Skip to comments.Freeps Ahoy 3
Posted on 12/22/2003 8:52:51 PM PST by DoughtyOne
Some of them are not working at this time. We wanted to get this thread up in time so that freepers can take advantage of the limited-time-only discount on balcoy cabins. So please be sure to check back in.
Doughty One, Cruise Webmaster
In a few minutes, and on this thread, I'll post the fares, the itinerary and the details of a nice early-bird registration incentive deal.
Please hold your questions and comments till this info is posted.
After that, please go to the Bahama Mama thread for answers to any specific questions you may have.
Leni, Cruise Chair
Cabin fares for inside cabins range from $619 to $742 per person. Port charges of $124 and tax of $58 per person not included.
Fares for outside ocean view cabins range from $822 to $1072 per person. Port charges of $124 and tax of $58 per person not included.
For cruisers who want balconys, we recommend you book an ocean view cabin immediately. There's a limited-time-only discount offer by Holland/America which began Monday, Dec.15. If you book an ocean view cabin during this discount offer, you'll automatically be upgraded to an ocean view cabin/balcony at no extra cost.
There are other fares and cabin categories offered by H/A that are too numerous to be listed here. There are fares for passengers on a budget as well as for those who need or want larger accomodations.
Rates for third and fourth persons in any cabin are $799 per person including port fees. Tax of $58 per person is additional.
For one person in a cabin, fare is 150% of the rate of any cabin. (All cruise lines work on the basis of double-occupany). As usual, we'll help find cabin-mates for freepers who want to split the cabin fare.
The Cruise Committee cannot and does not handle booking and is unable to answer questions regarding individual cabin fares and accomodations needs. This is handled every year by Wanda, our freeper cruise travel agent. She'll answer all your queries and patiently work with you to secure fares and accomodations comfortable for you and appropriate to your budgetary needs.
To book a cabin, or to get information on rates and cabins, please phone Wanda at toll-free 1-800-890-7583. She is on Pacific time, so judge accordingly. She can be reached during normal week-day working hours.
Again, if you want a balcony cabin, we urge you to contact Wanda immediately. There are a little over 400 of these cabins on this ship. The discount is offered on a first-come, first-served basis and is not limited to our Freeper group, but to all Holland America potential cruisers anywhere and everywhere.
There is quite a demand for balcony cabins. This means the discount promotion can end at any time. Therefore, we encourage you to book right away.
When you register with Wanda, the deposit is $350 per person. The remainder is due March 1. Credit card transactions are acceptable.
To make life easier, Wanda will also handle your airline reservations to and from the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Please ask her about this. Since air fares to the Ft. Lauderdale airport are lower than flying into Miami as we did last cruise, travelers can save up to a couple hundred dollars on air fares this time around.
Itinerary will be posted next.
Leni, Cruise Chair
Every year, we get dire predictions of doom the moment the cruise announcement thread goes up. Hopefully, that will not be the case this time.
Saturday, May 22 - Depart Ft. Lauderdale port 5:00 (all times are Eastern)
Sunday - Half Moon Cay, Bahamas - 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Monday - At Sea
Tuesday - St. Thomas (U.S.Virgin Islands) - 8 :00 AM to 12 Midnight
Wednesday - Tortola (British Virgin Islands) - 7:00 AM to 8 PM
Thursday - At Sea
Friday - Nassau, Bahamas - 12:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Saturday - Return to Ft. Lauderdale port terminal - 8:00 AM
There will be an FRN activism program on one of the "At Sea" days.
If you're one of the first 50 persons to register, your name will be put into a freeper hat. Four names will be drawn by our Admiral of the Fleet, JimRob.
Each winner will receive a $50 Holland/America gift certificate good at any of the shops aboard the Zuiderdam. There are jewelry shops, apparel shops, gift shops, etc. on the ship which carry a variety of very fine and unusual items. Right down to imported Dutch cheeses and chocolate! They have sales and bargains, and many items are less expensive than in port shops.
Winners will be announced on this thread. Gift certificates will be distributed on board ship. Members and families of the FRN board of directors not eligible. Our travel agent, Wanda, will date/time stamp each registration as they come in. One certificate per family only.
Good luck to all you early birds!
It wasn't an easy job this time. We were under pressure to get the announcement out because of the limited-time-only discount on balcony fares.
