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Everything posted by GTJ

  1. What you're describing is the early and largely-obsolete practice of operating a bus line: waiting until "enough" passengers arrive before departing, a practice that originated with the stagecoaches in England centuries ago. That practice evolved into a system of scheduled departures, buses operating at predetermined times, regardless if they are sufficiently full or not. The benefit, of course, is that passengers can plan and rely upon scheduled service, without having the uncertainty and inconvenience of having to wait around for the bus to fill-up. Now if there is a steady-enough stream of arriving passengers then there is not much uncertainty or inconvenience (as is the case for the buses operating in this fashion between Flushing and Chinatown). But at LaGuardia airport I imagine that there would not be strong stream of arriving passengers, and the uncertainty, inconvenience, and waiting could be excessive. I would prefer the cruise line arranging scheduled bus, so that I might be able wander the airport (shop, explore, etc.) and return to the bus stop at a predetermined time, over having to sit on the bus waiting for it to fill-up.
  2. It is disappointing how things have changed over the years. It used to be that transportation terminals all had self-service lockers where baggage could be stored at reasonable flat rates for the day. Look at all the lockers at the Greyhound Lines terminal shown in the clip below from Breakfast at Tiffany's! Security concerns seem to have caused their demise in the United States, with only a few terminals offering attended baggage storage (such service is much more common at bus terminals throughout Mexico). The Luggage Hero website seems to be an interesting surrogate. I have never used it. I wonder how much of a cut the website takes, and whether the businesses that participate understand their liability for a paid bailment. Might someone approach the business directly, pay cash, and bypass the website? As to the locations most proximate to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, I see that that closest is in Carroll Gardens--not especially convenient to the port--at Brooklyn Postal Center, 540 Court Street, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Next closest is in downtown Brooklyn, still not the most convenient to the port but at least it is centrally located in Brooklyn and has nearby subway service, at Atlantic Dry Cleaners, 68 Bond Street, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Maybe one of the local businesses in Red Hook would see value in such service and offer a more location more convenient? I would like to read a report from anyone who had used this service.
  3. Yes, on weekdays, during the middle of the day, the ferry to and from Red Hook is every 65 minutes. There is greater frequency of service on weekends--when most cruise vessels are in port--with ferry service every 41 minutes during the day. Best to check the schedule before traveling. For comparison's sake, the bus to and from the Brooklyn Cruise Port, route B61, operates every 12 minutes during the middle of the day on weekdays, every 12-15 minutes on Saturdays, and every 12-20 minutes on Sundays.
  4. Yes, indeed. At least several hours in Sacramento and overnight in Seattle! Add to that the fact that the California Zephyr does not have a good record of on-time performance, so while that might reduce the time spent in Sacramento, it adds an equal amount of time to standing idle in Reno waiting for the train to arrive. The train is good if one likes trains generally, or if one cannot (or will not) fly commercially. But railroad is not a particularly attractive option.
  5. Although there is a train from Reno to Sacramento, the connecting point for the train to Seattle and onward to Vancouver, the train from Reno is early morning while the connecting train is late night, resulting in an inconvenient 9-1/2 hour connection in Sacramento (although the connection is likely to be less in actuality because the train from Reno is frequently delayed). Somewhat better is to use an Amtrak-arranged bus from Reno to Sacramento in mid-afternoon, and a connection of "only" 6 hours. (Because of certain state-imposed restrictions on bus ticket sales, you might have to buy a ticket from Reno to Davis, but only travel by bus only as far as Sacramento.) Once the train arrives in Seattle, there is an overnight connection for the train onward to Vancouver. The actual timings are as follows. Train departs Reno 8:36 a.m., arrives Sacramento 2:13 p.m. Bus departs Reno 2:10 p.m., arrives Sacramento 5:35 p.m. Train departs Sacramento 11:49 p.m., arrives Seattle 7:51 p.m. next day. Train departs Seattle 7:50 a.m. third day, arrives Vancouver 11:50 a.m. In sum, travel by train requires slightly less than 48 hours. Advance purchase fare is about $160. (Travel entirely by bus is a bit quicker, and would require about 30 hours, with connections in Sacramento and Portland. Advance purchase fare is about $150. Depart Reno 2:50 p.m. via Greyhound Lines, arrives Sacramento 6:15 p.m. Depart Sacramento 8:45 p.m. via MTR Western, arrives Portland 9:05 a.m. next day. Depart Portland 12:30 p.m. via MTR Western, arrives Vancouver 8:45 p.m.)
