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About Ladyarli

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  1. Hello, I've been to Hawaii 4 times: The first was 3 nights on Oahu and 3 nights on the Big Island, the second was on a 10 day trip - 4 nights Oahu, 1 night Kauai, 3 nights Big Island (1 Hilo, 2 Kona), and 2 nights Maui. The third was 3 nights in Oahu and the 7 night cruise, and the fourth was 8 nights on Oahu. We love all of the 4 main islands, but our favorites are Oahu and the Big Island. There is so much to do on Oahu, we still haven't seen everything! In my opinion, if you are doing a land vacation you should try to stay 5-7 nights on any one island. My reason is that driving to and from the airports and checking in and out of hotels eats up valuable time, and can be stressful. My second trip was on a land tour. We saw and did a lot, but it was a blur! My husband and I loved the cruise so much that we want to go again. We have it booked for next summer, with a 4 night pre-stay on Oahu at a hotel. The Pride of America is a beautiful ship. We can't wait to go again. As others have said, you need to decide what is important to you on your vacation. If Hawaiian culture and history are important, there is a lot on Oahu, and some good things on the other 3 islands as well. Oahu also has Pearl Harbor, the Polynesian Cultural Center, great scenery, beaches, and more. Maui has great scenery, beaches, and Haleakala. The Big Island has the volcanos, the Place of Refuge, and the Hilton Waikoloa Resort is really nice. Kauai has great scenery, beaches, and three (at least) botanical gardens. Personally, I recommend the option of spending several days on Oahu, taking the cruise, and then the day at the end after you get back. Whatever you decide, I hope you have a great vacation!
  2. Yes, Charry is still onboard, and I agree. She is wonderful and does a great job!
  3. Hello, What is the procedure for putting together a Meet and Mingle on Royal Caribbean? The NCL board had a sticky with instructions, but I don't see anything like that on the Royal Caribbean board. Thanks for your help and advice. Ladyarli
  4. Hello, We were on the Norwegian Escape on the 2/17 sailing out of New York. Our meet and mingle was on 2/18 from Noon to 1 PM in the District Brew House. Boy, did NCL go all out! We had about 45-50 people show up. They gave us generous samples of different kinds of beer, soft drinks for the children and non-drinkers, and servers passed three kinds of hot hors d'oeuvres. They had a duo playing piano and singing, and several of the officers came and mingled with us! They gave out business cards, and said if you need anything, call me, etc. All I could say was, wow! On other cruise lines we were lucky to get a room and a pitcher of water, LOL.
  5. We did the excursion from Port Canaveral last Tuesday when we were on the Norwegian Escape. Our tour time was 1:30. We were told to meet in the Manhattan Room at 1:00. ALL of the tours met in the Manhattan Room at 1. We were about the 5th tour group to leave. We walked down two flights to the gangway, and walked off the ship and across the street to where the buses were parked. There were two buses for Universal. The bus took an hour and a half each way. The "tour guide" seemed like a teenage boy with Asberger's. I thought he was one of the passengers, and that the bus driver was being nice about letting him collect our tickets. He never introduced himself or said much of anything. When he did talk, he would say something we really needed to know, but mumbled into the microphone so softly I could barely hear him, and we were near the front of the bus! Before we got off the bus, he gave everyone on HIS side of the bus a lanyard with a printed card on it, and said we would leave "about 7-ish." We asked the young man what the lanyards were for. He said they were the name and phone number of the bus company in case we were running late, or had an emergency. (At this point everyone had gotten off the bus.) We said no one on our side of the bus got one. He said that we could always "borrow one from someone and take a picture with your phone so you have the information." We got off the bus at 3:00. It took us about a half hour to walk through CityWalk and to the entrance of the park, go through security and enter. I had already purchased tickets, which were 1 day park-to-park, and more than I would have liked to pay. We only wanted to see the new Harry Potter area, which is all the way on the other side of USF from the entrance. We took pictures, walked around a bit, got a bottle of Gillywater (mistake), and looked at the posted wait for the Gringotts ride. 110 minutes. Yikes, we wouldn't have time. We shopped a little, heard one song by Celestina Warbeck, and got on the Hogwarts Express. It was a one hour wait, and the ride was a really good 5 minute ride. We shopped in Hogsmeade for a bit, then started walking back to the bus. We got back to the bus at 6:30. They left at 7:15, and we ran back on the ship just in time for our dinner and show at the Supper Club at 8:30. When we arrived back at the ship, the "tour guide" muttered something about gratuities, and my only thought was "You've got to be kidding." Needless to say, we will go back to Universal some day in the future when we can spend at least one whole day in the park, and not as a shore excursion from a ship that isn't even supposed to dock until 1 PM. I'm not blaming anyone but myself. I should have realized that we just wouldn't have enough time. The crowd level in the parks was 7 out of 10, and we didn't have quite as much time as I thought we would have. Live and learn.
