As we continued our journey south, the weather became nicer, with blue puffy clouds and calmer seas. It still wasn’t quite warm enough for us to take advantage of our larger than normal aft facing deck. We are in cabin 4176 which we selected some time ago since we have never been in one of these aft facing cabins and wanted to see what they are like. Here are a few observations about these cabins.
They appear to be slightly larger than others in the same category, but not significantly larger and certainly not enough of a difference to make this a factor is picking this cabin over something else. The decks are much larger and are completely exposed to the sun and sky above, which also means they are completely exposed to other guests looking down on your deck. This doesn’t bother us, but this is something to bear in mind so you don’t find yourself surprised when you look over your shoulder.
Being further aft means you are that much further from everything else, particularly the Vista Lounge and Casino which are at the other end of the ship. On the other hand you are closer to the Lido and the main dining rooms.
Neither of us are prone to seasickness, but I didn’t notice much more movement than elsewhere. The forward cabins seem to pitch up and down more than these aft cabins. The aft cabins tended to shimmy sideways more in heavier seas and you could occasionally pick up some of the vibration from the ships screws. We didn’t hear any noise from the dining rooms or promenade deck immediately below. The view aft was nice and is a different perspective than looking sideways since you can see the ships wake. Whether this is better or worse depends on your own personal preferences.
I found none of this particularly bothersome, but then neither of us are light sleepers or disturbed by noises and vibrations. YMMV of course. After spending years aboard USN aircraft carriers, often sleeping under catapults, this was very mild by comparison.
Would we get them again? Probably not. We prefer to be closer to the aft elevator/stairs and value that proximity more than the larger deck and the view aft.
The mariners appreciation luncheon was today which was for everyone at any level in the mariner program where everyone would receive a ship tile. Before the luncheon they held a medallion ceremony/reception in the Queens Lounge at 10:30 AM for all current medallion holders and they would also be awarding medallions to guests who reached new milestones in the medallion program. The mariner medallion program is not well publicized or promoted as much as the 1-5 star mariner program. The only place I was able to find the medallion program mentioned on the official HAL website was in the Mariner society FAQ.
Unlike the mariner star level program, the medallion program only recognizes and rewards actual cruising days – there isn’t any bonus credit for suites or spending as there is in the Mariner Star Program. While achieving greater star status gets you very specific perks, achieving a higher medallion station gets you nothing more than the commemorative medal itself and local recognition including invitations to these special parties. While not associated with a medallion, there is the Presidents Club which requires members to have 1400 pure cruise days and also be specifically invited. The invitation requirement weeds out people with many sea days but not as full fare guests e.g. lecturers, travel hosts and agents etc.
Here are the medallion award levels
100 days – Bronze
300 days – Silver
500 days – Gold
700 days – Platinum
1400 days – Presidents Club
While there aren’t any specific perks associated with the various medallion levels, there are many perks associated with Presidents Club Membership, including, but not limited to:
- Annual Holiday Gift e.g. Waterford Crystal Vases
- Invitations to special onboard parties
- Escorted “Head of the line” tender service
- You choice of flowers/beverages/wine etc every 2 weeks
- Special seating and recognition at onboard events
- Plus more – there isn’t a specific list publicly available, but these are the highlights I have heard of based on many postings here by various Presidents Club members.
The Holland America Mariner Program is well documented on the website. Here are the thresholds for the various levels.
- 1 Star – completion of first cruise
- 2 Star – 30 cruise day credits
- 3 Star – 75 cruise day credits
- 4 Star – 200 cruise day credits
- 5 Star – 500 cruise day credits
If you are in a suite you get double credit for each day sailed. You also get one cruise day credit for every $300 in onboard spend.
See the HAL website for the various perks at the various levels.
The medallion award ceremony took about 30 minutes after which we all filed out to the main dining room. Judy and I were fortunate to be seated at a table for 10 hosted by the Hotel Director.
The lunch menu provided 3 choices for an entrée: Beef ribs, Barramundi or Quiche in addition to a salad and dessert. We both had the Barramundi which was very good.
Once we were seated, the Captain made a few remarks and introduced the employee of the month. During the course of the meal, they passed out the “New Design” Zuiderdam Tile for everyone to take with them. We had a wonderful time chatting with our table mates and learning more about their backgrounds and recent travels. One of our tablemates was recently on the Koningsdam so we all peppered her with questions about her experience to help fill in some of the details about how Koningsdam is shaking out in her first year.
After lunch Judy went back to class and I headed off to the Texas Hold’em table. No luck for me today, but I am still ahead in the casino for the cruise.
I wandered by the Queens Room at 3pm and noticed that the Zuiderdam dancers were teaching a class on the Salsa. Maybe they will be using the HAL dancers in lieu of the dance instructors everywhere.
Today was our second Gala night and we decided to enjoy a dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. While the surcharge is now $35, the menu hasn’t changed as far as we could tell. Judy had the Halibut while I enjoyed the 10 oz filet with the additional 5 oz lobster tail for an additional $10. The service and food were marvelous as you would expect and we enjoyed having a little more time to catch up with Rick, the PG Manager who we had come to know on this year’s world cruise.
The HAL Singers and Dancers were the headliners tonight in the Vista Lounge. They put on a marvelous show that highlighted their extraordinary talents. Lauren, one of the singers, had a chance to show off her dancing ability in a few of the numbers. We learned later that she is booked as a Singer/Dancer as opposed to only being a singer.
Another sea day awaits tomorrow.
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