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  1. Ken, Really curious to see the actual language once this bill is introduced. This year's bill worked because of an elegant (more or less) solution to declare Seattle to Alaska cruises "international" under ALL provisions of the law, not just the PVSA. The presser's language suggests something less in this bill, because she also talks about Merchant Marine jobs. Which would at least suggest she's not pushing for immigration, visa, and tax changes that the current bill sidestepped. So I don't know that relief from the PVSA will accomplish what CC members want. You could end up with US crews, US labor laws, state sales taxes, and US prices... All of which were avoided by declaring Seattle to Alaska cruises "international". And which the cruise lines can avoid (on closed loop cruises) by stopping in Canada. And closed loop cruises don't fall under the PVSA...
  2. What do you want to see and how mobile are you? The location is just outside Trafalgar Square. So the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Nelson’s Column, etc. A lot of sites close by. A short distance to Westminster Palace, Elizabeth Tower, housing Big Ben, etc. My only concern is that my memory is of some fairly steep and irregular passages, and subway connections from The Strand into Trafalgar Square and I’d have to ask someone if there are lifts or only stairs. All of which “could” limit the convenience of the location. But yes. Good location. There is no perfect location in London.
  3. Don't know where you are in Baltimore. Probably the biggest thing to keep in mind is that many Northeast Corridor trains, certainly the Acela, but also the Regionals, originate in DC. Depending on when you buy tickets, the NE Regional can be much less expensive than the Acela, and typically only takes an extra 30 minutes or so from DC to New York Penn. The biggest difference, since you're asking about luggage, is there's luggage assistance (Red Caps) if needed in DC, but not at BWI. So that's something to keep in mind. Parking is probably more expensive at Union Station. Those are just a few things off the top of my head.
  4. I kind of liked the Renaissance more, but the Marriott was so convenient to the museums. Renaissance was a business trip; Marriott was personal. And the tram from Centraal will get you to the Museumplein in probably 20 minutes or so. And there were a number of "neighborhood" restaurants around the Renaissance. Kind of a tough call...
  5. Depends. The Marriott is very close to the Museumplein, so a great location for the museums. The Renaissance is not far from Centraal, so convenient for the train and public transportation. The Marriott is (was?) a fairly traditional Marriott and the Renaissance was a little more European and funky, in a good way.
  6. We watched Come From Away on Apple TV+ last night. Seemed appropriate. We ultimately didn't go to DC for the concert. The filmed version is incredibly well done. It's filmed largely like Hamilton, mostly as live theater with some obvious closeups, and a couple of interesting overhead shots. But just as powerful as ever. Bought a new iPad Pro a couple of months ago, and got a complementary 1 year Apple TV+ subscription, so that worked out well!
  7. I just aborted a discussion of positive predictive value of a high prevalence event versus negative predictive value of a low prevalence event. While trying to avoid inclusivity and exclusivity... This is like the discussion of types of test. If you're not an epidemiologist (mostly), you shouldn't need to understand any of this. But people want to know, and far too many professionals in these areas don't understand as they're either looking at answers at the machine level or the population level, but rarely at both! And the use of diagnostic and screening tests outside of their best applications creates this! End late night rant.
  8. Haven't been there, George. We may check it out one of these trips. This one is probably an up and back. First time in the city since February of 2020...
  9. Time to get serious! Luckily, right before going to bed last night, I looked at Le Bernadin's reservation policies. And NOW, they open reservations on Resy at 7:00 am on the first of the month, where it used to be 9:00 am. All the difference in the world! On the iPad at 6:45, check availability at exactly 7:00, reservations for 2 at 7:45 on a Saturday night. Sold out in 15 minutes... Probably going to try the Michelangelo (the two minutes was to get across the street, George!), and reserve the train. A degree of PITA, but it's a 30th anniversary (rounded to the nearest weekend). And she's earned it! (We booked a Studio. Looks like a pretty nice room!)
