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sammiedawg

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Everything posted by sammiedawg

  1. I enjoyed your thoughts. We were supposed to be on the leg after yours but sadly had to cancel. We have never done a TA but we’ve had some rough Northern Europe sailings. Being cooped up inside is not fun after a day or so. We love the Marina. Who were the VIPs?
  2. Why not just move up to Seabourne or one of the premium lines. We did one Prinsendam and I swear on my kids lives the food was standard for the fleet. The service was standard for the fleet. We were underwhelmed but we left our rose colored glasses at home,
  3. The poolside smoke den should be eliminated. It is my one complaint on every cruise survey I do. I hope others complain as well. Oceania does not attract a high percentage of smokers but it only takes one to stink areas up if the wind is blowing. On one trip there was a small German group on board, enough said. The enclosed section of Horizons is adequate to house the smokers.
  4. We think Coral Princess is the best choice in their fleet. We’ve done Alaska several times on the Coral . Great space per passenger with abundant viewing areas. They have a naturalist on board and they will bring in cultural entertainment. We had guys from the Ketchikan lumberjack show on board. They will have Alaskan experts lecturing including Libby Riddles in Juneau. It has been a few years and I’m unsure about the food quality but last time it was decent, of course not Oceania caliber. Great pizza. The specialty restaurants were good and well worth the upcharge. It was $25 a few years ago.
  5. Peru is well known to be a source of GI illness. A couple years ago we sailed from Tahiti to Lima. In Lima, Marina crew distributed disinfectants, special shoe mats rolled out, educational materials were distributed, etc.
  6. Private tour operators were being hassled when we were there early November. Cops pulled over cars in our little caravan everyday. Passengers were not hassled in any way but the driver/guide walked to the rear of the vehicle for what appeared to be a quick shakedown for cash. Our guide told us the government was “taking over” private tour companies in December. Several major private tour companies have recently suspended operations but this was in advance of the new US restrictions.
  7. We were there late October/early November. We spent four days with a private guide and he discussed the government plans to take control of private tour companies in December. Now it appears most have been shut down. How very, very, very sad. The government controls wages and jobs pay $30-40 per month, regardless of skill and education level. We learned physicians, engineers, educators were quitting their jobs and becoming tour guides. Not surprised to learn the Cuban government has stymied the entrepreneurial spirit. I’m so sad for the Cuban people. I am hoping US officials find a way to grandfather in Americans visiting Cuba via foreign flagged cruise ships.
  8. Why not just upgrade to a premium cruise line? The perdiem will be more than $50 but better food, free specialties and more included amenities are worth it. No way would I pay a premium for HAL food. Not good enough.
  9. A few years ago we were on Nautica in Northern Europe. Terrace grill was decorated in USA regalia at lunch, traditional foods and themed desserts were served. I don’t remember anything else but it was a port intensive itinerary and we were exhausted.
  10. Crystal has some permits. Princess and Holland America historically have controlled the bulk of GB permits. However, there is a major Alaskan environmental scandal involving Carnival corporation brands illegally dumping garbage, sewage in protected waters. Maintenance records were falsified and other environmental regs were broken. These violations have been in the courts for a while and recently additional environmental crimes were committed. Hopefully, severe punishments will be doled out. The court has already threatened imprisonments, massive fines and loss of docking privileges at US ports. Some think GB permits will be pulled. Not sure if I can post the link but there is a lot of info on the site specializing in cruise law news.
  11. Private guides and the ship experts advise taking euro to exchange to avoid a 13 percent penalty assessed on American dollars. We took euro but were still assessed the penalty at the exchange shack. It is hit and miss. Credit cards could be rejected. I wouldn’t chance it.
  12. Alaska is the crown jewel of cruising. Combined with land tours this is the very best travel experience. And we have been all over the world. Sorry but Canadian ports and regions will not have the same appeal. Courts will consider the economic impact in Alaska and they will not ban carnival brands from these ports. But they need to impose massive fines and glacier bay permits need to be pulled. Incarcerations should be on the table. Alaskan waters are sacred to us. So many trips there. We were planning to take the extended family there as soon as the babies get a little older. This story has upset me to no end. The more I read .......
