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  1. I will be on the 3/15/20 32 day voyage from Ft. Lauderdale to Callao and have a question about Retreat cabanas. From researching this site, I know you have to reserve them before boarding, by the week, and I have the chart of locations and pricing. I would get a 2-person cabana along the railing since it's just me. My question is: how windy is it up there? There are many sea days, and typically the sun deck or other top decks are extremely breezy. Are there any 2-person cabanas that are slightly sheltered from the wind? Thanks for any input!!
  2. Everyone is "getting out of Dodge" for the holidays - there are eight ships in port! For those of you who are up very early, there will be non-stop sail-ins for about two hours. Koningsdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0530-1700. She is doing an 11-day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer Holiday cruise. Philipsburg, St. Maarten (25 Dec 0800-1700); Fort de France, Martinique (26 Dec 0800-1700); Bridgetown, Barbados (27 Dec 0800-1700); St Vincent, St Vincent and the Grenadines (28 Dec 0800-1700); Roseau, Dominica (29 Dec 0800-1600); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (30 Dec 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (01 Jan 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (02 Jan a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0515-1700. She is headed out on a 7-day Southern Caribbean Holiday cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (23 Dec 0800-1500); Oranjestad, Aruba (25 Dec 1300-2300); Willemstad, Curacao (26 Dec 0800-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (29 Dec a0700) Also in port are Allure OTS at pier 18 from 0500-1630, Celebrity Edge at pier 25 from 0545-1530, Celebrity Silhouette at pier 29 from 0430-1600, Costa Luminosa at pier 19 from 0415-2300, Pacific Princess at pier 4 from 0345-1600, and Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0445-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ and https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/. Also, Nieuw Amsterdam will be in Nassau from 0800-1700. https://www.portnassauwebcam.com/ For the Addicts: Lots of webcam activity - On 24 December Volendam (0800-1700) and Zuiderdam (0800-1500) along with four other ships (!) will be in St. Maarten. https://www.portstmaartenwebcam.com/ On 25 December Koningsdam will be in St.Maarten from 0800-1700 https://www.portstmaartenwebcam.com/ and Nieuw Statendam will be in Aruba from 1300-2300 https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ On 26 December Rotterdam will be in Aruba from 0800-1800. https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ Next up: Zuiderdam on 27 December. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to you all!
  3. Thursday brings our first HAL sail-away for 2020. Koningsdam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1600. She will be off on a 10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (03 Jan 0800-1500); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (04 Jan 1100-1800); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (05 Jan 0800-1800); Kralendijk, Bonaire (07 Jan 0800-1800); Willemstad, Curacao (08 Jan 0700-2300); Oranjestad, Aruba (09 Jan 0700-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (12 Jan a0700 Also in port are Carnival Sunrise at pier 4 from 0515-1600, Independence OTS at pier 18 from 0615-1630, and Majesty OTS at pier 19 from 0545-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ and https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/. Also, Zuiderdam will be in Key West from 0800-1700. Next up: Zuiderdam on Friday, 3 January. On a personal note, I leave for Fort Lauderdale at 6 am Thursday morning. Because I have unlimited internet on the ship, I am going to continue doing the sail-aways. If for some reason one does not show up on a day you know is a HAL sail-away day, please start a thread. It is possible there may be a day (or days) when the internet on board is being uncooperative.
