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Old March 21st, 2006, 11:18 PM
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Default Hi From the Taiwan Strait

Greetings from Statendam:

It has been a wonderful first 36 hours onboard the Statendam. Embarkation started out fairly shaky but I will elaborate more about that in my official report but let’s say that the Chinese government doesn’t help matters when dealing with the cruise lines.

The ship is beautiful and the perfect size for us. The passenger dynamic is definitely older but they are very nice people and very well traveled. The ships crew is about the most friendly I have found in all of my sailings in this short period of time I have been referred to as Mr. Mike by more staff than on any cruise than ever before. The ship does shut down after 11:30 except for the Crow’s Nest. We made good use of it last night.

The cabin is very nice for an inside cabin. The Signature of Excellence upgrades are very noticeable. Our bed is the most comfortable we’ve had at sea. The 20? flat panel TV is a treat to have. The inside cabin is taking some getting used to. It is as big as Princess standard balcony. I would love to lose the full size couch to make more room but otherwise we have more closet space than we’ve ever had. It’s great. I still can’t get used to waking up and not knowing what it’s like outside. That’s sort of driving me crazy.

The casino is basically a dead zone. I spoke with the casino manager and they shut down around midnight or 12:30 each night. I don’t think I’ll be doing any late night gambling. I was amazed to see that most of their tables are $3 minimums. The casino itself is quite small with four blackjack tables a couple of Caribbean stud poker tables and five or six rows of slots.

The retractable roof pool is beautiful and I would think this would be the perfect ship for Alaska.

The food has been fairly good in the dining room and fair in the lido buffet. Nothing is bad but things are a bit bland. I did find out that this is somewhat intentional.

Last night we had the pleasure of dining with the Hotel Captain and it was a great and informative dinner. The night did not end with dinner but carried on to the Crow’s Nest lounge. We danced until midnight and had a good time with the Hotel Captain and the Executive Chef. Betty danced up a storm and I’ll admit that between the wine with dinner and the drinks they bought for us and a number of other people in the Crow’s Nest we got a bit tipsy.

I do have one word of advice for people. If you really want to reward your servers: Don’t opt out of the automatic tipping program. If you do they still have to put it in the pool. This comes directly from the Hotel Captain. If you give extra and are in the program the staff member gets to keep the money. I spoke with Arif, my cabin steward, and he prefers the new program hands down over the old program. He has been with HAL for eight contracts and finds that he now makes more in gratuities than he did before it was implemented. Captain Regemorter did confess that sadly most people who opt out of the program, to tip personally, do not tip or tip far less than the standard amount. BTW: They do know if you opt out of the automatic tipping. This is standard on all Carnival lines.

Well: It’s time to go back and have some fun. It’s been completely cloudy and foggy since we left Hong Kong but I see the fog is lifting so I will go and see what I can see. Oh yeah: The Internet is wonderful and very fast.

Take care,
Mike
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Old March 21st, 2006, 11:34 PM
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Good to hear from you Mike ... glad you're having fun. I've been told by people who have had inside cabins that they turn on the TV to the outside web cam with the sound off ... then you can see when it's getting light outside.

Did you buy a suit in Hong Kong?
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 02:21 AM
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Nut:

No suit: A shipmate did buy a $200 suit. It looks like a $100 suit.

I am having a blast but I am going to get offline for awhile. I'm missing too much. I missed the Blackjack tournament while I was composing my early morning post. They probably would have let me in because they had 10 entries.

Take care,
Mike
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 03:09 AM
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Go and have fun, Mike!!! I want to cruise on the Statendam one day as this was the ship my Dad's one and only cruise was on and he absolutely loved it! And it was to Alaska..............
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 07:46 AM
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Hi Mike,
Sounds like a lovely cruise, glad you are enjoying it. Hope the fog clears up quickly so you can actually see some things...Have fun, missing you around here. I've been stuck in jury duty all week, hopefully today is my last day.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 09:49 AM
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I'm sure you'll get use to the room in no time. Thank you for sharing.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Mike and Betty--Glad you are enjoying the Statendam. It has been 9 years since we cruised on her. That was a Canal Cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale. We enjoyed her. Have a good one and keep reporting.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 10:59 AM
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Mike........glad you & Betty are having a good time.......Larry wants to know if you're able to keep up with the quiet time?!?!?!?!?! Do they roll up the sidewalks too??? lol

Waiting to hear more.........



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Old March 22nd, 2006, 11:03 AM
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Mike, it's great to hear from you. Good report and very informative. I'm glad to hear that you are both having so much fun.

Phyll
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 11:15 AM
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mike glad your having a good time don't let that inside rooom drive you crazy
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 11:40 AM
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Very interesting, Mike. Enjoying your reports. Sounds like HAL is living up to its reputation, but at least there's one venue open late at night.

Thanks for the tipping information, too. Very good to know.

Looking forward to your next report.

Cheers,
Michelle P.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 01:28 PM
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Hi Mike, Glad that you are enjoying HAL, Statendam, now i know I will definitely have to give HAL a try. Thanks for the tipping information, that helps a lot. Wishing you and Betty calm seas and good times.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 08:03 PM
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We miss you here, Mikey. But, I'm so glad you are enjoying yourselves.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 10:12 PM
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Sounds super Mike! We are just how ever many days it says at the bottom of my post behind you! Re the internet, did you take your own laptop? That's what I plan to do. don't get Shanghaied at your next port
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