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St. Louis Sal

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Everything posted by St. Louis Sal

  1. So glad I happened upon your "live" cruise adventure. Have sailed out of Galveston, but not been on this ship before. I am quite enjoying it, looking forward to what tomorrow will bring. St. Louis Sal
  2. I had a cabin on the Koningsdam that was in front of the bridge. They controlled our balcony lights and there was a sign in the cabin asking us to keep our draperies closed at night so as not to interfere with navigation. St. Louis Sal
  3. You are so right about the other cruise lines receiving the same comments. I am a frequent HAL cruiser and people are always complaining about the lowering of the quality of the cruise experience. My daughter told me one day we were all complainers. I told her that is why this site is called "cruisecritic"! St. Louis Sal
  4. Things I miss: Bistro on 5 (Sushi on 5 doesn't cut it for me), tableside muesli in Blu (supposedly a casualty of food safety regulations regarding carpets??) skinny breadsticks in Blu daily flavored tea in Aqua cabins (DH hates them, but I like them). I'm probably missing a few things, but this is all I can think of right now. St. Louis Sal
  5. I was just on the Infinity and ate at Blu. I remarked to my husband that I got more asparagus on my plate at breakfast than I did on my plate at dinner. St. Louis Sal
  6. So sorry to hear that vtcruising passed away. I stumbled upon this thread when looking for some more info on Infinity. I noticed one of your posts and thought, "wait, that's George C from my Rock and Romance cruise!" It's always sad when you get to know someone from their post here on Cruise Critic and then they are gone. There have been many that I hoped to cruise with someday and never had the chance. RIP, vtcruising. St. Louis Sal
  7. Not very good at putting in photos, so I will see if this works.
  8. It was great reading everyone's ROV experiences and seeing pictures. They have definitely upped the price. I would love to have the string quartet play, but we had the pianist from the piano bar (mind is blanking out on his name) and he played so beautifully, asked for our requests and he included "Somewhere My Love" which was our wedding dance. We had appetizers, drinks and a cake. The only thing that seems different is, I don't remember getting a bouquet delivered to our cabin. Besides the two pictures in our album, the party planner took a bunch with my camera so I have quite a collection! St. Louis Sal
  9. I was just looking at the album they gave us so I have the vows handy: The Captain: On this occasion we are witnessing the reaffirmation of those vows of love made on your wedding day. During the intervening years, you have lived through sickness and health, pain and pleasure, success and failure. Because of your love for each other, you have persevered through the bright sunlight of the mountaintops and the depths of the sea. Your love has brought you together to this joyous occasion where hand in hand you renew the vows of love and trust in each other. You have come aboard the Amsterdam together to confirm to each other and make public, that your destinies shall be one and your joys shall not be known apart. Your Renewal Vows: I come once again before you to renew our vows of marriage. I promise to be strong in my love, gentle in my care and unwavering in my trust. In the name of all we have created together and all we are yet to become, I offer you my hand, as your partner, life time friend and companion. And of course the famous toast: Here's to good ships and wood ships, and ships that sail the seas. But the best ships are relationships and may yours always be! We did this for out 40th and I'm hoping to be on a HAL ship next year to do our 50th. Now I am a little weepy, it was a very beautiful ceremony-thank you Captain Fred Eversen. St. Louis Sal
  10. My family has sailed many times over Christmas and New Years. We have always given an extra gift at Christmas. I usually take cards with me that say Happy Holidays and I always write a personal note thanking them for what a great job they do in taking care of us. I always give to our room steward(s). If we have assigned dining and become close to our waiters we may give them gifts as well. For the room stewards I usually do $5 or $10. $5 for the dining room staff. The gifts to our room stewards are in addition to what I usually give them at the end of the cruise as an extra tip. St. Louis Sal
  11. We took a cruise to Alaska this summer on the Noordam. I'm lucky enough to be a 4-star Mariner and I love my free laundry. But this was a first for me; each time my laundry arrived back in my cabin, it came with a note. The first one said "Welcome to Alaska We care for the cloths you wear". It was handwritten and signed by a member of the Laundry team. I got one attached with each of my deliveries. It was a nice gesture and I enjoyed reading them to see what they would say! Has anyone else gotten laundry "love" notes? St. Louis Sal
  12. That reminds me of what my dad used to tell my mom (who liked to be ready for any possibility): You're not going to Timbuktu; they will have stores. St. Louis Sal
  13. We were on the Noordam for it's first cruise through the Panama Canal. There was a lady at our dinner table that had been on the inaugural cruise and they treated her like a queen!! I would love to do an inaugural cruise of a ship some day. St. Louis Sal