  4. Hello Valued Cruise Critic Friends, My review of the Koningsdam was just published but I wanted to paste it here so dedicated CC users could review and ask questions. See full review below. Happy Sailing! We are veteran cruisers, especially recently with this being my fifth cruise in the last year. This is our fourth(?) HAL cruise. For the first time in 25 years we cruised with old friends who were also veteran cruisers. There was so much to like about this ship and we had a great time, as did our friends. Wife and I are 52 and 49. EMBARKATION was outstanding. We arrived around 10:50 and there were very few people there that early. It probably took us 10 minutes from walking in to getting our seats waiting for the ship to open. I expect the ship opened around 11:40 and we walked on with friends and headed to the deli for sandwiches and drinks. FOOD - DELI The Reuben at the deli was good but ask for extra meat on the Reuben. We had one with extra and one without and the one without was skimpy. This was our only trip to the deli. LIDO - Food here was a mixed bag. I thought breakfast here was very good with a lot of variety. I got the corned beef hash every morning and it was tasty. Lunch quality was lower than I remember on previous ships. Food in general was bland. The carved lamb I had one day was way overcooked and dry, the server even noted all they had was well done. DINING ROOM - We had six meals in there and all were good or better. Most of mine were fantastic except the Yankee Pot Roast which was too lean. The blackened barramundi was excellent but one part of it had scales and was inedible. A recent trend we have noticed is putting all the great dishes on the menu on the Gala Night, leaving the other nights a little short on really great dishes. Yankee Pot Roast night was one of these. SPECIALTY - We had two lunches in Pinnacle Grill. Both were outstanding and a great value at $15 pp, especially considering the lackluster lunch quality in the Lido. Dishes there included salmon, seafood soup, and tenderloin. Apps and desserts were also outstanding. I requested the key lime pie off the dinner menu and they obliged. It was big and great. We also had an outstanding meal in Tamarind. They went to another bar to get it when they did not have my liquor of choice. I thought there would be a discount for the first night, but it was full price. Keep this in mind if you are seeking a first-night discount. The Dutch Cafe is the best kept secret on the ship. Rarely a line, great food, drink and service. Don't skip this place. SERVICE - I would love to give 5 stars here because it was generally outstanding, but there were a few notable exceptions. Interactions with the staff were always 5 star. They were kind, polite, and interested in you. They would do anything you asked even if it wasn't their job. However, there were a few issues. One night in the dining room we had particularly slow service from both the waiter and wine steward. It seemed as a table for six we were the lowest priority for this crew. I finally spoke to a supervisor when we were there for 70 minutes and still had appetizer dishes on the table. Service in the Crows Nest was also hit and miss. Too often you would try to get the waiter's attention and they seemed to be in their own world, not looking to see if anyone around them needed service. Other than these exceptions, service was outstanding. BARS - Service and quality was generally very good, but again a few drinks came out not quite right. John in the Panorama and Rolling Stone Rock Room served some strong drinks, and we sought out "Double John" for service whenever we could. ENTERTAINMENT - We really enjoy BB Kings and this cruise was no exception. The female lead had a slow start to the week but warmed up as the week went on and was right on by mid-week. Everyone else was top notch start to finish. We also enjoyed the Rolling Stone Rock Room. One of the two comedians was very good, the other good. We enjoyed the dance troupe who made good use of the video technology. We also enjoyed the Planet Earth show. Daytime activities was weak and there was very little live music during the day. We saw two string quintet shows and both were outstanding. Pop-up game show on the unexpected sea day was fun. Would appreciate more entertainment options day and night so the ones offered weren't so crowded all the time. There should be a non-comedian show in the main theater every night, with the comedians in a secondary location. In 2019 it's not too much to ask to have some sort of show in the main theater every evening PLUS live music in other parts of the ship. SHIP - The ship had a good vibe with a mix of younger and older passengers, with most being between the two like us. Weather was windy all week but almost no rain. Our stop at Half Moon Cay was cancelled for high seas and as we sailed away we had the highest seas and ship rocking we have ever experienced on a ship. At one point outside decks were closed because of the high winds. PUBLIC ROOMS - Very well kept up and all set the right mood. The quality and quantity of art throughout seemed a little lacking. As usual I enjoyed the fresh flowers. CABIN - I liked everything about the cabin except the toilet. Our Oceanview had a great layout, space, storage, plugs, USB ports, lighting, bed,, sheets, bathroom, EXCEPT the toilet. While it wasn't terrible, because everything else was so well thought out, this issue with having to sit askew or a knee firmly against the shower window stood out like a sore thumb. I have to think this challenge could have been overcome with some extra thought and engineering in the design. GUEST SERVICES - Prompt, quality service when needed. VALUE - We are bargain hunters and got a great deal on this cruise. 5 star here. EXCURSIONS - We did not take any ship excursions. FITNESS and REC - We did not do the spa or fitness center. DEBARKATION - We had a 1:50 flight so we stayed on the ship until last call and carried our luggage off. I love not packing the night before and having a full, enjoyable evening on the last night without worry of packing or bags. We met friends for dining room breakfast at 8:20, had an enjoyable last meal, then waited in the lounge until last call around 9:40. Fairly short line getting off, but long line at customs. We probably got through customs around 10:10. OVERALL - We all had a very enjoyable week. Four of us had the drinks package and made good use of that with alcoholic, non-alcoholic, coffee, and bottle waters all free. That was a value-added freebie for us and we booked because of it. Highly recommended cruise, especially at less than $100 pp, per day.
