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About DeepWaterMariner

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    Houston, TX
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    Cruising, travel, history

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  1. It's a little better organized on the Grand cruises that call in Bali or Java. On the 2019 Grand Asia we were provided with a card where we indicated what service, if any, we wanted during our calls in Benoa and Samarang and to leave the card in our mail slot by the door.
  2. I tell the room steward if there is something that bothers me. The only time I've done anything myself was on port calls to Bali or Java where I've given the room stewards the day off to visit family. All I've done on those days is straighten out the bed.
  3. We did the high speed train to Paris from Amsterdam in 2017. Very easy and no need to change trains. Its a short taxi ride from the pier to Centraal Station. Booked ahead of time, you'll know your train car and seat. Position yourself on the train platform in the location of where your car will be so you can board quickly, while there is still room in the luggage storage area. The biggest issues you'll have are finding the right platform at Centraal Station and the long taxi line at Gare du Nord in Paris. Our only misstep was not booking an earlier train. I wanted to leave plenty of time in case of any problems, but we could have been in Paris earlier.
  4. You can bypass check in lines but you still need to go through security.
  5. My standard answer is always the cruise on which I met my wife. That was on North German Lloyd's Bremen, 7 days from NYC to the Caribbean a half a century ago. There have been many favorites since then including our first cruise after we got married on the old Rotterdam. Now I can name bucket list Grand cruises as favorites, especially the Grand Med, Grand Asia, and Grand World.
  6. I gave up flying international but still fly domestic to get to embarkation ports. The idea is to take long cruises to make the flights worth it. We did a cruise we called our European adventure by cruising over on the Prinsendam, doing some back to back cruise there as well as land and river cruises. The trip home was on the Rotterdam. It was fun planning and one of our best trips. Otherwise its Grand cruises which is one step away from living on a ship.
  7. Like many, the Prinsendam is my favorite old HAL ship but I also have very fond memories of the SS Rotterdam. The Amsterdam is my favorite of those in operation. My relationship with the Amsterdam has to do with Grand cruises and I feel like I'm cruising with family because so many of the crew are old shipmates.
  8. I've done tubbing the ditch in Kauai a couple of times, done a doors off helicopter tour around Oahu, and lots of car rentals to do our own touring from Hilo, Kona, Lahaina, and on Kauai.
  9. Interesting pictures. I sailed on the ship in a pre-Prinsendam design, when she was the Seabourn Sun, and several times in her Holland America design. Sorry to see her go, but this is the fate of aging cruise ships.
  10. We've done cabin swaps a couple of times and it has gone very smoothly each time. Ours have been completed before 9 AM so it was no impediment to going ashore for the day. The only time I've had a change of cabins where the non-hanging stuff was moved for me was when I was moved from a cabin with a leak. In that case my move was supervised by an officer and everything in the new cabin was in exactly the same place it had been in the old cabin. Otherwise, my moves required packing up the stuff in drawers and loose items.
  11. When we booked this tour through the ship the tour operator picked us up and dropped us off at the pier. We used a taxi when we booked it on our own. The tour operator's location isn't an expensive taxi ride and you might be able to share a taxi either going or coming with other ship's passengers. The last time we did it, 2017 off a Princess ship, it wasn't offered on the ship but we shared a taxi with cast members from the production show team on the ship who were going on the same tour.
  12. I've done the Tubin' the Ditch excursion twice and would love to do it again. What a hoot! I've also done car rentals a couple of times, once driving to Waimea Canyon and driving up the other coast the second time to the beach where South Pacific was filmed. Tubin' the Ditch wins hands down if your physically able. The first time the tour was offered through the ship. The second time they didn't offer it and we had to book it on our own.
  13. Good advice from the previous posts. I usually mention it and then check my statement a day or two later. Sometimes its automatic but I've had to get charges removed at guest services. On the 2018 Grand Asia, the 5 star mariners were being notified that they had not used there complementary Pinnacle dinners as we were getting near the end of the cruise. That was a first!
  14. It depends. My preference is for long cruises to interesting ports, many too small for large cruise ships. Those cruises are generally on smaller ships. I consider the Amsterdam to be about the maximum size for that type of cruising. If I'm doing a shorter cruise, like less than 30 days, I'd probably consider Vista class ships to be acceptable but certainly not optimum. For a family cruise with the grandkids, then a mega ship is fine with me. Plenty of activities for everyone in the family.
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