Dands

Dands
Third Mate

Joined: 08/10/2014
2
Cruises
2
Reviews
4
Helpful Votes

About Dands



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Dands's Past Cruises

Norwegian Sun

December 2014 - Norwegian Sun to Caribbean - Western

Better than I expected

I'm 88 years old and have cruised over 30 times, but not in the last decade because of illness in my household.  My experience is with traditional cruising where you have an assigned seating time with the same waiter every day who remembers your tastes and caters to you.  I wasn't sure I'd like Freestyle Cruising.  But the Sun was a really nice surprise.  The waiters and all crew members were so friendly and nice.  They took great care of me and I couldn't have had a better time.  The food was delicious and the shows were top notch.  I really liked the lounge entertainment because they had some performers that played the kind of music I like.  I thought the ship was beautiful and comfortable.

The one change from past years that I didn't like was that so many things cost extra now.  A visit to the doctor costs $105 and they charge now to eat in many of the restaurants.  When you add up the beverages, shore excursions, and tips, your final bill can be a real shock.  Not like the old days!  But I was glad to be able to cruise once again and I would definitely return to the Norwegian Sun if I get the chance. 

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Ryndam

July 2014 - Ryndam to Europe - Northern Europe

"Bucket List" Experience

We have always wanted to experience the never-setting sun north of the Arctic Circle, and this cruise provided the opportunity.  The scenery in the fjords was spectacular; there were many port days and few sea days; and the service, activities, entertainment and food on board the ship were excellent.  We especially enjoyed the North Cape, the Flam train ride up to the hotel, the Stavanger Petroleum Museum, and the breathtaking views from a variety of mountain tops. These are the pros.

The cons:  HAL caters to an older, more conservative clientele.  If you prefer a casual lifestyle, as we do, then be prepared to suffer through four formal nights during the fourteen night cruise.  We observed that gentlemen can gain entry into the dining room wearing a jacket OR tie on formal nights.  If you show up with neither of those garments, you'll be offered a waiter's jacket.  Of course, casual dressers can eat at the Lido buffet, but dining room fare is always better than the buffet on formal nights.

Another con is the iffy weather in Norway.  There's a 50/50 chance of fog and/or rain at any time, so be prepared for compromised views from the ship as well as on shore.   The prices in the Norwegian ports were a shock to many of us passengers.  Due to a variety of economic conditions in Norway affecting their currency, be prepared to pay double (or more) than what you might expect in shops, restaurants and everywhere else on shore--such as $27 for a bowl of fish chowder at a stand in the Bergen outdoor market.  Advice: Prior to the first port, ask the Front Office or the Destination Specialist for specific details on how to get your Global Blue tax refund.  This information was never mentioned on the ship during our cruise and, as a result, many clueless passengers with missing requirements lost out on the opportunity to get about 15% of their onshore expenditures returned in cash when the tax agent came aboard on the last day. 

In spite of the cons, we loved beautiful Norway and the excellent Ryndam.  We would definitely do it again, only smarter next time. 

 

 

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Dands's Tips

Cozumel, Mexico - A custom taxi tour was very affordable and was much easier than a bus tour when walking is a problem.
Belize City, Belize - I liked the high speed airboat. It was a lot of fun and not a problem with the walker.
Norwegian Sun Norwegian Sun - There is more than one buffet on Deck 11 besides the Garden Café. Much of the same breakfast food was served around the corner in Moderno, including omelet & waffle stations. It was so much less crowded in there that the omelet chef remembered my exact preferences and it was easy to get a table.
Stavanger, Norway - The Petroleum Museum was really interesting and many passengers liked it. It it enlightening.
Flaam, Norway - Book the Flam train to the hotel in advance. It was sold out on shore for those who wanted to book upon arrival.
Alesund, Norway - Climb the stairs up the mountain. It's not as challenging as it looks.
Geiranger, Norway - The scenery from the mountain tops and the road with hairpin turns.
Ryndam Ryndam - Try the small area with deck chairs on Deck 9 aft for reading or napping. It is quiet with a nice view and not as windy as other locations.

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received a helpful vote on their Ryndam cruise review - "Bucket List" Experience

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sun cruise review - Better than I expected

shared a quick tip for Norwegian Sun"There is more than one buffet on Deck 11 besides the Garden Café. Much of the same breakfast food was served around the corner in Moderno, including omelet & waffle stations. It was so much less crowded in there that the omelet chef remembered my exact preferences and it was easy to get a table. "

reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Norwegian Sun and gave it 5 stars!

added Dec 7, 2014 cruise on Norwegian Sun to their profile.

received a helpful vote on their Ryndam cruise review - "Bucket List" Experience

shared a quick tip for Ryndam"Try the small area with deck chairs on Deck 9 aft for reading or napping. It is quiet with a nice view and not as windy as other locations. "

added Jul 19, 2014 cruise on Ryndam to their profile.

reviewed their Europe - Northern Europe cruise on Ryndam and gave it 4 stars!