  5. DH and I are getting ready to book Neptune Suite 7087 on the Koningsdam. I notice that the balcony juts out on an angle, thus giving the balcony a larger size. I'm wondering if anyone has been in this suite? What are the pros and cons? Additionally, we'll be doing the Mexican Riviera in October 2020 and I'm worried about the weather that time of year. Anyone out there who has done this cruise in October, I'd love to hear from. Many thanks for your comments!
  6. We just returned from our Koningsdam cruise Sunday, November 24. The cruise was 11 nights and left Fort Lauderdale on November 13th. We were excited to go on the Koningsdam and the cruise for the most part was very nice. We are retired and living in Florida after traveling many years back and forth across the USA from Seattle for cruises. Leaving out of Florida is a real plus and we are enjoying that. We have cruised numerous times (more than 25) on Celebrity, Princess and Holland America and some with RCCL and Carnival. Our favorite cruise line at this point in our lives is Celebrity, followed by Princess and then Holland America. We enjoy the more restricted smoking policy of Celebrity and we are getting to a point where we get more loyalty amenities for sailing with them. We do have status with other cruise lines and certainly would not discount them if the price and itinerary are right. Well, enough with the background information! We didn’t take a lot of photos as we have been to all the ports more than once. I hopefully will post some photos of the stateroom/balcony, etc. in separate posts. So, it might be easiest to just do a list of things we liked and things we didn’t like. Things we liked: · Many aspects of our room, #6216 aft balcony, we enjoyed including all the outlets in the room and USB ports by the bed (both sides) and at the desk area. · Enjoyed the firm mattress and pillows for comfort. · Really liked the anti-fog mirror in the bathroom. It worked perfectly. · Liked the brighter than usual lighting in the bathroom and over the desk. · The shower size was awesome and the water pressure was crazy good. · Loved the elevated refrigerator. Why don’t more cruiselines do this? It was great to not have to bend over to get things out of the fridge. · The room storage was way better than adequate. Had ample hanging areas and good number of drawers. Also had two nice hooks by the bed for hats and totes, etc. · The bar prep area in the room was handy as it sat right by the fridge and it came with champagne, wine and cocktail glasses as well as a wine opener. · TV on demand movies had a great selection and saved your place as long as you paused it. · Room service answered the phone fast and we felt they brought items quicker than we were expecting. The food was warm and tasty. Love the chocolate cake. Even ordered dinner one night off the main dining room menu when we didn’t feel like going out. Very nice indeed. · Really enjoyed the music walk venues on the ship with emphasis on BB King Blues Club and Rolling Stone Rock Room. Great bands in the evenings for listening and dancing. Seating was good too but did get very crowded in the RSRR. · Port Itinerary was good. We went to (not in order) St Lucia, St Martin, St Thomas, St Kitts, Martinique (we were there on a Sunday which is a dud because not much was open in town), Barbados and Half Moon Cay. · Buffet area was good for the most part. We didn’t go often but did enjoy the Salad and Asian sections and the bread pudding was great, if not better than usual. · Flowers throughout the ship are lovely but not as plentiful as in past years. Still, they have more than other lines we have been on. · Nice ship décor and clean everywhere we went. Ship is new enough that seating was comfortable and upholstery wasn’t worn out. · Club Orange: We paid to go. This class of ship, Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam have dedicated, separate dining rooms which was great. Will address the negatives of Club Orange in the section of things we didn’t like on the ship. But what we did like: Staff very nice, venue pretty and mostly comfortable. Maitre D’ was very accommodating and friendly, nice separation of tables for privacy, little to no waiting to be seated and if there was a wait, the Maitre D’ would come find you at the bar/lounge which was steps away. Really enjoyed going to breakfast here every day and the mimosas are included (not the cappuccino/lattes as someone previously reported, I believe.) Most of the time we were made to feel special and they did call us by name after getting to know us. What we didn’t like: · Mattress in the stateroom was incased in a waterproof casing which made for an irritating sleep. · Balcony was only partially covered and suffered from soot more days than not. Wasn’t properly cleaned most of the time. · Would not choose aft on this ship again due to no fully covered balconies. We are inclined to fully