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kwb101

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About kwb101

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Sacramento
  • Interests
    Long cruises to interesting destinations
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Haines, Alaska

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  1. Interesting article: Let the Cruise Lines Sink: They are over-indebted, hire too few Americans, and perform no vital service I'm a free-market type, but do enjoy HAL's itineraries and ships. I'm of mixed emotions. (Someone defined mixed emotions as watching your mother-in-law go off a cliff in your new car.)
  2. Not really: the the Princess ship was already quarantined, and precautions were being taken, just not to the extent they are today.
  3. We were on the 41-day portion of this voyage, and disembarked in Buenos Aires on Feb 15. We were treated exactly as everyone else, no special precautions, nothing. Ditto arriving in Los Angeles on Feb 19.
  4. In early 2002, three friends took a 7-day Caribbean Cruise for something like $199 each.
  5. I usually translate every 10 minutes of walking time to a half mile (and closer to 15 minutes for us slugs), and every block as a tenth of a mile. Time to climb stairs or gradients isn't mentioned (I have to take steps one at a time, and grades can be a pain going down, hence slower yet). Also, outside the U.S., there's a dearth of handrails for steps and stairs, so they take even longer, even with a cane or someone to lean on, and don't even mention ramps, inside or out. I think there are a few countries that have ramps at some street corners, but they're few and far between. I realize things are different around the world, but I wish HAL would pay attention to things that really would help many of their guests, not only for safety's sake, but also to help their excursions run smoothly for all.
  6. But not if the sea day is the last night of the voyage.
  7. Our big box moved the date forward for trips leaving this year. It could be because they're long (41, 35, and 43 days).
  8. I've find that the walker symbols are, at best, quite broad, so that 1 walker is a bus ride, 3 walkers is climbing a sheer cliff, and 2 walkers is everything in between. I exaggerate, but not by much, at least on the middle one. Good idea on using TripAdvisor. One thing that bothered me about a few of our longer (6-8 hour) excursions was that, at least in South American ports, it wasn't unusual for the time to be divided one-third interesting places to see and two-thirds travel time. We had one that stated with a ruin (with a five-minute quick look around), followed by a buffet lunch accompanied by deafening amplified music. Of yhe seven hours allotted, I think we spent less than 90 minutes actually doing something, the rest on the road. Nonetheless, I have to say that I wouldn't trade the time observing some of the driving practices iwe saw n Peru for anything I've ever experienced. I'm not sure to classify it as a thrill ride or a house of horrors.
  9. Sometimes, the TA sets the date. We book through a big box TA, and the final payment date for our 21-day trip late this June is this coming Monday, 105 days before sailing. It used to be 90, but it's been extended (I don't know if it's their general policy, only for HAL voyages, the trip's length, or something else). Since I know they've set the date well beyond what HAL requires, you may have some wiggle room in those situations. Good luck!
  10. To be honest, most of the tour descriptions are woefully inadequate when describing what travelers will encounter. We just spent 41 days on the first half of the South American Grand Voyage. I have collapsed disks, so can't stand very long. I had to take my chances on all the excursions, and often ended up sitting on steps or anything that was sittable. There's no mention about available seating out how much walking most excursions require. Last year, we were on the 21-day Alaska voyage, and wanted to visit the oyster and kelp farm excursion. However, the description mentioned uneven ground and boarding boats. Fortunately, somewhere in the descriptive material was the name of the farm. I called and talked to the manager, who was quite helpful in explaining exactly what the uneven surfaces were made of (small gravel) and the ramps and other things we'd encounter. We signed up, and enjoyed it considerably...but not because HAL provided enough information,. HAL doesn't help at all, because there's no way I've found to review excursions on their Web site. What reviews there are (and the majority have none, and most have only a few) are usually several years out of date. I was told by the excursion desk staff on the ship that i was welcome to write a review and give it to them, and they'd enter it. As an aside, if having a place to sit is important, you may want to check out the Walkstool, a very nice lightweight collapsable stool.
  11. Rat guards have been used for hundreds of years, nothing new here. I expect you'll see them on sailing apps in museums. https://www.technology.org/2018/08/28/what-are-those-disks-sometimes-seen-on-mooring-lines-of-big-ships/ There are even technical specifications, so they're not just something cobbled up by a ship's owners. https://www.astm.org/Standards/F1099M.htm
  12. Our big-box TA always has final payment 90+ days out. We're booked for a voyage leaving mid-June, and the final payment is due next week. I think the payment's due so early because the TA wants to make absolutely certain that the payment goes through before HAL's deadline.
  13. We just got off the 41-day portion of the 2020 South America Grand Voyage, and should've made 4-star late in the trip. I talked to a nice lady at the front desk, who told me that only actual cruise days counted during the voyage, not any bonus days for any purchases.
  14. Each HAL plan has a daily limit for bandwidth, so I figure they'll cut you off if you exceed it.
  15. We've had lanais on both Maasdam and Volendam, and the cabins are snug. The desk had room only for a chair and a small wastebasket. Because the sliding door mechanism takes up about six inches across the window wall, the loveseat is extra short, and only two small people can sit on it. There's really no extra space to be had. Good luck!
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