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davy jones

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  1. To answer the question on the listed topic. HAL would be foolish to not monitor CC and social media. That said, they are more in tune with listening to the shareholders. To answer the secondary question about entertainment is a bit more complicated for me. We recently completed our first HAL cruise in 30+ years on the Zuiderdam. For many years, we were cruising on the mass market lines and were looking for better because we are becoming tired of the crowds, noise, nickel and diming, etc. We loved the cruise and were very impressed by HAL. It was the most relaxing cruise that we have taken in many years. The service and dining were superior to the mainstream lines. It was definitely a step up. Our only reservations were about the main stage shows. They were OK, but we expected a bit more. HAL has "Carnivalized" the shows with the onboard performers with light boards as props and canned music adapted to the HAL demographic. We especially liked the fact that you did not have to show up 30 minutes ahead to get a seat and become a captive audience for endless sales pitches for punch boards, etc. However, I guess that it is very difficult to have it all. The music walk is better than the overall evening offerings on mainstream ships. During the daytime, we prefer to relax a bit so we did not miss the silly pool contests and games. Perhaps loyal long time HAL cruisers can see reductions, but HAL is still a step above the mass market lines.
  2. Zuiderdam does not have a Lido screen. There many movies (at least 100) available via the in room TV. Many are recent releases.
  3. We disembarked from the 10 day Canal cruise yesterday. WeI generally agree with your observations. Our first cruise was on HAL in 1982, so we were essentially new to HAL. We are about your age. We have many cruises on the mainstream lines, but were starting to feel that the mainstream ships are too big, too loud, and too crowded. The cutbacks and nickle and diming were also becoming quite noticeable. We decided to try HAL (and may try others like Princess and X). We chose this cruise because of itinerary (canal and new ports) and a good deal on an inside cabin. Three days before sailing we upgraded to a balcony GTY at a good price. Since it was a late upgrade, our cabin was very forward. We like to avoid forward cabins because of the extra motion, but that’s how the GTY thing goes. Weather and seas were good throughout so there were no motion issues. This was our most relaxing cruise ever. That may not work for everyone, but we loved it. It is clearly a step (or more) above the mass market lines. The dining and amenities were very good. The crew and service were outstanding. The onboard vibe was friendly and relaxed. The only noticeable crowds were during busy times at the buffet. Everyone’s “perfect” cruise is different, so no cruise can be perfect, but it was indeed excellent. We will be back.
  4. An upsell offer would be considered. Do they contact me directly or does it go through the TA?
  5. Since the cruise line make more $ through direct bookings, are they more likely to give "upgrades" on guarantee cabins to those who book directly through them?
  6. The only package offered on the HAL page is the premium package. Is this a Zuiderdam thing, or am I missing something?
  7. We currently have a dog that has retired from being a guide dog for the blind and love her dearly. She is highly socialized, well behaved, and remarkable in public. Despite all of that, she is retired and is now a pet. I would not undermine the legitimate service dog organizations by presenting her as anything but a pet. When we cruise, she stays with a friend who spoils her immensely. Blame the US government for creating a system that can be so easily exploited. Businesses are not permitted to question illegitimate credentials under the threat of significant fines and penalties. Consequently, responsible service dog organizations and their clients are subject to the scorn of others because some despicable person's fake credentialed dog ran barking up and down the corridors, pooped in the airplane aisle, or bit someone. People using fake credentials should be subject to heavy penalties and people who issue fake credentials should be jailed.
  8. We are primarily looking to keep connected with home through email, newspapers, skype, and wifi calling. They don't as much bandwidth as streaming video, so we should be fine.
  9. How good is the onboard internet if you purchase the premium plan? We will be on Zuiderdam.
  10. It is my understanding that you can not book a dining time during certain hours, typically between 5:30 and 8:00. Is this still the case?
  11. They will make a chocolate martini, but you will pay $3.00 plus gratuity. DW says that it is quite good. That was at Shakers. I don't know if you will get one at other bars.
  12. We have our boarding passes printed but are awaiting our GTY room assignment so we can print out the luggage tags. I would like to leave knowing the cabin number and have tags that match accordingly. I know it should work if we find out at the pier, but this just messes with the mojo of my planning.
  13. One can look out and see that the majority of the balcony cruisers are not out there smoking. I have just had bad luck recently. It was more frustrating because we were on angled balconies.
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