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About Me

  • Location
    Seattle, WA
  • Interests
    Travel (obviously)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Panama Canal, Alaska, Hawaii
  1. It is really surprising to me that they would offer this under the RCI brand rather than under Celebrity. I’m no expert but I would think the world cruise crowd would be more inclined to sail a premium brand. It would be like ditching the HAL world cruise in favor of doing it on a Carnival ship? The perks are great and could be a game changer, but from what I have heard I have no desire to set foot on a RCI ship. That being said I don’t have a spare $120,000 and 4 months (and I would have no desire to go in an inside cabin so it would be more than that), so I guess my opinion is irrelevant. Will be very interested to see how quickly this sells out and hopefully someone onboard will post lots of pictures.
  2. I seem to remember something about one of the pools on Koningsdam that was a mistake (something about the deep end and the stairs/ladder maybe?) that was a design flaw and fixed on Nieuw Statendam and Rotterdam.
  3. Totally agree! And I will often have the pasta as a starter. I don’t think I have ever found myself hungry on any cruise.
  4. Thank you so much for dedicating part of your trip to sharing with us. It is such a pleasure to read and follow along for those of us at home. can’t wait to hear what you think of the Luxury Day Sailing. I’m on the fence between that and the Cabo Coastal Cruise
  5. Mine too! I was just impressed they even had the capability.
  6. We were not a fan (to be fair we don't drink coffee), but they also take up like half of the desk too. We actually unplugged it and shoved it in the window so that we could have more desk space.
  7. I will echo the 9-930 range. Boarding can start as early as 10:30 or 11 so they really are scrambling to get everything deep cleaned and turned over. As others note you should be out of your cabin by 8:30 or so. Not sure how late your flight is, but I recommend booking one of their tours with a transfer. You usually get off between 8 & 830 and then have several hours of sightseeing. Depending on your disembarkation port they usually have several that get you to the airport in the 2-430 range in time for a late afternoon or evening flight.
  8. Another great report, thank you so much! I also found the portion sizes in the MDR small on our Alaska trip but I actually liked it because I did not feel at all guilty about ordering extra stuff 😀
  9. Thank you for this! I was wondering how they made it work. Good to know the bartenders will clean for you also.
  10. I would have to try really hard to get to 15. We had the beverage package on our first cruise after I turned 21 and it was great because I could sample a whole bunch of drinks and find out what I liked. Even then when there were several I had a sip of and then got rid of I don't think I got close.
  11. I think they should send their IT the same way as I think they should send the director of entertainment. I booked and later had to cancel a Celebrity cruise and their website runs circles around HAL's. You can change cabins (even different categories) online, and even cancel online. It is 2021 HAL really should catch up.
  12. The other thought I have is that the hotel may have said they cannot accommodate baggage handling this season due to staffing limitations. Hotels are still running very lean and are struggling to hire, or it may not make sense for them to bring in someone to move the bags vs whatever they charge HAL for the service. At the end of the day I guess it doesn't really matter - it is a downgrade for the traveler. Hopefully this comes back sooner rather than later. I will certainly report my experience from San Diego next month.
  13. Thank you so much for the great report! The Grand Dutch Cafe looks lovely! I think this may be my new hangout. Happy to hear the service issues in the MDR from the first week seem to be resolved. Also, looks wifi is up and running, so it sounds like all is well.
  14. I believe you can get either. The signature beverage package specifically excludes the freestyle machine, you must get either a quench package or the elite package in order to use the freestyle machine. I was wondering how this worked - I do not really like the idea of a cup for soda that you have to reuse for a week or longer and clean yourself. I will be onboard in a month and will definitely report back if someone else doesn't get to it first!
