Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
WCB

Journey with Bill & Mary Ann on the Amsterdam's 2016 Grand World Voyage - 114 days +

Recommended Posts

It's official, you are off. Once you step onboard that aircraft, the trip has truly begun; I'm getting excited for you! A question for you - when in FLL, do you stock up on all the toiletries you'll need for the trip, rather than carrying them in your many pieces of luggage? Enjoy the next couple of days; we'll be watching for you at sail-away!

 

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the point of using Hal if they can't show up on time? Enjoy your time before you leave. Looking forward to reading your thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of our toiletries are purchased at home well before we leave. All of it is shipped in the duffels. We do pack a minimum of travel-sized toiletries for the Ft. Lauderdale stay. And if we have forgotten anything, this would be our last stop to buy stuff in the states.

 

This is not the first time we had problems with the HAL connection at the airport. It does seem like a better idea to forget it, and get a taxi.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sooo excited to come across another World Cruise that you are on and looking forward to sharing with friends in the UK as they are ALWAYS asking after you! Wishing you much happiness and thank you for sharing:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My SIL was a hotel manager at the Renissance Plantation a few years back. The staff at that time were so friendly and nice. Hope it is so now. Enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now you are soooo close to boarding. We will be inboard our 14 and 1/2 hr flight to Sydney on a flat bed see you in Sydney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so very much for posting again for this World Cruise. Each year I have really enjoyed reading your reports. As much as I have cruised I always enjoy reports like yours, love reading them! Thanks again for taking the time to share.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

haven't seen your prior posts before but this one popped up and I'm looking forward to following along :D

 

I'd love to do a world cruise one day (wife actually suggested to try for one when I retire from active duty)

 

 

forgive the new guy questions, but how do the tips/excursions/etc work with these longer voyages?

Edited by Theredofshaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am eagerly awaiting the trip reports on your world cruise. Enjoy your time relaxing in Ft. Lauderdale. Can't wait for your adventure to begin!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ready set go !!!!!

Love your posts from the past and look forward to your adventures! Will be watching the sail away tomorrow!

Enjoy your fantastic cruise, and I will be eagerly waiting to read all!

So glad you guys are back!

Denise :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is my first time reading your World Cruise blog - I read Grumpy and Slinkie's a number of years ago and caught the "I want to do a world cruise too" bug then.

 

I'm excited to read your travels this year, as I have booked the 2017 WC on the Amsterdam. I'm thinking I can learn a whole lot from you over the next few months!!

 

Have FUN!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the perspective of a HAL airport agent (for the past 11 years), I couldn't agree more that cutbacks have lessened the quality of service that we now provide. In years past as an Airport Supervisor, I would typically carry $400+ in cash each ship day to pay SkyCaps. That said, nowadays most guests travel with luggage with wheels, and most guests do not bring as many bags as they did before. Fewer SkyCaps exist due to the low wages/tips that they earn. They tell me that their primary function is to provide wheel chair assistance, not so much luggage help. We no longer pay for luggage carts ($4-5 a piece now) either. But there are other more important issues.

 

Airlines change flight numbers and arrival times several times a year. For example, yesterday of the 80 or so pre-arriving flights for today's MS Veendam turn, 11 of those flight numbers had been changed. Flight numbers are the easiest way we can track you.

Certainly we try to connect the dots between airports and arrival times, too.

Airline staffing is not as helpful to our ground crews as before. Many times we are told that your arrival information is confidential. Years ago we were privy to all of your itinerary. Unless you booked through HAL, I can't access your reservation, flight delays, or lost luggage data. If you have a delayed bag and an airline record number, please share with us. We can collect delayed luggage and get it to the ship if at all possible.

 

The very best thing that I can advise anyone who is reading this post, is to update HAL (or any cruise line) of your flight arrival information a week ahead of your trip. Also, call the 800 phone line to speak to an agent on your day of travel if your flight is delayed or cancelled.

In general most airports have multiple terminals. If you are now on Delta instead of American.....can't you clue us in? We try very hard to be of service to you but we can't be at every luggage carousel, and could I ask that you be patient. Often it might be 5-10 minutes for one of us to get to you. If you need to, please use the airport paging system.

