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Fieldmouse October 20th, 2011 03:00 PM

Please help!
In January we are going on our FIRST long cruise (21days) to Hawaii and Mexico, then back to San Diego CA on the Oosterdam. My questions to those who have gone on extended cruises are:

1. Any suggestions regarding formal nights? (how to make do with LESS!)
2. Were the cruise 'only' days boring after the first 3? (is there enough to do or be entertained)
3. Did anyone find it a little disconcerting not to see land or a coast line for days at a time?

4. And the most important...if anyone else in CruiseMate land has been on this cruise before I would love to know if you enjoyed it...and any suggestions you might offer to make this cruise memorable would be most appreciated...after all it is a major investment in time and money! :p


johnthed0g October 20th, 2011 03:30 PM

We did a 28 night Caribbean with P&O.
We had about 8 formal, I took two pairs of trousers (just in case really) one white jacket & one black jacket, two shirts but then P&O have a S/S laundry. My wife took about 6 dresses. we tried to cut back on shoes for weight. Out of interest, one lady at our table who always looked wonderful, I asked her if she had brought 28 dresses, she said nope I brought 33 so I had a choice!!
We both loved the sea days, I find little of interest to me on ships during the day but I find just relaxing suits me, either on deck (beds hard to find), or on the balcony (aft overlooking the wake..worth every penny used it a LOT).
Not seeing land did not bother us & never thought of it.

Sistersolo October 20th, 2011 04:46 PM

I haven't done the Hawaii + Mexico, but I have done the 15 days San Diego to Hawaii and back, with just a brief stop in Mexico. I was on the Zaandam. I've also done a 16-day transatlantic and will be taking a 17-day one next month.

My husband, who hates sea days because all he does is sit somewhere and read, didn't come; but men can easily get through the formal nights with just a dark suit. Maybe change ties. I have two VERY simple but long dresses that take up very little room in my suitcase; if I need more, I also have a long black skirt and some relatively dressy tops. I only bring one pair of dressy shoes.

I love sea days, because I participate in all the games and activities (except bingo). The transit to Hawaii is usually four days, and HAL provides a good assortment of daily activities, from games and sports contests to lectures and movies in the theater. It is not unusual to have to choose among them because you can't make it to everything, and that's not even allowing for pool time. If there's an activity you particularly love, talk to the cruise director about it. On my prior transatlantic someone asked that a get-together for needleworkers be listed in the daily activities, and close to 30 people showed up for it.

And not only is it not disconcerting to not see land, it can be very pleasant just to watch the ocean. Coming back from Hawaii our ship met the largest pod of dolphins I've ever seen, literally hundreds of them. The group divided as we approached and swam by on both sides of the ship, with groups of four or five of them leaping in parallel at the same moment. Absolutely fantastic to see.

MercedMike October 20th, 2011 05:30 PM

Formal nights
On a long cruise with several formal nights we get along very simply. I take my tux and one or two shirts and a couple of vest and tie sets. That does me fine. If necessary a shirt can go to the laundry. DW takes a simple long black gown, and a different glitzy top for each night.

Fieldmouse October 20th, 2011 06:25 PM

THANK YOU for all your replies! I think I should start planning our wardrobe now.
We always take too much, but for this cruise I think we'll have to plan better...there is no way my husband will let me to take several large sea trunks just for my clothes. :D

We're not picky eaters either...but BTW: How was the food? Did the menu get boring with too many repeats?

Sistersolo October 21st, 2011 09:46 AM

You are not likely to get bored with the menu on any HAL ship, and IMO if you're not a picky eater you'll probably be very impressed by the food. I've heard some people complain that portions in the MDR are small, but if you're having an appetizer-soup-salad-main course-dessert, they are more than enough.

I particularly like the soups. The menu normally includes both a hot soup and a cold soup, and although the idea of a melon soup or a raspberry soup seemed strange to me at first, they are both fantastic. But I like the hot oxtail soup, too, and the chowders, and ... well, you get the idea. I've also occasionally chosen one of their vegetarian entrees, and been pleasantly surprised by them.

Doug S October 21st, 2011 01:49 PM

Our one longer cruise (15 days, Hawaii and back) was a more sedate atmospere with a notably older crowd than I was accustomed too on shorter outings. That was fine by me, cuz my wife is good company, and I enjoy a good read by the pool. It was a bit odd to only have 5 children on the entire ship, though. Can't imagine it was much fun for their age group. Heck, at 50-ish, my wife and I were yougsters on that cruise.

Night life was much calmer, often non-existent, but there were plenty of shows and activities to keep us busy. One other demographic I did not expect was the large number of British/European cruisers on the ship. Made for some interesting conversations, not just the same talk with the mostly local Texas crowds I encounter out of my 'home port' of Galveston.

If I were you, I'd expect it to be a bit different, but that's not always a bad thing...

Fieldmouse October 22nd, 2011 01:21 AM

Doug S. Thanks for sharing your observations! We've been on the Oosterdam before but it was a short cruise and port intensive...we didn't really notice the lack of night life etc because we were busy during the day. Also most likely because it was a short cruise the passengers were all ages.

We had not even considered that the passengers on a longer cruise would be on the older
side...but it doesn't matter...we like meeting people of all ages. I DO hope there is some entertainment though at night! If not, we're going to be going through a lot of books!! :razz:

Sistersolo October 22nd, 2011 09:56 AM

It does seem to be the norm that the longer the cruise, the older the average passenger age. Not at all surprising, of course, considering both cost and availibility of time. But if you like late-night activity, the only place you're likely to find it is up in the Crow's Nest.

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