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Found 117 results

  1. As promised, I am starting a thread about the current ship I am on. In this case it is Noordam, fresh out of dry dock for the last two weeks. First impressions are good. Embarkation: I arrived at Canada Place a little after 10:30. Luggage drop off was fine, but it was a bit of a hike to the elevator to get to the cruise ship level. Once on the cruise ship level we got in the line that would eventually take us to the waiting area to board. Although the line was long it kept moving and I was sitting in the waiting area to board about 11:15. Boarding started about 11:30 with an announcement that cabins wouldn't be available until noon, but that lunch was immediately available on the Lido Deck and would begin at noon in the MDR. I arrived at the Dive In just in time to place the first order. The taco bar was set up and ready to go. Bar service was quick. So far I haven't found the WiFi for the ship, but not a big deal at this point. More later Rich
  2. Hi all! You helpful Cruise Critic members helped me decide on an Alaska cruise and currently HAL best suit our timing and itinerary. I thought I was ready to book on the Koningsdam then noticed that there was an identical itinerary for Noordam that departs a day later. I understand the Koningsdam is a larger and newer ship, although the larger entry level suite size and cheaper cost are tempting me on the Noordam. I'd really value any opinions on people who have travelled on one or both of these ships and would care to share their thoughts.
  3. Has anyone heard what upgrades the Noordam will receive during her dry dock this fall? All I can find is that she is supposed to be in the dry dock from late September until the middle of October. Just not sure what they are going to be doing. Thanks.
  4. We will be on the Noordam 12/7/19 cruise from Sydney to N.Z. I have been reading very negative reviews about the Noordam...saying she is very dingy and service is horrible. We were told that the Noordam is due for a 2-week drydock refit in September. Does anyone know what they can do to update the ship in just 2 weeks?
  5. Just wondering if anyone knew if the Noordam will be going to dry dock on September 29th as previously scheduled or has it been rescheduled again. Also does anyone know what will be done to her? Our family is sailing on her next year so we are curious. Thanks!
  6. We are getting ready for our first cruise on HAL, and I'm wondering what to expect in terms of being in a Neptune Suite. We realize that we won't have traditional "Butler service" as we have had on Oceania and some other ships. But that's not a problem. On Hurtigruten, there wasn't even any room service at all, and we had one of our best trips ever. But we knew that in advance, so our expectations were pretty accurate. In fact, Hurtigruten definitely exceeded our expectations, but that's probably because we focused on the word "ferry" about their ships. I think DH really was almost expecting something like the Staten Island Ferry! 😱 (And what we mostly have "used" the Butlers for on other ships was to enjoy room service meals, especially on busy days. We didn't use them for much else anyway.) Any comments about the ship more generally, particularly compared with Oceania's two larger ships, would also be very welcomed. We are not big on entertainment or booze. We're "there" for the relaxation, enjoying the ocean (feel and sights) and also the ports, of course. In case it matters, this trip will be on the Noordam, from Auckland to Sydney. If there is a pointer to specific pages on the HAL website about Suite perks, that would be appreciated. We are very much looking forward to this trip, especially because we have our eye on some other HAL cruises specifically! Many thanks! GC
  7. Three of the Vista ladies are in Juneau - two of them for the last time this season. Oosterdam will be at the FKL dock from 1300-2100. She will be doing a trip to Hawaii and some short cruises to the Mexican Riviera before heading back to FLL on January 18. Noordam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2200. She will be heading down under on the 13th of October after a drydock in Victoria. Westerdam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2200. She will be back next week for her final appearance. Also in port is Norwegian Bliss at the AJ dock from 1430-2300. The forecast calls for steady rain in the morning and showers in the afternoon. The high will be 53F/12C and the low 46F/8C. Sunrise is at 6:47 am and sunset at 6:51 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Westerdam in one week - October 1.
  8. Oosterdam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2100 and Noordam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Bliss and Joy doing their last Norwegian shuffle of the season. Joy will be at the AJ dock from 0700-1330 then Bliss will take her place from 1430-2300. Tuesday should be the nicest day of the week with only a 10% chance of rain and mainly sunny skies in the afternoon. High should be 63F/17C and the low 46F/8C. Sunrise is at 6:31 am and sunset at 7:12 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Westerdam on Thursday (no HAL ships on Wednesday ☹️).
