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epanchenko

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About epanchenko

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  1. Someone posted recently they booked solo and at the last minute wanted to add a friend to their room, they were denied because of passenger limits (we assume lifeboat limits). Book the second person and cancel if they can't make it.
  2. Enron was independently audited. Doesn't mean there are no shenanigans going on. I can't imagine non U.S. citizens are going to go through the trouble of hiring lawyers to get tips if they are being stiffed, and their winnings would go to lawyers anyway instead of them. I am not accusing RCI of anything wrong, but it could happen... I do pay the automatic tip just for convenience.
  3. I am not saying it is right, I am just telling you the rationale. I hope you get it resolved to your satisfaction. I would be angry as well.
  4. The issue is even when people only bring one carryon each, I don't think there is enough room for everyone to bring a carryon on board. Unless people are sneaking in bags somehow, every flight I have been on recently, they have to check some carryons in the baggage area of the plane.
  5. They are adding cabins to Oasis. In order to adhere to lifeboat limits, they have to reduce capacity of other cabins.
  6. "They should either go with true "dueling pianos" or go back to the single piano format with an engaging performer. " I was on the Oosterdam in August, when there was only one player for a couple of days because the other one was ill. He was told by the line he could only do a 25-30 minute sets alone (normally the sets are closer to an hour when there are two of them there). They probably don't pay enough to get an engaging enough performer to pull off playing solo. The show was lacking by only having one performer. It was much better when there were two playing, even though they alternated songs. The Lincoln Center Stage performers during a Q and A said they did not like the design of their venue, I didn't either. I don't like the design of the blues club either. I don't think they are allowed to have Lido deck parties at night in Alaska due to environmental and noise regulations like they are allowed to in the Caribbean. I thought the Steps group was the highlight of the entertainment, but I agree the relationships second show was not as good as their first show. If entertainment is important to you, HAL is not for you, but every line was their plusses and minuses. I also lamented the short time in Ketchikan, as I had never been to Alaska before. I did a Misty Fjords boat ride excursion, and then it was time to leave.
  7. Wynn and Cosmo are high end buffets, WJ will probably be better than the Luxor buffet which I did not enjoy in August.
  8. I was on a Holland America Alaska cruise in August, and I never went on my balcony except the first day before we left for about five minutes.
  9. At least on the Oosterdam, they had a dance company, a comedian, or a magician most nights in the main showroom. They don't have resident production shows that consist of their own employees like the other lines you are used to.
  10. When I had food poisoning (the week before my cruise) at the land hotel, I stupidly took an Uber to the supermarket to buy foods and an Uber back to my hotel. It was over 100 degrees outside. The next day I thought of Amazon Prime Now, and it saved me a lot of hassle and saved me some Uber fares. I also bought things on regular Amazon and had them shipped to the hotel.
  11. I am used to school starting after Labor Day, I know that is not the case for some areas of the country. I did not mean for my review to imply that I hated the cruise. The service was excellent, the staff were very kind and hard working. Our CD was very informative, she even stood outside smiling at some of the ports while we left the ship. I didn't attend any of her EXC talks. They have a naturalist on board, why isn't she doing some of them? I don't know if the naturalist gave any talks. We got to all of our ports on time (one was held up by authorities for a couple of minutes and a line formed to leave), boarding and disembarkation were seamless. I wish we could have spent more time in some of the ports, but we had a schedule to adhere to. I knew what I was getting into by reading many posts. The food if not in a speciality restaurant seems like it suffers on all non premium cruise lines. I did enjoy the Dive-In food, I didn't mention that. The ship looks good for its age. I did take a four day Bahamas cruise on RCI years ago, but I frankly don't remember much of it. That voyage was the last before they sold the ship to another company, so it was probably old. I would imagine my next cruise will be on RCI (I just read too much negative stuff about Carnival). If anyone has specific questions, I can try and answer them.
  12. I live in Manhattan, so I can attend entertainment any night of the week including concerts at Lincoln Center (which I do), so it is not a priority for me on the ship. I had preloaded my iPad with Stranger Things episodes, and brought two ebooks with me, and I did not watch any episodes or read anything while on board, so HAL kept me busy enough that I did not need to entertain myself...
