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Old March 31st, 2004, 01:24 AM
lougee1043's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2001
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Default dual trip report odam 3/21-3/28 part 4 last long

Ship:

Lougee1043: My wife, the interior decorator, approved of all of the colors, appointments
etc of the ship and I as a dutiful husband agree.

I thought that the ships layout was familiar and a bit confusing at the same
time- more twists and turns in certain areas of the ship- imo the shopping
arcade was like a rats maze- I always buy a ships t shirt in blue or gray
with strips that has the name of the ship and a small hal logo on it ----not
stocked-replaced with what I considered inadequate replacements- oh well
that's just me---------also thought that the variety of items available were
less then was I saw in the past

RandyK47: The ship was beautiful and in great condition but, of course, it was only 6-7 months “old”. Carey and I have to agree with Lou, while familiar from our previous HAL cruises, it was a bit confusing. The shops were not well designed or laid out. Finding your way at times could be confusing as they added variety by adding the twists and turns Lou mentioned. After almost half of the cruise we kind of figured it out.

Lougee1043: Personally didn't like the layout of the casino- on the s ships the slots
are more toward one end of the casino with the other games at the other end-
on this ship the table games are in the center of the ring and are
surrounded with slots - thought the casino was a lot nosier then in the past
and the ventilation system left a lot to be desired as the smell of
cigarette smoke was overwhelming - you could smell it before you actually
entered the casino ----------also our favorite game of open face blackjack
was only available on one evening- so we left less money behind then we
usually do and maybe that was a good thing

RandyK47: Darn it Lou….you type first and then I feel like a parrot! OK, OK…Lou is right on here. The casino is not the best layout. Really like the “S” class layout better. However, the staff was friendly and it wasn’t a bad place to play table games or throw money at the slot machines. We didn’t play as much as we had on previous trips so we didn’t WIN as much. (Take that Lou!) Actually, the last night of the cruise we stopped in to break some larger bills for tips. Carey went to a quarter machine and I hit one of the dollar slots. In ten minutes time we both hit for more than enough to play all the tips we planned to hand out.

Lougee1043: Attended less of the shows then usual-- the show "escape" was in my opinion the one of the best revue shows if not the best that I have
seen -----------the back portion of the main show floor seats have limited
visibility because of the sloping seating area -the support columns and the
overhanging from the balcony seating

RandyK47: We couldn’t attend less than we normally do because we don’t go to the shows and stayed with that tradition this time. In other words, no comment.



Suites:

Lougee1043: Imo its like first class air travel over priced but nice if you want to
spring for the bucks- we have and will continue to do it in the future
because jan likes the extra space-

On the last nite all luggage have to be in the hallway by one am -as a suite
pax we don't have to put our luggage out til 5am--- since I didn't plan to
stay up that late just to take advantage of this benefit I put our stuff out
the same time as everyone else

RandyK47: We opted for an SS category cabin as the brochure and web made it look pretty nice. It was a great cabin and we were very comfortable. I could easily see taking a longer cruise in this “suite” without the slightest problem. The verandah was a nice size with two cushioned chairs and ottomans and a table with a couple of chairs. We could both be out on the verandah at the same time and not have to do any gymnastics to get around or pass one another.

Miscellaneous Observations:

Lougee1043: Overall it was an excellent cruise and I appreciated the experience of the
vista ship - I think that in the future where I have a choice of ships I
will choose an s class over a vista but I would not even consider canceling
a cruise because a vista was the only ship available

RandyK43: There you go again Lou! Yes, it was an excellent cruise. Certainly the Vista class ships are very nice. However, like that other person, Carey and I prefer the smaller “S” class ships. Would we cruise on a “V” class again? Absolutely.

Debarking:

Lougee1043: We hung out in the Neptune lounge after breakfast because they wanted the rooms cleard by 8 am-only time we saw the Neptune lounge standing room only-
everyone had to be off the ship by 10am- we took a cab to the fll airport
and sat around til our 2pm departure which left late - had about 30 min to
make a plane change in Chicago and then the plane took off 90 min late
because of a rain storm--- all planes were fully loaded and food is now
being sold on them----arrived in Portland about 45 min late and completely
shot

RandyK47: We actually were allowed, in fact, encouraged to stay in our cabin. After breakfast we went back to our room and just relaxed for an hour talking about what a great time we’d had. It was nice to have the quiet time together to soak in the last few minutes of a great time. Because HAL had us on a fairly early flight we didn’t really wait that long. Getting off the ship, finding our baggage, and getting transported to the airport went very well. The airline was well organized with a separate setup for cruise customers. All of our tickets and luggage tags were preprinted and waiting for us. Couldn’t have taken 5 minutes to check in! From there on out the flights were on time and we arrived back in San Antonio at 4:30 PM.

NEGATIVE COMMENT

Lougee1043: I found out today that my broker sent me an email on wed 3/23 that was NEVER delivered to my cabin - have written to hal and am waiting for a response

RandyK47: Gosh Lou….I didn’t get an email from my broker either….of course I don’t have one so maybe that’s the problem. Doubt HAL would help me out there. OK…my biggest complaint is the slippage in service on HAL. Having not been on a cruise for several years we really noticed it. In talking to our room steward we got some idea why it had slipped. He said he’d gone from having to take care of 9 rooms to 12 in the SS category. When he worked the mini-suites they gave him 17 instead of the previous 12. A little math and that sounds like a 30% cut in staff. It shows!!! Our room steward apologized and said he liked to spend a lot more time with his guests but just couldn’t.

INTERESTING COMMENT

Lougee1043: There were 6 couples that met on the cruise boards and 2 of them split the
snowball jackpot by winning within 50 numbers - 2 people completing the
board within 50 numbers imagine that

RandyK47: Made eight, great new friends on this trip and we’re already planning to maybe cruise with several of them again. Cruising is so great!!!!

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