  9. We are about to take our first HAL cruise in November, and I'm still trying to sort through some of the choices/options that may (or may not?) be available to us. We'll be on the Noordam in a Neptune Suite, and I'm trying to figure out if Club Orange overlaps with perks/etc., that we'd already have with Neptune Suite, inclluding what is available in teh Suite Lounge. I guess the first question is whether the Noordam even has "Club Orange"? Things that would matter to us include soft drinks (Diet Coke - but not "soda fountain" dispensed); bottles of San Pellegrino sparkling water; and a variety of specialty coffees such as lattes and cappucinos, along with regular coffee at times. Having those beverages with our meals (in the Dining Room, or when dining en suite, which we'll probably do some of the time) would be nice as well. We probably would not care for perks/packages that include alcoholic beverages, as what we are most likely to drink would be nicer wine by the bottle (including some we carry on board and pay corkage) Many thanks! GC
  10. Noordam will be at the CT dock from 0800-1800. Also in port are Eclipse at the AS dock from 07:30-2000, Norwegian Jewel at the AJ dock from 1100-2100, and Crystal Symphony at the FKL dock from 1300-2200. Showers are back in Juneau (60% chance) with a high of 61F/16C and a low of 50F/10C. Sunrise is at 6:20 am and sunset at 7:26 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Volendam and Amsterdam on Friday.
  11. Noordam will be at the CT dock from 1000-2200. Also in port are Golden Princess at the FKL dock from 0630-1700, Seabourn Sojourn at the AJ dock from 0800-2200, and Star Princess at the AS dock from 1230-2215. The forecast is calling for a chance of "a shower or two". High will be 61F/16C and a low of 45F/7C. Sunrise is at 6:03 am and sunset at 7:49 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Westerdam on Thursday.
  12. We have just booked our first HAL cruise, on the Noordam for New Zealand & Australia. We'd like to get a bit more first-hand information about the Hydro Pool. I am a *total* wimp with respect to cold water, so hot tubs and therapy pools are "just my speed" Is the Hydro Pool indoors or outdoors, and if outdoors, is there a canopy of some sort for shade? I'm having a bit of difficulty figuring it out from some photos. Any approximation of the water temperature? (Ditto for the outdoor hot tubs near the pool?) And the water temperature of the two regular pools? What is the charge for the Hydro Pool? (We are in a Neptune Suite, on the off chance that it is part of suite perks.) And if there is a charge, which I assume from some comments, are other areas/services also included in that fee? Many thanks! GC
  13. Noordam will be at the CT dock from 0800-1800. Also in port are Eclipse at the AS dock from 0730-2000, Crystal Symphony at the FKL dock from 0900-1800, and Norwegian Jewel at the AJ dock from 1100-2100. Another lovely day in Juneau with sunny skies and a high of 71F/22C (low of 48F/9C). Sunrise is at 5:50 am and sunset at 8:05 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Volendam and Amsterdam on Friday.
  14. We recently took a Collector’s cruise that included a 14-day trip from Sydney around New Zealand and back to Sydney, and then a 22-day transit of the Pacific to Vancouver, BC. I took photos and scanned some paper things, and decided to do a review of the ports we visited and what we did there. At the end, I will post the daily When and Where files and the MDR dinner menus. (I think I might have figured out the new CC website enough to be able to post photos and things.) Here is a map of our cruise: Pre-cruise We live in the Seattle area, and asked our PCC to cost out some flight options for us. There are no direct flights to Sydney, but we could change in LA, San Francisco or Vancouver, BC. The flight from YVR was most convenient, and we decided to just book the one flight and make our own way to Vancouver. With the HAL Flightease program, our PCC was able to get us good fare, cheaper than we could have gotten on our own for the one-way flight. We booked the Amtrak Cascades from Seattle and spent a night in Vancouver before our flight. We stayed at the Delta Suites hotel, part of the Marriot family of hotels, and booked a night and a half-day (6 p.m. checkout) for the next day, which was good because our flight to Sydney was not due to depart until just before midnight. That allowed us to spend the morning in Stanley Park and rest in our room in the afternoon before checking out and getting a cab to YVR. We had paid for business class seats on Air Canada, and were able to lie flight and actually get several hours of sleep en route to Sydney. We arrived in the morning of April 3, were met by HAL reps and taken by limo to the HAL hotel – HAL has two they use in Sydney, one in the Circular Quay area and one near Darling Harbour. We had chosen the Hyatt Regency on Sussex Street, at/above Darling Harbour. We had stayed in the hotel on a 2016 trip, and really liked how easy it is to get to shopping on George and Pitt streets, and to Darling Harbour with its many restaurants. We