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tom morrissey April 5th, 2003 11:41 AM

Harmony July 8th sail
Any one have some hints or suggestions about this summer's cruise to Alaska on the Harmony. I am on the July 8th sail. I never thought I would be interested in this area, but have spoken to some who rave about its beauty.

darbar April 11th, 2003 11:25 PM

Re: Harmony July 8th sail
I cruised on Harmony last September to Alaska and it was fantastic. The shore excursions are really great if you're a wildlife person. If you would like any tips on some of the best shore excursions, please post again here.

tom morrissey April 14th, 2003 05:04 PM

Re: Re: Harmony July 8th sail
I would appreciate any information you could offer concerning the shore excurisons and any information about the Harmony. Most of the reviews I have read have been great. I am deciding between a D or E category. Are there many single people on board?On this cruise would you suggest 1st or 2nd sitting for dinner. As I am traveling alone I thought of a table for 6 or 8. Thank you for your help.

darbar April 18th, 2003 06:08 PM

Re: Re: Re: Harmony July 8th sail
I would suggest late seating as there won't be as many kids at dinner at that time. Crystal has a new program this year for the Alaska sailings where kids sail free, so expect lots of kids on board. If you've cruised Crystal in the past, the idea of kids on board will be something rather new. Generally speaking, Crystal usually is a line for adults, and not many kids, but with this new program, I have the feeling that kids will be taking over the Alaska cruises.

The White Rail Pass is a lovely trip. I also can highly recommend the whalewatching trip in Juneau. If you don't mind helicopters, any of those tours which go on the glaciers are really special. And if you like to fish, salmon fishing trips are fantastic---and if you catch one, they will bring it back to the ship and the chef will prepare it any way you want and serve it for dinner. One of my tablemates caught a salmon and it was the best I've ever tasted.

Yes, take a large table for 8 at dinner. That way you can have a really good start at meeting people. I always cruise Crystal as a solo (I'm doing the maiden voyage on the Serentiy in July) and I think Crystal does a really good job with singles. For a nice evening activity, try the Avenue Saloon. Lots going on there in the evenings.

darbar April 19th, 2003 12:05 AM

Re: Harmony July 8th sail
Just looked at the list of shore excursions we had last September, and while I don't know if the trips will be the same, I can give you more ideas for shore excursions. If you are an active person they have kayaking which everyone said was really nice. There is also quite a few biking trips along with a really neat trip where you actually go mushing with the sleds and dogs. Each stop had at least one or two trips via seaplane or helicopter, which are quite expensive, but really worth the money. Just to land on a glacier is incredible. One big suggestion: when you're cruising either Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay, get up to the Vista Lounge as early as you can for the best seats. It's gets really crowded very early in the morning, so the earlier you get there, the better the viewing. Bring a warm jacket for the glaciers---it was freezing cold out on deck when we cruised Glacier Bay.

Nanci April 20th, 2003 11:26 PM

Re: Re: Harmony July 8th sail
I will not be on the July 8th sailing but doing my first solo cruise on the Harmony on May 10th. I have been on over 30 cruises but this will be my first "solo" experience.
Tom: any words of advice???

Nanci April 20th, 2003 11:27 PM

Re: Re: Re: Harmony July 8th sail
sorry tom........meant to ask Darbar

darbar April 21st, 2003 10:36 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Harmony July 8th sail
Nanci, over on this board I'm darbar, but I'm actually Darcie.

Nanci April 21st, 2003 10:56 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harmony July 8th sail
Darcie: Oh my gosh----had no idea it was YOU!!! No wonder you were so knowledgeable!!!!

darbar April 22nd, 2003 04:52 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harmony July 8th sail
Just call me the Crystal Answer Chick

tom johnson April 24th, 2003 12:39 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harmony July 8th sail
Dear Darbar and Nancy
Thank you both for some good advice. I would love to do the helocopter ride;however,I remember seeing a segment on 60 minutes about how dangerous they can be and have had personal loses on them. I think I shall try your other suggestions. I have been cruising solo for the last six years (mostly on Cunard) as they have single cabins. This will be my first Crystal experience and am really looking forward to it -albeit sans so many kids. I have taken an outside cabin on Crystal deck. I hope the view from this deck will be good.I realize it is the lowest passenger deck . It is also right next to the front desk. Can this area get too busy or loud?
I was wondering if it is true about ordering anything you like regardless of the menu. As a solo passenger, how do I make arrangements about eating in the alternative restaurants,i.e. do I have to arrange to hook up with new-found friends ,or will the maitre d' arrange for me to sit with others? You mentioned the nightlife, Is there a crowd on these Alaskan cruises? Are the prices for drinks comprable to other ships. I hear the bathtubs are rather small, the staff ,wonderful and the entire experience bound to spoil me for less elegant ships. Thanks again

darbar April 28th, 2003 05:46 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harmony July 8th sail
Tom, the segment on 60 Minutes addressed the problems with helicopters doing the Grand Canyon tours--I don't remember anything about Alaska, but since I live part-time in Arizona, I guess I focus on that. Because of the dangerous updrafts in the canyon, there are numerous accidents in the GC. I've not heard of any problems with the copters in Alaska, but there's a chance no matter where you go.

I've done 10 cruises as a single on Crystal, 5 on Seabourn and 2 on Silversea and I can honestly say, Seabourn and Crystal are the very best when it comes to singles. The deck 5 cabins are very nice and there's no problem with noise from the front desk. You might hear some of the music coming from the Galaxy Lounge right above you on deck 6, but that ends early. The view from that deck is actually quite nice. I love sitting in the Crystal Cove, also on deck 5, on stormy days and watching the waves. Yes, you can order off menu, but you really need to contact the head waiter early in the day in order for the chef to prepare anything out of the ordinary. I love caviar and the waiter brings it every evening. I always make friends early on during the cruise and I find they are most welcoming when you ask to join them at one of the alternate restaurants. I've also dined alone---it's worth it because the food in those restaurants are the very best.

The Alaskan cruises have become quite popular in the past couple of years. I suspect there will be many more kids than usual because kids sail free on this year's Alaska cruises. That also means a much lower average age than you typically see on Crystal. Don't miss the evenings in the Avenue Saloon when they have kareoke night. It's one of the most popular events, and the most fun.

I hope you have a wonderful cruise.

tom johnson May 9th, 2003 07:24 AM

Re: Harmony July 8th sail
I am mustering up the courage to take either one of the seaplane or helicopter excursions. Does anyone have a suggestion as to which might prove to be the best ride. I see where there is one with dog sledding.How does this fare during the month of July?

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