  6. Is the narration pre-recorded or live? If live, were you able to ascertain if the English narration was identical to the French? Sometimes French narration is more thorough or animated, while the English version that follows is abbreviated. How often do the buses operate along the circuit? That is, if one should alight one bus, how long before the next bus arrives?
  7. Are you repeating prior news, or is NCL reporting actual progress on its terminal development in Whittier? I do tend to be a bit wary about dates announced in advance of transportation facility openings, as projects are notorious for delays (not to mention cost overruns). If I were planning travel for 2025, at best I might be hopeful that service would be provided to or from Whittier, but I would also be prepared for service being provided to or from Seward. The capacity issue is interesting. Presently, Carnival uses Whittier as a terminal on Saturdays, Sundays, and alternate Wednesdays (for its Princess Cruises and Holland America Line brands). Meanwhile, NCL presently uses Seward as a terminal on alternate Mondays and alternate Wednesdays (for its Norwegian Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands), the Wednesday service being those alternate weeks not operated by Carnival. Additionally, the Alaska Marine Highway operates the Aurora to and from Whittier daily, and the Kennicott to and from Whittier alternate Mondays and alternate Thursdays, but these vessels are relatively small. So at least under current schedules there would not be any overlap with two large cruise vessels in port simultaneously (although that raises the broader question: why build a new terminal?!) The problem faced uniquely by the Whittier port is the limitation imposed on overland traffic entering and leaving the community by a single-lane shared rail-road tunnel. Two large vessels in port on the same day might result in impossible traffic capacity conditions. I understand that the Alaska Railroad is planning to build infrastructure to serve the new terminal with passenger train service, but I do not recall seeing any detailed plans or time frame. Presumably such work would have financing and construction separate and apart from NCL's work, and so I would be curious to see how that is progressing. Might it be that the terminal would not be usable until the railroad work is also completed?
  8. I think you meant to say that the closure was in effect Queen-bound, not Manhattan-bound. This confused me initially because the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway does go towards Manhattan. (The Gowanus Expressway, which carries I-278 south of Caroll Gardens, does go towards Manhattan, but it does not go around Brooklyn Heights.) The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (a.k.a. Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel) is not a particularly attractive alternative. Motorists coming from Queens would have to enter Manhattan, paying a toll to use the Queens–Midtown Tunnel, negotiate Manhattan traffic, and then leave Manhattan, paying a second toll to use the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel. On the other hand, I don't think that there is any "good" by-pass, and at best one can only mitigate the disruption (perhaps by using the Van Wyck Expressway to the Belt Parkway, and going the long way around?). The default speed limit is 25 miles per hour, but this is overridden by posted signs, both upward and downward. Neighborhood slow zones reduce the speed limit to 20 miles per hour; on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway the speed limit is 45 miles per hour. Do watch for signs to ascertain the proper limit, but if there are no signs then abide by the default speed limit.
  9. With all due respect to the railroad, that's not an acceptable time frame. The website is the railroad's portal to the world with respect to its passenger service, and few things can be more important for passenger ticket sales than its website. The railroad should be throwing all resources at the problem--engaging outside programmers if need be--to get it fixed sooner than "a couple weeks."
  10. Alaskatrain.com is a website for Alaska Tour & Travel, a reputable third-party travel agent. Alaska Tour & Travel has the advantage of also being an agent for Tour Alaska (corporate affiliate of Princess Cruises and Holland America Line) and Premier Alaska Tours, two companies that operate private railcars, and sell railroad tickets to the general public, between Anchorage and points north. Alaska Travel & Tour is also a broker for Premier Alaska Tours for its "Park Connection" motorcoach services between Seward, Anchorage, Denali, and intermediate points. In short, the company is a reliable place from which a variety of transportation tickets might be purchased. Just keep in mind that it is a middleman, and does not operate any transportation whatsoever, itself.
