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Old February 16th, 2007, 05:23 PM
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Default Favorite Hal Itinerary?

I was fortunate enough to work on the Statendam her inaugural year when she spent many months in Europe. I was there about three months before we sailed transatlantic and did the 10-day deep caribbean cruises.

I think HAL's 10-day Caribbean cruises are some of the best Caribbean cruises out there. Good value and very interesting itineraries, which they vary.

But what is your vote for most interesting HAL itinerary? either now or even better, in the future?

If you have been on a good one. let me know.

I did one where we went to Gibralter and the small Spanish islands, plus the Canary Islands. Now they also throw in Morocco, which I missed.

On our transatlantic we went to the Canaries and the Azores (talk about remote) and Bermuda. It is funny that you actually can island hop across the Atlantic if you want to.

I would like to go to South America. And also try the Prinsendam. I was on her when she was the Seabourn Sun in the Baltic back in 1996.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 06:31 PM
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There was a time that I though that I wanted to try many different itineraries but I soon found out that was not possible. We would love to take long cruises but due to work keeping us from being gone that long most of our cruises have to be 7 day cruises. So my favoirte itinerary is the Mexican Riviera on the Oosterdam for many reason. The first reason is the closeness to San Diego from Las Vegas and the ease of flying down on Southwest Airlines that have hourly flights from LAS to SAN. Our second reason is we have yet to tire of going to the three ports. They are all very clean and we feel very safe in the main areas. We have our favoirte restaurants in all three ports that we love to return as well as a jewelry store in Mazatlan that the owner now knows us and also has a store in Ketchikan in the summer months. The thrid is with doing the itinerary that we no so well there are few surprises and we rather like it that way.

Mainly the ship has always been our destination and the ports are just a plus. I could easily spend all 7 days on ship. While I know that many Caribbean itineraries are very nice the hassle of flying cross country takes away from the total relaxation so for us the Mexican Riviera is great.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 06:59 PM
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As a few of you know, I have only done one HAL cruise but it was a great one. Fourteen days, Hong Kong to Osaka aboard the Statendam. The ports were wonderful and the S class ships are the perfect size.

The four days pre-cruise in Hong Kong were something I would recommend to anyone who does this or a similar itinerary. Hong Kong has something for everyone. It has the flavor of the Far East but is easy for Western travelers to negotiate on their own.

We did private tours in Shanghai and Beijing and it was money well spent. I feel we saw more then the ships tours and were able to customize our time and itinerary but never had a worry about making it back to the ship.

I was a bit disappointed in HAL's shore excursion department. This was their first time in China in a number of years and many thing were not well organized. Hopefully they have worked out their "kinks".

In regard to the ship and the crew, you couldn't ask for anything better. I have to say that the service was the best I've had on any ship.

Take care,
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Old February 16th, 2007, 07:19 PM
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We loved sailing from Piraeus on Statendam and visiting the Greek Islands, then Venice, and ending in Rome. Great cruise. (Our 25th Wedding Anniversary.)
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Old February 16th, 2007, 09:04 PM
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HI MIKE M,

I NOTICE FROM YOUR POST THAT YOU HAVE BEEN TO THE FAR EAST...ON SEPT 21ST, WILL BE SAILING ON THE AMSTERDAM, DOING THE 64 DAY ASIA,POLYNESIA, AND AUSTRALIA EXPLORER...I READ THAT YOU WERE DOING LAND TOURING, BUT WAS WONDERING IF YOU AND ANY HINTS ON MUST SEE LAND EXCURSIONS....
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Old February 16th, 2007, 10:39 PM
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While I loved the Prinsendam's Eastern Med and the Noordam's Western Med very much, my fave has to be the 14-day circle of the British Isles roundtrip Amsterdam. There were so many interesting ports, ancient sites, fantastic scenery, and wonderful little out-of-the-way places that I could easily do it again. However, I've not seen the exact same itinerary since then.