Some links still have to be added, but Doughty rose to the occasion and we're viewing the splendid results of his work right now!
This coming year, with the rebounding economy, the cruise lines just will not be offering such discounts again. The old law of supply and demand, to be sure.
Just start saving your pesos in the sugar bowl, there's lots of time till embarkation day.
Plus, for air travelers, the savings flying into Ft. Lauderdale airport instead of Miami, as we did last time, will save you the equivalent of the discount our group received on FReeps Ahoy 2.
BraveMan very charitably decides to feed the fish on the Freeps Ahoy Cruise.
The full-day stop is a delight for swimmers, waders, sun-bathers, loungers, yakkers, beach bums, water sports enthusiasts, bird watchers, hikers and joggers. The only other folks on the cay are your Zuiderdam fellow passengers.
Once a refuge for pirates, H/A purchased the island in 1997, and has developed only 45 acres of the 2400 acres. As much habitat as possible is maintained for wildlife, and the island is a significant nesting area for waterfowl.
While Half Moon Cay's name could be derived from its gorgeous, white sand crescent-shaped beach, it really comes from the explorer Henry Hudson's ship, the "Half Moon".
We'll enjoy all kinds of water sports, volley ball, hiking through the wildlife preserve on marked trails, and much more. Or just lay back under a palm and read, snooze or have lively gab fests with your new freeper friends.
There's a West Indies village with shops and lots of open-air cocktail bars with luscious frozen tropical rum creations.
The ship's staff comes ashore also, to provide a fabulous open-air tropical buffet (so delicious!) plus entertainment from the ship's terrific steel band.
A highlight of our last cruise was our freeper beach party on Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. The paradise that is Half Moon Key promises to top even that fun day!
Bring the Klinton voodoo doll you won as a freeper door prize last time (plus bring some extra pins!). That was fun. In fact, why not post that pic here again????
Freepers, be sure to call Wanda Monday morning and get your deposit down. This is a popular cruise with great ports-of-call, and the Zuiderdam will fill up quickly.....especially the balcony cabins which are discounted for a limited time.
Merry Christmas to all and a FReepin' New Year.
It's endowed with Caribbean charm, beautiful beaches and dramatic mountain peaks.
We'll debark in the BVI's capital city, Road Town, which is built around a deep U-shaped harbor fringed with hotels, restaurants, marinas and a number of quaint West Indian shops where native crafts can be purchased.
Situated on a small bluff overlooking the harbor is the residence of the BVI's British Governor and the stately Old Government House Museum.
The island's north shore contains several beautiful white sand beaches. Ridge Road runs along Tortola's spine and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Caribbean Sea and many of the other islands in the BVI chain. Local homes dot the ridge, many built in traditional West Indian fashion with large verandahs, colorful hip roofs and gingerbread trim.
Scattered along the island's steep hillsides are banana groves. The ruins of plantation era buildings can also be seen throughout the island, remnants from the 18th and 19th century when sugar and rum were the basis of the islands' economy.
A contrast of the old and the new, the rural and the urban, Tortola is a place where a farmer can be seen riding a donkey to his vegetable plot and a cyber cafe is just around the corner.
As usual, as in all our stops, you can sign up for leisurely shore excursion trips to tour the island, the mountains, the beaches and the countryside areas.
You'll find brochures outlining shore excursions for all the islands we're visiting inside your cabin upon embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale.
"After two cruises with Freepers, I don't even want to consider going on one with just the two of us. It wouldn't be near as much fun. You don't know what you're missing".
"WOW! Great people. Freepers Rule!"
"Is it me, or was one week just not enough?"
(reply)....."It's absolutely not just you. I was having thoughts of hopping right back on and doing it all over again. What a fabulous time!"
(reply)....."What great fun! Do wish I could horseback ride through the waves every day. I agree it was much too short!"
"It was GREAT fun having a group. Always someone to join if you wanted to do something, but plenty of time for yourself".
"I had such a great time. I really didn't want it to end!"
(Upon the occasion of freeper Diotima having her hair braided on one of our island stops)...."You were so cute on the cruise with your corn rows, Dio. You nearly went native on us. Ya mon!"
Ya mon is right! We have a ball on these cruises. C"mon", join the fun for the Caribbean vacation freep of your life!
Here's that photo of Half Moon Cay Leni. It's a beaut. I think I could find a spot for my chase (?) lounge and chest of refreshments.