  11. Yes, the system for reduced fare ferry tickets is a convoluted process and completely separate from the senior MetroCard system. Apply well in advance. And even with being certified, one cannot purchase senior tickets from the machines at most ferry landings. Reduced fare tickets are available from the ticket seller at Pier 11. Seemingly the system was designed to exclude all but local seniors from participating. Federal law requires that half-fare be made available to all elderly and disabled persons, without discrimination, as a condition for receiving federal financial assistance, but that law allows local officials to establish "reasonable" procedures for its non-discriminatory implementation. Other federally-funded transportation systems also impose practices that have the effect of excluding non-local seniors, including the Philadelphia transit system and the Alaska Railroad, among others. There are two ferry landings in Red Hook. One is at Atlantic Basin, adjacent to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, served by NYC Ferry. The other is at Erie Basin, adjacent to an Ikea store, served by NY Waterway. They're not too distant from each other--about one mile apart--but it could make a difference if you're carrying substantial baggage. The ferry to Erie Basin departs from Pier 79, about one-half mile from Port Authority Bus Terminal. It is the most convenient ferry to access, but departures are infrequent and then there's the mile-long walk in Red Hook. This ferry departs Pier 79 on weekends only, at 10:30 a.m., 12:00 noon, 1:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. Allow 40 minutes travel time (the last trip takes only 25 minutes because it skips an intermediate stop). The ferry to Atlantic Basis departs from Pier 11, to which you might travel by subway. From Port Authority Bus Terminal, go outside and walk crosstown one block along 42nd Street to Seventh Avenue, and enter the subway at that intersection. (Yes, you could walk underground from Port Authority Bus Terminal, but it is a somewhat convoluted path to take . . . usually best to walk above ground.) Ride the no. 2 or no. 3 train downtown to Wall Street. It is then about one-quarter mile to Pier 11. There are many departures from Pier 11, but do check the schedule in advance. In theory you could travel on the ferry from Pier 79 to Pier 11. However, the ferry is funded by Ikea, and was designed to transport passengers to and from the Ikea store in Red Hook, not between ferry landings in Manhattan. If you did not want to deal with the separate ferry ticketing then you could travel by subway to Brooklyn, then a local bus to the cruise terminal. From Port Authority, get the "A" or "C" train to Jay Street-Metrotech. Then walk two blocks south and board the B61 bus to Red Hook (free transfer with MetroCard or OMNY). You would also need to walk a few blocks from the Red Hook bus stop, on Van Brunt Street at King Street, along Pioneer Street to the cruise terminal. One transit fare for the entire trip ($1.45 senior rate).
  12. The chartered train is less convenient if you're staying for a few days in Anchorage because the train departs from the airport, not from downtown. The schedule does not require that very early morning wake-up, but it also means that it does not work well if you desire to do any activities in Seward. The charter train schedule is designed for direct embarkation . . . the chartered train does not go to the railroad station in Seward, but to the port terminal building itself (a few blocks away). So you have a bit of a balancing act between the two trains.
  13. No, the train is not "sold out." There is simply a glitch in the system that, at least presently, does not allow for passengers to book themselves. Try again during the week, or give a call. Also, I assume that you will be staying in Anchorage for a few a days prior to embarking the cruise vessel, and that is the reason for wanting to board the train so early in the morning in downtown Anchorage. Many passengers will instead travel on the afternoon train to Seward, departing from the station at the airport. Although the afternoon train is also owned and operated by the Alaska Railroad, it is charter for which tickets are sold by Royal Caribbean International.
