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Posts posted by dszrew

  1. We're almost as picky with airline seats as with cabin locations. In the case of CA I just wasn't clear on the logistics.


    Besides price, seats are the second big consideration for us. I'm not yet willing to pay business class prices, but starting to be uncomfortable enough in economy unless I can control my seats. With the two of us traveling, one of us (me) has to sit in the middle seat with many aircraft configurations. Depending on the airline and the plane, there are sometimes rows of two seats on the side where I can get a window and my wife can be next to me in the aisle. Even in a 3-3-3 or 3-4-3 configuration there may be a few seats near the back of just 2 in a row.


    A few cases where choosing seats may not be possible:

    • The airline doesn't do reserved seating, or you can't reserve seats until closer to flying
    • The flight is booked through two different airlines on a code share, and the main booking airline doesn't have the ability to reserve seats on the other airline
    • You are booked into a group fare where the flight isn't actually ticketed with your name. You can't reserve seats until tickets are purchased.

    I was told by ChoiceAir that they will always give you the record locator number right after booking and this will let you choose seats as long as the airline allows it. In other words, it doesn't appear that they do the third type of ticketing anymore (although I suppose it may be possible).



    With ChoiceAir, I research the flights, go to the airline website to make sure they have seats I want, book through ChoiceAir for the lowest cost, then after booking go immediately to the airline website with the record locator number and choose my seats. On our recent booking back to the US from Aukland, flights were half the cost of the airline website and we got the seats we wanted.



    On price, I'm looking at flights to Sydney now that are $700-900 cheaper through ChoiceAir. With the lower pricing, I'm even considering Premium Economy which are lower on ChoiceAir than the regular economy pricing direct with the airline.

  2. Went ahead and called ChoiceAir. No waiting, and the person I talked to seemed to know all the answers (she understood my questions and had an answer).


    • You can book one way flights online, but as soon as you book only half the itinerary, then when you're ready to book the other half you have to call them to do that.
    • I was told that for every flight booked, they immediately give you the record locator number and you can then go to the airline website to book seats (if the airline lets you do that). Some have suggested they have consolidator tickets that can't be reserved, but that didn't sound to be the case. Their refundable with fees tickets can be refunded up to 2 days before you travel.
    • They can book 3 seats together but have to call to do it (no way to do online), which I expected. Again, the person I had talked to wasn't surprised at all about the request and knew it could be done.

  3. Not yet willing to call and wait on the phone for what may or may not be correct answers, so here are a few that maybe someone has actual experience with. We are flying internationally into one city and out of another. Cheapest option is to break the flight into two 1-way segments.

    • Prices on the way home are really good right now. If we book just the return flights online with ChoiceAir, can we come back later and buy the flights down, or will they prevent us from booking if we've already purchased?
    • Some flights say "refundable with fees". Anyone know for sure if these flights indicate the booking is not actually made with the airline, meaning no advance seat assignments are possible? (And if I call and ask, will they even know enough to be able to confirm one way or another?)
    • Anyone have any experience booking an extra seat for 1 person, or rather, booking 3 seats for 2 people and sharing a 3-seat row? You'd have to call to do this, but anyone done it with ChoiceAir before?



  4. we just grabbed a driver for 5 hours off the ship for about $80 (for the entire van). we spend over 3 hours at the cable car then walked through the shops for a few minutes. there is an "elevator" that takes you from the top cable car area down to the platform that had a half hour wait. if you want to walk down the steps it is much faster. I'd recommend the fresh mango juice--really thick and cold on a hot day!

  5. if you are taking a tour that includes Bethlehem, a shopping tour will be required regardless of who you use unless you hire a private guide... we've found we like the private guides as we can do exactly what we want, taking as long or as little as we want at each site. with GTI and some other private companies, you can also organize a small group and set your own itinerary.

  6. We did the Nazareth/Galilee tour from Haifa with GTI. I always like the countryside better than the city and really liked the tour. Yes, most every site is a building built over the religious site, with the exception of Capernaum which is an archaeological site. Biggest negative to the Galilee tour was the lunch--they took us to a crowded place with a set menu where we spent significant time--not worth it in my opinion.


    one day is not enough time in Jerusalem (there's too much to do). Pick what's important to you and see that. Our biggest problem with Israel from the cruise was we just rushed to see as much as we could and still didn't take in all we wanted.

  7. there are taxis just as you walk out, but most of them want to hire for several hours. when we told them we just wanted to do downtown, they waved us on and weren't interested. if you keep walking, nearly to the street, then turn left, there is a taxi stand that is used for the ferries. we did that and no waiting. they may or may not use the meter, either ask them to use it or negotiate the price. we caught cab from downtown back to the ship, didn't ask about price, but it ended up costing us the same as if we had said something beforehand.

