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jm485

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  • Content Count

    435
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About jm485

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    NJ
  • Interests
    Reading, photography and (duh) travelling
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    HAL, NCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anywhere not too hot and humid!

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  1. We are on Nieuw Statendam now. Ship is sold out, which I mention because it may be impacting how Anytime Dining (AD) reservations are being done. AD reservations are being taken only for times between 5:15 and 6, and for 8 or later. Anyone wanting a table between 6 and 8 is walk-up only. We’ve been on board for 4 nights and ate in dining room for 2 (not on gala night). We’ve never waited more than 5 minutes for a table, including the time waiting to get to the front desk. We usually get to the dining room at about 10 to 7. We are not especially concerned with having the same wait staff or table, but we have generally been seated in the same area of the dining room. AD is on deck 2 and deck 3 is for traditional. As I said, I don’t know if all sailings on Nieuw Statendam are the same, so YMMV.
  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful review. I thought I was excited to be boarding the NS in 11 days ... but now I'm positively delirious! Your review is so even-handed, too -- it was really a pleasure to read and your photos are stunning. Living in NJ, I can tell you that those beach "tents" have become quite controversial. A number of towns now allow them only at the back of the beach, so that they don't block water access. Stepping around a blanket shaded by an umbrella is one thing, but on some beaches, the tents were being set up in a way that pretty much required you to walk right through someone's "campsite" to reach the water. Crazy!
  3. We had laundry service on a cruise earlier this year, and I sent all sorts of "regular" clothes (nothing too delicate). No issues with shrinking or fading. I don't know if they do cold water wash, but I've seen other people post that they will write things like "cold water wash" "delicate" or "low dryer" and the clothes come back in good shape. It went well enough that I bought the laundry service for my upcoming cruise. It lets me pack lighter and come home with less dirty wash. As I'm a larger person, with correspondingly larger clothes, the "fill the bag for one price" special doesn't always work well for me.
  4. My first traditional cruise was on the Volendam -- she's a beauty! I'm leaving in 16 days for my 3rd HAL cruise, and we've got a trip booked to Alaska next summer. Sounds like you got a great upgrade. Have a wonderful time!
  5. That's great!! If the worst that can happen is they say "sorry, can't do anything" -- it's definitely worth asking!
  6. We have a good PCC who's been with HAL for years. In researching something else, I found his name listed as providing great service on a post from 2009! So they are out there. There's a main "800" number that you call to be connected to the PCC; they all have a 5 digit extension that starts with a 2. Hope that helps!
  7. We book directly through HAL. Called yesterday because fares on a trip in early July were so much cheaper than what we paid. Politely asked PCC if there was anything that could be done in terms of OBC or cabin change. He checked and we went from VE to AS (we preferred the aft view) at no cost, based on the fare we paid. He encouraged me to keep on eye on the fares and call him so he could see if there was "anything further that could be done closer to sail date." My attitude is "the worst that can happen is they say no." We would have been fine staying where we were. That the VEs were sold out may have worked to our favor; they may have an easier time selling less expensive cabins to those who want to get the cheapest fare possible and have the flexibility to book right before sailing. To OP -- I do what others do. I know what my original fare was and compare that to whatever the current highest posted fare on the HAL website. I don't usually bother for relatively small amounts (say, less than 10% of what we paid), particularly if we got a good bonus. But when I saw that the current fare for our cabins was about 20% less than what we paid, I figured it was worth a phone call.
  8. Wow, @DougandEric, that's an INCREDIBLE balcony! Excuse me for a bit of thread-jacking, but given the title, I didn't want to start a separate question. Does anyone have any photos of the Deck 4 aft Vista balconies? We've switched to one of those (free, based on the fare we paid) for an upcoming trip, and I'm hoping we made a good decision ...
  9. Thanks to the OP for posting this. I paid part of my cruise this summer early amd the 10k points showed up right away!
  10. Waiters clearing plates from diners who are finishes isn’t new. I have a distinct memory of being in a restaurant in NYC thirty years ago and overhearin this from the next table: Waiter: “May I take your plate, sir?” Diner: “The lady [his dining partner] isn’t finished.” Waiter: “I see, but may I take YOUR plate?” Diner: “No. You can clear the plates when we are both finished.” Taking a cue from that, if I’m ever eating with someone who is eating more slowly than I, I simply use my words to request that the server clear the table when we are both/all done eating. Other people prefer not to sit with used, empty plates in front of them. Different strokes for different folks. I’ve found on cruises that the crew is very willing to accommodate any reasonable requests. So if you and your dining partner don’t want plates removed until you have both finished, say so. I’m sure they’ll get the hint even if it takes a couple of requests.
  11. I don’t recall there being USB ports. I am pretty sure I had to plug the cable into a plug adaptor to charge my phone and tablet.
  12. We were is PS on Rotterdam earlier this month. No charge for non-alcoholic beverages that were in the refrigerator. We drank lots of bottles water and a few sodas and there were no chargea for any of it. The other thing I’d say about PS is that if you go through the Neptune lounge concierges - you will probably never hear the word “no” your entire trip. We didn’t make any outrageous requests, but a quick call took care of anything we needed. Not an “official” perk, but handy.
  13. On my own, I might have been a bit more adventurous, especially with private tours. But I was traveling with my MIL and she is pretty set on sticking only to the ship tours, as she has a terror of being left behind by the ship. Same thing in terms of eating off the ship. It sounds like you found some great options to enjoy the ports, though!
  14. I was a bit put off by some of the descriptions of the tours to the ruins. I was traveling with my 81 YO MIL. She's got some issues with balance and has had skin cancer, so between "uneven walking surfaces" and "limited shade," we decided to avoid those trips. Have a great time!
  15. I'm so sorry that you missed the trip, but glad your mom is doing better and looking forward to your trip in May. I was traveling with my 81 YO MIL, so I know it can be a challenge and a worry. Have a great time on the Zaandam!
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