  14. A few observations that may be relevant for other travelers in the future. By taxi, it is approximately 10 minutes between the Paradox Hotel on Wet Georgia Street and the Pacific Central station. According to Via Rail Canada, the lessee of the Pacific Central station, the station building opens at 4:30 a.m. According to Amtrak, a sublessee of Via Rail Canada, the Pacific Central station opens at 5:00 a.m. It is not clear which information is correct. But, if one leaves the Paradox Hotel at 4:30 a.m., and arrives at the Pacific Central station at 4:40 a.m., one should be prepared to stand outside the station building until it actually opens for business. One might reconsider whether a 4:30 a.m. departure from the Paradox Hotel is excessively early, especially if it means being at a station (potentially standing outside locked doors for at least some time) for two hours. The earliest departures from the Pacific Central station each day are: (1) 5:30 a.m., Cantrail Coach Lines, to Seattle; (2) 6:30 a.m., Ebus, to Kelowna; and (3) 6:35 a.m., Amtrak, to Portland. Cantrail Coach Lines has no explicit policy relating to passenger arrival times at the station. Ebus recommends that passengers arrive at the station no earlier than 20 minutes prior to departure time. Amtrak has more specific guidance because inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is completed prior to boarding the train. Accordingly, Amtrak recommends that passengers arrive at the station at least one hour prior to departure time if a United States or Canadian citizen, and earlier than one prior to departure time if not a United States of Canadian citizen. Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection closes its inspection gates 15 minutes prior to departure time, and thus it is effectively required that passengers intending to travel on the 6:35 a.m. departure enter the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection area no later than 6:20 a.m. See http://www.amtrak.com/crossing-the-us-canadian-border. On weekday, the first SkyTrain departure from Waterfront station is at 5:32 a.m., and from Burrard station at 5:34 a.m. The Burrard station is two blocks from the Paradox Hotel on West Georgia Street. This first train arrives at the Main Street-Science World station, immediately outside the Pacific Central station at 5:39 a.m. Although this arrival time is four minutes later than the recommendation given by Amtrak for arriving at the Pacific Central station, the time difference is largely inconsequential, and there remains plenty of time to arrive at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection area prior to 6:20 a.m. On weekends, however, SkyTrain is not a viable option, as the first train departs Waterfront station at 6:44 a.m. on Saturdays, and 7:44 a.m. on Sundays, both being after the Amtrak train will have departed from the Pacific Central station. SkyTrain fare is CAD 3.15 per person, or CAD 2.10 for seniors 65 and older (and for others entitled to reduced fare). On foot, the distance from the Paradox Hotel to the Pacific Central station is approximately 2.6 km (1.6 miles), and would ordinarily require about 38 minutes.
  15. To be certain, here are the yellow taxi rates within New York City, except between JFK airport and Manhattan: $3.00 flag drop $0.50 MTA surcharge $1.00 improvement surcharge $1.75 airport access fee, travel from LaGuardia or JFK airports $5.00 surcharge, travel to or from LaGuardia airport $2.50 congestion surcharge, travel into Manhattan below 96th Street $2.50 rush hour surcharge, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. weekdays $1.00 overnight surcharge, 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily $3.50 per mile when traveling above 12 mph (measured in 1/5-mile increments) $0.70 per minute in slow or stopped traffic Tolls added at E-ZPass rates Yellow taxi rate between JFK airport and Manhattan $70.00 flat rate $0.50 MTA surcharge $1.00 improvement surcharge $1.75 airport access fee, travel from LaGuardia or JFK airports $2.50 congestion surcharge, travel into Manhattan below 96th Street $5.00 rush hour surcharge, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. weekdays Tolls added at E-ZPass rates
  16. GTJ


    Is the concern that large vessels require more walking while at sea, having to walk from forward to aft, and vice versa, many times during the day? A smaller vessel would reduces such a concern because it simply does not have as many public spaces to visit, and the main dining room is within just a few steps from all staterooms. Thus, there would be much less walking throughout the day while on the vessel. Keep in mind, however, that as consequence there will be fewer services available (though the services that are available will likely be more personal). Some vessels are smaller because they visit more remote regions, and accessibility from the vessel to the places visited may adverturous compared to large vessel port visits. To this end, consider the following lines and vessels, all of which provide service in Alaska using relatively small vessels, all fewer than 300 passengers. Click on each vessel name for more details. Alaska Marine Highway - Tustumena (160 passengers) Alaskan Dream Cruises - Admiralty Dream (49 passengers) Alaskan Dream Cruises - Baranof Dream (49 passengers) Alaskan Dream Cruises - Chichagof Dream (76 passengers) Alaskan Dream Cruises - Kruzof Explorer (12 passengers) American Cruise Line - American Constellation (170 passengers) American Queen Voyages - Ocean Victory (186 passengers) Discovery Voyages - Discovery (12 passengers) Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic Sea Bird (62 passengers) Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic Sea Lion (62 passengers) Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic Quest (100 passengers) Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic Venture (100 passengers) Ponant - Le Soléal (264 passengers) UnCruise Adventures - Safari Endeavour (84 passengers) UnCruise Adventures - Safari Explorer (36 passengers) UnCruise Adventures - Safari Quest (22 passengers) UnCruise Adventures - Wilderness Discoverer (76 passengers) UnCruise Adventures - Wilderness Explorer (74 passengers) UnCruise Adventures - Wilderness Legacy (86 passengers) Slightly larger in size, from 300 to 1,000 passengers, are vessels operated by Alaska Marine Highway (Columbia, Kennicott), Crystal Cruises (Crystal Serenity), Hurtigruten (Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen), Oceania Cruises (Regatta), Regent Seven Seas Cruises (Seven Seas Explorer), Seabourn Cruise Line (Seabourn Odyssey), Silversea Cruises (Silver Muse, Silver Nova, Silver Shadow), Viking Ocean Cruises (Viking Orion).
