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About StartrainDD

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    Travel, retirement, exploring
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America / Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Earth (at least until we can cruise elsewhere!)

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  1. Glad this worked for you. While we don't often take ship's excursions we have booked them in advance using OBC with both Azamara and Celebrity. Absolutely seamless as Caribbean Chris reports above. We also booked two Celebrity tours that we would NOT have booked through the ship except for the ability to book in advance using OBC. Making it easy and painless is a great way to boost revenue!
  2. We have been planning six+ weeks on the Noordam next year March-May (B2B2B) from Yokohama eventually sailing back to Vancouver. The way Japan is treating the passengers on Princess (half of whom are Japanese, I read) is appalling. There are other places to travel. Haven't booked this trip yet and am much less likely to do so. While some say the virus will have run it's course by summer - the Olympics are to be based in Tokyo this year. If Japan can't treat 3,000 cruises with empathy, how are they going to handle the Olympics? Speculation on the Westy? I would guess HAL will move it to the West Coast prior to it's scheduled Alaska season. We are booked on Westy for Antarctica over the holidays. May be some really low priced west coast / Mexico cruises coming soon.
  3. Thank you all for the good wishes! We are excited and it is a relief in many ways. Looking forward to not having the alarm clock go off at 5:10 every weekday morning! Lois, so happy everything is working out for you! All those still planning - hang in there and save as much as you can while still working. Measure your savings in "Cruises!"
  4. Today is the day I did it. Sent my retirement notice in, I did. June 3 will be my last at the office. 54 days to boarding the Rotterdam in FLL which will take us TO Rotterdam, so we can then "Tiptoe through the tulips." My retirement date is June 3. So that would be 112 days from today. How many working days? 59 not including today.
  5. In 2019, HAL ran a "Free beverage package" (and Pinnacle dinner) promo that took place in April. I know as we booked Antarctica for 2020 Christmas at that time. You have plenty of time and I would think some kind of offer will come along with the beverage package. Just booked Bermuda and the east coast on "X" for June, 2020 with "All four perks" on a recent Celebrity promo, but for far in advance bookings "X" is typically a lot higher than HAL.
  6. I always wanted to sail Veendam to Bermuda but we never made it. Living in PA, it is just so much easier to sail from Cape Liberty on Celebrity, done that twice. But even Celebrity has been cutting back it's Bermuda sailings. Not many 7 day ones any more, now often alternating with New England/Canada sailings. We are booked on the Summit in June. 10 day cruise including Newport, Charleston (2 days) and Bermuda (3 days, but first day is late arrival). Of course, the Summit is too large to dock in Hamilton so it's stuck out at the dockyards.
  7. GO! We ended up doing a B2B on Azamara last Nov-Dec and absolutely LOVED it. If you've sailed Prinsendam and enjoyed her, you will LOVE Azamara. Ships just a little smaller than our beloved Prinsendam. We found outstanding public spaces and a crew every bit as engaging as HAL. Officers were always out and about interacting with guests. The 'all-inclusiveness' was much appreciated, and what was shocking to us was how good the entertainment was. Azamara is normally a bit above our budget. Love HAL, and will be on Rotterdam in April. That said, I will be watching Azamara offerings as we'd love to return for the right itinerary and price. Hope this helps!
  8. Thank you. Yes, this would be a potential solution. The challenge is the "Cash price" in the US is around $6,000/dose and it needs to stay refrigerated and has a shelf life. In other countries outside of North America (developed countries) we have been told the price is a small percentage of the US price.
  9. They are not disembarking in Hawaii but continuing on to Sydney, so no Jones Act concerns. Alaska-Hawaii would be problem if the cruise begins in Seattle or Alaska and ended in Hawaii. If the cruise began in Vancouver that would not be a violation either. Can be very confusing for sure!
  10. I've searched and not found a thread on this. I will be retiring soon and would love to plan longer trips. Our issue is DW has a medical condition that requires a "Monthly" (every 4 - 5 weeks) medical infusion by I.V. This is normally done at her Rheumatolgist's office. I know we could plan back-to-back cruises from Florida or the West Coast and have this done between cruises in the USA, and her Medicare and Medigap policy would cover it, but what about planning longer trips outside the country? Obviously we would need to pick up the cost ourselves, but medical costs are generally less in most areas compared to the US. I would genuinely LOVE to plan a "World cruise." Giving up a port day in a place like Sydney, Buenos Aries, Tokyo, or Athens (as examples) would be a small price to pay for the ability to do this kind of trip. If anyone has experience with this type of thing, I would greatly love some good advice! Thank you in advance!
  11. Hello all! I was not aware of this forum. The "55+ cruisers" is the featured forum today so that led me here. I haven't counted the days, but I do count the days until the next cruise. So I will figure it out now... 62 days to boarding the Rotterdam in FLL which will take us TO Rotterdam, so we can then "Tiptoe through the tulips." My current retirement date is June 3. So that would be 120 days from today. How many working days? 65 not including today. Depending on what the company offers, I may continue in a (very) part time consulting role for a period of time. Current travel plans for 2020: Rotterdam cruise 4-6 (16 days followed by 4 days on land in the Netherlands). Celebrity Summit (10 days) 6-6 (retirement celebration and a little delayed 38th anniversary). Caribbean Princess to Greenland 8-17 (16 days) Something in Oct-Nov (perhaps Pacific coastal followed by Panama Canal 10-24 on Volendam - or fall trans-Atlantic or???) Antarctica on Westerdam 12-19 (22 days) preceded by land trip to Iguazu Falls. Good cruise planning to all!
  12. You can still buy a $50 "Soda card" for $25 before the cruise. It's not the easiest thing to find, in your "Cruise personalizer" but look under beverage cards. I get one for every cruise. Some ships will limit use to 'fountain soda' (which I actually prefer) but the last few cruises they would do the cans as well. This brings the cost down to just a little over $1 per glass. If you REALLY like your sodas, you can order multiple cards!
  13. If one is cruising for entertainment Celebrity would be a better choice next winter from Tampa. I love HAL, and would have no issues whatsoever sailing Veendam (especially if Barry from Boston was the piano bar entertainer). Chances are that Veendam will have a lower per diem cost than Celebrity. After our last sailing from Tampa (Rotterdam 2018) I'm not sure we would rush to sail from there again. The port gets closed due to 'fog.' I sure do like the Tampa airport and the port is more than close enough. "Fog" seems to happen quite often especially in Dec - Jan. Something to consider.
  14. Really enjoyed reading the comparison. Thank you and congrats on your retirement plan! The frequent quest perk we enjoy most on Hal is surely the free laundry (4 star) and 50% off the wine packages. The frequent quest perk we enjoy most on Celebrity is surely the Elite happy hour. We haven't cruised other lines enough to earn any perks. Keep on traveling!
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