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Everything posted by iancal

  1. Why not ask the folks at your hotel? No doubt the staff can direct you to a nearby store.
  2. It can really vary by airline and by embarkation point. In some winter months we have multiple flights on AirAsia, a LCC carrier. Our bags have only been weighted once in about 20 flights, never sized. The only time was a Kuala Lumpur airport where they had an agent randomly checking bags after checkin but prior to going through security in the AIrAsia wing of the terminal. Another time, in the Philippines, there were staff walking through lines telling everyone that their carry ons bags were too big or too heavy. Ours were not but that did not seem to matter. Our bags were not sized or weighted when we reached the desk agent to get our boarding passes. We have had the same experience as many or perhaps more Air Transat flights. On every flight we simply assume that our carry on will be sized and weighed. Plus we do not assume anything....we read the carrier's rules even if we have flown with them before. Rules change from time to time...and are sometimes variable based on the type of aircraft on the route.
  3. IF you were at home and deciding on a restaurant to have a nice meal would you select one of the mass market MDR's assuming that it was a choice or a land based restaurant? To us...that is the bottom line. Our answer would always be never. We understand that MDR food is essentially banquet food tarted up a little that is moved quite a distance from kitchen to service area and then to our plate. It is assembly line. Not so with our preferred restaurants a home whether they be five star or no star. This is not a criticism, more of a reality check.
  4. The card we use for FX saves us 3 percent on foreign transactions. Plus the usual rental car coverage etc and oddly enough emergency auto road service at home. It also gives us one percent cash back vs. the cards we use at home that yield 2-3 percent cash back. It is a no fee card.
  5. We have never had inedible food on a cruise. We have had poorly prepared food, poor quality food, and hot food served cold. We simply send it back and order something else. Or we just leave and try the buffet if the food and service are both substandard. We we are not married or loyal to any one cruise line. We chuckle when we read a comment that the food and service is always wonderful on a loyal cruisers preferred line and terrible on another. This is simply not our experience. It is hit and miss depending on the ship, the crew, and the trip.
  6. Since retiring eight years ago we travel frequently. Often four months a year of international travel. We carry several credit cards but only use one for foreign charges. The card that does not add a 3 percent fee to foreign transactions. At home we use these cards when we cross border shop or more often to purchase air, cruise, or hotels on line outside our country.. Neither of our two cards for this account have ever been compromised. We keep close tabs on the account when we travel. The cards that we use at home have been compromised. Several times. We have never seen a connection between using our cards overseas, using them on line, or using them at home. I suspect our chances of having a card compromised are the same at home or when we travel. Most times when we travel none of our cards are kept in an RFI protected enclosure. They are in a pouch that hangs inside my shirt.
  7. Not in our experience...with one exception. Food on Crystal was outstanding. We see little difference between the mass market lines regardless of our per diem cost. The one thing they all seem to have in common is inconsistency in both quality of food and MDR service. Don't forget...there are many price points on a cruise. Anywhere from owner's suites down to last minute inside cabin deals.
  8. Our first trip post retirement was a 7 month land trip. We did four cruises, one of them a TA during the trip. Three were last minute...anywhere from three days out to four weeks out. Saw the opportunity for some great cruises at great prices and we took advantage of it.
  9. Older people tend to be more set in their ways, more loyal to vendors, less inclined to shop, and more resistant to change. Not surprising to read this about HAL customers given their demographics. Does HAL have a higher percentage of longer cruise offerings than their competiors? This could also impact the repeat customer numbers.
  10. We have never had a plumbing issue in 20 plus cruises. We tend to avoid older ships. Only had one AC issue that was remedied with a new thermostat. DW had a mold issue on one cruise. She did not even unpack. NCL assigned her a new cabin immediately.
