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Everything posted by Terre

  1. I am going to stop here for now since Photobucket isn't cooperating and will try again later. Still trying, but having trouble with Photobucket. I may have to add photos at the end.
  2. Breakfast: I ordered egg white omelets with peppers, onion, and cheese every morning and it was always perfect. It comes with a little hash brown that is scrumptious, but I had to be careful with that. My husband would order his eggs over medium and they were always overcooked. We figured they continued to cook inside the cloche from the galley to the table. Once he began ordering them over easy, they were perfect. Dinner Apps & Soups: Shrimp and chicken croquette, crab & and daikon cakes, jumbo shrimp cocktail, hazelnut crusted brie, Caribbean island fritters, crab and shrimp Louis, wild mushroom with Thai red curry, spring rolls, shrimp cocktail with mustard sauce, scallops, and traditional shrimp cocktail. Wish I’d gotten two of all of these! The flavors were so good of each of these apps. Soups were all delicious and included French onion, cream of mushroom, Thai shrimp bisque, potato and leek soup, tomato and zucchini soup, corn and something soup, sun choke soup with toasted pumpkin seed, and butternut squash soup. Each soup was very flavorful with a rich creamy texture (except for the French onion) and left you wanting more. The French onion was the best I’ve had anywhere, except for one night when I had no onions, only the cruton and broth! A bad thing…but when it had the onions, this soup was excellent. The cruton was excellent and covered the entire bowl. It was only super hot a night or two, which was okay with me because French onion soup is usually so hot you can’t eat it. Again, all of the soups were delicious…another good thing! Dinner Entrees: Entrees included shrimp Diablo, prime rib, tenderloin and shrimp, spaghetti, pot roast, red snapper, red wine brisket, petite tenders, parmesan crusted chicken breast, surf & turf (filet mignon and lobster), and sweet and sour shrimp. We enjoyed the entrees we got with the exception of the red snapper. All dishes were beautiful and tasted wonderful! The waiter takes the lobster out of the shell for you – a good thing! We are hit or miss on that detail from cruise to cruise, as some do and some don’t. Desserts: All of the desserts were good. They were scrumptious, but I couldn’t eat too many being diabetic. Desserts we got are, peanut butter silk pie, cheese & fruit plate, chocolate soufflé, Nutella cheesecake, rum cake, cheese plate, almond & orange cake, warm flourless chocolate cake. I got sorbet a couple of nights, but I have to say the fruit and cheese plate was very good. Sorry...I'll have to add pics later, Photobucket is not cooperating right now.
  3. Embarkation: We really didn’t have to wait very long before they began boarding and we were on board around 11:30. We had read on Cruise Critic that the main dining room was open for lunch on embarkation day so we threw our carry-on in the cabin and headed there for lunch. I’m glad we did, it was so much nicer than trying to fight the crowds in the buffet. It was a nice relaxing wonderful lunch. My husband had a steak sandwich that he liked and I had the fluke shrimp butter; not sure why it was called that, and my husband had the peanut butter silk pie. The dining room is pretty with everything in white with red and white lights. The waiters’ stations are in rooms along the outsides of the dining room so no tables are by the stations. I liked that. Our Cabin: We liked the fact that our luggage had already been delivered to our cabin when we boarded and we were able to go to our cabins right away instead of waiting until 1:00. That was a good thing! We had cabin 6177 with a verandah. The verandah was a nice size with two adjustable semi-lounge chairs, one with a foot stool, and a small round table. We spent quite a bit of time on the verandah. Another good thing. The layout of the cabin was good. As you walk in, the the bathroom is on your right with closets adjacent on your left. The bathroom shower has glass doors and was a good size, but it didn’t drain well at all. The toilet is squeezed into a corner facing the shower, so if you have long legs, be prepared to sit sideways…a bad thing. There is plenty of closet space with shelving and the safe is inside another closet-like space. You will program in a four-digit number to lock and unlock it. The beds were pushed together to make a king size bed and it was very comfortable; you couldn’t tell where the crack was! A good thing! We had four pillows, two small ones, and two queen size ones. It took a couple of nights to find the ones we each liked. There is a sofa with two cabinets above it, and a small table that can easily be moved around – a good thing – since you had to move it to use the desk that was across from it. The desk had three drawers for storage. There seemed to be plenty of lighting over the desk, but for applying make-up, it cast a shadow so it was hard to really see. A bad thing. One thing I loved was on the wall under the TV is an area that seemed to be recessed into the wall with wire cables. It was great for storing