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About sofietucker

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Beautiful Tidewater, VA
  • Interests
    gardening, reading, live music (esp jazz & blues), snorkeling
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Holland
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. What I meant was that HAL has a reputation--borne out by many of our experiences as 4-star Mariners, as well as by many reviews, including CC's offical one--as being geared toward older cruisers. There is often a dearth of activities for children and teens; the P'dam didn't have a club for kids at all. And we have often found that older passengers, simply by having accrued more life experiences, tend to be more "interesting" to us.
  2. We've always preferred the smaller ships--Prinsendam being our favorite... Now I suppose it's the Maasdam until she & her sisters are all retired. If there's a compelling reason--usually itinerary combined with future cruise credits or special deals--we'll bump up to a larger ship, but we like being able to dock in smaller ports, with therefore less common itineraries. The ship's design is a big factor too. For our first-and-only Carnival cruise, we tried the redesigned (post fire or whatvever disaster experienced) Sunshine. It was pretty darn hard to find a view of the ocean! Plus we LIKE cruising on HAL's old-people ships! People are much more interesting; traditional dining still functions with large tables of "strangers," as opposed to mostly families who refuse to engage in conversation ("stranger danger"? Gimme a break). Once on the Brilliance, on the first night at an 8-top--when only one other couple showed up (50% discount for first night specialty dining, doncha know), they tried to bring a family over to sit with us; the man shouted, "But we don't KNOW those people!" Yeah, we don't want you here either, buddy. (That was a great table: all English speaking but from Bermuda, Ireland, Sheffield...) We meet losts of Australians and Canadians of our own age. And there are more open slots on certain tours that require exertion...And there are now more late-night activities with the advent of BB King's--and we know all the tunes, lol. What's not to love?
  3. Heh. Remember back when one could cite the European beaches as being more inclusive? Everyone went, regardless of body state! One might see folks who were old, flabby, wrinkly, fat (tho not so much, overseas back in tha day), handicapped, and all the men in speedos? Women with their tops off (including saggy ones)--at regular, not nudist, beaches... But here not pretty=illegal, so as not to offend the eye. Once--in the 90s, when I suppose this lookism began--I went to the beach with my lovely friend who has only one leg (cancer amputation, at hip). We watched a couple of larger gals (say, 170 lbs but fit and tanned) wade into the water. Shocked, she said, "OMG! I WOULD NEVER COME TO THE BEACH IF I LOOKED LIKE THAT!" I was taken aback; all I could do to not say, "Some people would say the same about amputees..." I say, screw all that. I'm a boomer and shall continue to enjoy my life. Folks can avert their eyes from my cellulite when I snorkel (which we do every time there's warm water--Greece, Turkey, etc.). We have seen Muslim women in Toulon swimming in hijabs and the eqivalent of wetsuits, risking arrest... (There was great outcry against the no-hijab law temporarily in place when we cruised there, shortly after the Nice boardwalk event). Everyone ought to be afforded the opportunity to enjoy the world's gifts. Besides, there's an old saying: Pretty is as pretty does. Your client clearly was ugly in her heart.
  4. Yes, that's true (K'dm movies not being that loud)--except if we wanted be by the pool to either eat or hang out in that lovely space (really gorgeous at night--should be soothing and calm), we had to be exposed to it. I unwillingly saw much of a shoot-em-up one evening, lol. But I think just knowing what to expect makes a "new ship" cruise much better. I know that they tweak ships as they roll out and see what works; we were thrilled that the Sel de Mer was an actual, permanent restaurant on that ship, instead of a pop up--ooh lala, the food! Too bad it's apparently been limited to once a cruise. And the now discontinued temporary restaurant (something Central?) in the America's Test Kitchen space was EXCELLENT. We ate there 3 times. Plus the happy and excited staff and the energy (great music!) were just fantastic. A shame that quickly has gone by the wayside--it was always packed. But hurray for the new Rolling Stone venue! We've loved BB King's but not for every single night, lol. What was that great 7-8 course dinner they offered for awhile in the Pinnacle? Not the Le Cirque--De Librije! I hope that will be offered again on the Nieuw Statendam in Dec--anyone know if it's just certain nights? They didn't have it on the P-dam in June. As a 4-star Mariner, I heartily agree with what's been said in the many posts above, all the wonderful aspects of HAL. We do prefer smaller ships and greatly mourn the loss of the Prinsendam... (The Dutch tradition fading away has been recouped a bit in my mind with the new Dutch Cafe; that's where all the officers seem to eat, lol. But we still have our traditional hats they used to hand out at dinner on Dutch night!)
  5. We used to cruise them a good bit, but stopped after they instituted MUTS and it was virtually impossible to escape the horrendous noise of car crashes, explosions, yelling on the big screens. Couldn't stay out on much of the deck, esp. by the pools; maybe it's been corrected in intervening years but we've no interest in finding out. Celebrity confines its movie screens to a nice high aft deck--actually a good place to watch football, lol. Unfortunately on the Koningsdam we discovered that they also show movies by the pool now, so good luck if you just want to sit and have a pizza, without whatever movie is blaring at the moment. Bracing ourselves for the same on the Nieuw Statendam in Dec., but forewarned is forearmed; I have an excellent pair of earplugs!