  11. You might want to check the Thai gov't web in the your country. We are Canadian. We spend many winters in Thailand and SE Asia. The only time we need a visa is when we we plan to stay for more than consecutive 30 days. Last time we flew into Siem Reap we did not have visas. We got them at the airport. The staff was extremely efficient. It took no longer than 15 minutes and we were out the door looking for a tuk tuk. Keep in mind that your flight will probably depart from Don Muang airport, not BKK. This would not be our choice. Too much travel, airport time, and waiting time. You really do need two days min. to see Siem Reap IMHO. Instead of going back to Bangkok from Siem Reap have you considered simply rejoining your cruise at the next port? It might gain you a day in Siem Reap at the expense of a sea day on your ship. Siem Reap is AMAZING!
  12. In the past we have rented from or dropped off at Budget on 17th (opposite the Renaissance Hotel). They have a shuttle to and from the port. Another plus if if you happen to be staying at the Ren, you can park your car across the street at Budget to avoid the Ren's scandalous $20 or $30. parking fee. In the past we have also used the Avis office at what was Hyatt 66 just over the 17th bridge. No certain if it is still there given the changes at that property. They also had a shuttle both ways.
  13. We have never flown on Ryanair. We have flown on numerous LCC’s in SE Asia, Oz, and Europe. So far we have been fortunate inasmuch as we have always been able to take our carry on without checking and or paying. We would happily pay more to carry on our bag than check it if required.
  14. We are getting rid of the the Rick Steves carry on for two reasons. The first is that it is slightly larger than the international size. The second reason, which is the main reason, it that even when it is not full the outside pockets tend to bulge out and give the impression of being stuffed. We have used a luggage bands in the past. Our feeling is that many airline agents make a decision to verify size or weight based on the 'eye ball' test. Mine never gets checked. DW's gets checked from time to time. We also find that some of the LCC primarily test for weight unless of course the bag is very obviously oversize. We did five flights on Jetstar Australia last winter. Jetstar is good inasmuch as customers can pay a premium to increase their carry on weight allowance from 8KG to 10KG. They checked the carry on weights each time...and once they re-weighed at the boarding gate! It must be a huge revenue booster for these LCL's
  15. We have taken three or four TAP flights. Our carry on was never weighed or sized on any of the flights We were both OK for weight. I had an international size carry on, DW had on of those slightly larger Rick Steves US style carry on. Nothing said. But....it was far from bulging out. That, of course, does not mean that this is still the case.
  16. Absolutely. We travel with carry on only. We switched to international size carry on because the US size is too large. More that once we have removed heavier items from our carry on and put them in our jacket pockets in order to get down to 8KG. We can make 10kg but 8 can be a stretch for DW. We find the luggage checking really varies by country of departure. No issues flying in Italy, Greece or Cyprus. We had seven flight segments this past fall. We had one bag weighed once. Another time we checked one because of size of aircraft.
  17. We found no 'charm' whatsoever in the cats, some of them no doubt feral, that were the Greek in Cypriot tavernas. We did not feed them. We did not appreciate them reaching up to our chairs and clawing. Clean???? How exactly would one know a clean one for one that had, say rabies or some other disease? We have had house pets, dogs, etc, and we loved them. But we treated them as animals and were kind to them. We we traveled they were boarded. Why on earth would we ever want to take them on a cruise, on a land vacation. Seems a little cruel to subject them to that. Or to subject our fellow travelers to our silly, selfish indulgences.
  18. iancal


    Oh no! We have started looking at fares to Asia in mid Jan. Hoping to bag a great fare on the first full moon of this month. Could we be SOL? Are there exceptions made for months with 31 days that have Christmas in them....if they also end in r? In the past we have typically booked this flight in late November or December to get the best mid/late Jan. fare.
  19. Mail them a postcard from your first port of call.
  20. iancal


    I think Wednesdays are the best time to get low airfares. Between 3AM and 4AM. But only in a month with 30 days that ends in r. And only when there is a full moon. You will score a great fare for certain. That is how airline yield management systems work.... Isn't it?
  21. I am good with that! It is even better. All it takes is for the cruise line to say no or to deny embarkation... for both of them.
  22. I think those so called emoitional support animals should be in be in kennels. Kept in enclosures in a ships kennel so that the owner could get some emotional support while visiting their little darlings...in the kennel area.
  23. Agree. My first reaction would be to throw the little foo foos overboard. I have little patience for so called emotional support animals in public venues. Especially cruise ships.
  24. Your steward will pay zero percent attention to the currency and 100 percent attention to the amount. No matter what currency. That is what matters.
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