  8. Satay By the Bay is at Gardens By the Bay that opens at 11.30am till around 10pm.


    From what I could tell, Satay by the Bay had similar prices to Lau Pa Sat. My wife has trouble walking so it seemed like a bit of a walk from the gardens area to the food area. Once you're out there, it's a walk back, or like we did just use Uber to call for a ride. They had more than Satay. It was really quite when we were there (no crowds).

  9. You can buy a upgrade that allows more than one device at a time however the included package just allowed one. I know this because when I wanted to use my device the service always kicked my wife off and I had to restart her when I was done.


    To get 1 device each person, create a different account. If you share the same account, then it will kick the other person off when you start up your device.

  10. also, in Phuket, the ship docks a ways away from things. there are a few drivers offering tours or rides into town, but there's not much at the docks. Personally if I were doing something myself, I'd arrange for a driver or guide to meet me at the dock. we did a ship tour just for the convenience and because we didn't care too much what we were doing as we are going back this fall.

  11. I just used Uber in Penang to go wherever I wanted from the list of places I wanted to see. $4-5 usd or less for each ride (that's from the dock out to the temple on the hill, half that or much less for places in town).


    In Langkawi there is also Uber, or just taxis. You can take a taxi to the mangrove/Kilim river area and do a 2-3 hour boat trip. I think it's 200rm ($50usd) for the entire boat for 2 hours. there are some places online you can book ahead, but I think you can also just show up. there are also boats right near the cruise dock you can hire, but I'm not sure where they take you.

  12. Also, the HOHO bus to the night Safari was good, but to catch the bus back we about only had time for the show and the tram ride. I would have liked to walk the trails as you can better see all the same animals you can see from the tram.

  13. Holiday inn express Clarke quay is really convenient to walk the river and find a place to eat. I walked all the way to Merlion Park and the even lau pa sat. But it was a good bit of a stroll to go that far.

  14. Here's my experience in Singapore--


    Slowest immigration at the airport I've ever experienced. Took us 40 minutes to get through.


    Got cash at an ATM then tried to use Uber to the hotel. Wouldn't go through so went and got a taxi instead. Under s$30 to the hotel at 9pm at night. Found taxis to be very cheap, nearly as cheap for 2 as trying to use the bus or subway. s$5-8 to most places and didn't have to hassle with cards or paying the fares.


    Used Uber a few times as well. Found out that for Uber, it might fail to connect to a driver if I tried to pay by PayPal, but cash seemed to work better. Used PayPal once and cash a few other times. Tended to use Uber when we were on a side street out of the way and needing to call a ride, but just stepping out of the hotel tended to use a taxi from the taxi stand. Uber almost seemed more expensive than the taxi (maybe because some Uber used taxis and they added the fee to call them?).


    Funny in Little India watching the Uber guy go around the block several times trying to figure out how to get to us. A van driver knew we were trying to use Uber and talked about how they never could figure out how to get in there. Finally that guy gave up and they connected us to someone else.


    A week later Uber sends me an email for s$5 off each of my next 10 rides. Since we are stopping for 1 more day in Singapore, guess how I'm saving money getting around?


    Did the HOHO bus for 2 days. Liked the bus transfer to the night zoo (very convenient). Liked we could sit on the bus and just ride it. Very good free Chinatown tour scheduled by the HOHO line. (tried to do the India tour but arrived too late). However, it was too hot or too rainy to sit upstairs, and was often crowded. And we often waited 30 minutes for the HOHO bus to come. One time rather than wait, we just jumped on the city bus to take us to Chinatown (one every 3 minutes). Driver told us how much to pay. In the end, for about s$3 more we could have just taken a taxi.


    If there is a next time, I'm likely to learn how to use the city buses and buy a pass instead of the HOHO bus. Or just take taxi. (Subways are hard because my wife can't always do stairs, and while many seemed to have escalators, you seemed to have to walk up some stairs to get to the escalator).


    Gardens by the Bay was terrific. I like taking pictures and the lines from inside the domes make for some cool shots. Watched the light show, then walked to Satay by the Bay (seemed similarly priced as other places). Caught Uber back to the hotel from there.

  15. My experience in Langkawi--


    Just off the ship are vans/taxis offering tours. About 50 ringgit an hour. First guy said 250 for 4 hours, then 4 or 5 hours. We committed to 5 hours for 250, could have probably talked him down. If you walk to the end of the pier, then through the hotel parking lot, you eventually get to a taxi stand. I've heard the hourly/daily rate is much less but couldn't confirm that. Was with my wife who has trouble walking so we went ahead and paid right by the ship and glad I didn't try to save a little. Translated to about $65 usd for 5 hours--a bargain for us even if it was overpriced by local standards. Had a van and driver.


    Went to the cable car and spent over 3 hours of our 5 hours there. No line getting up the first cable car, but once on top it costs extra to go down to the air bridge and there was a slow moving line to take the "sky elevator" down to that.


