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  • Location
    New Jersey
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Cunard, Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anywhere a good ship goes

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3rdGenCunarder's Achievements

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  1. Sunday, July 14 Foggy morning with light rain on and off. Disappointing for “scenic sailing” into Glacier Bay. I watched from my balcony but went up to the Terrace when we reached the first glacier. The weather cleared a little and I took some pictures. Not a lot of people out on the decks. Lots were inside lounges with seats near windows. Because people spent all day claiming their window tables at the buffet, it was impossible to get a table at lunch. I did take-out. I always tip my steward/stewardess because of all the buffet plates I take to my room. I didn’t see much wildlife. A few otters, a few eagles far away. No seals. No whales, but that isn’t surprising so far up the fjord. I heard a few were seen early this morning, so maybe this afternoon we’ll get some sightings. Everybody carries on about how great Glacier Bay is. I don’t see that it’s so special. Yes, we get a park ranger who does a narration. But how much of it does anyone remember? I’m looking forward to Hubbard Glacier tomorrow. It’s huge, a long wall of blue ice. And it’s an active glacier, calving frequently. I hope we get good weather. We’ve been without a signal in Glacier Bay so I haven’t had a chance to check yet. I fear it will be more of the same. There seems to be a big blobby weather system stuck over Alaska. Correction: Cunard is not a cookie desert. I found some at tea at the buffet. I rarely go to the buffet for tea, so this was a surprise. Jazz! It was Big Band night in the Queens Room, combining the Queens Room orchestra with the theater band. But they don’t need 2 pianists or 2 drummers or extra guitarists. So those musicians play jazz sets, sometimes in Commodore Club, sometimes in the pub. Tonight it was the pub. People who wanted to listen sat where the band was. People who wanted to talk sat in the other sections, so there were no distractions. I wish they would do this more often. These guys are great and they played a nice variety of songs. What can I say, they had me at Cole Porter!
  2. Saturday, July 13 Dreary. That sums up today’s weather. They knew what they were doing when they handed out the ponchos. It rained most of the morning, while we were sailing to Icy Strait Point. The rain got lighter in the afternoon, but didn’t stop until around 6, and even then it was misty. My stewardess earned a tip. She found a pair of small slippers. She said she had to hunt around for them, which is why it took so long. Same thing on QV last fall. And QA didn’t have any at all. Why doesn’t Cunard recognize that some of us have small feet??? Whale watches didn’t do well today. Some went out into rough water, but didn’t stay long. Most stayed in calmer protected water. If it’s rough, whales will seek the calmer bay areas because it’s just easier to get a breath of air without being splashed by waves. We did see a few humpbacks, but no deep dives so no tail display. Nobody I spoke to saw orcas up close. My boat didn’t even see them from a distance. The crew took us to where they’re usually seen, but nobody was performing. Disappointing for people doing this for the first time. A couple at my table saw a group of whales near the ship. From the video he took, I’d guess they were juveniles because the best description I can give is that they were frolicking. Possibly the best whale sighting of the day. I’m noticing something I saw on Queen Victoria last fall. The buffet gets more interesting food (often international) than the dining rooms do. My tour got back around 6, and I didn’t feel like changing for dinner. The buffet was having a German dinner. Oooh, I love German food. There were several sausages, veal meatballs, pork schnitzel, potato pancakes, sauerkraut with caraway seeds. Yummy! Since most people were at dinner or getting ready for dinner when I got back to the ship, it was quiet. I checked out the launderette. Yay! An available machine. But instructions were a mess. Fancy electronic machines. The instructions show how to make choices on the touchscreen. But these machines don’t have a touchscreen with icons. There’s a knob that you turn to scroll through the choices and the screen shows what you’ve selected. I selected what I wanted, but it changed the program. So I had to cancel and try again. It took 3 tries to get it to do what I wanted. I had dinner while the clothes were washing and returned just as the cycle finished. As I was loading a dryer, a couple came in. She looked in the machine she’d used and didn’t see her clothes. Not in the dryers, not in any laundry basket. She stormed out, angry that someone took her clothes. I’m willing to bet she had used a launderette on a different floor.