covered and large balconies. This was on the smaller side but we had room to move which was nice. Sun was overpowering at times. Note to self: book an angled deep balcony on the side of the ship next time on this class ship. · We prefer a sliding door on the balcony over this style. · Coffee table and table on the balcony were too small to be useful. They could benefit from two tables on balconies and a taller and wider table in the room. Didn’t Holland America used to have adjustable height coffee tables years ago? I miss that. · The arms on the loveseat are just weird. They snap on/snap off and kept falling off the couch. Yikes. Safety issue not to mention, useless. · We were unable to contact our stateroom attendant. We were told if we needed anything to call Guest Relations. Surely didn’t like that hassle. But our stateroom attendants were very good. · There was a large wasted space between the balcony door and the curtain. Don’t know if all rooms are like this, but strange design. · Couldn’t order room service via the TV. · Need more live tv stations. It was very limited. · This ship kept us up a couple of nights or so. It really shook and shimmied its way through the ocean. The only other ship that bothered our sleep this much was the Emerald Princess years ago. · Definitely not a fan of Holland America casinos. Way too smoky. They only had two non-smoking nights in the casino starting at 530pm. They should have no smoking in the casino or at the very least half the nights should be non-smoking. (no flame intended please and yes, we do know some of their ships are non-smoking in the casino) Shows in the theatre need work. One comedian was terrible. Forget his first name but think last name was Frazier. · Food-red meat was not great and not as tender as normal. In the buffet, they need more dessert selection. Best thing was the bread pudding and pies in the bakery section. Pasta section of buffet was not appetizing looking so we didn’t partake. No burgers or hot dogs in the buffet area that we could find. I know they have it at Dive-In but that is just a plain hassle sometimes when you don’t want to wait 15 or more minutes for a burger. No potato salad that we could find and that was a disappointment because HAL used to have great potato salad. Anyway, we prefer to serve ourselves at the buffet and could have used more choices. · Disembarkation was not great because the luggage was not all in place until 0830. Guess they were behind so it was kind of a madhouse down there once they released the barrier to go grab your luggage. · Guest relations failed to follow up with us on two occasions. One was for being double charged for a burger in room service when we only ordered one burger, one time. There is a 4.95 charge for the Dive-In burger. Took them three days and much research to take the charge off…including us calling or stopping by 2 times to make it happen. Simply unacceptable. · Club Orange: They need more help in their dining room. They could really use an assistant to the Maitre D’ to greet people at the door/podium. That would free up the Maitre D’ to do other things such as supervise. They could take a lesson from Celebrity’s Blu dining. They need maybe two more waiters each meal service as well. We had many long waits to order and in between courses, especially after finishing the entrée. We feel strongly that for this type of upcharge, they really need elevated menu items. Most of the items are directly from the main dining room except for one item per evening which is done on site. · Club Orange cont’d: the amenities were not enough for the upcharge. Yes, a more private dining room is good but the mention of things like a tote bag and dedicated 24 hour concierge makes you think you are getting something good. Well, the tote bag, we left behind as it was very cheaply made and didn’t appear in the stateroom until we called Guest Relations to ask where it was. The 24 hour dedicated concierge didn’t exist. We asked several times and were always told to call #90, the guest relations number that everyone calls. Pretty misleading “amenities”. There was a tour of the ship which it turns out was offered to anyone interested and not just to CO people. We did have priority tendering in Half Moon Cay but didn’t utilize this as the tenders were huge and they were not backed up. The priority embarkation was somewhat nice but we had to insist that we were priority even though not in a suite. A bit annoying. So, unless they make it more special, we won’t be going for the Club Orange upcharge in the future.
  7. I am booked on Koningsdam Feb 23, 2020. I was super excited about the Taste of De Librije dinner that was offered. I pre-booked/pre-paid. I received an email from Holland on12/21 that the Taste of De Librije dinner on 3/1 was canceled. No reason given (said due to “Operational reasons”). Anyone have any insights on why they would do this? Thanks!
