General questions

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Nov 21st, 2002, 07:25 AM
  #1
Jane
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General questions

We are near to reserving a deluxe verandah suite on HAL's Veendam for a 14 tour/cruise in Alaska. It will be our first cruise, so hopefully the questions aren't silly. Here are the questions I've come up with (so far):

1. We are planning on taking two large suitcase and one carry-on. The plan is that the carry on would have the things we need for the land portion - however do they make provisions for the baggage that is not needed until you embark the ship?

2. The read up is that with this accomodation there are the benefits of free dry cleaning (a plus to get your dressier cloth at least ironed), but they 'and more'. What are the other percs they provide with this type of room?

3. I've read posts where people have had meals in their rooms. How does room service work - extra charge (if so how much)?

4. There is shopping aboard, what type of goods - clothing, alcohol, cigs, gifts? (My guess on this one is 4 yeses).

We are very pysched. Thank you for any responses.
 
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Nov 21st, 2002, 09:09 PM
  #2
Paul Therault
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Hi Jane,

If you pick up a HAL brochure you will find most of your questions will be answered.

Paul
 
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Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:00 AM
  #3
Jane
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Paul,

I have there brochures and have scours their web pages and others. These questions I was left with after that exercise.

Jane
 
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Nov 22nd, 2002, 05:38 AM
  #4
Lew
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Let me take a crack at your questions:

1. Don't fully understand so no answer
2. Suite passengers get free laundy, personalized stationary, a "private" dining room for breakfast and lunch [King's room]. On the Veendam there is no suite lounge or concierge service.
3. Any and all meals can be served in your room at no extra charge. Meals are ordered over the phone. I always tip the steward who brings them, but this is not required. There is a table on the balcony on which you can eat if you desire.
4. Shopping on board consists of a nicknack shop, a liquor shop, a souvenir shop and a boutique with upscale clothing, jewelery etc.
 
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Nov 22nd, 2002, 06:17 AM
  #5
Jane
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Thanx Lew. The questino regarding the luggage is will they store/hold the larger pieces of luggage for the duration of the land portion of the tour so you don't have to be dragging them around with you.
 
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Nov 22nd, 2002, 07:20 AM
  #6
Lew
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Jane--sorry I have no experience on land tours.

You will like the Veendam...a nice midsize ship. I just got off a 20 day repositioning.
 
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Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:36 PM
  #7
maryann
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Lew, How did the 20 day cruise go? We are going on the Maasdam next year, between the 7 day Alaska & 21 day repo. it will be 28 days.

Enough to do, for me it's sea days, books, scenery, trivia.

How about the ports?
 
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Nov 22nd, 2002, 07:46 PM
  #8
Lew & Fanci
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Our 20-day cruise was very pleasant – Vancouver, BC down the west coast, through the Canal, ending in Tampa, Florida. The change of climates was refreshing – starting in cool misty British Columbia (sweater and trouser weather that lasted to San Diego) then warmer temperatures each day where the shorts and bikinis became standard garb.

The Veendam is a nice mid-size ship so its easy to get to know crew members and other passengers. The friendly Philippine and Indonesian crew members make it a point to learn everyone’s name in just a day or two, and their friendly greetings and genuine smiles add to the ambience.

We're HAL fans -- Fanci especially likes the somewhat smaller Veendam/Maasdam size -- and it was a pleasure to see it in good shape. Veendam is not new but she’s a comfortable ship, in the process of being refurbished. It had just come out of a week’s “wet dock” and some continuing renovation (such as carpet replacement) was still in progress on the trip. Everything is painted, varnished, shined within an inch of its life – few signs of wear and tear are evident.

The entertainment on our repositioning cruise was not typical because the ship usually does seven-day cruises. A special troupe came on board for 3 performances. We also had two production shows by the Veendam cast. The dancers here are talented and enthusiastic. You will enjoy them! The individual performers, e.g., magicians, jugglers, comedians will be different on your cruise. Our experience is that the quality of the talent varies. Most people don’t go to the theatre every night of a cruise (especially a long one) since there is a Piano Bar for chatting and listening to music, the Explorer’s Lounge with a trio doing classical and chamber music and a really excellent dance band in the Ocean Bar.

The food was typical HAL -- not Cordon Bleu but very good -- and as always, overall dining room service was attentive, friendly, altogether pleasing. One fun thing, we were invited to have dinner with the First Officer and Fanci was seated next to him. He was about 35, so handsome --YUM YUM! A charming Dutchman (naturally) with excellent English. It was a neat thing: place markers were paper match books imprinted with our names, a special menu which we were given a copy, pictures taken (which we never got!!! RATS!)
 
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Nov 22nd, 2002, 07:49 PM
  #9
Lew & Fanci
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Here's the stuff on the ports...initially too long for Fodors.

in July, when we were in Cozumel, we walked off the pier through a long shed-like building with liquor and perfumes, exiting to an area with a number of small ramshackle shops. Well, they're gone! And set a little further back from the beach is a quite large shopping mall under construction. Seems the early September hurricane took out all those little shops and I can only think it had been anticipated, for the shopping mall is well underway, and otherwise I can't imagine how the plans, utilities, etc. could have been accomplished so quickly.

Since Lew’s job took him to Acapulco, we did not do any of the touristy stuff. Instead, we took a cab ride all the way through town to the Hyatt. Its a beautiful hotel and I was curious about rooms, since he had regaled me with tales of having coffee on his balcony and watching the navel cadets next door going through marching drills, etc. He was distressed to find the naval academy had sold part of the land and the view is now obstructed by three new condominiums!!

We stopped in a new tourist city being developed by the Mexican government a day south of Acapulco [can’t recall name]. Its very new, bright, pleasant to the eye. But, its already falling apart! Tiles in the plazas are loose, tilted at crazy (ankle-breaking) angles -- rust creeping over brand new wrought iron park benches, piles of banana peels and half-eaten tacos beside emerald merchant stores.

In Costa Rica, we took a bus inland to San Juan, the capitol city -- very interesting -- toured the National Museum, Opera House, several other sites. As a group, the Costa Ricans are friendly, polite, welcoming .. and so proud of their country. A huge number of Americans live there. Costa Rico has no military. It's been said that if Costa Rica were ever attacked, there are enough retired American military to squeeze back into the uniforms and defend them.

Hope this helps.

 
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Nov 22nd, 2002, 11:15 PM
  #10
Paul Thearult
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Hi Jane,

You're right. I briefly breezed through the Alsaka brochure and it only has the info on luggage. Pick up the Caribbean brocure and it will have much more info.

Paul
 
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Nov 23rd, 2002, 04:21 AM
  #11
maryann
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Lew & Fanci- Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a long post for me.

We,also, are HAL nuts and could not imagine taking such a long cruise on any other line.

That falling-down port you described might be Santa Cruz-Hualtulco, we are supposed to go there,too. Dosn't sound too great.

We usually pass up the shows in favor of dance music, walking on deck anda short time in the casino.

Thanks again.
 
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Nov 23rd, 2002, 01:07 PM
  #12
Karen
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Several years ago we took the HAL cruise/tour. As I remember the cruise part ended(three days into it) at Skagway and we proceeded onto the bus tour.....It was absolutely sensational and our tour guide was fabulous...I believe the land portion was about 11 days and we just took our luggage along in the bus....some days we took it off to refill the carry-on to get us through a few more days, but most days the luggage just stayed with the storage at the bottom of the bus. The land portion is extremely casual and you won't need anything but jeans, shorts or other casual wear. d
 
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