  17. I generally do not even consider the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge to be a "Denali" hotel, notwithstanding the hotel name borrowing the former name of Denali. It is in the middle of nowhere and not convenient to anything; the reference by another commenter that Princess used the hotel as to "a spot to warehouse it's cruise tour passengers" is harsh but upon reflection I think that description is accurate. It is upsetting to me to think that many people spend substantial dollars on the Princess tours, expecting their stay at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge will involve Denali activities, but me knowing that not to be the case. If I were planning independent travel I would never stay at that hotel because it is not near anything . . . and if I wanted to see Talkeetna, or do Talkeetna activities, then I would try to stay at a place that was actually in Talkeetna. I think that it is true that Princess includes the hotel on all of its tours simply because it owns the hotel and wants to fill rooms that otherwise no one would pay to stay within. Finally, one should not conclude that only people who rent automobiles can avoid spending (wasting?) time at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. One can also travel independently by railroad, by motorcoach, or by independent tour.
  18. Right now we're in the awkward transitional stage for fare payment systems, where some transportation systems use both MetroCard and OMNY as fare payment systems, while others are MetroCard-only. Most importantly, if one intends transfer from one system to another, it is critical to know to consider what fare payment systems are common to both transportation systems if a "free transfer" is anticipated between the two systems. Eventually, all transportation systems are expected to adopt the OMNY fare payment system, but that will only be sometime in the future. In the specific case of the JFK AirTrain transportation system, there are no free transfers to or from any other transportation system, regardless of the fare payment system. Thus, whatever fare payment system is used for JFK AirTrain, a different fare payment system could be used for connecting transportation without loss of free transfer. Again, we New Yorkers have a knack for making things confusing for others!
  19. The two hotels offer activities and excursions. View them here. Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge - http://www.princesslodges.com/princess-alaska-lodges/mckinley-lodge/mckinley-activities. Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge - http://www.princesslodges.com/princess-alaska-lodges/denali-lodge/denali-activities. Of course, you could do things on your own. While the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge is remote, it shuttle guests to and from Talkeetna, from which you can visit the small community and perhaps arrange independent exploration or touring. The Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge is more centrally located in the center of the Denali tourist area, and also one can either be shuttled or walk the short distance to Denali park to visit and/or hike independently.
  20. To clarify for those not fully understanding my prior comment (perhaps due to my error in spelling the word "unavailable"): On all-reserved Amtrak trains operating in the northeast corridor, specific seats are not assigned, with the exception that assigned seats are "available for business and first class travel." Thus, Acela trains, which offer only business and first class seating, have assigned seats available. In addition, other northeast corridor trains--specifically the Northeast Regional, Carolinian, Palmetto and Vermonter trains--also offer assigned seats but only in business class cars. Further information on selecting seats in business and first class is available on the Amtrak website at http://www.amtrak.com/reserved-seating. Seats in coach are reserved but not assigned. The information I provided was correct, but perhaps its focus on business and first class service across multiple northeast corridor Amtrak trains, and not specifying particular train names or types (e.g., Acela), confused some people. Hopefully this note clarifies any such remaining confusion as to the extent of seats being assigned on Amtrak's northeast corridor trains. I recognize the importance of assigned seats to some people, but I don't share that enthusiasm. Instead, my preference is for seats not being assigned, and other than truly long-distance trains, for seats not being reserved. In my view, there is simply too much hassle and inconvenience in having to secure a reservation and seat assignment, as opposed to simply boarding the next available train. Additionally, and especially when traveling on business where plans may change on short or no notice, having to change reservations and seat assignments is terribly inconvenient. Southwest Airlines shares my view, and while its seats are reserved, there are no seat assignments. (The former Eastern Shuttle, and its successors, had neither reserved nor assigned seats.) I also note that Greyhound Lines recently went all-reserved, with seat assignments available optionally for an extra charge. Seemingly, my view is in the minority here, and seats being assigned or not may well be a deciding factor for at least some people.
