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About vicd1969

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    DC Suburbs - MD

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  1. Hope you are aware that if Whittier has far fewer accommodations than Seward if you plan on spending a few days there before your cruise. But it is closer to Anchorage, and you could always stay in Alyeska. 26 Glacier tour is more scenic than Kenai Fjiord tour, though usually fewer marine mammal sightings. You will still see a lot of sea otters, however.
  2. HAL's typically smaller ship size actually will help it get underway better than the other mainstream lines with their 4000+ passenger ships. I would imagine it'll be hard in the near future to fill in the Oasis-class ships to break-even passenger levels.
  3. Hoping it works out for you, but I'm a bit on the pessimistic side - my prediction is they'll allow you to change your flight for free, but actual ticket prices to the new port probably will be higher than your current pricing level.
  4. Your DH had a very nice idea. I have some leftover Philippine pesos from a recent trip, they can be put to good use for the drink servers on my next HAL cruise (yes, I am aware of the exchange rate and which crew are from the Philippines, and will tip accordingly).
  5. The culinary sailings are listed here, you'll have to click on the "+" sign for each chef in the lower half of the page https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/specialty-cruises/food-and-beverage-aficionado.html
  6. We were able to leave our luggage with the doorman of the Pan Pacific hotel, which is at Canada Place. I think it was about $5 CDN per bag. Cheaper and smaller line than the baggage deposit right in the cruise terminal.
  7. They have more activities staff, hosting more events. They have full shows in the main theater with live music and the production costs associated with them. Events such as the silent disco require equipment, just not labor. Also contests/game shows where ship officers are involved. Other cruisers can elaborate, this is just a quick list.
  8. Your balanced review serves as a good indication of why HAL's prices on 7-day Caribbean itineraries are lower than Princess and Celebrity. HAL isn't as competitive in this sector, since it can't really take advantage of superior itineraries and doesn't offer the breadth or depth of shipboard activities as the other cruise lines. HAL also doesn't work well for most passengers who are on a later hour schedule. This is not a problem when you are exhausted after or have to get up early for a long shore excursion in a fascinating port, but that's not usually the case for most Caribbean destinations.
  9. Both HAL and Princess are the go-to cruise lines for Alaska. HAL will have better food, and depending on which Princess ship, better viewing areas. Service should be slightly better as well. Princess has a slightly better northbound/southbound itinerary since they usually visit 2 glaciers vs 1 glacier stop. The Princess ships usually have 2 pools available for kids, which my nephew enjoyed greatly. The Puppies on the Plaza I think is held during the Skagway stop, so you may not be on the ship when it happens. No great loss for us, since we stopped by a sled dog center in the Yukon during our shore excursion and pretty much had 30 minutes+ of quality time without having to wait in line or deal with crowds. Your week at Denali will be more than ample time to experience the "real" Alaska as well.
  10. Thank you Kazu and Crew News/Roger for your advice. Ironically, we used your website’s posted menu to guide us and the vegetarian Tamarind dishes really appealed to some of us. We don’t need to sit together in one or two tables, so will try to head for Deck 2 as soon as we board.
  11. I'm booked on a Nieuw Statendam cruise this June, and considering eating in the Tamarind for the first night of the cruise, using some of the OBC included in our cruise package. Since our group is up to 14 people, was wondering when would be the best time to make the reservation for our large group. Are we required to make the reservation upon embarkation, or can we book ahead? We've booked through an online travel agency, so not sure the agent can help with this reservation.
  12. Yup, Celebrity wins hands down in the entertainment and shipboard activities compared to HAL. Even the trivia prizes can be far better than what HAL offers. Food comparisons depend on what your preferences are. That said, HAL usually has more interesting itineraries outside the Caribbean and cheaper international airfare through Flight Ease. If you are leaving from a US port, chances are Celebrity would offer better value, even it's more expensive on an absolute basis. If you are cruising for an overseas experience, HAL usually is more competitive in value.
  13. Have you sailed on other cruise lines recently or haven't taken a cruise in a while? That would help frame how to describe the changes to HAL since the entire cruise industry has seen a bit of changes since 2000.
  14. I had the couple pass discount once, but it was not as good as a "two-for-one" deal. Still some significant savings since it was a 12-day cruise. One positive is that the "couple pass" does not have to be with two passengers in the same cabin. If you can find someone else in your travel group / roll call willing to split the cost, you can be eligible.
  15. Based on your thorough yet concise survey of the 6 cruise ships, your former students were very lucky to have you as a teacher.
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