  6. Hello, I volunteered to organize a Meet and Mingle for our sailing. I thought a few folks might be interested in a slot pull. How do you do this? I participated in one on a Carnival cruise about 10 years ago and I just paid my money, took my pulls at the machine, and left when it was done. I understand the concept. Everyone pays a set amount of money, and gets X number of pulls on the machine. Can someone who has run one or more of them successfully please give me advice on how to set one up? Thanks in advance. Ladyarli
  7. To the poster who asked about Bar Harbor: The immigration officials got onboard very early, and the process went quickly and efficiently for us. However, the line for non-US citizens was much longer than ours was. We went into the lounge a little while later and got tender tickets, and there was a 20-30 minute wait before they called our number. Once we got on the tender, it took a few minutes to get everyone seated. Then our boat broke down about half way to the dock! They sent out another boat with a repair man, and finally got the engine restarted. We ended up taking that tender back in the afternoon (just my luck, LOL) but it was fine on the way back. We booked the 4 hour tour with Ollie's trolley, and it was great.
  8. We also were on the June 9th Montreal to Boston sailing. We had a cabin on Deck 5, starboard side forward. Everything worked just fine, and the room was just big enough for all of our stuff. :DWe had lovely weather except for our day in Halifax, so no complaints there! The stateroom steward was one of the very best we've ever had. The dining room staff was adequate, but unimpressive. It seemed to me that they were a little short-handed, or something. The food was good, but some nights I didn't like the selection. I know it's me, not them! I am probably the only girl who grew up in New England who doesn't like seafood. But I do appreciate the fact that they serve local specialties on their cruises. A lot of lines don't do that, and I know a lot of people expect it, and are disappointed. On this cruise they served lobster, PEI mussels, and other local specialties. One night they had lobster up at the lido buffet, but a different menu in the dining room, which I thought was unusual. We went to the show the first night, and it was OK, not great. Then I went the second night and thought the ventriloquist wasn't very good. So I stopped going to the shows. Then on the 6th night, Jeff the Piano Bar entertainer recommended that night's show "Dance" very highly, so I went. It was wonderful! All of the dancers and singers did an excellent job. I was sad to hear that HAL is going to change their entertainment after the dry dock and discontinue the singers and dancers. I think this is a big mistake on HAL's part, but I have no power there. All I could do is put in my comments in the survey they sent that I loved the singers, dancers, and the piano bar entertainer. Also, the sight lines in the balcony are not good. There seemed to be a railing blocking my sight wherever I sat. I was disappointed that there was no karaoke at all! That is one of my favorite things to do on a cruise. I went to the piano bar, and enjoyed Jeff's act very much. He changes his songs to fit the crowd, and is very versatile. He is also very nice, and even let me sing a few songs and played accompaniment for me! I loved the fact that the bar waiters were always there if you wanted them, but never pushed us to buy drinks if we just wanted to sit and listen to the music. My friends really enjoyed the jazz group and the classical group who played on the ship. One of our favorite things on the ship was the library/coffee bar. We spent WAY too much money in the spa, LOL. When we booked our cruise, we got the "signature beverage package". I didn't realize that it didn't include the mini-bar. We really didn't use the beverage package except for a couple of glasses of wine and a couple of lattes in the coffee bar. They didn't lose money on us. :D Anyone with questions, please fire away. I will be glad to try and answer them.
