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  1. Reminds me of the time we were ending a cruise and flying home from Rome. We decided to spend the disembarkation night in Rome to avoid flight time hassles. Little did we know that the World Cup Finals (soccer to US folks) was being held in Rome that exact day we were flying out. We did find a room, but at a price of a 4 or 5 Star hotel for a 1 or 2 star room.
  2. For longer cruises I take a shower "puff" or whatever it is called. It is made of softish netting and the gels foam up much better with them. Since the cost about $1, I simply leave it on the ship. Before I thought of this I never did enjoy the gels they provide.
  3. I was able to do that several years ago - 2 different day meal for me alone. However, I would definitely speak with the restaurant manager soon after I got on the ship to confirm if that can still be done. Keep notes. Mine went smoothly and no back-up information needed but better "safe than sorry".
  4. I love(d) the fruit soups. However, seldom in my many days of sailing did any of my table mates order them. For many they were too rich for an early course in the meal. I on the other hand always ordered them as desert at the time we were ordering the main parts of the meal, just so I would not forget.
  5. double zee, Perhaps the previous "cheerleaders" are not as defensive because they are glad that the constant complainers have left HAL. Perhaps it makes their cruise experience more pleasant. As they frequently said - if you don't like it go elsewhere (not their words but message). Let me say no one ever called me a HAL Cheerleader and I have not been nor am I now, and I can only speak for myself. We have cruised on over 12 lines over the years and select primarily for the itinerary. We now also usually stick to cruises of over 30 days, longest 113 days, where the experiences are usually very different than 1-2 week cruises. Our most frequent cruise line has been HAL, because of their historically more unique itineraries, but some others are catching up. Which line for our next reservation - we shall see but as a general rule, what we get for the money paid HAL still meets our needs. We would have to drink alot more, eat in speciality restaurants more and shop onboard more to have more inclusive fares match what we spend on our whole cruise per day on HAL. That is just us - not everyone for sure.
  6. And then there is the "Inside Veranda Cabin" on some HAL ships. At least that is what the personalized stationary we received in our cabin said. After spending way too many hours (kidding) searching our inside cabin for our Veranda I realized that the name referred to being on the Veranda Deck of the ship. For some reason I found the name amusing.
  7. OK, I am confused. Since I have only gone of Grand Voyages and VOV the past few years, I am really out of it with EXC CRUISES, but NOT EXC staff. I was under the impression that EXC cruises were only a very few of all HAL cruises, specially designated and with a more exploratory approach to the ports. Were the cruises you all are finding so different from what others say their experiences were specifically designated EXC cruises. That is what I was referring to in the brochure I quoted. The brochure highlighted about 12 cruises, all in the South Pacific/Australia New Zealand part of the world. of the approximately 12 cruises only 4 were labeled as EXC cruises, and the info I quoted clearly only applied to the 4 cruises, NOT the other 8 or so cruises.
  8. Shamoo here, Gosh, My only reasons for the post was to point-out two things in response to questions and comments from others. 1. ECX is still alive and well on HAL at least into early 2020, 2. Pointing out that on some cruises, (for example EXC cruises) the entertainment is announced as decidedly different than what we were used to on HAL. I was only responding to some other comments and I have no further factual knowledge on the topic. I do know that "Main Stage Productions" is a term that has been bantered about for certain cruise ship's entertainment space so I would guess that another poster might be able to answer you question, if any others are still on this item.
  9. syesmar, Folks who have gone on EXC cruises would have to answer your question, but remember that folks have to specifically pick an EXC cruise, so they may prefer their themed activities (including entertainment) to the normal cruise programming.
  10. Last week I received a HAL brochure that included a section on four EXC "in-depth voyages, on Board Maasdam", one each in November and December 2019 and two for January 2020. All involve Australia and New Zealand. Besides the itineraries the section contains the numerous "special" things available on EXC cruises. This is followed by as section titled: "NOT AVAILABLE ON EXC IN-DEPTH VOYAGES": The MainStage Productions, Club HAL, and Music walk entertainment venues.
  11. I have always been able to have a "foot and ankle" massage on HAL ships, 20+ cruises. Usually not on the price list but I go to the Spa and say "I would like to schedule a foot and ankle massage". I have always been able to make an appointment for one and have always been pleased and usually very pleased - and frequently have gone for a second one. As someone else said, they have been for 1/2 hour. Price - well fine in terms of what I pay at home - although they certainly not the good deal they used to be.
  12. I do not know about 2019, but prior to that, every HAL cruise (approx. 20) I sailed on had at least one singles/solo cruiser event; On longer cruises - more. They can range from a simple social gathering with coffee/tea and cookies to cocktail parties, special lunches, etc. I even think they had a get-together for singles/solos on the one week Alaska cruises, but certainly not the number that a Grand Voyage would have. Since most of my cruises (both as a solo cruiser and with my husband) have been over 20 days - my information primarily relates to such. What determines the number of events? I would say that it primarily relates to how many folks show an interest in participating. It may also be related to the person assigned to "run" such events.
  13. I know it may be hard, but be patient and avoid rash actions. Several times things disturbed our itineraries and we ended up with financially good deals. If you do not like the deal - then cancel. Just my suggestion, Our most extreme example was our 24ish day cruise for early November the year of 9/11. We were to sail from Spain, through the Med and then into the Suez canal. As the canal was not a place for cruise ships to be at that time, and it was an integral part of the cruise heading for India the whole itinerary had to be changed. Cruise critic role calls went wild, with even wilder speculations for various cruise lines similarly effected, In my specific cruise caee, hundreds of CC passengers cancelled almost immediately - fearing that the cruise line would force them to sail in dangerous waters, etc. For these folks there was NO refund, no future cruise credit, etc. Wow, the language folks used about being "forced" to either lose their money or possibly risk their lives. My question to them was - did they really think the cruise line wanted to risk our lives, crew lives and damage to the ship? I think not, but can you imagine the logistics of planning a new route AND arranging all the necessary logistics - like food shipments, securing dock space, shore excursions, etc? All in less than 2 months? So sometime in the middle of October we got the new itinerary and the terrific perks offered. We were re-routed around Africa with several ports on the west side of Africa, South Africa, Namibia, and then numerous "new" ports on our way to Singapore. This involved 14 more cruising days, tips paid for us, AND credit for some shore excursions - ALL at NO ADDITIONAL COST. or, if someone could not do the extended itinerary OR did not want to sail - FULL refund if they had held on to see the new itinerary. They also had a shorter option for those who needed to get home close to the original cruise ending date. We were retired, flexible and took the new offering - and what a fantastic experience on a ship that was only half full. On a per day cost - the cheapest cruise we ever sailed on..
  14. For most of my/our HAL cruises we only received the number of Formal/now Gala nights. The exceptions have been on Grand Voyages such as World Cruises and Asia Pacific Grand Voyages. The dates were subject to change, although most of them were held as "advertised" in my Grand Voyages. On Grand Voyages the suggested dress for many of the Gala events are related to the dinner theme - such as White Night, Black and Gold, Valentines Day, etc. Some passengers really dressed for the occasion, some did not and I did for those I had appropriate clothing options that I could bring on the cruise. In the "old days" I know that some folks brought an extra suitcase with their theme clothes.
  15. Funatabi, At least in the past, for LONG cruises and Grand Voyages they have laundry plans for the cruise that are WAY less than $7.00 per day average. While I no longer have any of my past bills, as I recall last year on the 2018 World the package was close to $300.00 for the 113 days, or around $3 dollars per day, and that was per cabin - not per person. Maybe someone on the present WC can tell you this year's price when they return. I had excellent service with the Package.
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