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About markeb

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Northern Virginia
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    Watches, Pens, Travel
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  1. Cell phones are no problem. What type/size camera are you taking? Is this a cruise stop, or are you staying in Amsterdam? If the latter, where's your hotel? It may be worth taking off without the camera that day and going back to the hotel after visiting. Just a thought. I'm pretty sure I saw people in the Anne Frank house with cameras, just not taking pictures. The cloakroom had attendants. We didn't check anything, so I can't tell you how that worked, but I'm pretty sure they accepted and retrieved your items.
  2. Which HOHO loop are you looking at? The stops along 8th Avenue (and the stops at Central Park) are on the Uptown Loop. The HOHO's typically have an overlap point, usually around Times Square, although these appear to intersect at Radio City/Rockefeller Center. The Uptown Loop will generally have less traffic, and more of the sites are "drive bys". It's probably more predictable for time. The Downtown Loop will go through Midtown to Lower Manhattan. Much more traffic, more places you might want to get off and see, and therefore a much longer trip. In fact, I believe they say 2 1/2 hours plus, and that probably doesn't include getting off much if at all. I'm not sure how long you're in port, but keep that in mind for your timing. If you did both loops and simply rode the bus, you're looking at 4 1/2 to 5 hours. And, it'll likely take you longer to find a cab and get to 8th Avenue than it will take to walk, regardless of weather...
  3. The piers are along 12th Avenue on the west side. 8th Avenue is four blocks east. For reference, the Intrepid is at 46th Street. To catch the HOHO you're considering, it should be four blocks across the street and away from the pier, and possibly left or right once you get to 8th Avenue. No need to hike to the park if your goal is to catch a HOHO along 8th Avenue.
  4. You know, I'd get in the day before, but all the doom and gloom about missing flights... In this day and age, it's entirely possible that your plan to leave a day early will be impacted by a delayed or cancelled flight. There's now a wide body of 200+ passengers to rebook, only the next three days of flights are fully booked. And you're leaving from the US and it was a weather delay. Oops, the airline now has NO responsibility (a major difference for our UK and EU members). You could just as easily miss your cruise under those circumstances as if you're arrived the day of. I'd get there a day early to get a night's sleep. That's my normal MO, even when I'm flying in the front of the plane. But you could just as easily miss the cruise because of problems with a day earlier flight, and little or no slack in the system.
  5. Was there any context? It's a great number, but it occurs within a certain context in the play. And, it's one of my favorite numbers (and one of the easiest to remember!).
  6. Yes. $224 each from WAS to NYP on Acela. Should be about $272. Your normal saver is showing $108 (checked a random date next May). $78 looks to be the promo. The discount just just shows up. No regular fare/savings indicated.
  7. Some of the airport hotels (just checked the Westin and it's still good) have park, stay, and fly packages. None of those show up as redemption offers. You'd probably have to get yourself to the cruise port and back, so I'm guessing the cab would come close to making it a wash on a 7 day cruise versus the hotel plus paying for parking at the port. If you're going to do a redemption, you'll probably have to call the hotel and see if you can add on the parking, and what it would cost, and then decide if it's worth it.
  8. Sad to say I've never actually stayed at the Marriott Waterfront, but I love the location. From the looks of it, the hotel has been updated, has what looks to be a very nice bar, and a concierge lounge, although it appears to be closed on the weekends. You're close to Little Italy, Fells Point, and in Harbor East, so finding a place to eat should be easy, and a drink onsite. I've stayed at the Renaissance a number of times. It's close to where things used to happen, if you will. It looks like it's still in the "old" Marriott style and format. Fewer things in the immediate area. If you're coming in after a long drive, a wild card would be to stay at the Residence Inn Downtown Inner Harbor. It's away from the harbor and the views of the harbor, but it's a little over a block walk to the Hotel Monaco. The B&O American Brasserie (pending negative reports from someone who's been recently) is a kind of cool restaurant, but a VERY nice bar. Not sure about the current staff, but they've had some really nice mixologists in the past. So, yeah, I think most of us would tell you the Waterfront is our first choice. The Marriott and Sheraton down by Camden Yards are probably my last choice. The airport Marriott is fine if you're driving in from VA, but there isn't much there. The Westin at the airport would be a better choice if you're staying out there.