  15. Welcome to HAL! I am sure you will have an amazing cruise. To answer a few from my perspective: Lots of great options! Depends a bit on the ship, but on the Nieuw Amsterdam we really enjoyed the Pinnacle Bar which was usually quiet during the day. Nice sea views. Most of the bars are available to sit in even if they are closed/not in use - the Gallery bar behind the casino is also quiet during the day though no ocean views. Along deck 2 & 3 there are some nice sitting areas also. We also enjoyed sitting by the guest services desk on deck 1 in the atrium. Lots of people coming and going for people watching. NA also has had the Crow's Next conversion to EXC Central so it has nice seating areas as well as a bar/coffee shop. EXC Central: If you want a private area one thing to consider is a cabana rental. For a 14 day I think a cabana for 2 is $400-600 depending if you go with the Lido or Retreat. They offer in cabana service during the day. I am doing my first one next month but have read a lot of great reviews. There is also a larger family cabana for up to 4 people. Lido: Retreat: All of our recent cruises have been in a Neptune suite so it has been included for us. They do a pretty good job on the laundry. I don't believe any of the ships have a laundromat available. The package is probably the best deal but I will leave others to comment on this. 100% yes. Absolutely no issue. The couple at the table next to us ordered every single appetizer on the menu each night. I will often have the pasta as a starter. Some nights we order 3 deserts for the 2 of us. Do not be shy about asking for what you want. The crew on HAL is fantastic across the board. You did not ask, but we have a strong preference for fixed seating. You absolutely get better and more personalized service having the same waiter & assistant waiter each night. Sea days only. If you have a late arrival into port they may serve a limited menu (I have only seen this once with a 1 PM arrival into Juneau). I can only speak to Sitka - you absolutely MUST see the Raptor Center and the Fortress of the Bear. Both are Fantastic. These are combined with either a boat tour looking for sea otters, or a visit to a Salmon Hatchery. If you have never seen a hatchery or a fish ladder this is interesting, but I would not do that again. The "Best of Sitka: Otters, Raptors & Bears always gets rave reviews. I agree it is all about attitude. Over the years HAL has shifted from a more "premium" line to more mainstream. Those of us who have sailed for years (and folks who have been sailing with HAL for many years) remember how it used to be and do not appreciate the various downgrades over the years. A recent example is the addition of the "indulge" option in the Main Dining Room allows you to buy the steak and lobster every night, but you can no longer get lobster for free anywhere onboard - the surf & turf on the gala night is now steak and shrimp instead. Another example is the onboard entertainment. They used to do more of a broadway style show with singing and dancing. This has been replaced with the "Step One Dance Company" which is not everyone's cup of tea. The crowd on HAL tends to skew older but the music for this was mostly from the last 20 years. A couple nights the main "entertainment" was either a movie, or they also have a nature documentary with live music being played. For those of us who sail frequently these get a bit old - how many times can you watch the same documentary before it gets old? Not many! I agree completely with @cbr663 two points - HAL can be very inconsistent. Your cruise experience will vary greatly from that of the people in the cabin next door. Expectations also play a large role. The billing errors can be very tedious. I always keep a close eye on my account and always report errors right away. We are fortunate to have access to the Neptune Lounge and they always sort things out right away. Across the board, the front desk/guest services department is either the least helpful one. It is totally mind boggling as the crew everywhere are so accommodating and then when you get to the front desk they either lack the authority or ability or willingness to fix your issue. Even the managers seem to be unable to help. This has been going on for years and across every ship I have ever gone to the front desk. Now, all that being said - we love HAL. They are our favorite cruise line. The sailing we did in August was the best cruise we have ever done - despite all the changes and restrictions. They have added a number of EXC talks to their cruises - these were all 30-40 minute presentations on various topics (such as the Iditarod trail, pioneering women of Alaska, 150 year history of HAL, whales, etc). These were absolutely fantastic! They also have added the Music Walk to most of their ships. Depending on your taste in music these are great. BB King's was very popular and played a nice selection of mostly 50s-70s. Very full every night with lots of folks out on the dance floor dancing. The Lido is great - really nice selection and great food. The MDR menus are more limited than they once were (I forgive this due to the supply chain issues, we will see what happens as time goes on). The food in the MDR was still good though & there was still chicken, fish & steak available nightly. Also the specialty dining venues are all very good. It is important to remember that HAL is a pretty traditional cruise. There are no waterslides, ice skating rinks, go cart tracks, etc. The passenger ages skew older. The night life is limited. Many of the negative reviews I have read are people who never should have been on HAL in the first place and would have been much happier somewhere else. We hated Carnival and NCL but there was nothing wrong with the brands, it was just not the right cruise line for us & there is nothing wrong with that! If you have some time there is a link to my live from thread that I did on the Nieuw Amsterdam in August. I posted a lot of detail including daily programs and menus & meal pictures. Otherwise feel free to ask us any of your questions.
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