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About USN59-79

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Western WA, USA
  • Interests
    Old car restoration and cruising.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Princess
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. We visited Antarctica late December, 2003 on the Amsterdam. On December 27 we saw Palmer Station and Anvers Island; December 28 Deception Island, and December 29 we cruised by Elephant, Paulet, and Deception Islands. My map of Antarctica shows that these are about 62 and 63 degrees South Longitude. It was a wonderful experience. At times we were pushing through the ice. We had an ice pilot on board to assist. There were shipboard presentations on Shackleton's explorations and I don't remember if we were given or bought an excellent book with photos of his expedition. We saw icebergs much larger than the ship in various shades of blue and green. The sun went down about 2 AM and came back up about 20 minutes later. Saw seals and penguins floating by on chunks of ice and a penguin colony on one of the islands. Elephant Island was interesting as it was just stone and ice, but was where the Shackleton crew were marooned until they were rescued a few months later. All in all, it was probably the best cruise we ever took and we were fortunate to have blue skies and calm seas the whole time. I always felt that after that trip, we never had to see Alaska again. However, 60 degrees wouldn't do it, but two more degrees South would make all the difference.
  2. Hate to mention it, but America's Test Kitchen is one of those concepts that HAL invested a lot of time and money into, then cheapened to the point that it was meaningless. First, they rebuilt the Wajang theater into a kitchen where about four groups of four could learn to prepare recipes with an excellent instructor. We prepared and cooked the recipes, but for safety reasons we were not allowed to eat them. For that part we adjoined to the Pinnacle Grill, where the same recipes were prepared by the chef and served to us there, with wine. The instructor told interesting stories about her experience cooking special meals for Hollywood stars. Six months ago we attended America's Test Kitchen on the Westerdam. It was a mostly video demonstration of cooking, something anyone could watch on their TV at home. No audience participation. I was disappointed.
  3. I noticed it, but it wasn't blatant as they are certainly not negative persons. We have taken a lot of long cruises on the Amsterdam since 2002 including 3 Grand Asia voyages, two half WCs and a wonderful Antarctica cruise. After our last half WC in 2017, my DW said "No more Amsterdam cruises, please."
  4. Concerning the Amsterdam "rusting inside out". We were on the first half of the 2017 World Cruise in an outside cabin. We noticed our carpet was wet and water was entering where the bulkhead and deck met under a bed. It wasn't fixable and they had to move us to another cabin. I was told that the cause was a drain pipe, probably from the balcony above our cabin, had rusted out and that was where the water was from. Later when we were in Korea and China we lost heating in the new cabin and were extremely cold the last week we were on the ship. I noticed that she was overhauled the next year, so hopefully these problems were fixed.
  5. After looking at how and why gross tonnage is calculated, I have concluded that is almost meaningless in measuring how crowded a cruise ship might be. It is actually a measure of how much cargo space is available in a cargo ship and people areas, like the crew messing and berthing areas are not counted. I don't think the term was intended to be used to describe whether or not the public areas on a cruise ship would be crowded at full passenger capacity. I think the size of a similar cabin, such as a standard outside cabin is more meaningful. We have spent more than 100 days in the same inside cabin on Amsterdam and were very comfortable, because it was large enough to have a love seat and coffee table to sit at for breakfast. We have been on newer Princess ships in a balcony cabin with no furniture other than a single desk chair in the cabin so you had to sit on the bed to eat breakfast there. The recent trend to remove libraries has not helped either.
  6. I appreciate the link to that CLIA chart. I printed a copy for my future cruise reference stuff. One question: There are two columns; Capacity PSR and Lower Berth PSR. For example, the Amsterdam lists Capacity PSR as 45.4 and Lower Berth PSR as 37.9. Is this referring to some areas that only suite passengers can access?
  7. I was on that sailing and received a full refund on 10 February while still on the ship. I also received a FCC for the full cruise fare and later full reimbursement for my expenses while waiting in Cambodia for a flight home. HAL also provided us a business class flight from Cambodia home to Seattle.
  8. USN59-79


    We received FCC for three cruises in February and March that were cancelled by HAL. It appears on my online profile, but what is disappointing is that it must be used (both book and sail) by 7 February 2021 for two and 12 March 2021 for the third. I can see us booking by then, but doubt we will sail by then. Not sure if we are the only ones being pressured like this or this is their standard way of offering FCC.
  9. What is a little confusing is how you get to the page to click on "My Profile". After logging on, you then have to look at the top of the page where it says Hi Jim. If Jim is your first name click on Jim and the page with "My Profile" will then come up. That may be obvious to most people, but it wasn't to me.
  10. We have taken many 30 to 70 day cruises and found that preparation before you leave is important. Not sure if it is a local thing, but our local post office will hold our mail for that length of time even tho the yellow form you fill out says 30 days max. We put all or our house plants in a cool area downstairs and water them well and they have been fine. We let our neighbor know we will be gone and he will pick up any flyers or free newspapers that are dropped on our driveway so it isn't obvious from the street that we are gone. Depending on the season we may also have our lawn mowed. I seldom buy the ship's wifi, but check my email in most ports with their free wifi. We have free laundry, so just take enough underwear for a week and shirts and trousers for two. Bring enough prescription drugs and a large tube of toothpaste. And an extra suitcase for the DW's extra shoes and dresses.
  11. To answer the question posted: Since I log on to the HAL section of CC daily, it shows that yes, I do want to cruise again.
  12. We were also on the Amsterdam for the first half of the 2017 WC, Fort Lauderdale to Hong Kong. Early in the voyage a pipe broke in the bulkhead in our cabin, flooding the floor. We were moved to another outside cabin a deck lower. When we were in Korea and Beijing it was extremely cold weather and we lost heat in our cabin. Best they could do was about 40 degrees when it was about 20 degrees outside. The cabin was on the same deck and not far from where passengers came on and off the ship, so when in port the cold weather came right in that area of the ship. When we got off in Hong Kong my DW said "Never again will we book the Amsterdam". This is a ship that we had cruised on for more than 300 days since 2002. Incidentally, the cruise previous to this was the 2014 WC which we booked the half from Hong Kong to Fort Lauderdale. We were bitten every night by some type of insect and after four days of trying to get rid of them they had to move us to another cabin.
  13. To clarify my posting, the book by and sail by dates are those listed in my Mariner's account. I should also note that this wasn't an either/or FCC. They refunded what we paid for the cruises and added 100% FCC to the first and 50% FCC for the next two. So if I don't get to use the FCC, it is not a tragedy.
  14. I have received three FCCs for three cruises in February and March. The problem is that the new cruises must be booked and sail by February 7, 2021 for the first two and March 12, 2021 for the third. I kind of doubt that we will be sailing that early so their is a good chance that we will not be able to use them.
  15. We booked a back to back to back on the Westerdam in December for 1 February thru 14 March. We were promised 100% FCC for the first one and 50% FCC for the next two, plus full refunds. We got the first two refunds by the end of February. Last week I noticed that I had the FCCs in my Mariner Account. Just today the last cash refund was credited to my credit card account. It was a little less than I was expecting, but I can live with it as they flew us home business class and later I got a refund from the airline, so all in all I am ahead and happy.
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