  9. I can't help out with the pricing either. I've tried growing a beard a couple of times in my life. When I was younger, it grew in in patches. Now it grows in as salt and red pepper, heavy on the salt... Once upon a time, RCI had the equivalent of an old mainstreet barbershop on the Royal Promenade of the Freedom Class. It wasn't stuck in the spa, the folks pretty much dressed like an old school barber, and they were very good. They also didn't upsell. At the time I tended to shave every day, and I'd get a professional shave on the last afternoon. It was an amazingly relaxing experience. It wasn't cheap, but it also wasn't horrible. RCI replaced that venue with the cupcake shop and moved the men's haircuts and shaves into the spa. Did that once. Never again...
  10. Only that they'd do the R&D and product development work for this lens. This appears to be a pretty high quality lens aimed at a crop body, and I've not seen that from Canon or Nikon, for instance. That's where I'm a little baffled, pleasantly. It suggests strongly that Sony plans to continue to develop their APS-C line, and improve it pretty dramatically. My experience with Canon was that they didn't develop and produce "L" lenses for crop bodies; investing in "G" lenses for the a6XXX line is a good sign. Now, because of an interest in low light and macro work, I may yet look at a Sony full frame, but the 16-55 and the 70-350 are major shots into the serious enthusiast/near-professional (maybe even professional?) market that with the investment in full frame I wasn't expecting. I'll have to check out both lenses the next time I'm at B&H after they're released...
  11. A little bit. In some ways, it seems “unnecessary”. Its a nod to the APS-C I suppose. In fact, that’s also true of the 16-55. Two “G” lenses aimed at crop cameras. It at least suggests Sony wants to expand the quality of the crop market, right when they’ve made major inroads into FF. Fascinating.
  12. Does it matter what the "rules" say? Your wife said slacks and a collared shirt. I'm coming up on 28 years and learned long ago not to disagree... (And, no, shorts are on the "no" list for dinner; breakfast and lunch are OK. You lose twice on this one, I'm afraid.)
  13. I was thinking cutoffs, flip flops, a wife beater, and a ball cap worn backwards... (Sorry. The temptation was just too great!)
  14. I think you're hitting the challenge on this, both for the camera and the new lenses. Good to great FF has just gotten smaller and priced better and better. My a6500 certainly isn't old enough to consider scrapping for the a6600; I can buy a LOT of batteries for the price of a new body. I took my time moving to Sony where I'd bought a number of lenses for my Canon T2i shortly after buying the body. If I moved to full frame, I'd only lose 2 lenses, and the FF G's would be great lenses and probably worth the replacement cost. And that may hold me back on the 16-55 f/2.8 lens. This is the classic high end "sweet spot" that Sony didn't have. But it's priced where if I even think about going FF, I'm not going to buy it. It is a G and appears to be built that way (unless something's changed, Canon has no APS-C "L" lenses), but the price makes it a commitment to APS-C. We'll see.
  15. We had this happen on one cruise. Showed up first night at a table for 8 or 10 (RCI). No tablemates. It was pretty weird. We decided to ask to be moved... Second night, we're at what appears to be an "added" table for two. Kind of nice, except, the table beside us is a table for roughly 10-12 in a (dysfunctional and entitled) family unit of some sort. Probably the only time in my life cruising that I actually noticed people's attire, as they showed up every night in shorts and behaving like fraternity brothers. And, they were loud and obnoxious. On about the fourth night, the waiters finally thought they had things figured out and had the tables set and the drinks they always ordered in place; they didn't show... In hindsight, we would have just stayed alone at our huge table. Most of the week after we moved it was empty.
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