had four nights, to allow us to adjust our body clocks, which takes longer as we get older, and to see a bit of Sydney. Our rooms were ready for us when we arrived – HAL guarantees the rooms will be available if you book through them; we found out from the desk staff it is because HAL books the night before as well. We thought it well worth it as we could drop our bags in the room right away and not have to hang about the lobby for hours with our luggage. During the four days, we did quite a lot, but still want to do more – we are thinking of going back to Australia and spending more time, two weeks or more exploring at least some of southeast Australia. But, this trip was enjoyable on its own. The first/arrival day was devoted to shopping for essentials like mouthwash and shampoo, which is easier to buy at your destination than to take on an airplane. We also bought Opal cards (for the Sydney transit system) and loaded them with some money. The next day, we went to Taronga Zoo, which we had missed in 2016. We walked about a mile to Circular Quay and took a ferry to the Zoo. We spent about 4 hours there, and it is an amazing place. The weather started partly sunny and then switched to mostly Seattle (showers and sunbreaks). Luckily, the main shower hit just after we got back to the zoo ferry wharf and ended just before we arrived back at Circular Quay. I took a couple of photos, below. One is a view back to Sydney from a viewpoint at the zoo, and the second is one of the two quokkas they have. We had to go to the Kid’s Trail and walk past the goats and chickens, and then the wallabies and a very friendly emu, who was walking about freely, before we got to the quokkas. But, they weren’t quite so lively as the ones I saw in photos online. In fact, we seemed to be the only people paying them any attention, and they were mostly interested in a nap, not us. The next day was also a bit Seattle-like, so we walked to Circular Quay to book a harbour sightseeing narrated tour of two hours. It was great with nice views of the extensive and amazing natural harbour. and all the tea/coffee and Anzac biscuits we wanted. The latter are basically dry oatmeal and dessicated coconut cookies that last a long time – they were invented when the women back home sent them to their soldiers in the Australia New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during World War I. We each had four of them; they were surprisingly good. I forgot the camera, so I got no shots of the scenery or of some of the other tourists dropping their ANZAC biscuits when we hit heavy swells coming in from the sea at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. It was a very nice relaxing morning on the water. For late lunch/early dinner, we went to a spot on Darling Harbour/King Street Wharf waterfront near the hotel, and I finally was able to get some bugs. These were Moreton Bay Bugs, which are a type of slipper lobster. Quite tasty if you appreciate members of the sea cockroach family as much as I do. April 6 was our last full day before the cruise, and we had thought to visit the Australian Museum. But the forecast promised a spectacular sunny fall day with a high around 26C/80Fal degrees), and it actually came truo. So, we blew off the Australian Museum and did walkabout, back to Circular Quay for cappuccinos and then around the Opera House and through the Botanical Gardens where we had a sparkling water and carrot cake, and then passing Wooloomooloo (really, a section of central Sydney) before skirting Hyde Park back to our hotel. Attached are some shots I got. The first photo is of Sydney ferries. There are two smaller ones going to/from North Sydney, Taronga Zoo, etc., but the larger, huskier ferry is, of course, the Manly ferry. I also got a shot of the Opera House from the side, and then on the bank just inside the Botanical Gardens, I got a photo of the Aussie greeting to the tourists arriving by sea. Actually, this was advertising an exhibit in the Gardens of carnivorous plants. So, we spent several days in Sydney doing nothing much important but enjoying ourselves by walking a lot of miles, drinking coffee, beer and wine, and eating things like bugs. What a great time! More later, Dave
  15. We took a cruise to Alaska this summer on the Noordam. I'm lucky enough to be a 4-star Mariner and I love my free laundry. But this was a first for me; each time my laundry arrived back in my cabin, it came with a note. The first one said "Welcome to Alaska We care for the cloths you wear". It was handwritten and signed by a member of the Laundry team. I got one attached with each of my deliveries. It was a nice gesture and I enjoyed reading them to see what they would say! Has anyone else gotten laundry "love" notes? St. Louis Sal
  16. Noordam will be at the CT dock from 1000-2200. Also in port are Golden Princess at the FKL dock from 0630-1700 and Star Princess at the AS dock from 1230-2215. Morning showers will turn into a cloudy afternoon. The high will be 62F/17C and the low 49F/9C. Sunrise is at 5:33 am and sunset at 8:27 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Westerdam on Thursday.