Since tiny Half Moon Cay has no deep port, the ship's tenders (which come and go all day) will take us from the ship to the dock pictured above. You can come and go as you wish.
The structures you see are administrative buildings, otherwise the island is largely uninhabited except for tropical birds and wildlife which you can see by hiking in the preserve on safe, marked trails.
All facilities on Half Moon are designed with folks who are physically handicapped in mind. The same goes for all facilities on the ship itself. Wheel chairs are provided for all areas, including the beach which has special wheelchairs with umbrellas and balloon treads.
This is an example of the Holland/America line's efforts to make the day at Half Moon Cay the highlight of a Caribbean cruise for all its guests.
There are covered outdoor tropical drink bars here and really great live steel band music.
There's even a massage station........or if you have any, you can get your hair braided, LOL.
Folks, when you make your reservations with Wanda, please tell her you want a cabin midship, not stern. Especially if you are selecting a verandah cabin. While the stern verandah cabins are a little more spacious, your balcony is in view of the outside Lido deck below. So if privacy is an issue with you, ask for a midship cabin.
Again, I urge you to register and put down your deposit ASAP so that you have the best choices of cabins. The ship will fill up rapidly due to the rebounding economy and the security of a cruise vacation.
Remember, the first 50 freepers to sign up will be eligible for a drawing for $50 gift certificates for shopping in the fine on-board shops. Thanks to a generous freeper for donating these gift certificates!
Here are a couple of photos of Tortola showing the area near Road Town and Brewer's Beach.
There are numerous things to see and do in beautiful St. Thomas, including white sandy beaches, a breathtaking aerial tram ride up a mountain overlooking the scenic port, the famous Trunk Bay snorkling, terrific restaurants, and outdoor cafes/bars along the waterfront and elsewhere.
But shopping till you're dropping is THE thing in S.T. One of the most famous malls in the world, "Havensight" is right where our ship docks. Chock full of the finest international jewelry, perfume, clothing stores, native craft shops, outdoor kiosks with snacks/tropical rum drinks, plus everything else imagineable, it's literally a shopper's paradise and hubby's worst nightmare!
You'll find plenty of intriguing, reasonably-priced items to take home for yourself or for gifts and souvenirs. ST is duty-free, so there's nice bargains to be found.
The shore tours brochure you'll find in your cabin is loaded with wonderful St. Thomas excursions you can sign up for beforehand at the ship's excursion desk.
Or you can make your own deal with a cab driver for even less money. The drivers are knowledgeable, articulate and voluble in English, and great "tour" guides". They are regulated, are to be trusted, and will give you an itinerary before you climb in the cab.
A part of the ST countryside looks very much like the tranquil countryside of France, with cattle grazing in green fields. "Drakes Seat" on top a gentle mountain is a scenic lookout point where explorer/navigator Sir Francis Drake used to sit and "count his ships". Just below Drakes Seat is Magen's Bay Beach, said by National Geographic Magazine to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Our ship arrives early AM and departs midnight. Plenty of time to cab or ferry across a channel to nearby St. John if shopping ain't your thang. St. John is one of my all-time favorite tropical paradises. More on St. John later.
Artist's sketch of world-famous Havensight mall
Happy seafaringshoppers rest up and cool off while imbibing tropical adult beverages at the Mall's outdoor Rum Kiosk
Look on the left side of the artist's rendition of the Havensight Mall. You'll see the elevated tram that goes up the mountain, affording a spectacular view of the island, the port, the sea and some neighboring islands. You can get on the tram right where we disembark in Charlotte Amalie.
Welcome aboard to all that have registered the past week. Looking forward to meeting y'all and renewing past cruise acquaintances.
Hoosiermama, you'll be happy to know that H/A has the best-paying slots of all cruise lines....and I'm not kidding. This is a well-known fact in cruise circles.
Bizzy Bugz, I keep hearing about those chocolate martinis. The Zuiderdam has a "chocolate extravaganza" one special night on board. Chocoholics will go bananas (chocolate-coated, of course).
Maybe we can locate some chocolate martinis that night if we troll the lounges!
And, as an extra added attraction, we get imported Dutch chocolate candies on our pillows every night.
Found these pictures of Tortola. Inhale. Can't you just smell the sea breeze! Exhale! SOON!