  8. I mentioned on another post that I would discuss cruising with an infant with HAL. Since the holidays are now over I have some time to provide my thoughts, pros, and cons. As a qualifier I will say that we had expectations based on the HAL policy document located at the following link: http://book.hollandamerica.com/pdfs/media/factsheets/FamilyTraveling_FactSheet.pdf This was our 9th cruise with HAL and the 7-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary was one we've taken before so I won't say anything about that. Really I want to focus on the cruise line, the staff, the room, and the ship itself (first time on a pinnacle class). My son was ~8.5 months at the time of sailing. Cruise Booking and Check-In: This was the first time we decided to book a specific cabin. My wife and I tend to wait until the last minute and try for a good deal and hope for an upgrade from a verandah to a suite. It just so happened our son was free this cruise and we really wanted to try one of the family oceanview cabins for the bathtub. We booked via a PCC as we couldn't get the family oceanview through the website. There was an initial hiccup with the fare and they charged my son full fare but a subsequent phone call got it corrected. The PCC made some notes to ensure we had a pack and play in the room and that we'd have access to a high chair in the MDR. They also sent us the form to pre-order baby supplies to be in the room when we got on board. We did not pre-purchase anything as the prices were 3-5 times what you'd pay here in the states for diapers/food/etc. One thought, which I included in my survey, was to allow guests to reserve diaper pails for their cabins also. Fortunately we travel with little doggie doo bags for sealing dirty diapers. The line currently has no forethought on what to do with all the extra waste. Thankfully, our room steward was excellent as far as keeping our small trash can empty. We were able to pack my son his own 28" large suitcase with everything he needed and then some. Maybe if you were on an extended trip (1.e. more than 10 days) you'd order some stuff but definitely not needed for a 7 day. You definitely need to be smart about packing. We took only one suitcase a piece, a delta clutch ultra compact folding stroller, and a backpack style diaper bag which doubled as our carry on for our wine bottles We also took a soft baby carrier which was stuffed in my checked luggage. Check in was a breeze even with the baby although we used the stroller to carry some extra consumables. Of course they made us take him out of the stroller, fold it up, and put it all through the x-ray. The check-in time given to us was 3 pm which we adhered to. What we didn't know is that as a result we would not get an invite to the 3*+ mariner champagne/cocktail hour/sail away that we enjoy attending. My parents were already on from the previous week and went but it's obvious there are more mariners of certain levels that they can't all accommodate. This seemed to be a common theme the entire week. Another complicating factor was that during check-in we noticed people with vouchers from the canceled 12/14 Nieuw Amsterdam sailing working with the staff to find available rooms. To say this ship was at capacity would be an understatement (over 400 kids this sailing per the cruise director). Cabin (FB1032): The cabin was really nice and in excellent condition during our sailing with tons of storage and cabinet space. It was somewhat underneath Billboard Onboard but no sound penetrated the cabin late at night during the music performances. I did find that there is plenty of room for the pack and play between the bed and the window which was nice. This left a nice little play area on the floor in front the couch for my son. It turns out we desperately needed that little patch of playground. I determined you don't really need the extra washroom. The showers have high enough curbs that would could cover the drain and use that as a shallow bath. So while the room may be nice for families of 4, strictly considering an infant I would just go for the room with the most floor space you can afford. When we approached Club HAL about the following, "In addition, the line’s Club HAL children’s program schedules Toddler Times for kids under the age of three to play in the children’s facilities. Parents must stay with youngsters at all times." we were told there was no such policy. When we approached the front desk they also said there was no such policy. They said they would accommodate us if we could show them where it said that. Unfortunately I couldn't find the PDF on my phone during the trip. After much grief from many parents the front desk said with 24 hours notice they could work with hotel director, find a room (e.g. half moon room) , clean the room, and put it on the daily schedule. No one did this. It's one thing to see something in the schedule and decide whether to attend (like toddler free play) it's another thing to try and do the leg work and plan something else a day or two in advance when you have no idea if your child will even be in the mood after going through the motions. While the ship was generally clean I wasn't going to just let my son crawl all over the main public areas for a) his safety and 2) the safety/nuisance to the other passengers. Ultimately, we found that the Captain's Corner in the Crow's Nest never had anyone there and was the perfect place to crawl and make noise. Ship: The ship itself was beautiful and clean. All the standbys we've come to know and love are there and appreciated. We ate at Tamarind and it was excellent. The MDR was also excellent. Music walk clubs were also very nice an enjoyable. Having been to the Netherlands we really appreciated the Grand Dutch Café. That being said we did not like this ship. The cruise did not feel like a Holland Cruise. Something about this ship makes you feel packed in with all the extra people. "Upsell" offer literature (e.g. buy a lobster in the MDR) was abound. The World Stage theater was small and the shows lackluster. The Lido is the biggest nightmare during peak times that I've ever seen. For the first time in many cruises we ate almost every meal in the MDR. Even then you had to go very early for both breakfast(7:30) and dinner(5:15 for anytime). It saddens me to have to make this parallel to Carnival but I think the extra people overtax the staff. Until this cruise I had never seen food plates sitting on hallway floors, on the art installations, balled up towels all around the pools, etc. But this was commonplace and it cheapened the experience and made us feel like we were on a Carnival cruise at times. And while the fellow passengers were generally pleasant the overall crowd didn't have the vibe of a typical HAL cruise. This could be good or bad depending on who you ask but I will say the general etiquette you'd expect wasn't as present as you'd want. To me it seems the pricing scheme of selling cheap cabins to fill the ships then nickel and dime people for what there willing to pay attracts a different kind of crowd. I'm not saying I won't go on another HAL cruise but I'm thinking the move to bigger ships makes this more prevalent and as such I think we'll stick to the smaller ships. Staff: The staff on this boat was awesome and one of the reasons why we stick with HAL. As I mentioned above the room stewards made every effort to keep our room spotless so our son could play, fed us a steady stream of towels, and kept all the dirty diapers out all while being nearly invisible to our presence. The MDR jumped through hoops for us. Even though we didn't select fixed seating the dining room gave us a standing reservation for the week at the same table so we'd always be able to eat dinner stress free with the same staff (Lesson learned - pick fixed dining with baby). The servers would bring my son any assortment of mashed foods they could muster to provide variety from baby food packets. The wine steward would play the wine glasses to entertain him. The breakfast crew was just as amazing. The photographers were also outstanding. They treated our baby as if he were royalty and went out of their way to set up certain holiday photoshoots. For example they weren't originally going to have Santa visit the week before Christmas for pictures. We said we'd hoped to get pictures and a couple of days later they acquired a Santa suit and set aside time on two different days in different locations for Santa photos. They did such an amazing job we couldn't help buying the platinum photo package. Bravo! Food: I'll be succinct here. The food was the best I've had in a while on Holland. While they've certainly cut back on the premium aspect of the food in the MDR in favor of convincing you to book a specialty restaurant what they do serve comes out quick, as ordered, and delicious. As I stated above Tamarind was excellent and continues to be our favorite specialty restaurant. Due to recent price increases we no longer feel the value is there for Canaletto or Pinnacle Grill and shoes not to eat there. We considered trying Sel de Mar but opted out considering our proximity to Charleston, SC. If we really wanted good seafood we'd just take a trip down there. Final Thoughts: This was not our favorite Holland Cruise. In all honesty it ranks at the bottom. The biggest issues being HAL not honoring their own policy (at least what I thought it was) and the size/capacity of the ship. I will say the pricing scheme is a major turn off but I suspect that is creeping into all the ships so I can't solely blame that. Traveling with a baby is doable. It certainly helps to have family there to give you breaks although we took turns going to the clubs at night too. The staff is generally accommodating and helpful to those with infants. The free play time in Club HAL really would have put them over the top. I have no clue if the policy-mentioned in-cabin babysitting for infants was available. We never asked as my wife wasn't interested in having a stranger watch our son however I suspect it is unlikely that it was based on our conversations with many of the other parents. I think HAL was just slammed with the overwhelming number of kids/people and how to handle them. Then again they aren't known for family cruising. I would posit that if you're looking to attract a more diverse crowd then you need to be able to accommodate the kids they will inevitably bring with them. If not move to the old pricing model and charge me more for less people, more room, etc. We would take another HAL cruise but probably on a non-Pinnacle class ship (either with or without our son). We are considering trying another more family friendly line for comparison purposes or merely just waiting until our son is 3 and can participate in Club Hal. I know this is getting wordy so I'll just leave it at that for now and will try to answer any questions should people have them.
  9. Just booked Alaska on this ship because I loved Niew Statendam cruise. Anyone sail in this cabin? I know it has the larger balcony.
  10. The above 3 cabins are still available for our Alaskan trip in mid June. Currently we are booked in an aft facing cabin (5122). I'm seriously considering switching to one of the above mentioned, but have a few questions: Do the above cabins all have overhangs due to the balconies on the 5th deck? I like the idea of being able to sit on the deck, regardless of weather. Are all of these balconies extended? Regarding 5122, can folks look down on us from the room on the 6th deck directly over us? I've read so many opinions on various cabin locations; the cabins still available on deck 4 are still aft, but not stern as is 5122. The motion/vibration, etc. is a concern with the aft facing cabin. Will we notice much difference by taking one of the available 4th deck cabins? Thank you for all of your help; these boards have been a wealth of information for us newbies!