  17. Noordam will be at the CT dock from 0800-1800. There are only two other ships in port - Eclipse at the AS dock from 0730-2000 and Norwegian Jewel at the AJ dock from 1100-2100. Rain showers are predicted for the morning and overcast skies later on. The high will be 66F/19C and the low 51F/10C. Sunrise is at 5:20 am and sunset at 8:43 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Amsterdam and Volendam on Friday.
  18. Thanks to everyone on the cruise critic for answering my many questions prior to our cruise. I've been trying to get my husband to go on a cruise for many years and he finally agreed this year when I reassured him there would be veggie options and the cruise would take us to places in Alaska he'd otherwise have to fly too. We both loved it and I'm already planning on another cruise. Count me in as a convert. Cruise portion of the trip-7 days July 21st and July 22nd-We took a taxi to Canada Place in Vancouver from our B&B and began the Alaskan portion of our vacation. I was incredibly excited about taking both my first cruise and my first trip to Alaska. Despite reading about cruises and talking to friends who had taken them I was still filled with romantic ideas of what a cruise would be like. Although it was quite different from the trans Atlantic voyages depicted in old movies of the 30’s it was a joy. I never knew a trip could be so stress free and relaxing! The checking in process went smoothly and although there were lines, people were cheerful and the lines moved fast. The vacation atmosphere was infectious. We were able to board several hours earlier than our scheduled boarding time and had lunch on the ship. We sailed on Holland America’s Noordam. The state room was larger than I expected and our fully obstructed view actually was only partially obstructed-over half the window sported a clear view. At night I simply changed my position so that I lay with the clear view ahead of me 🙂. Next cruise I am treating us to a veranda. I loved how everything was arranged to maximize space. The rest of the day I explored the ship, found an exceptional history book in the library that I loved reading,wrapped up in a blanket on a chaise and watched the beautiful scenery pass by. My husband had lots of vegetarian options to choose from and there was an additional vegetarian menu as well from which he could order ahead. I loved how families played board games and put together puzzles in the library-reminded me of our earlier family life, we are now 64 and 71 with two grown daughters. I would love to take a family cruise sometime when my toddler grandson is older. Day two-Inside passage- we walked several miles on the promenade, watched the scenery pass by, spotted a few whales, enjoyed happy hour in the crows nest and listened to Lincoln Cente which really impressed me. We ended up listening to them every evening for the rest of the trip as well as seeing the BB King group and the comedians on several different nights. I loved the ease of it. There were plenty of quiet places to sit and interesting people to talk to when we felt sociable. One older couple after raising 11 children have been cruising around the world, including Antarctica. This is something (Antartica) that we are now considering a few years down the line but I understand from another post that HAL may no longer be sailing there then. July 23rd-Day 3-Ketchikan-We left the ship, hiked the Rainbow Trail which offered nice views, a walk through the rainforest and is an easy walk from port to the trailhead. Afterwards we strolled leisurely through town and visited the Totem Heritage Center which was wonderful and the salmon hatchery/ladder. We discovered happy hour where you could order the second drink for $2.00 and although we didn't always take advantage of it-I enjoyed our happy hours, especially in the Crows Nest or simply taking our drinks out to the promenade. July 24-Day 4-Juneau-As we had a 1:30 reservation with Harv and Marv for whale watching, we decided to do something close to the ship in the morning. We walked over to the newly remodeled Alaska State Museum and were very impressed. It is a beautiful museum and full of cleverly arranged exhibits mixing media, new and old artwork/items and presentations. We learned a lot about Alaskan history and also enjoyed the cruisin the fossil coastline exhibit. Went back to the ship for lunch and got picked up right at our dock for the whale watching trip. The bus driver is a local who gave a great running commentary. The trip was fantastic. It was a small boat with six passengers and our captain gave us plenty of time to see whales and was clearly enthusiastic about her job. We saw whales bubbling and a mother and calf swam not far from our boat. Heartily recommend Harv and Mar. Hope that our fellow traveler on the boat sends us the pictures she took of the whales as my videos could make you sea sick. I evidently cannot record properly and watch whales at the same time-have wonderful memories though. July 25th-Day 5-Skagway-took out our hiking poles and hiked Lower Dewey, Reid falls and Sturgil’s Landing. Lower Dewey was pretty with a small flowering meadow by the lake. My husband who is very interested in tree and plant identification, got excited over something he saw and fell over a tree root. Unfortunately he hurt his wrist which luckily healed well over the next week. We made the mistake of taking an old trail back thinking it was a short cut (it wasn’t-instead it was a steep rock filled slippery adventure). It was then