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beach spring

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  1. Our late May, early June Zaandam cruise actually ended in Montreal, so we spent three days there before flying home. Our travel agent found us an Old Montreal hotel, SpringHill Suites, which scared me at first, since it looked like we were entering from an alley. However, all was good, great included breakfast, very comfortable. Bonus, we could walk easily to many sites! If you stay over in Montreal I recommend a GrayLine Tour for 3 hours (ours was not a doubledecker) but had wifi and a bathroom, if that matters. Our driver Norman narrated in both English and French, and he was terrific. We made three stops for photos. We saw and learned so much! About three blocks from our hotel was the incredible Notre Dame Basilica at the Place d'Armes. Had we known about it, we would have paid to attend the evening light show! As it was, we attended the Sunday mass and that was wonderful, even if we didn't speak French! Our other favorite place to spend time was the Place Jacques-Cartier for its open air ambiance, cafes, street performers, making us feel as if we were in a city in old Europe.
  2. We did take the HOHO bus tour in Halifax, May 29, and for us, it was a great choice. Not knowing how much walking my DH would be able to do, this option allowed us to "see" with narration the various sites/sights. And this Grayline bus was only $60pp, less than the ship-offered shore excursion. Two Must Sees are the Fairview Cemetery (Titanic pax gravesites) and the Maritime Museum, which was awe-inspiring for its presentation on the great explosion disaster of 1917.
  3. We did take the HOHO bus tour of Quebec City on June 2 while in port on the Zaandam. We docked close enough in to walk to the pickup point (stop #3). We were delighted to discover that the bus provided individual earphones (Packaged, as on a plane) which we plugged in and selected our language of choice. The bus was quite full, stop #1 is Chateau de Frontenac. This worked well for us as we drove by the main sights/sites but with narration. Our walking was our choice and we kept it to a minimum since DH was a bit limited. Beautiful city and I would love to return.Plus, the cost for the two of us was less than the cost of ship's excursion.
  4. Actually, you might not have to wait for next reservation. We booked our end of May Zaandam cruise and applied for the OBC. We received that credit a couple of days later for our cruise.
  5. Although I have not been on the Norwegian ship, my husband and I just last month did the Boston to Montreal on the Zaandam. We booked late also so ended up in an oceanview on deck 2. (Be aware that some of the OV staterooms at bow have portholes and not big windows.) We were quite comfortable and the ship is just small enough that we had reasonable walks throughout. In the ports, we did our own thing, since my husband was still recovering from a nasty fall (broken shoulder and knee), and we did end up walking but also enjoyed the bus tours we booked in the ports. Hop on Hop off tours in Quebec City and Halifax. As someone mentioned, Bar Harbor is a tender port and also an iffy one, weather dependent. Study up and select tours/sites which work for you; the ship's tours are pricey and limit what you might like to see that is not included. As for Montreal, we stayed an extra 2 1/2 days and had a lovely time. Our small hotel, the Springhill Suites, was in a great location in Old Montreal. We easily walked to the Place Jacques-Cartier for dining al fresco and attended Sunday morning mass in the Notre-Dame Basilica (all in French, of course). Questions? I'll try to help.
  6. Florence, We only went to the theater four nights, twice for the comedian, Burghart, who was really funny and KNEW his audience/demographics. The other times were for the dancers who were almost mesmerizing with the choreography synced with the bright graphics and music. Couldn't tell you about any of the other. Actually, I should point out that the second night for the comedian was just the last 20 minutes or so because we stayed out on deck to watch as the ship passed under the Confederation Bridge from PEI, maybe (don't have my notes handy. Many others came into the theater after that event. Poor planning/timing on HAL's part.
  7. We just disembarked the Zaandam June 3 in Montreal. The ship seemed in great shape, nothing worn out" really noticeable, but then I wasn't really looking. I enjoyed the art throughout! One note, we were in an outside but no veranda on the second deck. Window only. #2659. New, albeit smallish, tv above the desk. Lots of storage space. Not a lot of room to move about but we were comfortable, as were the beds. Some notes that may be helpful for someone considering this, or a nearby, stateroom: The bathtub is high and short. At 5'1", I could not stretch out to relax! And stepping in and out was tricky since the side is higher than ours at home. Someone with issues of raising a leg, be forewarned. Secondly, we were glad I thought to bring an extension cord. Finally, we chose to sit in the deck chairs on the promenade deck one afternoon. No cushions! Turns out, they were stored, but available to passengers who walked to the aft to get one. Had not read about this on CC.