  11. Anyone stay in these forward facing cabins? Pictures? Comments?
  12. We are not new to cruising, but we enjoyed the Hal ship very much We thought the food to be among the best we have ever had in the Main Dining Room at dinner, on any ship we have sailed on ( we had late 8.15 dinner, ) for me because I use a walker I found the buffet at breakfast and lunch very hectic as people are coming and going with their food and since the buffet is just one long line of food areas it is very congested. We were blown away by the entertainment on this ship. We never missed a night in the World Stage, we saw Piano player, magic show ,comedian the dance team called One Step amazing and the use of the 270 degree screen with many of the shows also Jo Little singer. As soon as these shows were over we went to hear the dueling Pianos, as soon as they were over Rock and Roll Band started up and lots of people were dancing and having a fun time. After dinner BBKings Jazz and Blues played again the dance floor was crowded Add to that great mix of entertainment was Lincoln Centre Stage with classical String Quintet and Piano player earlier in the evening We had so much great entertainment, I can tell you the best we have had and we have done 98 cruises so it does take a lot to impress us. (Only 4 cruises with Hal) Our inside cabin on deck 6 was lovely, lots of storage drawers that were big enough to hold large packing cases in each drawer. the bathroom came with shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, body wash and bars of soap very unusual to get lotion and conditioner unless you are loyal to some of the cruise lines and this is one of your perks. the shower stall is definitely the largest we have ever had at sea,( Normally we do balcony cabins on the other big lines.) We would not hesitate to sail on Hal's new ships in the future. One of the nicest touches was that when all the guests were leaving the ship Carly the cruise and travel hostess was at the door saying goodbye to all the guests. Way to go Koningsdam
  13. HAL newbies here but not new to cruising. We love larger balconies. We held 7116 which is an angled facing aft that looks large. When trying to find pictures or videos, we came across 4154 which is open for our sailing also. This balcony is enormous, but I don't know what the empty space is next to it plus I'm worried about what's underneath it. The forward and aft balconies also look as deep but just not as wide. Would love to hear what your choice would be for larger balconies without sacrificing cabin space since we will have a 17yr old in our cabin. We also would prefer no obstructions and something in a quiet spot. Background on us. We have sailed different lines, but Celebrity is our primary line and are Elite almost Elite Plus. Our adult son just moved to San Diego for work, and our adult daughter lives in Denver so a cruise from the West Coast seemed to make the most sense. We will need three cabins total for our older children and their significant others. Also how is the weather in the Mexican Riviera in December? Thanks.
  14. Where is the Freestyle Coke machine(s) on the Koningsdam? Just wondering how close this will be to our mid-ship cabin on deck 6. And, did you find the machine to be working most of the time? (they haven't been so reliable on another cruise line we've sailed on). Thanks!
  15. Koningsdam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0545-1700. She will be leaving for a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (17 Dec 0800-1500); San Juan, Puerto Rico (18 Dec 1300-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (19 Dec 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (21 Dec 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (22 Dec a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 19 (starboard to) from 0400-1700. She is doing a 7-day Tropical Caribbean cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (16 Dec 0800-1700); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (18 Dec 0800-1700); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (19 Dec 0800-1700); Key West, Florida (21 Dec 0800-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (22 Dec a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 from 0430-1730, Allure OTS will be at pier 18 from 0515-1630, Carnival Magic will be at pier 4 from 0445-1600, Celebrity Edge will be at pier 25 from 0600-1530, and Regal Princess will be at pier 2 from 0530-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Also, Zuiderdam will be in Aruba from 0800-2300. https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ Next up: Veendam on Wednesday, 18 December.
  16. My husband and I booked an inside guaranteed stateroom cabin on the Koningsdam, and we recently received our stateroom assignment. We are in cabin 1108. We noticed the Queen's Lounge is above us. I've read multiple Koningsdam reviews lamenting the noise from this venue, but all of those cabins were located on deck 4. Does anyone know about the noise issues on deck 1? I'm still crossing my fingers for an upgrade offer. The only thing we have received thus far concerns Club Orange, and we thought it was overpriced.
