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About crystalspin

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    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Orange County, CA, USA
  • Interests
    Fibercrafts, technology, and travel!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. For our two-cabin 14-day R/T Los Angeles AK cruise in June 2020, the difference for Landmark refundable over non-refundable, in a mini-suite was $130pp! Nonetheless, the refundable Landmark was still a better deal than the May sale for my sis and BIL, by about $35pp as the new OBC was more than the previous OBC+grats. Our mini-suites are in a prime position, though, so the 3FF that is described may result in a lower base rate (almost mid-ship for all the forward price? is what I'm reading), that could mean ANOTHER re-fare! Fortunately my PVP is very willing to do it for us. I'll surely be watching in September!
  2. I haven't cruised your area, but if you're on deck and the ship is moving, you will experience it as wind. I would say bring what you would wear in the spring in Minnesota -- something to cover your ears and a lined windbreaker or the like -- with pockets for your hands. Maybe someone will be along to help you decide between a lined windbreaker and a wind-resistant light fleece...
  3. If you are concerned with clothing, (1) this is very much like a TransAtlantic in the fall from cooling Europe to always balmy or worse, Florida, and (2) come on over to https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/107-cruise-fashions-amp-beauty/ and tell us a little about your style and what you will be packing -- big checked suitcase? Carry-on only? Also, welcome to Cruise Critic!
  4. Ah, I see, we were preachin' to the choir. As I said in post #6, it's not that difficult. If there's room in the CARRYON suitcase, I will put in a Guayabera shirt for dr'spin, otherwise just a pale-colored hiking shirt like an AirStrip from ExOfficio. With a cardigan over it, you can't even tell that it is vented! He doesn't take special trousers or even shoes, if it's going to be a Gala night I will suggest he wear a dark pair of zip-off nylon pants that day (because changing more than his shirt for dinner does NOT happen). Don't overlook the ship itself as a place to pick up cheap bling. There are pricey jewelry shops but they pretty much always have specials on costume jewelry and accessories in the "ship" store, synchronized with the Gala Nights.
  5. It's amazing how much water shoes can hold. I feel your fall. I didn't fall in either of the wet experiences above, but I have fallen HARD on hard surfaces on two occasions in 1-2 years. Gotta stop leading with my chin! It's a wonder I didn't break a veneer or two.
  6. Wow what a great summary @Anita Latte! I love how you broke layering down into, well, LAYERS. I grew up in the Adirondack Mtns where we would almost always hit 40F-Below at least once a winter, so layering is second nature to me. My DH grew up in Southern California, and he used to be like "Well, a jacket is a layer (over any light shirt!)". He's learned some! I'd only add that the warm layer is better if it is two layers, so that you can peel one off and not be down to your base+raincoat. Like a shirt *and* a light sweater or cardigan maybe. I would give a holler to neck tubes -- Even the light polyester ones from eBay are good, and you can also find them in quality 'tech' fabric at places like REI. I have been known to wear two, one around the neck (like a cowl) and one pulled over my ears but under my real hat, like a headband. They pack in no space at all and come in zillion colors/patterns. We also like thin silk longjohn BOTTOMS -- it's easy to layer tees/shirt/sweater/jacket on top, but bottom layers are fewer by nature. Silky bottoms also pack small, and mostly will not overheat you under whatever your standard trousers are. I did take rain-pants on my first trip to Alaska, where we self-drove for two weeks after a 7-day NB cruise... I guess I wore them once or twice, but in the end, I left them behind at our last B&B, feeling that I would never wear them again. I do love my SmartWool socks, but in the Adks we had a saying: If your feet are cold, put on a hat. Head loses most of your heat!
  7. Hi Von! We had lunch in Talkeetna at the Brewery, in 2009. It was tasty! My given middle name is Yvonne after my paternal aunt, a dear lady.