    Stopped at Craft Complex which was OK I guess. barely had time then to drive for a quick photo stop at the beach, a stop at a Thai temple, then back to the pier. the island isn't very big, but it's a slow speed limit and it takes 20-40 minutes to go from one end to the other (30 minutes from the pier to the cable car alone). driver seemed eager to stop a few more places, but we had already used our 5 hours and were ready to go back to the ship. I don't think he would have charged us more if we were to have taken a little more time. very easy going.


    Uber is available, found that out later. would have had to walk to the hotel parking lot to catch the uber (not too far of a walk). 28 ringgit to the cable car from the ship, so we probably could have pieced together then trip cheaper than hiring the van. there are shops and food at the oriental village at the cable car, we could have spent more time there and if I were to do it over again I'd likely just go there taking uber.


    researched before we left and it seems if we went to where the mangrove boats leave we could have likely gotten the tour for 200 ringgit for a private boat. so if we come back I'd likely just do uber to the Kilim river, hire a private boat for the 2 hour tour, then back.

  16. Here is my experience in Penang--


    Getting off the ship you walk through a terminal, and as you clear the doors you are directed through another building. Taxi/tour drivers offering tours for 50 ringit an hour. they have pictures printed of where they can take you. 150 for 3 hours seemed like a good deal to me, even if you might find it cheaper after you passed the main building. Had a trishaw guy also quote me 50 an hour, although I bet that should be cheaper.


    there is a free city bus that has two different routes, with one stop just outside the port (turn left, walk past the clock tower just half a block to the stop). Maps inside the first terminal just before you go out the doors of the bus routes.


    Uber is cheap. 20+ minute drive up to the temple on the hill was 12 ringgit or about $3 usd. even cheaper coming back to the ship.


    Main downtown street is within walking distance from the ship (if you're into a nice jaunt), although it's hot. I walked to the central mosque, then over to the Khoo Khonshi house, then the Chew Jetty. Took Uber a few times to places farther away.


    if you don't want to listen to a ship tour and just want to see specific things, very easy to do cheaper on your own.

  17. We just purchased our HoHo bus tickets for Singapore. 48 hrs for $29.73pp......which I thought was a great price for 2 days. They have several combo tickets too. All tickets have to picked up at the Sun-Tec Hub.


    it's possible if you board the HOHO bus and show them your voucher, they will let you ride to Suntec then you get off and redeem the voucher for the actual ticket. I've seen references to that and they kind of just let us on when I showed them our Singapore pass.

  18. Our last cruise was the 1st time we had eaten at LCG. My ribeye was not very good. The filet mignon looked really good.


    I've seen a few comments on the Ribeye. We had it 3 times our last cruise at the lawn club grill and it was perfectly good to me. not sure if I'm not as picky or if it's luck of the draw. in fact, I ended up ordering the exact same thing all 3 times: pepperoni & sausage flat bread, ribeye, chocolate chip cookie.


    also agree the burgers aren't that great. too lean, not enough toppings in my opinion.


    Another good website to plan your route if you are using the tourist pass would be : https://gothere.sg/maps



    If you are using public transportation, and even uber and taxi, the Citymapper app is great. When you want to go somewhere, you type in your destination, and it maps out how to walk, catch the MRT or bus, etc to get to the destination, along with price and time estimates. We used this in Paris to change our itinerary on the fly (I feel like going to the Eiffel tower right now, how do I get there?). Citymapper does Singapore too.

  20. Buy the combined pass from the Singapore wildlife site, it's the cheapest.


    Sent from my Lenovo P2a42 using Forums mobile app


    I think if you are doing the HOHO bus regardless, and you want to visit 2 of the zoo parks, then the HOHO pass is the better deal. (s$95 for the HOHO bus with Night Safari and River Safari, compared to s$49 for HOHO bus + s$65 for the zoos). Yes it would be cheaper to skip the HOHO bus and use the MRT, but if you like the advantage of the buses then their pass seems the better deal (although their 5 attraction pass does not look like a good deal to me).


    I am a little unclear on the safari parks sometimes on when the tram/river rides are included in the price or not though (and having to pay for the river ride in addition to your ticket might change the economics of which is the better deal).


    At SGD $49 for 48 hours, the Singapore 7 covers all seven HOHO bus routes. We can then choose the places to get off and explore. If nothing else we will see much of the city even if we don't get off.

    The only downside of course is the frequency, plus they finish around 6pm. There is one stop near to the hotel.



    The HOHO bus has a package deal where you choose 2 attractions to add to the 2 day pass. If you choose Night Safari and River Safari you save quite a bit. Plus the 2 day HOHO pass includes free walking tours of Chinatown and Little India, and bus transfer out to the zoo area. This is what we're planning on doing.

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