  13. Totally agree plus massive fines and revocation of future Glacier Bay permits. I doubt any docking penalties will be imposed this season. I am not a stockholder. Totally disgusted with Carnival corporation. They grandfathered lots of docking and sailing permits but they have disrespected our pristine 49th state.
  14. We did a land tour to facilitate the Tatoo. It is a marvelous event. Our land tour company toured us early in the day then ran shuttles back to the hotel. Evening transportation was offered to the event and most everyone had a bite to eat nearby. Plenty of eateries in the area. I would advise touring in the morning then resting up on the ship for the late show. Don’t plan on a twelve hour day in the city, your feet will fall off on the concrete jungle. Enjoy.
  15. No one asked or cared at Oceania, airport, cruise terminal, ports of call. I have no idea what the situation is now. I had no regrets or problems with the YF innoculation other than it was expensive We took the shot as we had future exotic travel planned. Since then we learned TPTB decided one dose a lifetime is adequate. A big myth is a need to take malaria meds for an amazon cruise. We only met a couple people taking these. Travel clinics show broad malaria maps that are not specific to tourist areas. Tourists do not get anywhere close to malaria areas.
  16. Definitely discuss with your PCP. Travel clinics will administer. The only pain was to the wallet. We did the Amazon five years ago on another cruise line and no one asked or cared about yellow fever inoculations. Onboard experts repeatedly said tourists do not get anywhere near the interior jungle areas. A handful of scientists are allowed in. The important document is the Brazilian visa. The process wasn’t all that bad and has been simplified since we went.
  17. Viking ocean has a chef table specialty restaurant. Included, No upcharge and served with wine pairings. Menu changes every couple nights. We carefully chose a dinner and thought it was exceptionally well done. Some people don’t care for it if they do a random booking without considering the menu.
  18. Not Copper but HAL Cuban itineraries are poor. Definitely look around for more ports and overnights so you can take in the evening cultural shows.
  19. Ok, I have not read this thread word for word but several posters have documented passengers were notified of the change 30 days in advance if the port date. What is wrong with that? I’m not a cheerleader but I don’t see any HAL conspiracy or communication fail. They have no idea and do not care when individuals are departing home on a multi leg trip prior to boarding a cruise. i spent years working in corporate America in a professional capacity. Decisions would be made but almost always there would be a time lag before partners, customers were notified. Sometimes changes took effect immediately upon the announcement and I was very sympathetic of the impact on serious health matters. For the record, I have sailed eight cruise lines and I’m fairly sure port changes occurred on most or all of them. Notification times varied, a couple times the ship literally turned around as we were going into port. Once a port cancelled for a civil war, then it was added back on when civil unrest lessened. We’ve had ports cancelled for civil unrest, terminals under repair, port problems, weather, too much glacial ice, medical emergencies. And there were cancelations for which there was no explanation. We pretty much rolled with the punches although we were deeply disappointed a couple times. Such is life.
  20. Hotels and cruise ships are removing tubs when they refurbish and new ones are shower equipped. This is also a design trend in homes. Tubs are red flags for safety.
  21. We were on it four years ago. I doubt much has changed. Thought food and service were standard for the fleet. The physical plant, especially our cabin,was a little rough. Odd layout to the ship. Loyalists think it is perfect. We didn’t hate it but didn’t get the love. I’ve read Neptune suites are nice. To each his own.
  22. OK, production shows are not the reason we sail. But as the list of cutbacks grows, I hope no one pays over $399 a week to sail on Holland America. I would rather stay home. I can go daily to Applebee’s or Bob Evans for a middlin meal, comparable to the meals I had on my last Holland America cruise.
  23. Agree with Paulchill and the very smart Big Bang Theory Cast- do the math. We like DIY and private tours and find a daily ship excursion to be tedious. So we’ve never done unlimited. We’ve done O life with excursions and were satisfied. But we carefully researched and cherry picked excursions of value. And you must reserve the tours by a deadline prior to the cruise.
  24. See if your credit card will refund for a medical cancelation. High end credit cards have generous insurance built into the yearly fee. Dont hold your breath with Holland America.
  25. Absolutely not. Find another cruise ship or cruise line. Veendam should have been mothballed years ago. No way would I sail it.
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