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Everything posted by OlsSalt

  1. Today it has been an endless spiral of doom for booked passengers too. Does this also mean they will not be processing our final payment online due in a few days. Why the disconnect between Seattle HAL and Seattle - the Birth Place of High Tech? Agree, HAL is wonderful product, but this glitch today must be losing a lot of potential customers at a time when HAL needs to deliver only positive online customer services. Hope they get this worked out. Soon We will be back, but what about others?
  2. By the time one reaches five star, the product alone is reward enough. We come back because we like the product; not just for the discounts or perks. Most we don't even use. Except naturally the "free" laundry.
  3. Channel your inner Bond, James Bond:
  4. When in Quebec, worth seeking out a Chez Ashton location for poutine at its very best - recommend just ordering it plain, since it shines on its own: https://ashton.order-online.ai/#/ It's the squeaky cheese, that makes them so fresh and good. Study in dining contrasts for this very lovely city- Hotel Frontenac and Chez Ashton fast food. Do save your appetite for both. And leave some room for french crepes too. Then hit only the fresh veggie salad bar for dinner when you get back to the ship! Enjoy.
  5. When so many here recommend ignoring staggered boarding time assignments, how does that impact "priority" boarding since large crowds still gather early anyway. Were staggered boarding times intended to smooth out the boarding process? Nor does "priority boarding" avoid the free-for all required to go through security first. Even worse when the port facilities are handling several ships at the same time. With your key card now waiting at your cabin door, photos uploaded ahead of time, the long lines waiting to check in individually at a reception desk have now been shortened for everyone. And the rush by many to get on board early, regardless of assigned times, continues to create crowding impacts.
  6. Check with your PCC to see if there are any "upsell" offers to a better grade of cabin, if you are interested. These start showing up as one gets closer to the sail date. But you would want them for both cruises which makes it difficult, so you don't have to with cabins. We later cobbled together a B2B on one cruise and did have to switch cabins- but as reported it was a very smooth operation. So if they dangle a good priced Neptune upgrade for one of the segments, you might not want to turn your back on it even if it requires changing cabins.
  7. HAL is blessedly free of annoying tannoy announcement through out the day - one more feature that makes HAL the quieter choice. Wish they would do an "pre-flight" video setting out the most common passenger abuses up front and remind people we are all in this together, on this floating enclosed system box for the next few days.
  8. On the sister ship Konigsdam, there was a very large aft deck with loungers fully exposed to the sun, above the aft deck pool area. We rarely saw anyone using this deck and it was a very busy cruise over the holidays. The second deck amount the main Lido Pool area had plenty of loungers too which were not heavily used. On that cruise we did have a retreat cabana reservation. But hen we saw those loungers all facing out to the sea on that upper level around the pool, we wondered why we bothered to rent a retreat cabin.
  9. The great unanswered question for anyone who might miss their 64th B-Day on a HAL cruise:
  10. Roasting beans in a corn popper??? -- that is certainly one for the record books, ME. It has been fun taking coffee plantation shore excursions from various Central America ports, and even visiting "Juan Valdez" at home in San Martin, Columbia. Finca Argovia from the Tapachula, Puerto Chiapas is our favorite - beautiful plantation and hideaway spa hotel after the world's worst bus ride across gullies and pot holes to get there. But through gorgeous, tropical countryside. https://www.argovia.com.mx (In Spanish, but the pictures tell the story)
  11. Thanks for the tip on the "air press". DH loves to pack a French Press himself when traveling so this looks like a good up-coming B-day present for him. https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/aeropress-coffee-maker/?catalogId=79&sku=724356&cm_ven=PLA&cm_cat=MSN&cm_pla=Electrics > Coffee Makers&adlclid=c9b111cc7d9f18a740cd74265c851a64&cm_ite=724356_458012898&msclkid=c9b111cc7d9f18a740cd74265c851a64 But he also actually likes the Lido coffee, though he is very finicky about his coffees and he still has the beans sent in from Chiapas, Mexico after a shore excursion to Finca Argovia -his very favorite coffee. Next was Shade Lady beans, from Costa Rica - another port stop.
  12. Cookies are always available to pick up the day before and keep well for an early morning nibble. I think bringing your own French Press and using the 24/7 Lido hot water is the best idea to get the best cup of coffee. - with cookies from either the Lido ice cream station or the Dutch Cafe. Or late evening room service before you go to bed, for coffee and snack to pour into your own thermos to hold until the next morning.
  13. Morning raisin buns from the breakfast buffet probably will hold over to the next early morning in your cabin, and at least be good for nice early AM nibble. Love them. Or pack in some energy breakfast bars on your own.
  14. For casino players, this scheme looks like an ultimate gamble. Make sure you have your line of credit in order, in case you lose the bet.
  15. Holland America Line reserves the right to assess a change fee according to the date of the request, the length of the cruise, and the actual cruise sail date. Call HAL and ask them what would trigger a "change fee".
  16. That is what it said when we signed up too - adults only -family cabana limited to four adults - except it did not happen nor would they do anything about this, including telling me I probably could not get my money back. Be sure to print out all the express documents setting out the terms of your expectations.
  17. No longer a closed off cigar smoking room, but I swear I could still get a whiff from those well permeated surfaces now in its former location. Noordam was a lovely ship after a recent 21 days on board - main dining room Chihuly ceiling a little more flamboyant than the older S class glass sculpture ceilings, but a nice locally sourced addition for this Seattle-based company. Love her broad, teak promenade deck with plenty of loungers.
  18. There is no sound-proofing between cabanas. So I would pick a two-person cabin well away from the "family cabana" where there may be four persons talking since two person cabanas tend to carry on quieter conversations. If you are looking for quiet and some degree of privacy. But If you are looking for a livelier experience and getting to know your cabana neighbors, avoiding being near the four person cabana may not matter. Do try to avoid being next to the two-person cabana, where HAL allows the addition of six small children to join their parents. (Grumble)
  19. Maybe they are going to cut her in half, and turn her into two normal, right-size ships. 🤭
  20. Zero-waste policies have cut into most "freebies" in hotels and cruise ships.
  21. Did someone just mention Swiss potato chips? https://www.zweifel.ch/int_en/products/
  22. When traveling by land in India, I used my portable travel clothes "steamer" to boil water for safe consumption. Kind of a super size immersion heater.
  23. It was total luck of the draw when we took our first HAL cruise, after juggling endless pieces of paper trying to decide between Princess, RCCL and HAL. We wanted to do an extensive Caribbean cruise back when I was traveling primarily to collect countries (Goal 100 countries- Travel Century Club) Quick and dirty, one can collect a lot in a short time in the Caribbean, with so many independent countries is a small area. The HAL itinerary squeezed in one more country than the others offered, if we made a quick ferry trip to BVI from St Thomas. So HAL it was. Something about HAL did hit the sweet spot for us after that first cruise, and we have never looked back - we are travelers primarily so on-board life mattered less to us. HAL just offered comfort and solid value, while opening up virtually the entire world to us over time - only missing link was the very inland Five Stans. Reading these other reports, we can't believe our luck we just happened on HAL for our first real commitment to a single cruise line. I often wonder if we would have been as committed to our later collection of cruise days, had we by chance chosen another line.
  24. A second pair of glasses, if you need prescription lenses.
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