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Everything posted by navybankerteacher

  1. Good to see an objective, reality based post concerning New York. Sure, there are some problems in our society, but NYC is handling them a lot better than most other communities - the press likes to hype stories - but the city is actually very safe in most areas.
  2. Reminds me of one of the stupidest situations in the Western Hemisphere: when the US purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark well over a century ago during WWI (to provide a base for defending the Panama Canal routes from the Kaiser), most road traffic must have been donkey cart etc. rather than motor vehicles, but anyway decided to keep driving on the left. Denmark wised up in the mid 1950’s and switched to right side driving - but USVI kept to the old way - so now we are stuck with that insane anomaly. Who was failing to think ?
  3. It’s important to know folks pretty well before arranging to travel with them - and to have a common approach: perhaps plan on dinner together most (probably not all) evenings, plan some (probably not all) shore activities together. But we have two couples we travel happily with - because all of us have the same approach. Hell! It’s hard enough to get along with a spouse 24/7 - trying to do it with another couple is a fool’s errand.
  4. No tin hat needed- but encouraging folks on a ship calling at Livorno to join perhaps a few thousand shipmates on a crowded trek to Florence, where getting to see almost anything people think they will see in Florence is likely to take at least a couple of hours in line at each site, is questionable. Sure, there is nothing really interesting to do/see in Livorno, but Pisa is just 20 minutes away. Hire a car with others if you really want to see Florence - but planning to spend a few hours travelling to spend a few hours in line to spend a few minutes seeing something really needs to be thought about. I’m inclined to think that cruise lines which actually refer to a call at Livorno as a stop at Florence should be prosecuted for false advertising. Almost as bad as referring to a stop in Manhattan as a call at Atlantic City.
  5. Excellent points - Rome, Florence, etc. are not places which can be “done” in a short day. They ware worth a land stay - perhaps several days before, or after, or both, your cruise. It always amazes me to see people fly across the Atlantic for just a cruise.
  6. There is no such thing as your “2x or 3x higher fare for those included dining options”. The total fare, in my comparison shopping experience, is well below 2x - and superior dining is hardly the only incentive. Consider included Wi-Fi, free laundry, no limit on liquor or wine you can bring in board for in cabin consumption, less crowded, more attractive facilities, better itineraries, etc., etc. By the time you spend your way up to a reasonably enjoyable experience on a mass market, 4,000 passenger floating mob scene, the price difference is a whole lot less. Yes, Oceania’s list prices are higher than Carnival’s, NCL’s, Royal Caribbean’s, etc. - but, as with any other purchase, in cruising you will only get what you are willing to pay for — and, because cruising is a non-essential luxury purchase, why always try to minimize spending? If that were my objective I would stay at home. And if you are interested in cruising you might consider seeing what is available rather only that which comes at the (apparent) lowest price.
  7. Good responses - but I would add that a monocular just does not offer anywhere near as good a view of what you want to see.
  8. Are you seriously talking about the included MDR and Lido offerings (as opposed to extra cost specialty restaurants) on Princess, Celebrity and RCCL?
  9. All right, I won’t ask “why” ; I will simply suggest you modify your deal - a pick-up at JFK at any time is tough. Getting to and from between mid-afternoon and early evening on a Friday will be worse than tough.
  10. Generally quality of food on smaller ships is distinctly better - on Oceania, for example, while there are “speciality” restaurants (at no extra charge), MDR and (uncrowded) Lido’s provide really enjoyable food well prepared and well served - as opposed to NCL (for example) if you want anything but the cheapest cuts of meat and narrow selections of everything else, you have to go to the extra-cost alternatives. Itineraries on the smaller ship lines are generally more interesting - not hitting the phony line-owned ports often offered on mass market line itineraries; and even hitting superior ports, like St. Barth’s, which do not accept large ships at all. Also coming into any port with a few hundred others, rather than several thousand, gives a much better chance to experience what is there. The hotel crew are generally better trained so the service is smoother. But entertainment on small ships does lack the big production flavor offered on larger ships, and there are no skating rinks, go karts, water rides, etc. so that aspect is generally missing — perhaps made up for by more accessible live music, and much uncrowded common space available.
  11. Good thought - there is no value in trying to move a herd together from hotel to port.
  12. The Times Square NYE craziness will be completely wrapped up by mid-morning Jan. 1. Location of Moxy is convenient - while staying near LGA strikes me as a dismal waste of an opportunity to see whatever part of the city attracts you.
  13. Not when it comes to the essential differences between small (1,000 passengers or less) and the multi-thousand mega-ships. Hardly “artificially created niche marketing devices”.
  14. Getting from CV to Rome on your own is certainly doable by train. I would suggest talking it up on your cruse’s roll call to possibly organize a shared van (RomeinLimo or other service) - we’ve done this several times to maximize time in Rome. Florence is a tougher concept - too much to see in too little time with huge crowds — consider taking train to Lucca, a lovely small walled city which you can do in a day — save Florence for a time when you can spend a couple of days there.
  15. The connection is obvious: sailing on smaller ships is more expensive because those who know to make the choice are willing to pay more for quality. A 4,000+ passenger ship will be likely be cheaper because the fixed costs of operating a ship can be divided among more passengers. The operators of those smaller ships tend to know that they are dealing with people who have options —- if the experience is not up to their standards they will simply sail with other lines.
  16. A few years ago HAL regularly gave out dark blue ceramic coffee mugs with white initials identifying the ship as trivia contest prizes - we have a good collection Z- Zuiderdam, P-Prinsendam, M-Maasdam, N-Noordam, W-Westerdam, O-Oosterdam, R-Ryndam, V-Veendam - several duplicates, so we have close to two dozen. Just one of the many nicieties (like the fresh OJ at breakfast, live music in the MDR at dinner, the ceramic Delft tiles left in your stateroom at check-in, etc. etc.) which HAL abandoned as they joined the mass market.
  17. I’d see an overnight at St. Maarten in lieu of a call at St. Thomas as a great deal.
  18. A lot of people book “purely on itinerary”. Folks who book transAtlantic repositionings, or QM2 straight shots between New York and Southampton, do it. Their purpose is to get across the Atlantic by means other than flying - and the itinerary is what does it for them.
  19. Monaco is interesting - the changing of the guard at the palace was simply funny: several overweight guys in white uniforms shuffling around - out of step with each other. Then there is an amazing number of consulates -from small countries you wouldn’t think could have any necessary diplomatic connections - unless to provide a place to stash questionable assets.
  20. I have no idea of who OneEarth.Org is, but “the tropics” means that belt between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn - which lies well to the south of Bermuda.
  21. Yes - that’s it. My favorite “pilgrim monument” is at Corn Hill Beach in Truro - marking the spot where the Pilgrims found a large stash of corn which had been set aside by local Indians as a winter food reserve - - before they even got to Plymouth they had commenced stealing from the locals.
  22. Then, I would suggest spending a bit of time on the starboard side an hour or so after sailing while rounding the end of Cape Cod to get a glimpse of the granite tower.
  23. 40 years ago was 1984 - the Big Red Boat started sailing in 1985. The posts to which you seem to have responded were talking about how cruising was a high end activity in the 1970’s.
  24. Because when you are on an island there are several thousand other cruise passengers there overcrowding whatever ther is to enjoy, and you never get to spend an evening and night so you can really get to know the place.
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