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Petronillus

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Everything posted by Petronillus

  1. Many thanks! We've booked with the Banks Mansion. It's pricey, but then again, it's likely our only visit to Amsterdam. YOLO -- at least on this side of the grave.
  2. DW & I and two close friends are booked on 2-week the Rotterdam Baltic Sea cruise out of Amsterdam on September 7. DW & I are flying in on the 5th in the hopes of shaking off the effects of jet lag before sailaway. At this point in our lives this is likely the last chance DW & I will take to experience Amsterdam. Having checked other threads on CC, I see strong recommendations for the Park Plaza Victoria and for the Renaissance on Kattegat. They seem to be well situated relative to the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House, which is my primary criterion. But I figure that my friends on CC (and particularly the HAL board) have other gems you'd be willing to share. What do you say? After an overnight flight from Chicago, we'll have about 1.75 days (2 overnights) to take in Amsterdam. What do you think would be our best base of operations until we report for boarding on the 7th? I don't want to say that price is no object, but it's not my number 1 consideration. As always, thanks in advance!
  3. Yes, but that's precisely the reference to the Battle of the Boyne (subjugation of the Irish at the hands of troops loyal to the English king, William of Orange) that continues to stir up sectarian resentments in Ireland, particularly among the Catholics of Northern Ireland. I'm just saying that from a marketing perspective, it's an unfortunate choice on HAL's part.
  4. Just got back from 11 days on the Koningsdam. The Club Orange looked underutilized. We were in a "Vista" suite, thus did not qualify for using it. Sour grapes, perhaps, but I didn't feel that we were missing out on much. I have to wonder about the choice of the name Club "Orange." If I were Irish, I might take it as an ethnic affront.
  5. Gosh, Suzy! I should have known you'd be on top of it! Thanks. It's great to think we'll be out of the grip of an awful Chicago winter in a couple days' time.
  6. What number can we give our family to use for calling HAL in the event of an emergency, i.e., if they need to get word to us while we are on board and underway?
  7. I am grateful for all the guidance. Based on your collective input, I'm inclined to go with SPB Tours. They offer packages that encompass almost all the other ports of call on our cruise. I was particularly struck by the negative reviews I read on TripAdvisor.com. First, that there were so few of them. And secondly, SPB took all of the complaints seriously and, it appears, bent over backwards in each case to make things right. Thanks to you all!
  8. DW & I are booked in the 14-day Baltic cruise in September of this year. We are traveling with another couple, although we are not constrained to book all shore excursions with them; for an attractive enough package we could be a party of four, or DW & I could go off on our own as a party of two. Our itinerary includes two days in St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida!), scheduled to start at 7:00 am on Friday and to end at 6:00 pm on Saturday. The Russian visa, which is both expensive and complicated to obtain, is required but "waived" if a two-day shore excursion is booked through the cruise line or directly with a state-approved tour operator. In other words, Mother Russia discourages tourists from wandering around on their own and encourages them to submit to the watchful eyes of a selected minder. My chief objective in this connection is to spend as much time as I desire in the Hermitage viewing as much of the collection as I desire and at the pace I desire. Sure, we can take a whirlwind tour of other "must see" attractions but I absolutely do not want to be rushed through the Hermitage or to miss parts of the collection that I am keen to see and see at my leisure. Here's where I turn to the vast wisdom and experience of the CC community: does anyone out there in CC-land know about (ideally, have firsthand experience with) a reliable and reputable tour operator who will customize a private tour that will serve my needs?
  9. My apologies to despegue. My post was supposed to read as follows: "You, sir, are a throwback to a bygone age. You are a gentleman. If hats were still fashionable menswear, I would doff mine in your honor." Let the record be corrected.
  10. You, sir, are a throwback to a bygone age. If hats were still in fashion, I would doff mine in your honor.
  11. That's new information to me. We're booked on the Koningsdam next month, and the information I've received says that on that new class of HAL ships electric outlets abound in the cabin and so the extension cords/power strips are not needed. In the past we have brought our own without objection or incident, and I believe it was equipped with a surge protector. And once, our cabin steward brought us one.
  12. That's so good to hear. It's a hassle to pack formalwear, but your comments make it seem worthwhile.
  13. By happy coincidence, we're on the same cruise! I'm already a member of our Roll Call. Am so looking forward to meeting you.
  14. I admit it: I'm a fair-weather friend. That is to say, I follow this board only when I'm anticipating a HAL cruise. So, I just learned, incidentally, that while I was away, "formal nights" were done away with in favor of "gala nights." The significance, I further learned, is that gentlemen are no longer expected wear business suit and tie (and, ideally, a tuxedo or other formal wear) for dining in the MDR, much less for the evening's subsequent on-board activities. If I'm understanding correctly, a collared shirt and chinos meet the new standard. Is there more I should know? Formal nights (i.e., with tuxedo, patent leather shoes, and all) was one of the things that, for me, made HAL special. Now would I be a small conspicuous (maybe even ridiculous?) minority if I showed up on "gala nights" decked out in my finery? If this topic has been thoroughly hashed out in another thread, I'd appreciate it if one of you out there in CCland would point me to the relevant posting.
