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Experiences on our 40 day Maasdam cruise which started Oct 7, 2019

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Ken the cruiser:  "Yes and no. Yes, they have had some lectures that have included some of the various explorers, especially with regards to Captain James Cook. They also had one about how some aborigines near Darwin traded goods, especially sea cucumbers, with the Dutch and some islanders west of PNG during the spice trading days.

They also had a few talks about the indigenous people, but not aborigines, that live on the islands in the Torres Straits in and around Thursday Island. But so far they have mostly been about coral, fish, bats, tropical rain forests, photography and some very in-depth port lectures given by Kay, our Cruise and Travel Director. In fact she gave such a good one about Komodo Island today, she is giving it again tomorrow because there wasn’t enough room in the theater for everyone to attend it today." 

 

Your lectures sound superb.  The In-Depth spirit is alive and well.  Embroidering your current territory.  

Kay is wonderful.  I am thrilled that she has been promoted.  She truly cared that our voyage went well.

Barbara

Edited by bcummin

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7 hours ago, ScottishMaid said:

Is this Kay, the lady from New Zealand who was formerly an EXC guide on the Maasdam? She is very enthusiastic about the program.

Also do you still have Captain Arno Jutten and Hotel Director Florin Dragomir? If not who are the current Captain and hotel director?

Enjoying all your information as we will be back on board in January.

I believe you are correct as Kay just started as Cruise and Travel Director when we got on in Auckland. The hotel director is still Florin, but we must have a new Captain as his name is Rian Whitaker from the UK. 

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On 10/27/2019 at 11:49 PM, Ken the cruiser said:

Yes, there have been between 4-5 lectures on each of the 7 sea days so far with no repeats yet on the 30 day circumnavigation leg we’re on right now. 
 

As far as the zodiac excursions go, we have not booked any of them, but they are being offered and folks are going on them. However, we haven’t personally talked with anyone that has gone on any of them. Usually they involve cruising along the shoreline, snorkeling and going to a beach which just doesn’t interest us. I believe they have 10 working zodiacs, so capacity shouldn’t be an issue. I think we saw 3-4 in the water when we were at Mystery Island. 

In North Australia they call Zodiacs'' Croc (crocodile) Biscuits'

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2 minutes ago, JMAUST said:

In North Australia they call Zodiacs'' Croc (crocodile) Biscuits'

 

😱

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Had a great time on Komodo Island today on our 2 hr walk.  We wound up seeing 6 dragons which was pretty cool.
 

Unfortunately it wasn’t fun for everyone as it was in the mid 80s with very high humidity. One lady on another tour was carried back down the trail on a stretcher and a few others along the way had to be helped back to the pier as it was pretty toasty. 
 

An interesting thing about Komodo Island is in order to go ashore, you had to either be on a HAL excursion or a private excursion which had to be verified before you were allowed to even leave the ship. No one was allowed to just walk around the park unescorted or simply hangout on the beach. 

Edited by Ken the cruiser

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15 minutes ago, erewhon said:

Thanks for your updates.

Were the dragons lying under trees at the end of the two hour walk?

Actually about 1/3 the way in we came to a watering hole where 2 big males were laying under a tree and a couple of medium size males were walking around. Then after looking at a nest, we saw another big one laying under some very shady trees that eventually moved on as it was getting tired of having his picture taken. We also saw a small one, about 1 year old, at the end of the pier when we first arrived.

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5 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Actually about 1/3 the way in we came to a watering hole where 2 big males were laying under a tree and a couple of medium size males were walking around. Then after looking at a nest, we saw another big one laying under some very shady trees that eventually moved on as it was getting tired of having his picture taken. We also saw a small one, about 1 year old, at the end of the pier when we first arrived.

 

Thanks for your reply.

Your dragon experience was more varied than ours.

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20 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:


 

An interesting thing about Komodo Island is in order to go ashore, you had to either be on a HAL excursion or a private excursion which had to be verified before you were allowed to even leave the ship. No one was allowed to just walk around the park unescorted or simply hangout on the beach. 

It's been that way for a long time Ken. 

 

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1 hour ago, erewhon said:

 

Thanks for your reply.

Your dragon experience was more varied than ours.

We were talking to some folks at lunch today who were in the group behind us. They told us the two medium size dragons got in a fight later on where both of them were standing on their hind legs.

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Glad you had a good visit to Komodo Island.

I have read that they are planning to allow fewer visitors next year.

What did you hear?

Barbara

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15 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

We were talking to some folks at lunch today who were in the group behind us. They told us the two medium size dragons got in a fight later on where both of them were standing on their hind legs.

 

That would have been worth seeing, hope they got some photos.

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If any of you are interested in booking a Club Orange cabin in the future, here are some answers to some of the booking questions we had that we just got back from our HAL PCC of many years. 

1. Does the free stateroom upgrade from the cheapest cabin in the meta category apply to vista suites and/or signature suites, depending on the ship?
A: It applies to both Vista and Signature. How high of a category you can upgrade to is subject to availability. 

2. If you upgrade an existing booking to CO, do you have to pay the complete charge for CO at the time you sign up for it?
A: It depends on when CO is added and what type of promotion you're booked with. If it's a non-refundable deposit promo, CO is due at the time of adding it and the upgrade cost is non-refundable. Adding CO any time after final payment obviously requires payment at the time. 

