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Btimmer

Almost Live: Maasdam - Seattle to Sydney 2019

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20 hours ago, erewhon said:

Catching up with your reports.

So, if you are on a HAL excursion do yuneed to get a Russian visa.?

No Russian visa is needed for HAL tours.  For private shore excursions, a tour voucher with names and passport numbers is required.  This must be acquired before arrival.  One cannot just walk off the ship and book a tour.

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On 8/23/2019 at 2:17 AM, bcummin said:

What was the eagle in the photo?  A Russian eagle??

Barbara

Yes, but I'm not a birder so I don't know the species.

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8am and we're anchored off Korsakov (about an hour behind schedule) .  It remains to be seen whether we'll tender ashore.  Immigration officials are on board.  The winds and waves were strong over night with lots of motion in the ocean.  It's presently hazy with 6 foot swells.  The captain reported a few minutes ago that he is evaluating whether it is safe to tender.

 

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At 8:35am, the Captain has just announced the cancellation of our tender port stop at Korsakov.  We have 35 knot winds and 6 foot swells.  We'll depart our anchorage in about 1/2 hour.

 

Here's our view:

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Btimmer said:

Yes, but I'm not a birder so I don't know the species.

 

Thanks.  It certainly was a fierce-looking eagle.  Our Bald Eagle is more elegant.

 

Sorry that Korsakov was canceled, but glad that you did get to visit two weeks ago.

The Ainu people had a fishing port there centuries ago, but the Japanese from islands farther south were their overlords.  Then Russian history intervened.

I would have liked to hear Terry Greenberg talk about the Ainu people.  I did not always agree with his opinions, but he did make me think.  I would also want to hear his opinions about what is happening in Hong Kong.

 

Glad that you got to enjoy Vladivostok so much again.  The people in Russia seem friendly and welcoming. 

Thanks for taking us along.

 

Barbara 

Edited by bcummin

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The immigration authorities are off the ship and we're about to get underway.

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4 hours ago, Btimmer said:

No Russian visa is needed for HAL tours.  For private shore excursions, a tour voucher with names and passport numbers is required.  This must be acquired before arrival.  One cannot just walk off the ship and book a tour.

 

Thank you for your reply.

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We had a great day in Otaru after the immigration circus  (not HAL's fault).  It was another nice send off. Even the seagulls got in the act.22A34A3D-6111-4F75-AA26-8BA30842FF99.thumb.jpeg.886d5f48b10dd5883e468fcd0786092f.jpeg3A1AF77A-7C33-4C66-8AF7-717AE66DF2BE.thumb.jpeg.d4720fcae314d571001e98e1ba57b20f.jpeg

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Glad you had a nice day in Otaru.  Can hardly wait to read your blog (when you get a chance to update it) about your "immigration circus".

 

Great picture.

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On 8/25/2019 at 11:06 AM, Btimmer said:

We had a great day in Otaru after the immigration circus  (not HAL's fault).  It was another nice send off. Even the seagulls got in the act.

Thank you for all of your useful information, especially regarding the immigration process in Otaru. We will have a similar itinerary next year, also Otaru after Vladivostok, so we just do our own thing in Otaru, in stead of biting off fingernails when stressing to get off for a private excursion. We intend to relax and sit through the immigration process and avoid any stress that way.

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Interesting procedure for your immigration.  That lunch looks good and very large for us -- cute name -- Snoopy Cafe.

 

Glad you got your promised shipboard credit, etc., for your missed ports.

 

Great report and pictures.

 

 

 

 

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82BCC704-76CA-4C7A-BD8F-772AC996A4FA.thumb.jpeg.a596cf2c7f590f96e17347a6850b7c08.jpegHakodate has been wonderful.  We got out  and went up Mt Hakodate by Ropeway and hiked down the mountain on foot.  

 

173648B0-3A12-4C21-9248-AE206DC5B9AE.thumb.jpeg.1808b1d9a93ff930d6642ba2ded624d8.jpeg

 

Making the way to our tram we encountered a small auto repair shop with some classic Chevrolets (a '59 and a '63).

 

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Then we took the tram to the other end of its route to see the monkeys at the botanical garden.

 

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If I might ask since you've been on the Maasdam for quite a few weeks now, roughly how many EXC In-Depth lectures are there on average on each sea day (e.g., one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the main theater after dinner) and are they interesting? Since we'll be on her starting Oct 7th for 40 days and are looking forward to their new In-Depth EXC format, we're very curious to hear how their presentations are.

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Me too, please! I'll be boarding Maasdam on Sept. 26 for 22 days and would like to hear about life onboard. I haven't been on Maasdam for a number of years, and would love to learn more about the new format.

