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TSS Alex

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About TSS Alex

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Staten Island, NY

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  1. OK TruckerDave (and everyone else) - The map in the original post has been updated with a new layer with the EWR Airtrain (and stops) and the NJT line from Newark Airport to Penn Station has been added. Hoboken connections to come at a later date.
  2. Once upon a time, yes. But now, it's just my title at work - Train Service Supervisor. I work for NYC Transit, currently in an office position, but did spend time as a Conductor, Train Operator, and 10 years as an Instructor teaching new hires. One of the job perks is the ability to take over operation of any train in the system "just because".
  3. Done - even though I find it unlikely that a car service/taxi would take a group of people and their luggage to a housing complex instead of the cruise port, because they use 'Port' instead of 'Cape'.
  4. I've lived in the city for my entire life - free bathrooms at Grand Central and every hotel lobby, as well as most large stores. I didn't put the EWR line in because it isn't just one straight run. But, I'll try to get it in next week.
  5. Having made this trip using both routes, I'd rather pay the toll on the Thruway from Buffalo to Syracuse, then I-81 down to I-80. Route 20A (the connector between I-190 and I-390) becomes "Main St" for a number of towns and is prone to random summertime jam-ups for no particular reason. Once you're on I-380 (whichever way you choose to get there), wake up Waze or Google and see what traffic looks like on I-80 approaching the Delaware Water Gap (the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border). This is one of the strangest sections of road on your trip - 18 miles (29 km) that can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours to traverse. If it is severely backed up, you'll be re-routed down Route 33 to I-78, which will bring you straight into Newark.
  6. TSS Alex

    Rome Tours

    We didn't do the tour with breakfast - just picked up something on the walk to the meeting point (which is a bar that serves breakfast, or at least, what passes for breakfast in Rome).
  7. TSS Alex

    Rome Tours

    My wife and I did three tours with Walks of Italy last June and have two more scheduled with them in September. We highly recommend them. For a first time trip to the Vatican, I would suggest booking a tour - it's just large enough that you could get lost in it and miss things you really want to see. We did the Pristine Sistine™ Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour which met at 8:00am a few blocks from the Museum entrance. The non-tour line was already very long at that time for a 9:00 am opening. The Walks tours all used a small radio and earphones, so you could hear what your guide was saying and not have to listen to all the other groups nearby (something I wish groups would use here in NYC). Their groups are also fairly small - it's much easier to keep track of 20 people instead of 200. The other plus is their guides - all qualified in their areas. Our guide at the Vatican had a degree in Art History, which results in off-the-cuff tours instead of "here's the company script, just recite it and don't answer questions". At the end of the tour, he actually stayed around for a bit, answering any questions we still had. We sort of did the gelato and sights tour on our own. We were staying across the street from the Pantheon (halfway between the Colosseum and the Vatican) , which is surrounded by restaurants and gelaterrias. We walked to the Trevi Fountain and then on to the Spanish Steps, before heading back through a non-tourist area, ie residential, which is quite a different look from tourist Rome. Buy a camera with a bunch of SD cards and take pictures of everything - statues, signs, fountains, your hotel, the views. Rome is filled with water fountains - bring a refillable bottle and fill up almost anywhere you are. Don't be afraid to get off the beaten path - two or three blocks from almost any tourist attraction will see the prices on food drop to something affordable. If you see a 15 euro pizza on the menu, you're paying too much.
  8. Since it seems that one of the most often-asked questions here is, "Do I sail past the Statue of Liberty?" (right behind 'Where do I stay?" and"What airport is closest to..?"), I killed a day playing in Google Maps. Attached is a map of the Greater New York area, with a number of layers that can be turned off and on, depending on what you want to see. Ship routes thru New York Harbor to Port Liberty (Bayonne), Brooklyn Cruise Port, and Manhattan Cruise Port (Usual routings - can't/won't rule out possible sailing around the harbor) The three NY airports A partial map of the New York subway (This does NOT show all trackage or stations) NYC Ferry map (including the Staten Island Ferry and the Statue of Liberty ferry) PATH and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (for those staying in New Jersey) Points of Interest (Opinions vary as to interest. I'll add things if enough request) Since I am a native New Yorker, I have not included hotels, as I've never stayed at any of them. I've also not included restaurants, mostly due to the sheer number. If you find this useful, please feel free to share the link. Please let me know, if anything should be added. New York City map
  9. Have a first cruise with NCL coming up in September. Jade is scheduled to dock at 6:00am on Thursday 9/12/19. What is the earliest time I could expect to walk off, and conversely, what is the latest I could stay onboard before being thrown off? We have an apartment rental set up in Rome, which has a 3:00pm check-in. Before I write asking about luggage drop-off, I want to get some sense of the times I'm looking at.
  10. Times Square gives you the most options on the subway, with almost every line within a two block walk. The 9/11 Memorial is a direct run, about 18 minutes, on the #1 line; Yankee stadium is a direct run on the B or D, which stop a block away on 6 Avenue. No problems for a night game (unless your doing something silly, like wearing Red Sox clothing). Just be prepared for the trip back to take much longer than the trip up, due to late-night construction work.
  11. Wow, did this go off the rails (so to speak) since Sunday. I work for the subway (21 years - as a Conductor, Train Operator and Supervisor/Instructor). I've ridden them on my own since I was a freshman in high school (Sept 1976). They've changed tremendously in that time, as has the City in general. If you're going beyond a comfortable (for you) walking distance, by all means take the subway. If nothing else, it helps to keep me gainfully employed. The fare on the subway is $2.75; the initial drop on a taxi is $2.50. North/south (uptown/downtown) is very easy; east/west not so much, unless you're near 42 St or 14 St. As noted above, don't flash your wallet. Do try to figure out where you're going before you enter the system - nothing screams "tourist" more than constantly checking maps (or phones). Same goes for when you're walking. If you need to check a map, pull over to the building side, out of pedestrian traffic, or use something that already forces people to walk around it (news stands, food carts). Enjoy your trip.
  12. Because our cruise was the first time Symphony picked up passengers in Rome, according to its schedule and its staff.
  13. Just did this in June on Royal's Symphony of the Seas. I would guess the procedures will be similar. We boarded at Civitavecchia on the fourth day of the Barcelona cruise. Arrived at the port at about 10:45am and were the first ones there (very strange being the only non-staff in the terminal). On board by 11:00, but rooms still not ready until 1:00pm (don't understand this - we were the first interporting cruise - no one had been in the room since the ship left Barcelona). Muster drill in the theatre for all Rome cruisers; all other venues remained open for the enjoyment of Barcelona guests. The opposite would not hold true for the Barcelona muster - everything (restaurants, bars) was closed and everyone was constantly asked for their SeaPass cards to show they didn't need to be at the muster. Our ship's excursion tour tickets came in two groups: from Rome to Barcelona and Barcelona to Rome. The hard sell on dining and drink packages came on the Barcelona day - too late for us. At Barcelona, while 4500 people were disembarking with suitcases, we walked off, hopped in a cab (and had to stop him from heading to the airport) and headed downtown. That night, the piano player was surprised to see us and came over during his break. We explained the whole thing to him.
  14. My wife and I did this tour in June of this year, and neither remember giving birthdates or pasports to anyone, either with the tour company or the Colosseum.
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