  21. When I read the comment, "We did Amtrak before but it was a hassle as there were no preallocated seats," my reaction was that this prior travel may have been a long time ago, when most trains in the northeast corridor were unreserved. During those years seats were not allocated to passengers, and there was always the possibility that there would be more passengers than seats and some people would have to stand. Today, however, trains in the northeast corridor are all-reserved, meaning that all the seats are allocated and no one should have to stand. What caught my eye was the commenter's use of the word "preallocated" to describe the seating, rather than "preassigned." Even though all seats are reserved, none are assigned. In other words, by having a reservation, there will be a seat allocated, but no specific seat is assigned. So I don't know if the commenter actually meant using the word "preallocated," something that is no longer the case for any northeast corridor travel; or if the intent was to have used the word "preassigned," something that remains unable for coach travel but is available for business and first class travel.
  22. Is there a mandate that everyone travel together as a single group? My initial thought was to send the disabled friend, perhaps with a PCA but sans baggage, ahead via pedicab, and have the rest of the group walk from the ferry building to Pier 35 with all the baggage in tow. As to pedicab fares, the most recent resolutions of the Board of Supervisors adopted pursuant to section 3909 of the city's Police Code, adopted in 2011 (nos. 0164-11 and 0320-11, for Keith R. Saggers, dba SF Student Jobs Coalition, and Abraham Pedicabs LLC, dba Cabrio Taxi, respectively), provide for a one-way fare, for two passengers, of $20.00 between the ferry building and Pier 39. Note that while the tariff does not provide explicitly for a fare between the ferry building and Pier 35, given that Pier 39 is beyond Pier 35, the $20.00 fare should apply. Only the rates that have been authorized by the Board of Supervisors, and published by the carrier, may be charged. Police Code § 3909.1. Apparently, the $35.00 fare quoted by someone else here would be unlawful. In comparison, the taxi fare between the ferry building and Pier 35, a distance of just over one mile, is $7.40. This consists of $4.15 for the flag drop plus the first one-fifth mile, plus $0.65 for each additional one-fifth mile ($3.25 per mile). These rates were approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency effective November 17, 2022. Note, too, that streetcar cash fare, between the ferry building and Pier 35, is $3.00 per person, discounted to $1.50 for disabled persons and those aged 65 years or greater.
  23. Convenient, yes. But always best, if not already familiar with the money in other countries, to go to Wikipedia and educate oneself in advance. Fairly straight forward to learn that a loonie depicts a loon, and that a toonie says "2 Dollars" (no loon, but a polar bear) . . . but beware that these names apply only in English, not French.
  24. On the few occasions where I have used American dollars in Canada, those dollars nearly always have been accepted at better than par. I think the first time was in Vancouver, at a Burger King, where I paid using an American $20 note: received my meal order plus a Canadian $20 note as change. Many times a rate not all that favo(u)rable--though sometimes certain Canadian businesses courting Americans will do so--but any responsible business will establish a rate other than 1:1 if it wants any discretionary business from Americans (and assuming that American dollars will be accepted at all). The only times I can recall American dollars being accepted at par have been (1) the pedestrian toll between the two sides of Niagara Falls had used turnstiles that accepted quarters from either country, and (2) the Transit Windsor buses between Detroit and Windsor accept money from either country at par. But these are small transactions for non-competitive services, and there may be other similar situations. On the other hand I have routinely received advertisements from the Mont-Tremblant ski resort touting how Americans can receive much more from their dollars by crossing to the border to do their skiing at this resort in Québec.
  25. It is the same scenery as the bus because the railroad and highway parallel each other. Whether the train is more "fun" is a bit subjective. But how the train can be distinctive from the bus is by taking a railroad excursion in addition to simple transportation from Anchorage to Whittier. After the train travels from Anchorage to Whittier, it then continues on a scenic journey further south, to an area remote from the highway. The train makes a stop at Spencer (for hiking and river travelers), and then continues onward to Grandview. The train reverses course at Grandview, again stops at Spencer, and then returns to Whittier. Passengers taking this scenic extended journey can then alight from the train at Whittier, walk across the street to the cruise terminal, in time for the vessel's departure that evening. Note that the train's consist is fairly simple, with a coach or two, a snack bar, and a distinctive bi-level self-propelled railcar (no first class "GoldStar" service).
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