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About syesmar

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  1. This is a mix of an old and new list. Have a GREAT time! The chilled soups are so good! Love the cooking shows where we are taught how to make them and given samples. * The Royal Dutch Tea is very nice. Love the chicken a la king and swan boats.* The Indonesian Tea is nice. Love the special food and fried banana treats.* Love the samples at the cooking shows.* Love the craft sessions where we can make journals and jeweled lanyards for our key cards.* Love the complimentary cappuccinos in the evening.* Enjoy the private movie theaters.** Love the wrap around decks with teak chairs.** The library is a quiet haven, filled with a nice selection of good reads.** Enjoy the Surf & Turf with lobster and filet mignon on Gala Nights.** Enjoy the informative port talks by expert EXC Guides.*** The YumYum Man adds a nice touch as he greets you before and after dinner.*** *Items marked with an asterisk are no longer offered aboard HAL* **Now not always offered** ***Being phased out*** Love the Grand Dutch Café on the newest ships. Love the fresh flowers. While not private and a bit loud at times, I do love the new seating areas to watch movies on the jumbo screen in the Lido pool. Love the snack choices for movie times at the pizza place. The Lido Marketplace (buffet dining) keeps getting better and better. Excellent variety of choices and we enjoyed every single meal on our last sailing. Love the art collections. Love the variety of music offered in the Music Walk. Love that you can order the dining room menu into your stateroom during dinner hours. Love the Club Sandwich and Chocolate Cake from In Room Dining! Love the Tamarind. Love the new theaters aboard the newest ships. Lots of potential for high-tech performances. The crew is fabulous, professional, efficient and courteous. Couldn’t ask for a better staff. They go above and beyond. We have enjoyed every HAL cruise we have taken and look forward to more in the future! It is my hope that some of the things we love that have been or are in the process of being discontinued will be brought back. As others have said, you do get that feeling of coming home every time you sail. Happy Sailing!
  2. Our recent sailing aboard the Nieuw Statendam did not feature an Indonesian or Filipino Crew Show. Some of the previous participants seemed disappointed about that. I have read reviews from other ships, however, where they were featured. ymmv.
  3. I don’t think so. My first cruise to those regions was a 12 Baltic + 10 Northern Europe and we fell in love with the regions, especially Norway. If you have the time, the more the merrier!
  4. On a recent Nieuw Statendam sailing, I missed the previous design of the promenade deck, as the newest ship did not feature deck chairs and some of the views were obstructed by life boats. The library offerings are now mostly coffee table books and it is located in the Crow's Nest. Still a beautiful, nice ship, but those were 2 things that made HAL "HAL" to me and I missed having them.
  5. grest, the link for the new issue is in this Thread: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2675897-mariner-magazine/page/2/#comments
  6. syesmar

    Icy Straight Point

    It depends on where the excursion is going hiking. Here’s a Thread from last year that might help. We enjoyed the short hiking trail and also the coastal walk. If you are a nature lover, you will enjoy Icy Strait Point. Icy Strait Lodge has car rentals and boat rentals, if that interests you. https://icystraitlodge.com/ The local tribe also offers excursions in dugout canoes. Hoonah Adventures offers jeep rentals. Happy Sailing!
  7. I’ve been to Ketchikan twice. Last time we took a public bus to Totem Bight / Potlatch Park and a taxi from there to a Ward Creek trail head and a taxi back to Ketchikan from Ward Lake. LOVED this day! (Spent the better part of $70 on cab fares...make them use the meter or ask for rates in advance:>). Next time, we will rent a car for the freedom it gives.
  8. We really enjoyed our time at Sitka National Historical Park. Loved this port! I thought it was the perfect port, complete with gorgeous natural beauty plus places to visit. The sail away was incredible. We saw quite a few whales. Loved Glacier Bay National Park, too! Truly amazing!
  9. Also did this journey by train 6 years ago and it was such fun! Highly recommend!
  10. Last year while in port at Anchorage, we rented a car and took a beautiful drive to Portage Valley in Chugach National Forest. (This is not too far from Alyeska). We had a wonderful time and stopped at various viewpoints along the Turnagain Arm. We visited the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. We spent time at various stops of natural beauty in Portage Valley. There are also Portage Glacier cruises, but we didn’t have time that day http://www.portageglaciercruises.com There are guided hikes to Spencer Glacier in coordination with the Alaska Railroad https://www.alaskarailroad.com/travel-planning/destinations/spencer-glacier-whistle-stop Happy Sailing!
  11. We found the food on the Nieuw Statendam to be excellent (although they no longer serve chilled soups at dinner time + the Surf & Turf night may not be featured on every sailing). The Lido is better than ever. Loved the variety of fresh baked breads. There are no longer HAL singers and dancers; however, the theater is very nice. Step One Dance Company is supposed to perform a couple shows per cruise (a couple of ours were canceled due to health) and their shows incorporate the theater’s high tech features. Get to shows early for a good seat. Some passengers are reporting new show times (7 & 9, but we had 8 & 10 last month). Hopefully the entertainment will maximize the theater’s capabilities on your sailing. On our last several sailings, there have been 2-3 nights without entertainment in the World Stage. Some passengers are reporting that the EXC Guides are being phased out, and some CDs’ titles have been altered. Some are reporting the YumYum Man is being phased out. The Grand Dutch Cafe is so good! They have even more snacks late afternoon through the evening. The Orange Party is supposed to serve Dutch Appetizers. They now do a Chocolate Surprise (an assortment of bite-size chocolate treats) instead of the Dutch Chocolate Extravaganza. Royal Dutch, English, Cupcake and Indonesian Teas have been replaced by Classic Teas on Gala Nights. The in room TV systems are quite nice. Happy Sailing!
  12. Which company did you use? I use Snapir in Israel and UK 3 in the EU. UK 3 costs $23-26 on Amazon for 3,000 minutes, 3,000 texts and 12 GB data. Although during set up with UK 3 I received a "top up" message, it was a glitch and I had everything I was promised. I recommend creating an account and logging in prior to departure. Sorry you had a bad experience, I will try to stay away from whatever company you used.
  13. While mine hasn’t yet come and I chose the “by mail” option, I usually get an email notification that it’s available online. I haven’t received that either. Has anyone received an Email? THANKS!
  14. Here’s a thread with some info, some SIMs are only good in certain regions: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2660920-phone-sim-card-use-on-serenade-of-the-seas/ Happy Sailing!
  15. I have no idea why the link above doesn't go to the page any more. Here is another link: https://digital.cenveomobile.com/publication/?i=548686&p=&pn=#{"issue_id":"599916","page":10} The section on the Orange Party is on Page 10 of the latest edition of the Mariner Magazine. 😊
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