  8. We just finished a 7-day on the Zaandam June 3 and were happy to be able to eat a "quiet" lunch in the MDR upon boarding May 27. I don't mind the Lido but on embarkation day, a "gentler" time is less stressful, IMO.
  9. We just did this June 2 from the Zaandam. We walked through the terminal and asked about a HOHO Unitours bus there; however, the woman giving directions as to where to actually board (you can buy ticket as you board) was not very clear. We eventually went into a small boutique hotel nearby where the woman at the desk was very helpful and even booked for us and told us where to board. Sorry but I don't recall the cost. The pickup location was just a couple of blocks from the hotel and pier. Unfortunately, many, many people were all trying to board AND BUY tickets at that stop, early morning, so it was a bit frustrating having to wait when we already had our tickets. Plus, the driver was having difficulty with his machine. Consequently, we ended up at the back on the bottom (choosing to not go up top) so could not see much out the windows without lots of craning and shifting. That said, I loved that we were provided individually wrapped earpieces to plug in and select English and volume level. These were terrific, syncing with the sights and just playing Muzak while at a stoplight. My advice would be to board later in the day? Or get to the pickup spot and be first in line? Our initial intention was to ride the entire circuit, then go back to get off where we wanted, but ended up getting off at the Hotel Frontenac. (Having seen the traffic, we were afraid we would short ourselves on time to get back to ship.) Eventually, as people got off, we were able to move up for better viewing.
  10. We did just that, from the Zaandam, May31. Inside the terminal, which has several tourist vendors, we booked a one-hour bus tour of the city. Boarded just outside the terminal. PrinceEdwardTours. Paid $30pp CAD. While we did see much of the city, it really was not very interesting ultimately, despite the tour guide's congenial and fact-filled narration. (A woman across from me appeared to be asleep through the entire time!) Afterwards, we walked about four blocks to the famous St. Dunstan's Basilica, interior is photoworthy, and then had refreshments in the Gallery coffee shop across the street. Back to the ship through the terminal and were delighted to find a vendor selling tees 2/$20.
  11. Since we had already visited Acadia, we chose to just walk Bar Harbor, May 28, Zaandam. After tendering in, we visited many shops and had refreshments in a large, and evidently quite popular, ice cream shop. The blueberry ice cream and blueberry pie were delicious! Also, a large bookstore, Sherman's, whose business card claims Maine's Oldest Bookstores, plural because there are others elsewhere. Best of all, since it was a Sunday, there was an arts and crafts show in the Village Green. Very tempting to spend $ there! Finally, the vista from the harbor is quite pleasant. If you need to do a tour, do it; otherwise, just walk around the town!
  12. We were just there May 30 on the Zaandam. Not much to see in the small town. We walked from the ship, through the terminal, up a walkway and then up another small incline to the main street. Which, by the way, is all torn up for resurfacing, so some obstacles to go around. Friendly people. We happened upon one small coffee shop just off the main street. Though quite plain, quite a few trendy offerings. Looked as if everyone but us were locals. A large, old church nearby had been turned into a small theater. Walked some more, by a different but large, white church, Sacred Heart, I think, but it was locked. Back in terminal, shopped and were pleasantly surprised to find a vendor selling tee shirts 2/$20! Others of course, plus hoodies, more. A pleasant way to get our steps in but, as I said, not much to see in town. Take a tour?
  13. Thank you all for answering my questions about the promenade deck loungers and the afternoon teas.
  14. FWIW, when we booked this cruise, the next day we applied for my husband's military credit, which was approved. Within two weeks the OBC was showing on our invoice. OTOH, I am a retired teacher, and HAL also offers OBC for that, but my TA was told only one "appreciation" could be applied to our booking. Not sure how I feel about that. Seems unfair. We have been so busy lately, I have not even had time to think about calling and requesting again. Do you think that would seem greedy? Please give me your thoughts, as i just may call before we depart in a few days. Ten Days!!! But who's counting?