  15. How very sad. I'm sure, though, there are other decks, other than poolside, where one can stretch out on a deck chair in the open air with a good book.
  16. Congratulations on getting your choice of stateroom. Let me add another recommendation. On our Alaska cruise we booked at the first opportunity our voyage-long access to the Greenhouse Spa's hydro pool and thermal lounges. I found the thermal lounge chairs to die for. On our subsequent Mexican Riviera cruise it didn't add much, and I thereupon decided to hold off on the thermal lounge except for colder-weather itineraries (i.e., Alaska and northern Europe).
  17. At Buick Motor Division we used to refer to the dashboard trim as "taintwood." "Whatever it is it ain't wood." Thanks to all, as ever, for the helpful information. I'm counting down the days. It almost (as if!) makes the prospect of a Chicago winter palatable.
  18. We have booked a midwinter cruise to the Caribbean on board the Koningsdam. One of the features I associate with HAL is the beautiful teak-wood promenade that completely encompasses the promenade deck without interruption. DW and I have walked off many an overindulgence by strolling the promenade deck. The pdf of the Promenade Deck on the Koningsdam appears either (1) to get blocked off in the aft sections of both the port and starboard side or (2) to narrow down to a width that wouldn't accommodate two walking abreast. I trust that some denizen of CCland will be kind and gracious enough to enlighten me. I've also noticed that the Koningsdam's Sports Deck has a running/jogging track. I can't recall ever encountering a runner or jogger on the Promenade Deck. Is that forbidden? Thanks!
  19. Q: Why doesn't Iowa have a professional football team? A: Because then Illinois would want one. [it's a Bears joke.]
  20. DW and I have been on hiatus too long. I'm surprised to have seen no mention on this thread of the Adagio Strings. I always enjoyed hearing them in the Explorers Lounge before the dinner hour. Are they replaced by the Lincoln Center Stage? If the Adagio Strings are no more, I will surely miss them.
  21. Thank you for the information. I have recently booked a Vista suite for the Southern Caribbean this coming winter, so I'm familiar with the Vista category. If Vista is equivalent to the verandah category on other ships, the price disparity is all the more glaring. On the cruise we've booked for next February, we're getting double points toward our Mariners status because Vista Suites are counted as suites. Is that also the case on Rotterdam?
  22. Thank you, AKJonesy and Debbie (dfish)! I appreciate your replies. Does anyone out there know whether Rotterdam has verandah staterooms? I'm wondering if all the verandahs have been booked for this cruise or if the so-called lanai cabins (giving onto the Promenade deck) are supposed to be the functional alternative.
  23. Tale of woe. Our dear friends and we shared a dream of sailing on an itinerary that includes St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida). Because of scheduling problems our dream got deferred to September 2019. It would have been our first cruise on the Prinsendam, and I got over the sticker shock when valiant CCers explained the economics of having a smaller base on which to spread the high non-variable fixed costs. Well, now I learn that as of September 2019 the Prinsendam will have been retired from the HAL fleet, and that the cruise we had had our eye on is now scheduled, with a modified itinerary, for the Rotterdam. Concerns: 1. The cruise fares are still eye-poppingly high. This can't be on account of the fixed-cost analysis that obtained for Pdam, so is this just a question of supply & demand? Should we roll the dice by waiting six months (or so) to see if the prices come down to a more attractive level? 2. This board is full of lamentations about Rotterdam. In the last drydock refurbishment, it is said, the Rotterdam got mutilated, particularly in her aft end. One critic even referred to her as the "Rottendam"! Having never experienced her in her prior, pristine incarnation, how seriously should I take the criticisms? I've also seen references to Rotterdam as (together with Amsterdam) "the co-flagship of the fleet," which makes me think it can't be too shabby! 3. The HAL website does not show any verandah categories of cabin. Instead, we are offered either a "lanai" stateroom or a vista suite. The vista suite offers a verandah (plus, as a suite, double Mariners points!) but the price is beyond our budget (see point #1 above). The lanai stateroom has no verandah but instead opens out onto the Promenade deck. As the philosopher said: huh? Are there no verandah cabins on Rotterdam? or have they all been sold out? I will welcome your thoughts and advice. Should we look elsewhere?
  24. Thanks, FatCat! Wow! It looks like DW & I have hit paydirt! I'm thrilled. The deck plan gives no indication of the wraparound balcony. Plus, in addition to the doorwall leading out to the balcony, there's a window facing forward. Thanks for finding the needle for me. I wasn't even aware of the haystack. It's amazing, isn't it, what you can find online nowadays.
  25. We have just put a deposit on Koningsdam cabin 6001. Its the forwardmost cabin portside on the Mozart deck. Per the deck plan it seems to have a slightly truncated verandah but also appears to be a bit larger than the usual vista suite. And yet I realize that the deck plans are not drawn precisely to scale. We were in a forward cabin on Osterdam awhile back (maybe 3 cabins back) and were perfectly comfortable, so I have no concerns about being so far forward. Can anyone out there in CruiseCritic land opine on cabin 6001 from firsthand experience?
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