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bermuda triangle

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Posts posted by bermuda triangle

  1. I have stayed at the Fairmont in Banff and visited the one in Lake Louise (they are now part of Le Accor hotel group).  Banff is town where as Lake Louise has only a few shops and no real restaurants.  They are about an hr away from each other.  I would suggest staying in Banff and visiting Lake Louise (unless you don't plan on leaving the hotel, which is lakefront, for meals).  Both areas are in the same national park so you will need to buy a park pass upon entering the area.

  2. Heading out on Veendam May 30. Our 4th time on her and we can't wait!


    I do have a question. The Bermudian and US dollars seem to trade one to one. Did they accept American dollars or did you need to exchange money?


    You may use them interchangeably. If the shop has both currencies you will frequently get USD back as well, but try to use exact change or you may come home with some Bermudian money if they don't have enough change.

  3. I have found it's pretty easy to know by body language, eye contact, etc. whether or not chatty or not. Like most here, I don't go looking for conversation with strangers (or heaven forbid butt into their conversation, that's just strange!)


    It can feel awkward when someone and sits down when you are already sitting -- do you welcome them, do you ignore them? I usually make eye contact as a welcoming gesture, and then go back to what I was doing. If they make conversation, it doesn't bother me and if they don't, that doesn't bother me either.


    Not everyone reads body language well and depending where someone is from body language may mean something different to both parties involved.


    I agree with you about it being awkward for all. I will smile as a friendly gesture and am happy to converse or go about my business. It's not a big deal and it won't ruin my vacation.

  4. I don't expect privacy for a conversation but do expect to be able to speak with my husband without strangers who sat down with us jumping in and offering their two cents worth.

    I also often use the time I am eating breakfast to check my email etc and don't appreciate being interrupted to tell the newcomer where I am from, what excursion I am taking, how many cruises I have been on ---and so on.


    Why do people feel the need to do that anyway?



    Regarding your morning routine of checking email, perhaps if you say to the newcomer when they sit, excuse me if I am not very talkative I am in the middle of something, most people will not have an issue with that.


    IMO people make small talk to be polite. It is awkward to sit at a table with strangers.

  5. Personally I don't mind the question "what do you do?". If you are meeting new people you often find things you have in common or can relate to. Therefore asking questions regarding what you do, where you live/are from, are you enjoying the weather, first cruise, plans in x port, x activity on ship, etc. seem to be quite benign.

    I honestly don't think most people are trying to figure out how much I make or what I paid for my cruise based on what I do. I wouldn't walk up to someone and start a conversation with "Hi, what do you do?" but if it comes up over the course of the conversation I won't shut down and discontinue the conversation. A simple response is I don't like to talk about work while on vacation if you really don't want to discuss.

    Also if you don't want to talk about yourself, remember that by asking open ended questions it gives the other party the opportunity to talk about themselves, which a lot of people enjoy doing.


    Religion and politics I stay away from. Sports can also be a touchy subject depending on the season and if there are any playoffs approaching and where you are sailing from.

  6. Given the feedback I have received so far, we are leaning toward Eastern Caribbean. I checked flight info, and trying to fly from Portland to San Juan is not really practical for now.


    Given this info, which ports do you think are good for snorkeling or fishing? (Yes, we want to look at the fish (me) or catch the fish (DH)! :D


    Thank you!


    Snorkeling is great in Grand Turk and St. John USVI (can go if cruising to St Thomas), the Baths in Virgin Gorda BVI (again a trip over from Tortola) are fun too!


    Great beaches for relaxing, not really snorkeling are Orient Beach in St Maarten, Jost Van Dyke BVI (very low key atmosphere) and Antigua has some great beaches also.


    While Bermuda is not in the Caribbean if you are considering a summer cruise charter boat fishing and snorkeling are great!


    I know more ships are going to the Dominican Republic, but I must say we spent a week at two different all inclusive resorts. It wasn't a place on our must go list but we were invited to a destination wedding. We really loved one of the resorts, the Iberostar Grand Bavaro. Everything was really top notch and it is a place we would go back to in a heartbeat. The beaches were clean and again it was very relaxing.

  7. Thanks for that tip, I'll be looking at Walmart.




    Great! The link is to amazon, but you can at least know what you are looking for. It weighs .8 ounces and it is also great to grab for a trip to the bathroom during the night if you are sharing your cabin



  8. My dad is a retired lobsterman. From Canada to Florida the lobster is known as Maine lobster. Typically on cruises it is Australian or Caribbean lobster. Maine lobster is typically larger and sweeter with a harder shell unless it is molting season. The lobster served onboard has a softer shell and comes from warm water but tends to be chewier and is frozen.

    I can't answer to the number of times it is served, but I do know the quality is much better ashore. IMO you should try it to see if you notice the difference.

  9. My gratuities add up to $160 , I have stayed in many hotels and have never tipped that much after a weeks stay.


    Your tip isn't just for your hotel stay in this case. You have in essence 2 cabin stewards everyday with service twice a day, not once like a standard hotel. 2 waiters at dinner each night for dinner, 1-2 at breakfast,lunch, and afternoon tea.


    In the end it is your vacation and you are going to tip however you choose, but you should be able to make an educated decision.

  10. How were behind the scenes people compensated 20 years ago then?


    I have to say this is the most civil and enjoyable discussion regarding this topic in a while.


    They weren't and they complained. As I said in my first post :

    Many hard working people were not tipped, hence the auto gratuity was enacted.

    I wasn't limiting this to the cabin/dining stewards and their assistants who were not tipped.

  11. It still is.




    So why on Earth, then, if someone gives them cash instead of an automated daily service charge do some say they are compelled to turn it into the company, just for the company to give it back to them? If the point was to avoid crew being "stiffed" why would the company take cash from them? Makes no sense.