  15. BigMatt, you mentioned reading while in a lounger on the promenade deck. Are those loungers considered the "property" of the staterooms at that point or is it a "free" space? I don't want to get into any arguments! My other question: Can someone describe the afternoon teas, if those still exist? I've seen lots of posts about meals but none about the teas which I enjoyed on a previous HAL cruise. TIA
  16. Thank you so much for the enlightening commentary and the wonderful photos. We will be aboard the May 27 sailing from Boston. Our only two times on HAL were both on the Veendam so I am expecting this to be similar, accommodationwise that is. I know much else has changed. But any day on a cruise is better than a day weeding my flowers or fighting traffic on a groceries run. Bon voyage on your next cruises!!!
  17. Hey, thanks for the very reassuring commentary. We have enjoyed two times on the Veendam, once on her second voyage ever, 1997, then years later. On our final meal in the dining room, first cruise, our waiter gave me ALL the menus of that week! Most charming of all was that same waiter's gifting each of "his" cruisers Dutch hats on "Dutch Night," when crew presented a talent show. All passengers received those hats but "his" women's were hand decorated. I will try to post a picture. It is so wonderful, we have it in a frame for display! Is that done anymore? I know Dutch night disappeared, along with the Chocolate Midnight Extravaganza. Our second trip on the Veendam was NYC to Bermuda, a cruise which was cut short by one day by an imminent hurricane (Irene). For some reason, the powers that be decided we would hightail it back to NYC, whereas other ships in port chose to go further out to sea. The resulting fiasco of that decision is another long story. Suffice it to say, we were very displeased by HAL's treatment of all of us 400 who could not leave the ship once back in NYC. Oh well, it worked out for us as well as for the Manhattanites who were expecting their city to be under water (didn't happen). Rambling on, I must add that the two ships offer so much more than all those loud, silly, bells and whistles of the megaships. Not for us. We Veendam passengers were able to dock in downtown Hamilton, Bermuda, while the big ships had to dock way outside. Those passengers had to make their way somehow from the ship to the sites of interest on that island; we just walked off and onto the ship, as we chose, for several nights. This will be our first cruise in several years, for various reasons, so we are really looking forward to celebrating our 50th on the Zaandam. In class!
  18. Z'Loth, thank you for your helpful suggestions. I don't recall reading some of these recently, so my husband is now looking into what he didn't already know on his phone, then will share with me. Meanwhile, I continue to peruse CC boards for more info for our upcoming cruise!
  19. jlou, my husband and I booked late, so this was the OV cabin we selected from the handful available. We preferred to not do a Guarantee this time, not to mention other considerations. I am not impressed by the above comments but we will just make do. When we return, maybe I can provide you some more specific info, if you still are interested. Barbara
  20. We began trying to register on the app yesterday. Total frustration, on both phones. Were able to get just so far, then the process just stopped. Does this sound like a common problem (I haven't read all the previous pages of comments.) Can we just get our TA to print our boarding pass, if she is able to do that? Do we really have to have the Navigator app???
  21. Oh please post! We are on the May 27 Boston to Montreal and I want to review all the help/advice/opinions I can get. I'm just needy that way. OTOH, DH just may not even know the name of the ship until we board, LOL. TIA
  22. Thrilling photo! Since my DH and I will be arriving in Montreal on June 3 on the Zaandam, and we have never been there, can you tell me where the ship docks? Is it close to Old Montreal? Our hotel is in that area so I am curious as to how close we will be. TIA
  23. We've also been trying to be credited with this and, therefore, filled in the form and sent it in. Within a few minutes, we received a reply that this had been verified. However, nothing showed up on our confirmation for the cruise. This is what my TA was told: I have been advised that once verified, it may be a few weeks before the credit is attached to the Mariner number. I sure hope neither she nor we are not going to have to make numerous followup phone calls. Stay tuned. Never had a problem getting this kind of credit approved in the past on other.
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