  10. Back to the OP... One of the beauties of a drink package is you can try things you wouldn't normally try. If you're on a premium package, you have even more options. A good "sommelier", a term I use with caution on a cruise ship, their training is in service, and in recommending wines for individual tastes, and food pairings. And service and food pairings are probably at the top. On a package, you can accept those recommendations and see if you find something you like, with that dish! Because wine changes with food pairings (and food changes with wine pairings). That dry wine you don't care for by itself may pair beautifully with a dinner dish. I'm not a fan of sweet wines at all, but sweet wines, counterintuitively, can pair amazingly with spicy food (try a sweeter Riesling with a spicy Thai dish...). Likewise, the right red (some Pinot Noirs, for instance) will actually go incredibly well with fish dishes. So don't be afraid to play around with wine. Yes, most of the better wines, just like in land based restaurants, are only sold by the bottle, but that doesn't mean you can't find something that goes with your meal by the glass. And the dirty little secret of bottle pricing is you generally get a better deal on more expensive bottles. At $50/bottle on the ship, you're looking at $10/glass equivalent, and the bottle probably costs $15-20 in Miami. So you can get a similar priced wine in your package. At $100/bottle, you're looking at $20/glass, and the bottle is probably $55-60 in Miami. Generally, the more expensive the bottle, the lower the markup from retail. If you have an open mind, and the somm is recommending things that don't go with your food, you need another somm. That's their job, and they should work with you. And they should know the dishes and their wine list. (OK, I'm prejudiced to land-based somms there, but if they're going to claim the title, they need to earn it.) Enjoy! You can't make a mistake; you just may find things you like more than others!
  11. Just following the guidance not to recommend a tour I hadn't been on! Looks like their standard 16 person tours hit Omaha, Colleville-sur-Mer, and Sainte-Mere-Eglise from Cherbourg. Which is a nice quick overview, but would drive me insane! I will never forget standing on Ponte du Hoc, 50+ years after D-Day, and still seeing shell craters big enough for a Volkswagen to fit in... If you're there on a ship, you see what you can see. But go back by land! Too much history in Brittany and Normandy!
  12. I assume you mean the landing beaches and sites? I last visited the landing beaches and surrounding area years ago on a land based tour. Even if you can do it by bus (don't know), you won't have any context, and it would probably take forever. And it's also a big area. Cherbourg to Arromanches is 102 kilometers according to Google Maps. It's 85 to Colleville-sur-Mer and the American Cemetery. You don't have to do a ship's tour. Hopefully you'll get some feedback on them. There's a company that's been recommended a lot on the board over the years. Named after the code name for the invasion, and easy to find on Google and TripAdvisor. Tour prices usually vary with the number of stops and the number of people. If you're into the history, I'd probably try to see what you can arrange on your own (most expensive) or maybe with your roll call. If you're looking for an overview, a standard tour will be fine, but it looks like you're somewhat limited in options from Cherbourg. You'll run out of time before you run out of things to see, unfortunately. In some ways, the landings occurred where they did because the major ports were so far away, and no one in their right mind would have landed there! When is your cruise and what is the ship offering? How long are you in port?
  13. Maritime systems have a floating ground. Terrestrial systems have a fixed ground. So a surge protected circuit is designed to “fail” in one direction, but a maritime circuit can go either way. Layman’s terms. So rather than sacrificing itself, your surge protector can become the source of a failure, and a fire hazard. Our resident maritime engineer explains it much better, but surge protection is unnecessary and bad on ships. And power strips are generally bad on their own as so many people overload them, which is a separate fire hazard. All of which adds up to cruise lines nabbing you power strips. USB bricks have none of those issues…
  14. Ah. I was looking by the glass. See them by the bottle. The 362 CSM Riesling is moderately sweet as I recall. The Eroica is amazing, but more drier. There are some great Italian and Spanish effervescent reds that I suspect the OP would enjoy, but not onboard 🤥
  15. Interesting. I saw a Kabinett, which could be on the sweet side, but not a Spatlese. You’d think they’d have a Lambrusco or the like, but not seeing it. And I refuse to recommend the aberration of a truly noble grape from Beringer!
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