    There WAS a time, actually not very long ago, that the gratuity WAS baked right into HAL's cruise fare and they advertised that no tipping was necessary.


    The crew goes beyond your cabin and dining attendants. The person laundering your bed linens, the cooks, even the painters (,etc.) receive money from the auto gratuity. If you remove auto gratuity and only tip one or two people they are supposed to turn over those tips to the pooled funds. If you tip beyond the auto gratuity amount they do not have to.


    No tipping was necessary, hence at ones discretion, however there were still guidelines for average tipping amounts. It was a gimmick when cruising numbers were down to encourage more people to cruise.


    Not sure exactly the percentage or proportion but the steward may only get, and this is only an example, $30 out of the $100. Like it or not that's how HAL has decided to do it.
    This is not only a HAL decision, this is true of most main stream cruise lines.

  12. Not trying to prove anything, Did you miss the part that said I am a cleaner I too work hard for my holiday and at this stage am not made to feel very welcome by you!

    You have no idea how much or who I intend to tip, in fact it could be more than the 'automatic' tipping, my point IS I would like to be in charge of my own finances and not be dictated to.

    And as a by the way, we in Australia pay much more than you do for the same cruise ( nothing to do with the exchange rates)

    Happy travels.



    Tipping was at one time done per ones own discretion. Many hard working people were not tipped, hence the auto gratuity was enacted. Staff has also been cut during this time. Into the 1990s on HAL waiters would have 2 assistants at dinner, not one. Also there were less passengers, less cabins, no room service, etc.

    As a note, we tip above and beyond the auto gratuity. We tip well when travelling and at home.

    You mention you are a cleaner. Do you live in where you work making yourself available for 12 hrs a day? Do you have to work extra hours or clean extra spaces if your associates are ill, without the choice to say no. Do you work 7 days a week? Working all those hours are you making more than $500/month? Most crew contracts are 9 months, not 6 and often times not only are these people away from their families for that time, they also miss out on a lot of their family life. They get 3 months off, but if you think about it in days the average person here with 2 days off per week has 104 days off. 3 months is only 90 days. And the hours worked here are closed to 40 hrs a week, not 84.

    These are some things to consider while making your tipping decisions.

    I mention these not to be critical or unwelcoming, but to make you aware of the conditions under which people work on the ships.

  13. I hate to say, it was just a myth. Of course it MIGHT have been the intended for the ship, but I assure you, when the ship came out of the shipyard at Belfast from Harland & Wolff the name on the bow and stern as RYNDAM.


    Again, look at any Dutch books today... it will use the name RIJNDAM.... on the present RYNDAM. Try Google.... m.s. RYNDAM and m.s. RIJNDAM both in use.




    I made a mistake, it was 1992 when they announced it (Rijndam) and it was 1994 when I questioned the name change to Ryndam. Since the ship was built in 1994 I don't doubt that it left the shipyard as the Ryndam. It was christened as the Ryndam not the Rijndam. Two years prior to it being built was the time frame I was referencing.

    I wish I had daily planners from then, I know it was in print as the Rijndam in one. I also don't think Brian Price, the CD, was known for his sense of humor.

  14. I was on the Old Westerdam in the '90s when the Rijndam was newly announced as sister ship to the Veendam and the Maasdam. It was being promoted with the original spelling. During that cruise there were multiple trivia questions (back when trivia was held in the Queens Lounge and there were horse races) passengers could not get the spelling or the pronunciation correct the entire week, no matter how often staff said it.


    It was changed to the Ryndam because that is the phonetic pronunciation of Rijndam-at least that is the story I heard from the same cruise director the following year.

  15. This is another topic I've been considering as a first time cruiser.


    The wife and I have indulged on the Premium Drink package for our upcoming cruise and I've been looking through the Celebrity site that charges a 15% service charge for the package, but I don't see any mention regarding gratuities.




    1. Are gratuities included within the premium drink package cost?

    2. If not, what's a typical gratuity given per drink on board?




    3. If gratuities are included in the package, did you feel that the bar staff would service non-package holders over those with the package?

    4. Is it typical to tip in addition to the package to ensure you are served promptly?


    Sorry for all the questions, I couldn't find the answers when browsing Google or through Cruise Critic. :o


    The 15% service charge is the gratuity. This is also added to individual drinks when purchased without a package. There is an option without a package when you sign for a drink to tip above the 15%.


    You can tip above and beyond the 15% with cash, if you have the package. Plan on bringing singles with you if you plan to do so.


    Service is not dependent on drink package vs no package. It is based on how busy a particular server is. In the dining room for example it may be more difficult due to more demand. Grab a drink on your way into the dining room and letting your dining steward know that you would like to order a bar drink/glass of wine can expedite service.


    In lounges/bars service should not be an issue, but again, if they are very busy there may be a wait.

  16. For a lovely hotel try the Rome Cavalieri. You can prearrange a private car service to the port.

    We were on Princess and used their shuttle service to Civitavecchia, however we used Rome shuttle limousine for our airport to hotel transportation. They do offer flat rate service to Civitavecchia from Rome. You pay the driver directly. Our driver was professional, arrived on time, and we would use this.company again in the future.

  17. Comparing Caribbean Princess (110,000 GRT) to Veendam (60,000 GRT)

    is like comparing apples to oranges. Obviously Caribbean Princess has a lot more room to work with.


    I wasn't comparing them..I was explaining about the aft pool. Obviously you like to argue and I'm not going to do that with you. Its pointless. HAL screwed up and there first version of the retreat was a failure, as I've said I can't wait to see this version. HAL could have done a split down the middle and add cabins as they did with the old westerdam, which would have left the aft pool in place.

    Happy Cruising!!


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