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teacherman

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  1. Ye, we just did a cruise and waited until we were on board. When walking around the ship, they were selling wine packages. I asked the person selling them if all of the wines offered on the package were currently on board. She could not tell me and suggested I wait until I was in the dining room on the first evening. We did, and asked our wine server if certain wines on the package were available. When we found out that they were, we bought it.
  2. We just did this in July. We are in our early 70's and fairly active and mobile (although still in our early 70's🤔). We flew from Detroit into Schipol, arriving at 8:00 am. We each had a 25 inch checked suitcase and a 20 inch rollaboard. We got our luggage, exited to the BIG hall, went to the train desk, and bought DIRECT tickets to Rotterdam central. (No other stops-25 minutes). We took the elevator down to the train platform. When boarding, there is a place inside the door to place your luggage (on direct tickets, no worry of someone grabbing your suitcase and running away at one of the intermediate stops). At Rotterdam Central, off the train, up the elevator, and out the door. We stayed at the Rotterdam Hilton and I totally recommend it. An executive room allows you to have breakfast each morning and drinks and snacks each evening from 5-9. We walked with our rolling luggage to the hotel. Flat easy walk that took less than 10 minutes. The Marriott and Holiday Inn Express are even closer. We had considered a very costly transfer but are glad we did it this way as it was far easier than we had imagined.
  3. As to the Zuiderdam dining room, we were on a 17 night sailing last month. We had anytime dining, so we were seated in different areas of the dining room. We found the "ambiance" to be quite different, depending on the table. There is the main walkway area that goes around the dining room. When seated anywhere along this area, the overhead lighting was extremely bright. Not very conducive to OUR idea of leisurely dining. In the center area of the dining room, the lights were much darker. We preferred that area, although it is a matter of individual taste. There was also an "overflow" area on the third level, which we found quite bright. All of our servers were very good.
  4. We were just on Zuiderdam for 17 nights. I found that most "normal" drinks (G&T, Whiskey/water, vodka, etc) were in the $8.50 range (+ 15% gratuity). We tend to have 2 drinks each prior to dinner, so we generally went to Happy Hour between 4-5. We would each buy one at regular price and get the second for $2.00. We do not drink special coffees, much alcohol during the day, or especially care for bottled water. So a beverage package is not for us.
  5. Well, Glory Be. After emailing the CBP and asking for assistance, within one week I have received an email telling me to check "my application status" on the web site. I am now conditionally approved and my wife and I can schedule our interviews. We can go to DTW, but think we will go to downtown Detroit and also have a nice lunch. ONE QUESTION: on the original application, it said to list ALL of the countries you have visited in the last 5 years. I do not know if I got all of them, as I cannot remember exactly where we went on all of our cruises. Will this be a problem? Should I just tell them that I did the best I could?
  6. I received an email response. I have read it several times and even had my wife read it. They tell me that my "situation" could be resolved in 3 to 8 weeks. Or, I think they tell me to actually call the CBP centers near to my home. I don't really understand the email, but I will persevere. Maybe some CBP agent will take pity on an old man.
  7. We have "upper status" on Celebrity and RCCL, which gets us some perks, the biggest being a very nice cocktail hour each day. Our last 2 cruises have been on HAL. We wanted to try one of the newer, larger ships, so we did an 11 night on the K in February instead of our annual week in Puerto Vallarta. Loved it, especially BB King's and the Rock and Roll. Place was packed every night. Drinks were reasonable in price. Service was excellent. Food is very subjective. (People who complain about food on a cruise ship must have an amazing home life)😁 Last month, we did a 17 day N Atlantic on the Zuiderdam. Different experience from the K, but we chose it for the itinerary. For us, it was a very enjoyable cruise. Next up, we are doing a 22 night S America and Antarctic cruise on the Zaandam in January. We chose it for the itinerary. I realize there will be little entertainment options, but still expect good service and decent food offerings, probably as good or better than we have each day at home. 🤔 Cruises are what you make of them. All you can do is research the ship and itinerary, make your choice, and hope for the best, which sometimes happens.
  8. I "think" I found the place on the web site to send an email concerning my long wait and asking for any help that could be offered. After I sent it, I got a message saying it could be answered within 10-15 business days. Who designed this system? When they started Pre check and GE, they thought a certain number of people would sign up, which would lessen wait times at airports. I do not believe they have come close to hitting their predicted number of applicants. No wonder.
  9. Subliminal messaging.🤔 Also, if I am AA to Miami, but LATAM on to SCL, do I get to use the AA lounge or the LATAM lounge? Or both?
  10. I have been on 2 HAL cruises in the past 6 months. On both ships, I have found "official" HHs that were announced in the daily activities: 4-5 in a designated bar and 9-10 in Crow's Nest. But there were also "unannounced pop-up" HHs. For instance, in BB King Blues Club, they would announce a 15 minute HH between music sets. Sometimes, around the pool, they would announce a 30 minute HH. So, who knows what will happen on your cruise.
  11. We are using HAL FlightEase for next January, DTW to SCL and EZE to DTW. We had Delta going and AA for return, but just switched to AA to Miami and LATAM to SCL. Return will still be AA from EZE to Miami and AA to DTW. This is all Business Class and we saved $1,700 over the original booking with the Delta flights. Only problem is a 6 1/2 hour layover going and a 2 hour layover coming back. What to do with the 6 hours and will the 2 hour be enough to do immigration? Any advice from people who have experience with MIA is welcome. Thank you.
  12. We just came off of Zuiderdam 17 day Atlantic Crossing. We had a table for 2 each night, but, there seemed to be a lot of people requesting tables for 2. We had an actual 2 top table 3 times. We normally were seated at a 4 top which was set for 2. We had Anytime Dining and generally ate at about 7:15. One issue I have with HAL is you cannot reserve a dining time until you board (unlike RCCL and Celebrity). So, we have to go to DR as soon as we board and request a time. They said we can only reserve 3 nights at a time, BUT several times (including the first night) we had a table we liked and requested that we could have that table for the rest of the cruise. EVERY TIME we were told that the table was reserved for the rest of the cruise by someone else, so obviously the 3 night thing does not hold for everyone. All of our waiters were very good, but some tables seemed to have a better "ambiance" for us.
  13. We went on a Koningsdam cruise in February and loved the entertainment. The Rock and Roll club, BB King's, Lincoln Center, Billboard, guest entertainers, etc were all enjoyable. But then we just went on a 17 night Zuiderdam cruise. Smaller ship so there was no Rock and Roll club which we really enjoyed. Now we are scheduled on the 22 night Zaandam cruise next January, an even smaller ship. All I see on the deck plans is Lincoln Center. Is that it for evening entertainment?
  14. My wife and I both applied on-line on April 20. She received approval in about 4 weeks. I am still waiting. There appears to be no logic to any of this.
  15. Maybe Holland cruisers are able to pay more than Princess cruisers. If they are CONSECUTIVE cruises, can't you just book with which ever one you want, by just doing either an early arrival or later departure that matches the double itinerary?
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