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  1. We've used Costco excursions on several cruises and we've found them to be excellent. We try to see which excursions are best for the port and decide from there.
  2. It should be a minimal impact. For drinking, fill a few glasses with water & ask your steward for ice. As for flushing, as others say, flush after 6am. We do that routinely when on board, anyway. The plumbing is so noisy that we feel it's kinder to each other and to our neighbors.
  3. Since my first HAL cruise over 12 years ago, I have avoided the Elemis products. I have sensitive skin and developed a nasty rash from the shower gel. I find the smells of all of the products to be very strong and overpowering, too, so I always pack my own shampoo, soap, and lotion.
  4. Perhaps my description was off: these were McDonald's hash browns in the shape of a triangle..........Same texture, same flavor, same salt content.
  5. We've used it frequently. We've had one problem with a lost shirt and that was found in 24 hours. Our clothes always come back in 24-36 hours. We are careful about what we send out. If it's a poly/cotton blend, socks, mens underwear, denim, it goes to the laundry with no concerns. If it's travel clothing that's all polyester, nylon, linen, or fine cotton, it gets washed in the sink & hung in the room. On my most recent cruise, as an experiment, I sent out a few things and requested no ironing & no hot water/dryer..........I'd read on CC that this was an option.............I obviously can't speak to the temperature requests, but things came back ironed.......... I miss the self service laundries.........but I appreciate the option to send out 30-50% of my clothes so that I don't have to pay for extra baggage on an airline.
  6. We got a great $ deal on our cruise, too. We booked an inside aft cabin--and we knew what we getting, for the most part. We did, however, hope that the drydock would bring some improvements--even in the lower cost cabins. Please note that most of my comments refer to the ship & food in general. We didn't eat any dinners in the dining room. We'd had a weeklong land trip ahead of the cruise and really just wanted to relax after long day tours from the ship. Eating when we pleased was part of that plan, and the Lido fits the bill for that. As I said, the Lido food was repetitive--lamb one way or the other for sometimes both lunch & dinner on the same day. I love lamb, but...........One hot soup, same appetizer of those teeny shrimp every night. Half an hour into service, a cleaned turkey carcass with no replacement. Want steak & eggs at breakfast? Wait 10 minutes for the steak to be cooked. Really sad desserts. The best night in the Lido was the final gala night. They did serve the surf & turf like the Main Dining Room. The tenderloin was excellent, the lobster tails large & sweet, but half an hour into service the "jumbo shrimp cocktail" had been replaced by a mussel and some greens........ The library is pretty much lining the walls of the Explorers Lounge. While not huge, there is definitely a selection of books. No sign out or sign in for books--just take & return to the same spot. The Crow's Nest has chair groupings of different types and small tables. Most looked very new, some are more comfortable than others. The production shows had a brand new cast. The singers and dancers were very good. Added entertainment included a Freddy Mercury impersonator [funny & very good], a comedian who was also good, and a magician from a TV competition [very familiar tricks--I wasn't impressed], and the BBC film with live music from the HAL band [I'd seen it before & it's wonderful]. The shows are short--35 to 45 minutes--and the music very familiar. For me, cruises are what my husband and I make of them. Yes, the ship does matter to some degree, but for us, it's itinerary first, cost second, cruise line/ship third. We are pretty loyal to HAL--they get 80% of our business--so maybe we expect more of a ship. I'm sure that you'll have a wonderful time.
