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richwmn

Noordam - A Passage to New Zealand

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On 10/30/2019 at 11:33 AM, Copper10-8 said:

 

Noordam IS, rather unusually, scheduled for another two-week drydock late next year, this time in Singapore, from 23 November - 07 December

Thanks, Copper.  Good to know.  Maybe they'll finish the update to the space that used to be Northern Lights and make cosmetic changes in the cabins.

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OMG, chilled blueberry soup!  One of my favorites that I haven't seen on a menu in ages.  I requested it during my last cruise with Ship Services before leaving home.  Yes, I received it one night during the cruise, but it arrived with chunks of ice floating in it and was absolutely tasteless.  Of course, it had been frozen, which ruined it.  I was so disappointed I wanted to cry.  Good to know they still serve it on at least one cruise.  Not that it's doing us who love it any good as we sit here at home with our taste buds in overdrive.

 

Rich, I'll have to stop reading the menu that you so kindly post.  I'm reaching for my comfort foods (chocolate candy bars of any type) far too often to relieve my cravings for some of those menu items.

 

Glad you had a rain-free day in Fiji today (sorry, yesterday for you by now).  Lovely photos.  Thanks again for taking time from your cruise to let us "tag along."  

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22 hours ago, Saintdome said:

Could you post pictures of the cabins?  It is my understanding that they refurbished the suites in this last drydock. We would really like to see pictures of the cabins and suites. Glad you’re having a wonderful trip!It is my understanding that they refurbished the suites in this last ride dock. We would really like to see pictures of the cabins and suites. Glad you’re having a wonderful trip!

I am not in a suite. On day one I posted pictures of my cabin to http://halfacts.com/vista-class/4084-noordam/.

@zelker who is in 7060 said that her suite looks identical to http://halfacts.com/vista-class/7060-zuiderdam/ other than things like the pictures on the wall

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Thank you so very much for the reply!  We're booked in a Neptune suite in May on the Noordam.  Glad to hear they have upgraded the furnishings to that of some of her sisters in the fleet.  Again, thank you so much.

 

Geoff

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Good morning from Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji.

We will be docking shortly.

Today's Actifities:

 

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It's interesting to see the menus, was pleased to see the chilled blueberry soup listed.

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Today our port was Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji. As with Savu, this area is a
  study in contrast. The island itself is beautiful. Some areas are still
  recovering from a hurricane in 2017. Housing runs from what looks like
  mobile homes, to some very nice well constructed houses. The people are
  very nice and easy to get along with. The weather was pleasant, the two
  hour drive was very nice.


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Today is the 12th sea day out of 20.

Here are today's activities

 

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Edited by richwmn

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A note on internet access.

I have paid for internet access, first by the minute and now unlimited, since it was first introduced. Overall, it has not been too bad considering that it is a sat link to a moving ship at sea. For the past few plane flights, I have also used the inflight WiFi service. I would rate the airline WiFi service a little bit better than the ship.

When the unlimited tiers started I purchased the top tier for several cruise.Then for a couple I purchased the middle tier and found that it met my needs. In general I have no interest in streaming audio or video on the ship. This cruise was a bit different in that we were offered the premium tier in advance for just a little more than the middle tier. Also, I had two events that I might want to watch part of.

Two weeks ago the first stream went fine. To be honest, we were docked in Honolulu so that most people were off the ship and the ship was not in motion. Today, for about 15 minutes I had more buffering than streaming. Of course we are at sea and everyone is aboard.

I doubt I will buy the premium package again, unless the advance price is a bit better. I don't think streaming, at least at this point, is a viable option. Other ships in other areas your experience may be better.

 

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Additionally to my above post on internet.

When I returned from breakfast, I tried the stream again and it was better. Maybe fewer people were online at that point

 

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On 10/29/2019 at 6:19 PM, sevenseasnomad said:

The drapes and upholstery were the same in 2008 as well. 

 

BTW, the photos of the cabins showed the same drapes and upholstery as we had on our cruise in 2011.  When will HAL replace this tired pattern for a more up-to-date look?  I should take heart that the older TVs have been replaced.  It appears that Noordam probably needs another drydock to finish the job, IMO. 

 

Edited by LMM1801

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A note on currency.

The first couple of stops on this trip used USD as their main currency, so really no problem at all.

Fiji was the first that had a different currency. Many people on CC push getting local currency prior to boarding the ship. In the case of Fiji it really isn't necessary. First, at both of the docked locations a bank representative set up to exchange currency at a relatively good rate. In addition, another bank was set up on shore at the first stop. I didn't notice them at the final stop.

But more importantly, each place I stopped quoted me the price first in USD and seemed a bit surprised that I had Fiji dollars. In addition, I was able to pay for one item with a combination of both. The exchange rate quoted by the merchants was close to what I had seen when I checked.

 

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Today marks the end of the first half of this cruise. In total there have been 12 sea days and 8 ports. That number will change for the second half.

Tonight's Gala Night Menus

 

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Tonight's Entertainment - Oz Boyz

Three guys from Melbourne that don't stop moving for the 45 minutes or so they are on stage. While they said their show was '50's and '60's, I think they extended into the '70's. All three are very good singers and worked well together. The choreography is solid and well executed. Overall a very good show.
 

 

Now a word about The Band. Four guys that stay on the ship and play backup for the various singing acts. Both Annie Francis and the Oz Boyz mentioned that they had only met the backup band a few hours before the first show and had only 1 short run thru with them. Despite that, the Band performed admirably for all the acts that required them.