my turn to fall. Deciding that was it for the days hiking we went into town, got my husband a wrist brace, had lunch and explored the town, visiting shops and the local historical museum. It was a small town and there was no need to use the public bus. July 26th -Day 6-Glacier Bay. This was my husband’s favorite part of the trip. Both National park rangers and a cultural interpreter from the Hoonah Indian Association arrived on the ship and gave both formal presentations in the ship’s auditorium and commentary on the top deck. One of the Rangers gave a wonderful, informative running commentary as we cruised Margery glacier. We were really happy we brought a great pair of binoculars for our trip. The close ups of the glacier were beautiful. July 27th-Day 7 was a full day at sea and very relaxing. We slept late, walked the promenade, read and enjoyed ship activities. We never used the pool or hot tubs or even played shuffle board which we had joked about playing. Yet we absolutely loved it. We met lots of interesting people, had too much ice cream and appreciated the long port days so that we didn't feel rushed. The staff was wonderful and accomodating. Couldn't have asked for a better week.
  19. Hey everyone, Before we set sail (HAL Noordam from Vancouver, BC to Seward, AK July 21, 2019 sailing), there were a lot of forum questions about laundry options and pricing. The Noordam DOES NOT have self-serve laundry, so this pricing may only apply to the ships that don't. Attached are 2 pictures of the laundry options. One is a letter explaining packages and the other is a per item price list as well as laundry package form. Our Experience: We did the $49 package and it was well worth it. The service was very fast, normally within 24 hours. You put your laundry in the blue bag, fill out the Laundry Form (image attached) and we just checked the unlimited laundry package. After the first time we used/signed up for the service, we checked the package on the form and noted that it was already purchased. We would mark how many of each thing we were sending on the form and include it with each bag. The forms are triplicate and they return your laundry with the pink copy of the form and you can check to make sure it's all there. Your steward collects and returns your laundry to your room. For us, this happened during housekeeping in the day and when they provided turn down service in the evening. Anything that can be hung (slacks, jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, leggings) is hung, and everything else is folded and delivered in a basket, all together in tissue-like a gift box with no lid. The laundry service attaches a sticker with your room number and other identifiers to the hem of each item. These stickers are very sticky, but the peel off when you find them with no issue and they don't poke you if you miss one. Everything came back in great shape. We used the service every morning and evening and nothing was lost or damaged. We didn't send anything that we wouldn't normally toss in the washer or dryer though as that is the service that you are buying with unlimited laundry or the $20 blue bag.
  20. Hi everyone, We are sailing on the Noordam next year on an Alaskan cruise. I read that she is going into dry dock next month. Does anyone have any specifics on what will be done? We are so excited about our first Alaskan cruise! Thanks
  21. It has been 6 years since our last HAL cruise on the NA and I found many things have improved and some have declined. Here are my first impressions: 1)We had a SS (6083)and fresh flowers and fruit was supplied in our cabin, didn't notice if they were at our tables in the MDR nor do I care, I am there to enjoy a good meal not to smell the flowers. 2) The Lincoln Center stage is in the absolute wrong location. You have to walk past it to get to the Anytime Dinning in the MDR and people would Shush us as we walked past and dared to talk with each other. 3)The show lounge is a joke, only 3 live shows the whole week. Two of them were the same comedian. He was very good but he only did a 30 minute show, spent more time getting there early for a seat than the actual show was. 4) MDR food was much better than I remember and no complaints. We arrived for anytime dining every night between 6:30 and 7pm and were immediately seated at a table. 5)Had one meal in the Italian Specialty restaurant and the food was excellent, much improved over the last HAL cruise, well worth the $15 upcharge we paid. 6) Happy hour in the Crows Nest bar at 5pm before dinner had a nice selection of complimentary very good hot and cold appetizers plus buy one drink and the second is $2. This is our favorite bar, but I guess this will go away after the Noordam refurb in October. 7)The lido food is 100% better that any HAL cruise I can remember and the Dive IN is fantastic. The Lido coffee is also much better, I think they now use Melita Coffee. The Noordam does need the scheduled refurbishment in October, she is a bit tired and in need of some TLC. But the condition of her had no effect on our enjoyment of the cruise. My only real complaint on this cruise was the Westmark Anchorage hotel for the start of our land tour, it was a total dump. I started another thread on this subject yesterday. Overall, it was a great cruise, service was exceptional and we will continue to use HAL, if the itinerary is one we want. We paid for a future cruise deposit while on the ship and are hopping they have the same itinerary in 2021 as they do next year in Europe.
