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About princeton123211

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    Travelling, fine dining
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    Seabourn, Cunard
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  1. Right there you have the USS Iowa you could mill about on. Quick Uber over to the Queen Mary for an early lunch and walk about. Given that you don't have a ton of time, I might Uber up to Santa Monica for a late breakfast and walk around for a bit so you at least don't have to worry about traffic getting to LAX since you'll be so close. I'm a big fan of the little porch at Shutters on the Beach, but there are a ton of other options. You could check your bags for a few hours at any of the hotels there.
  2. I guess it could be that the question is a bit broad-- if you're not going through the ship what are you looking to do? In Portland, do you want to go to Kennebunkport for the day? Or a tour of the city itself? Things like that might help. There are certainly private tour guides that you can hire in each place or alternatively you could rent a car and do some things on your own. Just hard to dive into it when we don't really know what you are trying to accomplish.
  3. As a hotel guest you enter the ship on a different gangway than a day guest. You'll be able to check in whenever you arrive (whether the room is ready is a different matter-- usually they are, but if you are checking in on a Fri, Sat, Sun theres a chance you'll have to wait). As a hotel guest you can see a lot of the ship on your own without the need for a tour by just wandering around. They used to include the basic tour as part of your hotel rate-- not sure if thats still the case but make sure to check. If not they can help you onboard to purchase a tour-- no need to go to the kiosk on the pier.
  4. I've done the Independence leg of this several times and a ton of (non consecutive) transats. I will say that the whole atmosphere on the Independence Cruise is much more informal than you will get on the translatlantic legs. It's a holiday long weekend and most on board are American and treat it as such. While there has been 1 formal night-- most are in suits and you don't see nearly as many tuxes as you will on the transats. Kings Court is very busy that night as I noticed a lot of people try and skirt the dress code that formal night all together.
  5. Anythings possible when you put your mind to it. The short answer is yes-- its possible. You will have to plan a bit and you may have to keep Peal Harbor to the highlights vs a more in depth visit, but you can do it and be back in plenty of time for a 4:30 Luau departure. I would just Uber over and back-- quick 20 min drive in each direction and will give you the most flexibility with time. Currently you cannot visit the USS Arizona Memorial due to ongoing repairs to the dock. If you are visiting in the Fall onwards when its fixed, make sure to book your ticket for the memorial as far in advance as possible to get a time that will allow you a visit earlier in the day. I would head back around 3-315 to make sure you get back to the ship in time for the 4:30 departure-- you can get traffic in Honolulu.
  6. As a general rule, most excursions can be done less expensively on your own (with a few exceptions for those that have a heavy transportation component). We prefer to do things on our own, especially on a big ship like QM2 where the excursions can be comprised of several busloads of people, but will opt for the ship excursion for trips where I get even the smallest inkling of doubt that we could miss the ship if we did it on our own. Looking through your itinerary, New York, Newport, and Boston are all very easy to pick something interesting and do on your own. Uber/Lyft/taxis work well to get around and Newport/Boston are very manageable on your own-- New York you'll have to be a bit picky in what you have time for. Quebec is also in this category-- you'll most likely want to see the city and the city is very easy to walk around in on your own without paying for a tour. Places like Sydney, Saguenay, and Sept-IIles are a bit more sleepy and you might want to look at some of the excursions that go further away from these port stops-- could be a good excuse for looking at whats on offer. Halifax is sort of a toss up-- its a big enough city that you can do things in town but there are a lot of options to go to picturesque places outside of town on an excursion. This is a fun itinerary as you do get 2 separate days in NYC. I would recommend making the first day sightseeing heavy and use the second to be more relaxing and to go see things that you invariably will have to skip because of time constraints the first day.
  7. They pad that 11am flight time quite a bit. Let's say the ship docks on time at 5am and is cleared conservatively at 6am. You're off, again conservatively at 6:45 with self disembarkation with your carry on. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the airport from the cruise port if you factor in a little traffic. If the bus left at 7:15 after loading up the first group, you would be to the airport by 7:45-- plenty of time for a 10:25 flight, especially given that Jean Lesage isn't a massive airport. I think you'll be fine. Even if the first bus didn't leave until 815-- you're still there at 8:45-- still plenty of time for your flight. HAL booked your flight so they know that you, and ostensibly others, have a tighter turn. Worth checking in with them a night or two before on board to confirm but I think you should be fine.
  8. Very easy to-- usually only a few minute wait. I used to be a big Carmel guy since thats who my company had a relationship with but its always a drill finding the driver (especially when things are busy). Uber (or Lyft) are much more efficient as you can see where the driver is located on the app and are less expensive (at least UberX).
  9. I don't know if I would let this one be the deciding factor-- my experience with both options is that you are generally with other paying passengers and because of this the pilots decide the routing. Even in a chopper you tend to stay in forward motion for the majority of the experience and don't have much say over where you go once airborne. You purchased a tour and they take you on the routing of that tour.
  10. I was under the impression that QM2 primarily uses the Ocean Cruise Terminal these days and not QEII.
  11. They are basically the exact same thing-- I think they might even use a lot of the same drivers. Both companies are sort of like prearranged Ubers. The larger cars they both use these days are either minivans or quite old Suburbans. With either company you are not going to get a pristine black car-- most of the cars they use are older model to keep the cost down. When I travel in and out of LGA I usually just grab a taxi because they are quick or call an Uber/Lyft. With Uber/Lyft the cars tend to be newer and nicer than what you get with Carmel/Dial 7 these days.
  12. It's sort of hard to answer without knowing what sort of arrangements you've made. Normally there aren't any shuttles running between the ship and airport but there are excursions the ship sells with a drop off at the airport-- is that what you were asking about? Usually these include a tour of NYC or a shopping excursion prior to airport drop off. Outside of these you would need to arrange for a taxi or Uber/Lyft. If you did book an excursion with an airport transfer you will be given a disembarkation time that lines up with the bus departure. Your luggage will be taken and delivered back to you at the airport. Usually the bus will drop you off at the terminal and you wont need to go to P4 which is the drop off area you are describing that connects to the AirTrain. I would definitely check your arrangements though-- there normally aren't any standalone shuttles that you don't have to prearrange either privately or through excursions with the cruise line (that usually involve a tour or shopping trip prior to airport dropoff). I know you are private car adverse, but it's by far the easiest and fastest way to get to the airport from the pier. It's also extremely safe.
  13. Not always the best yardstick to go by when choosing a private flight provider. Lots of things like safety record, pilot experience, and aircraft type are far more important than price. We tend to shy away from these types of chopper excursion flights unless they are a twin engine chopper (of which there are only a handful in Hawaii operating). Statistically fixed wing is much safer.
  14. I'd actually dispute that-- we found that most things, that were not Bermuda specific, could be found in US stores and for less than was being charged in Bermuda. It could be that we are spoiled being in the Northeast and have an abundance of international shopping available to us, but there wasn't anything we found in Hamilton that we couldn't buy more favorably at home.
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