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About crystalspin

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Orange County, CA, USA
  • Interests
    Fibercrafts, technology, and travel!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. @resq2u posted to thank someone for helping them in an old post.That is why CC doesn't archive threads -- so that people can be helped. Sometimes that confuses someone else into posting. No harm and no need to scold, just carry on with your day.
  2. crystalspin

    HAL White Pass excursions

    We have done train up & back and train up/bus back (with a stop at a gold-rush show), and much preferred the bus back. Get to see a slightly different view on the way back, with one or more photo stops including the "Welcome to Alaska" sign. Even with the show at the gold-panning village, we were back in plenty of time to have lunch in Skagway and do some shopping. I would consider the luxury coach next time (2020)!!!
  3. crystalspin

    Knitter - Stitcher gatherings

    It was first noticed and noted on Ravelry (hand-work on-line community) on March 6 2017 that HAL was no longer supporting or publishing knitting/stitching sessions. The person who posted it there asked that we all write M.Ashford. This was not forthcoming of any change. We still knit! Preferably in front of the most visible offices/desks!
  4. crystalspin

    Refrigerator/cooler Rotterdam cabins

    If you use(d) a PCP, that person can put the fridge on order. That said, I booked a couple or three for the five rooms my family had, and with Explore4 (i.e. with SBP) not a one was used. One person arrived with some cheese and it was still there when we were packing up to go! So the floor space was wasted! This doesn't apply to the OP of course. Only the question of the actual temperature of the COOLER (not properly a refrigerator).
  5. crystalspin

    cruise newbie

    I don't have any added advice for the OP, having never been to that part of the world, but you are on a great line so enjoy the ship and the service and not just the ports! At dinner, if you want two entrees, pick one (pasta works, steak not so much) and ask for a half order as your starter. This goes the other way, with a double order of a starter as an entree, or any combination. Your dining room stewards and apparently the chefs are there to make you happy! As for @OlsSalt -- why didn't I think of those memory cues! My DSM (my step-mom) never did know which way to turn in a two-week cruise!
  6. crystalspin

    HAL for Alaskan cruise

    I hear it a lot that Alaska is about the ports/destination and not about the ship... but most of the itineraries are very close to the same (Ketchikan/Juneau/Skagway), so why not choose by the most comfortable ship? HAL treats even inside passengers like royalty! We have cruised Alaska three times with HAL. Once northbound from Vancouver to Seward -- with time there, and self-drive to Palmer and Denali. Next roundtrip Vancouver 7-days to the ports listed above, taking six family members who had not been to Alaska. Finally, last year on the 14-R/T out of Seattle to Anchorage, with those people plus two more! All of these cruises were perfect for the time and money constraints faced at the time. My conclusion is that you can't go wrong with Holland America in Alaska, and my recommendation for a first cruise is one out of Vancouver that includes Glacier Bay. For a second cruise, the 14-day one would be hard to beat! For our fourth, we are sailing with Princess in 2020, because they offer a 2-week R/T out of our home port, LA/San Pedro, and so we and our travelling companions will not have to fly. Princess has also been "doing" Alaska for a long time, but their lower status rooms (inside, OV, and simple balcony) are significantly smaller than HAL's without even a sofa.
  7. crystalspin

    Don't think we "need" a drink package....

    With only two sea days, and the rest having fun (and buying margaritas) off the ship, I would say No you do not need or even want the Beverage Package. Try this: have all the drinks you want on board. At the end of the cruise, take your itemized print-out and congratulate yourselves on how much you saved WITHOUT foregoing anything!
  8. crystalspin

    Rotterdam OV

    Hi FrankieSue! I have stayed (with my entire family) in partially obstructed OVs on Lower Promenade, on the Volendam and the Zaandam. We were in 4 and 5 cabins just aft of midship elevators (port) and as you say, the price more than made up for the view! I would take 3401 in a minute! (I chose the midship location for some of our party with limited endurance -- any one trip could theoretically be only half the ship's length at most!) I have also stayed in interiors on the old Statendam. Insides are pretty much similar in layout to an OV -- they even have a curtain where the "window" would be -- we were THREE each time; one with the bed together, one apart (and one of our mom's on the sofa). The room DEFINITELY felt roomier with the beds apart! Also if you want to LOOK out of the window, much better if beds apart. I can't speak to the availability of deck chairs -- both the above R-class cruises were to Alaska and I didn't spend too much time on the promenade, just checking the temps... Although several of the family walked it, even multiple times a day -- and loved being so close to the "biggest balcony on the ship".
  9. crystalspin


    I too tried RCI last month -- 14-day TA on the Rhapsody otS. I was pleasantly surprised! It was nearly as good as HAL, with differences. The crew is more international (from more countries); the My Time dining host did not want or attempt to put us at larger tables with strangers; the attrium was a center of activies such as dance lessons and live music; no Crows Nest, although there was a upper deck lounge, it did not have the view. Dr'spin contributes that he thought the buffet self-serve for breakfast was much faster. We only ate lunch (in the buffet or at all) the first day; I was not impressed with the offerings for lunch but the breakfast was tasty if repetitious. The MDR for dinner had good food with the same experience I've had on HAL of either multiple starters and entrees that I want, or nothing that sounds appealing! The waiter (and obviously the chefs) were just as happy to bring half of an entree as a starter, or two starters -- something I learned on CC and had done on the Zaandam last summer. I'm happy to have another line (with different itineraries) to enlarge our choices, but I'm not leaving HAL, either! (As you can see in my signature, we are also trying Princess...)
  10. crystalspin

