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Flatbush Flyer

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About Flatbush Flyer

  • Rank
    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Point Richmond CA
  • Interests
    Travel, Food, Wine, Sailing.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Oceania
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    The Pacific Ocean

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  1. We had a 30' Hunter Sloop at the Richmond Yacht Club for 20 years (across the street from home in Brickyard Cove). And we too have done the BVI charter thing (60' Cat). But as close as we get to "yachting" now is pretty much Oceania cruises.
  2. If I remember correctly (which is doubtful), there was the original Boys Town in the basement of the 7th Avenue Barney's. But I also remember a sort of "outlet" Boys Town on or near Fulton Street (or Atlantic Avenue?) in Brooklyn. Whatever is the case, my folks had the same concern about the prices.
  3. Hey - My first suit came from Barney's Boys Town in Brooklyn!!! I think some folks elsewhere knew it in more recent years as Barney's New York. Their flagship on Madison Avenue was a sight to behold. Sadly, Barney's became an internet victim earlier this year. Now retired, my clothing leans towards "yacht club casual" which is even more casual (though, in line with the cost of boat part, more expensive) than "country club casual." But, I still think I know/knew enough about men's fashion such that (when I was a "suit") I had my ties made by Seigo Katsuragawa (3rd Avenue near 47th St in Manhattan). 😎
  4. Shops throughout Hawaii including the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu.
  5. I'm a (very) amateur collector of Aloha shirts. In my earlier post, I mentioned Spooner and Richard. Here are two uncommon Spooners and Tori Richards' popular classic - "Don the Beachcomer."
  6. FWIW, not all Aloha shirts are created equal. While I agree that the polyester Hilo Hattie (or ABC shop) souvenir has no place at a fine dining dinner table, the same cannot be said for a Reyn Spooner vintage/artist collection classic or a silk Tori Richard creation. Either one (or even the right Tommy Bahama shirt) would look terrific and be very appropriate for any O specialty restaurant - particularly on a tropical itinerary.
  7. Before we get to the "dress," let's clear up the "buffet" issue. There is no traditional cruise "touch the food" buffet on any Oceania ship. There is the Terrace Café, which has both prepared food and a la minute cooking (along with al fresco dining available) and a full service bar. Food is served by galley staff and you may request assistance with trays/plates on the way back to your table. Menu items are of the same quality as is served in the locations with waiter service and generally include one or more specials also being served in the GDR and there are itinerary based regional cuisine nights that you would not want to miss (particularly when the exec chef is cooking out on the fantail. The only real Terrace differences from the GDR are allowance for more casual attire and quicker table turnover. It's also worth mentioning that, unlike most cruise lines, the quality of food is the same across the entire ship. What is different is the menu focus and the ambiance of each location. As for dinner in he GDR and specialty restaurants, the longstanding rule is "country club casual" which for men means at least slacks and a collared buttoned shirt. No baseball caps, flip flops, shorts, ratty jeans, "wife beaters" etc. Ties are not as common as blazers and blazers can be few and far between -often depending on itinerary length and destinations. For women, at most - think cocktail dress. Formal wear? Rarely seen since there are no phony "prom nights." Bottom line: O's regular clientele are usually accomplished professionals, tradespeople and public servants who are generally well-traveled and decorous.
  8. You make an Important point regarding the sliding scale some cruise lines use for commissions. It's one of the reasons that we took the time and energy to find "top sellers" for our preferred line. And even though a "top seller" commission of >15% is chipped away by cruise taxes/fees that are non-commissionable, a reasonable split of that commission with your respected/regular TA can represent a significant "chunk of change" - particularly if you're doing longer cruises with "5 figure" per person fares. Add to that occasional "quiet sales" allowances for those preferred TAs, additional incentive perks from a consortium to which the TA belongs and the responsiveness of a cruise line to concerns voiced by a TA who does $ millions/month in their booking and it's easy why so many CC folks would never DIY a cruise booking or use a cruise line's employee (Personal Cruise/Vacation Planner) who can only give you the current cruise line perks available to anyone (including those folks using their own TA). That said, there is the reality that many cruisers just don't want to do the real TA research to find the right one (in a sea of sometimes disappointing choices). So they kid themselves into believing that they "control their reservation" by booking direct with the cruise line (when the reality is they will sit on the phone "on hold" with a low level phone rep while a preferred top seller TA has the line's Regional Sales Director as a speed dial on their phone. Bottom line- do your homework and you will be rewarded!
  9. You are making misassumptions about the nature of a business that is more complicated than just taking your payment online or over the phone. FWIW, the volumes of inquiries that do not result in an actual booking are staggering and that's where the value of TAs (who do not get paid until there's an actual booking is made and used) is realized. Don't you think that cruiselines have already weighed (again and again) the options of using certain internal vs outsourced services?
  10. and note that the extra cost version of the available wifi is not "faster." Rather, it just removes the streaming block.
  11. If your cruise line intends to meet CDC demands Covid readiness expectations, your ship will have rapid testing capabilities onboard.
  12. If you think 15%+\- TA commission is staggering, do the math for a cruise line's added costs if they had to increase their own staff to handle the work previously done by TAs. Let's see: telephone/digital inquiries, local/regional advertising, bookings (including groups), etc. Perhaps you're forgetting that things like the then necessarily increased staff would require more than just salary. There would be benefits, space, equipment.... Bottom line is that cruise lines' comprehensive services are far more complex than are specific travel providers like a hotel, airline, tours et al. Thus their customer services endeavors need to be robust and that costs plenty. In this situation, "outsourcing" to TAs is the efficacious way to go.
  13. Flatbush Flyer

    Sri Lanka visa

    If you are a US citizen and you intend to step ashore in Sri Lanka (including only one or two ports over two days), you need at least the "electronic tourist visa" which is not the same as the "electronic transit visa." Use the CC search feature to find the very long thread about the Sri Lanka visa "almost fubar" for some Oceania passengers who erroneously got the transit visa for a two port Sri Lanka visit in February. There are also some occasional glitches with the Sri Lanka Immigration website (as well as possible confusion caused by lookalike visa service sites that appear to be the govt. site). In addition, if you make an application error on the official site and get the wrong visa, you can't reapply unless you get the govt. folks to cancel the first one. Not everyone experiences the main website woe (which occasionally will cite application approval but then not generate/send the actual electronic certificate). We know about this first hand. That said, do know that there are Sri Lanka consular offices in DC, NY and L.A. and their passport officers can help dealing with their "folks back home." FWIW, the L.A. officer (Mr Ramsay) is terrific! Bottom line, however, is to not wait until the last minute to get the tourist visa.
  14. You're jumping to conclusions while making my point. Whether it's political rallies or protests or televangelists is irrelevant when it comes to addressing Covid-19. The US needs to shut down all but essential services for at least 3 months. And that includes any and all gatherings of more than a very few people from same households. The disjointed/piecemeal open-close-open-close-open-close only serves to drag out the road to economic recovery (which is being paved with dead bodies. (I'm reminded of someone trying to cut a lawn with a scissors.) And, while weather avoidance is in the current ship move mix, adding the logistical flexibility of using centralized non-US port locations (e.g., Dubai, Piraeus et al.) makes for the easiest regional itinerary changes. And then there are other factors. For example, why did O recently move Regatta from Oakland to L.A.? Could it be because Alaska 2020 is now history and the port of Long Beach is more efficacious for layup and 2021 plans?
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