books and my pocket folder with all of our cruise info. I have a folder for cruise docs, airline info, each port with confirmations, etc. in it, and that was a really handy place for it. A good thing. There are plenty of outlets, both European and U.S., along with a USB port for charging your cell phone at the desk, and one at each night stand along with U.S. outlets. A good thing! To keep your lights on and the A/C running while you are out, keep a card of some type in the holder at the door. I used an old Blockbuster card. We always turned the lights off, but want the A/C to stay on. The temp in our room usually stayed around 68, but some nights it did get up to 72 or 73. I had ordered a fan for my asthma for sleeping and that helped as well. Bed Balcony So after lunch, we went back to the room so I could get everything hung up to minimize any wrinkling, and get everything in its place. I brought magnetic clips to put up our itinerary and any invitations or anything else important that we didn’t want to lose. I also brought strong magnetic hooks for hanging pants, pool bag, etc. Food: Food options were plenty around the ship, but we ate most of our breakfasts and lunches, and all of our dinners in the main dining room. No complaints on the food here except for the red snapper at dinner one evening. It was pretty bad and I couldn’t eat it and didn’t want anything else from the menu. The MDR’s menu selections were good, I suppose, but we are the meat and potatoes kind of people so we did have some challenges. Most everything we chose was good and all of the soups were very good. Main Dining Room: For dinner we had anytime dining, and eventually ended up with a wait team that we liked and had the rest of the cruise. They were Swedana and Al Rey. A very good team, always getting our food out right away and making sure we finished in time to get to the 7:00 show. The Maitre d’ actually assigned us to them after my husband spoke with him one morning about his eggs. They made sure everything was perfect with us from that day on. A good thing!
  4. Koningsdam: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Sail Dates: March 27, 2019 – April 7, 2019 Cabin: 6177, Verandah Stateroom Ports: Leaving out of Fort Lauderdale; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia with a Cruise of Soufriere Bay; Bridgetown Barbados; Fort-De-France, Martinique with a Daylight Cruise Passed Mount Pelee; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Captain: Darin Bowland Cruise Director: Nathan Hinojosa Hotel Director: Mustafa Galbahar Our Cruise Experience: First with HAL; 40 total Pre Cruise Stay: We decided to stay in Fort Lauderdale the night before so we booked a room at the Rodeway Inn Airport. They provided a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the cruise terminal, which you have to reserve when you check in. We arrived around 4:00 and found the waiting area for shuttles, called the hotel and the shuttle arrived within about 20-30 minutes. After we got into our room, it was close to dinner time so we decided to try Marina84, the hotel’s restaurant & bar. We’d read some reviews on it and they were mostly good. Since we didn’t have a car to go anywhere else, this was as good as any place. It was already doing a pretty good business when we went in and sat down. My husband ordered a hamburger and I ordered the French Dip…wish I’d ordered the hamburger! He said it was good and it looked good. My French Dip, however, was pretty bad. A fter dinner, we walked around checking out the hotel. It has a business center, which consists of two computers and I think a printer, located around the corner from the lobby. It has a shop in case you forgot something or want to buy other items. A pool of course, and the restaurant. Our room was nice with two full beds, TV, fridge, and a coffee maker. After we settled in for the night and were watching TV, the power went out. Once I found our flashlight, it came back on. Apparently lightening from the storm had struck a substation and caught the lines on fire causing the outage. It wasn’t out very long, but the next morning when I was getting ready for breakfast, it went out for a few hours. I was just getting out of the shower when it went out, and I had to put my makeup on with the trusty flashlight and couldn’t dry my hair. When the power finally came back on, we went for breakfast. I was not in a good mood, and breakfast took forever because everyone was so slow getting what they wanted. It’s one of those typical hotel breakfasts that has cereals, fruits, pastries, make your own waffles and pancakes, etc. As I said, I was not in a good mood with the power being out and this man walks in dressed as a yacht captain making jokes like this… “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking”. “That’s it, just your captain speaking.” Well some people thought it was funny, I, however, did not. He walked around the room making jokes with people and fortunately for him, he did not stop at our table. Shuttle time…we had reserved seats on the first shuttle to the terminal which left a little after 9:30. It was supposed to be 10:00, but we were ready and actually glad it was leaving earlier. I hope no one missed it!