  6. i see that a couple of Norwegian's cruises are ending in New Orleans, instead of Florida!!! Logistics must be crazy. And what about folks who drove to the port??
  7. This is my favorite of the current cruise line updates: "Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has canceled its September 1 and 3 departures of Grand Celebration. Its August 30 sailing departed the Port of Palm Beach as planned, but because Freeport Grand Bahama is now closed, the cruise is now a cruise to nowhere, heading out to sea with no port calls, and returning to Florida when safe to do so." Gee, that's a little open-ended...
  8. We've worn ours to a ceremony held on the Koningsdam, where the entire series of pins and history of the medallions is presented. Prizes were announced for newest medallion holder, longest voyages, longest time at sea, most cruises, etc. There was special recognition for a gentleman who has continually cruised with no breaks for FIVE YEARS. (He looked pretty young & healthy, lol.)
  9. We do get the expanded menu in the Sig, including these past two weeks again on the Prinsendam (June 17-July1). The breakfast room service menus in our stateroom everyday offered steak and eggs, eggs with salmon (though I always just write in Eggs Benedict), bloody marys (also at no charge, btw), and mimosas. We also had the Bose stereo system, a pillow menu, the nice robes & slippers, binoculars. I'd say it's a fluke but it's been consistent on our cruises. We stay in Sky Suites on Celebrity and it's fairly comparable, in our experience (except no Luminae--and CO won't come close to tht, lol).
  10. Ok, did a fairly comprehensive search on this board, got nothing, and HAL itself is useless on this topic. So what is now considered a suite, for purposes of doubling Mariner points and for Club Orange free inclusion? Are current suite bennies for Signature going to be taken away? We've cruised HAL for many years, often but not always in Neptune suites, Signatures, and Vistas (just off the P-dam's final voyage Monday in a Sig). But looking at the current range of "suites" listed by HAL--including Vista, simply a slightly larger verandah--and HAL's language on their website, it appears that from now on, the word means nothing unless preceded by "Pinnacle" or "Neptune." While they haven't hit yet, we expect this most recent cruise's points to be doubled for the Signature suite, as has been done in the past... But any word on whether that will be honored in the future? The description of Mariner point accrual on HAL's website sounds like no. And re: Club Orange, which seems like a dreadful deal: In a Sig suite, we already get the expanded breakfast menu (plus free mimosas) via room service, fancy bathrobes, priority embark/disembarkation, and don't care about the concierge or priority tendering (we don't use those much in Neptunes either). Plus for various reasons, we have plenty of free Pinnacle and dine-around meals, So no reason at all to go CO, right? But will those current "suite" perks (minus arranging our own dinners) no longer apply to Signature? And then we would have to BUY them back? (And not that we would, but what comprises the "very small number" of non-suite pax allowed to buy a CO pass anyway?) Very confusing. Thanks for any insights.
  11. Book everything you want NOW. Those times are by far the most popular. Then if you get on board and decide you don't want to eat somewhere--or on a different night--you can cancel for a refund or switch if date/time are available. But we've found that the 7:30-8 slot is pretty hard to get once aboard. We changed a Pinnacle rez once, but there was nothing at all left when we wanted to change a second reservation as well. And that was on Day 2.
  12. Has anyone sailed the last voyage of another HAL ship as it left the fleet? What do you remember about the number of fancy evenings, types of events, etc.? We'll be on the Prinsendam for her final cruise in June (14 days in Norway); have sailed on her 2x before and will greatly miss the ship! Looks like several previous captains will be on the cruise with us, and there will be all kinds of celebrations! We're wondering about the festivities, specifically about the expected number of formal/gala nights. I will pack my waterproof mascara 😉, and my little black dress will be especially appropriate, but don't want to wear it more than a couple of times...While HAL site says 2 formal nights for up to 20 days, we've had 3 on a 12-day Prinsendam cruise... And should we plan to wear our medallions? Thanks!
  13. So we're on a 9-port (14-day) cruise to Norway, on the very last voyage of the 800-pax Prinsendam (waaah...). Have only been to Oslo before. Looking at several DIY port days, walking around & transport, including Hop-on Hop-off buses. A few reviews have said, don't use HOHO, you can walk everywhere (Bergen, for one). Others say they are so crowded, you can never board on the first try (Geiranger). We'll be alone in port except for Alsesund (where we have a tour booked) and Trondheim (3 ships), so not a TON of tourists in other ports. What's been your experience with HOHOs in Stavanger, Trondheim, Tromso, Narvik? Easy to get to from the pier? What about regular city buses? Can you get ONE pass for say, a month, and use it in all the ports? Thanks!
  14. So your cruise will likely be a "back-to-back"--2 cruises on the same ship, stopping in Rome to let off the first passengers and board the next ones on the same day. You won't have to change staterooms. Usually they will overnight in Venice before you disemebark, giving you 2 "free" nights in Venice. We like to go to Barcelona a few days early, to fit in what fun we can before boarding--there is so much to do! You'll have to look at some cruise line websites to get current pricing on their cruises for your itinerary. They all have various deals too, depending on when you go.
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