  22. Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone has an idea of the entertainment and activities for the Australia/New Zealand season this year. We will be sailing on November 23rd from Auckland Thanks in advance! Cheers
  23. Noordam will be at the CT dock from 1000-2200. Only two other ships in port - Golden Princess at the FKL dock from 0630-1700 and Star Princess at the AS dock from 1230-2215. Another beautiful day with mostly sunny skies and a high of 77F/25C. Low will be 57F/14C (which was the high 10 days ago). Sunrise is at 5:02 am and sunset at 9:04 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Westerdam on Thursday.
  24. August!!!! What the heck happened to July? Noordam will be at the CT dock from 0800-1800. Also in port are Eclipse at the AS dock from 0730-2000, Norwegian Jewel at the AJ dock from 1100-2100, and Crystal Symphony at the FKL dock from 1200-2100. The nice weather continues (and the long range forecast shows it continuing through next week!) with partly cloudy skies and a high of 65F/18C and a low of 50F/10C. Sunrise is at 4:49 am and sunset at 9:18 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Amsterdam and Volendam on Friday. (Hoping Amsterdam docks starboard to this time so I can see "my deck".)
  25. You might be wondering, Alaska Again??? Me too. I had previously booked a business trip to Anchorage on July 21-23, too bad it was before we booked the cruise, would have loved to spend a few more days in Anchorage! But due to some scheduling constraints, we were limited to sailing on a Saturday or Sunday. Otherwise, the Southbound Norwegian sailing on Gem would have been perfect. It departs on Wednesday, and has the advantage of visiting some ports on the weekend, when the other ships are preparing for another week. Check out my booking adventure HERE Pre-Cruise Earlier this evening, I arrived home from Anchorage. I was there Sunday-Tuesday on a work trip (landed at Sea-Tac earlier this evening). Hotel options were limited, and I chose the Courtyard Anchorage since it was conveniently located to visit my clients. Note, they are doing a large scale remodel of the hotel, so during the day it is LOUD. BEWARE! Currently, remodeling of the facade is taking place, and during the day the main entrance is unusable. The layout of the hotel lobby/bar area is not conducive to the crowds that frequent, however it is a transit hotel. Hopefully, it will be up to par with other, newer Courtyard properties. Staying at this hotel is fine for a night or two, but I doubled checked the rates for this weekend again, and I discovered I could select the Marriott Anchorage Downtown for only 10k additional points. Courtyard was 25k points per night, and the Marriott was only 35k. The Sheraton also showed point availability, but I am not a huge fan (dated, in my opinion). The cash rate for the Marriott Anchorage Downtown was $389 a night, while the Sheraton was $341. Seeing as there is much more to do in DT Anchoarge, this was a no-brainer. Preparation and Packing This is our first Alaska Cruise, and with the frequent weather swings in AK, I figured better be safe than sorry and pack a few extra things. I am a fan of packing cubes. Love ‘em! In the end, we (when I say we, I mean I..ha!) decided on: 2 roll-aboard carry-ons 2 medium sized checked bags 2 backpacks I also decided to bring the Patagonia Black Hole bag (90L model) and folded it up nice and small and zipped it up into the little pocket on the inside. It sort of "folds" into itself So much space, and hardly takes up any when it is folded! I usually use this as my travel ski bag in the winter. Highly recommend! In any case, that's all for now, more to come tomorrow. I am going to shoot for a LIVE review, stay tuned!
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