    New Internet rates

    Thanks for weighing again, and for the GREAT data and TP links! All these years and I did not know you were a tech guru! I have a four-USB brick and also this "donut" that will serve as both multi USB and splitter (it is non-surge protected). I'm thinking the donut and maybe one quick charger for the phone(s) if quick is needed in an airport. This last trip, flying Norwegian without a checked bag, I really did pack down to the ounce. Spent more on laundry than a checked bag ($45), so learned a lesson there! We hate checking bags in general, but will do so in April -- while still carrying everything we NEED with us. As long as the one bag comes off the plane, we'll be comfortable with redundancies. (Tech stuff will be in the carry-ons!)
  11. crystalspin

    New Internet rates

    Amazon says this about the N300 vs the AC750: 300Mb/s vs 750Mb/s; 2.2x2.2x0.7in vs 2.6x2.9x0.9in; 7.2oz vs 14.1oz. As I know the speed is dependent on what the ship provides, I'm wondering about the size and the weight. But you say 1.25oz?? that's a bit different from 7+oz... I'm in charge of worrying about the weight of luggage! ETA: Thank you for your insights! We'll be on the same ship in 3+ months! ETAA: Oh I see the two models also have these differences: Frequency Bands Supported: SINGLE-BAND vs DUAL-BAND and Wireless Compatibility: 2.4GHz RF vs 802.11.ac Is 802.11 even still used? our home WiFi is set up for 2.4 (because the higher speed available isn't recognized by the printer and also drops out upstairs, and we use phone over wifi). I'm leaning to the one you use, whatever it weighs! ETAAA: Here's the answer, from TPLink: "The TL-WR802N (N300) supports 2.4GHz only. For dual band, 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity, we recommend our TL-WR902AC (AC750) instead:" https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Wireless-Travel-Router-TL-WR902AC/dp/B01N5RCZQH
  12. crystalspin

    How to do laundry on a long cruise

    We did a 26-day TA and Med cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam and I did all of our laundry in the sink, using 1/4-sheets of Brite Concepts E-Z Wash Here on Amazon, also found on eBay. Cheaper on Amazon if you qualify for free shipping. I wringed (wrang?) some out by hand and used the towel method on thicker things. I did washed out DH's pants!!! (They are nylon, but still!) I was at that time terrified of the ship's laundry, but Kazu and others have eased my mind since then. We are recently back from a 14-day TA (after about a week in BCN) with RCI. I did take the EZwash and a bungy-type extra line -- but I didn't use them. It's my vacation too! We wear clothing (not unders!) multiple times if not soiled or too wrinkled, and used the ship's laundry as needed. RCI only lets you put tees/nightwear/undies/socks in the bag, other things will be charged at per-item rate. We did several bags and a couple separate items. And I bought three T-shirts at the shop on special day! Almost cheaper than laundry and ta-da, I have my souvenirs too. We sail 16 days (with four days at each end) on the Zuiderdam in Apr-May and I am seeing the unlimited as reasonable, now; it works out to the same as a bag every three days and you don't have to pack as much!
  13. crystalspin

    Alaska Cruise

    Sail the 7-day roundtrip out of Vancouver. Essentially all of your sailing will be in protected waters (inside Vancouver Island and then within the islands that are the northern parts of the Inside Passage). The ports are all docking ones (not tender ports); just hold on to the railings of the "gangways", that might bob a little. You will have a fantastic time! I recommend Holland America, and of the two ships doing that route in June of 2019, I recommend the Volendam for a first cruise. While it is not as big and shiny as the Nieuw Amsterdam, it is easier to find your way around. An ocean-view cabin on the Lower Promenade deck 3 (the deck that has the actual teak Promenade circling it) near or in front of the mid-ships' elevators is a great $ compromise vs a balcony. You will be steps away from the biggest balcony on the ship! (Too far back and you will be under the galley where work goes on all night.) You might have noticed I recommend mid-to-late June. We did that very itinerary on the Volendam in June of 2016, the 7-day Vancouver to Seward (on the old Statendam, RIP) in June of 2009, and the 14-day Seattle R/T on Volendam's sister ship Zaandam in August of last year. I chose August in the hopes of seeing bear fishing for salmon, but the salmon run was SO MEAGER, we never did see a wild bear. The extended daylight hours of June are much fun, and the whales and other marine mammals are IME more active having shortly returned from their spring migration. We have another Alaska cruise booked for June of 2020!
  14. crystalspin

    Drinks Package

    Not necessarily (don't be kicking yourself) -- it's that 'dynamic' thing. What it means is, if a thing isn't selling well, they will mark it down. Also the prices are not the same ship to ship! Very strange, but I hope it works out for you! The great price I booked was October and the cruise it was on was in December, so you have about as much time to be getting a deal as I had.
  15. crystalspin

    Drinks Package

    As you are on RCI, buy the Deluxe Beverage Package and then watch your Cruise Planner like a hawk -- honestly, more than once a day is not too often (as long as it doesn't badly affect your quality of life, don't let it get to that!). RCI does what is called "dynamic pricing" and they change prices of the add-ons almost capriciously. I'm sure there is a computer (or maybe a bean-counter) applying algorithms, but the point is, you can EASILY cancel a purchase and book the lower price when you see it. I bought the DBP with Surf-n-Stream three times in a day last October. I think they were trying out their Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials! because I got a price I'd never seen on the combination (quite a bit better than separate, even than two DBPs and the SnS for two devices which is what I cancelled). Then it went back up until I did see that price again on Cyber Monday. Buy it now, even if the price seems too high; it may go up! OTOH, if it stays too high, you can always cancel a few days before you sail. FWIW, we LOVED having the DBP for all the reasons you mentioned!