 

David

P.S. Please go ahead and put your cruise luggage tag on your bag before you fly. It helps in many ways. You don't have to put personal info on the tag....just seeing it will promote a response by my staff. We'll do everything possible to get that item to you. We just need ship name if there are several in port that day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From the perspective of a HAL airport agent (for the past 11 years), I couldn't agree more that cutbacks have lessened the quality of service that we now provide. In years past as an Airport Supervisor, I would typically carry $400+ in cash each ship day to pay SkyCaps. That said, nowadays most guests travel with luggage with wheels, and most guests do not bring as many bags as they did before. Fewer SkyCaps exist due to the low wages/tips that they earn. They tell me that their primary function is to provide wheel chair assistance, not so much luggage help. We no longer pay for luggage carts ($4-5 a piece now) either. But there are other more important issues.

 

Airlines change flight numbers and arrival times several times a year. For example, yesterday of the 80 or so pre-arriving flights for today's MS Veendam turn, 11 of those flight numbers had been changed. Flight numbers are the easiest way we can track you.

Certainly we try to connect the dots between airports and arrival times, too.

Airline staffing is not as helpful to our ground crews as before. Many times we are told that your arrival information is confidential. Years ago we were privy to all of your itinerary. Unless you booked through HAL, I can't access your reservation, flight delays, or lost luggage data. If you have a delayed bag and an airline record number, please share with us. We can collect delayed luggage and get it to the ship if at all possible.

 

The very best thing that I can advise anyone who is reading this post, is to update HAL (or any cruise line) of your flight arrival information a week ahead of your trip. Also, call the 800 phone line to speak to an agent on your day of travel if your flight is delayed or cancelled.

In general most airports have multiple terminals. If you are now on Delta instead of American.....can't you clue us in? We try very hard to be of service to you but we can't be at every luggage carousel, and could I ask that you be patient. Often it might be 5-10 minutes for one of us to get to you. If you need to, please use the airport paging system.

 

David

P.S. Please go ahead and put your cruise luggage tag on your bag before you fly. It helps in many ways. You don't have to put personal info on the tag....just seeing it will promote a response by my staff. We'll do everything possible to get that item to you. We just need ship name if there are several in port that day.

Thx for the tips. Good info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Report # 4 First Day in Ft. Lauderdale January 3, 2016 Sunday Cloudy, in the 70’s, and rain 54 Pictures

 

It was a little bit difficult to fall asleep last night, mostly due to the time change for us. With the three hour difference from Pacific to Eastern time, one of us was still wide awake, watching Law and Order at 2am. We used to get TNT years ago, and found that series was addictive. Still do.

 

Trying to get with the correct time, we got up around 7am, and were happy to see that it was going to be a nice day. Or at least this morning was nice. The news people kept saying that a good rain storm was coming. But, living in California, we don’t believe the forecasts that much anymore. We would be wrong.

 

There is a small café up the road, under the freeway overpass, and located in a small strip mall near the hotel. We found it last year quite by accident. So we were happy to find that they were still in business, and crowded as usual. Of course, it was Sunday, and many young families were dining out. There was a row of folding chairs outside this café, but this morning they were empty. We must have hit it just right, because when we left, the chairs were all occupied. Their breakfast entrees were very good, and so were the bottomless cups of coffee. We will definitely go back tomorrow.

 

Our waitress guessed that we were from out of town (the camera was the give-away). She suggested that we visit a nursery, a drive up the freeway from here. She said they had caged birds and an extensive hall of flowers and plants. More of a destination, instead of a typical nursery. Would have been nice, but since we do not have a car, we knew we couldn’t walk that far. We really did need to get in a good walk today, especially after flying all day yesterday.

 

After breakfast, we stopped at the grocery store, Publix, and picked up a few essential dips and chips for our room on the ship. Once we leave here, we won’t be able to buy recognizable brands of food like that. Normally, we stop in Manta, Ecuador, but we are skipping it on this trip. They have very similar products like we buy in the states. We dropped our things off at the hotel, then went for our walk. Or started to, until we ran into friends we recognized from previous trips. It was fun catching up on innocent gossip for an hour. Then as the crowd got bigger, we slipped out the front door. We will see everyone in our group tomorrow evening at the cocktail reception and dinner.