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5 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

If I might ask since you've been on the Maasdam for quite a few weeks now, roughly how many EXC In-Depth lectures are there on average on each sea day (e.g., one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the main theater after dinner) and are they interesting? Since we'll be on her starting Oct 7th for 40 days and are looking forward to their new In-Depth EXC format, we're very curious to hear how their presentations are.

Ken,

 

We've been on the Maasdam off and on for over 5 months during the past year since the start of the new format.  So I think I have a fair perspective on what goes on.

 

On sea days there are typically a coffee chat at 9am with a presenter, a lecture or food demonstration by a guest chef at 10, 11, 1, 1:30, & 3.  Sometimes at the 1 and 1:30 time slots one has to choose what to attend. At 6:30 and 8:30pm there is a repeated Evening Insight which is a shorter presentation in the theatre.  Then many nights (not just sea days) in the Crow's Nest there are what us veterans call bedtime stories (Voyager).

 

Presenters are chosen for their specific area of expertise: culinary, history or culture, photography, and scientific.  We've had no fewer than one presenter per area of expertise, and sometimes more than one.  Currently we have 4 for the second  14 day segment.  There will be added at least one more as a WWII specialist for the Yokohama to Sydney segment starting tomorrow 8/28.  Our zoologist, Dan Orenstein, and Asian specialist, Terry Greenberg, will be staying on and we'll get new presenters to add to the team.  

 

All of the presenters speak to the issues of the region the ship is traveling in; and for the most part are very, very good.  Additionally, they wear distinctive lanyards and can be approached on the ship for one on one questions plus after every session they adjourn to an area outside the Wajang theatre for questions.

 

I hope this addresses your question.  We LOVE the format!  

 

PS: a tip is that you need to get to the venue at least 1/2 hour before the talk in order to get a good seat and I recommend the blue benches over the orange chairs.

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Posted (edited)

Oh, and there is evening entertainment at 7:30 and 9:30pm using outsiders (singers, musicians, comedians, etc.) including local talent if available.  There are no cast show singers and dancers.

Edited by Btimmer

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Btimmer said:

Ken,

 

We've been on the Maasdam off and on for over 5 months during the past year since the start of the new format.  So I think I have a fair perspective on what goes on.

 

On sea days there are typically a coffee chat at 9am with a presenter, a lecture or food demonstration by a guest chef at 10, 11, 1, 1:30, & 3.  Sometimes at the 1 and 1:30 time slots one has to choose what to attend. At 6:30 and 8:30pm there is a repeated Evening Insight which is a shorter presentation in the theatre.  Then many nights (not just sea days) in the Crow's Nest there are what us veterans call bedtime stories (Voyager).

 

Presenters are chosen for their specific area of expertise: culinary, history or culture, photography, and scientific.  We've had no fewer than one presenter per area of expertise, and sometimes more than one.  Currently we have 4 for the second  14 day segment.  There will be added at least one more as a WWII specialist for the Yokohama to Sydney segment starting tomorrow 8/28.  Our zoologist, Dan Orenstein, and Asian specialist, Terry Greenberg, will be staying on and we'll get new presenters to add to the team.  

 

All of the presenters speak to the issues of the region the ship is traveling in; and for the most part are very, very good.  Additionally, they wear distinctive lanyards and can be approached on the ship for one on one questions plus after every session they adjourn to an area outside the Wajang theatre for questions.

 

I hope this addresses your question.  We LOVE the format!  

 

PS: a tip is that you need to get to the venue at least 1/2 hour before the talk in order to get a good seat and I recommend the blue benches over the orange chairs.

Thanks! That's just what we were hoping you would say. Kind of a mix, depending on your interests.

Edited by Ken the cruiser

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Posted (edited)

Sorry to hear immigration was a circus,  in April we waited over two hours lined up in the hallways.  So frustrating and then the buses to town had quit running and we had to walk a long way through the industrial port area.  And then Hal EXC personnel on the dock had NO idea how to get to town.  I Hope your experience was better.  We felt that HALs coordination with the port re busing left a LOT to be desired!  Loved the port though,  and my gorgeous inlaid jewellery box. 

Edited by bennybear

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Thanks again, Tim, for posting so much for us to enjoy on your blog.

 

Twice in the last few weeks you have sailed round trips east of North Korea where missals have been tested and shot into the sea.  Were you aware of any security concerns sailing through these waters?

I am remembering the security measures taken when sailing through pirate waters between Mumbai and the Suez Canal.

 

Barbara

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