 

 

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That Gala Dinner Menu looked wonderful.  Too many interesting choices, actually!

 

And it was especially terrific to see some really appealing Gluten Free items already offered.

(DH was very recently diagnosed with celiac disease, and a bad case of it.  "Who knew!?"  We were really surprised.  It was discovered during another procedure, and then further tests confirmed that was the underlying problem.  So it was a very abrupt, and strict, dietary change.  At least these days, there do tend to be good offerings, but this menu looks *really* good 🙂 )

 

I sure hope that some of these special items/preparations will be on our cruise in a few weeks!

 

Thanks for posting all of this!

 

GC

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Rich,

Thanks for the internet info; I have found that my experience is very similar to yours on ships.  I don't stream media as a rule with very few exceptions.  I also use the mid tier package and found that I could place WiFi calls back home from the ship (in the Gulf of Alaska and off the coast of Peru) with little trouble, which did surprise me.  Wondering if you've attempted same.  Keep enjoying!

Edited by 0bnxshs

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6 hours ago, 0bnxshs said:

Rich,

Thanks for the internet info; I have found that my experience is very similar to yours on ships.  I don't stream media as a rule with very few exceptions.  I also use the mid tier package and found that I could place WiFi calls back home from the ship (in the Gulf of Alaska and off the coast of Peru) with little trouble, which did surprise me.  Wondering if you've attempted same.  Keep enjoying!

Over the years I have had some pretty good success using the ship's WiFi for phone calls. I have Vonage, What'sap, and now WiFi calling with T-Mobile. I have used each with both the Surf and Premium Ship WiFi. One thing to be aware of, T-Mobile's WiFi calling is different between ships. A couple of months ago I happened to call a friend on Maasdam from home, not realizing he was on a cruise. He had his phone connected to the ship's WiFi, it rang and he answered. When he received his bill he found he was charged the standard T-Mobile 25 cents per minute for overseas calls. In chatting with a CSR prior to this cruise I was told Noordam would be free because the system was different. We'll see when I get my next bill.

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Today we are at Lifou Island, New Caledonia. Lifou is a tender port and tendering will begin shortly.

Activities for today are attached.

 

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46 minutes ago, richwmn said:

Over the years I have had some pretty good success using the ship's WiFi for phone calls. I have Vonage, What'sap, and now WiFi calling with T-Mobile. I have used each with both the Surf and Premium Ship WiFi. One thing to be aware of, T-Mobile's WiFi calling is different between ships. A couple of months ago I happened to call a friend on Maasdam from home, not realizing he was on a cruise. He had his phone connected to the ship's WiFi, it rang and he answered. When he received his bill he found he was charged the standard T-Mobile 25 cents per minute for overseas calls. In chatting with a CSR prior to this cruise I was told Noordam would be free because the system was different. We'll see when I get my next bill.

I sincerely hope the information CSR provided is spot on and that the bill isn't outlandishly expensive.  Some passengers we met over the years have told horror stories of cell bills for which they weren't prepared.  Usually, it's first-time cruisers who never thought to check with their providers.  

Edited by sevenseasnomad

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20 minutes ago, sevenseasnomad said:

I sincerely hope the information CSR provided is spot on and that the bill isn't outlandishly expensive.  Some passengers we met over the years have told horror stories of cell bills for which they weren't prepared.  Usually, it's first-time cruisers who never thought to check with their providers.  

I have used mostly Vonage, which I know from past experience will be free. If I am charged by T-Mobile it will be less than $5 for the amount of time I have used it. I know about the outlandish bills some have received. I accidently got a $6 charge because I turned off airplane mode too early and got a VM notification that I answered without noticing the carrier.

 

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4 minutes ago, richwmn said:

I have used mostly Vonage, which I know from past experience will be free. If I am charged by T-Mobile it will be less than $5 for the amount of time I have used it. I know about the outlandish bills some have received. I accidently got a $6 charge because I turned off airplane mode too early and got a VM notification that I answered without noticing the carrier.

 

Oops!  Yeah, those bills can add up quickly, and some newbies may not appreciate that fact.  Worse, they may believe calling from the ship or downloading information from their phones in the middle of an ocean is included in their plan.  For some, it may be, but for most, I would think not.  What a sober awakening to open the next phone bill and discover $$$$ owed.

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1 hour ago, sevenseasnomad said:

Oops!  Yeah, those bills can add up quickly, and some newbies may not appreciate that fact.  Worse, they may believe calling from the ship or downloading information from their phones in the middle of an ocean is included in their plan.  For some, it may be, but for most, I would think not.  What a sober awakening to open the next phone bill and discover $$$$ owed.

The important distinction here is VOIP (which can use WiFi) calling and Cell Calling.  Vonage is a VOIP service and generally does not play in the Cell calling arena (although the app may hop on the Cell service if used from a smartphone if it can't find an internet connection, maybe Rich would know).  T-Mobile offers, as do most of the other big cell phone carriers, what is called WiFi calling that plays with their Cell calling services and will switch to the best mode available.  Typically, with the Cellular At Sea cell calling service on board all HAL ships, it will be Cell calling.

 

You can force your phone to use only WiFi calling by being sure you place the phone in "airplane mode" and then turning on only WiFi service.  Your settings for calling should be set to "prefer WiFi" in this case.  Since Cell service won't be available (as you turned it off) it will default to, and stay on, WiFi service.  Rich's friend on the Maasdam may not have done all this and his call to him likely got to Maasdam and his friend's phone over the Cellular At Sea system.

Edited by 0bnxshs

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