  14. How I wish I could do just 3 pairs! I have lots of foot problems and can never tell whether a pair that was comfortable yesterday will be comfortable today. I usually take 6 to be on the safe side. I have a pair of flats with a Velcro strap that can be worn with or without socks. They are my go to for plane travel as they are easily removable. I take two pairs of trainers (Asics plus my skecher ones which are fairly light weight). I take one pair of high heel sandals for dinner (usually either platform ones or I have a pair of Crocs that are inch and a half heel and very comfortable; Crocs used to make "real" shoes, but they don't anymore.) Then usually two pairs of flat sandals (Abeos or Naots) for casual days, dinners and around the cabin. That many shoes means I have to be careful about the rest of the things I pack. I wear one pair, put one pair of sandals in my carryon and the other four in my checked luggage. The only time my luggage was overweight was when I added some Raven's Brew coffee and some canned salmon to my luggage in Alaska. Whoops. My husband does two pair normally, wears his New Balance trainers on the plane and packs his dress shoes. Occasionally he will add sandals, but not always. I am jealous; his suitcase usually weighs less than mine. St. Louis Sal
  15. The current incarnation of the Crow's Nest on the Eurodam is blah. I spent absolutely no time there. The Explorations Café location is now the excursion desk. The original bar has been cut to 1/2 bar, 1/2 coffee café. One corner is a sort of small sales room/video presentation area divided partly with a bookcase for give one/take one books from the passengers. The seating as a whole is not relaxing. The library is scant and not welcoming. I trekked there from my aft cabin to the excursion desk to ask a question and that was pretty much it. I had no desire to spend any time there. St. Louis Sal
  16. On my most recent cruise, the cruise director had a new title: Cruise and Travel Director. The theatre was vastly underused as one of the members of the show had been injured and both of the scheduled production shows were cancelled. I was traveling with a newbie to cruising and she was really looking forward to the shows. I did not want to burst her bubble, but truly HAL hasn't had a decent production show in ages. She did enjoy the Indonesian crew show. We also had a comedian and a magician. They each did one show and then combined for a show. There was no band of any kind. My favorite performers were the Lincoln Center Stage quintet. This was on the Noordam and the location for the Lincoln Center Stage left a lot to be desired. People walking past talking, despite the signs saying performance in progress. And since HAL is always looking to make money, there is no bar service for this venue, which is surprising. St. Louis Sal
  17. Alaska weather is a total gamble. I just came back from a roundtrip out of Seattle, end of June. The first day was a solid wall of white. That was a first for me after 8 other Alaskan cruises. Our day in Ketchikan was absolutely stunning-pure sunshine, perfect temps. Last September I took one of the final cruises of the season (and the last land trip of the year; they all waved good-bye and locked up as we left). The cruise days were lovely weather at all the ports, the land part was mixed, more drizzly than not. Several years ago we took our daughters with us in September and the weather was picture perfect except for Ketchikan where it rained buckets. I say go when you can and bring some layers so you are prepared weather-wise. As far as the ships, the Noordam and the Westerdam are favorites of mine. I just went on the Noordam and thought she was in very good shape. St. Louis Sal
  18. I just got off Eurodam last week and I have sailed her several times. She's definitely one of my favorite HAL ships. She has the Tamarind (an upcharge but worth it). Tamarind is an Asian restaurant that even my "American comfort food" loving husband likes. I enjoy the Lincoln Center Stage (although it's location is not totally ideal and it's a tad small for the more popular concerts.) The America's Test Kitchen is fun (located in the Queen's (multi-purpose) lounge (also where B.B. King Club performs.) I really enjoy the thermal suite. The casino is quite small, but it is also now non-smoking!! The only cons I can think of: 1. They have tampered with the Crow's Nest and it's not so nice. They have moved the excursion desk there (where Explorations Café was). This means that, instead of it being conveniently mid-ship, it's a trek up to the observation desk all the time. They cut the original bar and now it's half bar, half Explorations coffee bar. They turned one corner into a sort of mini movie, spa salesroom venue. I truly didn't spend much time up there this last cruise (and didn't get a single coffee from Explorations Café). 2. I am not a fan of Eurodam's atrium, design-wise (personal taste). I like most of the other ships better. HAL is never an over-the-top, glitzy public space kind of ship design, but the Eurodam atrium is just kind of meh. I'd be glad to answer any specific questions you have. Bon Voyage St. Louis Sal
  19. If you are a member of AAA, you can get foreign currency with no transaction charge (there are minimum amounts you have to buy though). There is a charge to convert back. I keep Euros and Pounds since I travel enough to use them. The Swiss Francs I had I spent down so as not to bring too much home. St. Louis Sal
  20. I'm a big fan of Celebrity but for Alaska I always end up with Holland America because I like their itineraries the best. I would definitely do a round trip for your first cruise and save the one way for a time when you can do at least two weeks so you can add a land tour. I haven't looked at anything for your dates. We are leaving on the Eurodam on Saturday out of Seattle and doing Inside Passage, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan and a stop at Victoria. I chose this one because Sitka is one of my favorites. But it's always fun to book a cruise that does Skagway where you can do the White Pass train or take a fast ferry over to Haines. If you can afford it, a Neptune Suite on a HAL ship will give you plenty of room. Or a Signature Suite is some extra room (but no access to the Neptune Lounge). Otherwise a combo of a balcony and an inside would work. Everyone can enjoy the balcony and you still have extra space. I have done Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier-either one is a stellar pick. Icy Strait Point is wonderful. Whatever you choose it will be a fantastic trip. St. Louis Sal
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