 

There is a large canal that follows the freeway. It is always full of large fish, many types of birds, and reptiles. Almost as good as going to a zoo. We saw egrets, cranes, geese, ducks, cormorants, and one huge iguana. Sneaking up on him, we got some good photos. That is, until he decided we may be a threat, and scampered up a very tall palm tree. Never thought he could haul himself up that tree so quickly. Once he got past the dried palm leaves, he literally disappeared. A master of disguise.

 

The sky was starting to get very dark, and it sure felt like it could rain. When the wind picked up, we knew the forecast had been correct. Back at the hotel, we had planned on spending some time at the pool. But it was not warm enough to do that. We did pull up a few stools at a side table to watch some interesting lizards scurry across the pool decking. There were a few folks sacked out on the lounges, probably sleeping off their jetlag.

 

This was a good time to download photos before heading out for lunch. By now, it was 3pm, and a Caesar salad sounded really appealing at the sports bar. Of course, it is prime football season, and the place was packed. We were lucky to get a booth with a TV across from us. In fact, there must have been at least 20 screens inside this place, and that’s not counting the ones outside at their patio dining. With every touchdown scored, the roof was raised by the noise from the crowd. It was really fun, for a change.

 

It wasn’t long after we got back to the room, that the sky opened up and the rain pounded down hard for a couple of hours. When it rains here, you know it. Then, it cleared up as fast as it came. By 8pm, we walked back to the restaurant for an appetizer dinner. This time, the place was almost empty. Makes sense, since most of the games were over, and tomorrow is a workday. Probably back to school day as well.

 

We have to mention the extreme speed of the free internet at this hotel. For us, it is like heaven, because we have dial-up service at home. Someday we will have to look into satellite internet service, but not when we are traveling as often as we do now. Slow internet teaches us patience, like it or not.

 

Sure hope tomorrow’s weather is not a wet one. If it is, we shall hunt down umbrellas, and walk in the rain we guess. In the afternoon, our travel agency is providing a complimentary shuttle to Broward Mall, a 15 minute drive from here. It has some major department stores, and some restaurants. So at least, it is something to do before the evening’s special event.

 

Will try not to stay up past midnight!

 

Bill & Mary Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like a nice way to spend your first day in FLL - stocking up on supplies, getting in a little walking, etc. Hope you get a better sleep tonight!

 

 

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

Edited by ger_77

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mary Ann many thanks for allowing us to travel with you again. There's another couple taking the same cruise (Pete & Judy) taking the same voyage for the 1st time whom I'm sure you will meet and they are doing a blog too. It's always fun to follow duel "live froms" as it gives different and complete perspectives of the trip.

 

Smooth sailing, Barb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From the perspective of a HAL airport agent (for the past 11 years), I couldn't agree more that cutbacks have lessened the quality of service that we now provide. .... But there are other more important issues.

Thank you so much for your perspective on this. It fills in information I did not know, and refreshes info I did. Both can be put to good use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks for the inside information concerning the airport transfers to the hotels.

 

We have noticed how the process has changed over the years. Now it makes sense that the loss of money to supply carts and airport help has your hands tied. What was missing was communication. Simply someone to let us know the reps are there, somewhere, and will be there to assist shortly. An hour late left us all feeling abandoned and forgotten.

 

One other thing we forgot to mention was that the reps were not wearing their signature red vests or jackets to help us identify them. We only saw small ID cards around their necks.

 

We happened to have two elderly ladies in our group when we arrived that were struggling with their luggage (wheels were well used). At no time did the HAL rep, who was simply holding a clipboard, offer to help them. This fellow was a young guy, who could have given assistance. Since all of our hands were full, we could not help either.

 

They were the ones that got put on the wrong bus, and had to switch to another one, moving their luggage twice. Not happy campers.

 

All is well that ends well, but if this service could be improved, it sure would make a better start for everyone.