Second would have to be the Canada/New England run. Absolutely fabulous. (And I know Sail7Seas will agree!)
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Old February 17th, 2007, 12:18 AM
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First of all - ANY cruise line going to any destination for the first time is going to have some shore excursion glitches. That is why it is better to go on a cruise that has been done before (something to keep in mind). Luxury cruise lines that have ships (world cruises) that sail all over the world constantly have to focus SO much more on shore-ex than your typical Caribbean cruise line.

Second - I was going to mention British Isles - I got to do it once when working for Royal Viking - it was exquisite, especially Scotland.

Next, I also want to do NE/Canada - a longer cruise (7 to 10 days) all the way to Quebec. I have never done that. Never even been to French Canada.

Good choices, everyone.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 04:42 PM
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We did the Rotterdam Panama Canal in 2004 and absolutely were fascinated the whole trip. Would do that ship and itinerary again in a heartbeat. Are considering the Prinsendam British Isles trip for 2008 wish HAL would offer more than one of those a year.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 05:56 PM
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So far I have two favorites.

The 30 day trip up the Amazon river was amazing. It is a place I never thought I would go to. When we did go the cruise RT out of SD was more than we could have wished for. I can't tell you all the out of the ordinary expriences we had. Moonlight on the river with crocs around. Pink fresh water dolphins. No, that wasn't a typo the dolphins are pink! This trip also included the Panama Canal which is fantastic on its own.

The second would have to be the 30 day RT out SD that goes to the Hawai'ian islands and then continues south to Bora Bora, Nuka Hiva, Papaeete, Moorea. The islands are everything you've read about and more. It was so wonderful we are going back again next Jan.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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I have wondered if the Amazon is really interesting. I mean I think for a few days, yes, but there is mostly just jungle to see along the way. But I am always ready to be proven wrong.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 08:47 PM
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Oh Paul, you are so wrong. The banks of the river are mostly cleared. You can see cattle and sheep and farms. Of course all the farm houses are on stilts, but they are still farms. When the jungle does come close to the banks with binox you have a good chance of seeing monkeys, and brightly colored birds.

The traffic on the river itself is amazing. You will see teeny, tiny boats. Once we saw a little boat with sails made from tee shirts sewn together. You will see lots of ferrys with the passengers hanging off of everywhere.

When the ship is anchored the locals will come out in canoes and attempt to board the ship! The little canoes will grab hold of the tenders and try to sell you stuff from their boat.

It is truly a once in a lifetime experience and I will always treasure our chance to travel there.

ps while we were on the river the chef in the PG made Pirina soup!
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Old February 17th, 2007, 09:52 PM
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You're right, Jim..... We think the Canada/New England cruises are wonderful. We board in Boston and sail 7 days to Montreal. Ports are Bar Harbor; Prince Edward Island; Halifax; Sydney, Nova Scotia and Quebec disembarking in Montreal. GREAT itinerary. If you get lucky with the weather on the dcay for scenic cruising on Saguenay Fjord, it can be an amazing experience. It truly was a moment in time last August when we were there on a picture perfect, bright blue sky day....Very memorable.

We're doing that one again in August.

But in June, we're doing a somewhat different 7 dayer. Boston; Newport, Rhode Island; Portland, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax; Bar Harbor and back to Boston.

So much to do in these nice ports we don't tire of (most) of them.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 11:25 PM
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I thoroughly enjoy those ports. A neat one I don't believe they visit any more is St. Pierre/Miquelon. While there isn't a lot there, it's a real unique landing in "France." I had to make a purchase in the pattisserie, you know!

I look forward to doing this cruise again sometime.
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Old February 18th, 2007, 02:20 AM
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I am glad to be wrong - something to look foeward to. I was on Royal Viking once in South America, my only time there. We were scheduked to go up the Amazon and they cancelled it, said it was too dangerously full of debris from flooding, etc. Passengers were very disappointed. We did go to Devils Island though.

