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Joined: 06/20/2014
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About Papaly


Papaly's Past Cruises


October 2016 - Oosterdam to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Excellent Itinerary

The Oosterdam which recently underwent a makeover was a very nice ship. The itinerary of 16 ports in 24 days allowed us to experience not only the port cities themselves, but also many others through an excellent array of shore excursions which were very well organized. The crew was excellent as was the food. Altogether a great trip.

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Norwegian Dawn

May 2016 - Norwegian Dawn to Caribbean - Western

Wait for renovation

Physically this is a nice ship...mid size, nice floor plan, etc. However it is very dated and showing its' age. The good news is that on May 19, 2016 immediately after our cruise was over it went into dry dock for a multi-million dollar makeover. I'm sure when it resumes cruising that the décor, furnishings, floors and cabins will have a much improved feeling.

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Carnival Dream

October 2015 - Carnival Dream to Caribbean - Eastern

Average Ship and Crew

We picked this cruise because of its' itinerary which started in New Orleans, went to the Caribbean and then to Bermuda and ended up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was a great itinerary which is not repeated very often and gave us a chance to go to Bermuda without leaving out of New York or New Jersey.

The décor of the ship, like several Carnival ships we have been on tends to be a little gaudy compared to other cruise lines. Not to our liking. The ship's public areas and our cabin were well maintained and clean.

We were somewhat disappointed with the friendliness of the crew. Except for our cabin steward and a couple other employees, no one seemed to be happy, smiling, saying hello or generally showing appreciation for the fact that we were there.

The variety and quality of the food was good but the service varied from night to night.

The production shows were great, but the other entertainment was just ok.

We have taken 44 cruises and would probably not go on the Dream again unless the itinerary was too good to resist.

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June 2014 - Zaandam to Alaska - Inside Passage

Alaska on Holland America Zaandam - Cruise #38

We chose this cruise first because of the itinerary; second because it left from Vancouver, B.C. which we wanted to visit for a few days before the cruise; and third to experience Holland America cruiseline for the first time.


This Inside Passage cruise visited Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Alaska and also spent a full day cruising the Tracy Arm Fjord. As far as a seven day itinerary to Alaska is concerned, you could not do much better. In Skagway we took a full day tour over to the Yukon Territory booked online through Frontier Excursions. Many interesting stops and great photo opportunities and the sighting of a bear in the wild along with a great guide made this the best day of the cruise. Cruising Tracy Arm Fjord with icebergs floating by and getting up close to Sawyer Glacier was next best, with Juneau and Ketchikan still very enjoyable. 


The Zaandam itself is an older ship with only two levels of balconies. We had a balcony room and for this type of cruise where the scenery is a major attraction, we highly recommend it as the crowds up on deck jockeying for rail space can be avoided.


 While older, the ship is very well maintained and clean. There are many comfortable public seating areas to relax in. As with all cruises there was a wide variety of daily activities from which to choose.


The quality and variety of the food we found to be generally excellent. It was the food service that was greatly lacking...actually poor. Whether in the cafeteria or the main dining room there never seemed to be enough servers and those that were  there did not seem to be very organized or be working as a team. To make matters worse, they were not very friendly and rarely smiled. Our experience in the Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurant was deplorable. When I requested the server to bring my soup before my salad, the  Maitre,d came to our table and basically chastised me saying that that was not the way it is done. In comparison, the service in the Italian specialty restaurant was excellent..the best on the ship.


The cabins are conservatively appointed but clean and with excellent mattresses.


As indicated above this was our 38th cruise and the seventh cruise line we have sailed on. We found the itinerary to be most enjoyable but Holland America employees could go a long way toward making their guests feel more appreciated in comparison to other cruise lines. Whether or not we sail with Holland America again remains to be seen



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Papaly's Tips

Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala - Went to the Mayan ruins of Quirigua. Very interesting. This port is very limited in shore excursions and there is little to do within walking distance of the dock area.
Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico - Very nice village at the end of the dock. Also, for a $3 per person taxi you can go to nearby seaside are of Majahual. Very laidback and pleasant.
Norwegian Dawn Norwegian Dawn - Pay attention to either cruising on the newer ships or ships that have recently been refurbished.
Carnival Dream Carnival Dream - There is an area on the upper decks called Serenity which is an adults only area that has some seating that is much more comfortable and unique than the standard deck chair. There is no charge for the use of this area.
Skagway, Alaska - Excellent port for ventures up to Whites Pass or better yet into the Yukon.
Cruise Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska - Excellent day. Icebergs, glacier wildlife and great scenery.
Juneau, Alaska - Mendenhall Glacier is a must if you have never seen it. Only take the pricey ($32) Sky Tram if the weather is clear. Otherwise it is a waste.
Zaandam Zaandam - Highly recommend a balcony room as there is constant scenery close by every day.

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received a helpful vote on their Oosterdam cruise review - Excellent Itinerary

received a helpful vote on their Zaandam cruise review - Alaska on Holland America Zaandam - Cruise #38

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Dream cruise review - Average Ship and Crew

received a helpful vote on their Oosterdam cruise review - Excellent Itinerary

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Wait for renovation

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Wait for renovation

received a helpful vote on their Oosterdam cruise review - Excellent Itinerary

received a helpful vote on their Oosterdam cruise review - Excellent Itinerary

shared a quick tip for Oosterdam"Do it."

added Oct 10, 2016 cruise on Oosterdam to their profile.