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TN Fem

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  1. We were on the Rotterdam and Veendam over the holidays. Both times they did tea in the MDR. We missed the tea in the lounge on the Zaandam. It was more intimate. The tea overall was better on the Z. on both the Rotterdam and Veendam I wanted to go back to the galley and show the pastry chef how to make the deserts properly, and my baking training consists mostly of my father teaching me and watching Great British Bake Off. One desert that should have had marzipan had fondant 🤢
  2. Grand Cayman has great beaches and cabs are easy to get. Most charge about $5/pp to take you to the beach.
  3. I agree with this. Call HAL to confirm but they've been paid so why should they care if you have the stateroom to yourself? We met a lovely woman who was traveling alone on our last cruise. We played trivia with her every day but she seemed to be enjoying herself.
  4. We'll be on the Westerdam Dec 21, 2019 14-Day Far East Discovery Holiday thanks
  5. Honestly, the $7/day for unlimited laundry service is heavenly and you don't have to waste your time doing laundry. Years ago when my kids were younger we would do the TA on Cunard. Cunard had free laundry machines. I felt like I spent 1/2 the morning doing laundry trying to keep up and waiting for a machine.
  6. 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.
  7. we were on in December and the TVs hadn't been upgraded but I think it is going into dry dock soon.
  8. 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.
  9. I don't see Cunard on your list. We've done a few TA with Cunard and they have been relaxing and good food.
  10. 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.
  11. There were people who did this when we did Zaandam Santiago to BA. You just have to be able to self-disembark.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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).
  15. 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.
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