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About zentraveler

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  1. And BTW cabins ready 11:30 sharp. Not sure when luggage came. We had a cabin glitch and were out until 5. Luggage in by 5 and probably much earlier.
  2. We were so dreading the process that I wanted to let people know that it was quite easy. There were three large ships inport and it still ran like a Swiss watch. I could’ve done without standing in line for the stupid Photos which they will want people to buy later. we were so dreading the process that I wanted to let people know that it was quite easy. There were three large ships import and it still ran like a Swiss watch. I could’ve done without standing in line for the photos which they will want people to buy later (and I checked, no bypass lane for this ). And we didn’t test it out, so I don’t know about the whole you need your global entry card instead of just your passport information. If I had it to do again, I would embark in Seattle. Flying into Vancouver was the same headache it seems to be flying into any foreign country, although far better than some places. All of the planes seem to land at the same time and you spend endless minutes sneaking through various lines to finally find your luggage and then face lines for everything else. For the YVR the cab line was about a half a mile long and we bailed and went with a black car called Aero Car that was waiting right there. It ended up being about $65 Canadian including the tip but was worth pay an extra 20+ dollars US We also stayed at the Sheraton Wall Center whose rate had dropped by about half since we booked it and they honored the new rate of $195 Canadian . Hope this helps future cruises for the rest of the summer !
  3. Exceedingly smooth. Arrived Canada port 10 am and we moved like a Swiss swatch all the way to the first hold up which was an obligatory line for photos - the photos were not obligatory and we skipped them. Then we sat for a few minutes until we boarded. No line for customs - boarded11 am. Bring global entry card — not just passport as we were told by staff. I had mine but DH did not but no line so was OK.
  4. Thanks for this information. We got some not very attractive upgrade offers, but my husband was very dedicated to keeping an inside room so we could sleep well given the light at the time of the year. But really helpful to hear people’s experiences with various booking sites.
  5. We are from San Francisco also and getting on the same boat on Friday! We are always hesitant to fly the day of embarkation so are flying in on Thursday and staying near the terminal. We will be mid-ship deck 6. Appreciate the review and tips about the restaurants gym. Were you happy with the travel company you picked? Any idea how much you saved on the price? What kind of perks did they offer? (OBC etc.)
  6. This is all extremely useful. Thanks yerdua and kwb101. I have been using a big online consolidator, but it seems like a big box TA might be even better. And I live in a city with a cruise port and a great airport so time to retire!
  7. Not sure what the Dive in by the pool is but sounds fun and thanks for tip on lunch. I now remember about your drive from hell. Glad the way home was easier! This board is full of all these great tips. Thanks.
  8. We bought 100 shares years ago for the OBC and because cruising overall is here to stay for a while, and we have been on Seabourn, Cunard and next week HAL. Flexibly company in terms of cruising. Could be a buying opportunity for HAL fans who cruise a lot.
  9. nw gardener, was there lunch in the MDR on embarkation day? Would like to avoid the Lido rush if MDR is likely to be an option. We leave 6/29!
  10. Since we are talking coffee and this is a cruise to Alaska, Raven's Brew is a fabulous Alaska brand that we discovered in a small town in Alaska after a 2 week rafting trip down the Tatshenshini River from the Yukon into Alaska: https://www.ravensbrewcoffee.com/our-coffee/. Fabulous coffee and even better names.Deadman's Reach is our favorite but they are all good. It was started in Ketchikan. We mail order it.
  11. Clearly I found the right group of people to ask and just my style traveling! There is usually a strategy for getting what you need if you pay attention, so thanks for the tips and a heads up on places in the ship to look. I live in San Francisco and here in foodie heaven it really is hard to find bad coffee. There are the Blue Bottle type places on every corner it seems and one would go out of business anywhere serving bad coffee 😊.
  12. Thanks Cruising-along. I am generally not very persnickety and assume it will be good enough, but there just seemed to be so many comments! Also love strong coffee so undoubtedly should be fine.
  13. Would like to know also. In addition to the regular categories (innside, OV, veranda etc) there are other factors - hence all those colors of the same category on the deck plans, i.e. larger insides, better balconies). And they don't list the prices like that but just by category. How do we find apple to apple prices??
  14. We are on the Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day Alaska out of Vancouver at the end of June. A short 2 weeks from now 😎! It is our first HAL cruise. so of course, I am spending time reading up on all the wisdom from the pros here. Is the coffee on these ships really that bad? And does it matter which boat you are on, or is this system wide? I realize I keep stumbling into many comments here and there in more general HAL reviews about how bad the coffee is. My experience is that coffee quality has a decent margin or error (i.e. most people not big connoisseurs and are fine with mostly what they get), which makes me think that it must be bad enough to stick in people's minds. Or HAL cruisers are real coffee connoisseurs. Since I appreciate my 1-2 cups in the morning a lot should I be prepared to switch to tea? Are there better places than others on NA to get a good early morning coffee? (since I am paying for the food/beverage part of the trip would prefer not to have to buy it, but also fine) I also often travel with mini-moos because I truly hate artificial coffee "whitener" or coffee-mate. (I buy them for $10 for 128 through a big box retailer and they are truly handy for traveling.) Do I need to bring a few of those?
  15. Grateful for such a helpful trip review nw gardener. Thank you for taking the time to share your trip with us and give a sneak preview to all of the readers who will read this in advance of their own trip, or as a way of enjoying the experience vicariously!
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