  13. This was my third cruise, the first on Holland America. My first cruise was on RCI years ago, I barely remember it. I was on a Caribbean cruise last year on Celebrity Equinox. From what I had read previously on this message board, I knew what I was in for, for the most part...For perspective, I am 39 and went with my family. This was a cruise to Alaska, we got upgraded to a balcony cabin. No one in my room ever used the balcony, so I don't think it is a must have like I have read for cruising to Alaska if you are able to go to the lido deck or the bow when it is open. I wasn't crazy about the food, as many on here seem to enjoy the food. The MDR was ok, I should have ordered two entrees as the portion size is too small. We started just eating dinner in the Lido Market instead of the MDR after awhile...The Lido Market was ok, but there didn't seem to be too many choices for each meal. We did not eat in any speciality restaurants. The Crow's Nest was crowded the couple of times I went up there. The rest of the ship did not seem to be crowded, except the Lido Market during peak times. MDR waiting time was minimal (we had anytime dining). Lincoln Center Stage - I attended many of the performances, they were excellent. I attended the session where they talk about themselves as well which was very informative. I wish they played longer than 35 minutes each set though. I would lengthen the set length and reduce the number of sets per day. Billboard OnBoard - I also attended many of the sets, one of the pianists was ill for a couple of days so the other player was only doing 30 minute sets by himself (he said HAL told him to do that). They were very good. They tended to have favorite artists that they would play over and over again through the cruise. I wish there was more variety. B.B. King's Blues Club - I thought it was too loud for the space they are in (don't like the design of the space) so I did not spend much time there, but the band and the singers sounded great. Step One Dance Shows - I thought the first show was excellent, the second show was good but not in the same league as the first show. Both were worth seeing. The magician and the comedian were also pretty good. I don't think showing a movie that you can watch in your stateroom is acceptable...I noticed the lack of assistant cruise directors, there was only one. He was good, he ran trivia well and came up with good questions most of the time. They didn't have much variety in the activities each day, essentially there were table tennis tournaments, trivia, a Majority Rules game show, and a To Tell the Truth type game show. They should do Majority Rules another time, as it seemed the players were enjoying themselves during it. They should have a daily music trivia as well, it was not played every day. I did not notice as much up-selling as I did on the Celebrity cruise, not once did a waiter tell me to buy a drinks package, for example. I felt the bars were not as prominently featured as on the Celebrity Equinox. It seemed like the bars themselves were hidden from view a little bit in some places (obviously you can find them if you wanted to...). I enjoyed the whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier excursion in Juneau, we had a nice day weather wise. We were able to hike to Nugget Falls and back to the visitors center in 40 minutes (we were moving quickly). I also enjoyed the excursion hiking through the Tongas National Forest in Sitka (two miles from the Sitka port). We also went to the Totem Park near downtown Sitka if you are looking for a free place to hike. We did the Misty Fjords Wilderness Explorer excursion. It took two hours to get to them. While they were beautiful, I don't think the two hour ride was worth it. I would suggest seeing them by seaplane. (Maybe a seaplane would have been cancelled, someone else's seaplane adventure the day before in Sitka was cancelled because of the weather). My opinion is probably clouded by the fact that it was a rainy and not nice day outside. For all the talk of HAL's average age decreasing, I did not notice it on this cruise. The vast majority of the people were at least 50. There were a few families, but not nearly as many as I had anticipated (I guess late August is too late for many families to go to Alaska? I know Alaskan cruises in general tend to attract older cruisers). I think my next cruise I will try a line that is a bit more active in their activies, and where I can purchase a speciality dining package. I did talk to someone on my plane to back home who was on the Norwegian Bliss who did not like the food on the ship much (it was the same menu every day), and also they were not able to dock in Ketchikan at all because of rough waters. Probably the advice is sound to not go to Alaska on a large ship.
  14. I did this while I was sick in a land hotel recently, but they give you a two hour window in which they will deliver. I don't think the OP wants to potentially stand outside with her mother for two hours to a spot the person may not be able to even gain access to over bottled water. The OP wants to be able to walk into a building, ask for her package that was delivered by Amazon, and walk on the ship. It doesn't seem like this is possible.
  15. It will be interesting to see what Virgin Voyages comes up with. They are targeting a younger demographic.
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