  3. Sorry if I was confusing. There is a full voyage pass and for this 11 day cruise it's $199. They SAY they are limiting group size by asking people to sign up for specific 2-hour slots. But they don't seem to be enforcing it. The first sea day there were 12 people in the pool area and another 4 on the heated loungers. That didn't seem like a small group size. I asked and they said the limit is 10. Today I had signed up for 2-4 but I went at 1 and nobody said anything about it. Popups are $35. On this cruise we have Coriander, Frontier, and Bamboo.
  4. It may have been for new passengers. Not a bad idea. I don't recall seeing anything about the wifi/internet there. That is a definite need, and not for just an hour. There should be a help desk for the first day. The queue at the purser was very long the first day. Lots of people holding their phones and looking confused.
  5. Friday, July 12, 2024 Still hadn’t met my steward, which is unusual. After breakfast, as I got back to my cabin, my stewardess, Lucy, was just going in to make the bed. So I got to meet her briefly. I wanted to go to the library to get something to read, pick up the newspaper, maybe have a look in the shops. From the second level of the Queens Room, I could see tables arranged all around the dance floor. What was this? I went downstairs to check it out. It was some kind of expo of things you can do (and pay for!) on the ship. The popup restaurants, Verandah (the steakhouse), wine packages, photographers, some shop merch, spa products, etc. I’ve never seen this before. I wonder if purchases are down and they’re trying to stimulate spending? I went up to the Grills Lounge, which is lovely, with its wall of windows looking out on the terrace and beyond to the sea. It’s very windy today—part of that is because we’re cranking along at 21 knots—so I sat inside instead of being on the terrace. Unlike Queen Anne, where there never seemed to be lounge service, here they’re open from 10 AM to 11 PM. A mid-morning latte may be my sea day routine. I had my WC diamond lunch in Verandah. Very good, except for dessert. I love their Bramley apple tart. But this one had come out of the freezer. It was cold in the middle, so they obviously hadn’t nuked it long enough. I expected that to be freshly baked, not prebaked and loaded frozen. Tsk! But no, it didn’t “ruin my cruise” or even my lunch for that matter. Gala night! The theme is “ice white” in honor of the glaciers we’ll be seeing. But glaciers are blue! (You’ve probably all read my complaint about this) So I wore a long aqua skirt and a white top with silver trim. Blue beneath, white above, just like a glacier. Although if I had really wanted to be accurate, I’d have smeared some dirt on the shoulders, as the top of a glacier, viewed from above, has streaks of gray/brown from the rocks it has accumulated on its travels. When I returned to my cabin, there was a gift from Cunard. A plastic rain poncho. Oh dear, that doesn’t bode well for the weather tomorrow… A more pleasant surprise was a second bottle of the Australian fizz from World Club. I am fairly tidy when I travel. But I tend to just kick off the shoes into the closet area. When I came back from dinner, I saw that Lucy had tidied my shoes into a neat row (remember, the clothes area is open, no doors, so my tidiness or lack thereof is visible). And the fleece that I had tossed onto the sofa was hanging on the back of a chair. She is not supposed to be my butler, so now I feel I must be extra tidy so as to not take up too much of her time on that when she should use it to Hoover—I’ve seen a few small sequins from the previous occupant. After QA, QE seems small. But she's still my favorite and I'm happy to be "home."