  9. Sprockie, Which nights of your cruise were your "gala nights"? We're going June 9th, and I'm trying to find out ahead of time, so I can plan which night to eat in the Pinnacle Grill. Thank you for your help. To the original poster, we have been on several Canada/NE cruises, mostly in September/Early October, on Carnival and Princess. They were great cruises, but you don't really see too much foliage near the NE coast until mid-October. I did take one cruise from NY to Quebec in mid-October on MSC. We saw some really nice foliage, BUT Canada is really cold at that time of the year. Much colder than the NYC area. AND, the Canadian national parks are down to a skeleton crew in mid-October. I visited the Citadel in Halifax, and there was practically no one there. I didn't mind seeing less tourists, but there were hardly any staff, either. The MSC ship was really beautiful, but the entertainment, activities, were seriously lacking. The dining room portions were laughably small. Holland America has itineraries that go from Boston to Montreal, and Montreal to Boston. You can go earlier in the season, because the foliage peaks inland much sooner than on the coast. I would suggest mid to late September or early October. Of course, this is an educated guess, because it all depends on the weather, and changes each year. Whatever you choose, I hope you have a great time.
  10. The itinerary (with hours in port) is as follows: Quebec City, PQ 7 AM - 5 PM Charlottetown, PEI 9 AM - 6 PM Sydney, NS 8 AM - 4 PM Halifax, NS 8 AM - 4 PM Bar Harbor, ME 8 AM - 5 PM I was hoping that someone who had been on the Maasdam on this itinerary would reply. Thanks for your help!
  11. Hi, We're going on the June 9th sailing from Montreal to Boston. Can anyone tell me when the gala nights are? There is only one sea day, which is the third day of the cruise: June 9th - Depart Montreal June 10 - Quebec City June 11 - at sea June 12 - Charlottetown, P.E.I. June 13 - Sidney, NS June 14 - Halifax, NS June 15 - Bar Harbor, ME June 16 - Boston I know that the gala nights would never be on the 1st or the last nights of the cruise, for obvious reasons. Does anyone out there know? Thank you for your help.:)
  12. Does Holland America still give out the tote bags before the first port?
  13. Here is a question for the locals: We are going to be leaving on a cruise from T-3 on June 9th, which is during the big Formula 1 Race weekend. We will be staying in a hotel on the west-ish side of downtown, and will be taking a taxi to the pier. I looked it up, and the road the taxi will have to go to in order to access terminal 3 is Pie IX Boulevard. How long will it take to get to the pier from Rue Guy a couple of blocks south of Rue St Catherine? And how much (approximately) will the fare be? Thanks for any help or advice you can give.
  14. Thank you very much for your wonderfully detailed review, and for answering my many questions, Dave.
  15. Thank you so much for your detailed review! We are going in a month, so I really appreciate all of the great info on the ship. Can you please tell me: 1. Do they still serve you at the Lido Buffet, as opposed to everyone serving themselves? 2. Do they still show movies in the theater, and is there still popcorn available? 3. Do they still serve hors d'oeuvres in all of the lounges before dinner? 4. Do they still have the guy with the glockenspiel ringing the chimes to call people to dinner? 5. Do they still have warm or cold drinks on the dock while you wait for the tender, if the day is cool or warm? 6. Do they still have real (although small) cloth towels in the public washrooms aboard? 7. Do they still have little cookies, pastries, etc in the coffee bar? Is the regular coffee still free? 8. Did they ever have karaoke or some kind of sing along bar on the cruise? 9. Do the stateroom stewards learn your name, and greet you in the hallway by name? Our first and only HAL cruise was in 2002 on the Zaandam in Alaska, and I wanted to see if they still did any of the many little things that made HAL "nicer".
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