  5. And they are the ones protesting plastic straws, this and that....we recycled more in the '50s and '60s than we do now. We refilled our ink pens instead of throwing them away. Razors were not plastic. Everything came in bottles that you could return to the store and were reused, wooden crates, etc. Are we better off now?
  6. Probably the cellophane wrapper that some straws are packaged in.
  7. We only had paper straws when I grew up in the '50s and I don't remember any of them ever coming apart in any kind of drink.
  8. Are the lounges wiped down/cleaned after each use? I've seen people lie on them with no towel...just wondering.
  9. We will be on this ship in March, our first HAL cruise as well. Your review gave me a good idea of what to expect. Thank you for taking the time to write it.
  10. There is an art to making grits. They are best made with some cream/milk and yes, the ship's grits always need lots and lots of butter and salt. I personally don't like pepper in mine or cheese, but a lot of people do. They are also good with bacon bits. You have to find someone who really knows how to cook them properly. They should never be gloppy or thick, but smooth and creamy, not soupy. Stay away from the instant ones...those are not grits.
  11. I'm a southern girl, too. They have them in the MDR on every ship I've been on listed under cereals. They bring a huge bowl as an appetizer so you will need to tell them to bring a small bowl with your meal. The buffets also have grits. They don't know how to properly cook them so they may be a little thick. Carnival is the only line that can cook them properly in my opinion.
  12. How do you make the serving trays and trivets?
  13. I always use a camera because I take around 500 photos on every cruise and there is no way my phone could handle that. If you have a good 35mm camera, why wouldn't you want to use it? You can adjust for more vivid colors, shoot landscapes more beautifully, get prettier sunsets, etc. So, yes, I would take a camera for shooting pictures. For snorkeling just be sure it's a water proof camera or sealed very well in a baggie. I do keep my camera in my purse or with me, not in luggage so I'm always ready for that unexpected perfect shot--you never know when that will be, but that may be when you could use your phone.
  14. Thank you, everyone! Sounds like quite a lot of things not to miss! Can't wait to get on the ship!
  15. We stopped at both ports last November and have been to both many times. If you don't want to take a ship's excursion, we went to Maya Chan Beach Resort in Costa Maya and really liked it. It is very laid back, and they provide transportation there and back. In Cozumel we always go to Nachi Cocum. You have to take a cab there. It's bigger than Maya Chan but you dont feel crowded because it's so big. Has a pool and hot tub. They have paddle boarding and other things for an additional cost. Both places include lunch and all your drinks in your price. I mentioned both in my review with pics. Link is in my signature below. One time in Cozumel we rented a Jeep and drove to the back side of the island. It is beautiful and was not commercialized at that time. We went to Paradise Beach one time and have been to Chanaknaab. There is a lot to do in Cozumel. Check out the Ports of Call boards for more suggestions. I wouldn't say don't worry, but I wouldn't be terrified and miss two beautiful ports either. I would say take the same precautions you would when in an unfamiliar place. Be aware of your surroundings, don't wear expensive jewelery or flash a wad of cash. We just take just the amounts we need since we don't need souvenirs anymore. Don't wander away from the main area alone. It's hard to not stand out as a tourist, but be cautious and enjoy these two ports!
  16. Agree...we have never liked practice. Can't imagine what kind of germs are flying around and landing on your unfinished meal!
  17. So Kdam is "assigning" boarding times or are they "suggested" times? Every cruise we've taken, and this one will make #42 for us, has given us a suggested time for boarding. We get there around 10:30-11:00 and have always gotten checked and on board before the buffet opens for lunch. I hope HAL is giving suggested times rather than an actual assignment. Your conversations have been interesting. Thank you, everyone!
  18. I have been on the Oasis and liked the ship, but for me it was just too big with too many people. It was difficult to get into any of the restaurants along the promenade area or get into the lounges. When there were events in the promenade it was so packed with people you couldn't move....I just don't like that.
  19. We will be on the Koningsdam for the first time in March. Does anyone know if the MDR is open for lunch on embarkation day? Some ships are and some aren't, and I'm hoping Kdam is.
  20. Laura, I thought of another tip for you. If you are coming from a cold climate, pack a pair of shorts and t-shirt in your carry-on bag so you can change in case it's warm when you get on the ship. Usually FLL, Miami, and Port Canaveral I are warm enough in March to change into shorts once on board.
  21. Thank you, leerathje, that sounds great!
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