  7. Well, when booking, I don't generally look at elevator layouts, nor do I go floor by floor looking for dead ends.........my bad, I guess. As a 4* Mariner, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect on a HAL ship, and the Veendam falls seriously short of the 8+ others that I've sailed on. Changes since the drydock.........well, they took out a ton of the computer stations in the Explorers Lounge and replaced them with the most uncomfortable chairs and sofas that I've ever experienced. They added removable black bolsters in the showroom that actually lead to fewer seats if they are left in place and become tripping hazards when put on the floor in a dark room. The new chairs in the Lido have WHITE seats....another really brilliant move--NOT. There were also fewer servers in the Lido and English command by them and the line staff was much less than I've ever experienced. A strong odor of mold at the forward elevators near the theater was new, I guess. Same hot incandescent bulbs in the elevators, too. In room breakfasts are winnowed down to very few main offerings and no substitutions. If I never see a McDonald-oid triangle of hash browns again it'll be too soon. A breakfast entree that I got without an upcharge on the Prinsendam in May---steak & eggs with breakfast potatoes--was $9.50.............Main dining room breakfast was also very limited and had the same lazy potato patty on the plate.............. Our stateroom clearly did NOT benefit from the drydock.........a TV from the early 2000s--small with lots of horizontal lines when it had reception, no additional outlets or USB connections, a worn down & rock hard sofa, and an industrial screw used as a replacement for the handle on the shower control. I did like some of the cruise........the Captain, the ports, and the fact that the HVAC in the cabin and ship kept up well with the heat & humidity. The ship, however, really does leave a lot to be desired.
  8. We just got off a 12 day cruise on the Veendam.........Of all of the HAL ships we've been on, this is the one that we liked the LEAST and our plan is to never cruise on her again. We find the dead end hallways caused by the galley to be very annoying. The elevators are too few & too slow. The Lido is small, chaotic, and generally more "cafeteria-oid" than any other Lido we've experienced. Aft cabins as far up as the 6th floor [that we experienced] are horridly noisy during docking and experience awful odor from the smokestack should the wind be blowing at the back of the ship. On this voyage, menus seemed limited and uninspired. Lido food for lunch was repetitive and very meh. The captain & EXC guide were wonderful, the cruise director was just OK. Production shows were the same 3 we've seen for TWO YEARS. Same BBC movie, too. Single night entertainers were great [and new].
  9. We've used RedCoach twice. The buses are comfortable, easy to locate, and reasonably priced. https://www.redcoachusa.com/the-experience/
  10. If these are cabins added in a fairly recent retrofit, I'd say be careful. We were in one of these on the Noordam or Westerdam in the Caribbean in Dec. and we were miserable. The HVAC was totally inadequate for rooms getting sun from the top & through large glass doors. No matter what we did, or how much we complained, we couldn't get the temp & humidity to go down. We found out that when they installed these rooms, they scavenged the HVAC, rather than install a separate system. I would NEVER book one of these rooms again.
  11. Or just buy these and reuse them cruise after cruise........https://smile.amazon.com/Cruise-Luggage-Waterproof-Holders-Narrow/dp/B07NRPPNG4/ref=sr_1_2?crid=OBJO5TWYS4C8&keywords=cruise+luggage+tags+holland+america&qid=1562621392&s=gateway&sprefix=cruise+luggage%2Caps%2C194&sr=8-2 For $4.19 with free shipping..................
  12. I don't know about tags at the pier............luggage is generally taken before you enter the terminal........... You're able to print your tags when you complete your online check in.
  13. We travel internationally about twice a year, nationally about 10 times per year. We used CLEAR on a free promo. The only benefit we saw was in very busy airports [ATL] you went to the front of the TSA PreCheck line. We thought it was too expensive since we live in CLE and the precheck line is never that busy. As for Global Entry, I doubt that I'd want to pay for it, given that we enrolled in Mobile Passport [app] and cleared customs without paperwork in Newark in about 2 minutes flat. We love having TSA PreCheck. It suits us perfectly.
  14. We used Seattle Express last summer. We booked a hotel on their list of pickups and couldn't have been happier. Pick up at the port was also quick & easy. It was smooth and reasonably priced. https://seattleexpress.com/tour/cruise-ship-transfers/
  15. Ummmmmmmm, being very judgemental here, but that seems like a very lazy TA............... I call up my big box TA, they take the HAL booking confirmation, put me on hold for maybe 10 minutes, verify everything with me from itinerary to OBC, give me their confirmation number, send me an email with a detailed invoice, and we're done. Obviously, I then must use the TA for future questions or changes, but that's fine with me. They keep detailed notes that make resolving issues pretty easy---like some missing OBC on a recent cruise. For an upcoming cruise, I did make my FlightEAse air reservation using the HAL website--and the fees appeared on my TA invoice immediately. My TA also required full payment 10-14 days earlier than HAL in order to avoid any issues. I get nice $$ perks from them and I find them easy to reach.
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