2. Most recent cruise 35-day Hawaii/South Pacific itinerary on the Statendam in September/October 2008 — actually it was two cruises, beginning with a five-day coastal from Vancouver to San Diego, followed by a 30-day Hawaii/South Pacific cruise. Heaven on Earth is all I can say.
3. Favorite thing about HAL? Just about everything, but I guess it would be the attention to detail in the service. I’ve sailed other cruise lines (Princess, Cunard, Carnival, Celebrity), and while those cruises were never bad (is there ever anything truly bad about a cruise?) they weren’t HAL and you could see that almost immediately. The HAL onboard experience is just more caring is about the best way I can put it. It honestly seems like everyone onboard wants you to have a good time and make some amazing memories, and they will do whatever possible to make that happen — from the officers, to the bar staff, to your cabin steward … everybody makes it their mission to see to it that you have a great time. You honestly don’t get that on most other cruise lines. Yes, you get a cruise … what you paid for … but it doesn’t seem like they are really willing to go the extra mile for you. When I get on a HAL ship, I just feel like I’ve come home, and that’s a wonderful feeling to have when one is on vacation and far from their home. And, note … I get this type of onboard experience in the lowest cabin accommodations, meaning you don’t have to be in a luxury suite to feel welcome.
4. Favorite port? Half Moon Cay hands down. A little piece of heaven right here on Earth is how I describe it. Yes, Moorea and Bora Bora, and even Nuka Hiva, would be right up there on my top ten, but you can’t go to those places on a frequent basis. Half Moon Cay is easily accessible on a HAL cruise and it’s a place where you can really kick back and relax. Just love the water, the activities available, and most especially that little Bahamian church. It’s a relaxing place where you really don’t have to do much of anything to thoroughly enjoy your visit there. Can’t wait for my next visit back there.
5. My dream itinerary? You’ve already got it … that 63 day Hawaii/South Pacific/Australia/New Zealand grand voyage on the Amsterdam departing this September. I would love to do that, and in fact, was at one time booked for it … but changes at my job made it impossible for me to get 63 days off and I had to cancel. I was absolutely heart broken over it.
I’d love a cruise just like that one — heading to the South Pacific with multiple days in Bora Bora, Moorea, all the South Pacific islands. Then let’s spend a couple of weeks around Australia and New Zealand, with a few overnights, including a couple of days at the Great Barrier Reef. Then let’s hit some more South Pacific islands on the way back, winding up with maybe six days or so in Hawaii before coming back to San Diego. Then … let’s make it really customized for me. Let’s have a Panama Canal sailing right after this grand voyage — going through the Canal and winding up first in New York before Fort Lauderdale. That would let me jump off the ship in New York and avoid that long flight home!
I guess I’m a little strange in that I don’t have any desire to go to places like China and Viet Nam and many of the other Asian countries. Most of the South Pacific voyages go to those places, but this particular one sticks with the South Pacific islands and Australia/New Zealand, and that’s why I really wanted to sail on it.
Hopefully HAL will do it again in a few years and my job situation will be better by then, allowing me to take the time off for it because that is my dream itinerary. 63 days of pure, bliss.
For the photos attached, and I hope you can view these, they are both from the Statendam voyage to Hawaii and the South Pacific. The first one was a highlight of the trip. Captain Jack approved a bridge tour for our group — Virgil and Trish Carter and me. The photo was taken by Virgil Carter and that’s me … “driving” the Statendam. 🙂
The second photo I took and that’s my towel animal buddy. I think he’s a monkey, though I had several amazing towel creations hanging there that my creative cabin steward put together for me. As you can see, I corrupted the poor thing … and now he’s a smoker too. 🙂
My screen name on CC is kryos, but you can just call me Rita.
Blue skies and Smooth Seas …