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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. Have done HAL 7-day northbound out of Vancouver (BEFORE our self-drive land trip, the better to be relaxed and in vacation mode). HAL 7-day roundtrip Vancouver. And HAL 14-day roundtrip Seattle. First two in June because I love the long sunlit hours, the last in August in the hope of seeing salmon (and bears eating salmon). Unfortunately the hope went unfulfilled, as the salmon run last year was disappointing everywhere we went, except for some chum in a small stream near Sitka. But it was a great trip none-the-less of course. Now we are booked for Princess next June -- it is also a 14-day, but that's because it is roundtrip LOS ANGELES which happens to be our home port so *no flying* (be still my heart)! As you see, we're back to June -- I chose the likelihood of the whales being more active against the uncertainty of the salmon run. So my advice for a first cruise: Princess or Holland America, out of Vancouver so you sail between Vancouver Island and British Columbia. Northbound if you are going to do a land tour, because you'll start slow and get "more Alaskan" as you go. See the totems in Ketchikan, a whale spotting boatride in Juneau (with Mendenhall Glacier if offered), and the train in Skagway. Be prepared for rain whatever time you go; it is a rainforest! Keep asking questions on Cruise Critic, we're here for you!
  2. Both of balconies we've had, had the sofa nearer the balcony, which I consider a big window! of the OV's we've had, one had the sofa nearer the window. This would be my preference if just my DH and me, so that he can sit and read his Kindle on the sofa! OTOH, when we travelled with family in nearby cabins, on the Lower Promenade on R class HAL ships, the bed(s) were on the window wall, but that made for more accessible socializing space (sofa, desk chair, foot of the beds) nearer the door. Next year we will sail with family in adjoining mini-suites on Princess, with 'living' areas near the balconies. Assuming the balconies can be opened between, perhaps we will drop in to socialize via the verandahs!
  3. @denmarks Funny you should ask! I just ordered 50SPF hats for both DH and myself, and two sun-protective shirts for myself, for a So.Pacific cruise next February... that will also be put away for a So.Caribbean back-to-back in January 2021! dr'spin regularly wears AirStrip type shirts that are sun-protective, but I'm lacking in them. I'm also researching water-shoes for the same trips. Even though we live in sunny southern California, we do not spent much time in the sun, or at the beach! (Usually only when we have guests, haha.)
  4. Just researched and found that Sunday Afternoons now has an "Ultra Adventure" hat that is 10% lighter, a little less coverage, but (I think) less dorky looking. Also it folds for packing! Although the standard Adventure packs flat, it doesn't fit in a pocket or purse (brim doesn't fold). A hat with slightly less coverage that you WEAR, is better than a bigger/longer one that ends up staying in the suitcase! Also if wearing a collared shirt, the cape length will still meet that in back. Amazon had more colors and their price was equivalent to REI with the current members' special that can be applied to only one full-price item (plus one Outlet item). Since Amazon had "jade" and REI didn't, I bought there and got DH pumice and myself jade. And still have the 20% code to use at REI! Here is their video. REI has Eucalyptus (loden green) and Pumice (very light gray). Amazon has Blue Mountain, Cinder (dark gray with blue mtn trim), Jade (lighter teal-y green with darker teal trim), and Pumice. Trim and I believe under-brim are dark gray where not stated. All come in M (to 23") and L (to 24.25"). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr4fX1XAuHk It also comes in a waterproof, less-vented model called the Ultra Adventure Storm in Taupe, with the folding brim but only one size (22-23.65 inches).
  5. We hailed a taxi for Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre, which is a peaceful 80 year-old retreat spread over 4 acres of lush tropical gardens. I also had bus/walking instructions from somewhere but didn't keep them. I think it was a CC post and since the name is unique, a search may find it. Otherwise, google is your friend! The flamingos have a dancing show, and you enter the 'cage' enclosure and feed a type of small parrot (lorikeets?) from your hand! That was fun!
  6. Last year's SnS (announced on 28 June 2018, which press release I quote) included: "Guests booking balcony, mini-suite or suite staterooms will receive a free Premier Beverage Package for two people. Plus, free Unlimited Soda & More Packages for third and fourth guests in the stateroom." and "Guests can also take advantage of a refundable, reduced deposit of 10% of cruise fare per guest." (for new bookings) These were good on "Six to 56 day cruises to destinations around the globe and cruisetours sailing summer 2019 to spring 2020 are on sale now." I'll believe the sales on the fares when I see it! But I hope to pick up the PBP for next year's Alaska trip.
  7. Buy it post-haste, if you're going to. On Mar20, I happened to notice $199.99 for 16-day Premium on our Apr21 sailing, $50 off the table above price. I snapped it up! I didn't keep checking so I don't know how long that flash sale lasted, but the funny thing is: On the invoices printed onboard, the internet PRICE and the PREPAYMENT were both listed as $249.99! As if they didn't want to admit they discounted it. The service was pretty good, too.
  8. This is the view if it will help you argue your point. It is partially obstructed by the stairs (note: not because of the deck, I don't think that counts, just like Lower Promenade only count obstructed by apparatus not just the walkway). As I said above, the little deck is public, but there is some crew activity near by during docking, according to cruisedeckplans. I would keep the cabin, but that's just me.
  9. cruisedeckplans indicates there may be noise during docking due to nearby crew areas. On the Zaandam (sister ship) it says that and also that the area just aft IS a public deck. How cool is that! The link above says that the stairway on that deck is open to passengers to the actual promenade. I think you lucked out on your guarantee! If you google Amsterdam 2713, you should find their photos (four of them and they are ten years old, so the decor will be changed), at least in thumbnail. I have never regretted my lifetime membership to CruiseDeckPlans!
  10. Found it in my "followed" threads: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2615067-freedom-of-the-seas-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly/
  11. What about recommendations for Old San Juan? (as in food and lodging, and if there are any must-do/must-see)
  12. Agree on the GeoBlue annual. However, read the big-box benefits manual VERY WELL. I figured, they run a travel agency their card would be good protection for travel. So we used them for several vacations. Then I used them for a trip FOR FOUR PEOPLE (two cabins) with Sinorama -- a cruise on the Yangtze. Two months before the trip, Sinorama was relieved of their license by several Canadian provincial governments! Big-box credit card said, "Too bad, so sad". Our Chase Sapphire card would have covered us! To the tune of $9000+. (C#####'s response to that was "That's a different product." HUH!) We said "Too bad" to the big box credit card (we still have it but use it ONLY to buy toilet paper at the warehouse). We upgraded our Preferred Sapphire to Reserve, with myriad travel benefits including cancellation for any reason we would use. (Not Cancel For Any Reason, but nearly. They will even cover cancellation if your PET becomes ill!) Anyway, don't assume you're covered but read the coverage while imagining all that could go wrong.
  13. You get to keep your booking just as it is! If you mean, keep your promotions AND get the reduction in price, the answer would be no. Re-faring when you have a refundable (or $1!) deposit is actually an instantaneous cancellation/rebooking. Old perks are lost and new ones apply. Also you would be needing to pay whatever the difference of $1 and the current required deposit is, immediately. I just refared two cabins to get included gratuities and some OBC. The room rates went up for each of the first two passengers in the cabins, which was about equivalent to the OBC, so for me it was worth it for "free" grats. The new promotion also had reduced deposit, but my PVP did not offer to refund the difference! (What I paid applies to the new total, though, of course.) This is the opposite of your situation, but illustrates the principle.
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