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    New Mexico
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    Writing, cooking, photography, and travel
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  1. The Tamarind is my favorite for value. Canaletto portions are huge. The Alaskan King Crab legs in the Pinnacle are amazing as are the filets. Note that with few exceptions, the Room Service items are free and quite tasty in addition to being available 24/7. Collecting Mariner points through suite bonuses, booked excursions, and onboard spending leads to discounts at the expensive restaurants on future cruises. At the 4* Mariner level, discounts are 50% for the specialty restaurants.
  2. Here is the latest list that I have compiled: http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Spirits-and-Beer-for-Stateroom.pdf Once you have booked a cruise, you will have access to the latest prices on the HAL website.
  3. Here is a link to not only the prices but also the menus: http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/hal-regular-and-specialty-restaurants/hal-specialty-restaurant-menus
  4. Your setup sounds like what both my wife and I had four years ago with a mixture of both powered and unpowered external drives. Backing up became a nightmare. A NAS reduced the number of cruise photos/videos stored on our PCs except for those currently in use, made the smaller number of files to be backed up fit on a portable HD, allowed for a central backup location, and the possibility of sharing files. I now have a shelf dedicated to 11 various-capacity, dust-covered, powered and unpowered drives for future use.
  5. I am not a techie but managed to connect all of my computers to a home network. Four years ago, I experimented with a cheap network server to hold all of my cruise photos. Last year, I upgraded to a larger capacity server to hold lots more stuff. If you want to splurge and get both reliability (one of the four disks can fail with no data loss) and size 16 TB) with remote access, opt for a Synology Diskstation 418 ($369) and four Seagate 4TB disks ($105 ea). Add this 16 TB NAS device to your home network and anything you have connected to that network can access your files (can a
  6. Slingshot. It holds my Olympus EM1-MKIII with mounted 40-150 mm lens, 12-40 mm lens, poncho, snacks, water bottle on the outside, point and shoot camera, cell phone for excursions, and meds for the train/bus.
  7. I have experienced all of the above excursions. My favorite train excursion to Lake Bennett was not on your list but it has a private dining car that at the most is 50% filled, great food, and goes all the way to Lake Bennett after a bus ride to Cairncross. #1 Caribou Crossing food was very good and the museum shows just how tall a grizzly can stand. #2 Gold panning was truly a chilling adventure with the cold water and "spiked" gold pans. My little piece of gold lasted until I sneezed and it flew away. #3 Liarsville with the gold rush stories was really interesting.
  8. I was offered Club Orange on the Nieuw Statendam for $15 and accepted it just to see and report here on its value. It included a private "Behind the Scenes" kitchen tour that was more extensive than the kitchen portion of the "Behind the Scenes" tour costing $99. The tote bag was very good and the suite-level Room Service Breakfast was a nice upgrade.if you like mimosas and steak. Due to the lack of tables in the Club Orange dining area, I was seated at a community table on several occasions and decided not to be on a waiting list on two occasions. Club Orange adds an extra dinner entree
  9. Unfortunately, the last drydock removed the loungers and replaced them with chairs as in my 2019 photo of 5184.
  10. Deck 5 aft staterooms are fully covered. Only the corner staterooms have the lounge chairs. There are footstools that you can pull our from under the chairs and use them as a table. The best part is that you can be out on your balcony when the ship is moving and feel no wind/rain. Here is 5184 after the crew finished spraying all of the balcony decks: http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/gallery/ms-westerdam/IMG_2673.jpg
  11. The Main Dining Room is very accomadating and will be glad to meet your special dietary needs. Here is the link to the special needs form once you have a booking number: https://book.hollandamerica.com/specialServices/login.action
  12. There is but quite small. http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/gallery/mckinley-lodge/IMG_1381-2.jpg
  13. That bag size is important to fit under the train seat and the overhead bin on some of the buses. If it is larger, it will ride on your lap. This smaller bag is only for the items you will need on the train/bus (snacks, meds, headphones, camera) and your super zoom camera can fit in the single piece of luggage that is transported by truck to your next hotel stop. FWIW your luggage will probably arrive before you do. I pack a Lowepro 100 AW camera bag (collapsible) for excursions and for the train/bus so that I only carry the camera gear needed for that excursion. I fly with all
  14. At least the service starting at the back of the car is consistent. I found the dining car a bit cramped with the table only a few inches from my chest and shoulder contact with the person sitting beside me. As a photographer, I spent most of my time on the outside platform between the cars to avoid the rainbow-streaked pictures through the thick train windows I discovered on my first Denali train ride. There is room on the platform for about 15 passengers and you can move quickly from side to side to take photos. My most valuable train tip is "make sure the bathroom
  15. I cannot speak for all of the land portion hotels but I found no room service available at the ones where I stayed. There is a centrally-located restaurant in Denali with shuttle bus service from the various lodge complexes or a short walk for all meals. At the McKinley Resort main lodge in Denali, there is a high-end restaurant with much more expensive meals. Here is a link to the McKinley Resort layout in Denali: http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/place/alaska-2/denali/mckinley-resort
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