 

Thanks for your comments.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hard to believe it's time for another world cruise, I so enjoy reading your posts. Have a wonderful time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to keep the conversation rolling, we have not had red jackets for 6-7 years now. We went to blue shirts and ties at that time in California. Now, we are no longer HAL employees. The shore side contract HAL is currently with Intercruises. (http://www.intercruises.com) Simple white shirts (w/wo black sweaters and slacks/skirts) and blue striped ties/scarves is the requirement. We also provide similar functions for NCL, RCCL, Celebrity, Seabourn, Regent, etc. It all depends on what ship is here, Los Angeles, San Pedro, etc.

At the airport, as much as we want to help with luggage, we can only do so if there is not a SkyCap available. Those folks work 10 hour shifts (4 am to 2 pm/2 pm to midnight). We are not there to steal away their jobs/possible tips. If nobody is nearby, then we do our best to help you out with luggage. We have a very good relationship (with many of us on a first name basis) with airline Baggage Service Office staff as well.

At the pier, we are not allowed to touch any luggage. The ILWU workers will have a "word" for us if we are not careful. There are also strict rules dockside as to who can push wheelchairs, and where.

I'll mention that being put on the wrong bus isn't something that I care to read. Having said that, it sure would be helpful if you traveling folks would know which hotel, ship, or airline you are going to! You wouldn't believe how many times a day I hear "I don't know". Sheraton, Hilton, Westin? I wish I had a dime for every time I've inquired upon disembarkation, as to which airline you are flying and have heard "San Diego" as a reply.

I hope this information is helpful to many of CC readers.

 

The good news is that I'll have Amsterdam daily updates to read....and lots of photos from Jeff and others, too. The bad news is that we don't have another ship day until March when we see you!

 

Have a great World Cruise.

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just to keep the conversation rolling, we have not had red jackets for 6-7 years now. We went to blue shirts and ties at that time in California. Now, we are no longer HAL employees. The shore side contract HAL is currently with Intercruises. (http://www.intercruises.com) Simple white shirts (w/wo black sweaters and slacks/skirts) and blue striped ties/scarves is the requirement. We also provide similar functions for NCL, RCCL, Celebrity, Seabourn, Regent, etc. It all depends on what ship is here, Los Angeles, San Pedro, etc.

At the airport, as much as we want to help with luggage, we can only do so if there is not a SkyCap available. Those folks work 10 hour shifts (4 am to 2 pm/2 pm to midnight). We are not there to steal away their jobs/possible tips. If nobody is nearby, then we do our best to help you out with luggage. We have a very good relationship (with many of us on a first name basis) with airline Baggage Service Office staff as well.

At the pier, we are not allowed to touch any luggage. The ILWU workers will have a "word" for us if we are not careful. There are also strict rules dockside as to who can push wheelchairs, and where.

I'll mention that being put on the wrong bus isn't something that I care to read. Having said that, it sure would be helpful if you traveling folks would know which hotel, ship, or airline you are going to! You wouldn't believe how many times a day I hear "I don't know". Sheraton, Hilton, Westin? I wish I had a dime for every time I've inquired upon disembarkation, as to which airline you are flying and have heard "San Diego" as a reply.

I hope this information is helpful to many of CC readers.

 

The good news is that I'll have Amsterdam daily updates to read....and lots of photos from Jeff and others, too. The bad news is that we don't have another ship day until March when we see you!

 

Have a great World Cruise.

David

 

I'm amazed at how confused folks are about what hotels they are going to. I've seen it first hand.

 

I'm beginning to wonder what benefit Hal transfers and hotels are. I used to use them exclusively but I got tired of waiting forever to leave the airport. I've booked a Hal hotel for April because I have no idea what the exchange is going to be if I book independently. It's pricey for the hotel but it's in cdn dollars and that important right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm amazed at how confused folks are about what hotels they are going to. I've seen it first hand.

 

.

 

Not just hotels & airlines ... ships as well! Some people don't have a clue ... "it's one of the big ones" "it's got a blue logo" "it's Royal something, I think" "my husband made the arrangements, I just follow him" .. we've heard all of those!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...