3. Is the CO fee nonrefundable, if we decide later on to cancel the entire booking prior to the final payment due date, or is it also refundable?
A: It depends on whether or not the promotion you're booked with is a restricted fare with a non-refundable deposit. I think maybe the best general rule, is to add CO after the final payment date/cancel fee date, if at all. 

4. If the overall price of the cabin subsequently goes down or new promotions become available which makes economical sense to refare the booking to take advantage of those changes, can we refare the now CO booking or does the entire booking become nonrefundable at that time of the CO purchase?
A: You can only refare prior to when cancel fees begin. Cancel fees begin immediately, whenever a booking is made with a restricted fare/non-refundable deposit promo. So again, depends on the type of promotion you're booked with and also when you try to make this change. 

5: If the upgrade perk applies to a vista suite, do we get to pick the cabin we’re being upgraded to or will it be a guarantee cabin determined just prior to departure? For example, let’s say we would like to upgrade our CO cabin to an aft-facing VB cabin with a large balcony rather than a VA, can we do that or does it have to be a VA cabin, no exceptions?
A: If room(s) are available to select in the category you're upgrading to, you can choose. If not, you will be booked as a guarantee. You do not have to upgrade to the highest category in the meta, so if VA is the highest, but you wish to be in a VB location, you can do that.

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9 hours ago, bcummin said:

Glad you had a good visit to Komodo Island.

I have read that they are planning to allow fewer visitors next year.

What did you hear?

Barbara

We had heard in August via a CC post they were going to shut down tourism for a year starting Jan 2020. However, in September from what we read via a Google search from the naturalists onboard, the Indonesian government has decided not to do that and will just tweak some procedures to better protect the island rather than shutting down tourism all together for a year. But, again, this is just what we’ve been hearing onboard and recently read online. But as with anything it can all change tomorrow. 

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Today we were in Broome which is just south of the Kimberly area in northwestern Australia. Can’t say it was our favorite port, but it was definitely different than the other Australia ports we’ve stopped at so far. We did a 1.5 hr city highlights tour and we pretty much saw what we needed to see. As you may have noticed, I don’t post a lot of pictures, but here is one I took from the back of the ship as we were landing which pretty much gives you a taste of the local topography. 

A21EDA54-6162-431C-9F23-1E4FA4CA52A5.jpeg

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Nice photo.  Thanks.

Broome is a unique remote location that not everyone gets to visit.  Our tour guide shared his Aboriginal / Filippino ancestry with us and welcomed us with open arms.  We ate fish & rice soup from his mother's recipe in the cafe where his father was performing original music.  I loved seeing his friendly young children sitting nearby and examining this new batch of tourists.

I also enjoyed a bookstore, but the desolate hot & dry countryside was hard to appreciate.

Barbara

Edited by bcummin

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8 hours ago, bcummin said:

Nice photo.  Thanks.

Broome is a unique remote location that not everyone gets to visit.  Our tour guide shared his Aboriginal / Filippino ancestry with us and welcomed us with open arms.  We ate fish & rice soup from his mother's recipe in the cafe where his father was performing original music.  I loved seeing his friendly young children sitting nearby and examining this new batch of tourists.

I also enjoyed a bookstore, but the desolate hot & dry countryside was hard to appreciate.

Barbara

Sounds like you had a memorable time. We had an old white truck driver from Victoria who doubled as the driver and tour guide and told us he no clue why the Japanese cemetery was there. He also shared his personal somewhat negative views about the aboriginal people in the area which continued to also make our tour a memorial one, just not in a positive way. 

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Ken, your tour probably cost a lot less than mine did.

Part of the history of Broome was the pearl diving business.  Japanese were good divers, so they came and lived and died there.  Other nationalities probably came for jobs too.

I see a lot of historic similarities between Native Americans here in the USA and the native Aborigines in Australia.  My personal opinion is that the Russian Orthodox Church did a better job in Alaska with the Natives.  So did the New Zealand settlers.  Enough opinions.

Barbara

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33 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Sounds like you had a memorable time. We had an old white truck driver from Victoria who doubled as the driver and tour guide and told us he no clue why the Japanese cemetery was there. He also shared his personal somewhat negative views about the aboriginal people in the area which continued to also make our tour a memorial one, just not in a positive way. 

Sorry to hear your experience was memorable one for the wrong reason. Have been to Broome on many occasions and love the history of the area. It is such a multi cultural town as a result of pearling which is still very profitable. There is also some interesting history around WW2 and the bombing of Broome. It is also a great starting point for tours of the Kimberleys which has some amazing natural features and Aboriginal rock art.

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Broome is on Roebuck Bay at the southern end of the Kimberley region & the northern edge of the Great Sandy Desert.

The bay is named for HMS Roebuck in 1699 - commanded by William Dampier an ex buccaneer on Privateer Cygnet when he became the first Englishman to set foot in Australia in 1688.

Broome is also the centre of Australias Pearl industry undertaken in the waters to the north.

The very large tides in the area make berthing in Broome , tide dependant, not only because of the depth but speed of the current.

 

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1 hour ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Sounds like you had a memorable time. We had an old white truck driver from Victoria who doubled as the driver and tour guide and told us he no clue why the Japanese cemetery was there. He also shared his personal somewhat negative views about the aboriginal people in the area which continued to also make our tour a memorial one, just not in a positive way. 

Sounds like you got taken for a ride Ken......in more ways than one 😊

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9 minutes ago, cranethie said:

Sounds like you got taken for a ride Ken......in more ways than one 😊

LOL! And it was only $69.95 pp for 90 minutes! Such a deal!

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