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TN Fem

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  1. TN Fem

    Cuba & Eastern Caribbean cruise

    We booked a private tour for Cienfuegos https://www.havana60.com/tours/trinidad-y-cienfuegos/ We went to San Juan pre-Maria but it is such a wonderful place.
  2. TN Fem

    Veendam Questions

    we were on in December and the TVs hadn't been upgraded but I think it is going into dry dock soon.
  3. TN Fem

    Kids club??

    I'll second the laundry service. Gosh I wish I could get laundry for $7/day at home too 😄 The kids club is good. Some depends on your ship though, if there are a lot of kids, etc. We did a 22 day South America/Antarctica cruise with our kids a couple years ago and the kids club was fantastic. Most of the kids on board seemed the same age range as mine 8-11 at the time. The kids club that activities related to our cruise so took the kids down for some of the talks, the kids went outside as well to see the wild life, etc . as well as more traditional kids club activities. The kids usually met up when kids club was closed at the pool Lido to swim and play ping pong and chess.
  4. TN Fem

    Transatlantic Cruising

    I don't see Cunard on your list. We've done a few TA with Cunard and they have been relaxing and good food.
  5. We did the exact same itinerary and had the same issue of the fog in Tampa on the Dec 28th sailing. That said, I wasn't sad to miss Key West, I've been before and didn't really enjoy it- maybe it is better as an 8 hour port stop vs a long weekend getaway. We really enjoyed the other ports. They were a lot more "authentic" than the many Caribbean ports. There was poverty but in Trujillo we did the farm to table tour. We took a bus outside of town to a lovely eco-lodge where we learned how to make papusas and sat one of the most gorgeous, unspoilt beaches. We booked our tour in Livingston which again was fantastic. We did a private kayak tour of the River Dulce followed by some time in Livingston. Our guide was wonderful and now I really want to go back to Guatamela to the language schools she mentioned in Antigua. Costa Maya was meh to me. Getting out of port was like trying to escape a mall jail. Once we got out port We had a great time. Again we booked a private tour to the mayan ruins and then went to a pineapple plantation where I discovered the most amazing treat.. pineapples and chili powder. We finished our day at the beach in Costa Maya but the red tide meant we left early. Overall, I think the stops in Guatemala and Honduras made the trip because both stops felt a lot more authentic.
  6. TN Fem

    Zaandam in Buenos Aires

    There were people who did this when we did Zaandam Santiago to BA. You just have to be able to self-disembark.
  7. TN Fem

    Eastern Caribbean HAL Veendam

    For Half Moon Cay your only options are with HAL. They own the island. You can rent a cabana or a house. I would recommend either. HMC is definitely a sit on the beach type stop. We haven't done San Juan or St Thomas since Maria. When we did St Thomas we actually took the ferry to St John and went to Trunk Bay. For San Juan there are so many options. If you want to stay in San Juan proper (my info pre-maria) you don't really need a guide. Old San Juan is so walkable and the restaurants are really good. If you can just make a reservation for one of the restaurants.
  8. TN Fem

    HAL newbies with kids

    We've used Club HAL in the past. Now my kids are old enough to stay on their own in the cabin so they'd rather do that. It really depends on the cruise and time of year. We did the 21 day South America/Antartica over christmas a couple years ago. There were a fair number of kids and they all seemed to fall into the same age brackets as my kids.. not a long of toddlers--mostly older elementary aged kids. My kids had a lot of fun but also made a bunch of friends that they would then hang out with at the lido pool swimming, playing chess and ping pong etc. We did Rotterdam and Veendam this year. The kids liked going to the explorations lounge to play chess and board games. For entertainment they liked the afternoon geography trivia. There were also games in the Crows Nest on the Rotterdam. Spring break time should mean there are a decent number of kids so they'll have programming for both younger and older kids and not try to do one program for 3-12 year olds.
  9. TN Fem


    FWIW we did the Christmas Cuba cruise this year on the Veendam. I didn't really care for the other ports of call, but I really enjoyed our time in Cuba (although I feel like I've checked that box and don't need to rush back). My only complaint about the main dining room was the lighting. It was too bright. I thought the portion sizes were perfect for a three course meal. i usually had food left on my plate, however I also don't want to leave the ship 5+lbs bigger. I'll take quality over quantity and all my meals were delicious. I'm a bit of a desert snob and the deserts on both the Veendam and Rotterdam this year were adequate although the pastry chefs could learn a few things from watching the Great British Bake Off (the seasons with Mary Berry). I didn't notice any problems with the elevators, but we tend to use the stairs because again all that food who wants to gain the weight. We didn't have AC or plumbing issues, although I met a lady in the Lido one morning who was currently biding time while they fixed her plumbing and cleaned up. Honestly, we went in knowing the Veendam is an older ship so had no expectation of it being "perfect" but we also had an incredible rate for a 1 week cruise to Cuba and I've been wanting to go to Cuba for 20+ years. Everything within the control of the staff was great (e.g. service).
  10. TN Fem

    Laundry and Pressing

    we get the daily unlimited service. It is $7/day per cabin and well worth it. We always put our laundry out before 9am and it was always back by about 5:30/6 at the latest same day, even though they don't guarantee same day.
  11. TN Fem

    HAL Flight Ease

    If using flight ease can you book flights on points or points + cash. I would like to at least upgrade our seats to business for our next cruise (westerdam hong kong to singapore)
  12. I have a super picky eater too. He did well every night at the main dining room with the roasted chicken, although towards the end of our last cruise he started getting adventuresome and trying some of the appetizers. The pasta station is great. Breakfast was usually easy for us since they would make him a hard boiled egg (his preferred breakfast) in the main dining room. My kids also liked the NY pizza and the Dive In for lunch. The one thing we struggled with in main room dining was "nothing can touch". The kitchen likes to make things look pretty. My son doesn't want his chicken resting on a bed of potatoes.
  13. TN Fem

    Is Club HAL always this anemic?

    Club HAL really varies depending on how many kids are on board. We did the South America/Antartica cruise 2 years ago with 3 kids over Christmas/New Years. Club HAL was fantastic, taking kids to the various speakers and activities around the ship. On that trip I think HAL was open 9-11am, 2-5pm and again 7-10pm. We were incredibly fortunate that all the kids in Club HAL seemed to be in the same age range as my kids (8-11 at the time). The kids would even meet before dinner at the Lido pool to play pool games, chess and ping pong. The last two cruises we did my kids never even went to club hal. They are bit older and happy just to roam on their own, hang out in the exploration lounge playing games etc.
  14. TN Fem

    To Cuba or not to Cuba in 2020?

    We did the Veendam's Christmas cruise to Cienfuegos. I'm glad we went but unlike other places we've been I don't have a strong desire to go back and I studied a lot of Cuban history in college. We did a private tour which was awesome and I loved. We had no trouble getting off the boat on the first tender and had a full 7.5 hours on shore which was plenty of time to drive to Trinidad, walk around, have the most amazing cup of coffee and do shopping in Cienfuegos.
  15. This is why travel insurance is worth it. They may want to check with their credit card companies. Some credit cards have automatic travel insurance.