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About Storylady

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    Orange County, CA
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    Reading, Travel, Photography
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  1. There are five listed. The first Life and Times of the Prinsendam 2 gave the history of Royal Viking Sun, Cunard Sun and Seaborne Sun. And also where the name of Prinsendam came from. Our next talk today is about her life as the Prinsendam. He is also doing: Advent of Cruising, 145 Years of Holland America and the Heyday of Ocean Liners.
  2. It seems to me that we have moved away from the topic about the “No more Travel Guides on HAL” to everything that is wrong with HAL. I naively thought that by making everyone aware that this change is going to happen that Cruise Critic members would voice there dismay and let Holland America that this one change that shouldn’t happen. And to to those who think it is just a rumor, it is not! Another staff member not connected with the EXC program also confirmed it is happening. Cruise Critic sometimes is able to reverse a change. But the way to do it is not to complain about everything that is wrong with HAL. So please post about the topic I originally posted.
  3. Brett knows KK who was until recently a travel guide/EXC Guide. Now she is the Cruise Director. One of her jobs is to give country information as opposed to port information. Hopefully they will keep the EXC Guides on the Grand Voyages.
  4. A friend on the Amsterdam confirmed that HAL is definitely going to do away with the EXC Guides. He did said that they may keep them on the Grand Voyages. Guess they want us to try other cruise lines.
  5. We just boarded the Prinsendam in Dover on May 6th. That night we attended the “Port Talk” in the showroom given by one of the best travel guides we have had on HAL ships, Brett. It was a full house despite people just boarding. Since the Prinsendam is being sold, I asked Brett which ship he would be assigned to next. And he told me that HAL will soon no longer have travel guides doing port talks. There is a general country talk given by the EXC Guide on the Maasdam given by the Cruise Director who lucky for those sailing on her happens to have been a travel guide. And there might be a similar program on the World Cruise. But the rest of the HAL ships are out of luck. I am saddened by this change. The port talks are the ONE program I make a point to go to. I plan to say something on the survey and also write a letter to President Orlando not that it will make HAL change their mind. Talk about dumbing down a cruise line, this really puts HAL in the Carnvial mass market category.
  6. I heard the same from Bart last year. I think they are feeling the competition from Viking. At that time, they were investigating getting one of Viking’s builds since they booked so far out. Not sure Viking will sell for a price that HAL wants to pay. Although the Seaborne ship would be nice, it doesn’t have the Promenade Deck and they don’t do as well as the Prinsendam in stormy seas according to Captain Albert who is sailing on one now. Will be interesting to see what developers.
  7. I would chose the Veendam as it goes to the Lofoten Islands which doesn’t often appear on most Norwegian itineraries. Also, it visited Alesund which is the one of the most beautiful cities. But then it misses Geiranger and Sognefjord (Flam) which are two of the most beautiful fjords. Definitely a tough choice. Both itineraries are excellent. Veendam does have an advantage being a small ship. Much easier to disembark and board.
  8. Looking forward to seeing you and Roy tonight. We are just relaxing around the hotel down the street from you and hope to see you around the time you arrive at the Boatyard. We had planned to do a primary walk to find the restaurant, but the relaxing atmosphere right on the water and a good mystery destroyed those good intentions. So glad you and Roy are documenting our cruise. Will look forward to reading and maybe even chiming in when we have something to say. Glad you both made it and weren’t stranded at an airport. We remember that crew and passengers were late in arriving in 2014. Consequently, the Prinsendam didn’t leave until close to midnight. Hope that doesn’t happen again.
  9. Great start to your live blog of the Grand SA Cruise on the Prinsendam. Looking forward to sailing with you again. We arrived early in Ft Lauderdale. We have had too many delayed flights especially this time of the year. Plus, we like to acclimatize to the time change. We hope to see you at the Boatyard on the 3rd. Hope your flight isn’t delayed.
  10. Personlly, I would make sure you had a visa if your cruise ship goes to China. You risk being put ashore. That is what happened recently to an American. The Chinese government wouldn’t even allow them to stay on the ship. I wouldn’t trust the 144 transit. https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/travellers-stories/embarrassed-couples-booking-mistake-a-lesson-for-us-all/news-story/0b7cf31e6969813f9c1a45ea3bcd8a79 As for being fingerprinted. There are quite a few countries that require fingerprints. China is not the only one. Get your visa and enjoy your cruise.
  11. Since I don’t know how to post pictures on CC, as I was typing up this itinerary as the best one for the next year, you had already decided it was the one to do. I have a friend who has booked this one plus the Taiwan and Japan cruise. I have looked at Japan itineraries for years and this is the best one I have seen. You have cruised as much as I have in Europe. With the Prinsendam’s last cruises sold out or almost sold out, there are not as many unique European cruises. So now is the time to do Asia or EXC in-depth cruises on the Maasdam. I would be be on this cruise if I wasn’t already booked on the Prinsendam’s last cruises. Plus, if you are looking to save money, book a J or K on the Main Deck. Those staterooms are huge. Be sure it is an inside J or K. Except for closet space, the room is larger than a veranda. Happy cruising.
  12. Just make sure you have a Chinese visa if you are visiting Shanghai or Beijing. A couple was removed from the Westerdam as they didn’t know they needed a Chinese Visa. A good travel agent will know the facts. Basically, from my travels, only three visas definitely need to be purchased before a cruise: Brazil, China and India. Although, I would probably add Venezuela to the list. HAL cancelled our port call due lack of clarity as to whether a visa was needed. We did an overland to Cambodia from Vietnam this year on the World Cruise. Once onboard, we had a choice of two visas for Vietnam. The more expensive was for those doing an overland. As for the Cambodia visa, we received it on arrival at the Siem Reap Airport. On previous visits to Cambodia, we purchased it onboard. There use to be a page listing the countries that you could purchase visas onboard, but it seems to have disappeared among all the website upgrade mess!
  13. Visa is definitely needed for China. A couple traveling to Asia recently somehow slipped through HAL’s checking of their needed travel documents. When they reached South Korea, they were told to leave the Westerdam since they didn’t have a visa. HAL tried to persuade the Chinese to let them stay onboard, but China refused. HAL refunded them their HAL return flight, but they had the added expense of hotel and flying home. See article below. https://www.travelpulse.com/news/cruise/elderly-couple-kicked-off-cruise-ship-for-lack-of-necessary-visas.html So get your 10 year visa as you might need it again. The visa is good for the 10 years even if your passport has expired. You do have to carry both the old and new passports with you. And info should not have changed.
  14. We were told on our last cruise that Toro Del Pietra will no longer be offered with he new package. It was one of our favorites. They were always running out.
  15. Forgot to add this link on Flam. Useful to those wanting to do some hiking. https://www.visitflam.com/globalassets/dokumenter/walking-in-flam-and-flamsdalen-valley_map-and-routes_norwegian-a.pdf
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