  8. Chicks may hatch earlier up "north" at Punta Arenas and Stanley, than on the Antarctica Peninsula. Just a guess.
  9. We cruised Valparaiso to Buenos Aires (no Antarctica) in 2014, from 23 Nov to 8 Dec. We definitely saw baby penguins (SO CUTE) in Punta Arenas and Stanley Falkland Islands. There was at the time a private excursion company that was telling us there were no babies, possibly no nesting penguins at all, at that time. They were wrong! We booked with HAL and saw plenty in both places. My thoughts are to research the penguin lifecycle on scientific webpages, not excursion ones.
  10. Without spending any time on it, Denny, just based on itineraries I have seen and brushed over, I would look at Vancouver as the embarkation port. The west end-point might be in Japan, but there could be next-cruise options to some of the southern ports you favor. Try the "Find a Cruise" menu at the top of all Cruise Critic pages.
  11. Princess and Holland America have been doing Alaska "the longest" and have the most permits for cruising Glacier Bay and possibly other scenic locales. They also both have their own facilities inland if you are able to do a cruise-tour. I'm pretty sure they both have a fine AK product. Between the two lines, I have chosen HAL three times in Alaska! But, I am booked with Princess in 2020, mostly because of the roundtrip from LA requiring no flights for the five of us. I condense the decision between Princess and HAL to asking: do you want a small room on a bigger ship, or a large room on a smaller ship? If it weren't for the no-flight itinerary, we would sail Holland America every time. Also be aware that Princess has removed or is removing the second chair from inside, oceanview, and balcony rooms. This made a difference for us in an oceanview room for 28 days; we voted with our feet for a HAL cruise six weeks later.
  12. Owning my HaHa -- just because I've been there/done that. New Zealand where they neglected to warn us that our fly-in-hike-out (non-cruise) excursion required wading across a rocky fast-moving creek. We took off our socks, put on our shoes, waded across and put the socks back on. My DH's LLBean oxfords were never the same! Then in Costa Rica we were touring a coffee plantation when the sky opened! The choice was hop on an already wet ox-drawn cart or walk to the visitor building. We opted to walk. I don't know if we would have chosen differently if we'd realized that the "puddles" were actually half-way to knee height! At least the water was warm. Subsequently I gave up on Goretex raincoats (they just don't work in misty tropical showers) but bought Goretex-lined cross-trainers that have held up in varied climates.
  13. For the cruising, either side is fine, after all you will be coming back south in the same room! At Hubbard the ship will turn so each side gets a good view. I spent much of the time on the deck behind the Crows Nest (dr'spin was in the CN!) so I could walk from side to side. It seems to me that boarding and shore-side in ports is more often on starboard. But several of the ports are in fjords/bays with land off the other side as well. We were on the Lower Promenade, portside, midship. Steps from the biggest balcony on the ship! Watch you don't book too far aft to be under the galley. All the way aft would be OK, the dining room itself should not be loud overhead. ETA: this is a fantastic cruise! we sailed it last August on the Zaandam, with nine of us total (family). We rented a large van in Anchorage (everyone had a window seat) and drove to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center!
  14. Hmm, when I've semi-organized a rollcall sail-away gathering, I've always just specified grouping at a certain spot on the Lido deck, after muster. Never been on a ship with such a gap in times. I guess you will have to choose between meeting after muster (you don't have to know the time, just whenever it finishes), or meeting AT Sailaway (whenever that is scheduled). I would go with after muster. It seems like people could still be at dinner for actual sailaway. Whereas after muster everyone is released at once and will be looking for a drink! Looking at the Maasdam deckplans I would pick Lido pool deck, port side, forward of the Canaletto -- there are more tables there. Wear Mardi-gras style party beads and bring a few 2x4 Avery labels and a Sharpie marker for people to put their CC name/real name on.
  15. What Lady Arwen and 3rdGen said. Calling them "Spa rooms" is just a marketing ploy for cabins that weren't selling well because of factors mentioned above. You do not get to keep the yoga mat or the iPod docking station! (I learned that on CC.) I *guess* you get to drink the water, but I would check the small print... I would be good with just the "big window" of the Juliet balcony, and we were OK with the smaller added inside cabin on the Observation Deck on Zuiderdam (we just spent all of our time in the nearby Crows Nest!), but I would not book a spa room at a higher price than a similar room elsewhere for supposed perks.
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