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noblepa

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About noblepa

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    Bay Village, Ohio (Cleveland)

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  1. What is the length of the promenade on the Vista class ships? IIRC, it is 1/3 mile, so 3 laps equals one mile. I had stomach surgery a year ago and I have lost 135 pounds. I like to walk 3-5 miles daily to help keep the weight off.
  2. The deck plans and ship descriptions on HAL's website will tell you if a particular cabin has a restricted view. I looked at a couple of ships, including the Veendam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam. It appears that all restricted-view cabin categories begin with the letter H. I can't guarantee that, however. On Vista and Signature class ships, restricted views usually result from lifeboats hanging outside the cabin. On Veendam, for example, some restricted view cabins are the far-forward ones on the Lower Promenade deck, behind the outer bulkhead.
  3. I know that, after 9/11, many cruise lines placed a moratorium on tours of the bridge or engine room. Has HAL reinstated such tours? I don't see anything listed on the website, but I seem to remember on our last cruise, that they had limited tours available.
  4. We're sailing on the Z on Jan. 3. I've never played blackjack in a casino, but I've always wanted to try. I don't remember if it was on HAL, but on at least one cruise I was on, the first day or two, there was a table open to play at $1 per hand. After the third night, all the tables went to $5 per hand. At $5 per hand, you can lose a lot of money (at least a lot to me) in very short order. This is pretty expensive learning curve. Does HAL have $1 tables for all or part of the cruise? Does HAL use multiple decks of cards? I assume they do, to discourage card-counting. Do they use continuous shuffling machines?
  5. I would echo what JANMCM posted. This is why I always pick out my own cabin and tell HAL that I do not want automatic upgrades. What HAL considers an upgrade may not be what you and I consider an upgrade. For example, they may "upgrade" you from a VE to a VB or VA which is directly below the LIDO deck. Some veranda cabins look out over the lifeboats, which can affect your view. Other so-called upgrades may put you directly over the galley, or in another area that can be noisy. Or, if you're close to the elevators, there may be a lot of foot traffic by noisy night-owls, just outside your door. My personal rule of thumb is to book a cabin that has only passenger cabins directly above and directly below. I never book a cabin that is above or below any public area or potentially noisy crew area, such as the galley.
  6. Thank you. I had not seen that before. For the record, we always leave the auto-tips in place, and sweeten the pot a little for those who have given us extra service.
  7. I wasn't trying to start an argument. I was merely looking for evidence to backup my contention with our friend, that, first, HAL doesn't take a cut, and secondly, that the crew had to surrender any cash tips from guests who removed the auto-tips.
  8. Some friends of ours, who are not very experienced cruisers, just returned a few weeks ago from a Hawaii cruise on Oosterdam. She told us that someone on board told her to remove auto-tips, because the cruise line keeps a big portion of them. I tried to tell her that this is not true. I'm not sure she believed me. What is the current breakdown for the distribution of the auto-tips? Last time we cruised, it was something like $2.50 to the dining room waiter and assistant waiter, $2.50 to the room steward and his/her assistant, plus a few others, such as the chefs, who have a large impact on the cruise experience, but who you can't find to tip in person. She agreed with me that most of those who say not to pay the service charge were simply cheapskates. I have also heard, but don't know for sure, that cash tips must be surrendered if you remove the auto-tips. This has been widely reported but has never been satisfactorily verified.
  9. Thanks. I think we'll just use our balcony. I've already splurged on some rather expensive shore excursions. I just don't see the value.
  10. How much does a cabana cost? Can you book for a single day, or for the entire cruise? From the pictures, there is a central area, apart from the cabanas, that has ordinary deck chairs. Is that area also reserved, or is it free and open to first-come-first-served? Is it really much better than sitting on your balcony?
  11. I think that, unless the ship will not float, it leaves the drydock at its appointed time. Drydocks capable of holding large ships and doing the work needed, are few and far between. They are booked years in advance. Overstaying the ship's scheduled period is usually not an option. So, the ship sails, whether its 100 percent ready or not. Also, the cruise line probably loses a million dollars per day when the ship is not in service. They don't want to cancel cruises and refund fares already paid.
  12. We are sailing on the Zuiderdam on Jan. 3 for 8 days. We are in a Signature Suite. This will be our third sailing on the ship, but the most recent was five years ago. I notice on the deck plans and in the photo gallery for the Z, something called "The Retreat" on the Sports deck. However, I can find no description of what, exactly it is. It appears to be a private deck, with cabana-like enclosures, overlooking the ocean and the aft part of the ship. Is this area open to all passengers, or is it a perk for the highest level cabins? Does one just wander up there and take an empty seat, or are reservations required? Is there a cost? I see no description of this in the cabin descripts, even for the Neptune suites. Nor do I see anything in the general description of the ship. So, that's the deal?
  13. Has anyone taken this flight? DW and I are sailing on the Zuiderdam Jan. 3, 2020 and will visit Georgetown, Cayman Islands. I just got an email from HAL, showing some featured excursions in Georgetown. This helicopter flight looked interesting, but the description said it was 8-10 minutes long. Another box listed it as 0 3/4 hours long (I presume that means 45 minutes). $139.95 pp for 8 minutes seems a little steep. A 45 minute flight might not be bad. So, which is it, 8 minutes or 45 minutes?
  14. They put a hold on credit cards, too. Otherwise, they would face the possibility that, at the end of the cruise, there would not be enough credit line to pay for the onboard purchases. The difference is that most people have enough "headroom" on their credit limit that this does not pose a problem when trying to use the same card to make onshore purchases. With a debit card, people have found that bills that are automatically paid from their checking account have been denied because the hold reduces the available balance in the account. This is especially problematic if the auto-payment is something really important and large, such as your mortgage payment.
  15. Hi all. DW and I are sailing on the Zuiderdam on January 3, 2020. Its been about five years since our last cruise. I've torn the house apart and I can't find our passports anywhere. What is the procedure for replacing a passport? I looked at the State Department's website, but I find the instructions a little confusing. There is a section about reporting a lost or stolen passport, which I will do, but there is no mention of getting a replacement. It looks like I have to report the current ones lost and them simply apply for a new passport. Has anyone been through this?
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