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Everything posted by TouchstoneFeste

  1. Our plans have changed slightly and now instead of dinner, we're looking for an afternoon tea. Any recommendations?
  2. I would bet that in the right kind of hobby shop (not a big chain, in other words) you would find an enthusiast who would love the challenge (perhaps for a small remuneration).
  3. Forgive the ignorant question, but the other side of the Pond has adopted the contactless technology so much quicker than here in the US ... and this old fogy has lost his sense of direction. (Especially with the confusion over 7-day passes, the complicated Oyster card, etc.) Is the "contactless bank card" any credit card with the expanding waves symbol on it? How does it work on transit? Do you tap once to get on then tap again to get off (and the transit system figures out how much to charge)?
  4. I'm afraid any skiing would be many hours away :) Have a great time. It's a great city. (And like so many others, with only a few hours you'll just get a peek.)
  5. @Pear Carr is right about the Central Park skating; not a skater so I forgot about that. Expect crowds at either location, though, on December 22. Where to shop is difficult without knowing what kind of thing you're looking for or how much time you have. I know some fun kitchy places on the Upper West Side, but you probably wouldn't have time to get there if you're starting on the east side or midtown and you're leaving that afternoon. Cunard is offering some excursions that might help ...?
  6. There's a roll call for that crossing but no answers to your specific questions. Do you have a long stay between the transatlantic and the cruise, or is it just an excursion day? Weather's a big of a "who knows?", but to be safe you should anticipate freezing temperatures and possible snow or sleet. As for heading south afterwards, I haven't any idea :) The traditional "best place for ice skating" would be the rink in front of Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. Saks Fifth Avenue is directly across the street, for some pricey shopping, A walk down Fifth will also get you through some of the most over-the-top window displays in the city, and you'll probably pass multiple Salvation Army donation kettles. I think they hire out of work actors to fill the attendant roles (that's a joke, but who knows. There are some VERY talented Santas our there.) The sidewalks will likely be very crowded. Pretty much any store you can imagine along that strip, but the prices are high, given the real estate and the holiday.
  7. One note about this. Disembarking in Southampton, we put our luggage out in the corridor in two batches. Wanting to be helpful to the crew, we packed two bags early and set them outside the door (and they disappeared). We set two more bags out later with more last minute stuff. These two sets were not near each other in the color-coded areas (well, it makes sense; how much sorting can you expect?) For some reason one pair was fairly difficult to find. We'll be using tracking tags this time :)
  8. Indeed, what we in the US call "sport coats" and "blazers", which I think are explicitly ok'd for smart attire nights, evolved from hunting and yachting jackets. I think it's a little early in their evolution for polo shirts to qualify, personally. Give them a hundred years. (But like others, I wouldn't be offended to see them.)
  9. The guidance in the U.S. seems to be that you may wear a hat indoors if it is a public space, such as an airport, public transportation, or a hotel, office building, or theater lobby. Even in an elevator, if no lady is present. https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/mens-hat-etiquette-guide/ https://www.levinehat.com/pages/hat-etiquette (etc.) The U.K. guidance - which would rule on a British ship - appears to be different, so forgive those ignorant of British practice. In no case, I agree, would it be appropriate at a black tie event, which is by definition indoors and private. Indeed, there is no specification for "which hat to wear with black tie", only for what you might wear with an evening overcoat to get to the event.
  10. To close the loop: Each time I contacted the Ponant rep, the response was very quick, but not always helpful. I'd misunderstood the most recent response (after I'd sent in the screenshot) - the rep didn't explicitly ask for more information, so I let it ride for a few weeks. I decided to try again, sending a screenshot that included my name, Bonvoy member number, and the phrase "Valid through xx/xx/xx". I think it was that last thing that turned the trick. I got an approval message within 24 hours and it now shows up on my Ponant welcome page. (Bonvoy Gold Elite = Admiral status.) Unfortunately, from the messages here, it appears I won't be able to use it on my currently booked trip, so we'll have to see how it works out in the future.
  11. Sounds plausible for a fast overnight to catch an early morning flight. Thanks for this.
  12. There also seems to be a Bloc? hotel at the South Terminal as well as a Marriott Courtyard (across the tracks). Any thoughts?
  13. FYI: It was time to start planning our air travel to and from our cruise (I'd previously exchanged emails with them and they suggested starting the process now), so I wrote to Ponant's designated provider at USairrequests@ponant.com I got this reply: Thank you for contacting Ponant Cruise Air Department. ***We are evaluating a new service for our AIR program. This will take a few months to be up and running. Once we are ready, we will certainly inform all of you so that you can avail of the new service. Until then, please note that we will not be able to service your requests for NEW air bookings. Thank you for your patience and understanding.*** Best regards, Ponant USA
  14. None of the usual suspects has said it, so I will: Why not both?
  15. Like you, I didn't trust the autopay last year and paid manually ahead of time. This year I let it ride and everything worked smoothly.
  16. Well, two ships departing the next morning with a combined capacity of around 9,000. I realize that doesn't equate to 9,000 actual people spending the night ...
  17. The Red Lion seemed like an excellent idea, so I emailed them for a dinner reservation because there will be 9,000 or so extra people in Southampton that night (and they don't have online reservations that I could find). I got a reply from the Red Lion email address, but from a restaurant called Bayleaf Kitchen. I appears to be adjacent to the Red Lion itself. It gets good reviews and we like Indian Food, but we were looking for pub food. Any thoughts on this?
  18. You might track down your voyage's Roll Call and propose one ...
  19. Also, I think*, none of the automatic (or for EU passengers, "suggested") $14.50/$16.50 hotel fee goes to the bar staff. So, the 15 percent on drinks isn't on top of the hotel fee - it goes to different people. Don't know why they do it this way. * Correct me if I'm wrong, folks.
  20. Unless you're severely limited in time or you have already seen what you want of Athens on other trips, you should plan a few days there before or after the cruise. Like most of the ancient capital cities, there's a huge amount to do and see.
  21. I also got a list from Customer Services before our trip ... but that was one of the ill-fated QM2 May crossings, so I can't report on which of them were waiting on the dock to board.
  22. Was trying to remember where I saw this when I realized I have this handy search thingy on my computer: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/get-fast.html Good luck, hope it all works out.
  23. Since we're talking about the "shambles" disembarking at Brooklyn ... is there any provision for the use of Global Entry there? (Prompted by the announcement that US Customs and Border Patrol is releasing a new Global Entry app.)
  24. I'm sure you're aware, but just in case ... There are (at least?) two options to speed up normal passport processing: "expedited" processing, and super-fast delivery. They cost $ of course. I'm not sure if this would work any longer, but many many years ago I decided to travel overseas on relatively short notice but didn't have a passport. I visited the local office of our US Senator and the secretary arranged for it to be delivered in days. (Yes, he got my vote ever after. I sent the secretary a nice gift.)
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