskan-king-crab-dinner-vancouver/
  13. I've been on the Eurodam a few times and my vote goes to the Koningsdam. I hope to be on there in 2020 to check out this newer and bigger ship. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adcXWuFxTFg Koningsdam offers Vancouver is a great bonus Canadian port. calmer and scenic waters of the South inside passage Skagway and the White Pass railway a Pinnacle class experience Eurodam offers Victoria for the evening Icy Straight Point Sitka Think about which ports are more important to you. Both Holland America ships offer Glacier Bay, important for a first time cruiser. IMO.... try to consider a trip earlier in the summer (early July) for more daylight and a dryer climate. I have little interest in watching Ketchikan fill their rain gauge when my ship docks. https://usclimatedata.com/climate.php?location=USAK0225 BTW... Seattle is a $35 train or bus ride to/from Vancouver. I recommend flying into Vancouver to explore the city for a few days, go on the Koningsdam, then bus/train to Seattle to continue your Pacific Northwest exploration.
  14. I'll add that May is my fav time to visit the gardens. It's when the flowers blooming their best in the region.
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