Cruising in the Far East with RCI: Home Bound for China

ABOARD QUANTUM of the SEAS – We’re on our final sea day and I have a few loose ends to tie up in my coverage of the Quantum experience, such as ways to spend the final day of the cruise. Certainly there are numerous activities less strenuous than skydiving and rock climbing that I’ve failed to mention.  Reading in the library, playing cards, and there is surely a game of mah-jongg going on somewhere.  Jewelry and art …

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Cruising in the Far East with RCI: Big Ship, Big Excitement

ABOARD QUANTUM of the SEAS – Upon first seeing a megaship, I was a bit overwhelmed.  Yes, they are huge, if that isn’t an understatement. In order to further describe megaships, cruise writers and bloggers have invented a few analogies that I’d like to explore aboard the Quantum of the Seas. The first analogy for the largest Oasis-class ships is that their split “open-atrium” structure is made possible by their hulls extraordinary width that is double most …

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Cruising in the Far East with RCI & HAL: Doubling Our Fun

ABOARD QUANTUM of the SEAS — I’m in Shanghai with my wife, Jialin, for a twofer, two cruises back-to-back with Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and Holland America Lines (HAL).  I expect they will differ considerably. We arrived at Shanghai’s Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, this morning at 11 AM to board the Quantum of the Seas, the fifth largest of Royal Caribbean International’s innovative megaships and sixth largest cruise ship in the world, for a four day cruise …

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Cruising with HAL: What’s new on the Zuiderdam

image courtesy of HAL

ABOARD THE ZUIDERDAM A Caribbean voyage to the Panama Canal aboard the MS Zuiderdam is an opportunity to take a look at one of Holland America Line’s freshest refurbishings and renovations of one of their popular mid-size ships. While the Zuiderdam is a Vista class ship carrying up to 1,900 passengers and a crew of 900, it is similar in many respects to the 2,137 passenger Signature class MS Eurodam which I wrote about previously ( www.AllThingsCruise.com/ …

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HAL in the Baltic: Return to Copenhagen

ABOARD THE EURODAM – Back at our home port. “To wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen Salty old queen of the sea Once I sailed away But I’m home today Singing Copenhagen, wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen for me.” (Lyrics and music by Frank Loesser) In the 1952 internationally successful musical, Danny Kaye in his role as the famous Danish poet and fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen sings this ode to this wonderful 600-year old national capital of Denmark famed for its …

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HAL in the Baltic: Never judge a restaurant on one meal

ABOARD THE EURODAM – On our previous cruise aboard the Eurodam we had the pleasure of sampling two of the ship’s special additional-cost restaurants, the Canaletto and the Tamarind. On our first week during this sailing, we experienced a wonderful meal at The Pinnacle Grill. So during our last few days of this cruise, we are giving all three a second go-round. First up is the Canaletto charging an extra $10 per person. Canaletto A restaurant with …

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HAL in the Baltic: Germany Excursions

ABOARD THE EURODAM — There are two opportunities to visit Germany on this cruise, going east with a stop at the port of Kiel, and returning with a stopover at the seaside resort town of Warnemunde. From these ports there are excursions to some of the historical Hanseatic League cities including the old red-brick town of Rostock; Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city featuring an international maritime museum; Wismar, founded in 1229: and the Old Town of Lubeck, …

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HAL in the Baltic: Four Ashore to Explore

ABOARD THE EURODAM – When it comes to shore excursions, I like to mix them up. Some are best done on a tour, such as the extensive variety offered by HAL. Sometimes a Hop On-Hop Off bus seems to be an appropriate way to explore a new city. And there are some compact ports where walking is the best way to get the feel of the spirit of a place, or what the Romans called its “genius …

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HAL in the Baltic: Sightings on the Eurodam

ABOARD THE EURODAM – The Officers and crew of the ms Eurodam take pride in being “the friendliest ship in the Holland America fleet.” When everyone greets you with a hearty hello and more often than expected, knows your name, I have no reason to disagree. A recognized leader in cruising for more than 140 years, Holland America Line is known for “consistently comfortable accommodations, award-winning service, gourmet dining, and extensive activities and enrichment programs.” I expect …

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HAL in the Baltic: Mysteries of the deep on the way to Stockholm

ABOARD THE EURODAM – Following a time change coming from Finland, our ship is gliding on the placid waters of the Baltic this morning past hundreds of small forested islands. As dawn breaks only a smattering of summer cottages with a boat dock can be discerned among the trees on most. Even more infrequently, we pass a tiny village with a marina in the wake of our ship. The sun rose at 4:35 AM to begin a …

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