Love the French Patiserries, yymmmm. Even a regular tuna sandwich on fresh baguette is a slice of heaven. I crave them, and pay $8.00 for one her in a local French deli-shop. Small for $8.00 but delicious.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crusin' fool
The second would have to be the 30 day RT out SD that goes to the Hawai'ian islands and then continues south to Bora Bora, Nuka Hiva, Papaeete, Moorea. The islands are everything you've read about and more. It was so wonderful we are going back again next Jan.
Yes! My favorite too. Perfect mix of port and sea days ... wonderful, exotic ports, several overnight stays on the schedule. This itinerary is perfect to me ... followed by the 15-day Hawaii itineraries that HAL does. But, since 30 days is longer than 15 ... the Hawaii/South Pacific itin is clearly my favorite!

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 10:50 AM
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great question,
wife and I just did the eastern carib. on the westerdam, second cruise on ship in two years, great itinerary and still a good ship, great ports for doing nothing more than being a tourist!! we were able to spend time on the beaches and time in the shops, food on board is always good. HAL does it right, we are taking both kids (28 and 26 ) with "friends" next year, wan them to experience cruising the right way, on HAL.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:15 PM
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Unlike most of you, I love port intensive cruises and actually miss the daily currency conversion gymastics we used to have to do in Europe.
While I really love every thing in the Med and could easily do an entirre summer of BTB cruises there, I think my hands down favorite has been the Norwegian Fjords. I hope to one day go all the way to the top and around but that's probably not going to happen on HAL.

Before that though, I want to sail in Asia, as many countries in the shortest time possible. Like I said, I like port intensity. A change is as good as a rest for me.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 04:12 AM
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WELL THIS IS HOW IT IS....EACH CRUISE HAS BEEN MY FAVORITE....THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE.....

THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, JUST BY ACCIDENT I WAS GIVEN THE ITNERARY FOR THE 64 DAY ASIA, AUSTRALIA AND POLYNESIA CRUISE....I HAVE BEEN TOLD....THAT HAL DOES ONLY ONE OF THESE CRUISES A YEAR.....DON'T KNOW IF THAT IS FACT OR FICTION....BUT I'M DOING IT....

THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS IN LIFE....THINGS HAPPEN FOR A REASON..

I THINK THAT THIS WILL BE A CRUISE OF A LIFETIME....21 PORTS IN 64 DAYS
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 12:02 PM
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The more port intensive the better for us, especially DH. We have only done one HAL in recent years; the Panama Canal a few months ago. I would love to do New England/Canada. We can't do it this year cause we are doing a group cruise on another line in Sept. (Mex riv) Maybe 2008 if all goes well. I think it would be awesome to do the Med as well.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KODI
THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, JUST BY ACCIDENT I WAS GIVEN THE ITNERARY FOR THE 64 DAY ASIA, AUSTRALIA AND POLYNESIA CRUISE....I HAVE BEEN TOLD....THAT HAL DOES ONLY ONE OF THESE CRUISES A YEAR.....DON'T KNOW IF THAT IS FACT OR FICTION....BUT I'M DOING IT....
Yep, HAL does that itin every fall. But, you never know. If the cruise continues to be as popular as it has been, HAL could run another sailing there at a different point in the year. That's what they did with the Hawaii/South Pacific cruise. Used to do only one ... every January. Now they have a second run in September ... with an option to board either in Van Couver or San Francisco, in addition to San Diego.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old February 28th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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We have two favourites. I hope I am allowed to put both down.

The first was last September when we cruised on the lovely Veendam from Vancouver, down the coast of the U.S. Mexico, and Costa Rica, through the Panama Canal which was a first for us, then onto Aruba, Grenada, up the Amazon as far as Manaus, then back down to Barbados and the Domincan Republic finishing in Tampa. It was a 34 day cruise and every day the weather was perfect and the seas were as calm as a millpond. Unbelievable!!

The second was earlier in the year in January when we cruised from Rio to Valpariso via Antarctica. It was a wonderful trip, Antarctica was incredible and the Chilean Fjords were just so beautiful. This was a 21 day cruise and a dream come true for us.

It is hard to choose which was the best between the two cruises.

Jennie
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