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What was that?

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About What was that?

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Cold Springs (Reno), Nevada
  • Interests
    WWII Research (8th AF), Snorkeling
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
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  1. John is not really a seasoned blue water sailor, so the trip earned him a bunch of new gray hairs. Sounded like there were some voids in his seamanship “training.” Dad had my brother and I take the Power Squadron “Piloting, Seamanship, and Small Boat Handling” course so we understood something about sailing on Cape Cod. I feel like I could have helped. Besides, he was buying the beer! ”Retro?” It immediately made me think “tugboat”. Built in the Seattle area, how it got to Florida I don’t know. By land to the Missouri River, then down to the Gulf?
  2. It is a Camano Troll, similar to these. He just had an adventure bringing it up to his home port at Grasonville, MD (on Chesapeake Bay opposite Annapolis) from West Palm Beach. He had rain, wind, waves - on the Intracoastal! He had to lay over two days in Alligator River, NC - off Pamlico Sound - en route. Sounded like fun to me - wish he had asked me to crew.
  3. We'll be in Baltimore next month - correction - we'll be at the airport (after we visit John and admire his boat). Always our last stop (and often our first stop...) on our mid-Atlantic visits is dinner at G & M Restaurant in Linthicum Heights, near the airport. Eight-ounce jumbo lump crab cakes for dinner. Better than Phillips, that's for sure - no waterfront ambience, though. I agree with the convenience concept for sailing out of Baltimore. We used to live in the Dallas, TX, area and felt the same about flying out of DFW. We used to say we could "fly anywhere in the world non-stop" and it was almost true - it was true for us, as we only wanted to go where AA would fly. Reno airport is not DFW... And speaking of Reno, we are in Northern Nevada, and so information about Lake Mead and Vegas urban sprawl seldom make our local news so we are in the dark about that generally. I vaguely know that Lake Mead is low, and Vegas has sprawl. I had to learn a lot of Nevada geography in a hurry when we got to Reno in 2011. We are about 350 miles from Vegas (as the crow flies, so it is a lot longer to drive), and over 175 miles to the Oregon border. We are about 300 yards from the California border, but we rarely go there.
  4. Well, it is not just a community and county in California, you know...
  5. My cruising friend John (Maryland Eastern Shore) bought a boat to while away the time. His wish will be granted! (I don't recommend it, but each to his own...)
  6. Well, Damn! I mis-spoke - it was my TENTH anniversary, having retired 30 June 2010. We moved to Reno in 2011, so that was clouding my judgement. Maybe there is such a thing as a "brain cloud" (c.f. "Joe Versus the Volcano"). And congrats to you and your DW - you're living the life! It sounds like you are on the brink of a decision - choose the path that gives you the greatest peace, brother.
  7. That's the spirit. Plan as if it will all occur as scheduled. Just recognize that a postponement is possible. My glass is half full - I just celebrated completing my ninth year of retirement and refuse to let minor issues - like not being able to cruise - reduce my enjoyment of life.
  8. My experience has been that Viking prices are far better than American Airlines offers on their website. "List price" for round-trip business-class travel from Reno to European destinations is in the $6,000-$7,500 range, and our cost via Viking has been $2,000 (VR Grand European) and $4,000 (VO Iberian Explorer B2B Northern Lights). I did not look at other airlines due to my preference for American, so I cannot speak for them. Those are all per person fares, and the Viking cost is the increment above what Viking includes in the cruise fare. As I said before, your results may vary. I would also add: they probably will.
  9. OTJ, I am no expert with Viking - still trying to embark on our first cruise - but my experience with Viking Air Plus has been that the prices for Business are attractive, and the flight and seat selection have been satisfactory. Aside - I do recognize that Viking does not have unrestricted access to all flights on a carrier's schedule, due to contractual limitations, but I have been able to choose pretty much whatever I want; the only hitch I found was in making a connection at LAX (I wanted it to be a longer connection time), but airline schedule changes resolved that issue neatly (see previous post). The restrictions I have found relate to connecting flights as well as availability: Viking has access to a limited number of seats on any flight. The other thing I have found is that availability changes, and sometimes it is beneficial to the traveler. For instance, for our January cruise, Viking Air Plus could not get us a satisfactory connection via LAX so I accepted a routing via ORD (NOT my favorite airport). A few weeks later I called back and the connection via LAX was available so Viking was able to make the change at no charge. Once I get exactly what I want (and am confident of our choice) I request Viking to ticket our flights. That should lock in flight and seat assignments ("should" implies that the airline may still make a change, but refer to previous post about changes). If the airline makes significant schedule changes after that, you can probably request alternate flights without having to pay the Viking change fee (I have done this). One final point - my flight decisions are driven mainly by a preference for convenience. So, I avoid early morning departures, do stopovers on some routes (stopping overnight at LHR before going on to Barcelona, for instance), and I like the seamless concept of having Viking responsible for all aspects of our vacation. Each of those criteria have value to us; your results may vary.
  10. That is excellent advice. In "normal" times, I have found American will change flights "several" times, especially if I book way in advance as I am prone to do for big vacations. I lost track of how many changes American made to our flight reservations for our April 2020 Grand European Tour river cruise. It turned out not to matter, of course, since the cruise was cancelled. My wife is highly amused by the frequency with which I check our reservations, but really it is only every week or ten days. Part of the reason for that is when they make a change to operating times or equipment, the computer - bless its little silicon heart - will automatically adjust your schedule, and often it does crazy things! So when I see something like that, I do a little research, then call Viking Air (or sometimes the airline) to request a change. Since the change originates with the airline and I have a reservation, there are often more preferable flight options available (not limited to what Viking has contracted for - that's why I do my research). So, yes, check back often.
  11. Wow - two days in London in early February. I've done that but it wouldn't be my first choice (I would stay a week). As far as the weather goes, good luck! I think it is to get excited about until you have to make the decision to change your plans. We should have enough information to properly inform such a decision in late 2020, so worry about something else in the meantime. I am worried about the bare patches and dead spots in my lawn.
  12. OTJ - I seem to remember we will be Barcelona-London together. My recommendation for separated seats was based solely on those seats being farthest from the aisle. Yes there will be someone between. I didn't do the calculus of which option lowers your exposure risk best - farther from the aisle vs. fewer adjacent non-family pax. It's the proverbial "exercise left for the user..." You can always bring walkie-talkies. 😉
  13. Right, Lew - that's another thing. If boarding is via the front door, then remain in the boarding area until the last few pax board. Then board and sanitize! We fly American, and I selected seats in business forward of the boarding door (777-300ER aka 77W) to avoid that situation.
  14. In January there might still be concerns about coronavirus contagion, so you might want to select seats that provide the most isolation from passersby and adjacent passengers. For that reason, I would choose A or L seats at mid-cabin (least restroom traffic, theoretically). From the graphics and photos, it looks like the odd-numbered rows have the A & L seats that are farthest from the aisle, so I would choose those, but you may want to confirm. That would target 7A & 9A or 7L & 9L. It does not give much togetherness, but it may provide social distancing and peace of mind. We are traveling in January to Barcelona on AA for a Viking Ocean cruise, and seat selections have been made with regard for social distancing. Some potentially useful information: 767-300 Polaris Seating Review
  15. After a few shenanigans with our vouchers, I was able to get it all straightened out by (repeatedly) contacting Viking Cruises TellUs/Viking Social by email at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. It's worth a try - they seem to have better knowledge and authority.
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