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  1. Yes this is surprisingly sad for us. We have never done a world cruise but have enjoyed many extended, and short cruises on the Amsterdam. Our first such Amsterdam adventure was the 2008 Grand Asia (booked in the afterglow of our 2007 Grand Antarctica cruise on the Prinsendam). To be sure that we would be happy in our chosen cabin for 65 days we booked a seven day Alaska cruise in May that year while there was still time to make a change if necessary! There were Caribbean cruises, the Panama Canal, more Alaska, the Tales of the South Pacific in 2015 and our infamous choice in 2014 to use the Grand Asia cruise as our “Slow Boat to China” (Seattle to Shanghai) to meet a three week ground/riverboat tour of China. Watching the Prinsendam leave the fleet was difficult because of the spectacular experiences we had aboard her, now we watch the Amsterdam leave during this inexplicable topsy turvy version of the world as we know it. When we retired our new vocation became travel, mostly through cruising (in my mind the most comfortable way there is to tour). Recent events make it clear that we will have to find a new retirement vocation (at least for the next couple of years). Our hope is if and when the world finally rights itself that there is still some cruising going on out there - and that the venue is still a recognizable cruise experience. Stay healthy everyone. I still come to this forum every day to read the posts. I really enjoy the virtual company of our fellow travelers. The Amsterdam may be leaving the fleet but nothing will take away the 3D technicolor memories of hundreds of days at sea.
  2. The President of Seabourn is also retiring. Do they have golden parachutes that they are afraid will not cash in if they stay around?
  3. We have many, many days on HAL but have now been an a few Seabourn Cruises (including Antarctica in Jan 2019) ... our HAL loyalty is shifting but we are having to settle for fewer cruises due to cost. We are not not big drinkers - at most one a day - but for us that is not the only perk that creates value for the dollars spent for us on Seabourn (in addition to the delightfully small ship size, the over the top service, no tipping, everything included) - I am lactose intolerant. On HAL I have to order meals the night before and do not always get good choices. On Seabourn they cook to order and the chefs are creative so I can decide what I will eat when I am hungry for my meal and I am always well fed. To me that is a big perk. I understand why HAL does it the way that they do - not only because of cost but because of the much larger numbers of passengers on board. I will always have a warm spot in my heart for HAL and the many wonderful days we have had on board with them - but we do miss many of the things they have scaled back in the past few years and we also miss the smaller ships. We still, however, will occasionally grab a ride with HAL.
  4. Wondering if the lights, in your checked suitcase, might show up as electronic and suspicious when they are x- rayed by the TSA.
  5. We had a cruise critic meeting in Antarctica on the Quest this winter. Champaign and sophisticated nibbles were served. A nice gathering. It was requested by a member of our roll call and arranged in advance.
  6. Did it twice. First time in 2007 and it really was a serious Drake shake. But Antarctica was so special we did it again last January and had the Drake lake. Both cruises were spectacular - more than worth the time and tariff.
  7. Yes they are but read the fine print on the packets. There were two types available on the Ovation last week (one at Seabourn Square, the other in the restaurants) - the ingredients on one of them read like a chemistry experiment, the other packet ingredients sounded edible.
  8. The only water bottles that we were aware of delivered to the suites were the new contentious ones. We, too, are upset about the use of too much plastic but we also wish to have clean, safe water to drink in our suite. There must be a way.
  9. You can ask the stewardess to replace the bottles each day. We did - and we checked on it each day as the fresh bottle arrives cold and stay cold for a while. People do drink directly from the bottles. We saw that both on board and in port. They are sanitized somehow - just wish I knew how. Also worried about the plastic scratching and cracking over time - if that happens bacteria can hide. How much heat can the plastic tolerate? Enough to be properly sanitized? There are studies of plastic cutting boards that have shown that they can harbor quite a bit of bacteria in cracks and scratches - wooden cutting boards sanitize much better as the wood shrinks when it dries and kills the bacteria that was not washed off. Our cabin stewardess referred to a chemical that they use to sanitize leaving water type spots on the bottles and “not to worry about them” - if they are using chemicals I would want to know what they are using and if there could be an issue with chemical residue. I put my concerns on my on line comment sheet this morning. I hope that we all hear from Seabourn soon on this issue.
  10. We have over 500 real sea days on HAL - we have taken two Seabourn Cruises this year (Antarctica in January and just got off after 14 days on Ovation yesterday) and we are sold on Seabourn. We miss the HAL that used to be and is no more. Seabourn, for us, is a great alternative though we, admittedly, will cruise a little less due to the tariff.
  11. The decision re: Times Digest on board is not Carnival fleetwide - at least not yet. Just got off the Seabourn Ovation and DH and I enjoyed the Times Digest and, of course, the NYT crossword daily. To not have that particular crossword would definitely affect a decision to continue to cruise HAL, especially on sea days. On board Seabourn we had a choice of papers, the USA paper being one of them as well as the Times Digest. Some folks may not like one paper or another but they should not have the right to make decisions for others. Choice is a good thing.
  12. Closing the cabinet doors did not turn the lights off. Small slivers of light peeked out in our suite overnight. I remember it being the same way on the Quest in January and wondering why the lights did not go off. The water did not taste of chemicals, nor did it taste musty like the tap water tasted. But it was oddly flat and almost sweet.
  13. Just left the Ovation this morning. I am not happy about the new water system. The same bottles that are laid out in the room are offered to guests as they go ashore with the assumption that the guest will return the bottles when they return. They are large and awkward to carry ashore. We just purchased water ashore when we got thirsty. People do drink directly from these bottles The bottles are plastic. How can we be sure they are adequately sterilized? They cannot be heat sterilized like glass? In the suites the bottles are placed in the cabinet with the light on that never goes off. The light makes it warm in that cabinet - since the bottles are not sealed who knows what can grow in the water in that environment. Our cabin stewardess said that the bottles are cleaned each day and that the smudgy looking spots on the outside of the bottle come from the sanitizer that they use when they clean the bottles. ... Say what? In retrospect I should have asked to talk to the environmental officer or whoever is in charge of this system to get some more direct answers. Our cabin stewardess admitted that it is probably not good to drink water that has been out for a couple of days. The first few days on board I was scared of the bottles. I drank water from the bathroom tap - it tasted terrible. Then I started drinking copious quantities in the restaurants where the water is served up from a carafe that no one drinks directly from ... that, too, became inconvenient. By the end of the cruise I was using the bottles in my cabin when I needed water - the taste is almost sweet and very flat. We arranged with our stewardess to get two fresh bottles a day and to have her remove the bottles from the day before with any leftover water that was in them. After the room was cleaned each day I could verify that the bottles were fresh because they were cold. I am very concerned about plastic in our environment - but I am also concerned about disease transmission through plastic that is not sterilized, or through water that is not sterile and sealed that sits at tepid temperatures. This water may work well in restaurants, but in restaurants folks don’t drink directly from the water carafe. On board they do. We saw it. Are they using a sanitizer on these bottles? What is it and does it leave a residue that dissolves in the water?
  14. I am American - I enjoy and prefer Fever Tree tonic and have for some years - we have several restaurants here that serve it. I would be anxious to experience craft gins (not particularly available on this side of the pond). We will be in Dublin for some days this month - might craft gins be easily available in pubs there?
  15. Odd about the tonic. In January we had Fever Tree tonic in our cabin minibar.
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