  17. Last time with HAL we were on the Oosterdam and we had binoculars in our room. Do they have them on Koningsdam as well? We're in a veranda stateroom. TIA 🙂
  18. Has anyone done the fishing excursion by HAL In Grand Turks? If so do you think it is worth money ? How many people on boat i ask them they will not give me info. Do you think we can wait till we get there and find fishing tour? Is anyone on the Koningsdam on December 15 going on fishing tour on any of the island. If so please let me know willing to join private group. Doing fishing for gift BF who has never been on a cruise. He is a avid fishermen we are from Virginia . Any help will be appreciated. Thank you
  19. Koningsdam will be at pier 26 (starboard to) from 0530-1700. She is going on an 11-day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer cruise. Philipsburg, St. Maarten (07 Dec 0800-1700); Fort de France, Martinique (08 Dec 0800-1700); Bridgetown, Barbados (09 Dec 0800-1700); Castries, St Lucia (10 Dec 0800-1600); St Johns, Antigua (11 Dec 0800-1700); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (12 Dec 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (14 Dec 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (15 Dec a0700) Veendam will be at pier 21 (port to) from 0515-1700. She is doing a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (06 Dec 0800-1500); San Juan, Puerto Rico (07 Dec 1300-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (08 Dec 0700-1600); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (10 Dec 0800-1600); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (11 Dec a0700) Also in port are Majesty OTS at pier 19 from 0600-1600 and Sky Princess at pier 2 from 0545-1700. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Also, Eurodam will be in Aruba from 1300-2300. https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ For the Addicts: Nieuw Amsterdam will be in Key West on 6 December from 0700-1700. https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/ Next up: Nieuw Amsterdam on Saturday, 7 December.
  20. Does anyone know the show times on the Koningsdam for their Caribbean itinerary this winter? Trying to plan dinner times.
  21. We are considering HAL for an Alaska cruise..would be a new line for us, having cruised Disney, Carnival, MSC and NCL. Our kids are young teens to early 20s and we enjoy spending time together doing activities. Are there things like this on this ship? We really like some of the family activities on some of the ships, however we may be limited to a Vancouver depart port, thus looking into this ship.
  22. Koningsdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0545-1700. She is going out on a 10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer cruise. Kralendijk, Bonaire (27 Nov 1100-2000); Willemstad, Curacao (28 Nov 0700-2300); Oranjestad, Aruba (29 Nov 0700-1700); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (01 Dec 0800-1700); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (02 Dec 0800-1400); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (03 Dec 0800-1600); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (04 Dec a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She is doing a 7-day Tropical Caribbean cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (25 Nov 0800-1700); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (27 Nov 0800-1700); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (28 Nov 0800-1700); Key West, Florida (30 Nov 0800-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (01 Dec a0700) Also in port are Allure OTS at pier 18 from 0445-1630, Celebrity Edge at pier 25 from 0600-1530, Crystal Serenity at pier 19 from 0515-1800, and Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Also for your dam viewing pleasure, Rotterdam will be in Aruba from 0800-1800 (https://www.portarubawebcam.com/) and Nieuw Amsterdam will be in Key West from 0800-1700 ( https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/). Next up: Veendam on Wednesday 27 November.
  23. We just left the Koningsdam on Nov. 13 and were not pleased with much of it. Our assigned cabin 6132 was so noisy with banging vibrations that we insisted that our cabin was changed. After the usual, “sorry, the ship is full”, we insisted on speaking with the manager and our cabin was changed to a quiet location. The entire corridor around 6132 was very noisy and we felt sorry for the people who were stuck in those cabins. In general, the ship is noisy. Lots of loud music in all venues. If you are presently booked in one of these cabins, I suggest you change to a quieter location.
  24. New to HAL specialty restaurants, and have reservations for Tamarind on embarkation day 1/2/2020. I understand there's an additional cost if you order more than 1 entree, but can you order more than 1 appetizer with no additional cost?
  25. We have had a very busy 13 days on Koningsdam and are just now catching our breath! We had interesting tours in some old and some new ports, and yesterday, in Civitavecchia started our second leg of our Collector’s Cruise, a transAtlantic to Fort Lauderdale. Our “When and Where” yesterday looked a bit strange, but I figured it was because it was a turnaround day, but the same format appeared last night for today, and I’m wondering if it is the same fleetwide? There is typing on the inside, needless to say, but it does look strange to see nothing on the front. I will let you know if it stays this way! One change which I do like is this: Longer happy hours and we don’t have to drink the same drink ....
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