  6. Thursday, July 11, Embarkation Embarkation was easy. I stayed in the hotel that’s right above the cruise terminal. They offer room-to ship bellman service, which I love. The bellmen even carry little staplers so they can help you attach your print-at-home luggage tags. Last time I did this cruise, the cruise industry was in restart mode. For a cruise out of Vancouver, we had to have our passports and boarding passes, as usual. But then there were the added steps of proof of negative Covid test, vaccination cards, and an app called ArriveCAN. Two years later, we’ve moved on and it’s easy. The whole process took less than 20 minutes and because of the size of the place, more of it was spent walking than actually doing anything. I had asked the day before and was told check in starts 11-ish. They use a large space that’s at street level, but not near the street. You have to walk along the pier to get to check-in. There are people with signs that say “all cruise passengers.” That’s all the signs say, no arrow. So I guess you have to ask directions. I knew where to go, so “11-ish” I walked to the appropriate area and got in the queue where we had to show boarding passes to be allowed into the check-in queue. They were honoring priority check-in, so I got right to a desk, where my passport and boarding pass were checked. I was given my key card, which is unusual. I’m used to finding it in an envelope outside my cabin. Then walk walk down a hallway to an escalator and walk walk walk to security. For once, I did NOT get behind the people who forget to empty pockets, put cell phones into the bin, etc. So that was quick. Then walk walk walk to US Immigration. Although we’re still in Canada, it’s easier for Immigration to process people in Vancouver rather than have agents (yes agents, not kiosks) in the various small towns in Alaska that the ships visit. That took less than a minute. And then walk walk walk to the folding chairs where we would wait to board. Boarding started a little after noon, so not bad. And now I know why they give you your card key on the pier. Cabins aren’t ready, so they tell you to go to your emergency muster station to check in before going to the buffet for lunch. Instead, I went to my cabin to drop off my carry-ons. Lunch in the grills wouldn’t start until 1:00, so I thought I may as well do the muster station thing. At least I got there from my cabin. Doing it on the way in may get it out of the way, but people learn nothing about their route. The TV in the cabin plays the instruction video endlessly, but now that we don’t do the full muster drill, most people don’t think about the route they might have to take. After that, I went to the spa to book the thermal suite pass. They’re still requiring people to sign up for 2-hour sessions. So I will have to look at my tours and see what the best times are. After lunch, I found my luggage waiting for me. I unpacked, reveling in all the space! Queen Anne had too little space for all my frocks—and I’m traveling alone. Princess Grill QE has about 6 feet of clothes pole, plus a closet with shelves. It’s sort of a walk-through closet. No doors, you walk past the closet area on the way into the bathroom. And there are drawers in the nightstands for the little bits and pieces like chargers, nono bag (stuff you can’t have in carry-on on a plane), first aid kit (which seems to have more in it each time I travel). I don't always travel in grills and don't always travel on Cunard, so I get confused about amenities. I think my PG cabin on QA had an umbrella. I know it had wooly blankets. Neither provided this time. Embarkation bottle is an Australian fizz. I like it. DiBortoli Willowglen from NSW. I suppose there will be raised eyebrows about the screw cap, but I’m delighted. That means I can close the bottle and have more on later days.
  7. Yes, that's it, thanks. And yes, east not west. That was one of my possibilities. I got a look at it way off in the distance on the flight to Vancouver. Beautiful picture!
  8. Not sure if I should ask this here or Alaska cruises. I'm in Vancouver (had a lovely day), staying at the Pan Pacific. I have a view of the commercial port and train tracks from my window, so looking SSW (I think). In the distance, I can see one mountain that is taller than any other. It's covered with snow. What is it? It's driving me crazy because I've tried to figure it out using googlemaps but I can't.
  9. Two years ago, I took a taxi from the pier to the airport. Something large disembarked its passengers faster than my ship did and I was in the taxi queue for almost an hour. At that time, the taxis went into the underground garage and picked up near the door. I think they still do that. I'm in Vancouver now, leaving tomorrow, and by 7 AM I saw the taxis lined up in the street waiting their turn to go into the garage to pick up passengers. Can your father climb into a bus? A ship transfer to the airport would load fairly close to the doors and involve much less standing than waiting for a taxi.
  10. I don't know if other hotels do this, but Premier Inn West Quay has a phone in the lobby that connects directly to a taxi service. I usually call and make my booking early on the morning of departure.
  11. I'm Diamond and the last two times at Southampton I was waved right in. The person looking at passes just saw Priority and didn't say anything about the time. There were people lined up outside the building waiting to check in. I guess they were non-priority who arrived early. I don't know if/how the staff consider assigned times or if it's just queue in the order you got to the terminal. Last time I was very early because my Uber showed up a half hour early. The only passengers in the terminal were the grills, diamonds, and platinums. The non-priority seats were empty. It's a long time since we sailed with friends who aren't platinum or diamond, so I don't know how they would handle non-priority traveling with priority passengers.
  12. I haven't had the corner aft on QE or QV, but I've had them on HAL's Vistas. The wrap balcony is great for scenic cruising, especially in Alaska. If it's chilly, you can run inside to warm up, maybe have room service coffee. Then go out again for more scenery.
  13. I don't bother to do the photo. I've tried in the past and the website has accepted the photo but the check-in staff took a new one anyway. As others have said, it's just a few seconds. Another point in favor of a paper boarding pass is it won't crack if you drop it on the floor of the terminal. (Some are just hard concrete floors) And it's just one more thing to juggle while you've got your hands busy with carry-on and your passport.
  14. Yes it is. Don't remember where I heard it.
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